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Andhra Pradesh

Five dead as truck collides with Bangalore-Nanded Express in Anantapur district

Five people, including a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, died when a truck laden with granite crashed through the gate of a manned level crossing and rammed into the Bangalore City-Nanded Express in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in the early hours of Monday.

 
Five dead after truck rams into Bangalore-Nanded Express in Anantpur
 
Five people, including a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, died when a truck laden with granite crashed through the gate of a manned level crossing and rammed into the Bangalore City-Nanded Express in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in the early hours of today.
 
Those killed in the incident included three passengers of the train, a railway AC mechanic, who was travelling in the AC I coach which bore the brunt of the collision, and the driver of the truck, South Western Railway and Anantapur police officials told NetIndian.
 
The victims included senior Congress leader A Venkatesh Naik, 79, four-time member of the Lok Sabha from Raichur in Karnataka and the current member of the state legislative assembly from Devadurg constituency, they said.
 
At least three other people suffered injuries in the mishap, which occurred at around 2.23 am when the 16594 Bangalore City – Nanded Express was crossing the level crossing gate number 77 between Rangepalli and Penukonda stations on the Dharmavaram section of Bangalore Division of South Western Railway.
 
The officials said the driver of the truck appeared to have lost control over the vehicle and it crashed through the level crossing gate and hit the train.
 
Four coaches of the train -- an AC I coach (H1), an AC III coach (B1) and two sleeper coaches (S1 and S2) derailed due to the impact of the collision.
 
Top railway officials, police and district administration officials have rushed to the scene of the mishap and efforts were being made to restore normal traffic on the affected station.
 
As a consequence of the accident, the Railways have diverted the following trains to run on alternate routes:
 
1. Train No. 17308 Bagalkot – Mysore Basava Express which left Bagalkot on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Bellary, Raidurg.
2. Train No. 12735 Secunderabad – Yesvantpur Garibrath Express which left Secunderabad on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Bellary, Raidurg.
3. Train No. 18463 Bhubaneswar – Bangalore Prasanthi Express which left Bhubaneswar on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Bellary, Raidurg.
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4. Train No. 12252 Korba - Yesvantpur Express which left Korba on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Bellary, Raidurg.
5. Train No. 16339 Mumbai CSTM – Nagercoil Express which left Mumbai on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Gooty, Renigunta.
6. Train No. 17603 Kacheguda - Yesvantpur Express which left Kacheguda on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Gooty, Renigunta.
7. Train No. 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore Karnataka Express which left New Delhi on 22.08.2015 is diverted to run via Bellary, Raidurg.
8. Train No. 12785 Kacheguda - Bangalore Express which left Kacheguda on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
9. Train No. 12591 Gorakhpur - Yesvantpur Express which left Gorakhpur on 22.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
10. Train No. 22692 H.Nizamuddin – Bangalore Rajadhani Express which left Hazarat Nizamuddin on 22.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
11. Train No. 11301 Mumbai CSTM - Bangalore Express which left Mumbai on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
12. Train No. 22133 Solapur - Yesvantpur Express which left Solapur on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
13. Train No. 16572 Bidar - Yesvantpur Express which left Bidar on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines:
 
Bangalore City Railway Station: 080 22354108, 09731666751, 080 22156553
Bangalore Cantonment: 080 2333 9163, 
Hindupur Station: 08556220444
Penukonda Station: 0855220244
Dharmavaram Station: 08559224422
Accident spot: 09701374062, 09493548005, 09448090399, 00873-763945549
Anantapur :- 09100992941, 09676903449; 08554-236444
Dharmavaram: - 08559-222555
Guntakal:- 09676903466
Yadgir:- 078999300084; 08473250365
Tandur:- 08411-272010
Vikarabad:- 08416-252013 
Bidar:- 08482-226329
Parli:-02446-222008
Nanded:- 09730471077
 
 
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Kiran Reddy quits as Andhra Pradesh CM day after LS passes Telangana Bill

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy announced his resignation on Wednesday in protest against the decision of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre to go ahead with its decision to carve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh as the 29th state of the Union.

Andhra Pradesh CM Kiran Reddy resigns, quits Congress
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy announced his resignation today in protest against the decision of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre to go ahead with its decision to carve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh as the 29th state of the Union.
 
Mr Reddy handed in his papers to Governor E S L Narasimhan a day after, amid noisy schenes, the Lok Sabha passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill, which seeks to bifurcate the state to create the new state of Telangana.
 
Before driving down to Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation, Mr Reddy addressed a press conference at which he hit out at his Congress party for allegedly flouting Parliamentary procedures in its haste to get the Bill passed.
 
"I am ashamed. They did it like thieves, blacking out the live telecast. What was the need to do all this?" he asked.
 
Thanking the party for giving him the chance to serve as Chief Minister, he, however, made it clear that he could not continue in the Congress because, according to hi, it had betrayed the Telugu people.
 
He said he would also resign as a member of the Legislative Assembly as well as from the membership of the Congress.
 
Mr Reddy said the Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had got together in the Lok Sabha yesterday to get the Bill passed.
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He was particularly upset that the Bill was passed in the absence of several MPs from Andhra Pradesh, who had been suspended from the House for disrupting proceedings on February 13.
 
There has been media speculation about Mr Reddy planning to launch a new party but he did not touch the topic today. "My future is not important," he said when asked about it.
 
Some of his Cabinet colleagues from the Seemandhra region, who were opposed to the bifurcation of the state, and several legislators were present at the press conference.
 
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20 dead after truck ploughs into group of protesters in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh

At least 20 people died and several others suffered injuries when the driver of a truck lost control over the wheel and it crashed into an electric pole and then ploughed into a group of protesters, cars and shops at Yerpedu in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh on Friday afternoon.

 
20 dead after truck ploughs into crowd in Andhra Pradesh
At least 20 people died and several others suffered injuries when the driver of a truck lost control over the wheel and it crashed into an electric pole and then ploughed into a group of protesters, cars and shops at Yerpedu in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh this afternoon.
 
The mishap occurred around 1.45 pm at Yerpedu, about 25 km from Tirupati, when a large number of people had gathered outside the local police station, located on the Putalapattu-Nayudupeta state highway, to demand action against illegal sand mining activities.
 
According to various accounts, the overladen truck appeared to be speeding when the driver lost control over the vehicle. Several people were run over by the truck while others were electrocuted when they came into high tension electric wires dangling from an electricity pole hit by the truck. Some others suffered burns that broke out in one of the shops hit by the vehicle.
 
The driver and the cleaner of the truck fled from the scene after the accident, sources said.
 
Traffic in the area was disrupted for some hours as a result of the accident, they said.
 
The victims were rushed immediately to nearby hospitals. The condition of some of the injured was stated to be serious.
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said he was deeply saddened by the incident. The State Cabinet has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the next-of-kin of those killed in the accident.
 
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Cabinet nod for setting up Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy at Visakhapatnam

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for the setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh as "an Institute of National Importance" through an Act of Parliament.
 
The institute will have the governance structure as well as legal mandate to grant degrees in a manner similar to that enjoyed by Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), an official press release said. 
 
A separate Act will also impart the required status to the institute to become a "Centre of Excellence" in petroleum and energy studies, it said.
 
