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DAM SAFETY BILL, 2018: A STEP TOWARDS STANDARDIZING AND STRENGTHENING DAM SAFETY PRACTICES AND INSTITUTIONS
19 Jun 2018

The Union Cabinet, in its meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 13.6.18, approved the proposal for introduction of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in the Parliament. The objective of this Bill is to help develop uniform, countrywide procedures for ensuring the safety of dams. Over the last fifty years, India has invested substantially in dams and related infrastructures, and ranks third after USA and China in the number of large dams. 5254 large dams are in operation in the country currently and another 447 are under construction . In addition to this, there are thousands of medium and small dams. While dams have played a key role in fostering rapid and sustained agricultural growth and development in India, there has been a long felt need for a uniform law and administrative structure in the country for ensuring dam safety. The Central Water Commission , through the National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS), Central Dam Safety Organization (CDSO) and State Dam Safety Organizations (SDSO) has been making constant endeavours in this direction, but these organizations do not have any statutory powers and are only advisory in nature. This can be a matter of concern, especially since about 75 percent of the large dams in India are more than 25 years old and about 164 dams are more than 100 years old..A badly maintained, unsafe dam can be a hazard to human life, flora and fauna, public and private assets and the environment. India has had 36 dam failures in the past 11 in Rajasthan, 10 in Madhya Pradesh, 5 in Gujarat, 4 in Maharashtra, 2 in Andhra Pradesh and one each in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. The provisions of the Dam Safety Bill 2018 will empower the dam safety institutional set-ups in both the Centre and States and will also help in standardizing and improving dam safety practices across the country. The Dam Safety Bill, 2018 addresses all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, Instrumentation and Safety Manuals. It lays the onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.
INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
The institutional framework for dam safety as provided under the dam safety bill 2018 includes the following :
1. National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS)
The Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose.
2.National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA)
The Bill provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country. ? It shall maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations and the owners of dams for standardisation of dam safety related data and practices; ? It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and State Dam Safety Organisations; ? It shall maintain a national level data-base of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures; ? It shall examine the cause of any major dam failure; ? It shall publish and update the standard guidelines and check-lists for the routine inspection and detailed investigations of dams and appurtenances; ? It shall accord recognition or accreditations to the organisations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams; ? It will also look into unresolved points of issue between the State Dam Safety Organisation of two states, or between the State Dam Safety Organisation of a State and the owner of a dam in that State, for proper solution; ? Further, in certain cases, such as dams of one State falling under the territory of another State, the National Authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organization thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.
3.State Committee on Dam Safety (SCDS)
The Bill provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government. It will ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in that State and ensure their safe functioning. It further provides that every State shall establish a "State Dam Safety Organisation", which will be manned by officers from the field dam safety preferably from the areas of dam-designs, hydro-mechanical engineering, hydrology, geo-technical investigation, instrumentation and dam-rehabilitation.
4. State Dam Safety Organization (SDSO)
The Bill provides that every state having specified number of dams will establish a State Dam Safety Organization which will be manned by officials with sufficient experience in the field of dam safety.
DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS
The Bill lays down that all specified dams will fall under jurisdiction of the SDSO of the State in which the dam is situated; For specified dams owned by CPSUs or where a dam is extended in two or more states or where a dam owned by one state is situated in other state, NDSA shall be construed as SDSO. For all dams under their jurisdiction, the State Dam Safety Organizations will be required to ? Keep perpetual surveillance ? Carry out inspections; and ? Monitor the operation and maintenance. ? make such investigations & gather such data as may be required. ? classify each dam as per vulnerability and hazard classification criteria laid down by NCDS. ? Maintain a Log Book/ Data-base recording activities of surveillance/ inspection and important events. ? maintain records of major dam incidents. ? render its advice to the concerned dam owner on the safety or remedial measures. The dam owners are required to ? earmark sufficient funds for maintenance & repairs, and to implement the recommendations of SDSO. ? compile all technical documentations related to dam safety, along with information on resources/ facilities to be affected by dam failure. ? have state-of-the-art data management tools. ? Individuals responsible for dam safety to possess qualifications & experience specified by regulations, and undergo adequate trainings ? In case of construction or alterations of dams: o Investigation, design & construction has to be done by recognised organizations. o Use of the relevant standard codes and guidelines of the BIS. o Qualified, experienced and competent engineers, as specified by NCDS, for the purpose of investigation, design & construction. o Demonstration of safety of design, operational parameters and policies to NDSA/ SDSO for approval. o Undertaking of quality control measures, as specified by NCDS. o Construction of new dam or alteration/ enlargement of existing dam only with the approval of the Competent Authority. ? Before initial filling of any reservoir, the filling criteria & initial filling plan, to be prepared. ? Safety inspection by SDSO Before initial filling. ? Establishment of O&M setup with adequate staff. ? Ensuring a well documented O&M Manual.
SAFETY INSPECTION & DATA COLLECTION
? For each dam, owner has to establish within his O&M setup a dam safety unit. ? Dam owner to undertake, through dam safety unit, pre-monsoon & post-monsoon inspections of dam. ? Special inspections during & after floods, after earthquake, on sign of distress/ unusual behaviour. ? Engineers, as agreed by SDSO, to be stationed at dam site throughout monsoon period, and during period of emergency following earth-quake/ hazard. ? For each dam, owner to have a minimum number of dam instrumentations installed; maintain record of readings; and forward analysis to SDSO. ? Hydro-meteorological station at each dam site. ? Seismological station for dams higher than 30m or falling in zone III or above.
EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN & DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Every owner in respect of each dam to is required to ? Establish hydro-meteorological network and inflow forecasting system; ? Establish an emergency flood warning system; ? Test periodically for the aptness of above systems; ? Make available information on anticipated inflows, outflows, flood warnings & adverse impacts to authorities and public domain; ? Render cooperation to NDSA in running of early warning system. ? Carry out risk assessment study at interval as specified. First such study within five years; ? Prepare emergency action plan within 5 years; and for new dams, before the initial filling. ? Emergency Action Plan to include type of emergencies likely to occur; likely flood in the event of dam failure, along with probable areas, population, structures and installations likely to be affected; Warning procedures, inundation maps and advance preparations for handling adverse situations to avoid loss of human life;Consultation/ cooperation with DM agencies.
COMPREHENSIVE DAM SAFETY EVALUATION
The Bill provides for comprehensive safety evaluation by independent panel of expert. First CSE within 5 years, and thereafter at regular intervals specified by NCDS. CSE would be compulsory in case of major modification to structure or design criteria; discovery of unusual condition at dam or reservoir rim; an extreme hydrological or seismic event.
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
The Bill provides for punishment / penalty if the dam safety provisions are not followed ? If a person obstructs any officer/employee or refuses to comply with any direction of the Central/ State Govt or NCDS/ NDSA/ SCDS/ SDSO, the action would be punishable with imprisonment upto 1 year, or/ and fine (2 years for loss of lives) ? If offence by any department of the Govt, the head of the department deemed to be guilty if offence committed with his knowledge. ? If offence by a company/body corporate, every person in charge of/responsible for conduct of business of company, deemed to be guilty. ? No cognizance of offence except on a complaint by Central/ State Govt or NCDS/NDSA/SCDS/SDSO.



