NATIONAL FOCAL POINTS MEETING OF G-15 COUNTRIES ON SOLAR ENERGY APPLICATIONS INAUGURATED
The National Focal Points Meeting of the G-15 Countries on Solar Energy Applications was inaugurated here today. In his inaugural address read in absentia, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Non-Conventional Energy Sources Shri M. Kannappan emphasized the relevance of renewable energy in the context of developing countries, especially in view of their expanding economies and improved living standards of their people. It was mentioned that the biggest advantage with renewable energy technologies is their local availability and environment friendliness. The Minister further pointed out the importance given to these technologies in India and informed the delegates about the various programmes being implemented in the country. He added that India ranks fifth in the world in respect of the installed capacity of wind power, and ranks third in manufacturing of monocrystalline Photo Voltaic (PV) modules with over 11 Mega Watts (MW) production last year.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES), Shri P.M. Nair mentioned that the contribution from renewable energy in Indias total power generation capacity has reached over 1.7%. The Secretary said India has wide experience in formulating and implementing solar energy programmes and is open for exchange of information and developing co-operative projects with all member countries.
The Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs Smt. Nirupama Rao in her address stressed on the need for co-operation among the G-15 countries. The Adviser MNES, Dr. T.C. Tripathi welcomed the participants and highlighted the objectives of the meeting. The meeting will review ongoing sub-projects of solar energy applications and will also discuss new initiatives for promotion of solar energy technologies in member countries under G-15 co-operation.
MEASURES FOR FAST TRACK JUSTICE
The Government has set in motion measures for radical and continuous changes in the administration of justice system.
Periodically the Law Commission and various other bodies like Arrears Committee have been conducting studies on various issues regarding existing judicial system, Criminal and Civil Codes from time to time. Keeping this in view, Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill, 1994 has been moved in Parliament. Further, the Civil Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill, 1999 has already been passed by Parliament. Pursuant to the statement of the former Law Minister in Parliament, discussions are being held with the Bar Council of India for implementation of the Civil Procedure Code (Amendment) Act, 1999.
The Law Commission undertook a comprehensive review of Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Penal Code and Code of Civil Procedure and submitted its 154th , 156th and 163rd reports making several recommendations with regard to speedy disposal of cases.
Various measures have been taken by the Government including increase in the number of posts of judges and magistrates, appointment of Special Judicial and Metropolitan Magistrates for the disposal of petty criminal cases, establishment of special courts, greater use of Information Technology in courts and adoption of other alternative modes of disputes resolution such as mediation and conciliation by establishing Lok Adalats.
In addition, pursuant to the Eleventh Finance Commissions recommendation, an amount of Rs. 502.90 crore has been sanctioned for creation of 1,734 additional fast track courts in the country with effect from April 1, 2001 which will substantially bring down the pendency of cases in the district and subordinate courts over the next five years.
STEEL MINISTRY CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE MEETS
MEMBERS ADVISE GOVT TO EXPEDITE KUDREMUKH MINING LEASE EXTENSION
Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL), a 100 per cent export oriented public sector undertaking of the Steel Ministry has held up many of its major capital /expansion projects due to non-availability of 20 year mining lease. Instead of extension of lease in 1999, the year when its 30 years lease period expired, the company was given work permit for a year and it was again renewed in July 2000 for another year. The Minister of Steel, Shri B.K. Tripathy today apprised the members of the Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry that the Government is pursuing vigorously the lease extension matter with the Karnataka State Government for its renewal before the work permit period expires in July 2001.
The Minister clarified that as stipulated by the State Government the study on the environmental impact assessment and impact of mining on flora and fauna in the region are in progress and reports are awaited shortly. The State has agreed in principle to exclude the entire lease area from the Kudremukh National Park and extend the lease. The Union Steel Minister has taken up the matter with the State Government to expedite the notification of the Park. Shri Tripathy brought to the notice of the members that Karnataka Government has not yet taken a decision on KIOCLs request to grant mining lease and prospecting license for the Nellibeedu and Gangrikal deposits in the adjoining areas.
The Minister hailed the role of KIOCL, a profit making ISO-9002 company whose production conforms to stringent international norms. With its dedicated team of employees and proven and sophisticated mining, benefaction and pelletisation technology, the company, he said, has been contributing to the nations progress. During 1999-2000 its turnover crossed a record Rs. 600 crore mark. It also achieved the highest production of pellets at 3.285 million tonnes and transported 3.238 million tonnes. Inspite of two months closuere due to leakage in the slurry pipeline the company is making all efforts to achieve its targets.
Shri Tripathy briefed that the production of steel during the first eight months of this year has been considerably higher than the same period of the previous year. With the business restructuring in progress, SAIL hopes to end the year with reduced losses. Vizas Steel Plant till November has sold steel worth Rs. 2048 crore. It has made a cash profit of Rs. 28.54 crore during the first half of the year.
The Members appreciated the echo-friendly steps taken by KIOCL like massive afforestation, increasing height of Lakya Tailings Dam and introduction of pollution control measures in the plant. They suggested diversification of the plant activity and introduction of more value added products. They were happy to know that the 2.3 lakh tonne pig iron plant at Mangalore would be commissioned shortly.
Following Members of Parliament were present:
S/Shri Tara Chand Sahu, Tilakdhari Singh, Smt. Hema Gamang, A. Venketesh Naik, Lal Muni Choubey, Manoj Sinha, Manjay Lal, Sohan Potai, Jibon Roy, Gaya Singh, Ananta Sethi and Gandhi Azad.
SURESH PRABHU REVIEWS ADDITIONAL POWER REQUIRMENTS OF UNION TERRRITORY OF CHANDIGARH
The Minister for Power Shri Suresh Prabhu has asked the administration of the Union Territory of Chandigarh to work out its power requirement upto the years 2011-12. This follows a review meeting held here by the Minister regarding the additional power requirement of the Union Territory. It was decided at the meeting that once the power requirements are worked out a further meeting would be held to suggest the most appropriate source or sources to meet the increasing demand of the Union Territory on a long-term basis. Since the Union Territory is introducing reforms seriously, the Central government would extend all necessary support to meet its future power demand, Shri Prabhu said.
The Power Minister was also informed of the present power requirement of the Union Territory which is 180 Mega Watts (MW). This requirement is expected to increase to about 265 MW over the next three to four years. The present allocations from generating stations to Chandigarh and the future scenario also came up for discussion at the meeting. Officials of the Ministries of Power, and Petroleum and Natural Gas and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) along with the Adviser to the Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh were present at the meeting.
