In the meantime, Railway Board has decided to provide direct rail connectivity between Firozpur and Delhi via Moga through slip coach arrangement with effect from June 15,1999 This will give immediate relief to travellers of Firozpur-Ludhiana Section, which include Moga, Talwandi and Jagroan places in Punjab For this an additional Sleeper Class (SL) coach will be provided by 4630 Sutlej Express from Firozpur to Ludhiana. This coach will be connected to 8102 Muri Express at Ludhiana. The coach will be detached at New Delhi thereby providing a daily service between Firozpur to Ludhiana via Moga. In the return direction, the coach will be attached to 8101 Muri Express from New Delhi. At Ludhiana, the coach will be attached to 4629 Sutlej Express for Firozpur. Timings will be as under:-
1645 Dep. Firozpur Arr. 0940
1925 Arr. Ludhiana Dep. 0700
2235 Dep. Arr. 0220
0425 Arr. New Delhi Dep. 2030
These decisions were taken at a meeting between Railway
Minister, Shri Nitish Kumar and Chief Minister of Punjab, Shri Prakash
Singh Badal, held here today. It has also been decided to hold foundation
stone laying ceremony for the new Broad Gauge line between Chandigarh and
Ludhiana at Mohali in Punjab on June 27,1999.
Of the transported freight, coal accounted for 16.23 million tonnes (MT), raw material 2.85 MT, iron and steel 0.81 MT, iron ore for export 0.60 MT, cement 3.69 MT, foodgrains 1.99 MT, fertilizers 1.85 MT, Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant (POL) 2.67 MT and other goods 3.35 MT.
The Railways transported 420.91 million tonnes of
revenue earning freight during the last financial year against a revised
target of 424 million tonnes
The journey for introducing clean fuels began in 1995 when Mathura refinery began supplying unleaded MS (petrol). The four metros, select radial routes and the Taj Trapezium began supplies of unleaded petrol from 1st April 1995 with the commissioning of the state of the art Continuous Catalytic Reforming Unit at Mathura refinery in May 1998, the entire production of MS of the refinery became lead free from July 1998 onwards. Similar units had already been commissioned by then at Digboi and Barauni refineries. The National Capital Territory of Delhi has been receiving only unleaded petrol from Ist September, 1998 and from January 1999, it is being supplied in the entire National Capital Region. The whole country will have unleaded petrol by 1st April 2000.
By the end of next month, Indian Oil expects to commission diesel hydro de-sulphurisation units at a total cost of Rs.1,776 crore at its Mathura, Gujarat, Haldia and Panipat refineires. Thereafter, all the seven refineries of Indian Oil will produce only extra low sulphur HSD (diesel) with only 0.25% sulphur by weight. The refineries at Guwahati, Barauni and Digboi have already been producing only extra low sulphur HSD.
Mathura refinery began supplying
low sulphur (0.5% wt) HSD to Delhi in March 1996 and extra low sulphur
HSD in the Taj Trapezium from July 1996. The extra low sulphur diesel was
introduced in the inner city of Delhi from 15th August, 1997.
Since 1st April 1998 all metros are being supplied only extra
low sulphur grade diesel. Indian Oil will, therefore, be supplying extra
low sulphur diesel from all its refineries much before the deadline set
by the Government. Studies have already been initiated to consider further
improvement in fuel quality though current fuel specifications are considered
adequate for meeting Euro-I and Euro-II emission norms.
Shri Jagmohan succeeds Shri Ram Jethmalani who has been shifted as the Minister for Law, Justice and Company Affairs.
Immediately after Shri Jagmohan assumed his new office, senior officials met him and briefed the Minister about the functioning of the Ministry, some of the new policy decisions taken and those on the anvil. Shri Jagmohan is not new to the subjects under the jurisdiction of this Ministry. He held the office of Vice-Chairman, Delhi Development Authority and Lt. Governor of Delhi.
Shri Jagmohan directed the officials to work for the overall wellbeing of the people of Delhi. It should be the endeavour of the Government to make the life of the people of Delhi livable with attendant provision of adequate civic amenities, he added. Besides, the Ministry should work for improving the urban infrastructure all over the country, the Minister said.
Listing his priorities, Shri Jagmohan said that he
was all for improving ground level realities. He exhorted the officials
to provide welfare-cum-result oriented performance. He wanted them to be
bold in their advises. He said that civil servants were partners in development
and for that they should be fearless and bold in their discharge of duties.
He wanted them to deliver the good by concentrating on works in the field.
He assured them of full protection, transparency and cooperation from the
Government. The ultimate goal was to make effective contribution by linking
the fate of cities with the fate of country. He said that the urban development
was his first love . If this Government returned to power following the
mid-term General Elections then he would like to retain the Ministry of
Urban Development so that he could contribute to ameliorate the urban India.
