The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for fully tapping the enormous potential of the Blue Economy for the country to achieve higher economic growth.

Observing that the objective of the Blue Economy is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities through maritime economic activities, the Vice President wanted appropriate programs to be initiated for sustainable harnessing of ocean resources.

Interacting with the Scientists of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), in Dona Paula, Goa today, Shri Naidu pointed out that India was meeting most of its oil and gas requirements through imports and urged the scientists to step up their research in areas such as ocean energy and marine energy. “Scientists should study the potential of renewable energy derived from the ocean-- from wind, wave and tidal sources”, he added.

Asking the Institute to act as a nodal centre for Blue Economy related research and technology development, Shri Naidu said there was a need to focus on ocean centric technology to harness the marine resources for sustained growth of India. Development of technologies for deep sea mining, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics for extraction of minerals should be initiated. “NIO should also undertake research on development of drugs from the sea”, he added.

The Vice President said that a focused approach in some of the areas such as minerals from the ocean, energy from ocean can make India a global leader and serve our national goals. ‘However, while pursuing the “blue growth”, every effort must be made by all the stakeholders, including private and public sectors, to prevent further degradation of the ocean and its ecosystems’, the Vice President cautioned.

In view of global warming, resource degradation and marine pollution, we have to conserve and sustain our oceans as time is running out, Shri Naidu said and advised CSIR-NIO to play a major role through its ocean observation studies in understanding different ocean processes due to climate change.

Shri Naidu lauded NIO for providing specialized services to society in addressing ocean-related problems. He also expressed happiness that the institute helped in preparing India’s claim for an extended continental shelf with an area of about a million square kilometres.

The Vice President also attended a presentation on various aspects and applications of Oceanography and visited laboratories and exhibition galleries at NIO. He applauded the good work being done by the Scientists and Scholars of NIO, especially in the field of conservation.

Following is the text of Vice President's address:

"I am delighted to visit this institute and address all of you. After becoming the Vice President, I have decided to visit various scientific and research institutions to interact with scientists for a better understanding of the work being undertaken by them and share my thoughts.

I am glad to interact with all of you and get a deeper appreciation of the excellent work being done by you. Oceans are of vital importance for the wealth and the well-being of present and future generations. They hold 97 per cent of the planet’s water, while two per cent is found in glaciers and ice caps and only one per cent comprises earth’s fresh water. 

We are aware of the fact that oceans produce more than 50 per cent of the world’s oxygen and absorb 40 per cent of the carbon dioxide, buffering the impact of global warming, underlines the crucial role played by them. Thus, they help in regulating the global climate.

Oceans cover 72 per cent of the surface of our blue planet and provide humankind with food, minerals, energy, fresh water and oxygen. They regulate climate, emission absorption and shoreline protection and support livelihoods as well as job creation. Indeed, oceans are our life support system.

Currently, it is estimated that more than three billion people depend on marine and coastal resources for their livelihoods. Enhancing more than 80 percent of global trade, marine and coastal environments constitute a key resource for economic development.

Considering the importance of oceans on the life and sustenance of humanity, the United Nations has taken steps to declare the period 2021–2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Further, the Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG-14) proposed by UN, which deals with life below the waters, emphasizes the importance of oceans in modulating and sustaining life.

With this background, it is important to prioritize our efforts in ocean science and technology to achieve the national goal of transforming India to be the third largest economy in the coming 10-15 years.

I am happy that CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India is doing research on different aspects of Ocean such as the impact of climate change, marine biodiversity, coastal hazards such as coastal erosion and storm surge, marine hazards like tectonics and slumping of seabed.

I understand that foundation of ocean science is mostly based on observations. To take up ocean observation studies, scientists like you need appropriate tools and platforms. I am told that research vessels are an ideal platform to do ocean observations. Research vessels and their equipment represent a significant technological asset.

I am glad that two dedicated ocean-going vessels, RV Sindhu Sankalp and RV Sindhu Sadhana are managed by CSIR-NIO.  With these two dedicated vessels, I am sure that CSIR-NIO will be able to carry out all the relevant studies in India's Exclusive Economic Zone, which constitutes 2/3rd of our land area.

From the presentations made to be me by different groups, I understand that CSIR-NIO is playing a major role in understanding science of the North Indian Ocean such as dynamics of its circulation, basin-wide bio-geo-chemistry and tectonic framework of basin evolution.

I am informed that the efforts of CSIR-NIO led to establishing India as a pioneer in poly-metallic nodule mining with an allocated mining site of 75,000 sq. km in the central Indian Ocean.

I am glad that CSIR-NIO helped to prepare India’s claim for extended continental shelf with an area of about a million square kilometres and this institute launched India’s Antarctic research programme in the early 1980s.

I am also happy to note that the CSIR-NIO provides specialized services to society in addressing ocean-related problems, in addition to its planned research projects. I am happy to learn that this institute has successfully carried out more than 1300 projects funded by oil & gas companies, ports, power plants, chemical industries, municipalities and industrial estates.

I understand that CSIR-NIO has also carried out Marine Environmental Impact Assessments for several prestigious and nationally important developmental projects such as Sea Bird Project of Indian Navy at Karwar and others involving offshore prospecting for oil and gas by ONGC, HPCL, IOC and BPCL among others.

Dear sisters and brothers, development along the coast has been increasing over the years. I have been informed that the Government of India has already planned development of ports and allied facilities through Sagarmala. Different coastal economic zones are planned. The Sagarmala project, which seeks to modernize ports through IT enabled services, is expected to give an impetus to the economy.

With India looking towards oceans for the economic growth through the Blue Economy, important institutions like NIO will have to step up their research in areas such as ocean energy and marine energy. It should be noted that India is meeting most of its oil and gas requirements through imports. Scientists should study the potential of renewable energy derived from the ocean-- from wind, wave and tidal sources.

The objective of the Blue Economy is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities through maritime economic activities within the Indian Ocean region.

All of you will agree that, India should fully tap the enormous potential of the Blue Economy to achieve higher economic growth trajectory and initiate appropriate programs for sustainable harnessing of ocean resources, research and develop relevant sectors of oceanography.

However, while pursuing the “blue growth”, every effort must be made by all the stakeholders, including private and public sectors, to prevent further degradation of the ocean and its ecosystems.

In view of global warming, resource degradation, and marine pollution, we have to conserve and sustain our oceans as time is running out. Hence, CSIR-NIO should play a major role through dense ocean observations and high-resolution ocean models over the Indian Ocean to meet the challenges in understanding different ocean processes due to climate change.

The Institute should also act as a nodal centre for Blue economy related research and technology development. There is a need to focus on ocean centric technology to harness the marine resources economically for sustained growth of India. Development of technologies for deep sea mining, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics for extraction of minerals should be initiated. NIO should also undertake research on development of drugs from the sea.

I strongly feel that focused approach in some of the areas such as minerals from the ocean, energy from ocean can make India a global leader and serve our national goals.

I wish all the success to each one of you ,the scientists and staff of CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography in your future missions.

