DR JOSHI HANGS OUT
Dr. C.P. Joshi, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways interacted with people to discuss road safety issues via Google Hangout. People from all over the country such as Bangalore, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Gandhinagar, Roorkee, Andhra Pradesh, Gurgaon, Udaipur, Chennai and Bilaspur, Chattisgarh asked the Minister to answer questions on various aspects of road safety. Concluding the dialogue, Dr. Joshi said that time has come to involve people in policy making and to make democracy actively participative. He also said that Ministry will continue to use ICT for interaction with people.
Those who interacted with the minister wanted to know about creation of proper data base like Australia, US and Europe to identify the exact cause of accident is the first step towards improving safety, issuance of a centralized prepaid toll card which helps reduce the toll passage time, collection effort, hassle to manage change, commuters fuel and corruption.
INDIA AND ZIMBABWE
The Union Minister for Commerce, Industry and Textiles Shri Anand Sharma met the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai in March during his visit to Harare for the India-Zimbabwe Joint Trade Committee (JTC) Meeting. Shri Sharma briefed the Zimbabwean Prime Minister on the fruitful discussions held earlier between the two sides in the JTC meeting. Shri Sharma informed the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe that India has offered various capacity building programmes, including scholarships and dedicated courses in bamboo craft development and handicraft, that Lines of Credit (LOC) proposals worth USD 400 million from the Zimbabwean side will be considered and Zimbabwe could also avail the ‘Buyers Credit Scheme’ and the ‘pilot 2 % interest subvention scheme’ for projects in Zimbabwe. Shri Sharma agreed to the request of Mr. Tsvangirai for providing assistance in revival of its textile industry and in developing its nascent diamond industry.
The Government has approved setting up of 2,500 model schools under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode in blocks which are not educationally backward. The implementation of this component has been initiated from 2012-13. The selected private entities will develop, design, build and operate these schools for which the Government will contribute to recurring cost on per capita basis for the students sponsored. Maximum 10% of the capital investment in the school shall be provided as infrastructure grant. The initial agreement for such provision of quality education would be for 10 years for each school, which is extendable by mutual consent. The scheme provides for reservation to SCs, STs and OBCs as per the State norms.
A scheme with Central-State funding for setting up one Model Degree College in each of the 374 identified educationally backward districts having Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) lower than the national GER is being implemented since 2010.
Union Tourism Minister Shri K. Chiranjeevi has said that Planning Commission of India has made budget allocation of Rs.1282.00 crore for the Ministry of Tourism for the year 2013-14. India’s share in the International Tourist Arrivals in 2012 was approximately 0.64% (provisional). The Minister said his Ministry endeavours to increase India’s share in the International Tourist Arrivals to 1% by the end of year 2016. Shri Chiranjeevi said that the proposed growth, if it takes place, will lead to the creation of approximately 2.5 crore additional jobs, directly or indirectly, relating to the Tourism Sector.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, he said the Ministry of Tourism, inter-alia, is planning to develop additional infrastructure, broad base Human Resource Development, expand the range of tourism destinations and products, and undertake aggressive promotional and marketing activities in order to achieve the proposed goal.
FAST TRACKING PROJECTS
Union Tourism Minister Shri K. Chiranjeevi has approved a tourism Project received from the State Government of Maharashtra. He has sanctioned Central Finance Assistance (CFA) to the tune of Rs. 43.87 crore for the development of Solapur Mega Circuit in Maharashtra.
The Project will involve development of tourism facilities at Pandharpur, Akkalkot, Solapur and Tuljapur. An amount of Rs. 4.38 crore has been released as first instalment of the CFA as an advance for starting the work. The State Government of Maharashtra shall make land for the project available free of cost and also render all possible assistance for completion of the project in time. No portion of the sanctioned project should be executed/implemented in land/property owned by private individual or trust.
The State Government of Maharashtra shall also set up a Monitoring Committee headed by the Principal Secretary (Tourism) with a Member from the Ministry of Tourism and the Implementing agency to monitor physical and financial progress of the sanctioned project and submit the progress report to Ministry of Tourism on quarterly basis. The Government of Maharashtra would get the work executed through the Maharashtra Tourism Development cooperation Limited and shall have the work started immediately to ensure timely utilization of funds and to avoid escalation of the cost. The project should be commissioned within 36 months.
Union Tourism Minister Shri K. Chiranjeevi has approved Central Finance Assistance (CFA) to the tune of Rs. 45.88 crore for the development of Vishakapatnam-Bheemunipatnam Beach Corridor Mega Circuit in Andhra Pradesh.
The Project will involve development of tourism facilities at Bheemunipatnam, Erramattidibbalu, Kailashgiri, Mangamaripeta Beach, RK Beach, Thotlakonda, Pavuralakonda, Rushikonda, Bhavikonda and Beautification of Beach Corridor Circuit. An amount of Rs. 3.2 crore has been released as first instalment of the CFA as an advance for starting the work. The State Government of Andhra Pradesh shall make land for the project available free of cost and also render all possible assistance for completion of the project in time. No portion of the sanctioned project should be executed/implemented in land/property owned by private individual or trust.