The Cabinet also approved Rs. 655.46 crore as capital expenditure to set up IIPE and contribution of Rs. 200 crore towards its Endowment Fund (in addition to a contribution of Rs 200 crore from oil companies towards the Endowment Fund). 
 
The decision to set up the institute has been taken up under Schedule 13 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014. The objective is to meet the quantitative and qualitative gap in the supply of skilled manpower for the petroleum sector and to promote research activities needed for the growth of the sector. The academic and research activities of IIPE will derive strength from the Institute's proximity to sector-related activities such as KG Basin, Visakhapatnam refinery and the planned petrochemical complex at Kakinada. 
 
The Andhra Pradesh Government has allocated 200 acres of land, free of cost, for setting up of IIPE at Sabbavaram in Visakhapatnam district.
 
IIPE has been registered as a society under the AP Society Registration Act, 2001 on April 18, 2016. A temporary campus of IIPE has been set up from academic session 2016-17 from the Andhra University campus with two undergraduate programmes namely, Petroleum Engineering and Chemical Engineering (with capacity of 50 students each). IIT, Kharagpur has taken up the responsibility of mentoring the institute.
 
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TU-142M receives formal welcome as it lands at INS Dega for last time

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu welcomed the TU-142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft of the Indian Navy which landed at INS Dega for the last time this morning.
 
A special ceremony organised at INS Dega to formally welcome the aircraft was attended by Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Vice- Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, MPs, MLAs and host of other civil dignitaries. The Chief Minister also interacted with the crew members and exchanged mementos.
 
Andhra Pradesh had earlier requested the Ministry of Defence for allotment of one de-inducted TU-142M for converting into a museum. The request is being processed at the Ministry. Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) would be coordinating all activities related to aircraft museum on the state government's behalf.
 
The TU is likely to be dismantled and transported by road on trailers and reassembled on the Beach Road near Kursura Submarine Museum, an official press release said.
 
With imposing looks and a lethal punch to match, the TU-142M aircraft which have been nothing short of a ‘Flying Destroyer’, was given an impressive welcome as it landed for the last time at Visakhapatnam by a flypast of three Chetak helicopters, two Kamov helicopters, two Dorniers, and one P-8I Aircraft.
 
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After having served the Indian Navy with pride and élan for 29 years, during which it accomplished 30,000 hours of accident free flying, the TU-142M aircraft were given a befitting farewell on March 29 at INS Rajali Naval Air Station in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu.
 
Over the years, the TU-142M has rendered yeoman service to the nation and has taken part in all major exercises and operations including Operation Cactus in Maldives, Op Vijay in 1998, Op Parakram in 2002 and Anti-piracy Operations.
 
The squadron was awarded Unit Citation by the Chief of Naval Staff in the year 2002 for outstanding professionalism and momentous contribution to the Service and adjudged the Best Frontline Squadron on numerous occasions over the years.
 
Earlier, the Chief Minister interacted with the family members of B Sambha Murthy, Chargeman, P Nagendra Rao, RV Prasad Babu (both Highly Skilled (HSK) Grade II), N Chinna Rao and G Srinivas (both Tradesman Mate (TMM) of NAD) who went missing in Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft last July and distributed cheques of Rs. 5 lakh as ex-gratia amounts.
 
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Prabhu flags off extension of Tirupati-Kalyandurg Passenger train service upto Kadiri Devarapalli

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Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu  inaugurated the extension of the 57477/57478 Tirupati - Kalyandurg passenger train up to Kadiri Devarapalli through video conferencing from Railway Board here yesterday.
 
Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Chairman, Railway Board, A. K. Mital, Member Traffic Railway Board Mohd Jamshed and other Railway Board Members and senior officials were present on the occasion.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Prabhu said the new line constructed from Rayadurg-Tumkuru and  Kalyandurg to Kadiri Devarapalli section was part of this line. The train will facilitate pilgrims travelling to Tirupati, he said.
 
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‘Inside Tirumala Tirupati’ to premiere on National Geographic Channel on March 27

Filmmaker Rajendra Kondapalli with his crew during the making of Inside Tirumala Tirupati, a documentary film that will premiere on National Geographic Channel on March 27, 2017
Filmmaker Rajendra Kondapalli with his crew during the making of Inside Tirumala Tirupati, a documentary film that will premiere on National Geographic Channel on March 27, 2017
A documentary titled ‘Inside Tirumala Tirupati’ directed by New Delhi- based award-winning documentary film maker Rajendra Srivathsa Kondapalli, will premiere on National Geographic India channel tomorrow.
 
While most pilgrims wait in line for hours for a fleeting glimpse of the deity, this film allows viewers to experience the temple and its surroundings like an insider would, including getting a front-row seat to witness the spectacular annual celebration of Brahmostavam – an event that attracts such massive crowds that it makes the Tirumala temple one of the most visited Hindu pilgrimages in the world.
 
The film presents the magnificent sanctum and its setting through time-lapse and hyper-lapse photography. The viewers would get a feeling of walking alongside devotees who scale the Seshachalam or Seven Hills on foot to reach the hilltop temple for a coveted Darshan of Lord Venkateshwara.
 
Besides Annaprasadam kitchens, the viewers are led to the exclusive temple kitchens, where the world-famous Tirupati laddoo is prepared as ‘prasadam’ or sacred offering. The film also provides information about crowd management systems that allow over 60,000 people to visit the temple every day.
 
The film shines a light on the spiritual caretakers of the temple - the priesthood and Jeers, who conduct the temple’s religious sevas and activities day in and day out. It takes viewers on an arcane trip to a very special school – Veda Paathshala - for priests that seems to have come out of the pages of ancient texts. The film lingers a while in the majestic Seshachalam forest-hills and visits the site, where an ecological project is reviving one of the most precious natural resources in the plant world.
 
In perhaps one of the most exclusive scenes, the film gives viewers an intimate look into the innermost sanctum of the temple through the made-for-television replica temple called ‘Namoona Aalayam’ that allows cameras to capture the special chamber of the main deity of Sri Venkateswara Swamy (mool virat) without breaking religious protocol.
 
This intimate lens then expands its view to invite viewers into one of the most spectacular events in the temple’s calendar: the Tirumala Brahmotsavam. The nine-day festival presents the temple town in all its festive glory – with grand processions, celebrations and jubilant expressions of devotion.
 
Kondapalli says that as director and executive producer of 'India’s Mega Kitchens' a top-rated documentary series for National Geographic, he had approached TTD to feature their Annaprasadam kitchens in one of the episodes.
 
“After extensive reconnaissance and research, I felt there was a much bigger story to the Tirumala Temple beyond just its kitchen. That’s how the idea germinated, to tell a larger story,” he added.
 
It took more than a year to develop and produce the film, including in-depth research with the cooperation of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam and Chief Priests. The production was carried out in two schedules, one to capture the exclusive location and various activities as well as catch behind-the-scenes action.
 
A dedicated shoot schedule was planned to coincide with the Tirumala Brahmotsavam event, where live-action was captured among crowds as huge as over 1 lakh people. Around six months of post production included editing, scripting, creating state-of-the-art graphics & visual effects and sound design.
 
He said Inside Tirumala Tirupati promo views on National Geographic Facebook page have touched more than 12 million and ticking.
 