 

JAI HIND!"

 

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 AKT/BK/MS/RK

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The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has underscored India’s stand as a peace loving nation but determined to combat terror in all its forms and manifestations. He was interacting with the Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Prime Minister of Guinea, Dr. Ibrahima Kassory Fofana and the Deputy Prime Minister of Lesotho, Mr. Monyane Moleleki, who called on him, at his residence here today. The Spouse of the Vice President, Smt. Usha Naidu and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The Vice President welcomed the dignitaries with Anga Vastrams (traditional Indian attire) and Smt. Usha Naidu offered traditional Shawls to the spouses of the visiting dignitaries.

At the luncheon meeting hosted by the Vice President of India, the leaders shared their happiness at the traditionally close ties between their countries with India, underpinned by shared vision and values of peaceful co-existence and natural respect, democracy and rule of law.

Shri Naidu said that noted with satisfaction that there was strong economic co-operation between the countries and that all countries were growing at a fast pace. He further observed that each of our countries has natural, financial and human resources and that we have to tap into our material resources, enrich our human resources and transform our economies through partnership.

Recounting a number of high level visits between India and these countries including President of Ghana’s visit to India last year for the founding conference of International Solar Alliance; President of India’s visit to Ghana in 2016; the President of Guinea’s visit to India in 2015; His Majesty King Let Sie-III King of Lesotho’s visit in December, 2017 and of Prime Minister of Lesotho in 2018, the Vice President desired that these high level visits deepen our mutual ties and must continue. In this connection, he mentioned the possibility of his own State visit to Lesotho later this year.

He expressed pleasure that quite a few collaborative projects have been completed like the work on the Tema-Akosombo railway line has started (approx 400 Million USD) and India-Ghana Kofi Annan Centre ($ 2.86 million) set up training 20,000 students for excellence in IT in Ghana and India-Lesotho Centre for Advanced Information Technology started in 2017. He reiterated India’s support for electricity, hospitals, transportation – as well as in telemedicine (e-Arogya Bharati) and digital learning (e-Vidya-Bharati) in Guinea.

“There is immense scope for further enhancing bilateral trade and commercial cooperation between our countries”, he added.

The Vice President expressed the hope that in all our countries, we would be able to translate economic growth into inclusive, sustainable development and referred to Indian government’s resolve to transform governance and ultimately the lives of the people.

Shri Naidu thanked the leaders for their support to India in international forums, especially on the issue of India’s non-permanent membership of UNSC for 2020-21 and various candidatures in other UN bodies and stressed the need for democratizing UNSC as wells as by including India as member.

The Vice President highlighted the rising tide of terrorist violence across the globe including the recent incidents of Pulwama, Christchurch and Utrecht. He underscored India’s stand as a peace loving nation but determined to combat terror in all its forms and manifestations. The Vice President explained the recent preemptive counter terror air strikes by India

All the three leaders expressed unequivocal support to India’s actions and condemned the brutal assault at Pulwama. They reaffirmed their commitment to combat the menace and stated that even the African Union has taken a considered position against terror.

The Vice President hosted a traditional Indian Lunch along with Smt. Usha Naidu to those dignitaries and their delegations at the Vice President’s house.

 

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AKT/BK/MS/RK

 

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The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has briefed the visiting Vice President of the Republic of Argentina, Mrs. Gabriela Michetti about the terrorist attack that had taken place in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir and the Argentina leader strongly condemned it and said that Argentina is with India in the fight against terrorism. Shri Naidu was interacting with the Vice President of the Republic of Argentina, who called on him, here today.

The Vice President of India recalled India-Argentina special declaration against terrorism issued on 18th February during the visit of the President of Argentina, Mr. Mauricio Macri to India.

Both leaders also discussed regional and multilateral issues. The Vice President of India said that the battle for peace includes, in the current context, the battle against terror, corruption, climate change, illicit money and arms flows and drugs menace. He further said that India and Argentina should work actively in widening and deepening of bilateral trade and promotion of investments in sectors of mutual interest. 

This was the second high level visit from Argentina during the year after the President of Argentina, Mr. Mauricio Macri visited India in February 2019, when India and Argentina are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Both the leaders exchanged views on parliamentary functioning, bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. They committed to further strengthen India-Argentina multi-faceted cooperation now elevated to a strategic partnership. They recalled the road-map laid by the two leaders during the President of Argentina, Mr. Mauricio Macri visit to India. They also stressed the need for both sides to work together in the new areas identified including defence, nuclear energy, space, mining including Lithium, Antarctica, agriculture, IT, health, renewable and non-renewable energy, tourism, films etc.

Shri Naidu acknowledged the efforts made by the Vice President of Argentina for empowerment of people with disabilities, both within Argentina and globally. He also appreciated the peaceful and invigorating experience she had at the Brahma Kumar is event in which she participated recently.

The Vice President of Argentina invited the Vice President of India to visit Argentina and participate in the Global Disability Conference which is going to be held in Argentina in June 2019.

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AKT/BK/MS/RK

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Today CSC SPV organized a National workshop on “Celebrating 2 Crore PM-JAY and 1000 Digital Villages” at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justicewhile inaugurating the event, appreciated the efforts of the CSC VLEs and said, “Recently, Hon’ President of India and Hon’ Prime Minister appreciated CSCs’ efforts. In last 4 years, our VLEs have become change agent of rural India. I feel proud that we have 67,463 women VLEs in India.” He also launched the completion of 1000 Digital Villages and congratulated HDFC for supporting in Digital Village initiative. “CSCs will become case studies in Harvard like global institutions very soon. Once, Hon’ PM said that I want to see the governance on the palm of every citizen and I can see it in villages of our country.” He asked VLEs to complete the registrations in Ayushman Bharat to 5 crore in next two months. “I wish the Village Level Entrepreneurs of CSC all the best and hope they will truly be the harbingers of digital revolution in India and enable us to create digitally and financially inclusive society. I and my government will always support CSCs in enabling delivery of services.” 

CSC SPV and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare have partnered to implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme through the CSC network across the country. Under the partnership CSCs will help the beneficiary to identify his/her name in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare database and his/her entitlement for the scheme. CSCs will also help beneficiary to scan/upload his/her KYC documents for verification of his/her identity and claim his/her entitlement. The Beneficiary will have facility to print his/her Ayushman Scheme card through CSC. Hence, CSCs will also provide requisite information about the scheme and promote it among citizens, so that maximum number of beneficiaries can avail the benefit.

As part of their social responsibility, HDFC has collaborated with CSC SPV to transform and develop villages and hamlets across the country as Digital Villages, which enables rural citizens to access G2C, education, health and financial services.

CSC SPV is implementing the Digital Village Programme (Digi Gaon) in rural and remote areas of the country, with the mandate of the Ministry of Electronics & IT, where citizens can avail of various online services of the central and State government, and private players alike. These Digital villages are positioned to be the change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and livelihood through community participation.