Shri Ravindra Gupta comparing the Indian with the world electronics industry said that as far as PC penetration is concerned, the current position is one in 500 of the population in India. He said the Department hopes to achieve a PC penetration of 1 in 100 by the end of 9th Plan. Shri Gupta noted that most of the IT majors have set up their business operations in India and the desired level of foreign direct investment can only come in if we are able to attract investment on the hardware side. The FDI during 1998-99 amounted to Rs.1626.61 crore, Rs.603 crore more than the previous year.
The penetration of TV is 7% of the population in
India while the world average is 21%. In case of computers it is 0.2% in
India while it is 5% world average. Penetration of Internet in India is
estimated at 0.012% compared to 2% world average.
The scholarships will be valid for one year except
for the Diploma in Compensatory and Remedial Education which will be valid
for one and a half years.
Though the current project was to cover 102 districts in the country involving about 27 crore people, the Centre is keen to expand the coverage under the RNTCP to the whole country. While the Government has re-doubled its efforts to control TB, it cannot do all the work by itself, the Minister said. To overcome this problem the Government seeks the cooperation and contribution from all sides. Though the Government has been involving the private practitioners, private hospitals, large Government organisations, it also seeks the cooperation of the corporate sector in combating TB.
The Minister hoped that deliberations of the workshop would help devise ways and means for such cooperation and contribution of the public and private sectors to the governmental efforts to control tuberculosis in the country. He assured full support of the Government to this programme.
The Union Health Secretary, Shri B.P.Singh, Director
General of Health Services, Dr. S.P.Aggarwal and senior officials of the
Ministry besides representatives from the public and private sector organisations
and WHO participated in the day-long workshop.
Dr. Jatiya said, the present trend is of lesser intervention of the Government in economic matters. But, India feels that Governments still have to play a major role to bring about orderly progress in economic and social fields by regulating the fundamentals of economy. By their very nature, market forces may not be able to fulfil the basic human rights of workers in these countries, he stated.
The Labour Minister welcomed the strategic objective approach in the Director General of International Labour Organisations Report "Decent Work" as well as the other four objectives mentioned theirin, namely, Promotion of Fundamental Principles and Rights, Creation of Opportunities for decent employment, Enhancing coverage and effectiveness of social protection and strengthening tripartism and social dialogue. Dr. Jatiya also appreciated the new direction contemplated for the Technical Cooporation Programme of the ILO. He said sufficient funds should be allocated for such programmes from the regular budget.
While addressing another ministerial level Bipartite meeting on "Economic and Financial Crisis ILO Action", Dr. Jatiya stated that top priority is required to be given for technical and advisory services aimed at creating more employment opportunities and for providing social security and protection. He said the Financial crisis faced by the Asian region recently had resulted in job-loss for 20 million workers. The run away inflation and consequent decrease in the value of the wages of the workforce have further aggravated the situation.
The Labour Minister said the ILOs task is not only to recommend policies and measures to tackle the immediate social consequences of the current financial crisis but it is also enjoined to formulate a comprehensive employment strategy with a long term perspective. This strategy should be designed to stimulate employment creation especially in developing countries, he averred.
Dr. Jatiya stated that market forces alone will not be able to contribute to full, productive and freely chosen employment for all. State intervention, especially in the infrastructure sectors as well as in employment oriented service sectors is unavoidable to create greater employment opportunities. In this effort, the role of small and Medium enterprises, cant be ignored.
While highlighting, the importance of the Tripartism
to tackle such situation Dr. Jatiya said that at the national level a comprehensive
employment strategy should be formulated in consultation with the organisations
of employers and workers. Adequate framework for such consultation is also
provided for, in the ILO Convention No.122, which has recently been ratified
by the Government of India. Similarly, freedom of Association and collective
bargaining are to be promoted at national level through tripartism and
social dialogue. In India, "Since independence, we have earnestly been
promoting tripartism in dealing with all matters relating to labour and
we will continue to do so" Dr. Jatiya added.
Dr. Jacques Diouf, DG, FAO expressed appreciation
for Indias progress in agriculture and the support FAO has been receiving
from India in its various endeavours. He highlighted the relevance of Special
Programme for Food Security (SPFS) which has been spearheaded by FAO for
promoting technical cooperation between countries of the South. He said
that with indias rich resources of technical competence, India could assist
FAO in taking up these programmes in a number of countries. He promised
to have discussion with the representatives in Rome in this matter at the
Shri Jethmalani said that his Government is also committed to the creation of a National Judicial Commission with powers of appointment, transfer and removal of Judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court. However, he said that it will require constitutional amendment which is not practicable or possible now or in the near future. Till then, he said, the present system must be fairly and honestly worked. Shri Jethmalani said that judges seeking promotion and lawyers seeking appointment must look to the heads of the judicial family to get their just dues. He warned that canvassing in any form will be considered a negative point and possibly lead to disqualification.