An award winning filmmaker, Kondapalli has been creating non-fiction / factual programming for over two decades for channels like National Geographic Channel International, National Geographic Channel (India), Discovery Networks, BBC Worldwide, Doordarshan, and so on.
 
His work has spanned a spectrum of genres including factual documentaries, reality series, educational, science & technology and infotainment programs.
 
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His social awareness and science & technology films have won national and international awards including the Asian Television Award (Singapore), CMS Vatavaran, Golden Beaver Award at the National Science Festival and others.
 
Some of his most recent works as director & executive producer include: India’s Mega Kitchens – Seasons 1 & 2 for the National Geographic India, India Emerges – A Visual History for Discovery Networks, Revealed – The Golden Temple for Discovery Networks and Womb of the World – National Geographic International.
 
Shruti Takulia, Creative Director, India Productions, ?Fox Networks Group says that ‘Inside Tirumala Tirupati is National Geographic’s newest India production that delivers on its promise to bring relevant and impactful stories with a high level of editorial credibility and unprecedented access to its viewers.
 
"The one-hour special is a spectacular culmination of the hard work the entire team has put in, since it was no mean task to do justice to a concept so challenging and so immensely ingrained in to minds of the people, not only in India, but around the world. A heady mix of history, technology, scale, architecture and emotions it will definitely evoke a sense of wonder in the viewers,” she added.
 
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‘Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana’ to be launched on April 1 at Nellore

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“Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana”, a scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for senior citizens belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) category will be launched in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh on April 1, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot said today.
 
Mr. Gehlot told mediapersons that the aids and devices would be distributed in camp mode and the scheme would be implemented through the sole implementing agency, Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO), a public sector undertaking under the Ministry.
 
ALIMCO will provide one-year free maintenance of the aids & assisted living devices. The devices will help senior citizens to overcome their age related physical impairment and to lead a dignified and productive life with minimal dependence on care givers or other members of the family.
 
The ambitious scheme, first of its kind in the country, is expected to benefit 5,20,000 senior citizens over a period of three years, he added.
 
Ministers of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar and Vijay Sampla were also present.
 
As per the Census figures of 2011, the population of senior citizens in India is 10.38 crore. More than 70% of the population of senior citizens live in rural areas of the country. A sizeable percentage (5.2%) of the senior citizens suffers from some sort of disabilities related to old age. Projections indicate that the number of elderly population will increase to around 173 million by 2026.
 
The Central Government proposes to launch a new Central Sector Scheme to be put in place to provide Physical aids and Assisted Living Devices for such senior citizens suffering from age related disabilities/ infirmities, who belong to BPL category.
 
The proposal for formulation of the scheme was announced in the Budget 2015-16. Pursuant to this, the “Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana” has been formulated. The scheme aims at providing Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disability/infirmity viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested.
 
The assistive devices will be of high quality and conforming to the standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards, wherever applicable.
 
The scheme is fully funded by the Central Government. The expenditure for its implementation will be met from the "Senior Citizens' Welfare Fund".
 
Under the scheme, the following aids and assisted-living devices will be provided to eligible elderly beneficiary senior citizens, depending upon their physical impairment: Walking sticks, Elbow crutches, Walkers/Crutches, Tripods/ Quadpods, Hearing Aids, Wheelchair, Artificial Dentures and Spectacles.
 
The expected financial outlay over the next three years (i.e. upto 2019-20) is Rs. 483.6 crore. 
 
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Cabinet okays special assistance measure for Andhra Pradesh

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The Union Cabinet yesterday gave its approval for a special assistance measure for the successor state of Andhra Pradesh by way of special dispensation in funding of Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) and funding of the irrigation component of the Polavaram project. 
 
An official press release said that, under the decision, the Central Government will provide special assistance measure to Government of Andhra Pradesh, which would make up for the additional Central share the State might have received during 2015-16 to 2019-20, if the funding of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) would have been shared at the ratio of 90:10 between the Centre and the State. 
 
The special assistance will be provided by way of repayment of loan and interest for the Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) signed and disbursed during 2015-2016 to 2019-20 by the State. 
 
The release said funding will be provided for 100% of the remaining cost of the irrigation component only of the Polavaram project for the period starting from 1.4.2014, to the extent of the cost of the irrigation component on that date. 
 
Andhra Pradesh Government will execute the project on behalf of Government of India. However, the overall coordination, quality control, design issues, monitoring, clearances related issues, and so on are to be dealt by the Polavaram Project Authority of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation. 
 
The Polavaram Project Authority will also assess out the cost of the irrigation component as on 01.04.2014 in consultation with the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance. 
 
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The release said the support for capital expenditure by way of repayment of EAP loans would help and assist the newly formed state of Andhra Pradesh to put the State's finances on a firmer footing and promote economic growth. Further, the central funding of the irrigation component of the Polavaram Irrigation Project and its execution by the State Government shall expedite completion of the project and the increase irrigation prospects in the State benefitting the people at large. 
 
The Government of India, while fulfilling its commitments under Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014, has already provided "Special Assistance" of Rs.1,976.50 crore to the state during 2016-17. The amount includes Rs.1176.50 for Resource Gap, Rs.350 crore for the development of 7 backward districts covering Rayalaseema & North Coastal region and Rs.450 crore as assistance to the capital city. 
 
Apart from this, the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation has also provided Rs. 2081.54 crore for the Polavaram Irrigation Project during the current financial year. Thus, the Central Government, after the enactment of the Reorganisation Act, has provided Central assistance of Rs.10,461.04 crore to the state of Andhra Pradesh which includes Rs.4403 crore released during 2014-15, Rs.2000 crore released during 2015-16 and Rs. 4058.04 in released in 2016-17. 
 
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300 participants attend Fintech Valley Spring Conference in Visakhapatnam

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More than 300 participants from India and abroad attended the maiden edition of Fintech Valley Spring Conference 2017, the Andhra Pradesh's flagship initiative that brought together industry, academia and investors to innovate, create and build the fintech ecosystem in the state.
 
The two-day event, which ended here today, was a "spectacular success", with the presence of global corporations, government representatives, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, artists and visionaries who gathered in this valley to to build capacity, infrastructure, market access, connectivity, funding channels, and incentive mechanisms, a press release from the organisers said.
 
The aim of the discussions was to nurture a "fintectonic" culture that disrupts traditional models of business and sets a platform for innovation and growth, it said.
 
Prize money of Rs.  5 lakh and one-year free office space was provided in the Fintech Tower in Vizag to Start-up challenge winners.
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu interacted with the delegates for an hour through video-conferencing and took inputs from the fintech community. He will chair The Fintech Valley Forum set up to focus on various aspects of the ecosystem creation. 
 
Mr. Naidu told the gathering that the conference was a step towards joining the "Fourth Industrial Revolution which is a spectacular combination of technology and Internet of Things (IoT)".
 
"In recent times, technology has started influencing our lives in a comprehensive manner. The demand for Fintech is growing each day. To meet this demand, we would need the support from Fintech and Cyber security companies. We also need the academic institutions to adapt curriculum that trains individuals to contribute to fintech sector," he said.
 
Special Chief Secretary and IT Adviser to the AP Chief Minister, Mr. J. A. Chowdary, thanked the gathering for reposing their faith in this initiative. “This two-day conference was a success in encouraging the spirit of the fintectonic culture. We intend to build on this momentum and leverage it to generate employment that meets new demands of the global economy," he said.
 