These Digital Villages have been equipped with solar lighting facility in their community center, LED Bulb assembly unit, sanitary napkin unit, and Wi-fi Choupal; an initiative towards developing a Rural Wi-Fi infrastructure. These villages would also have the regular online services available through the Common Services Center like G2C and B2C, Banking and Insurance, Health, Education and other utility services of the State government.

NNK/MD

Read more: Register 5 Crore beneficiaries under Ayushman...

The Government of India has recently approved scheme for farmers for installation of solar pumps and grid connected solar power plants. Administrative Approval for the scheme has been issued by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) on 08.03.2019. DISCOMs and State Nodal agencies shall be implementing this scheme for which the detailed guidelines will be issued shortly. 

It has been noticed that few websites have cropped up claiming to be registration portal for KUSUM Scheme. Such websites are potentially duping general public and misusing data captured through fake registration portal. 

In this regard, MNRE hereby advises all potential beneficiaries and general public to avoid depositing any registration fee or share their data on such websites. They may contact their DISCOMs / State Renewable Energy Nodal Agencies for any information in this regard. Any suspected fraudulent website if noticed by anyone may be reported to MNRE. For Guidelines and scheme implementation procedure, official portal of the Ministry: www.mnre.gov.in may be visited.

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MS/RCJ

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The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu visited the Republic of Paraguay from 5-7 March 2019 and the Republic of Costa Rica from 7-9 March 2019. This was the first high-level visit from India to both these countries. He was accompanied by a high-level delegation including the Minister of State for Tourism (I/C), Shri Alphons Kannanthanam, the Members of Parliament and senior officials from the Government of India. 

Paraguay

The Vice President met with the President of the Republic of Paraguay, Mr. Mario AbdoBenítez, the Vice President, Mr. Hugo Velázquez, and the President of the National Congress (Senate), Mr. Silvio Ovelar. He also addressed the India-Paraguay business forum and interacted with the Indian Diaspora in Paraguay.

During the Delegation Level Talks, the Paraguayan leadership decried the brutal terrorist attack that took place in Pulwama. The leadership of Paraguay said that they were on the same page as India as far as the issue of terrorism is concerned and extended heartfelt condolences to those who had lost their loved ones in the Pulwama terror attack. They stated that India could always count on Paraguay´s support in the fight against terrorism and in voicing India’s concerns on terrorism in the international fora.

The Vice President emphasized that Paraguay was an important partner of India in the Latin American and Caribbean region and said that the bilateral relations between the two nations have been showing an upward trend. He opined that India and Paraguay shared common values, interests, aspirations and promising futures.

Talks were held in a warm and cordial atmosphere when the two sides discussed bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

Shri Naidu applauded Paraguay’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance soon, an initiative by India and France, aimed at combating the threats of climate change and global warming.

Shri Naidu urged Paraguay to facilitate the convening of the next round of expert level discussions between MERCOSUR and India to take forward the shared agenda of the expansion of the Preferential Trade Agreement.

Paraguay joined India in remembering the contributions of Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of the 150th Birth Anniversary of the Mahatma. Shri Naidu along with the Vice President of Paraguay, Mr. Hugo Velazquez jointly unveiled a special commemorative postage stamp on Mahatma Gandhi.  Shri Naidu requested the leadership of Paraguay to collaborate to install a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at a prominent location in Asuncion.

The Vice President also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Diplomatic and Consular Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Paraguay and the Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India.

Shri Naidu also attended an Indian Community reception in Paraguay. He said that the continued interest in India in Paraguay is due to the Indian diaspora. ‘Each member of the Indian Diaspora is a cultural Ambassador’, he observed.

Shri Naidu complemented the achievements of the Indian Diaspora in Paraguay and expressed hope that, through the diaspora, the ties between the two countries would be further strengthened. He expressed hope that the endeavours of Indian diaspora would be a constant source of satisfaction and pride for the country.

The Vice President said that there was immense scope for the Indian companies for investments in Paraguay, especially in Automobile, Pharmaceuticals & Engineering Goods. ‘Given its strengths in agriculture, Paraguay can become an important partner for India as a source of agro products’, he added.

Shri Naidu invited Indian and Paraguayan businesses to partner with each other for trade, technology and investment collaboration. He also urged Paraguayan businessmen and women to visit India to experience first-hand the major transformation underway in the country.

The Vice President underscored the importance of strengthening Parliamentary linkages and invited President of Paraguay, Mr. AbdoBenítez to visit India at a mutually convenient time. 

Costa Rica

The visit of Vice President to the Republic of Costa Rica was the first ever high-level visit from India to the nation.

The Vice President met the President of Costa Rica, Mr. Carlos Alvarado Quesada and held Delegation level talks with him which was followed by a joint press statement. He also met the President of the Congress of the Republic of Costa Rica, Ms. Carolina Hidalgo Herrera and attended a luncheon hosted by the first Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Ms. Epsy Campbell Barr. The Vice President addressed the business community of Costa Rica and interacted with the Indian Diaspora in Costa Rica.

Shri Naidu also witnessed the signing of two crucial documents; a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Costa Rica on the waiving of Visa requirement for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders and the signing of a letter of intent to collaborate in the field of biotechnology.

At the Delegation level Talks, the Vice President said that India and Costa Rica have close and cordial ties, based on shared commitment to the pursuit of democracy, pluralism, multiculturalism, freedom of Press, equitable human rights and other such important values and principles. 

The Vice President invited Costa Rican companies to invest in and benefit from India, the fastest growing large economy.  

Speaking of Indian medicines which are highly economical and FDA Approved, he urged Costa Rica to Fastrack approval process for pharmaceuticals to facilitate wider availability of Indian generics in Costa Rica. 

The Vice President opined that India and Costa Rica could collaborate in various aspects of skill development such as social and community mobilisation, training in Soft Skills, Entrepreneurship, Financial and Digital Literacy. 

He also said that India would be happy to collaborate to set up a Chair for pursuit of Indian studies at the University of Costa Rica in view of keenness on the part of the local Costa Rican population in pursuing such studies. 

Referring to the dastardly terrorist attack on the Indian security forces on February 14, 2019 in Pulwama, J&K by Jaish-e-Mohammed, he said that there was a need for decisive action by international community against individuals and terrorist groups engaged in terrorist activities.  

 

Speaking of the need to reduce carbon footprint and conserve the environment, Shri Naidu expressed happiness to have Costa Rica on board with us on the global platform of International Solar Alliance which has clean energy targets of 175 GW solar power. 

The Vice President requested Costa Rican leadership to extend support for initiating reforms in the UN Security Council and asked for their valuable support for India’s candidatures coming up for elections to a number of multilateral fora including the a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council for the term 2021-2022. 

During the Meeting with the President of the Congress of the Republic of Costa Rica, Ms. Carolina Hidalgo Herrera, the Vice President highlighted India’s areas of strength that Costa Rica can benefit from, including Information Technology, Biotechnology, Space Technology, pharmaceuticals, hydroelectric generators, power plant equipments and railway construction. 