The State Government of Andhra Pradesh shall also set up a Monitoring Committee headed by the Special Chief Secretary (Tourism) with a Member from the Ministry of Tourism and the Implementing agency to monitor physical and financial progress of the sanctioned project and submit the progress report to Ministry of Tourism on quarterly basis. The Government of Andhra Pradesh would get the work executed through the APTDC Limited and shall have the work started immediately to ensure timely utilization of funds and to avoid escalation of the cost. The project should be commissioned within18 months.
Union Tourism Minister Shri K. Chiranjeevi has approved Central Finance Assistance (CFA) to the tune of Rs. 47.62 crore for development of back water circuit in Alappuzha in back water region as a mega circuit in Kerala.
The Project will involve construction of House Boat Terminals at Arookutty, Thaneermukkom, Pallathuruthy, Nedumudi, Kanjipadam, Thottappally and Kaymkullam; Night Halt Terminals at Vattakayal West and Karumadi Vilakkumaram; development of micro destinations at VayamkaraChira, Pandy, Thazhuppu and Kuthiravattomchira ; Development of beaches at Arthukal and Thottappally and development of Alappuzha town as the central destination of the circuit.
Shortage of Budget Hotels
As per the report of the ‘Working Group on Tourism’ for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017) set up by the Planning Commission, for a projected annual growth of 12% in the tourism sector, the requirement of additional hotel rooms under classified category in 2016 over 2010 is estimated to be 1,90,108.
The Ministry of Tourism had got a study conducted by M/s ACNielsen ORG-MARG Pvt. Ltd. As per this study, 1,81,596 hotel rooms were required per annum at 54 identified locations in the country in 2006.
The Ministry of Tourism had got another study conducted in 2009 by the Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management (IITTM) Gwalior. As per this study, on an average 40,190 hotel rooms were required per day for the tourists visiting Delhi during the Commonwealth Games, 2010.
The expansion/growth of hotel industry in the country is a continuous process. The Union Government has constituted a ‘Hospitality Development and Promotion Board’ (HDPB) in January, 2011 to facilitate the clearances required by hotel projects in a time bound manner and to accelerate the expansion/growth of hospitality industry in the country.
MORE METRO RAIL
The Minister of Urban Development Shri Kamal Nath in a said that as per the Report of the Working Group on Urban Transport for 12th Five Year Plan, metro rail projects can be taken up for financial assistance depending upon population, trip length and peak hour peak direction traffic (PHPDT). As per National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP), 2006, Government of India has the following norms of financing including Metro Rail Projects:-
- Provide 50% of the cost of preparing comprehensive city transport plans and detailed project reports (for two million plus cities).
- Offer equity participation and/or viability gap funding to the extent of 20% of the capital cost of public transport systems.
- Offer 50% of the cost of project development whenever such projects are sought to be taken up through public-private partnerships.
Mr Saurabh Chandra
Shri Saurabh Chandra, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will chair an Inter-Ministerial Committee for accelerating manufacturing in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Sector.
Earlier, a meeting was organised by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Textile on March 15, 2013 where the Cabinet Secretary Shri Ajit Seth reviewed and interacted with the stakeholders regarding exports of goods from MSME Sector. In order to examine the suggestions received from the participants in the meeting, an Inter-Ministerial Committee has been set up with the following composition:
- Shri Saurabh Chandra, Secretary, DIPP – Chairman
- Shri Madhav Lal, Secretary, MSME – Member.
- Dr. M Sarangi, Secretary, Ministry of Labour – Member
- Shri Rakesh Kacker, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries - Member.
- Smt. Zohra Chatterji, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles - Member.
BHAGWAN MAHAVIR JAYANTI
Mr Pradeep Jain, Chairman, Parsvnath Developers (left) and leaders of the Jain community at a seminar on ‘Solution of Global Challenges through Mahavir’s Philosophy’ on the occasion of Bhagwan Mahavir Jayanti that was inaugurated by President of India Mr Pranab Mukherjee.
Lord Mahavir was the twenty fourth and last Tirthankara of the Jain religion. According to Jain philosophy, all Tirthankaras were human beings but they attained a state of perfection or enlightenment through meditation and self-realization. He spent the next thirty years travelling on bare foot across India preaching people the eternal truth that he had realized. The ultimate objective of his teaching was how one can attain total freedom from the cycle of birth, life, pain, misery, and death, and achieve the permanent state of bliss.
NEW TEXTILES PARKS
The Union Minister for Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Shri Anand Sharma launched 21 New Textile Parks approved under Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) in April. These new parks take the total number to 61 parks as 40 Parks were sanctioned earlier. Under the scheme, 61 parks have been sanctioned – 40 projects were started in the 11th Five Year Plan and another 21 projects are to be implemented in the 12th Five Year Plan. Out of the 40 parks sanctioned earlier, a total of 25 Parks are already operational. Most of the balance Parks are expected to be completed during this financial year. The estimated employment generation is over 10 lac persons with total estimated investment of Rs. 27,562 crore. Out of the 21 new parks, six are in Maharashtra, four in Rajasthan, two each in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and one each in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tripura, Karnataka, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.