INDIA CALLS FOR INCREASED FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR CULTURAL INDUSTRY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIESIndia has called for increased financial support for cultural industry in developing countries. UNESCO in its existing mandate can take a lead in this direction for promotion of innovation and creativity in this country. Addressing Culture Minister's Conference at UNESCO headquarters yesterday in Paris, Minister of Tourism and Culture said the process of globalisation throws up new challenges for preservation of cultural diversity. On the one hand, the new technologies provide an uprecedented opportunity of cultural expression by small and marginalised segments of the society, on the other hand, it threatens cultural homogensiation. This global dialectic calls for building creative encounters between the global and the local balance and legitimate quest for identity has emerged as a major challenge of our times. He added that cultural policies will need to adapt a globalistion supported by appropriate measures at national, regional and sub-regional levels.
Shri Ananth Kumar said that current challenges go beyond the confrontation between traditional big producers of cultural goods and their struggle to defend their interests. Rather they affect the entire international community and in particular those developing countries lacking the required cultural industries infrastructure to channel and distribute their creativity. Their cultures are the most threatened by trade and technology. At stake is their identify, the conservation and renewal of their symbolic references and what is more, the social cohesion of these societies in the medium term, he added.
Commending on proposed global alliance to protect cultural diversity, Shri Ananth Kumar said that before its implementation India would like to know whether the proposed alliance is entirely voluntary in nature or enforceable through a legal framework. If so, whether it will have implications for negotiations for international trade in the framework of WTO. He said in any case India would support UNESCO's initiatives in promoting cultural diversity in the context of globalisation.
NOTIFICATION ISSUED TO PROTECT DOMESTIC JUTE INDUSTRY
The Government has issued a notification to ensure compliance under mandatory packaging in Jute to protect domestic jute industry, restrict import of jute and implement International Labour Organisation (ILO) norms. The notification issued in pursuance to clause 4 of the Jute and Jute Textiles Control Order, 2000, directs all the manufacturers of Jute Textiles to mark/print/brand the items of jute textiles mentioned as per details below:
|S.No.||Description of Jute Textiles||Words to be marked/printed/branded|
|1.||Every A. Twill bag manufactured fully from Indian Jute conforming to BIS specification.||"A. TWILL MANUFACTURED IN INDIA"|
|2.||Every B. Twill bag manufactured fully from Indian jute conforming to BIS specification.||"MANUFACUTERD IN INDIA"|
|3.||Every packed bale of Indian jute products manufactured fully from Indian jute.||"MANUFACTURED IN INDIA" and name of the manufacturer.|
|4.||Every imported jute bag and every imported packed bale containing any imported jute or jute product.||"MADE IN - Country of Origin" and DGFT Code number of importer.|
The directions will be valid upto 30th September 2001.
NIFT CONVOCATION ON DEC 15
534 STUDENTS TO GET DIPLOMAS
The 8th National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Convocation-2000 will be held on December 15, 2000. The Minister of Human Resource Development Shri Murli Manohar Joshi will deliver the convocation address while Shri Kashiram Rana, Minister of Textiles will preside over the function. 534 students belonging to Fashion Design and Accessory Design (1997-2000) and Garment Manufacturing Technology, Apparel Marketing & Merchandising, Knitwear Design and Technology, Textile Design and Development, Leather Apparel Design & Technology (1998-2000) batches have qualified for their diplomas.
NIFT was established in 1986 by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India with the prime objective of meeting the growing demand of the Apparel Industry, enabling it to meet International standards by upgrading the level of skills and technology.
NIFT in collaboration with Fashion Institute of Technology, New York and Nottingham Trent University, U.K. aims to provide the best professional training the country has to offer. Besides developing and channelising creativity, the institute equips its students with technical skills and enables them to implement this knowledge in relevant context.
INTEGRATED NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT TO BE PROMOTED: S.S DHINDSA
NATIONAL SEMINAR ON BIO-FERTILIZERS IN JANAUARY
The Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Shri Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said that there is a need to promote Integrated Nutrient Management that envisages conjunctive use of Chemical fertilizers with compost and bio fertilizers. The Government provides non-recurring grants in aid upto Rs.20 lakh for setting up bio fertilizers production units of 150 MT capacity towards this end. Shri Dhindsa was addressing the Members of the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Chemical & Fertilizers here today. The Agenda for the meeting was Promotion of Fertilizers. The Minister for State for Chemicals & Fertilizers Shri Satya Brata Mookherjee, Secretary Fertilizers, Shri Ashok Pahwa as well as Secretary Chemicals and Petro-Chemicals, Shri V.N.Kaul were present at the meeting along with other senior officials of the Ministry.
Shri Dhindsa said that 75 Bio-Fertilizer production units have been established with Central assistance so far. The total Bio-production capacity in the country is more than 17,000 tonnes per annum with an estimated production of 10,000 tonnes per annum. To address some of the important issues pertaining to the promotion of Bio-Fertilizers, the Department of Fertilizers is organising a national level Seminar on Bio-Fertilizers in January 2001. The seminar would provide special focus on the problems relating to the marketing of bio fertilizers. It will also serve as a platform for experts in this field as also the producing units and the Government. This would enable them to share experiences and focus on future strategies.
The Minister said that fertilizer companies are manufacturing various kinds of complex fertilizers having varying degrees of NPK contents based on local crop and soil requirement. The Government is also ensuring adequate availability of all types of fertilizers providing NPK nutrients by either granting sufficient domestic capacity or by providing a suitable environment to import requirements that are not fulfilled domestically for reasons of lack of raw material. Shri Dhindsa said that supplementing the soil with required micro-nutrients is another area that need attention. Micro-nutrients such as iron, zinc, copper, boron and manganese are required in small quantities for effective and efficient plant growth.
The Members who attended the meeting discussed the details of extension and promotional efforts being undertaken by fertilizer companies from their own resources and from generation of profits as a supplement to the action being taken by the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation. The Members stressed on the fact that balanced use of nutrients is of vital importance in our effort towards achieving food security. They said that though fertilizer companies are playing an active role in educating the farmers through extension programmes and soil testing facilities a concerted effort needs to be made by the Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers, Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment. Attempt should be made to involve the State Governments also along with the Fertilizer Industry.
The following Members of Parliament attended the meeting:
Begum Noor Bano; Shri Y.S.Vivekananda Reddy; Mohd.Anwarul Haque (LOK SABHA) Shri Devi Lal; Shri Dipankar Mukherjee; Shri Drupad Borgohain; Shri Mahendra Prasad; Shri Manoj Bhattacharya (RAJYA SABHA).
'23' EIGHT RAILWAY CRICKETEERS SELECTED TO REPRESENT CENTRAL ZONE FOR DULEEP AND DEODHAR TROPHIES
Eight Cricketeers currently playing for the Railways, have been selected to represent Central Zone teams for Duleep and Deodhar Trophies for the coming season. They are Amit Pagnis, Sanjay Bangar, Murali Kartik, Tejinder Singh, Zakir Hussain, Abhay Sharma, Yere Goud and Kulamani Parida. Besides, the Railways Coach, Vinod Sharma has been nominated as Manager of the Central Zone team for the Deodhar Trophy Championship starting from the 15th of this month.