The Vice President also attended a Luncheon hosted by the first Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Ms. Epsy Campbell Barr. The two leaders discussed topics such as youth empowerment, promoting tourism, healthcare, financial inclusion, e-governance, space program, early childhood education programs, public transport and e-mobility.  

The Vice President addressed the Indian Community in San Jose, Costa Rica and complimented the members of the diaspora for Costa Rica for the esteem that they have won for themselves and India because of their high professional skills and competence. 

The Vice President said that India has been a votary of peace and non-violence from time immemorial.  He strongly condemned the destructive forces of terrorism that continue to be a festering challenge, distracting our attention from development. ‘Peace will not thrive if the forces of terror continue their unchecked run’, he asserted. 

Speaking from Costa Rica, a peace loving country, the Vice President called for a united, global response to the pervasive menace of terror. He also appealed for a concerted action at the global level on terror by concluding the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on international Terrorism.

Sri Naidu urged all the nationsto realize the ever increasing serious threat of terror and come together to name and shame and isolate all forms of terror. He called for an effective global response to this global challenge. 

At the India – Costa Rica Business Forum, the Vice President said that India and Costa Rica could collaborate in areas such as Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, Digital Sciences and telecommunications, Agriculture and Food Processing, Renewable Energy, Space Research and Climate Change.

Shri Naidu applauded the hard work and enterprise of Costa Rican entrepreneurs and engineers which made Costa Rica an important economy and a leading services sector hub in Central America.

The Vice President said that Costa Rica is an attractive tourist destination and could be brought on to the tourist circuit of Indian travelers.

Honorary Doctorate from University for Peace

The Vice President was also conferred an Honorary Doctorate by the University for Peace founded by the United Nations for his contribution “to the Rule of Law, democracy and sustainable development in India”. 

In his acceptance speech, Shri Naidu said “This (Honorary Doctorate) is more an honour for my country than to me as an individual. It is an honour bestowed on a country, a civilization and a culture that has been an ardent and consistent champion of peace since time immemorial. I am privileged to receive this honour when the world is commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Gandhi Ji, the extraordinary apostle of peace”. 

The visit of Vice President to the two countries has advanced India’s outreach to the important countries in the region. This visit will give an opportunity to provide impetus to bilateral relations in trade and investment, ICT, renewable energy including hydel energy, education, healthcare, space and people to people linkages.

During the visit to both the countries there were fruitful and cordial exchanges covering a range of areas of mutual interest spanning bilateral, regional and multilateral fields.

 

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AKT/BK/MS/RK

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The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has made a joint Press Statement along with the President of Costa Rica, Mr. Carlos Alvarado Quesada, in San Jose, Costa Rica on March 08, 2019.

Following is the text of Vice President's statement:

"Your Excellency President Carlos Alvarado Quesada

& Distinguished Representatives of the Costa Rican Media

My delegation and I are indeed delighted to visit Costa Rica, which is a beautiful country and a leading economy in Central America.

Costa Rica has highest per sq km biodiversity in the world. Its rich flora and fauna are well known. It has 25% of protected green cover and holds highest ranking in the Happy Planet Index for being the greenest with highest environment-friendly disposition and attitude.

Yesterday I had addressed a business forum meeting.

Earlier today, I was honoured to be given the opportunity to speak at University of Peace.

Coming from the land of Mahatma Gandhi and in the year when we celebrate 150th anniversary of Bapu's birthday, the gesture was particularly moving for me.

India is a peace loving country but has been a target of terrorism from across our border for the last few decades.

We discussed in detail the menace of terrorism and the need to fight in one voice. The dastardly terrorist attack on the Indian security forces on February 14, 2019 in Pulwama by a terrorist organization proscribed by the UN has once again demonstrated the need for decisive action by international community against individuals and terrorist groups engaged in terrorist activities.

President Quesada and I have had fruitful and cordial exchanges covering a range of areas of mutual interest spanning bilateral, regional and multilateral fields.

There are many new areas of collaboration that hold potential to propel our bilateral relations to new heights.

Costa Rican strengths that we desire to take advantage of include eco tourism, clean transport including support to bicycling, higher investment in education, ambition to have a zero carbon emission economy by 2021.

Indian strengths that Costa Rica can benefit from include space and biotechnology, renewable including solar, pharmaceuticals, ICT particularly eGovernance, hydroelectric generators and power plant equipments, farm machinery and skill upgradation, railway construction and rolling stock.

I invited Costa Rican companies to invest in India. I pointed out that as many Costa Rican CEOs and influential businessmen have close connections with angel investors and businessmen in the developed countries, they may look at expanding to India and benefiting from high return on investment offered by the attractive Indian economy.

We can collaborate effectively and to mutual benefit through academic exchange, university to university collaboration including high speed virtual connectivity.

Based on our fruitful exchanges, we are confident that our mutual efforts will open up new and innovative vistas for deepening ongoing engagement between both countries.

With air connectivity using code sharing between our airlines and visitor friendly visas, we would be able to promote closer people to people linkages which are the prerequisite for widening and deepening of bilateral relations.

We applaud proclamation of a Presidential decree in October 2018 whereby all activities and initiatives related to promotion of Yoga and Meditation have been declared to be in public interest thereby facilitating the promotion of Yoga within Costa Rica.

The two rounds of our Foreign Office Consultations till date have proved very useful to comprehensively discuss the various issues that our relationship encompasses. We have asked our teams to hold the next round of the Consultations at an early date.

I express my sincere thanks to President Quesada and the people of Costa Rica for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for our visit."

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The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for bridging the urban-rural divide and said that Centre and State Governments must accord highest priority for the development of villages and rural areas by creating all the basic amenities.

  Addressing the students of Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies (RGUKT), in Nuzvid, Andhra Pradesh today, he cautioned that it was not good to have two Indias - one comprising developed urban cities and the other backward rural areas. We must remove the Urban-Rural divide, he added. Pointing out that people were migrating to cities for education, enhanced medical facilities and economic activities, he said that the facilities available in urban cities must be provided in rural areas also..

Complimenting the university for imparting high quality technical education to meritorious rural youth, he said education w the main instrument for socio-economic transformation of nation and lays foundation for building a knowledge society. It is important in today’s world for education system to produce holistic individuals, who are committed to strong ethical and moral values, he added.

Shri Naidu said that education means the process by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, and intellect is sharpened, as a result of which one can stand on one’s own feet. True education equips the youth to contribute to the material progress of the country, he added.

Expressing his concern that the present education system was merely producing students with degree certificates rather than individuals with critical analytical skills and innovative thinking, the Vice President said that institutions of higher learning such as RGKUT must prepare a large group of skilled and capable workforce who can drive the economy of the nation and help the nation to deal effectively with various challenges such as agrarian distress, rapid urbanization, growing energy demand, climate change, global warming, urban-rural divide and  economic disparities.