An informative workshop segment was led by Mr. Balasubramaniam, Chief Executive Officer - E-Pragati on e-governance and sandbox opportunities with the government. 
 
Addressing the gathering over video conference, Mr. J Satyanarayana, Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and former IT Secretary, “Though our current ecosystem is well established having our welfare programs linked to Aadhar, we are trying to expand our current portfolio consisting of 72 projects. The Andhra Pradesh – E-pragati portfolio is a strong foundation for fintech and I am convinced that Vizag will vibrate with the fintech mantra in the months to come.”
 
Andhra Pradesh Technology Services (APTS) Managing Director Premchand spoke about creating joint ventures and special purpose vehicles with innovative start-ups. “We are actively looking to collaborate with start-ups to open doors and conduct business with Government of Andhra Pradesh and also with other state governments," he said.
 
“In India, there isn’t a problem with talent but with having the right attitude. Culture tends to eat strategy for breakfast. There is a need to create a shift in the mindset and to look at things differently. For this, I would propose the 3D’s - Digitalization, Differentiation and Disruption,” said Ms. Latha Ayyar, Special Representative for IT and Innovation to Government of Andhra Pradesh and COO, Bharti AXA at a panel discussion titled ‘Disruption in Insurance Value Chain - Role of Insurtech.’ 
 
Also contributing to this panel discussion on making insurance relevant to millennials and widening the insurance consumer market were Mr. Thomson Thomas, Chief Distribution Officer, HDFC Life; Mr. Girish Nayak, Chief of Operations and Technology, ICICI Lombard; Mr. Shwetank Verma, Director Collab (Open Innovation), MetLife; Mr. Shashwal Sharma, Partner KPMG and Mr. Varun Dua, Co-founder, Coverfox. KPMG is the knowledge partner for Fintech Valley Vizag Spring Conference 2017.
 
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There were three insurance challenges by corporate partners HDFC Life, ICICI Lombard and Bharti AXA. The overall winner in insurance category was declared as iProov. In the Banking Category, for the ICICI Bank Start-up Challenge 2017, Kyriba and Nimbuzz won relating to payments and remittances. In the Capital Market Category, the Angel Broking Start-up Challenge 2017, involving real-time social profiling of customers, was won by Hello Soda and Blueocean.
 
Contemplating ways in which Blockchain is transforming the future of Financial Services infrastructure, an interactive panel comprising Mr Akshay Dhanak, Vice President, Business System & Technology, HDFC Life; Sudin Baraokar, Head of Innovation, SBI; Ms Rachna Nath, Partner, KPMG; Mr Vinay Agarwal, CEO, Angel Broking; Mr Paul Kitti, Co-founder, TenX and Mr Hitesh Sarda, Director, Value Labs, discussed the issue threadbare. The speakers pondered on actions that can be initiated by institutions for reinventing themselves and jointly agreed that industry start-ups that develop the sentiment of trust would instigate disruption. The panelists also took questions asked by the audience and shared their excitement for the fintech valley hackathon to be held later in the year. 
 
To encourage multi-disciplinary thinking that adds greater expressiveness and meaning to the fintech culture, the ‘finteract’ series - comprising of interlinking dialogues that connect to fintech and innovation - was launched. Mr. Nitin Saluja Founder, Chaayos; Dharmil Sheth, Founder, PharmEasy and Ms. Priyanka Agrawal, renowned design thinking UI-UX were the key presenters of ‘Finteract, March 2017.’ Finteract is curated and created by Adfactors XD.
 
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10 dead as bus falls into canal in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh

 
Bus falls off bridge, 10 dead, several injured
At least 10 people died and several others suffered injuries when a private bus they were travelling in crashed off a bridge into a canal near Moolapadu village in Penuganchiprolu mandal of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh early this morning.
 
District Collector A. Babu told NetIndian over the telephone from Vijayawada that the mishap occurred around 5 am today when the bus was on its way from Bhubaneswar to Hyderabad.
 
He said the bus jumped the median on the four-lane highway, a part of the Golden Quadrilateral, and fell into the canal through a gap in the two bridges on either side of the road.
 
Mr. Babu said some others suffered injuries and were rushed to hospitals in Vijayawada, about 50 km from the scene of the accident, where the condition of one of them was stated to be serious. 
 
The bus, belonging to Diwakar Travels, was carrying 44 passengers in all. The deceased included nine passengers and the driver of the bus, he said.
 
Local people were the first to rush to the spot and help extricate the passengers from the bus. Senior district administration and police officials also reached the scene shortly thereafter.
 
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Gateway Distriparks Ltd. commences operations of Container Freight Station at Krishnapatnam Port

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Gateway Distriparks Ltd. (GDL) has commenced operations of its Logistics Park & Container Freight Station (CFS) next to the Krishnapuram Port Container Terminal following the completion of construction of the first phase of the facility and all statutory approvals from the Customs Department.
 
A press release from the company said it had invested Rs. 90 crore in the first phase to develop capacity of 60,000 TEUs in bonded container yard and 50,000 sq. ft. of bonded warehousing, as well as 100,000 TEUs in domestic container yard and 100,000 sq. ft. of domestic warehousing. 
 
The total land bank available is 48 acres which can be further utilised to expand capacity in the future, it said.
 
Targeting the trade and business growth in the Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka and northern Tamil Nadu region, the Logistics Park will offer comprehensive supply chain solutions through a Container Freight Station (CFS), Bonded & Domestic Warehousing, Temperature Controlled Storage along with first/last mile transportation facilities, the release said.
 
"The company sees this region as playing a key role for its growth plans, and we are happy to announce our fourth CFS in this region to support the local trade. We will continue to invest here further, through both GDL and Snowman Logistics, to maintain a high quality offering and increase capacities in the future," Ishaan Gupta, Joint Managing Director, GDL said.
 
The CFS at Krishnapatnam port, which is strategically located between Chennai and Visakhapatnam ports, is the company's 7th CFS in India. The GDL Logistics Park is the first of its kind in this region and drawing on its experience as a market leader in the industry, the company has developed the facility with world class infrastructure tailored to the trade's requirements and state-of-the-art technology to maximize efficiency, the release said.
 
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IIITDM Kurnool to be declared as Institute of National Importance

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for introduction of The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Parliament, which provides for inclusion of Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM), Kurnool along with the other IIITs in the Principal Act. 
 
Subsequently, IITDM Kurnool will be declared as an institute of National Importance with the power to award degrees to students, an official press release said.
 
The expenditure for the operationalization of IITDM Kurnool is incurred from the Plan funds of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
 
"The emerging needs of the industry and the economy as a whole for skilled technical manpower is expected to be met from the talent pool of trained personnel of the Institute. The Institute shall be open to all persons irrespective of gender, caste, creed, disability, domicile, ethnicity, social or economic background," the release said.
 
The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 confers the status of Institutions of National Importance on the IIITs and also provides for matters connected with administering these IIITs. 
 
Subsequently, the Government has approved creation of a new IIIT at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh as embodied in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014. Due to addition of a new IIIT, amendment has to be made in the IIIT Act, 2014. With this, IIITDM. Kurnool will be the fifth Member as a Centrally Funded IIIT.
 
Academic session has commenced in IITDM Kurnool in two branches of study in 2015-16, the release added.
 