The Railway Cricket team had some jubilant victories to its credit in the current season. It has virtually qualified for the Wills Trohpy (limited overs) Cricket Tournament after a gap of twelve years. In the Central Zone Ranji Trophy Championship, the team has finished all their league matches with the highest twenty one points and remains at the top of the points tally.
'23' CRIMES ON RAILWAYS
MAMATA BANERJEE WRITES TO CHIEF MINISTERS OF WEST BENGAL AND JHARKHAND
The Railway Minister, Ms. Mamata Banerjee has expressed anguish and concern over the incidents of dacoity in the Kanchan Kanya and Gour Express trains on 11th and 12thof this month. In separate letters to the Chief Ministers of West Bengal and the Jharkhand, the Minister said that it is the responsibility of the State Government Railway Police (GRP) to look after the safety and security of railway passengers as the GRP functions under the control of the State Government and the Railways have no control over them. She expressed surprise that in these two particular cases, the State Government Railway Police, who were escorting the trains, could not even arrest a single culprit out of a group of about 20-25 bandits, who attacked the passengers in general compartments. As a result not only the innocent passengers were looted but a few of them also suffered serious injuries.
The Railway Minister has urged both Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Shri Babu Lal Marandi to ensure that the safety and security of the railway passengers is adequately covered by the State Government Railway Police. She has also requested the two Chief Ministers to look into the details of these two incidents so that the culprits are arrested and punished, without delay.
'23' LOW VALUE MSTS TO CONTINUE
The Ministry of Railways has decided that the scheme of Second Class low value Monthly Season Tickets of Rs.15/- for the weaker sections of unorganised sector will continue to be valid till further orders. The scheme which was introduced last year for the people in the unorganised sector, having a monthly income of less than Rs.400/-, was valid for journey upto 31st December only. As per the new instructions, the facility will continue to be in force with the conditions.
ILO STARTS AREA INTENSIVE PROJECT IN SIVAKASI FOR REHABILITATION OF CHILD LABOURERS
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has started an area intensive project in Sivakasi area in Tamil Nadu from March 2000. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha today, the Labour Minister Dr. Satyanarayan Jatiya said that the ILO is providing funds for rehabilitation of children in the area. He said under the project, as a supportive measure, mothers of rehabilitated child labourers would be organised into saving credit self-help groups. Dr. Jatiya said 10,118 children have been identified in 21 districts in Tamil Nadu as working in hazardous industries during the two surveys conducted in 1997 on the directions of the Supreme Court.
The Minister said that National Child Labour Projects (NCLPs) are running in 9 districts in the State having highest number of children working in hazardous industries. He said that under the NCLP children are provided non-formal education, mid-day meal and in addition, each child is provided a stipend of Rs. 100 per month. Dr. Jatiya said, Tamil Nadu Government has ordered free supply of two sets of uniforms to the children covered under NCLPs. He added that about 8,000 children have been brought into mainstream of formal education from the NCLP schools.
FOOD CORPORATION OF INDIA DECLARED PUBLIC UTILITY SERVICE FOR ANOTHER SIX MONTHS
The Food Corporation of India, FCI, has been declared a public utility service under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 for another six months with effect from December 07, 2000. The FCI was in public interest declared a public utility service for six months from December 07, 1999 and then again from June 07, 2000. It will now continue to be public utility service till June 06, 2001.
NO BELITTLING OF RELIGION IN TEXTBOOKS- DR. JOSHI
The Minister for Human Resource Development Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi has urged all concerned to see that any reference that belittles any religion does not find place in the textbooks. He called upon the state governments also to take due care in the preparation of the syllabus to ensure that texts that do not promote religious tolerance and equal respect for all religions are not incorporated. Dr. Joshi was presiding over the General Body Meeting of the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) here today. Education ministers and officials from various States are attending the meeting.
Dr. Joshi told them that a meeting of the State Education Ministers would be convened next month to discuss among other things the new curriculum framework drafted by the NCERT and the launching of the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. He would also be writing to the Chief Ministers in this regard. He asked the State Ministers to debate the new framework and make suggestions to improve and effectively implement the same. He told them that the National Education Policy provides the mandate to have a review every five years. There has been no review since 1992 and a number of changes have taken place.
Turning to Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, the minister said that the programme aims at achieving universalisation of elementary education by the year 2010 and speed up the literacy drive. By 2005 the programme will help in achieving 75 percent literacy and by 2003 all the children in the age group of 6 to 14 would be brought into the educational system.
Laying emphasis on prudent use of information technology he said all softwares must be multi-lingual as we have many languages spoken by large numbers of people. He also spoke of incorporation of fundamental duties, environment and value system in the education.
Earlier, addressing an international seminar on "Indicators of Quality Education at Elementary Stage", Dr. Joshi said the aim of education should be to produce a good human being otherwise it will have no meaning. The pupil-teacher relationship is very essential for universalisation of elementary education. He also said that paucity of teachers is affecting our elementary education and this needs to be addressed at all levels.
In her keynote address, the Secretary, Elementary Education and Literacy Ms. Achala Moulik said, quality is the essence of elementary education lest the goal would not be achieved. Only through the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) we can achieve universalisation of elementary education. The DPEP has helped in a big way to check the dropout-rate and enhance the enrolement she said.
The Director NCERT Prof. J.S. Rajput said teacher empowerment and community involvement should become part and parcel of the educational system.
GOVERNMENT CONDUCTS WTO SENSITIZATION PROGRAMMES FOR SSI SECTOR
The Ministry of Small Scale Industries and Agro and Rural Industries organised 28 WTO Sensitization Programmes all over the country. The basic objective of these programmes was to enlighten the SSI sector on the various Agreements under the WTO and their implications. Sensitization Programmes included a session on "An Outline on the WTO Agreements."
Regional Testing Centres (RTCs), New Delhi and Calcutta have already got accreditation with
The National Accreditation Board of Laboratories (NABL). RTCs are being constantly modernized with the addition of relevant testing equipment so as to enable them to undertake testing work as per the needs of the industry.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), under the Ministry of Small Scale Industries and Agro and Rural Industries conducts various training programmes for skill development including entrepreneurship development, artisan courses, orientation and refresher courses for in-job artisans and entrepreneurs and courses for prospective entrepreneurs.
This information was given by Minister of Small Scale Industries and Agro and Rural Industries, Smt. Vasundhara Raje in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.
