Sunday, April 23, 2017

PM delivers opening remarks at 3rd Meeting of Governing Council of NITI Aayog
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today said that as a former Chief Minister, he is convinced that the vision of “New India” can only be realised through the combined effort and cooperation of all States and Chief Ministers. Delivering the opening remarks at the third meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, the Prime Minister said that “Team India” has once again assembled today to discuss and reflect on ways to prepare India for changing global trends. He said the meeting today would be an opportunity to exchange views on policies and implementation.

The Prime Minister said that it is the collective responsibility of this gathering to envision the India of 2022 – the 75th anniversary of independence – and see how we can swiftly move forward to achieve these goals.

Recalling the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, on the occasion of the centenary of the Champaran Satyagraha, the Prime Minister said NITI Aayog has been taking steps to transform India, with fresh vigour. He said the Government, private sector and civil society, all need to work in sync. He noted that NITI was a collaborative federal body whose strength was is in its ideas, rather than in administrative or financial control. He pointed out that the Chief Ministers did not have to come to NITI for approval of budgets or plans. He said NITI Aayog had gone beyond relying on government inputs and taken on board a number of outside specialists, subject experts, and Young Professionals; and States can also contribute to policy formulation. He gave the example of e-NAM, where experiences of States played a key role in the final policy.

The Prime Minister noted that sub-groups of State Chief Ministers had given vital inputs on subjects such as Centrally Sponsored Schemes, Swachh Bharat, Skill Development and Digital payments. Stressing the importance given to the views of Chief Ministers, he noted that it was the first time Chief Ministers had been asked to recommend the list of Centrally sponsored schemes and the sharing pattern; despite funding constraints, the recommendations were accepted immediately.

The Prime Minister mentioned that while there has been a 40 percent increase in overall fund allocation to States between 2014-15 and 2016-17, the percentage of funds tied to central schemes has declined from 40 percent of the earlier total, to 25 percent of the enhanced total with a corresponding increase in the untied share.

The Prime Minister urged States to speed up capital expenditure and infrastructure creation.

Speaking of the historic change in budget presentation date, the Prime Minister said this would enable timely availability of funds at the beginning of the financial year. Earlier, budgeted scheme funds were generally not approved by Parliament till May, after which they would be communicated to states and ministries. By that time, the monsoon arrived. Hence the best working season for schemes was typically lost. He also mentioned the ending of the distinction between plan and non-plan expenditure, based on the recommendation of the Rangarajan Committee in 2011, which had found the distinction to be counter-productive. Several important items of expenditure were included as ‘non-plan’ and hence neglected. Hereafter the emphasis would be on distinguishing between development and welfare expenditure on one hand, and administrative overheads on the other.

The Prime Minister said that the Goods and Services Tax shows the strength and resolve of the federal structure. He gave credit to all Chief Ministers for coming on one platform for this cause, keeping aside ideological and political differences. Thanking the Chief Ministers, he said consensus on GST will go down in history as a great illustration of cooperative federalism. He said GST reflects the spirit of “One nation, One aspiration, One determination.”

The Prime Minister called for carrying forward the debate and discussion on simultaneous elections.

He said the NITI Aayog is working on a 15 year long term vision, 7 year medium term strategy, and 3 year action agenda. He said this effort needs support of States, and will eventually reflect in benefits to States. 


France, voting for presidential election has begun at 8 am local time amid high security following a deadly attack on Paris police three days ago. About 50,000 police and 7,000 soldiers are being deployed across the country to secure polling.
Eleven candidates are vying to be the country’s next president, with leading candidates spanning the political spectrum from far-left to far-right. The two with the most votes will go to a run-off round in a fortnight’s time.
Four candidates are currently seen as being within reach of the presidency: the conservative François Fillon, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, liberal centrist Emmanuel Macron and the far-left’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
French nationals from Puducherry and regions coming under the jurisdiction of that nation’s consulate, cast their votes in the first round of French Presidential elections. Polling which began at 8 AM would go on till 7 PM.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is chairing the third meeting of NITI Aayog’s Governing Council which will deliberate on the 15-year vision document to accelerate the country’s economic development.
Cabinet ministers, chief ministers, officials, members of NITI Aayog and special invitees are attending the meeting.
Some non-BJP Chief Ministers like Mamata Banerjee and Mukul Sangma have skipped the meet and sent their ministers instead.
West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra is attending the meeting on behalf of Banerjee.
However, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Congress’ Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh are present for the meeting. Chief Ministers of Left-ruled states, Manik Sarkar of Tripura and Pinarayi Vijayan of Kerala are also present there along with Tamil Nadu’s E Palaniswamy.
The Modi government has already made it clear that it was dumping the Soviet-era relic, the five-year-plans, since it was too short a period to plan, and too narrow an approach. All previous schemes under this format ended this year.
Unlike the five year plan, the vision document will not only have broad targets for the economic and social sector but also map the objectives in internal security and defence.


The president of war-torn Afghanistan is creating a tourism ministry in a bid to attract visitors to the country endowed with stunning landscapes and archaeological sites, but wracked by nearly four decades of conflict. Ashraf Ghani issued a presidential decree this week ordering the ministry be established and naming Ghulam Nabi Farahi, a former parliamentary affairs minister, as the new “state minister for tourism affairs.” The order, criticized by many because it had bypassed parliament, included no other details, such as the ministry’s aims or budget. Afghanistan has welcomed travel to what it considers safe areas where Taliban militants are not deemed a threat.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have agreed in a phone call to launch a joint working group in the near future to find ways of normalizing relations between the two countries, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said. The two diplomats also discussed the developments in Syria, with Lavrov expressing regret over the US rejection of Russia’s proposal to send experts to the site of the alleged chemical attack Idlib on April 4 at the OPCW (Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Executive Council. During the conversation, the sides agreed that the chemical weapons watchdog should again study the possibility of an objective investigation into the incident.