Idea of India: Rediscovering, Restructuring or Reinventing?
24 April 2017

Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury explores the question that the intelligentsia today is debating passionately: what India needs today: its idea to be rediscovered, restructured or reinvented in totality. I had the privilege over the last one month of attending a couple of public discourses with many known intellectuals debating on whether India should reinvent its idea in totality or merely rediscover itself or go for restructuring. While the ruling Right Wing has been campaigning for a New India, as coined by Prime Minister Modi recently, and bashing Nehruvian idea of India, Rahul Gandhi recently organized a Save Constitution Rally and called for rediscovering the Nehruvian idea of India of unity in diversity.
The 'Reinvent, Recreate' Lobby:
Apologists of the reinvention, decidedly from the right-wing, have an aggressive stance these days with a favourable government at the Centre and in a large number of states as well. One major argument of the Reinvent Lobby is that Indian Civilization is 7000 years old, Republic is 70 years old and there is a new government at the centre with a decidedly new outlook. This outlook believes that the great ancient Indian culture "has been shackled for 250 years now, 180 years by colonialism and 70 years by agents of colonialism." Hence, recreating is reclaiming. Indian economy which was 27% of the global economy in the 18th century became 3% in 1950s. The Macaulay's education policy of 1835 imposed English education and permanently infused inferiority among common Indians with regards to English language, taken forward in the Nehruvian era after 1947. This has led to subservience to the West, rise of a poverty-mongering idea of India, and an inward looking socialism today which has produced more poor rather than solving poverty. True scientific research and entrepreneurial forces have been restrained by this apologizing attitude. Central planning and controlled economy are obsolete today, and India's achievements till today are in spite of central planning and Nehruvian socialism, not due to these. Indians do not look at themselves as they should. Universal Spiritualism and Brotherhood were embodied in Indian philosophy through Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Whole World is My Family). Kalidasa is comparable to Shakespeare, but not recognized. Aurobindo's discourse on foundation of Indian culture is still relevant. The Indian civilizational ideas are even reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations today but we are neither aware nor proud of the same. Foreign recognition was important for some stature after independence, not anymore. "We should make our own role models and transition strategy." By 2050, even Price Water Coopers predicts that India will be the second largest economy with $46 trillion, ahead of USA, and behind China. The reinvent & recreate lobby also opines that for everything that is true in India, the opposite is also true. "Why should there be one idea of India? Why singular? Why no million mutinies? Constitution is a rule book about how we conduct our lives, and it can change with change of time. Did India begin in 1947? And did the idea of India start only then, run by one family, written in one book, and fathered by Gandhi?"
The 'Rediscover' Lobby:
The Rediscover Lobby, decidedly the Nehruvian apologists, are in turn questioning the much-touted New India noting that it has seen heightening of social disharmony, majoritarian dominance, cow vigilantism, fall of scientific temper, and worsening of the position of women. This lobby wants a return to Nehruvian idealism, protection of Ambedkar's Constitution, and a rainbow coalition of many castes and communities (and, perhaps political parties too) to rule India. India with the vision of the founding fathers of Indian constitution, still survives, while Pakistan is virtually falling apart. Even after 101 amendments, the Indian Constitution is still the beacon of Indian polity since it has handled diverse social contradictions, and ensured the rule of law, separation of power, independence of judiciary, and a strong Union in a federal polity: all of which, according to this lobby, are under threat in the right wing vision of New India. They say that the constitution survived sub-national aspirations and regional demands. And Nehru's Discovery of India is deeply spiritual, and he got our culture married to modern governance through the constitution, and ensured growth of science and scientific temper, which is now under threat as seen by Central ministers questioning Darwin's theory and saying that Internet existed in Vedic age or that Ganesha went through a plastic surgery for his trunk. A section of the rediscovery lobby also says that the Western thinking is linear, ours is cyclical, not straight, and converging. And, hence reinforcing the idea of India is not necessarily the same of the past. Invasions in India, by whoever in last 800 years, have led to a cultural mix and assimilation to make India diverse and richer. It is this cultural parallelism that exists at the core of the existing idea of India, and a centralized rightist narrative cannot be imposed on it. Since recreation is linear, it does not reflect the truth in the land which believes in 'Ekam satyam, viprah vahudha vadanti' (The Truth is One, interpreted differently by different learned men). This rediscovery lobby passionately puts forth that pluralism, sense of diversity and inclusivity are at the core of the idea of India today, reflecting the civilizational journey of us, and hence to maintain its nature of antiquity, continuity, diversity and assimilation, it cannot be reinvented or recreated. Historians among the rediscovery lobby points out that in 1923, the Hindutva focused idea of India presented by Savarkar was rejected for a syncretic vision. Savarkar's ideas of Pitrabhoomi and Punyabhoomi, in effect accepting the two nation theory of Jinnah, put forth later in 1942, had been rejected by the people in favour of multi-cultural Hindustan. Founding fathers of India of today called for opening of windows and doors of our houses, but not to be blown off our feet. This lobby questions the right wing asking if Akhlaq's killing or Sambhulal killing Afroz or six men raping and killing 8-years old Asifa are signs of New India. Why no Muslim contribution from medieval ages to India or the oldest Church of the world being here are recognized in this New India? And what is this New India apart from an aggressive brand of masculine Hindutva and blatant crony capitalism of Adani-Ambani- Nirav Modi etc?
Way Forward: Re-structuring & Evolving Idea of India:
India, with the second largest Muslim population of the world, cannot be a Hindu Rashtra for sure. India, with 7% and above GDP growth, cannot also play second fiddle to the Western economies. India, with 56% of population below 25 years of age and 67% below 35 years, is surely a major force of the future talent pool and work force of the world. While Sambhulal's heinous murder in Rajasthan or Asifa's brutal rape and murder in Jammu cannot be allowed to represent the face of New India, we cannot also accept minority appeasement and using Muslims or Dalits or tribals as mere vote-banks without changing their socio-economic status, as shown in Sachhar Committee report. Hence, evolution of the idea of India is needed surely, building upon self- reliance, national role models, strengthening the conversation with our tradition, and honouring diversity in every walk of life. The re-structured or evolved idea of India needs to ensure strict secularism where the State has no role to play in religious matters (which are best left to individuals), and all religious conflicts should be seen only as law and order problems. On the other hand, this re-structured of India ahead must ensure better economic life of the marginalized people (through Minimum Support Prices for farm produce, executing forest and tribal protection acts, and executing women's protection, minimum wages and days of work protection and rural health protection acts). Neither ultra-nationalism of the Hindutva variety, nor eulogy of rule by one family through appeasement: the idea of India needs an evolution to a re- structured identity which blends aspiration of the privileged with dignified life of the under-privileged, irrespective of community, caste or gender. One party rule or multi-party coalition, India needs a programme of progress and sustainability, neither a powerful arrogant leader nor a group squabbling regional leaders.



North Koreas Hydrogen Bomb Terror!
Our Correspondent :23 September 2017

Unfortunately North Korea continues to be a major irritant with respect to maintaining peace and security in the region around itself and also in the whole world. With the continuing Chinese assistance both - financial and technological - Pyongyong has been making rapid strides in achieving latest nuclear technologies as regards making of nuclear weapons which is well proved by its recent successful testing of a Hydrogen bomb and its ongoing endeavour for developing nuclear powered inter-continental ballistic missile system. It is well known that Hydrogen bomb is more dangerous than a nuclear bomb because it is based on the nuclear diffusion technology which produces much more energy than the generally known nuclear fission technology used in making of atomic bombs. Also North Korea is already having a large cache of nuclear powered arsenals including missiles, bomb launchers, naval ships etc.. Armed with such a huge build up of arms along with autocratic and dictatorial pomp and glory, North Koreas ruler persists with his arrogant and stubborn style of governance in the country which is marked by utter threat and scoff to his opponents within his country and also all over in the world. And that was seen in its utter disregard towards US pressure and threat to it as well as its mentor China. The North Korean dictator remains undeterred and unperturbed. Perhaps that forced President Trump to issue fresh threats of even wiping out the country along with the dictator but the tyrant still looks undisturbed. Further, he and his one of the close aide openly rebuked the American President by pronouncing him a mentally deranged person and his threats as utter nonsense. Not only that the dictator has now threated to submerge the US with tsunami caused to be erupted by exploding a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean. But what does this mean? Should the US President be taken lightly This is particularly because today the US enjoys an unquestioned status of first hyper power in the world with untrammelled authority and unparalleled military power which arouses awe and fear among all nations. And that has already been seen by the whole world as the American wrath over Saddam Huessain in Iraq or killing of Al Qaeada chief Osama bin Laden while hiding inside at Abbotabad in Pakistan which is very close to Pakistan army headquarters - the most secure area in Pakistan. China too is helpless before the US hegemony as Beijing had to eat an humble pie at the hands of the US in the South China Sea crisis last year. Further there are several other challenges before the Pyongyongs dictator as all countries in the near and also in distant adjoining regions particularly South Korea, Japan, Australia besides all NATO powers follow the US line of action and hence they are committed opponents of North Korea. Still another challenge is the likely chance of terrorists getting control of the North Koreas nuclear weapons in the event of the regime fall of the dictator. In this scenario any loss of restraint by either side will inevitably result into a nuclear holocaust of unimaginable magnitude resulting into elimination of almost half of the humanity along with millions of million living creatures living in water and air thereby destroying the ecological balance and also closing doors for future survival of humanity. But this likely menace in the world can be prevented as there is no dearth of saner minds in the world be it Russia or China or even Pakistan. They all can be mobilised to stand together against North Koreas mounting passion for nuclear weapons by diplomatically isolating Pyongyong and its supporters like China and Pakistan and putting its nuclear weapons and other lethal arsenals under supervision of the General Assembly of the United Nations.