FUNDS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL AND COTTAGE INDUSTRIES
An amount of Rs. 4304 crores has been provided in the 9th Plan to the Ministry of SSI&ARI for the development and promotion of small and cottage industries. During the years 1997-98 and 1998-99, the actual expenditure incurred under the Plan Schemes was Rs. 735.10 crore and Rs. 708.30 crore respectively. The estimated expenditure for the year 1999-2000 is Rs. 640 crore. The funds for the development of small scale sector are released by the Government Scheme-wise. For setting up the SSI units, the funds are arranged by the entrepreneurs themselves either out of their own resources or by borrowing from various agencies including institutional sources.
Promotion of industries is primarily the responsibility of the concerned State Government. The Central Government, however, supplements the efforts of the State Governments by facilitating the availability of finance, raw material, technology, marketing and creation of institutional infrastructure. The registration of SSI units with the State Directorate of Industries of the States/UTs is voluntary and as such no targets are fixed by the Government for the number of small scale units to be registered. By the end of the 9th Plan, the targets of employment for small scale industries and khadi and village industries have been fixed at 185 lakh and 83 lakh persons respectively. These targets are likely to be achieved.
The number of small scale units registered during the last three years i.e. 1997-98, 1998-99 and 1999-2000 are 143966, 129154 and 112548 respectively. There were 5,149 registered institutions, 30,130 cooperative societies and 7,98,435 individuals functioning under the Khadi and Village Industries Sector by the end of March 1999.
The Government through the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is providing assistance for setting up Khadi and Village Industries throughout the country. Under its Margin Money Scheme, the KVIC provides a margin money at a rate of 25 per cent of the project cost up to Rs. 10 lakhs and an additional 10 per cent from Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 25 lakhs. In case of women, SCs, STs, OBCs, Hill Areas the margin money is given at a rate of 30 per cent instead of 25 per cent of the project cost.
This information was given by Minister of Small Scale Industries and Agro and Rural Industries, Smt. Vasundhara Raje in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.
INVESTOR EDUCATION AND PROTECTION FUND TO BE MADE EFFECTIVE
The Secretary, Department of Company Affairs (DCA), Dr. P.L.Sanjeev Reddy, took a brain storming meeting with representatives of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), National Stock Exchange (NSE), Unit Trust of India (UTI), other financial institutions and three professional institutes under the DCA on measures for strengthening the protection for investors now that Investor Education and Protection Fund was to be made operational under the Chairmanship of Secretary, DCA.
In all, six visual presentations were made. It was agreed that all agencies would provide integrated coordinated approach to DCA in evolving a right mechanism for redressal of grievances of investors by empowering them through a sustained awareness and education programme, solving the problems of investors online with the help of enabling technology with adequate networking and linkages among all the agencies.
It was also agreed to involve three professional institutes of Chartered Accountants, Cost and Works Accountants and Company Secretaries to strengthen the disciplinary action on the part of Chartered Accountants and Company Secretaries for making the mechanism for redressal of investors grievances effective.
It was further decided to have a Mother Portal for investors protection in all the three institutes.
The mother portal would channelise investors complaints to concerned agencies for compliance. The role of compliance officers in companies like Company Secretaries and Chartered Accountants would also be made effective.
All the agencies agreed to launch sustained investors awareness, rights and education programme under the Investors Protection and Education Fund set up under Section 205 C of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 1999, to be made operational shortly. It was also agreed to hold similar coordination meetings regularly.
INDIA SENDS A FORMAL PROPOSAL TO OPEC ON CONCESSIONAL PRICING FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
The Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Ram Naik, has informed that India has submitted a formal proposal to the OPEC countries suggesting concessions which they should make to the developing countries to tide over the higher oil prices. Shri Ram Naik said this while inaugurating a Seminar on "Petroleum Prices and their Impact" orgainised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) here today. He added that the proposal includes giving price discounts, deferred credit and soft loans against the crude oil purchased by the developing countries for their own use. The Minister mooted the idea of concessional pricing to the developing countries during discussions with OPEC Secretary General, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman at Calgary in June and further in his talks with the oil Ministers of major oil producing countries of OPEC in Saudi Arabia during his participation in the International Energy Forum in November, 2000.
Referring to the steep increase in the crude prices in the last 18 months, Shri Ram Naik said that at current levels of annual oil imports of 70 million tonnes, an increase in price by US$ 1 per barrel in the international market corresponds to an increase of US$ 500 million. This is equivalent to Rs. 2350 crore in the annual import bill of our country. Recognising the adverse impact of high oil prices on the economy, he stated that this situation is not unique to us but is faced by all the countries like India. Shri Naik called upon the captains of the industry to be fully prepared and equipped to face various challenges arising out of alignment of Indian economy with the global market. To attain this objective, industry needs to refocus on crucial issues of cutting cost, improving operating efficiencies, marrying of synergies between companies, introduction of cutting edge technologies with the over all objective of enhancing value. The Indian Industry should also take note of the developments outside India, which have witnessed a number of mega mergers of banks, info-tech companies, oil companies and others covering the entire spectrum of industrial activities. To provide cushion against adverse oil price movement, the government recently permitted use of risk management techniques in oil imports.
Shri Naik further said that the Government, in November 1997, announced a detailed framework of phasing out the Administered Price Mechanism (APM) by gradually doing away with subsidies in the consumer prices of petroleum products and rationalising customs and excise duties structures by 2002. From 2002, subsidy at the rate of only 33.3% of price of PDS kerosene and 15% of LPG for domestic use will remain to be provided through the Central Government Budget, the Minister said.
On the exploration & production side, Shri Naik said that an active programme is in place for acquisition of foreign oil acreage by Indian companies like ONGC Videsh which would ensure supply security to the country. Shri Naik also recalled the latest signing of exploration contract by ONGC Videsh with Iraq for Block-8. Likewise MOUs have also been signed for exploration in Indonesia and Venezuela.
PM CONDOLES DEATH OF SHRI R. SRIMAN
The Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee has expressed sorrow over the passing away of noted sports journalist Shri R. Sriman today after a prolonged illness.
In his condolence message, the Prime Minister has said :-
"Shri Sriman will be remembered for his contribution to sports journalism. A veteran journalist, he had covered almost all major national and international sporting events. Readers of all age groups praised his coverage and analysis. He was also the founder President of Sports Journalist Federation of India.
I convey my heartfelt condolence to his widow and children. I join his family, friends, and admirers in praying for the departed soul".
DISTURBED AREAS IN THE COUNTRY
The entire States of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur, entire areas under 22 Police Stations and partial areas under another 5 Police Stations in Tripura, districts of Tirap and Changlang in Arunachal Pradesh and a 20 kilometer Belt from Assam border in the State of Arunachal Pradesh have been currently declared as distributed areas in the North East under the provisions of the Armed Forces (Special powers) Act, 1958.