Speaking on the large number of vacancies in the
various courts of the country, the Minister assured that these will be
filled very soon. Shri Jethmalani said that details of measures to restore
the dwindling confidence of the citizen in the administration of justice
including police investigation will be spelt out shortly. Stating that
the criminal justice system in the country is in shambles, the Minister
said that the emoluments and qualifications of Prosecutors will be considerably
enhanced and a system of supervision of their work put into place. He also
said that false and frivolous prosecutions will be eliminated adding that
real criminals will be speedily brought to justice. Earlier addressing
the officials, the Minister had said that a good part in delay of administration
of justice is attributable to the delays in government departments. He
suggested that the whole system should overhauled and computerised to eliminate
all avoidable delays. He suggested officials to observe the confidentiality
of lawyer-client relationship as his Ministry gives legal advice to the
various departments and ministries of the Government.
Shri Advani while addressing the gathering on the occasion said that the reports in totality are an expression of the Human Rights Commissions concern for the good health of society. He said, "criminal justice is a serious matter. If a person is not able to get it, the societys health is affected. Unless and until the criminal justice system improves as a whole, common man cannot feel secure".
The Home Minister lauded the Commission for doing an excellent job in entertaining complaints of human rights violation sent to it expeditiously. He also said that he was impressed by the Commissions approach and perspective in considering issues of vital public importance like forensic sciences and health issues. He assured the Chairman, Justice Venkatachaliah that the report on Forensic Science related with the Ministry of Home would be examined expeditiously and it would be his task to see that it is enacted upon.
In his welcome address, Chairman of the NHRC Justice
Venkatachaliah said that these reports on vital societal issues re-emphasises
Commissions concern for safeguarding the human rights. The forensic scientists
and laboratories can play an important role in protecting and promoting
human rights. The Commission, therefore, felt that it should step in to
correct the aberrations, added Shri Venkatachaliah.
The Minister said that human rights violations of mentally-ill patients have been brought out both by the Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission with specific recommendations to overcome the problem. The Government is committed to implement these directives, the Minister said.
The Minister said that the quality assurance in mental
health has not received the importance that it deserved over the last few
decades. It is reported that 2 per cent of the countrys population has
some mental health problem or the other. However, the amount of expenditure
on mental health programme is still very limited. The Minister said that
in the beginning of this year, the Medical Superintendents of Mental Hospitals,
who met in Bangalore, developed a certain common minimum standards to be
followed in all mental hospitals, which was later endorsed by a meeting
of Secretaries of some States.
Information relating to marketing intelligence could be accessed at the centre at a nominal expense and structured training inputs could be profitably utilized by small scale units.
Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO)
has plans to expand and branch out centres throughout the country depending
on the success of the Delhi Centre. During previous years, similar prototype
development centres were established in various parts of the country through
the protocol of help and development programmes provided by German and
Danish Governments. Such centres at Ferozabad for development of glass
industry, at Meerut for footwear, Calcutta, Jamshedpur and Bhubaneswar
for tool rooms etc. are doing exceptionally well.
The Report says being a democratic welfare state India has enshrined in its Constitution not merely the concepts of equity and social justice, but also the responsibility of fulfilment of the basic minimum needs and to improve the quality of life of its citizens. A conscious decision was taken after independence to broaden the country's economic base, which then largely comprised of traditional agriculture and raw material exports. To broaden the economic base accelerated industrialisation was taken up to give a boost to the GNP. Maximum exploitation of natural resources therefore, became a desirable objective with air pollution and water pollution being accepted as unavoidable.
The development model based on the western pattern does not give much importance to natural resources optimisation. It is based on the premise that raw materials will continue to be available in plenty and in perpetuity, at a cheap cost either from a country's own resources or from its colonies. The focus of this development model is on cheap but wasteful and outmoded imported technologies, and it has created a huge backlog of pollution.
A study made in 1995 has estimated that the economic loss due to air pollution in 36 cities of the country is estimated to be U.S. $2,102 million per year. Major environmental costs from all sources have been estimated to be U.S. $9,715 million per year amounting to 4.53 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Pollution is nothing but a wasted resources and wastage of scarce natural resources. The Report says that the prosperity of a nation depends on how skillfully and optimally its natural resources are harnessed and utilised. Equally critical according to the Report is the need to institutionalise the concept of equity and social justice so that the control of natural resources and adoption of development programmes are not cornered by "vested interest". The cornering of these natural resources and outputs of development programmes, deprives an ever increasing proportion of the country's population of its basic means of sustenance. The Report adds that the impoverished segment of society is then likely to attack the natural resources in the crude manner possible for mere survival, thereby further destroying the resource base.
The complete State of the Environment Report will
be available on the web site of the Sustainable Development Networking
Project (SDNP) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests from June 11th,
1999. The web site address is http://www.sdnp.delhi.nic.in.