Housing for All by 2022 From Restrictive to Transformative Era
Our Correspondent :19 August 2017

In its seven decades of journey since independence, the real estate and housing sector, has come a long way from early years of restrictive policies, deficient planning and highly inadequate resources, to reach a progressive, planned, organised and reformative stage, facilitating urban transformation and speedy economic growth. The present government's vision is to ensure long term inclusive development through good governance and transformative reforms to boost real estate, housing and infrastructure - the vital sectors that hold key to economic development. It is a far cry from early years after independence (1947 – 64), when not much attention was paid towards housing/urban infrastructure due to lack of resources and staff capacity to design and deliver. But, it was during this period that the government introduced state housing boards, mandated to construct houses for public and laid the ground for planned cities and subsequently Chandigarh & Gandhinagar came into existence in 1952 and 1960 respectively. In later years after independence but in pre-liberalisation era (1965- 1990) was marked with regulatory restrictions. But it was in this period that the policy boost was given to the growth in housing finance sector, with the formation of Housing Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), National Housing Bank (NHB) and Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC). The Urban Land Ceiling Act was passed in 1976 with a purpose to curb speculative land pricing, but was later repealed by all states except West Bengal & Kerala as it failed to serve its purpose. Significantly, during this period (1988), National Housing Policy came into being and a rural housing scheme for downtrodden was launched. In the post- liberalisation period (1991-2000), the role of government as enabler, away from direct provider of housing, as proposed in National Housing Policy, was further reinforced with the creation of efficient legislative, legal and financial frameworks for private sector for the development of real estate and housing. Further, to give a boost to urban development and housing, urban local bodies were empowered and housing finance market was deepened. In the post -2000 period of economic globalization, JNNURM, an urban- focused programme to encourage cities to go for phased improvements in the civic service levels, involving investment of $20 billion was launched in 2005.
Big Boost to Housing since 2014 Real estate, housing and infrastructure are at the forefront of Modi government's policy to boost economy and push up growth. When NDA government, led by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi took over in May,2014, economy was in shambles, inflation & current account deficit were high and projects were stuck due to corruption and policy paralysis and foreign investment was hit. But, with its focus on good governance and through a spate of reforms, the NDA government could manage to restore the growth. It has brought down fiscal deficit from 4.5 percent in 2013-14 to 3.5 percent in 2016-17, targeting 3.2 percent in 2017-18. The GDP growth that had fallen to 6.6 percent in 2013-14, clocked 7.1 percent in 2016-17 and Moody has projected 7.5 percent growth rate in 2017-18. Immediately after taking over, the government liberalized FDI in construction development, significantly reducing minimum area and capital investment requirements for foreign real estate developers. This eased foreign investment for the sector, troubled by regulatory bottlenecks and paucity of funds. The second wave of FDI reforms in 2016, allowing 100 percent FDI in civil aviation, food processing sectors and easing norms in defence and pharmaceutical sectors, was much to the advantage of real estate. In fact, the positive impact of FDI reforms is already visible. Foreign investment has shot to record $156 billion during 3 years of Modi government, with FDI in real estate touching $5.7 billion, according to 2016 World Investment Report of United Nations. During UPA time, it was $1.2 billion in 2013-14. Fully realizing that cities are the engines of growth, Modi government, following the global trend of promoting urbanisation, directed its policies towards improving cities productivity. It launched key reform programmes of 'Atal Mission of Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation' (AMRUT) & '100 Smart Cities Mission', with investment of about one lakh crore, over 5 years, adopting incentive based approach, directly linking financial incentives to reforms undertaken by urban local bodies for developing urban infrastructure in cities. AMRUT is targeted to rejuvenate 500 cities on PPP model, benefiting 2 crore urban households. While under UPA's urban renewal mission (JNNURM), Rs. 36000 crore was released against commitment of Rs. 42800 crore, NDA government has committed 98000 crore under AMRUT & Smart Cities Mission. The government's policy emphasis to promote urban transformation, has already started paying dividend. Forty seven percent of 11705 urban projects approved during 2015-16, are already under implementation, to be completed by stipulated time period of 2019-20, compared to 39 percent of 3138 projects approved during 2005-2014 period. So much so that today foreign investors are eyeing smart cities for investment. The US & French development agencies have signed pacts to adopt 3 cities each for development as smart cities. Japan has shown interest in creating smart cities while Chinese companies are keen to develop mega industrial townships. The government through these reform initiatives, is focusing on improving the quality of human life. And for that purpose, a City Livability Index has been launched for major cities on the basis of quality of life they offer. As urban infrastructure holds the key to urban transformation, the government is putting emphasis on boosting urban infra investment. A record allocation of Rs. 3.96 lakh crore was made for infra sector in the union budget for 2017-18. For highways, the budget allocation was hiked from 57676 crore to 64000 crore and budget for rural roads was stepped up to 27000 crore. The policy initiatives on the infrastructure front are clearly showing results. The cost overruns in central sector infrastructure projects came down sharply to 11 percent at the end of FY 17, from 20 percent, 3 years back when Modi government took over, reflecting increased efficiency in project implementation and faster clearances. As part of its urban reforms agenda, the government's mission of 'Housing for All by 2022' assumes great significance. The mission focuses on building 3 crore new low cost, affordable homes (including 1 crore rural homes). And to ensure the success of its ambitious programme, the government has taken enabling policy decisions like according infrastructure status to affordable housing, tax incentives for affordable housing to builders and home buyers and credit linked interest subsidy under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) to home seekers. The key reform to set up Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), will come handy to fund capital- starved developers. Benami Property Act, aimed at stamping out black money and other measures to weed out cash transactions, are also going to check artificial & speculative spurt in prices and making homes more affordable. The enactment of landmark RERA (Real Estate Regulation Act) is going to boost real estate and housing by bringing in transparency and credibility, protecting the interests of property buyers and making the business regulated and more organised .The biggest tax reform of independent India - GST, will further make real estate transactions more transparent & tax efficient. Notwithstanding these path breaking reform initiatives, the immediate challenge before the government is to ensure smooth and effective implementation of these measures while executing its unfinished agenda of reforms like single window clearance, ease of doing business, rental housing, rationalization of land prices and stamp duty among others. Seized of these challenges, the government is making all out efforts to see that the cumulative effect of all its reform initiatives ensures transformational changes on ground, bringing in significant improvement in the quality of life of ordinary people.



GST : Great Instrument to Help Poor Move up the Ladder
Our Correspondent :3 July 2017

A short and crisp video unveiled by President Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for the launch of the Goods and Services Tax in the majestic Central Hall of Parliament captured the clear objective behind countrys most important tax reform till date. Unlike what economists and other commentators have been telling us as to how the GST would push the countrys Gross Domestic Product and make life easier for the trade and industry, the launch film showed a much broader aspect of the modern taxation that has the country people, especially those economically less privileged at its core. In his inspirational speech at midnight of June 30, minutes before the roll out, PrimeMinister, referred to GST as a life changing instrument for the poor particularly in easternUttar Pradesh,other eastern states and the North East. Even as they are blessed with rich natural resources, these states have not been able to fully exploit the same for their development. On face of it, one might ask, how is GST going to be of great benefits to the poor of the country, or is it that the same old trickle down theory is supposed to play a role , via trade and industry. To an extent, it could be so, but the very character of the GST would ensure in realising what the Prime Minister said before the countrys most distinguished audience. The countrys mature polity and cooperative federalism has finally delivered a system, which is people centric and not necessarily manufacturer centric. Unlike the excise or other levies, the GST that subsumes seven Central and eight state taxes, is not source or manufacturer based but a destination or consumer centric. In plain and simple language, the states which have more consumers would stand to gain immensely in terms of tax buoyancy that would then be channelled in the welfare schemes for the people and overall economic development of the states. Surely, states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and North East, which did not have much of a manufacturing base and were losing on revenue would stand to gain while the developed and manufacturing hubs would be compensated at least for five years of the GST launch. More the consumers, higher is the tax collection in a state though the consumers need to be economically empowered The growth impetus to these states which could not keep pace with the states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu or Karnataka in manufacturing, would come from trade which in turn would generate huge resources for ploughing back into development efforts. Such a vibrancy would then lead to interest of investors, both domestic and global, into manufacturing and related service sectors, opening vistas for job creation for millions of people. GST is a system that ends the imbalances in the countrys trade. It also boosts the exports of the country. This system not only provides impetus to already developed states but also provides the opportunity to the backward states to develop. Our states are enriched with natural resources look at Bihar, eastern UP, West Bengal, the north east, Odisha. They are all brimming with natural resources. When they will get a single tax regime I can see clearly that whatever deficiency is there those will be removed and this art of the country will move ahead. All the states of India will get equal opportunity for development, the PM put the context right. Besides, the one nation onetax from Ganga Nagar to Itanagar in the words of Shri Modi would surely make life easier for the industry, trade and common person in different ways, encouraging honest way for the economic transactions. This is why, the GST has been dubbed as Good and Simple Tax that would bring in a new governance culture. Both the PM and the President gave full credit to different political parties and governments at the Centre and the states in making the GST a reality. This is not a Sidhi(realisation) of one government or a party it is a fruit of common efforts, the Prime Minister said. The President, who had himself played a pivotal role in the progressive journey of the GST as Finance Minister in the previous government, had some apt words: The new era in taxation.... is the result of a broad consensus arrived at between the Centre and States. This consensus took not only time but also effort to build. The effort came from persons across the political spectrum who set aside narrow partisan considerations and put the nations interests first. It is a tribute to the maturity and wisdom of Indias democracy. One of the principal advantages of the new tax regime would be doing away with the cascading effect resulting from tax on tax. Through a robust IT infrastructure, the system of input credit ensures that it gets passed and adjusted against the tax liabilities. This wouldonly help the consumers. “Theprices of goods and services will come down. In the earlier system, the credit for excise duty, service tax, VAT and other indirect taxes didnot get passed to the last vendor. But, in the GST, such credit goes to the supplier at the last stage of the value chain which then gets transferred to the consumers, said noted tax expert ShriBrijBhushan. Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley too has been impressing upon the industry to pass on any gains which accrue following the GST roll out. He hoped that the government may not have to use the powers vested in it through the Anti-Profiteering Authority to ensure that the benefits get passed on to the common citizens. While even the President Shri Mukherjee said that there could be disruptions in the initial stage, such a thing would be constructive disruption. Once we are through the teething troubles and initial period of adjustment, GST would prove to be a people-centric, capable of transforming lives