Under the provisions of Armed Forces (Jammu & Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990, the areas falling within 20 kms. Of the Line of Control in the districts of Rajouri and Poonch and the entire districts of Anantnag, Baramulla, Badgam, Kupwara, Pulwama and Srinagar have also been currently declared as disturbed areas.
Steps taken by the Government to combat militancy in the disturbed areas include, interalia, strengthening of border management, neutralising plans of the militants by pro-active action against them in the hinterland, deployment of Central Para Military Forces and Army; improved coordination and sharing of intelligence between the security forces; modernisation/upgradation of State Police forces; reimbursement of security related expenditure; sanction of Special Central Assistance to the State Governments; declaration of the most seriously affected area as disturbed areas and notification of the major insurgent groups as unlawful associations. The situation is also kept under watch and is reviewed from time to time for taking appropriate action. Government have also renewed their appeal to militant groups to come forward for talks. Government are al;so committed to speedy economic development of the States concerned.
This was stated by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri I.D. Swami, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
PROBLEM OF INTERNAL SECURITY SYSTEM
The internal security situation in the country, by and large, is under control. However, the major concerns centre around Pak-sponsored terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir, inter-linked and externally supported subversive activities of militant groups in the North-East and the violence perpetrated by the Left Wing Extremist groups. Public Order and Police are State subjects and maintenance of law and order is the primary responsibility of the concerned State Governments. It is for the State Governments to devise various methods and take concrete steps to improve the law and order situation in the States. The Central Government, however, keeps a close watch on various developments in the internal security scenario of the country and sensitises the concerned States from time to time. Central Para-Military Forces are also deployed whenever required by the States. Funds are also provided under various schemes to modernise and strengthen the State Police Forces. For the purpose of checking infiltration of terrorist elements, Government have adopted a well coordinated and multi-pronged approach, which includes strengthening the border management, gearing up of intelligence machinery, well coordinated intelligence based action against terrorist elements, setting up of outposts of security forces at vulnerable points etc. Steps taken in this regard have resulted in detection/neutralisation of various anti national eliments/modules.
This was stated by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri Ch. Vidyasagar Rao in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
LASER APPLICATION EMERGING AS MOST POTENT TECHNOLOGY
K R NARAYANAN INAUGURATES NATIONAL LASER SYMPOSIUM
Effective infusion of laser technology in every walk of life should be a national mission for the next ten years said the President Shri KR Narayanan. He was speaking after inaugurating National Laser Symposium- 2000 here today. Shri Narayanan said that it is very important to pursue laser technology with commitment towards self-reliance. The President said that as far as laser technology applications are concerned we must focus on the areas that are most relevant to our country and combine all indigenous expertise available to become internationally competitive.
Referring to laser technology applications in defence Shri Narayanan emphasised on new options of Electro Optical Counter Measures for low intensity conflict such as counter insurgency operations. Laser may provide the ultimate solution to the energy needs through controlled thermo nuclear reactions without the need for nuclear fission explosion he said. The President added that the emerging directed energy applications of high power lasers for missile defence might provide new deterrence capabilities that could effectively influence the world power balance equations.
Terming laser application as one of the most potent emerging technology the President said that introduction of laser technology for medical diagnostics such as eye and skin disorder treatment and painless surgery has been most rewarding for the common man.
Referring to other key areas of laser applications the President said that laser technology in a radar mode could be used in environmental monitoring, pollution control and remote sensing. Another significant application of high power laser could be nuclear waste and oil spill clean up he said.
The President underlined the importance of building a technology base in the country for optimum utilization of laser applications. To achieve this Shri Narayanan said that a long-term plan for close cooperation between academicians, scientists and the industry is imperative.
The National Laser Symposium was organised by Laser Science and Technology Centre of Defence Research & Development organisation in collaboration with Indian Laser Association. It has been sponsored by Department of Atomic Energy. This symposium is divided into eight technical sessions covering 16 disciplines in lasers, inclusive of 23 guest lectures. Spread over three days the symposium is being attended by about 400 delegates from various parts of the country. About 26 industries are exhibiting their state-of-the-art products at a specially organized exhibition.
RELAXATION OF NORMS FOR RURAL DRINKING WATER SUPPLY IN MADHYA PRADESH
DIGVIJAY SINGH MEETS M. VENKAIAH NAIDU
Union Minister of Rural Development, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has relaxed the conditions relating to drought affected State of Madhya Pradesh for implementation of Rural Water Supply Programme to allow activities relating to rejuvenation, replacement, restoration and renovation to be undertaken with the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) funds.
In a meeting with the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Digvijay Singh, here today, Shri Naidu disclosed that the relaxation has been done considering the acute shortage of drinking water in the rural areas of Madhya Pradesh due to deficient rainfall and depletion of ground water level. Shri Naidu further said that the Ministry is particularly sympathetic to the special needs of the drought affected districts of Madhya Pradesh and will strive to help in all possible ways. He said that the Government is currently in the process of finalizing a nation-wide Rural Roads Programme to provide road connectivity, by way of all weather roads, to all habitations with a population of 500 persons and above over the next seven years. The allocation of funds for the current year is about Rs.213 crores for Madhya Pradesh. Shri Naidu told that the number of unconnected rural habitations are maximum in the State and priority should be given to them for rural connectivity programme.
Shri Naidu lauded the efforts of Madhya Pradesh Government in implementing the rural development schemes. He pointed out that much more can be done under Swarn Jayanti Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) as only 46,000 women self-help groups have been formed in the State so far. Shri Naidu expressed the hope that national campaign would be launched shortly to create awareness for rain water harvesting concept.
Shri Naidu said that a meeting of Group of Ministers (GOM) has already been held to deal with the problem of recurring drought across the country. The GOM is interacting with the State Governments to find solutions in drought hit areas.
All the senior officers of the Ministry were present in the meeting.
NO PROPOSAL FOR CREATION OF FEDERAL POLICE FORCE TO DEAL WITH TERRORISM
There is no proposal at present to create a Federal Police Force. However, Central Government maintains some Armed Forces of the Union for specific duties including assisting the States for Law & Order and internal security duties.
The maintenance of law and order is the primary responsibility of the State Governments. The Central Government provides assistance to the States to maintain public order. The State Governments are making all efforts to deal with the prevailing internal security situations.
This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
ISI PLAN TO USE WOMEN FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITIES IN J&K
There have been some intelligence inputs indicating that Pakistan ISI is reportedly recruiting and training young women to take part in terrorist activities in J&K. They are likely to be employed as Overground Workers.
The Government of India has alerted the State Government of J&K and security forces to take necessary steps and exercise great caution.