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Snowman Logistics signs MoU with Government of Andhra Pradesh to set up temperature controlled warehouse

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Snowman Logistics Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to set up a temperature controlled warehouse at Sri City, a special economic zone located in Chittoor district of the state.
 
Snowman will invest approximately Rs. 30 crore in this project which will mainly cater to existing and upcoming food processing units in Sri City, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said Snowman plans to build a 10,000 pallet position multi-temperature cold storage in a phased manner, starting with 5,000 pallet positions in phase-I. The project will be financed mostly from internal accruals.
 
Sri City – an integrated business city, as it is called, has become one of the most attractive manufacturing locations for food brands. With a well laid out industrial park, many multinational and national food brands have already occupied land portions to set up manufacturing plants. Sri City is well connected with road, rail and sea network. 
 
Located just 55 km from Chennai, it is also an attractive location for exports and imports.
"With the focus on food and import/export, Sri City emerges as an upcoming location for FMCG and agri based volume for Snowman. Availability of water and power is another attraction to this location. With GST, round the corner, Sri City can become a major point of consolidation," the release said.
 
“We are excited about this project. This aligns with our strategy to provide pan India network to our clients from source to stores," Mr.  Sunil Nair, Chief Executive Officer, Snowman Logistics Limited, said.
 
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39 dead, 50 injured as nine coaches of Hirakhand Express derail in Andhra Pradesh

At least 39 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when nine coaches and the engine of the 18438 Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar link train portion of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late Saturday night, official sources said.

 
36 dead, 50 injured in train mishap in Andhra Pradesh
At least 39 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when nine coaches and the engine of the 18438 Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar link train portion of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late last night, official sources said.
 
The mishap  occurred at about 2315 hours yesterday near Koneru station, about 24 kms from Rayagada in Odisha, in Vizianagaram district under the Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (ECR).
 
The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, East Coast Railway spokesman J. P. Mishra told NetIndian. He said seven of the injured had suffered grievous injuries while some with minor injuries had been discharged after first-aid.
 
According to him, the derailed coaches included the guard-cum-luggage van, two General second class, four Sleeper class,one 2nd-cum-3rd AC and one 3rd AC coaches, apart from the engine.
 
ECR officials said Railway doctors at the scene of the accident had confirmed 39 deaths.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Railway Board Chairman A K Mital are rushing to the scene of the tragedy. Senior Railway officials, including ECR General Manager Umesh singh and Waltair Divisional Railway Manager Chandralekha Mukherjee have reached the spot and are overseeing the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Mr. Prabhu expressed profound grief over the loss of lives in the accident. He announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passengers, Rs. 50,000 for those with grievous injuries and Rs. 25,000 for those who had suffered simple injuries.
 
The Railways have ordered a statutory inquiry by Mr. Ram Kripal, the Commissioner of Railway Safety (South Central Circle), under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, into the accident.
 
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A special train with 13 coaches left with the stranded passengers of the train from Kuneru to Bhubaneswar via Rayagada-Titilagarh-Sambalpur-Angul. Buses were provided for the relief of stranded passengers to carry them to various nearby places like Brahmapur, Bhawanipatna, and so on.
 
Senior district administration officials from Vizianagaram and Rayagada and police officials also reached the scene of the mishap to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Medical relief trains with doctors and paramedical staff had also reached the site. Ambulances and personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also rushed to the spot.
 
Railway officials said Mr. Prabhu was personally monitoring the situation and had directed senior officials to reach the scene of the accident immediately and ensure prompt rescue and relief operations.
 
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers at various places for the benefit of the passengers and their relatives:
 
Vizianagaram: 08922-221202,  08922-221206
Rayagada: 06856-223400,  06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071, 07681878777
Visakhapatnam: 0891-2746344, 0891-2746330
Khurda: 0674 2490670
Bhubaneswar: 0674 2543360
Behrampur: 0680 2229632
 
With traffic on the Rayagada-Vizianagaram section affected, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated or diverted several trains.
 
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36 dead, 50 injured as nine coaches of Hirakhand Express derail in Andhra Pradesh

At least 36 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when nine coaches and the engine of the 18438 Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar link train portion of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late last night, official sources said.

 
36 dead, 50 injured in train mishap in Andhra Pradesh
At least 36 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when nine coaches and the engine of the 18438 Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar link train portion of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late last night, official sources said.
 
The mishap  occurred at about 2315 hours yesterday near Koneru station, about 24 kms from Rayagada in Vizianagaram district under the Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (ECR).
 
The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, East Coast Railway spokesman J. P. Mishra told NetIndian. He said seven of the injured had suffered grievous injuries while some with minor injuries had been discharged after first-aid.
 
According to him, the derailed coaches included the guard-cum-luggage van, two General second class, four Sleeper class,one 2nd-cum-3rd AC and one 3rd AC coaches, apart from the engine.
 
"As per the latest information, death of 36 passengers has been confirmed by the Railway doctors. 50 passengers are injured in this accident. 07 of the passengers have grievous injuries," an ECR press release said.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Railway Board Chairman A K Mital are rushing to the scene of the tragedy. Senior Railway officials, including ECR General Manager Umesh singh and Waltair Divisional Railway Manager Chandralekha Mukherjee have reached the spot and are overseeing the rescue and relief efforts.
 
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The Railways have ordered an inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety under the Ministry of Civil Aviation into the accident.
 
A special train with 13 coaches left with the stranded passengers of the train from Kuneru to Bhubaneswar via Rayagada-Titilagarh-Sambalpur-Angul. Buses were provided for the relief of stranded passengers to carry them to various nearby places like Brahmapur, Bhawanipatna, and so on.
 
Senior district administration officials from Vizianagaram and Rayagada and police officials also reached the scene of the mishap to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Medical relief trains with doctors and paramedical staff had also reached the site.
 
Railway officials said Mr. Prabhu was personally monitoring the situation and had directed senior officials to reach the scene of the accident immediately and ensure prompt rescue and relief operations.
 
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers at various places for the benefit of the passengers and their relatives:
 
Vizianagaram: 08922-221202,  08922-221206
Rayagada: 06856-223400,  06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071, 07681878777
Visakhapatnam: 0891-2746344, 0891-2746330
Khurda: 0674 2490670
Bhubaneswar: 0674 2543360
Behrampur: 0680 2229632
 
With traffic on the section affected, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated or diverted several trains.
 
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29 dead, 50 injured as eight coaches of Hirakhand Express derail near Vizianagaram

At least 29 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when seven coaches and the engine of the 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed near Kuleri in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late on Saturday night.

 
29 dead, 54 injured in train mishap in Andhra Pradesh
At least 29 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when seven coaches and the engine of the 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed near Kuneru in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late last night.
 
The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, East Coast Railway spokesman J. P. Mishra told NetIndian.
 
He said seven of the injured had suffered grievous injuries while some with minor injuries had been discharged after first-aid.
 
The mishap occurred around 11 pm yesterday when the train was on its way to Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, from Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh.
 
Railway officials said that besides the engine and the luggage van, two general coaches, two sleeper coaches, an AC 3-tier coach and an AC 2-tier coach were derailed.
 
Senior district administration officials from Vizianagaram and Rayagada, police officials and railway officials reached the scene of the mishap to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Medical relief trains with doctors and paramedical staff had also reached the site.
 