Challenges to protect Forests in India - Pandurang Hegde
MMNN:21 March 2017
India is one of the mega diversity countries in the world with different types of forests. Officially 20 per cent of geographical area in the country is under forest cover. The National Forest Policy (1988) aims to increase the forest cover to one third.
According to India State Forest Report released in 2015, the forest cover has increased by 5081 square kilometres between 2013 - 2015, increasing the carbon sinks by 103 million tonnes.
Though Mizoram has the highest 93 per cent forest cover, many north eastern states have experienced decline in green cover. The country faces numerous challenges in implementing its policies to protect and grow forests.
Protection of forests is done through implementation of Forest Conservation Act (1980) and through establishment of protected areas. The Government of India has established 597 Protected Areas of which 95 are National Parks and 500 Wild Life Sanctuaries. These comprise about 5 per cent of the geographical areas of the country. Different type of forests and scrub jungles are host to the diverse wild life including the tigers, elephants and lions.
Due to the rising population there is enormous pressure on forest land for extraction of forest based industries and encroachment for extension of agriculture. The rising conflicts between conserving forests for generating ecosystem services and diversion for developmental project poses one of the biggest challenges in managing the forest resources.
  It is estimated that the demand for timber is growing at a faster speed from 58 million cubic meters in 2005 to 153 million cubic meters in 2020. The annual growth of the forest stock can only supply 70 million cubic meters of timber, forcing us to import hard wood timber from other countries.
In India 67 per cent of the rural household depend on firewood for cooking. About one million deaths are reported annually caused by the fumes of firewood for cooking. In order to address this problem, Pradhan Mantri LPG Scheme 'Ujjwala Yojana' is implemented by Ministry of Petrolium and Gas that provides free LPG connections to BPL families in remote rural areas. This has provided access to clean and efficient energy to a large number of families in the countryside.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has given the call to celebrate world forestry day for 2017 with the theme of 'forests and energy'. The emphasis is to develop wood as a major source of renewable energy, to mitigate climate change and fostering sustainable development. By developing community wood lots and delivering clean and energy efficient wood stoves, millions of people in developing economies will have access to cheap and reliable supply of renewable energy.
Green India Mission
The Climate Change Action Plan and the Green India mission attempts to address the issue of development of wood energy by establishing large scale tree plantations with the help of community participation.
According to Shri Anil Madhav Dave, MOS (I/C), M/o Environment, Forest and Climate Change "there are two major afforestation schemes, National Afforestation Programme (NAP) and National Mission for Green India (GIM). Both these schemes are implemented in participatory mode under joint forest management programme". NAP aims at eco regeneration of degraded forests and GIM aims at increasing the forest cover along with improving the quality of the forests, including the farm and agro forestry. Under GIM, six million hectares of plantations will be established every year on degraded forest land.
One of the main pillars of afforestation is to regrow the forests in lieu of diversion of the forest land for developmental purposes. Both the houses of Parliament passed the Compensatory Afforesttion Bill in 2016. With a provision of Rs 42000 crores, and annual outlay of  Rs 6000 crores will be made available to states to facilitate conservation, improvement and expansion of forest resources in the country. This Act provides institutional framework at both central and state levels to implement the compensatory afforestation programme. Additionally this will generate 15 crore man days of direct employment in the remote forest areas of the country helping tribal population.
While implementing these green schemes, India faces enormous challenges. The climate change directly impacts the survival of planted saplings. The extension of dry areas and desertification is another big challenge that needs to be tackled with proper interventions. There is need for participatory models of afforestation in which the local knowledge helps to regenerate and manage the forest resources.
Realising the strength of the tribal knowledge systems, the Prime Minister said" if there is someone who saved the forests, it is our tribal communities, and for them saving forests is part of the tribal culture". He called upon the people to take the pledge to collectively work to conserve forests and increase the tree cover. More forests mean more water that benefits farmers and future generations.
In ancient Indian tradition the Rishis, or those who are the learned and sages get energy form the forests. According to Rabindranath Tagore, life in forest is the highest form of cultural evolution. The sages derived intellectual and spiritual energy from the forests, living near trees and water streams.
Though the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation has laid out 'wood energy form the forests' as the main theme of International Forest Day, Indian tradition assigns much higher status and value to the living energy of the forests to attain spiritual and cultural regeneration of life. This seems to be more holistic in understanding the links between forests and energy.



India-UAErelations: moving towards close strategic partnership

Introduction

Indeed, both India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) enjoy close friendship having legacy of age-old cultural, religious and economic relations which indeed require a new thrust in the present era of sagging economy, mounting terrorism, instability and insecurity. In fact, several new developments have compelled the UAE and other West Asian nations to follow "look east" policy where India continues to be a traditionally favourable destination for them due to its proclaimed commitment towards eternal values like world peace, solidarity, non-violence, non-alignment and also being a prominent founder member of the Non-aligned movement. Among these developments; the mounting Islamic State terror in the region and in the world, crumbling regional security architecture supported by the US, declining oil revenues of oil producing countries and rising Chinese presence in the region based upon its brute military force etc., are worth mentioning. In fact, the rising Chinese imperialist assertions and militarist aggressions in Asia-pacific over South China Sea and in the entire Indo-Pacific along with revival of Grand Silk Road Strategy by Beijing have aroused suspicions about its "Middle Kingdom" complex and that, perhaps, pushes forward the Gulf monarchies like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar etc. to seek friendly relations with India on their assumption that the US may not pay keen attention towards West Asian security in future due to mounting Sino-US tensions over South China Sea and Taiwan and consequent American engagement in Asia-Pacific region. On its part, India too is pursuing it "Look West" policy towards the Gulf for its energy security and other geo-strategic goals, besides maintaining close cordial relations with Iran.

Although the relationship between India and UAE flourished after H. H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyanassumed power as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966 and subsequently with the creation of the UAE Federation in 1971, but no Indian prime minister did visit the country following three decades, the last one only by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1981. Their mutual relations received a fresh impetus particularly after Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi's visit to the UAE in August 2015 followed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed's- the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces- visit in February 2016.Thus"Indo-UAE relations have become much closer and stronger, and this can only become better in coming years," said Yousuf Ali, Chairman of Lulu Group and Board member of Abu Dhabi Chamber. The Indian Charge d' Affaires at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, Neeta Bhushan also holds that Indo-UAE relations have become much closer and stronger with these reciprocal visits.During the visit of the Prime MinisterModi, both sides had agreed to upgradetheir bilateral relations to a new comprehensive strategic partnership. Since then, both sides have been pursuing sincerelytowards this end, deriving momentum from their traditional cultural relations because West Asia is an extended part of Greater Asia and UAE is its important core member just as India is in East Asia. Indeed both countries have been moving forward with a view to consolidate their existing socio-cultural ties. In this regard, the Cultural Agreement of 1975 provided the basic framework for cooperation to bring Arab and Indian cultures together. The UAE's Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development and other cultural organisations, such as Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), have been close partners in organising Indian cultural events including film festivals and art exhibitions."KALIMA, a TCA ambitious, non-profit initiative which funds the translation, publication, and distribution of high-quality works of classic and contemporary writing from other languages into Arabic, has translated and published a collection of some prominent Indian books, mainly culture and heritage. Likewise, QALAM- another initiative of TCA- in collaboration with India-Arab Cultural Centre of JamiaMilliaIslamia, launched a joint cultural project to translate masterpieces of Emirati literature from Arabic to Hindi and Urdu." The two countries also agreed to form a Joint Working Group for cooperative research on subjects of mutual interest, exchange and training of scientific personnel, exchange of technologies and data, organisation of workshops and seminars, and transfer of know-how and equipment on a non-commercial basis, just to further consolidate their traditional friendship. Against this scenario, the recent visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to India to grace the country's Republic Daycelebrations as the Chief Guest has aroused a memorableeuphoria in New Delhi which is being seen as another sign of theirconsolidating bi-lateral relations. After late Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in 2006, H. H. Sheikh Mohammad will be the most prominent Arab leader in recent years to be invited as the chief guest at India's Republic Day. Obviously, the Modi government is very keen on pushing forward the strategic nature of their bilateral relations from government-to-government partnership reaching out to common people in both the countries,particularly in the context of ongoing macabre violence and consequent turmoil and insecurity caused by the ISIS terrorists and also because the new American President Donald Trump is at loggerheads with China over South China Sea and Taiwan.But the continuing tensions between China and the US as well as Beijing's close links with Iran may upset the Gulf rulers to a considerable extent. Also the uncertainty over coming policies that President Trump may pursue to deliver on his much publicized campaign promise to tackle China may weigh on the Gulf monarchies' interactions with China.