This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri I.D. Swami in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
NEW ANTI-TERRORISM BILL
The Government does not propose to bring forward a New Anti-Terrorism Bill in the current session of Parliament. However the Law Commission of India has submitted the Draft Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2000. Some apprehensions have been expressed in various quarters relating to possible misuse of powers proposed to be given to the investigating agencies under various provisions of the Bill. The Central Government has circulated the Draft Act to all State Governments/UT Administrations for obtaining their views. Government will hold consultations with the State Government/UT Administrations, political parties, other groups etc, before a view is finalized in the matter.
This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri I.D. Swami in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
NEXUS BETWEEN DRUG SMUGGLERS AND SECESSIONISTS IN NORTH-EASTERN REGION
There are reports of a nexus between drug smugglers and secessionist groups in the North-Eastern Region. A number of members of secessionist groups have been found to be in possession of drugs when arrested.
The Government has reports that the Pak ISI has been helping the North Eastern militants/terrorists in purchase and transportation of arms consignments from abroad to the North Eastern Region. The reports also indicate that the Pak ISI is providing assistance to North Eastern militants in terms of money.
The Security Forces deployed along the borders have been alerted and are kept apprised about any reports of smuggling of arms and drugs. Narcotics Control Bureau has taken several steps in close coordination with the Governments of North Eastern States for checking smuggling of drugs and the position is reviewed from time to time at various levels. Besides modernisation/upgradation of State Police Forces by grant of Central financial assistance, information received from various sources is shared with the State Governments for taking appropriate steps for checking smuggling of arms and drugs. The other steps taken are to intensify patrolling in the border areas, erection of observation Post Towers, increase in the number of Nakas, supply of sophisticated gadgets including night vision devices, jeeps, tractors, motor cycles and motor boats as well as the reduction of gaps between Border Out Post s in vulnerable areas.
This was stated by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri I.D. Swami in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
SCHEME OF MARGIN MONEY TO SURRENDERED MILITANTS
No. of Surrendered militants registered in Assam year-wise since inception of surrender programme is as below:-
1998 : 251
1999 : 676
2000 : 1900 (upto 6.12.2000)
The Scheme for Surrender-Cum-Rehabilitation of Militants in the North East is applicable to those militants who have surrendered/surrender after 01.04.1998 with at least one weapon specified in the scheme itself. However, in exceptional and deserving cases, militants, who surrender without arms, may also be considered for rehabilitation under the Scheme. At present, the Scheme covers only Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura. The Government of India provides 100% reimbursement for expenditure incurred on the rehabilitation of surrenderees.
Benefits under the Scheme are as follows:
1. Persons eligible under the Scheme will be initially lodged in a Rehabilitation Camp where they will be imparted training in a trade/vocation of their liking or befitting their aptitude.
2. They shall be paid a monthly stipend for a period of 12 months. The stipend in respect of a surrenderee shall not exceed Rs.2000/- per month. The scale of stipend for various categories of surrenderees will be decided by the State Government in consultation with the Government of India.
3. Board and lodging at the Rehabilitation Camp will be free.
The Government of Assam implemented a scheme called "100% Special Margin Money Scheme" for rehabilitation of misguided youths from 01.06.92 to 31.03.97. The benefit under this scheme was extended to 4843 ULFA and Bodo surrenderees involving Rs.30.30 crores of margin money provided by the State Government and Rs.69 crores loan given by various nationalised banks against State Government guarantee. The self employment avenues created by State Government are piggery farming, fishery, poultry farming, broiler farming, dairy farming, mini tea gardening etc.
The Central Government does not favour the proposal of the Government of Assam for reimbursement of accumulated loan burden by the Centre.
This was stated by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri I.D. Swami, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabh today.
POSTAL STRIKE STATUS REPORT
Efforts to keep post offices, especially the Head Post Offices open has been largely successful. In 11 out of 19 Circles, 85% to 100% Head Post Offices remained open today on the 9th day of the strike. These Post Offices provided basic postal services like sale of stamps, booking of speed post and registered articles, booking of Money Orders and Savings Bank deposits and withdrawals. Delivery of speed post and ordinary mail has also picked up. The overall percentage of staff attendance in the Circles has also improved. Meanwhile, Home guards and NCC cadets have also been pressed into service in various states in the country to deliver mail and for manning the counters at the post offices.
All Heads of Circles have been asked to identify atleast one office at each District/Tehsil headquarters which should provide the necessary counter services. They have also been asked to make arrangements for transmission of bags and keep the Very Small Aperture Terminals(VSATs) operational. Postal Assistants/Sorting Assistants recruited/selected but awaiting institutional training as well as pensioners, home guards and college students have been enrolled with a view to provide essential services.
The Postal Unions, namely the National Federation of Postal Employees(NFPE), Federation of National Postal Organisations(FNPO) and Bharatiya Postal Employees Federation(BPEF) are on indefinite strike since 5th December, 2000 demanding among other things implementation of the positive recommendations of the Talwar Committee and issues relating to service matters of the different Departmental cadres.
REVIEW OF AIR CARGO CAPACITY AND DEMAND DURING WINTER OF 2000-2001
A meeting was held under the chairmanship of DGCA with their representatives of international cargo operators, exporters association, air cargo agents and Airports Authority of India to review the air cargo capacity and demand so as to enable the cargo operators to plan additional flights to meet the demand of the exporters. The meeting was called on the advise of the Civil Aviation Minister, Shri Sharad Yadav to assess the air cargo capacity and demand during the current season so as to avoid the problem of acute shortage of cargo capacity experienced by the exporters during the season of 1999-2000.
It may be recalled that during the last season some of the exporters faced cancellation of their orders on account of delay in export of their goods. DGCA informed the representatives that at present on an average about 30,000 tonnes of goods are exported by air per month.
It was observed in the meeting that export air cargo may grow about 12 to 15 per cent over the previous year and from planning point of view additional 20 per cent capacity be provided over and above the capacity available during 1999-2000. Substantial increase in capacity for carriage of cargo has taken place during the year 2000 as a result of additional passenger flights introduced by scheduled airlines and also by addition of non-scheduled cargo flights.
Most of cargo operators informed that at present the capacity available is much more than the cargo available and a considerable proportion of their capacity remains unutilised. The present capacity available on scheduled passenger flights and the non-scheduled cargo flights is expected to meet the increased demand of cargo capacity during the initial peak period of 2000-2001. A number of airlines like Alitalia, British Airways, Swiss Air, KLM, Aeroflot and Lufthansa Cargo expressed willingness to add cargo capacity if required, to meet the increased demand during the later part of 2000-2001 period.
The DGCA Shri H.S. Khola advised the cargo operators to plan additional capacity keeping in view the expected growth of export cargo. They were also advised not to increase the rates unreasonably. The operators assured to provide full cooperation with regard to provision of capacity and also the rates.
Airports Authority of India confirmed that they are fully geared in all respects to meet the increased requirement of cargo export. The situation will again be reviewed in 2001. In all 49 representatives participated in the meeting.