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The officials said Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu was personally monitoring the situation and had directed senior officials to reach the scene of the accident immediately and ensure prompt rescue and relief operations.
 
 
The officials said the 13 unaffected coaches left the accident site with the passengers via Sambalpur and Angul. The Railways had also arranged bus services free of cost.
 
With traffic on the section affected, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated or diverted several trains.
 
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers at various places for the benefit of the passengers and their relatives:
 
Vizianagaram: 08922-221202,  08922-221206
Rayagada: 06856-223400,  06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071, 07681878777
Visakhapatnam: 0891-2746344, 0891-2746330
Khurda: 0674 2490670
Bhubaneswar: 0674 2543360
Behrampur: 0680 2229632
 
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Rajnath lays foundation stone for NDRF campus in Andhra Pradesh

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday laid the foundation stone for the new National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) campus at Konda Pavuluru, Gannavaram, Krishna in Andhra Pradesh.
 
Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and senior officers were also present on the occasion.
 
The campus will come up on 50 acres of land provided by the Andhra Pradesh Government and the expenditure for construction will be borne by the Central government. The campus will be completed in two years. 
 
The 10th Battalion of NDRF is responsible for looking after the areas of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka for disaster response.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rajnath Singh applauded the NDRF for combating disasters within the country and beyond and committed himself to the modernisation of the force.
 
He said the NDRF today had the competence to handle radiological, nuclear and biological disasters. Its efforts have been appreciated not only in India but also in countries like Nepal and Japan where it has provided disaster relief. 
 
Recalling a conversation with the Mayor of a Japanese city, the Union Home Minister said that the mayor was particularly impressed by the way in which NDRF teams have not only rescued the survivors but also recovered the bodies of victims with full dignity.
 
Appreciating NDRF for being effective, efficient and responsive, the Minister said that people wanted more NDRF Centres and the Ministry was working on it. The personnel of this unique force will be provided with world class accommodation, he promised.
 
Referring to the request made earlier by Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, Mr Rajnath Singh said the issue of setting up of a Grey Hounds Battalion Centre and CRPF Battalion Centres in Andhra Pradesh is being seriously examined by the MHA.
 
Earlier, Mr Venkaiah Naidu in his speech said that the Union Government is fully aware of the needs of the people while fighting disasters, whether natural or manmade. The government has increased compensation for loss of life from Rs. 1.2 lakhs to Rs. 4 lakhs and the parameter of 50% crop loss for considering in giving relief has been reduced to 33% crop loss.
 
Mr Chandrababu Naidu also appreciated the NDRF for its prompt and effective response during disasters, specially Hudhud and Wardha cyclones. He announced that the new NDRF campus will be connected to Vijayawada bypass (4KM) with a metal road very soon and water supply for the campus will be provided form Pollavaram canal. He also requested the Union Home Minister to speed up the implementation of the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
 
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Modi calls for inculcating Scientific Social Responsibility on the lines of CSR

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called for the inculcation of the concept of Scientific Social Responsibility on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility to connect India's leading scientific institutions to all stakeholders, including schools and colleges.

 
India to be among top 3 countries in science and technology by 2030: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for the inculcation of the concept of Scientific Social Responsibility on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to connect India's leading scientific institutions to all stakeholders, including schools and colleges.
 
Inaugurating the 104th session of the Indian Science Congress at Sri Venkateswara University here, Mr Modi said, “We must create an environment for sharing of ideas and resources. The brightest and best in every corner of India should have the opportunity to excel in science. This will ensure that our youth get high-end training exposure to the best of science and technology to make them job-ready in a competitive world."
 
“To this end, I would exhort the National Laboratories to connect with schools and colleges to develop appropriate training programs. This will also help with the effective use and maintenance of our vast scientific and technological infrastructure,” he added.
 
Mr. Modi said laboratories, research institutions and universities in each major city region should be interlinked to function on a hub and spoke model. The hubs will share major infrastructure, drive our national science missions and be the engines that link discovery to application, he said.
 
“College teachers with background in research can be connected to the neighbouring universities and R&D institutions. Outreach activities from the institutions of eminence to schools, colleges and polytechnics will activate the latent science and technology manpower from the educational institutions in your neighbourhoods,” he added.
 
Referring to the theme chosen for this years session, “Science & Technology for National Development”, he said the government was committed to supporting different streams of scientific knowledge, ranging from fundamental science to applied science with emphasis on innovations.
 
Noting that speed and scale of changes we encounter today are unprecedented, he said tomorrow’s experts will come from investments we make today in our people and infrastructure. “I have been told that the Technology Vision 2035 document released in last year’s Science Congress, is now developing into a detailed roadmap for twelve key technology sectors. Further, NITI Aayog is evolving a holistic science and technology vision for the country,” he added.
 
“One important area that needs to be addressed is the rapid global rise of Cyber-Physical Systems. This has the potential to pose unprecedented challenges and stresses to our demographic dividend. But we can turn it into a huge opportunity by research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, deep learning, quantum communication and Internet-of-Things,” the Prime Minister said.
 
There is a need to develop and exploit these technologies in services and manufacturing sectors; in agriculture, water, energy & traffic management; health, environment, infrastructure and Geo Information Systems; security; financial systems and in combating crime, he added.
 
“We need to develop an Inter-Ministerial National Mission in the Cyber-Physical Systems to secure our future by creation of basic R&D infrastructure, manpower and skills,” Mr Modi said.
 
“The oceans that surround the Indian peninsula have over 1300 of our islands. They also give us a seven and a half thousand kilometre coastline and 2.4 million square kilometres of Exclusive Economic Zone. They contain enormous opportunities in energy, food, medicine and a host of other natural resources. The ocean economy should be a significant dimension of our sustainable future,” he added.
 
“I am told, that the Ministry of Earth Sciences is working to launch a Deep Ocean Mission to explore, understand and harness this resource in a responsible way. This could be a transformative step for the prosperity and security of the nation,” the Prime Minister said.
 
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The Prime Minister said the country's best science and technology institutions should further strengthen their basic research in line with leading global standards. Translating this basic knowledge into innovations, start-ups and industry will help us achieve inclusive and sustainable growth.
 
“SCOPUS database indicates that India now ranks sixth in the world with respect to scientific publications, growing at a rate of about 14% as against the world average growth rate of about 4%. I am sure that our scientists will further meet the challenges of enhanced quality of basic research, its technology translation and its societal connect.
 
“By 2030, India will be among the top three countries in science and technology and will be among the most attractive destinations for the best talent in the world. The wheels we set in motion today will achieve this goal,” he added.
 
The Prime Minister said science must meet the rising aspirations of the people. India fully appreciates the strong role science and technology plays in meeting the societal needs. “We must address the problems of urban-rural divide and work for inclusive development, economic growth and employment generation. To enable this, there is a need for a new overarching structure that will coordinate with all the relevant stakeholders,” he added.
 
“Our ability to mount and execute large, transformational national missions requires effective partnerships that integrate with a large stakeholder base. The effectiveness of these missions can be ensured only by getting out of our deep rooted silos, and adopting a collaborative approach, which is essential to address our multifarious development challenges rapidly and effectively. Our ministries, our scientists, R&D institutions, industries, start-ups, universities and IITs, all should work together seamlessly. In particular, our infrastructure and socio-economic ministries must make appropriate use of science and technology.
 