Foreign policy and economy

Ever since the creation of the UAE Federation in 1971,traderelationsbetween these two friends has played a major role in giving momentumto their close ties. At the heart of its foreign policy, the UAE is very much interested in extending bridges of cooperation and friendship with India. In fact, the UAE's foreign policy, since framed by the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has been attaching paramount importance to these ties, which rose a new height when Sheikh Zayed paid a historic visit to India in 1975 and had talks with the then Indian President, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and other senior statesmen. Carrying forward this rich legacytoday, the Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is not only pursuing the same path as the founder H. H. Sheikh Zayed had laid down in the past, but has also added further vibrancy, momentum and strength to these relations. Similarly, in the overall realignment of the country's foreign policy goals, India too attaches the great importance to itstraditional relations with UAE as regards its coordinated strategy in international relations, spreading over economic, political, security and strategic areas and such interests. In fact, the UAE' rulervisitsat a time when the Indian economy is opening up more sectors to foreign investments.Fortunately, Indian economy is recovering strongly as International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its annual projectionof the "World Economic Outlook (WEO), forecastingits growth for the current and next year7.6 per cent the past fiscal and next, up from 7.4 per cent estimated in July for both the years. Last year the World Bank said that India's GDP could grow 7.6 per cent in 2016-17 and 7.7 per cent in 2017." According to January 2015 figures, the total foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UAE to India was estimated to be $3.01 billion.FurtherIndia occupies the seventh rank in terms of accumulated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the UAE. During Modi's visit, the two sides had agreed to establish an UAE-India Infrastructure Investment Fund, setting an ambitious target of $75 billion to support investment in India's infrastructure. Both sides have set up a task force to nudge investments under this fund.Thus the growing warmth in theirmutual relations has set expectations soaring among the business community, asShailesh Dash, Entreprenuer and CEO of Al Masah Capitalsays: "Indians have been investing in UAE for a long time and have developed several businesses here. We have also seen active interest from various UAE government related entities as well private families from UAE showing interest to do more in India..."

UAE as third largest trading partner of India

The current statistics show that India has been the key trade partner of the UAE over the recent years, buoyed by increasingly vibrant bilateral trade, economic and investment relations and abundant prospects for joint economic cooperation. And both of them are making tremendous efforts to push forward their economic investment and trade cooperation to new heights. As per forecasts, Indiais expected to rise as the world's third largest economy by 2030 after the United States and China. "The UAE was the third key trade partner to India after China and the US in 2013 and 2014.The two-way trade has seen meteoric growth over the years, rising from US$43.5 billion in 2009 to nearly US$60 billion in 2014 from just US$180 million in 1971. The UAE-India bilateral trade continued to grow in strength with Indian exports of goods and commodities expected to surge to US$100 billion and two-way trade exchange to US$160 billion by 2030", making the UAE the largest trade partner to India in the world. According to a study by the UAE Ministry of Economy, "India is the number one trade partner of the UAE with a relative share of 9.8% of the total UAE non-oil trade. It also ranked first in the UAE's overall exports with a relative share of 14.9% and ranked second in the UAE's re-exports to the world accounting for 8.7% of the UAE's total re-exports. India also ranked third in the UAE's total imports with a relative share of 9.2%." The UAE is the largest Arab investor in India, accounting for 81.2% of total Arab investments in India, and is ranked 11th in the world in terms of foreign direct investments in India. The total UAE investments in India amounted to US$8 billion, including US$2.89 billion in the form of direct foreign investments. "The value of investments by Indian companies in the UAE is estimated at more than US$55bn", according to thestatistics preparedby the Indian Business and Professional Council.And to facilitate the free framework of movement of investment and capital, the "two countries signed the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) in 2013, the agreement on reciprocal tax exemption for national carriers in 1989, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) on income and capital for sovereign funds in 1993 and amended in 2007." Also, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) aims to increase the number of Indian firms listed to more than 100 within the next 10 years. The DIFC has seen exponential growth from only one Indian institution in 2007 to over 20 Indian banks and financial institutions at present and discussions are going on with 10 leading Indian banks as regards their further setting up in Dubai's financial hub. The Indian institutions now make up the third largest community of financial firms at the financial centre. And more than a quarter of the current workforce employed in DIFC is of Indian origin. The UAE also hosts the largest Indian community overseas, with more than 2.6 million Indians living and working in the UAE.Their annual remittances are estimated by analysts to be more than US$12 billion.

Indeed, the UAE-India relations go beyond economic, trade and investment exchange to include other promising sectors like the aviation. There are over 950 direct weekly flights between the UAE and India, a number that shows the strength of people-to-people and economic ties between the two countries. The flights between the UAE and India take the lion's share of air traffic between the Arabian Gulf and India.

The Small and Medium-sized Enterprises sector (SMEs) is also a promising area for their joint cooperation. The UAE has expressed interest in tapping India's expertise in SMEs to create a vibrant industrial base in the UAE, which could also be of benefit to Indian enterprises. The UAE's economic policy is supporting and encouraging young entrepreneurs to engage in SMEs as part of efforts to deliver long-term social and economic benefits in creating new jobs, promoting entrepreneurship and accelerating diversification in both UAE and Indian economies. In 2014, India and the UAE signed aMoU to enhance cooperation in renewable energy, especially solar and wind power. India is looking to strengthen cooperation and investment with the UAE to ramp up efforts in the renewable energy sector. The cooperation under the MoU will help identify areas of mutual interest and develop new and renewable energy for both countries. India stands among the top five countries in terms of renewable energy capacity. It has an installed base of over 30,000 MW. This represents an almost 400 per cent increase in the past five years alone. In fact, renewable energy is one of the most promising sectors of interest in both countries in light of their great ambitions for renewable and clean energy. Further, the UAE offers attractive incentives to international investors to forge bilateral partnerships for developing innovative products and solutions of sustainable energy. There were also positive signs that the Indian government has invited foreign investors, especially Emiratis, to pump funds not only into the infrastructure projects, but also into manufacturing, communication, surface transport including rail and road transport sectors. Similarly, in the media sector, cooperation between the two countries dates back to 1981, when the United News of India (UNI), one of the largest multilingual news agencies in India, opened its office in Abu Dhabi and signed a cooperation agreement with the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM) for news exchange and the Press Trust of India (PTI), also followed the same in 2000. Thus the visit reinforces "UAE's trust in Indian economy as bilateral trade between the two countries goes up. We expect investments from the UAE to increase in a wide range of sectors including infrastructure development, clean energy, real estate and defence industry. With a growth rate of 7.6 per cent, India is an ideal place for investment," Dr. B.R Shetty, Chief Executive Officer of NMC Health.

Security and counter terrorism

As regardspeace and security of the region, the UAE pays due attention to regional security in Asia and puts India at the forefront of its international partnerships besides broadening a comprehensive dialogue with a view to deepen and diversifytheir mutual engagements. There are enough opportunities for India-UAE security cooperation in combating terrorismvis-a-vis mounting ISIS terror in Syria and Iraq and various other global terror outfits like Taliban in Afghanistan and Jaish-e-Muhammad and Haqqani networks in Pakistan.In recent years, UAE, like Saudi Arabia, have embarked on a closer relationship with India on security and counter-terrorismbecause the Islamic State is openly calling for total destruction of established monarchies in the region. In any eventuality then, India is at closest proximity to step into any vacuum that arises if the US pulls out of the region to focus on China under its "Rebalance to Asia" policy. Security experts who are keen observers of sub-continental geopolitics say that the visit will further deepen the strategic partnership between India and the UAE. Clearly both countries seem eager to seize the opportunity to expand bilateral ties as they see growing synergies in a rapidly transforming world.