Observing that today’s world was dependent on the competitive use of knowledge and innovation, he urged the students of technology to strive for coming up with practical, low cost solutions to the problems faced by the society. "Our technocrats need to find indigenous solutions rather than look up to alien concepts and practices. As you all are aware, the sole purpose of Science and Technology is to make the lives of people better, the Vice President added.

Shri Naidu said that despite the advancement in technology and economic progress, a considerable section of our citizenry was still lacking access to essential resources. He advised the students to rise to the occasion and provide solutions to most pressing problems such as ensuring  potable drinking water to every household, eliminating malnutrition and making healthcare affordable and accessible.

Saying every institution must become a centre of excellence in providing cutting edge knowledge, Shri Naidu said that they should become the focal points in the quest for developing India into an innovation and manufacturing hub. Cautioning the students against lifestyle disorders, he urged them to practice Yoga and meditation for ensuring unity of mind and body.

Following is the text of Vice President's address:

" I am delighted to interact with students of Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies (RGUKT) here in Nuzvid today.

I am happy to note that the institution is imparting high quality technical education to meritorious rural youth who have been deprived of opportunities both in terms of accessibility and means.

I am also glad to learn that the institution, which offers Bachelor of Technology Degree in six engineering areas is focusing on holistic and all-round development of the students and preparing them to face multitude of challenges in the increasingly competitive world.

The University’s attempt to impart broad-based education, including soft skills, through integrated courses is laudable. I am happy to note that the University is focusing on imparting qualitative learning and enabling the students to imbibe the core values of integrity, respect for others and caring for environment. 

I am pleased to note that the program at RGUKT is built on a new model of liberal professional education with the focus on creating future leaders. I am told that the program is designed to ensure that the students are well equipped with life skills to solve problems rather than become specialized engineers with knowledge of theory. I am also glad to note that the program adopts the learning-by-doing paradigm of education through personalized mentors and intelligent tutoring systems.

My dear students,

Education is the main instrument for socio-economic transformation of the nation and lays the foundation for building a knowledge society. “Education is an investment, an educated individual will indeed serve the society”, said Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.

It is important in today’s world for the education system to produce holistic individuals, who are committed to strong ethical and moral values. “Education which does not mould character is absolutely worthless”, remarked the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.

Education means the process by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, and intellect is sharpened, as a result of which one can stand on one’s own feet. True education equips the youth to contribute to the material progress of the country as well as to maintain India’s cultural and spiritual heritage.

It is a matter of concern that our education system is merely producing students with degree certificates rather than individuals with critical analytical skills and innovative thinking. And most of the time, the students passing out of colleges do not possess employable skills. This situation has to change and there is a need for a complete overhaul of the education system to make it relevant to the present times.

• ఏదైనా ఒక పని ప్రారంభించే ముందు అనుకున్న దానికన్నా మెరుగ్గా చేయడం ఎలా అని ఆలోచించాలి. దీన్ని జపాన్ వాళ్ళు “కైజిన్ టెక్నిక్” అని పిలుస్తారు. తమ అభివృద్ధిలో దీని పాత్ర కీలకమైనదని వారు అభిప్రాయపడతారు.

• ఇది భారతీయులకు కొత్త విషయం కాదు. మన వాళ్ళు ఏ నాడో ఈ పద్ధతి ప్రారంభించారు. మన ముందు తరాల వారు అనుసరించిన పద్ధతి కంటే ఉన్నతమైనదిగా ఉండాలనే తలంపుతో, వినూత్న మార్గాలను అనుసరించి, విజయాల బాటలో ముందుకు నడిచారు.

• ఈ తరం యువత నుంచి నేను ఆశించేది ఇదే. దీనికి ఏ పేరైనా పెట్టుకోండి. కానీ మీ ప్రతి ఆలోచన, ప్రతి పని ఉన్నతంగా ఉండాలి. మరింత ఉన్నతమైన మార్గంలో మిమ్మల్ని ముందుకు నడిపించాలి. బాధ్యతాయుతమైన పౌరులుగా మిమ్మల్ని తీర్చిదిద్దాలి. అలాంటి మార్గాన్ని ఎంచుకోండి..

• ఓ సందర్భంలో స్వామి వివేకానంద యువత గురించి చెబుతూ... ఆధునిక యువత మీద నాకు విశ్వాసం ఉంది. నేను నిర్మించిన ఆదర్శాన్ని దేశమంతా వ్యాప్తి చేసే వారే. యువత బలిస్టులుగా, జవ సంపన్నులుగా, ఆత్మవిశ్వాసం కలవారిగా, సరైన మార్గంలో నడిచే వారిగా ఉంటే ఈ ప్రపంచాన్ని వారు మార్చగలరు అంటూ విశ్వాసం వ్యక్తం చేశారు.

• వివేకానందుడికి మాత్రమే కాదు, ప్రపంచంలో ప్రతి ఒక్క మహానుభావుడికి యువత పట్ల నమ్మకం ఉంది. ఎందుకంటే... ఇప్పటి వరకూ ప్రపంచానికి గొప్ప సందేశాల్ని ఇచ్చిన వారు, సమాజాభ్యున్నతి కోసం నూతన ఆవిష్కరణలు చేసిన వారు, చరిత్ర గతిని మార్చేసిన వారు అందరూ 40 ఏళ్ళ లోపు వారే.

• దేశజనాభాల్లో 65 శాతం మంది 35 లోపు వాళ్ళే. ఇలాంటి యువ శక్తి కలిగిన భారత దేశం సరైన మార్గంలో ముందుకు వెళ్ళడంలో యువత పాత్ర కీలకమైనది. శారీరకంగా పెరగడం ఒక్కటే యవ్వనానికి చిహ్నం కాదు. మానసికంగా ఎదగాలి. మహోన్నతులు కావాలి.

• ప్రస్తుతం ఎంతో మంది యువత పని ఒత్తిడిలో, సంపాదనే ధ్యేయంగా అనేక మానసిక సమస్యలతో ఇబ్బంది పడుతున్నారు. ఓ అధ్యయనం ప్రకారంలో యువతలో దాదాపు 45 శాతం మంది వివిధ మానసిక సమస్యలతో బాధపడుతున్నారు. ఈ పరిస్థితి మారాల్సిన అవసరం ఉంది.

Dear Students,

Institutions of higher learning such as RGKUT must prepare a large group of skilled and capable workforce who can drive the economy of the nation and help the nation to deal effectively with various challenges such as agrarian distress, rapid urbanization, growing energy demand, climate change, global warming, urban-rural divide and  economic disparities.

Today’s world is dependent on the competitive use of knowledge and innovation and as students of technology, you must strive to come up with practical, low cost solutions to the problems faced by the society. Our technocrats need to find indigenous solutions rather than look up to alien concepts and practices.  As you all are aware, the sole purpose of Science and Technology is to make the lives of people better. 

Despite the advancement in technology and economic progress, a considerable section of our citizenry is still lacking access to essential resources. This must change and youngsters like you should be in the forefront of bringing about a socio-economic transformation in the lives of the people. You must rise to the occasion and provide solutions to most pressing problems such as ensuring  potable drinking water to every household, eliminating malnutrition and making healthcare affordable and accessible.