“Our Institutions could consider inviting outstanding scientists from abroad including NRIs for long term research associations. We should involve foreign and NRI PhD students in post-doctoral research in our projects,” the Prime Minister said.
 
“Another empowering factor for scientific delivery is the Ease of Doing Science. If we want science to deliver, we must not constrain it. Building a strong Science and Technology infrastructure that is accessible to academia, start-ups, industry and R&D labs is a priority of the government. We need to address the problems of ease of access, maintenance, redundancy and duplication of expensive equipments in our Scientific Institutions. The desirability of establishing professionally managed, large regional centers in PPP mode housing high value scientific equipment should be examined,” he added.
 
Mr. Modi said seeding the power of ideas and innovation in schoolchildren woldu broaden the base of the innovation pyramid and secure the future of the nation. As a step in this direction, the Ministry of Science & Technology will initiate a programme focused on students of classes 6 to 10. The programme will scout, mentor, reward and showcase ten lakh top innovative ideas focused on local needs from 5 lakh schools.
 
“We must provide equal opportunities to the girl child to enrol and excel in the under-represented disciplines of science and engineering and ensure continued participation of trained women scientists in nation building,” he added.
 
The Prime Minister said that, for a large and diverse country like India, technology needed to span a wide range from advanced space, nuclear and defence technologies to rural development needs in providing clean water, sanitation, renewable energy, community health, and so on.
 
“While we excel globally, we also need to develop local solutions that fit our unique context. There is a need to develop appropriate micro-Industry models for the rural areas that use local resources and skills to meet the local needs and generate local enterprise and employment.
 
“For example, we should develop a host of technologies based on efficient co-generation for clusters of villages and semi-urban areas. These technologies should aim to convert agri and bio-waste to satisfy multiple needs of electricity, clean water, crop-processing and cold storage,” he added.
 
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Stressing the role of science in planning, decision making and governance, Geo-information Systems needed to be developed and deployed to meet the development goals of the citizens, Gram Panchayats, Districts and States. A coordinated effort by the Survey of India, ISRO and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology can be transformative, the Prime Minister said.
 
“For sustainable development, we must take strong measures to focus on Waste to Wealth Management in the critical areas of electronic waste, biomedical and plastic wastes, and solid waste and waste water solutions.
 
“We are scaling up R&D on clean carbon technologies, technologies for enhancement of energy efficiency and increased and efficient use of renewable energy. Focus on environment and climate remains our priority to ensure sustainable development. Our strong scientific community can also effectively address our unique challenges. For example, can we find farmer-centric solutions to the problem of crop burning? Can we redesign our brick kilns for reduced emissions and greater energy efficiency?
“Science and technology is a key factor in the Startup India Programme launched in January 2016. Two other strong initiatives are Atal Innovation Mission and NIDHI - the National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations. These programmes focus on building an innovation driven enterprise ecosystem. Further, Public-Private partnerships with CII, FICCI and high technology private companies are being pursued to strengthen the innovation ecosystem,” he added.
 
Andhra Pradesh Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Union Minister for Science & Technology, and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, and Earth Sciences Y. S. Chowdary, General President of the Indian Science Congress Association Professor D. Narayana Rao and Sri Venkateswara University Vice Chancellor Prof. A. Damodaram were present at the function.
 
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Cyclone Vardah likely to cross north TN, south AP coast by Monday afternoon

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Vardah, the very severe cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal, is likely to weaken gradually and is expected to cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast, close to Chennai, by tomorrow afternoon.
 
A bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) at 0830 hours today said the cyclone had moved further westwards in the past six hours with a speed of 11 kmph and lay centred at 0530 hrs IST over west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 13.3ºN and longitude 84.7ºE, about 520 km east-southeast of Nellore, 490 km eastsoutheast of Machilipatnam and 480 km east-northeast of Chennai. 
 
"The system is very likely to move nearly west-southwestwards and maintain its intensity upto the evening of today, the 11th December, 2016. Thereafter, it is likely to weaken gradually while moving towards south Andhra Pradesh coast and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coast. It is very likely to cross north Tamilnadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast, close to Chennai by 12th December 2016 afternoon," the bulletin said.
 
Under the influence of the system, light to moderate rainfall would occur at many places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh and north coastal Tamil Nadu from today evening for the subsequent 36 hours, with isolated heavy to very heavy falls, it said.
 
Light to moderate rainfall was very likely over north coastal Andhra Pradesh during the same period, it said.
 
The IMD warned that squally winds with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, would prevail along and off Andhra Pradesh and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coasts from tonight. They will gradually increase becoming 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph at the time of landfall, the bulletin said.
 
Sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu coasts commencing from tonight. Sea condition along and off these coasts will become high from tomorrow morning.
 
The cyclone is expected to cause damage to thatched huts, minor damage to power & communication lines due to breaking of branches, major damage to kutcha and minor damage to pucca roads and some damage to paddy crops, banana, papaya trees and orchards.
 
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea along and off south Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during the next 48 hrs.
 
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Singapore naval ship Formidable arrives at Visakhapatnam

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Republic of Singapore Naval ship RSS Formidable arrived here today on a five-day visit to the Eastern Naval Command as a part of SIMBEX-16, the ongoing bilateral naval exercise between Singapore and India.
 
Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Khoo Aik Leong Albert, RSS Formidable is the first of the six multi-role stealth frigates which forms part of the 185 Squadron based at Changi. 
 
A senior Singapore Navy delegation headed by Colonel Aaron Beng, Commanding Officer, 185 Squadron, RSN is also visiting ENC during the period, an official press release said.
 
The visit will encompass interaction between personnel of both the navies in various professional, cultural, social and sports events. Colonel Aaron Beng, Commanding Officer, 185 Squadron, RSN and Lieutenant Colonel Albert will call-on Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief ENC and Rear Admiral  B Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.
 
SIMBEX is an acronym for ‘Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises’. Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalized when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994. This year’s edition of SIMBEX, being held in the Bay of Bengal region, would be the 23rd in the series and is aimed to increase interoperability amongst the RSN and IN as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations. 
 
The scope this exercise includes wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase scheduled from 31 October to 2 November and a diverse range of operational activities at sea during the Sea Phase to be held from 3 to 5 November. The thrust of exercises at sea this year would be on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Integrated operations with Surface, Air and Sub-surface forces, Air Defence and Surface Encounter Exercises.
 
During SIMBEX-16, the Singapore Navy is represented by RSS Formidable and Maritime Patrol Aircraft Fokker 50 operating from Port Blair.  Indian Navy will be represented by INS Ranvijay, a guided missile destroyer, INS Kamorta, an indigenous ASW stealth Corvette, one Sindhugosh class submarine, in addition to Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I, Maritime Patrol Aircraft Dornier, Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk and integral rotary wing helicopters are also scheduled to participate in the exercise.
 
The two navies share a long standing relationship with regular professional interactions that include exchange programs, staff talks and training courses. Singapore Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Lai Chung Han had earlier visited ENC and participated in IFR-16 held in February this year in the City of Destiny. RSS Formidable is scheduled to depart Visakhapatnam on 3 November.
 