Conclusion

ThusHis Highness Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed AI Nahyan'srecent visit to India delivered a paradigm shift to the millennia old ties of theirmutual friendship and cooperation and marked yet another milestone in the history of both the nations. Thanks to their political understanding and rapprochement and prudent foreign policy as well as vital mutual economic interests, their mutual bilateral relations have grown up by leaps and bounds during the recent decades. Going beyond the mutual economic opportunities, diplomatic circles view that this visit by H. H. Sheikh Mohammad sends out an important message toady when tensions are escalating in South Asia, Indian Ocean and Asia-pacific and there have been a wide consensus on the need to work in a coordinated manner to fight the menace of terrorism, extremism and religious fundamentalism. At a time when the UAE desires a trusted strategic partner cum net security provider and also a reliable customer and India needs the uninterrupted supply of reasonably priced crude oil and investments into its territory for economic reasonswhich are declining and moving towards the US and Europe, the visit of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi will be a welcome change for ensuring growth and welfare of people of both the countries as theylie at the heart of India-UAE relations.
Dr. SudhanshuTripathi
Asso. Prof., Political Science Department,
M. D. P. G. College, PRATAPGARH,
Residence- ABHIRAM HOUSE,
Narsinghbhanpur, Naya Mal Godam Road,
Dist. - PRATAPGARH (UP),
Pin-230001,
INDIA. Mobile. 91-9838137686



Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha

There goes a story from the pre-independence India, when a very young revolutionary from Punjab was awaiting his turn to be sent to the gallows. This was Kartar Singh Sarabha, all of 19 years old and one of the 27 other revolutionaries to be punished for their alleged roles in Lahore Controversy.
His grandfather came to meet him in Lahore jail. "Kartar Singh," he said, "We are not even sure that the country will benefit from your death. Why are you wasting your life?" In reply, Kartar Singh reminded his grandfather of certain relatives who died of Cholera, plague or other diseases. "So, would you want your grandson to die of an ailment instead? Is this death not a thousand times better than that?" He quizzed, rendering the old man speechless.
Inspiration to several revolutionary and other freedom fighters, including Bhagat Singh, who referred to him as his "Guru", Kartar Singh had refused any counsel for himself during the trial of the case. The judge pronounced him "the most dangerous of all rebels" and observed that since he is very proud of the crimes committed by him, he does not deserve any mercy and should be sentenced to death. On 16 November 1915, Kartar Singh Sarabha walked to the gallows with a smile on his lips and twinkle in the eyes and singing patriotic songs he had composed.
Love for his motherland was stoked much early in Kartar Singh's life. Born in a Jat Sikh family of Sarabha district of Ludhiana to Sahib Kaur and Mangal Singh on May 24, 1896, Kartar Singh was the only son of his loving parents. He lost his father early in childhood and his grandfather had brought him up.
He finished primary education in his village school and completed matriculation from Mission High School. When he turned 16, his grandfather sent him to the University of California at Berkeley to study Chemistry.
An incident at the immigrations upon reaching San Francisco changed his life forever. He noticed that the Indians were subjected to humiliating questioning, while immigrants from other regions and countries were allowed in after bare minimum formalities. This, he was told, was because "Indians are slaves" and therefore, second-rate citizens.
This rankled young, proud Jat Sikh and he started questioning the existence of British rule in India. His association with Nalanda club of Indian students at Berkeley aroused his patriotic sentiments and he often got agitated about the treatment meted out to the Indian immigrants, especially manual workers, in the United States. Kartar Singh, himself worked as a fruit picker to support his education and observed that the Indian farm labour were often treated shabbily and discriminated against in terms of wages.
So, when the Gadar movement was born in 1913, Kartar Singh became a key member. Gadar Party was formed by the Indians in Oregon on April 21, 1913 with the aim to oust the British from India, putting all they had at stake. Kartar Singh was made in charge of bringing out the Pubjabi language edition of Gadar, the party mouthpiece. Other than Punjabi, Gadar was published in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati and Pushto and went to Indians all over the world. The newspaper highlighted the atrocities of the British and fuelled revolutionary ideas among the overseas Indians.
Soon, World War I broke out and the Gadarites decided that it was time to shift base to homeland and mobilise the countrymen. As the British got busy defending themselves in the world war, a declaration of another war was issued against the British in the August 5, 1914 issue of Gadar and copies circulated among Indians around the world, especially Indian soldiers in British cantonments.
On September 15, Kartar Singh left for India with Satyen Sen and Vishnu Ganesh Pingle and met Jatin Mukherjee, of Yugantar, in Kolkata. Mukherjee connected him to Rash Behari Bose. Kartar Singh met Bose in Benaras and informed him of the arrival of as many as 20,000 more Gadarites and plans of the revolution.
Unfortunately, the British got wind of the plans of revolutionaries and they launched massive operation to apprehend the rebels. Several Gadarites were arrested at the Ports itself. This did not stop Kartar Singh from planning ahead and he went about preparing the base for the revolution in Punjab. He focussed on mobilising Indian soldiers in the British Army to join the movement, especially cantonments of Meerut, Agra, Benares, Allahabad, Ambala, Lahore and Rawalpindi and simultaneously set up a small scale arms manufacturing unit in Ludhiana.
The date for revolt was set at February 21, 1915, along with senior leaders, including Bose and plan was made to attack cantonments of Mian Mir and Ferozepur while Ambala was prepared for a mutiny. Here too, a traitor let them in a day before the mutiny and several revolutionaries were arrested. Kartar Singh however managed to evade the British. Refusing to give up, he made a last-ditch, desperate attempt on March 2, 1915, to rouse the Indian soldiers of the 22 Cavalry at Chak No. 5 in Sargodha and incite the soldiers to mutiny. This time, Rissaldar Ganda Singh of the 22 Cavalry got him arrested.
He was sent to trial with the other Gadarites at Lahore in what came to be called the Lahore Conspiracy case. The judgment was pronounced in September 1915. Due to large public outcry, of the 27, the sentence of 17 of the Gadarites was changed from death to imprisonment and deportation for life in the Andaman Cellular jail, at the last minute following the intervention of Lord Hardinge, the Governor General of India.
He soon became the symbol of martyrdom and many were influenced from his bravery and sacrifice. A Punjabi novelist Nanak Singh wrote a novel titled "Ikk Miyan Do Talwaran" based on his life. India will always cherish the memory of its hero, Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha.



Coal Auction Proceeds Cross Rs 193 Lakh Crore; Shining Example of Policy Driven Governance for Developing Graft Free & Transparent System