PRIME MINISTER'S SPEECH ON THE OCCASION OF PRESENTATION OF THE PRIME MINISTER'S TROPHY FOR THE BEST INTEGRATED STEEL PLANT
Following is the text of the Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee's speech on the occasion of presentation of the Prime Minister's Trophy for the Best Integrated Steel Plant here today:
"I am happy that I have now been able to keep my date with India's steel industry and to give away the Prime Minister's trophy for the Best Integrated Steel Plant to Bhilai Steel Plant for 1997-98 and the Tata Iron and Steel Company for 1998-99. I congratulate both winners, in particular the Bhilai Steel Plant, which has won this trophy for the fifth time.
Friends, I am aware of the importance of steel in India's economy. I shared the joy of every Indian in the late 1950s and early 60s as India's big integrated steel plants were set up. These were certainly powerful symbols of India's economic resurgence after Independence.
I was equally happy to know that the industry did not rest on its laurels. A massive modernization program was launched in the late 1980s and early 1990s to modernize our steel plants. Since our economic reforms in 1991, our industry has grown even faster. In the last decade, twelve million tonnes of steel capacity were added, almost all of which were in the private sector. India today has the tenth largest steel industry in the world.
I am aware that the Indian steel industry is passing through a critical phase, in line with the world steel industry. Steel prices have fallen because global demand has fallen. In India too, the demand for steel could not pick up due to various reasons. What is to be done? I have gone through the well-researched Profile of the Indian Iron and Steel Industry, brought out by the Joint Plant Committee and I found some startling facts.
Our labor productivity is low. A South Korean company's productivity, as measured by metric tonnes per man year is almost thirteen times higher than that of SAIL. However, it is good that some progress has been made in rationalizing the workforce of our steel industry, but we need to do more. In India itself, I see from the publication, a new private steel plant is able to produce nearly the same quantity of steel as an older private plant, but employing only one-twentieth of the workforce.
Further, transport costs are too high. It is indeed shocking that it costs much more to ship one tonne of steel from Jamshedpur to Mumbai than it costs to import it all the way from Rotterdam. Steel accounts for fourteen percent of the goods traffic of our Railways. Such volumes should give you the clout to negotiate more competitive rates for your industry.
You also suffer from high costs of fuel, electricity, and other administered prices.
Indian industry should be ready to meet these challenges, which are going to be fierce, not only from within the country but also from outside. We should have a well-planned strategy to meet this test. We are blessed with the finest minerals used in the steel industry and have a many scientists and technologists. We are also strategically located. I do not see any reason why we cannot be successful, like some developed economies, who do not have as much natural resources as we do. This calls for a total commitment from promoters, management, and workers of the Indian steel industry. The fact that Indian managers, scientists, and IT professionals are much sought after in even developed countries is indeed a tribute to our ability. We are second to none and we must prove it too.
I am sure that the measures taken by my Government for infrastructure development will stimulate steel demand in the country. Steel is the most important engineering and construction material in the modern world and plays an essential role in meeting the challenge of sustainable development in the Twenty First Century. I have full faith in the future of the Steel Industry.
My confidence in India's steel making industry is matched by the expertise shown abroad by Indian steel makers. If an Indian, in just two decades, has created one of the world's largest and fastest-growing steel companies, and can manage one of the largest integrated steel plants in the world, I am sure that our domestic steel industry too can scale greater heights of success with the help of a proper policy environment.
The Steel Ministry has rightly identified the adoption of eco-friendly measures and quality control in their Vision 2020. While we strive to produce more and more steel, we should also preserve our environment. The industry should not consider investment in pollution control as a wasteful expenditure. We should strive towards zero-solid waste generation, so that indiscriminate waste disposal does not contaminate Mother Nature.
I would like to emphasize continuing research and development to improve quality and lower costs. The Steel Development Fund has a yearly allocation of Rs.150 crore for R&D; I would like the industry, including the private sector to make full use of this fund. Better-quality finished products not only will help you win market share in domestic and global markets, it will also make a direct difference to the lives of the final consumers. For example, consistently good quality steel rails would help our Railways improve their efficiency and safety. Similarly, better quality steel would allow the makers of consumer durables to produce better products that will, in turn, increase their sales.
My Government is implementing the second generation of economic reforms. This will bring more opportunities and challenges. There will be more competition in the international market from major steel producing countries in the world. Government will try to give the Indian steel industry a level playing field, but the industry should not depend on the Government alone for protective measures. We have to reduce our cost of production of steel and to produce steel of world-class quality. However, let me assure you that no injustice will be allowed to be perpetuated on any segment of Indian industry, whether from within or from outside.
I also believe that using the full benefits of Information Technology will give a big boost to the competitiveness of our steel industry. If we combine India's newly-developed powers in IT with the enormous resources of coal and iron that Mother Nature has endowed on us, we should be able to build a world-beating steel industry.
Coming back to the Prime Minister's trophy, I would like to make a suggestion for its future. Today, this trophy is given to an integrated steel plant. Most of these plants are in the public sector, which is why Bhilai has, deservedly, won the prize so often. However, today, it is the private sector, which accounts for a growing share of the steel industry. Thanks to changing technology, they may not always go in for an integrated steel plant, since other ways of making steel may be equally competitive.
Therefore, to make this most important prize in our steel sector applicable to the entire industry, I would like that in future, this prize be given, not to an integrated steel plant, but to an entire large Indian steel company. This could be in the private or public sector. It could use any technology. The aware should be given for the biggest improvement in some well-defined criteria in the previous year.
It is also time that we honor the memories of the pioneers of the steel industry in India - Jamsetji Tata and M. Visveswaraya. It would be in the fitness of things if this prize was renamed from that of the Prime Minister's trophy to the Visveswayara trophy or Jamsetji Tata trophy. Prime Ministers will come and go.
Let me conclude by wishing you all the best for the next year and the next decade. India's steel industry has had a big role in building a modern India in the last fifty years. I am sure that it will continue to have an important role in the next fifty years in building the India of our dreams.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the following appointments:
Shri K.B. Saxena, IAS (BH:64), presently Adviser, Planning Commission, as Secretary, Department of Official Language vice Shri Ashok Kumar, superannuating on 31.12.2000.
Shri S.S. Boparai, IAS (PB:64), presently in the cadre, as Adviser, Planning Commission in the rank and pay of Secretary vice Shri K.B. Saxena.
Shri K. Kosalram, IAS (AP:65), presently Chairman, Tariff Commission, as Secretary, Department of Urban Development Vice Shri N.N. Mookerjee, superannuating on 31.12.2000.
Shri V. Govindarajan, IAS (AP:67), presently in the cadre, as Secretary, Department of Company Affairs vice Dr. P.L. Sanjeev Reddy, superannuating on 31.12.2000.