Dear friends,

Indian economy is on the rise. We are the fastest growing economy today and set to become the third largest economy in the world in the next 10-15 years. Fortunately, India is a young nation with about 65 per cent of the population below the age of 35 years. We must capitalize on the huge demographic advantage by creating opportunities for excellence, innovations and inventions to thrive. 

To achieve this, every institution must become a centre of excellence in providing cutting edge knowledge. They should become the focal points in the quest for developing India into an innovation and manufacturing hub.

Premier institutions such as NITI Ayog have been engaged in nurturing and supporting innovation under Atal Tinkering Labs. Key social sectors of agritech, healthcare, clean energy, smart mobility, waste management and water resources are some of the areas undertaken by the organization to accelerate the entrepreneurial journey of the young innovators for creating a New India.

Reaching towards such new and Innovative India requires the participation of everybody including the private sector.

Diversifying research, establishing close linkage with industry and making the teaching practices relevant to the needs of the economy at national and global levels assume utmost importance in our endeavour to build nation that is led by innovation.

Dear students and faculty members, you must track the advancements in technologies and keep abreast of them. New domains such as the Big-Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Geo spatial mappings can provide solutions to various problems from agriculture to optimum utilization of renewable energy sources. 

In our quest to achieve sustainable, viable and a healthy nation, we must accelerate our efforts to find solutions that are not only affordable and accessible but should be scalable to help the sizable population.

Institutions of higher education must encourage the culture of excellence and expand their infrastructure to cater to more students seeking skills and knowledge. 

Institutions must train students with qualities of creative-thinking and problem-solving. They have to be supported in their pursuit to experience joy in discovering the unknown territories. 

Before concluding, I would like to caution you against the ill effects of modern, sedentary life styles. Lifestyle disorders of today’s youth are a matter of great concern. We are seeing that lack of exercise, unhealthy dietary habits, increased stress, consumption of alcohol and smoking are among the main causes for growing incidence of non-communicable diseases in the country. It is a matter of concern that many youngsters are getting affected by lifestyle diseases.

I urge all of you to practice Yoga and meditation to ensure that your body and mind remain fit and agile at all times.

• జీవితంలో విజయం సాధించడం ఎంత ముఖ్యమో, దాన్ని ఓ బాధ్యతగా భావించి అలుపెరుగని పరిశ్రమ చేయడం కూడా అంతే అవసరం. ఎందుకంటే విజయం అంటే జీవితంలో ఒక సందర్భం కాదు. మన నిరంతర శ్రమకు లభిస్తూ ఉండే ప్రతిఫలం.

• ఈ సందర్భంగా అబ్దుల్ కలాం చెప్పిన మాటలను మనందరం గుర్తు పెట్టుకోవాలి. “నీ మొదటి విజయం సాధించాక అలక్ష్యం ప్రదర్శించవద్దు. రెండవ ప్రయత్నంలో ఓడిపోతే, నీ గెలుపు గాలివాటం అని చెప్పడానికి చాలా మంది ఎదురు చూస్తుంటారని గుర్తుంచుకో”అనే మాటలను యువకులంతా తమ మనసుల్లో నాటుకోవాలి.

• ముఖ్యంగా ప్రపంచం మధ్య దూరాలను చెరిపేస్తున్న సాంకేతిక పరిజ్ఞానం అనేక సవాళ్ళను మన ముందు ఉంచింది. వీటిని అధిగమించి విద్యార్థులంతా సాంకేతికతను సరైన మార్గంలో వినియోగించుకోవాలంటే, వారి మనసుల్లో విలువలు, సేవ అనే బీజాలు మొలకెత్తడం ఎంతో అవసరం.

I compliment Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies for imparting quality education to rural youth across Andhra Pradesh.

My compliments to the university’s faculty and best wishes to students for their future endeavors!

Jai Hind!"

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AKT/BK/MS/RK

 

Read more: Centre and State Governments must accord highest...

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi unveiled the Foundation Stones of Buxar and Khurja Thermal Power Plants digitally from Greater Noida today. These plants, 1320 MW each are situated at Buxar (Bihar) and Bulandshahar (Uttar Pradesh) respectively.

The Prime Minister said that the thermal power plants launched at Buxar and Khurja will accelerate India’s growth and will transform the power availability in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other neighbouring states. He spoke about the huge jump in power generation in the past four and half years.

Speaking about the Government’s initiative towards improving the power sector in India, Prime Minister said that his government focused on all four aspects of power generation, ie, Production, Transmission, Distribution and Connection. He said that such an approach has completely transformed the power sector and One Nation- One Grid has now become a reality. The Government has also given right impetus to renewable energy sector also, PM said. He added that his dream is ‘One World, One Sun, One Grid’.

Shri RK Singh, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy graced the foundation stone laying ceremony at Chausa, Buxar in Bihar. Speaking on the occasion, he said that the Project will bring many benefits to the region. It will give impetus to the industrial development of the region and generate thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the youth.

Shri Nand Lal Sharma Chairman & Managing Director, SJVN expressed hope that the project would also act as a multiplier for employment generation and overall growth of the entire region. The project is planned to be commissioned during the year 2023-24.

The project has been planned with special features to perform as per the latest environmental norms. The project is based on Super Critical technology, closed cycle water re-circulation system for zero discharge concepts. The coal requirement for the project has been tied-up and it will be supplied by Central Coal Limited (CCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL) while the State Transmission Utility, Bihar has already approved power evacuation system for this project.

In terms of the Power Purchase Agreement entered into with the Government of Bihar the project will provide at-least 85% of power generated to the state which will not only reduce demand supply deficit of Bihar in terms of current power scenario but will also boost industrial activity in the state.

 The foundation stone laying ceremony at Chausa, Buxar, Bihar was graced by the Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Energy Minister of Bihar, Shri Bijender Prasad Yadav and People’s representatives from the area and senior officials from the SJVN.

Details of the both projects are given below:

1-  Buxar Thermal Power Project in Bihar 
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, had given its approval (on 7th March, 2019) for investment approval for 2x660 MW Buxar Thermal Power Project (Buxar TPP) in District Buxar of Bihar.

The project will be completed at an estimated cost of Rs. 10,439.09 crore and implemented by SJVN Thermal Private Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of SJVN Ltd., a Mini Ratna CPSU under Ministry of Power, Government of India.

The Buxar TPP will be based on Supercritical Technology with two units of 660 MW each, equipped with latest emission control technology to protect the environment and has high efficiency and use less fuel to generate power. The Buxar TPP will improve the deficit power scenario in Bihar and Eastern region. Govt. of Bihar has already signed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for supply of not less than 85% of generated power.

The project is expected to generate substantial direct and indirect employment apart from various other socio-economic development in the project area. The Buxar TPP will start yielding benefits from 2023-24.