India has hit a gold mine with the recently concluded auction of 29 coal mines in two phases. The public exchequer continues to swell on revenue from coal block auctions. The total proceeds from the coal mines auctions have crossed Rs 1.93 lakh crore; surpassing CAG's estimate of Rs.1.86 lakh crore losses on account of allocation of 206 captive coal blocks without auction since 1993. It is estimated that an additional tariff benefit of around Rs 69,300 crore will accrue to the power consumers through the reverse auction of coal blocks. Moreover greater revenue flows to states from the auctions dovetails with the government's plans to develop the coal-rich eastern region. It is estimated that Rs 3.35 lakh crore of likely revenue to States through coal mines e-auctions & allotments. Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are likely to receive a total of nearly Rs 1.10 lakh crore each, including royalty over 30 years from just the second phase of auction.
The sale of mines belonging to two categories, those already producing (19) and those ready-to-produce (14), which started on February 14 ended on 9th March. The transparency in the auctions has paid rich dividends. Producing blocks saw higher bids than the ready to produce assets. The two rounds of auction would see power rates coming down by Rs 69,300 crore. These rate cuts will be offered by companies bagging coal blocks reserved for the power sector. The lower cost of power would benefit coal bearing states such as Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had said earlier this month that CAG's Rs.1.86 lakh crore loss figure in coal block allocation has raised some doubts initially. But the auction of less than ten per cent of those mines, that is, 19 mines in the first tranche alone garnered around Rs 1.10 lakh crore.
Earlier allocation process, based on discretion & arbitrariness:
In the UPA government, the allocations were made by a screening committee set up by the government. Arbitrary and discretionary allocations based on the political connections and financial clout of aspiring companies and individuals were the norm, rather than a rational and economic logic and genuine needs of companies. In other words, there was no well laid down procedure which is objective & transparent system for allocation of coal mines allotment.
Amendments in the Coal Mines Act though initiated in 2005 were not pursued to its logical end. As a result of this, no fresh coal block allocation could be made during last 4/5 years (2008 onwards). Though milestones were set up for the operation of allocated coal blocks but because of liberal monitoring and repeated extensions given, a very few blocks came in the production.
CAG findings:
In a severe indictment of earlier UPA government, the CAG had in 2012 argued that due to the allocation of coal blocks to private firms , the exchequer had lost Rs 1.86 lakh crore on account of improper allocation of coal mines over the years, triggering a nation-wide uproar.
Cancellation of coal mines by Hon'ble Supreme Court
The matter went to the Supreme Court and in its order dated 24.9.2014 cancelled the allotment of 204 coal mines and held allocation of coal blocks made through the Screening Committee rout and Government dispensation route as arbitrary and illegal.
New well laid down, clean & Transparent System of auction :
In order to laid down robust & transparent system after Hon'ble Supreme Court order, an Ordinance was promulgated to legally enable the Government to re-allocate 204 coal mines cancelled the court and ensure smooth transfer of right, title and interests in the mine along with its land and other associated mining infrastructure to the new allocatee to be selected through an auction or allotment to Government companies, as the case may be.
The Parliament has passed the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill 2015 on 20th March,2015 . The Bill will replace Ordinance issued by the Government, the first as on 21st October, 2014 and then repromulgated on 26th December, 2014, after the apex court cancelled the allocation of 204 blocks.
The objectives and salient features of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill,2015 are as follows :
Objectives of the Bill:
• To provide for allocation of coal mines and vesting of the right, title and interest in and over the land and mine infrastructure to successful bidders and allottees with a view to ensure continuity in coal mining operations and production of coal.
• To take immediate action to auction or allot coal mines to minimise impact on core sectors such as steel, cement and power, which are vital for the development of the nation.
• To amend the Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 thereby removing the restriction of end use from the eligibility to undertake coal mining except in the case of certain specified coal blocks.
Salient features of the Bill:
• 204 cancelled blocks have been defined as 'Schedule-I coal mines'.
• 42 producing and ready to produce coal mine out of Schedule-I coal mines are defined as 'Schedule-II coal mines'.
• Other 32 substantially developed coal blocks out of Schedule-I coal mines are defined as 'Schedule-III coal mines' meant for specified end-use(more mines can be added to Schedule-III).
• The Central Government has the power to classify mines identified from Schedule I coal mines as earmarked for a class of specified end-uses.
• Allocation shall be made through auction to a company or their JV.
• In case of Government Company or their JV, allotment may be made without auction.
• There shall be no end use restrictions on the eligibility to participate in the auction, other than for Schedule II & III coal mines.
• 'Nominated Authority' shall be appointed for conduct of auction/ allotment and vesting and transfer of all interests, rights and titles of these coal mines in the successful bidder or allottee. Nominated Authority to be assisted by experts and other officers.
• The proceeds of auction shall be received by the Nominated Authority and disbursed to respective States.
• Compensation only for land and immovable mining infrastructure shall be paid to the prior allottee after paying secured creditors.
• The quantum of compensation for the mine infrastructure in relation to Schedule I coal mines is determined as per the written down value reflected in the statutorily audited balance sheet of the previous financial year.
• The quantum of compensation for the land in relation to Schedule I coal mines shall be as per the registered sale deeds together with twelve per cent. simple interest from the date of such purchase or acquisition, till the date of the execution of the vesting order or the allotment order, as the case may be.
• 'Commissioner of Payments' shall be appointed for disbursal of compensation.
• The Central Government may appoint Custodian(s) for operation and management of the coal mines till they are allocated through auction or allotment.
• Tribunal constituted under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development), Act, 1957 will adjudicate any dispute arising out of any action of the Central Government/ nominated authority or any dispute between the successful bidder or allottee and prior allottee arising out of any issue connected with the Act.
As per provisions of the Ordinance and Rules framed , the auction of coal blocks was decided to be carried out in e-auction mode in order to keep the process transparent. 110 coal blocks were earmarked with specific end-use for auction and allotment. The process of e- auction commenced with the publication of Notice Inviting Tenders (NIT) on 25-12-2014 for 23 running coal mines appearing in Schedule II. Out of these 23 coal mine/blocks, e-auction of 19 coal mines has been successfully completed in the first tranche. In the second tranche, e- auction of another 23 coal blocks from Schedule III have been put for auction with the publication of Notice Inviting Tenders (NIT) on 07-01-2015. Out of these, e-auction of 14 coal blocks in 13 packages has been completed as on 8-03-2015. The total estimated amount of revenue likely to be raised in respect of 29 coal mines already auctioned is Rs.1.93 lakh crore. The auction proceeds shall be transferred to the respective state governments. Eastern states would be the biggest beneficiary and would financially empower them.
The Government on scrutiny of auction observed that fair value had not be obtained in respect of 4 coal mines namely Gare Palma IV/1, Gare Palma IV/2&3 and Tara in comparison of other mines put on auction. The government therefore decided to allot Gare Palma IV/1, Gare Palma IV/2&3 to Coal India Limited.
There were apprehensions about the likely response of the bidders to the new system but it is now clear that they are enthusiastic about it. For companies that need an important resource like coal , the best option is securing it through a clean & legal procedure. The auction saw very competitive and robust bidding by companies which were ready to pay high prices to ensure fuel security.
Allotment of 38 coal mines to Central & State PSUs :
The government also allotted 38 mines to central and state public sector units including NTPC, DVC and SAIL. Among these are power generating companies of West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharastra , Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Punjab, Gujarat and Telangana. All the mines allotted are for the power sector except Sitanala mine given to SAIL. It is estimated that Rs1.41 lakh crore of likely revenue to States from royalty over 30 years from these 38 coal mines allotments.
As Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi aptly pointed out, "fetching of over Rs 2 lakh crore from auction of just 33 coal blocks has shown that policy-driven governance can rid the system of corruption. If we run the country based on policies, if we run it efficiently, the system can be rid of corruption. We can develop graft-free system. We have taken this burden and are going ahead in that direction."
*Sh. Rajesh Malhotra, Director (M&C) PIB , New Delhi, & Sh. N. Devan, AD, PIB Trivandrum.



Coal Auction Proceeds Cross Rs 193 Lakh Crore; Shining Example of Policy Driven Governance for Developing Graft Free & Transparent System