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Cyclone Kyant over west-central Bay of Bengal to weaken into depresssion

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The cyclonic storm Kyant over west-central Bay of Bengal has weakened into a deep depression and is likely to weaken further into a depression during the next 12 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said this morning.
 
In a bulletin issued at 0630 hours today, the IMD said the system had moved further west-south-westwards in the past six hours with speed 12 kmph and lay centred at 0230 hrs IST today over west-central Bay of Bengal, near latitude 15.9º N and longitude 85.9º E, about 390 km south-southeast of Gopalpur, 340 km southeast of Vishakhapatnam and 500 km east of Machilipatnam. 
 
"It is most likely to move west-southwestwards during next 24 hours. It will weaken further into a depression during next 12 hours," it said.
 
The bulletin said squally winds, with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, is very likely to prevail along and off Andhra Pradesh coast from October 27-29.
 
It said sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off the Andhra Pradesh coast during this period. It advised fishermen not to venture into sea along and off Andhra Pradesh coasts from October 27-28.
 
The IMD said light to moderate rainfall was very likely to occur at many places over south Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh on October 27-28.
 
Light to moderate rainfall was very likely at many places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh on October 28-30 and over north coastal Tamil Nadu on October 29-31, with heavy rainfall at isolated places.
 
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Cyclonic storm Kyant likely to cause heavy rains, strong winds along Odisha, Andhra, TN coasts

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The cyclonic storm Kyant over central Bay of Bengal is most likely to move west=southwestwards towards west-central Bay of Bengal during the next 72 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The cyclone had moved further west-southwestwards in the past six hours with speed 18 kmph and lay centred at 1730 hrs IST of today near latitude 16.3º N and longitude 87.0º E, about 400 km southeast of Gopalpur, 430 km east-southeast of Vishakhapatnam and 620 km east of Machilipatnam.
 
"It is most likely to move west-southwestwards towards westcentral Bay of Bengal during next 72 hours," a bulletin issued at 2030 hours today by the IMD said.
 
The bulletin said squally winds, with speed reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, were likely along and off south Odisha coast on October 27 and along and off Andhra Pradesh coast from October 27-30.
 
It said sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off south Odisha coast on October 27 and along and off Andhra Pradesh coast during October 27-30. Fishermen were advised not to venture into sea along and off Andhra Pradesh coast from October 27 onwards, it said.
 
Under the influence of the system, light to moderate rainfall was very likely to occur at many places over south Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh on October 27-28. Light to moderate rianfall was likely to occur at many places at many places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, with heavy rainfall at isolated places, on October 28-30 and over north coastal Tamil Nadu on October 29-31, the bulletin added.
 
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Fast attack craft INS Tihayu joins Indian Navy

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The Indian Navy commissioned the highly manoeuvrable fast attack craft INS Tihayu at the Eastern Naval Command here today.
 
The ship was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command at a formal ceremony held at the Naval Dockyard.
 
INS Tihayu would be based here under the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh) and would be deployed for coastal patrol and surveillance operations along the Eastern Coast.
 
INS Tihayu is the second ship of the four follow-on Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (FO-WJFAC), being built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE). The ship is an improved version of WJFAC, earlier constructed by GRSE. 
 
"Conceived, designed and built indigenously, the commissioning of this ship completes the addition of another chapter to the nation’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and indigenisation efforts in the field of warship design and construction," an official press release said.
 
Named after Tihayu island (presently known as Katchal island) in the Nicobar group, the 320-tonne INS Tihayu, measuring 49 meters can achieve speeds in excess of 35 knots. The ship is manned by a team comprising four officers and 41 sailors with Commander Ajay Kashov appointed as her commissioning Commanding Officer. The ship is capable of operating in shallow waters at high speeds and is equipped with enhanced fire power. Built for extended coastal and offshore surveillance and patrol the warship is fitted with advanced MTU engines, water jet propulsion and the latest communication equipment. 
 
The ship’s armament consists of a 30 mm CRN 91 gun manufactured by Ordnance Factory, Medak. An electronic day-night fire control system --  Stabilised Optronic Pedestal (SOP) -- manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) controls the gun. The ship is also equipped with two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns (HMG) and multiple medium machine guns, besides shoulder-launched Igla surface-to-air missiles to combat aerial threats, the release added.
 
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Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh become Open Defecation Free in urban areas

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Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh became the first states to declare all their cities and town as Open Defecation Free (ODF) as the Swachh Bharat Week, that began on September 25, concluded today on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
 
A few districts, including Porbandar in Gujarat, the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, also declared their ODF status on the occasion, the second anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission, the national cleanliness campaign.
 
Porbandar district and all the 180 cities and towns in Gujarat were declared ODF in the presence of Union Minister of Drinking Water & Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at a special programme in Porbandar.
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu declared all 110 cities and towns in the State as ODF at a programme in Tirupati.
 
Addressing the participants of the Porbandar programme through a video-link, Minister of Urban Development M.Venkaiah Naidu said, “Declaration of Porbandar district and other areas as Open Defecation Free today is an interim gift to Mahatma on the occasion of his birth anniversary today and the final gift of Swachh Bharat would be presented to Gandhiji on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary on October 2,2019.
 
"The Mood of Developing India (MODI) being strongly for sanitation, Swachh Bharat Mission is becoming a people’s movement and Swachh Bharat will be realized with people leading the grand India Sanitation Alliance of all stakeholders”.
 
In a similar address to Tirupati programme, Mr. Naidu urged the people to become ‘Swachhagrahis’ to make the country free from poor hygiene in the spirit of ‘Satyagrahis’ who won political freedom for the country under the leadership of Gandhiji. He said that Rs. 186 crore had been sanctioned today for Andhra Pradesh for focusing on solid waste management in urban areas.
 
Mr. Naidu complimented Chief Ministers, concerned Ministers, Mayors, Councilors, Municipal Commissioners, the people and all others concerned for making urban areas of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh Open Defecation Free.
 
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Speaking at a Short Film Festival on Sanitation, organized by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and National Film Development Corporation, Mr. Naidu said, “While Prime Minister Narendra Modi triggered interest of the people in Swachh Bharat, the Mission is a people’s movement and the credit for building Swachh Bharat would go to the people and all stakeholders including Chief Ministers, elected representatives of the people and others. Mind and body are inseparable like the Advaita. A clean mind resides only in a clean body. Clean individuals make clean environment. Individual actions result in collective effort needed for Swachh Bharat.”. 
 
He complimented young filmmakers for making thought provoking short films on sanitation.
 
Mr. Naidu also released a book ‘In the Footsteps of Mahatma : Gandhi and Sanitation’ published by the Publications Division of the Ministry of I&B. The book was authored by Prof. Sudarshan Iyengar, a veteran Gandhian.
 
On the last day of Swachh Bharat Week today, Mr. Naidu also flagged off a Swachh Awareness Rally organized by NDMC. At a function, also organized by NDMC, Home Minister Rajnath Singh administered Swachhata Pledge at Connaught Place.
 
A Postal Stamp on Swachhat was released today by Mr. Naidu and Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha in New Delhi.
 
As many as 405 cities and towns have so far claimed to have become Open Defecation Free along with 20,000 of the 82,000 urban wards in the country. Another 334 cities and towns would become ODF by March next year.
 
Maharashtra, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and other North-Eastern States are on course to declare all urban areas as ODF soon.
 
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