Roman Seleznev, the son of a lawmaker in the Russian State Duma who was sentenced to 27 years by a US court on Friday, was “virtually kidnapped from a third country” by the US, Russia’s embassy in Washington said, calling the man’s arrest “illegal.” Seleznev was captured by the US Secret Service agents in the Maldives in 2014 and transferred to the US, where he stood trial on over 30 counts of cyber fraud. US District Court in Seattle found him guilty of credit card theft, resulting in some $170 million losses for entities and individuals. Seleznev, who pleaded guilty to all charges in a written confession, compared the court’s ruling to a “death sentence.”


Canada’s Minister for National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan visited the Western Naval Command headquarters in Mumbai today. A release from Defence spokesperson said that Sajjan interacted with Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra.
The minister highlighted areas of congruence between India and Canada and the need to further enhance cooperation between both nations. The discussions looked at continuing the current level of military interactions and the possibilities of increased cooperation.
The release added that enhancement of maritime and naval cooperation and visit of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Winnipeg were also discussed. The minister also visited the Indian Navy’s indigenous guided missile destroyer, INS Kochi. According to the defence release, India and Canada are poised to enhance defence cooperation in fields of counter terrorism, cold climate warfare, peace keeping and Naval cooperation.


World Book and Copyright Day (WBCD) is being observed today. The day seeks to raise awareness about importance of reading and promote publishing and the protection of copyright around the globe.
It is a yearly event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The focus, this year is on the visually impaired to have easy access to printed materials. In 1995, UNESCO at its General Conference held in Paris chose 23rd of April to celebrate World Book Day as it is a highly symbolic date for world literature.
It is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
In a message, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said, there is currently a book famine in the world because people with visual impairments as well as physical and learning disabilities don’t have access to a lot of books that are specifically made for them.
Each year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry – publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a one-year period that starts every April 23.
Ms Bokova said for 2017, Conakry in Guinea has been designated World Book Capital 2017. A series of events, conferences, debates, exhibition, workshops are being held around the world to mark the day.


Mr. Naresh Kumar Sagar interacting with the panelists during Press Meet
Delhites  are not showing any interest in the election of local self government as the performance of MCD is very shabby with Congress and BJP at the helm of affairs and AAP at Delhi city government has also been not very impressive being new out fit the leaders are harping on the critical aspects of two popular brands.The Congress old guard with its cancer of perpetual disintegration at all levels is making difficult to keep its presence. BJP with its top leadership in dramatic mode of working but in actual and factual keeping the option open for both development and mustering mass and rampant corruption now-where to stop as the system has eroded at all levels and institutions are falling castle of cards harping on schemes which are remote possibilities bullet trains,smart cities,Ganga cleaning, environmental degradation,professional and experts wandering jobless or under employed and many ignored for no reason and rhymes.   Voters seem to have lost faith in local self government as none has been able to give the audience of Delhi,the  smart city of handling waste or recycling waste of various nature. Thus Delhi people are in state of flux in their mind to publicly support any three which are unable to put before the delicious deal to garner votes for their party.
The polling begun for three Municipal Corporations of Delhi at 8 this morning and will end at 5:30 in the evening. Over 2,500 candidates are in the fray.
Delhi Lt.Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minster Arvind Kejriwal and Union Minister Dr.Harshvardhan were among the voters who cast their votes in the early hours of polling for the MCD elections.
Mr. Baijal exercised his franchise at a polling station in Greater Kailash area while Mr. Kejriwal cast his vote in Civil Line. Dr.Harshvardhan cast his vote in a polling booth in Krishna Nagar area. Congress Delhi Unit Chief Ajya Maken also exercised his franchise in Rajouri Garden.
Meanwhile, Municipal elections in Maujpur in East Delhi and Sarai Pipal in North Delhi wards have been postponed due to the death of two candidates. Both candidates belonged to the Samajwadi Party.
Now, polling in Maujpur will be held on 14th of next month while in Sarai Pipal it will take place on 21st May.
Delhi Election Commission has set up over 13,000 polling booths out of which over 3,000 have been identified as sensitive while around 1,500 booths are hypersensitive.
Around 57,000 police personnel have been deployed to ensure free and fair polls in the national capital. In view of the MCD elections, the Delhi government has ordered that dry days will be observed in the national capital till the polling day.
AIR correspondent reports that BJP, Aam Aadmi Party and Congress are main contenders in this civic bodies polls. The MCD polls are being watched keenly by the people as BJP, AAP and Congress have left no stone unturned to woo the voters.


Confluence 2017- Unification of Leadership, Knowledge, Skill and Empowerment
28th-30th April 2017, at 10.00 A.M. AT PHD House, New Delhi

Greetings from PHD!!!

You are cordially invited to Confluence 2017- Unification of Leadership, knowledge and Skill Empowerment being organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with Indi Group and All Ladies League, New Delhi from 28th-30th April 2017 at 10.00 AM at PHD House, New Delhi.

The objective of the three-day long exhibition is about crafting alliances, rekindling the desire to buy artifacts & handicrafts made by talented unsung artisans (mainly from the rural background), bringing them into the limelight and thus creating a connection between creator and consumer.
A line of confirmation from your good office in this regard would highly be solicited at sanjeev@phdcci.inalong with the duly filled-in registration form appended below.

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