India has hit a gold mine with the recently concluded auction of 29 coal mines in two phases. The public exchequer continues to swell on revenue from coal block auctions. The total proceeds from the coal mines auctions have crossed Rs 1.93 lakh crore; surpassing CAG's estimate of Rs.1.86 lakh crore losses on account of allocation of 206 captive coal blocks without auction since 1993. It is estimated that an additional tariff benefit of around Rs 69,300 crore will accrue to the power consumers through the reverse auction of coal blocks. Moreover greater revenue flows to states from the auctions dovetails with the government's plans to develop the coal-rich eastern region. It is estimated that Rs 3.35 lakh crore of likely revenue to States through coal mines e-auctions & allotments. Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are likely to receive a total of nearly Rs 1.10 lakh crore each, including royalty over 30 years from just the second phase of auction.
The sale of mines belonging to two categories, those already producing (19) and those ready-to-produce (14), which started on February 14 ended on 9th March. The transparency in the auctions has paid rich dividends. Producing blocks saw higher bids than the ready to produce assets. The two rounds of auction would see power rates coming down by Rs 69,300 crore. These rate cuts will be offered by companies bagging coal blocks reserved for the power sector. The lower cost of power would benefit coal bearing states such as Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had said earlier this month that CAG's Rs.1.86 lakh crore loss figure in coal block allocation has raised some doubts initially. But the auction of less than ten per cent of those mines, that is, 19 mines in the first tranche alone garnered around Rs 1.10 lakh crore.
Earlier allocation process, based on discretion & arbitrariness:
In the UPA government, the allocations were made by a screening committee set up by the government. Arbitrary and discretionary allocations based on the political connections and financial clout of aspiring companies and individuals were the norm, rather than a rational and economic logic and genuine needs of companies. In other words, there was no well laid down procedure which is objective & transparent system for allocation of coal mines allotment.
Amendments in the Coal Mines Act though initiated in 2005 were not pursued to its logical end. As a result of this, no fresh coal block allocation could be made during last 4/5 years (2008 onwards). Though milestones were set up for the operation of allocated coal blocks but because of liberal monitoring and repeated extensions given, a very few blocks came in the production.
CAG findings:
In a severe indictment of earlier UPA government, the CAG had in 2012 argued that due to the allocation of coal blocks to private firms , the exchequer had lost Rs 1.86 lakh crore on account of improper allocation of coal mines over the years, triggering a nation-wide uproar.
Cancellation of coal mines by Hon'ble Supreme Court
The matter went to the Supreme Court and in its order dated 24.9.2014 cancelled the allotment of 204 coal mines and held allocation of coal blocks made through the Screening Committee rout and Government dispensation route as arbitrary and illegal.
New well laid down, clean & Transparent System of auction :
In order to laid down robust & transparent system after Hon'ble Supreme Court order, an Ordinance was promulgated to legally enable the Government to re-allocate 204 coal mines cancelled the court and ensure smooth transfer of right, title and interests in the mine along with its land and other associated mining infrastructure to the new allocatee to be selected through an auction or allotment to Government companies, as the case may be.
The Parliament has passed the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill 2015 on 20th March,2015 . The Bill will replace Ordinance issued by the Government, the first as on 21st October, 2014 and then repromulgated on 26th December, 2014, after the apex court cancelled the allocation of 204 blocks.
The objectives and salient features of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill,2015 are as follows :
Objectives of the Bill:
• To provide for allocation of coal mines and vesting of the right, title and interest in and over the land and mine infrastructure to successful bidders and allottees with a view to ensure continuity in coal mining operations and production of coal.
• To take immediate action to auction or allot coal mines to minimise impact on core sectors such as steel, cement and power, which are vital for the development of the nation.
• To amend the Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 thereby removing the restriction of end use from the eligibility to undertake coal mining except in the case of certain specified coal blocks.
Salient features of the Bill:
• 204 cancelled blocks have been defined as 'Schedule-I coal mines'.
• 42 producing and ready to produce coal mine out of Schedule-I coal mines are defined as 'Schedule-II coal mines'.
• Other 32 substantially developed coal blocks out of Schedule-I coal mines are defined as 'Schedule-III coal mines' meant for specified end-use(more mines can be added to Schedule-III).
• The Central Government has the power to classify mines identified from Schedule I coal mines as earmarked for a class of specified end-uses.
• Allocation shall be made through auction to a company or their JV.
• In case of Government Company or their JV, allotment may be made without auction.
• There shall be no end use restrictions on the eligibility to participate in the auction, other than for Schedule II & III coal mines.
• 'Nominated Authority' shall be appointed for conduct of auction/ allotment and vesting and transfer of all interests, rights and titles of these coal mines in the successful bidder or allottee. Nominated Authority to be assisted by experts and other officers.
• The proceeds of auction shall be received by the Nominated Authority and disbursed to respective States.
• Compensation only for land and immovable mining infrastructure shall be paid to the prior allottee after paying secured creditors.
• The quantum of compensation for the mine infrastructure in relation to Schedule I coal mines is determined as per the written down value reflected in the statutorily audited balance sheet of the previous financial year.
• The quantum of compensation for the land in relation to Schedule I coal mines shall be as per the registered sale deeds together with twelve per cent. simple interest from the date of such purchase or acquisition, till the date of the execution of the vesting order or the allotment order, as the case may be.
• 'Commissioner of Payments' shall be appointed for disbursal of compensation.
• The Central Government may appoint Custodian(s) for operation and management of the coal mines till they are allocated through auction or allotment.
• Tribunal constituted under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development), Act, 1957 will adjudicate any dispute arising out of any action of the Central Government/ nominated authority or any dispute between the successful bidder or allottee and prior allottee arising out of any issue connected with the Act.
As per provisions of the Ordinance and Rules framed , the auction of coal blocks was decided to be carried out in e-auction mode in order to keep the process transparent. 110 coal blocks were earmarked with specific end-use for auction and allotment. The process of e- auction commenced with the publication of Notice Inviting Tenders (NIT) on 25-12-2014 for 23 running coal mines appearing in Schedule II. Out of these 23 coal mine/blocks, e-auction of 19 coal mines has been successfully completed in the first tranche. In the second tranche, e- auction of another 23 coal blocks from Schedule III have been put for auction with the publication of Notice Inviting Tenders (NIT) on 07-01-2015. Out of these, e-auction of 14 coal blocks in 13 packages has been completed as on 8-03-2015. The total estimated amount of revenue likely to be raised in respect of 29 coal mines already auctioned is Rs.1.93 lakh crore. The auction proceeds shall be transferred to the respective state governments. Eastern states would be the biggest beneficiary and would financially empower them.
The Government on scrutiny of auction observed that fair value had not be obtained in respect of 4 coal mines namely Gare Palma IV/1, Gare Palma IV/2&3 and Tara in comparison of other mines put on auction. The government therefore decided to allot Gare Palma IV/1, Gare Palma IV/2&3 to Coal India Limited.
There were apprehensions about the likely response of the bidders to the new system but it is now clear that they are enthusiastic about it. For companies that need an important resource like coal , the best option is securing it through a clean & legal procedure. The auction saw very competitive and robust bidding by companies which were ready to pay high prices to ensure fuel security.
Allotment of 38 coal mines to Central & State PSUs :
The government also allotted 38 mines to central and state public sector units including NTPC, DVC and SAIL. Among these are power generating companies of West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharastra , Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Punjab, Gujarat and Telangana. All the mines allotted are for the power sector except Sitanala mine given to SAIL. It is estimated that Rs1.41 lakh crore of likely revenue to States from royalty over 30 years from these 38 coal mines allotments.
As Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi aptly pointed out, "fetching of over Rs 2 lakh crore from auction of just 33 coal blocks has shown that policy-driven governance can rid the system of corruption. If we run the country based on policies, if we run it efficiently, the system can be rid of corruption. We can develop graft-free system. We have taken this burden and are going ahead in that direction."
*Sh. Rajesh Malhotra, Director (M&C) PIB , New Delhi, & Sh. N. Devan, AD, PIB Trivandrum.



A grand celebration of Gandhi Jayanti by Gandhi Vichar Manch

Mumbai: Malad (West) based Social service organisation 'Gandhi Vichar Manch' celebrated Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd October 2014, at the Radhe Maa Bhawan, Boriwali (West), Mumbai, in the evening. The program was started by President Manmohan Gupta and his wife Smt.Snehlata Gupta with lighting of a lamp. Songs and poems were sung based on Mahatma Gandhi. Singer Harishchandra hosted the evening.
Children donned the dress of Gandhiji and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and presented a dance which impressed the gathering. . Poet Khanna Muzzafferpuri , lyricist Harishchandra, singer Usha Timoti, Music director Damodar Rao, classical singer Krishna Chari, singer Yashwardhan presented musical and patriotic songs. Dr Pajat Rao P displayed rare currency notes, stamps, postal envelop and post cards with Mahatma Gandhi's image on them.
Manmohan Gupta told about Gandhiji and read poetry on Gandhi's ideas and celebrated Gandhi Jayanti. The " Gandhi Jayanti Samaroh" souvenir and lyricist Harishchandra's poem book 'Alpa' was unveiled by Manmohan Gupta.Agrabandhu Seva Samiti's Chairman Kishanchand Gupta, treasurer Gopaldas, trustee Kanbihari Agarwal were awarded.
Sanjeev Jha, Shivaji Gupta, Brijmohan Gupta, Babulal Agarwal, Daya Shankar, Firturam, Dr.Bhagwan Tiwari, Ram Singh, Dinesh Agarwal, Prakash Kothari, Parshuram Sharma, Kunal Singh Kushwaha, Professor RK Sir, Professor Anil Dwedi, Rajiv Agarwal , R U Singh etc. contributed in making the program successful. Gandhi Vichar Manch's president Shri Manmohan Gupta, Vice president Kanbhiari Agrawal, Shreemati Snehlata Gupta, Treasurer Ashok Sutralye, Mahamantri Mithilesh Mishra, organizer Jaiprakash Pandey and entire Gupta family thanked everyone for making the program a success.



Gandhi Jayanti Special: Essentials Lesson To Learn From Mahatma Gandhi

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them"… William Shakespeare
How would one describe Gandhi? Was he a born great or did he achieve greatness on his own or greatness was thrust upon him?
These are the questions that cross our minds every time India gets ready to celebrate the birth anniversary of a man who is revered in this country as 'father of nation'.
Here was a man who got so engrossed with his unique ideas, objectives and beliefs that he looked contemptuous so far as prevalent moral values were concerned, defied logic so far as generosity was concerned and crossed all social and religious barricades so far as human parity was concerned.
Gandhi, like any other living mortal, had grey shades in his character but it never came in way of his incessant love for his motherland and compatriots.
A lot has been written about Gandhi's role in India's struggle for independence. Undoubtedly, Gandhi was the pioneer of peaceful, non-violent agitation in India.
He was the pivot around which the entire independence movement revolved. And he can be, very rightfully, given the credit for enabling India to break free from the shackles of British slavery.
'Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.' The father of the Indian nation, he left us with a wonderful example of living life fully with simplicity and minimalism. Gandhi's philosophy was not purely based on theory; instead he lived by rules of expediency. He practiced what he preached every day of his life.
Mahatma Gandhi inspired millions of people all across the world with his noble approach to life along with diligent observance and practice of the principles of good moral conduct along with the path of ahimsa-non violence in thoughts, speech and expressions, here are the 1o lessons to learn from Mahatma Gandhi's life.
1. Purposeful Living With Conscious Awareness
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." His gentle approach to life is testament to the fact that strength does not equal physical capacity.
The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose with conscious awareness – a life of meaningful values based principles as their primordial agenda consistently with meaningful consistency.



 
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