2-  Khurja Super Thermal Power Project in Uttar Pradesh

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the investment approval (on 7th march, 2019) for 2x660MW Khurja Super Thermal Power Plant (STPP) in District Bulandshahar of Uttar Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs.11,089.42 crore and Amelia Coal Mine in District Singraulli, Madhya Pradesh. 

The project will be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs. 1587.16 crore and will be implemented by THDC India Limited, a Mini Ratna CPSU under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.

The Khurja STPP will be based on Supercritical Technology with two units of capacity 660 MW each, equipped with latest emission control technology to protect the environment and has high efficiency and uses less fuel to generate power. Amelia Coal Mine was allotted to THDC India Limited by Ministry of Coal, Govt. of India in January, 2017.The Khurja STPP will improve the deficit power scenario of Northern Region and particularly of Uttar Pradesh, which has already signed Power Purchase Agreement with THDC India Limited for purchase of 60% Power from the Project and the other beneficiary states i.e. Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.

The project is expected to generate substantial direct and indirect employment and overall development of District Bulandshahar and nearby districts of Western Uttar Pradesh. The Khurja STPP will start yielding benefits from 2023-24.

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RCJ/MS

Read more: PM lays foundation stone of Buxar and Khurja...

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, attended the National Women Livelihood Meet-2019,held at Deendayal Hastkala Sankul in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on International Women’s Day.

The Prime Minister visited the exhibition on products manufactured by Self Help Groups aided by Uttar Pradesh Rural Livelihood Mission. He distributed Electric Chaak, Solar Charkha and Honey Warp to women beneficiaries and appreciation letters to five women Self Help Groups. Various women Self Help Groups supported by Deendayal Anthodia Yojana, NRLM-Uttar Pradesh, handedover a cheque of Rs.21 lakh to the Prime Minister,astheir contribution towards ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ Fund.

Paying his respect to all women on International Women’s Day, Prime Minister said that women have an important role in creating New India. He expressed happiness that over65 lakh women from around 75000 locations are participating in the event through video conference. He added that Varanasi is a shining example of women empowerment.

The Prime Minister said thatgovernment is completely committed towards the empowerment of women. He mentioned about the various schemes initiated by the Union Government for the welfare of women and girl children, especially in the fields of health, nutrition, sanitation, education, skill development, self-employment, new gas connections andensuring safety and security of women. He said that maternity leave of six months introduced by the government is one of the best in the world.

Women are given priority in all Union Government schemes, PM said. He added that eleven crore out of the fifteen crore Mudra Loans given out so far, have been given to women.

Appreciating the exceptional work done by Self Help Groups in India, PM said that their work is not only resulting in the betterment of their family but also leading to the development of nation. He said that the government is giving new energy to the Self Help Groups in terms of better bank loans and support systems. Around fifty lakh Self Help Groups covering around six crore women are now present in the country, PM added. He said that the vision of his government is to connect at least one women member in every family with a Self Help Group.

The Prime Minister urged the Self Help Groups to be innovative and understand theirmarket better. He asked them to utilize the GEM portal to sell their products to the Government. Self Help Groups should spread to new sectors wherever there is scope for their involvement, PM said.

The Prime Minister asked women to fully utilize the recently launched Pradhan MantriShramMaan-dhanYojana, as it provides financial security during old age. He also mentioned about the benefits of PM KisanSammanNidhi and Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

The Prime Minister also interacted with the members of Self Help Groups in Varanasi.

*****

 

AKT/VJ/BM

Read more: Prime Minister attends the National Women...

The NITI Aayog and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the first workshop on development of the India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF), which has been envisaged as a pan-stakeholder platform for debating ideas, scenario-planning & discussing the India's energy future.

The two-day workshop, being held with the support of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), was organized under the Sustainable Growth Pillar of the India-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership. The inaugural session of the workshop was chaired by Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog and Mr Mark A. White, Mission Director, USAID India.

The IEMF seeks to provide a platform for leading experts and policy makers to study important energy and environmental issues and ensure induction of modelling and analysis in informed decision making process. The Forum aims to improve cooperation and coordination between modeling teams, the Government of India, knowledge partners and think-tanks, build capacity of Indian institutions, and identify issues for joint modeling activities and future areas of research.

The workshop featured eight expert sessions which saw discussions around the various aspects of setting up an India-centric energy modelling platform.

Discussions on energy modelling in India and the world explored how energy modelling can play an important role in decision-making. The panelists particularly laid focus on bridging the rural-urban divide and factoring in energy pressures from the informal economy within models. There was a need expressed to ensure that holistic perspective of energy consumption and ground realities must be inducted to produce practical and feasible energy models, converging land and water use patterns within energy models.

Deliberations included a spotlight on how the impact of the evolving character of India’s cities, industries and especially the transport sector should be included in the any India-centric models. The shift towards electric mobility, an increasing emphasis on mainstreaming of renewable energy options and overarching environmental concerns were also stated as key factors for determining India’s energy future.

The session featuring representatives of key central government ministries laid special emphasis on ensuring social, environmental and economic costs of energy production and consumption are accurately calculated to future-proof decision making and policy planning. The workshop included extensive discussions about the framework of an India Energy Modelling Forum and its institutional, coordination and funding mechanisms.

The workshop was attended by various Central Ministries and Agencies including Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, POSOCO, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Central Electricity Authority and TIFAC; international organizations such as the European Commission, International Institute of Applied System Analysis, GIZ, DFID, EDF etc; leading Indian research institutions (CEEW, TERI, CSTEP, IRADe, PRAYAS, IIM Ahmedabad, NIT Bhopal etc.) and energy sector experts.

 

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AKT/KP

Read more: First Workshop on India Energy Modelling Forum...

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today, visited Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, and launched various development projects.

At Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology, the PrimeMinister flagged off the Noida City Centre – Noida Electronic City section of Metro through video link.He also laid the foundation stone of two 1320 MW Thermal Power Plants at Khurja in Uttar Pradesh and Buxar in Bihar.

The Prime Minister inaugurated the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology. He unveiled a statue of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya at the campus and paid floral tributes. Later he also visited the Deendayal Museum in the Institute campus.

Addressing the gathering, Prime Minister said that Noidahas been completely transformed. Noida is now known for development and creating employment opportunities for youth, PM said.He added that Noida is being developed as the Make in India hub of the nation. In this context, Prime Minister mentioned about the presence of various electronic companies in Noida, including the world’s largest mobile factory.

The Prime Minister said that the country’s biggest airport is being built in Jewar, in Uttar Pradesh. Once completed, Jewar airport will not only bring ease of living but also will be economically beneficial to Uttar Pradesh.He also mentioned about the various airports being built all around the country. He added that the Union Government is committed towards providing air connectivity to smaller cities through UDAN Yojana.

Speaking about the Government’s initiative towards improving the power sector in India, Prime Minister said that his government focused on all four aspects of power generation, ie, Production, Transmission, Distribution and Connection. He said that such an approach has completely transformed the power sector and One Nation- One Grid has now become a reality. The Government has also given right impetus to renewable energy sector also, PM said. He added that his dream is ‘One World, One Sun, One Grid’.