Shri R. Ramanaathan, IA&AS(65), presently in the cadre, as Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority in the rank and pay of Secretary vice Shri Arun Kumar, superannuating on 31.12.2000.
Shri Vikram Sood, RAS (66), as Secretary (R) Vice Shri A.S. Dulat retiring on 31st December, 2000.
Shri S. Sundarajan, RAS (66), as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Cabinet Secretariat in the pay scale of Rs. 26,000/- (Fixed) w.e.f. 1.1.2001.
REHABILITATION OF NARMADA DAM DISPLACED PERRSONS
Consequent upon the permission of the Supreme Court to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (Narmada Dam), the construction work on the dam upto 90m. has commenced with effect from. 31.10.2000. Out of total 40835 families to be affected at full height of the dam, 12191 families have been resettled upto 16.11.2000 and 28644 families remain to be settled. An action plan to raise the height of the Narmada Dam beyond 90m. pari passu with Environment and R&R clearance, at each stage of the construction, was considered by the Narmada Control authority (NCA) in its 61st meeting held on 17.11.2000 and a time frame for R&R of the balance families upto the full height of Dam by December, 2004 was finalized.
NCA has set up R&R sub-group under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment for coordination and monitoring of the plan and progress of R&R work. Governments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have also established Grievance Redressal Authoirites (GRAs) in the respective States for the redressal of the grievances in the work of R&R under the Sardar Sarovar Project.
This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Smt. Bijoya Chakravarty, in a written reply to the question from Shri Narendra Mohan in the Rajya Sabha in the current Session of the Parliament.
CONSTITUTION OF CENTRAL GROUND WATER BOARD
The Supreme Court of India vide its order dated 10.12.1996 had directed the Central Government to constitute the Central Ground water Board (CGWB) as an Authority under Section-3(3) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for the purpose of regulation and control of ground water management and development.
In pursuance of the orders dated 10.12.1996 of the Supreme Court, the Government have constituted the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) vide notification dated 14.01.1997. As per the notification, the Authority have to exercise the following powers:-
The Authority has recently been re-constituted vide notification dated 06.11.2000.
This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Smt. Bijoya Chakravarty, in a written reply to the question from Shri Sanjay Nirupam in the Rajya Sabha in the Current Winter Session of the Parliament.
CONSTRUCTION OF HIGH LEVEL DAMS AND RESERVOIRS ON VARIOUS RIVERS
During the visit of the Prime Minister of Nepal to India the two Prime Ministers agreed that the on going progress about the Sapt Kosi High Dam and Sun Kosi-Kamla Diversion Projects be expedited.
Both the governments of India and Nepal have decided to take up field surveys and investigations to prepare a joint detailed project report of Sapt Kosi Sun Kosi Multipurpose Project based on an agreed inception report of the project.
This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Water Resourcces, Smt. Bijoya Chakravarty, in a written reply to the question from Prof. Ram Deo Bhandary in the Rajya Sabha in the current Session of the Parliament.
CAUVERY WATER DISPUTE
Cauvery River Authority has been constituted on 11.8.1998 to give effect to the implementation of Interim Order dated 25.06.1991 of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) and all its related subsequent orders. It has held one meeting during this year on 14.07.2000 under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. In the meeting, the Authority confirmed the minutes of the first meeting and approved the Rules and Regulations for Conduct of the Business of the Cauvery River Authority. The Authority considered the issue of release of water into Mettur Reservoir in accordance with the Interim Orders of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and agreed that Government of Karnataka would endeavour to make good the deficit in inflow in Mettur Reservoir for the month of June, 2000 within the next 30 days and similarly, Government of Tamil Nadu would endeavour to make available the required quantities of water to Pondicherry.
This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Water Resourcces, Smt. Bijoya Chakravarty, in a written reply to the question from Shri S.D.N.R. Wadiyar in the Lok Sabha today.
SARDAR SAROVAR DAM
The three party States namely, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan have not been paying to Gujarat their full share of cost of Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) owing to, inter alia, paucity of funds and dispute on sharing the cost of items like Resettlement and Rehabilitation interest on market borrowings etc.
The Union Government have been requesting the three party States to make payment of their outstanding dues towards SSP to Government of Gujarat. All the three party States were again urged to pay their outstanding dues of SSP to Government of Gujarat as per the schedule in the 60th and 61st meeting of NCA held on 18.07.2000 and 17.11.2000 respectively.
This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Water Resourcces, Smt. Bijoya Chakravarty, in a written reply to the question from Smt. Jayaben B. Thakkar in the Lok Sabha today.
COMMUNICATION NETWORK IN TRIBAL AREAS
The Ministry of Communications has formulated Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) as a part of the 9th Five Year Plan for providing telecom facilities in the tribal areas. For all round and faster development of telecom facilities in tribal areas, the Ministry is treating these areas as Special Focus Areas.
The main objectives of the TSP are :-
This information was given by the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Shri Jual Oram in a written reply to the question from Shri Prahlad Singh Patel in the Lok Sabha today.
CENTRAL ASSISTANCE TO ASHRAM SCHOOLS UNDER TRIBAL SUB-PLANThe Ministry of Tribal Affairs is implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme called "Establishment of Ashram Schools in Tribal Sub-Plan Areas".
The amount released for the construction of Ashram Schools in Gujarat as Central share during the last two years is as under:-
|99.||Rs. 175.29 lakhs|
|2000||Rs. 83.17 lakhs|
|Total Rs. 258.46 lakhs.|
Since inception of the scheme in 1990-91, the Government of India has released an amount of Rs. 320.44 lakhs to the Government of Gujarat upto 31.03.2000. The state Government has confirmed that they have already utilised the grant released by the Central Government.
This information was given by the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Shri Jual Oram in a written reply to the question from Shri Bachani Lekhraj in the Lok Sabha today.
UTILISATION OF GODAVARI WATER
Three major irrigation projects namely, Sriram Sagar Project (SRSP) Stage-II, Flood Flow Canal from SRSP and Chagalnadu Lift Irrigation Scheme and 5 medium irrigation projects namely, Yerravagu, Palemvagu, Sudedabagu, Peddavagu and Surampalem Phase-I located in Godavari basin have been accepted by the Technical Advisory Committtee subject to certain obeservations.
The Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal adjudicated the water sharing between the riparian States of Godavari basin and gave its award in July, 1980. During the period 1975-80, the five riparian States namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, maharashtra, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh entered into various bilateral and trilateral agreements for the distribution of Godavari waters. The Tribunal ordered that all these agreements should be observed and carried out by the party States. Being a state subject, irrigation projeccts are investigated, planned, executed and funded by the State Governments out of their own resources and as per their priorities.
This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Water Resourcces, Smt. Bijoya Chakravarty in the Lok Sabha today.