The Prime Minister said that the thermal power plants launched at Buxar and Khurgawill accelerate India’s growth and will transform the power availability in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other neighbouringstates. He spoke about the huge jump in power generation in the past four and half years.

Inaugurating the Pandit Deendayal UpadhyayaInstitute of Archaeology, Prime Minister said that the institute will provide modern amenities for research scholars and students from India and all over the world.

The Prime Minister said that a New India is being created.  He added that this has been possible due to the strength and support given by 125 crore Indians. He reiterated the Union Government’s commitment towards eliminating corruption in the country.Saluting the bravery of the soldiers in giving a befitting response to terrorists, Prime Minister said that the Government will continue to take strong decisions against terrorism.

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AKT/SH

Read more: PM launches development projects at Greater Noida;

Cabinet committee of on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has taken several key decisions for strengthening of the power sector today. Approval was given for four projects worth over Rs. 39,000 crore located at Buxar (Bihar), Khurja (UP), Kishtwar (J&K) and Sirwani (Sikkim). In addition to these, Cabinet approved measures to promote development of Hydro Power and to alleviate the stress in thermal power projects. Details of these projects/polices are as given below-

 

1. Buxar Thermal Power Project: The CCEA has approved the proposal of Investment approval for 2x660 MW Buxar Thermal Power Project (Buxar TPP) in District Buxar of Bihar at an estimated cost of Rs. 10,439.09 Crore. The plant will be set up by SJVN Thermal Private Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of SJVN Ltd., a Mini Ratna CPSU under Ministry of Power, Govt. of India.

 

The Buxar TPP will be based on Supercritical Technology with two units of 660 MW each, equipped with latest emission control technology to protect the environment and has high efficiency. The Buxar TPP will improve the deficit power scenario in Bihar and Eastern region. Govt. of Bihar has already signed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for supply of not less than 85% of generated power.

 

The project is expected to generate substantial direct and indirect employment apart from various other socio-economic development in the project area. The Buxar TPP will start generating power from 2023-24.

 

2. Khurja Super Thermal Power Plant: CCEA have approved the proposal for setting up a 2x660MW Super Thermal Power Plant (STPP) in Khurja, District Bulandshahar of Uttar Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs.11,089.42 crores and has also approved the funds for the development of the allotted coal block – the Amelia Coal Mine in District Singraulli, Madhya Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs. 1587.16 crores. The project will be set up by THDC India Limited, a Mini Ratna CPSU under the Ministry of Power, Govt. of India.

 

The Khurja STPP will be based on Supercritical Technology with two units of capacity 660 MW each, equipped with latest emission control technology to protect the environment and has high efficiency and uses less fuel to generate power. Amelia Coal Mine was allotted to THDC India Limited by Ministry of Coal, Govt. of India in January, 2017.The Khurja STPP will improve the deficit power scenario of Northern Region and particularly of Uttar Pradesh, which has already signed Power Purchase Agreement with THDC India Limited for purchase of 60% Power from the Project and the other beneficiary states i.e Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.

 

The project is expected to generate substantial direct and indirect employment and overall development of District Bulandshahr and nearby districts of Western Uttar Pradesh. The Khurja STPP will start yielding benefits from 2023-24.

 

3. KIRU HEP : The CCEA has approved the investment sanction for construction of Kiru HE Project (624 MW) by M/s Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Limited (M/s CVPPPL), at an estimated cost of Rs. 4287.59 crore. M/s CVPPPL, is a joint venture company amongst NHPC, JKSPDC and PTC with equity shareholding of 49%, 49% and 2% respectively.

The project is located on River Chenab in Kishtwar district of Jammu & Kashmir. It envisages construction of a 135 m high concrete gravity Dam, with installed capacity 624 MW (4 x 156 MW). The Project would generate 2272.02 MU in a 90% dependable year.

The project shall provide much needed power to the Northern grid and shall accelerate the process of development of remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir. The Project is scheduled to be completed in a period of 4 ½ years.

4. Teesta VI HEP: Teesta Stage-VI HE Project is  a Run of River (RoR) Scheme in Sirwani Village of Sikkim to utilize the power potential of Teesta River Basin in cascade manner. It  consists of construction of a 26.5 m high Barrage across river Teesta. The project would generate 2400 MUs in a 90% dependable year with Installed Capacity of 500 MW (4x125 MW).

The Project was earlier proposed to be developed by a SPV i.e. M/s LancoTeesta Hydro Power Ltd (LTHPL), promoted by the Lanco Group. However, due to financial crunch in the Company, the Project could not be completed by scheduled completion time.

Accordingly, the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) was initiated by order dated 16.03.2018 of Hon’ble NCLT, Hyderabad Bench. In Bidding Process under NCLT, NHPC has emerged as highest bidder with Bid Amount of Rs. 907.00 crore. Accordingly, the investment proposal for an estimated cost of.Rs 5748.04 crore, being implemented by NHPC Limited, a CPSU of Government of India, has been approved by the CCEA on 07th of  March, 2019. Completion period of the project shall be 60 months.

 

5. Stressed Thermal Power Projects: The CCEA has approved the recommendations of Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to examine the specific recommendations of High Level Empowered Committee (HLEC) constituted to address the issues of Stressed Thermal Power Projects.

 

The Government of India constituted a High Level Empowered Committee (HLEC) under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary to address the issues of stressed thermal power projects. The committee made its recommendations to resolve the stress in thermal power sector and submitted its report in Nov' 18. The report of HLEC is available on the website of Ministry of Power. The Government thereafter constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to examine the specific recommendations of HLEC and forward its comments for consideration of the Cabinet. Subsequently GoM recommended majority of HLEC recommendations.

 

The CCEA has approved recommendations of the GoM mainly relating to grant of linkage coal for short-term PPA, allowed existing coal linkage to be used in case of termination of PPAs due to payment default by DISCOMs, procurement of bulk power by a nodal agency against pre-declared linkages, Central/State Gencos may act as an aggregator of power, increase in quantity of coal for special forward e-auction for power sector, coal linkage auctions to be held at regular intervals, non-lapsing of short supplies of coal, ACQ to be determined based on efficiency, payment of Late Payment Surcharge (LPS) made mandatory, non-cancellation of PPA/FSA/LTOA post NCLT scenario and non-cancellation of PPA for non-compliance of COD. With the implementation of these recommendations, many of the issues affecting the Thermal Power Sector are likely to get resolved.

6. Measures to Promote Hydropower Sector: In order to promote Hydropower sector, the Cabinet has approved the Proposal of Ministry of Power to adopt some measures. It has been decided to declare Large Hydropower Projects (LHPs i.e. above 25 MW capacity) as Renewable Energy, separate Hydropower Purchase Obligation (HPO) for LHPs commissioned after notification of the measures. Extend budgetary support for flood moderation and enabling infrastructure, i.e., roads & bridges. Methodology for tariff setting has been revised to ensure that tariff is back loaded.

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RCJ/MS

Read more: CCEA approves power projects worth over Rs....

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