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Visakhapatnam

Naidu calls for homegrown food security strategy

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Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu today called for evolving India's own homegrown food security strategy to meet the needs of the country’s increasing population.
 
Inaugurating AP AgTech Summit 2017 here, Mr Naidu said increased production and efficient distribution of food grains could move the country forward to achieve the goal of zero hunger and adequate nutrition for all.
 
“Ours is a country with a vast agro-ecological diversity and where 64%  of the total workforce in the rural areas is engaged in agriculture and contributes 39% of the total rural net domestic product.
 
“Agriculture plays a vital role in India’s economy. Agriculture, along with fisheries and forestry contributes around 17% of the Gross Value Added (GVA) during 2016-17 at 2011-12 prices,” he said.
 
“The last 70 years after independence have been years of significant growth. The country’s food grain production increased by 8.7% and reached a record high of 273.83 million tonnes in 2016-17,” he added.
 
Mr Naidu said the Food and Agriculture Organization has acknowledged that India is the world's largest producer of milk, pulses and jute, and ranks as the second largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables, fruit and cotton.
 
From 50 million tonnes in 1950, India's food grain production rose more than five times, to over 257 million tons in 2014-15. India is the world's largest milk producer, producing over 130 million tonnes annually. The dairy sector is also one of the largest employers of rural people, especially women. With an annual production of over 10 million tonnes, India ranks second in global fish production and aquaculture, next only to China.
 
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“Yet, we have formidable challenges confronting us. We have set for ourselves a very ambitious target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. According to one estimate, if we have to achieve this, the progress in various sources of growth has to be accelerated by 33%.
 
“Clearly, business as usual will not do. We have to innovate. We have to work with farmers to infuse knowledge and technology.  We must use technology to enhance productivity and see that the economic benefits of increased production reach all the farmers. Combine Agricultural Technology with Information Technology to improve Agricultural Sector. The workforce in agriculture sector is declining at the rate of approximately 2 percent every year. There is a general perception that agriculture is not a good economic proposition. This perception and trend must be reversed,” Mr Naidu said.
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Minister for Agriculture, Horticulture, Sericulture and Agri-Processing, Andhra Pradesh, Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy, Minister for Human Resources Development, Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Minister for Endowments Pydikondala Manikyala Rao were present on the occasion.
 
The AP AgTech Summit 2017 provides an opportunity for global leaders, start-up founders and technology experts to discuss innovative ideas for agricultural transformation in Andhra Pradesh as well as in the rest of India, he added.
 
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Gadkari flags off steel cargo consignment from Vizag through coastal shipping route

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Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari yesterday digitally flagged off a consignment of 230,000 tonnes of steel cargo from Visakhapatnam port to Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kochi through the coastal shipping route.
 
Speaking on the occasion here, the Minister said the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) was till now transporting its products to 22 stockyards through road and rail mode. Coastal transportation of these products will now help save 380 million tonne-km of rail transportation per annum and bring down logistics costs.
 
This is especially significant since RINL has doubled its production capacity to 6.3 million tonnes per annum, and to cater to the increased volumes it is important to economize on transportation costs to be globally competitive. He urged all other manufacturers to make use of coastal shipping for transporting goods as this can be a key enabler for reduction of logistics cost for domestic and EXIM trade of India.
 
The coastal movement has been on RINL’s radar for a long time because of its proximity to the ports and to ease the pressure from the over optimized road and rail systems.  
 
RINL recently finalised a one-year Multi-Modal Transportation contract covering end to end logistics from the plant at Visakhapatnam to its stockyards at Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kochi, an official press release said.
 
The Rs 75 crore annual contract has been awarded to the consortium led by Shreyas Shipping & Logistics Ltd, Mumbai, a member of Transworld Group, Dubai. The contract involves taking delivery of material from the plant, shifting by road to Visakhapatnam or Gopalpur ports, shipping the material by sea to a port near the stockyard and finally delivering the material to RINL Stockyard.
 
The quantities expected to be transported are 90,000 T, 75,000 T and 60,000 T to Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kochi stockyards, respectively.
 
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Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh takes over as FOC-in-C, Eastern Naval Command

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Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh took over as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Eastern Naval Command (ENC), from Vice-Admiral HCS Bisht at a ceremonial parade held at the Naval Base here today.
 
He inspected the ceremonial guard and reviewed platoons of naval personnel drawn from various ships and establishments of the ENC.
 
Vice-Admiral Bisht retired from the Naval Service today on completion of forty years of illustrious career. He was accorded a farewell by the ENC by the traditional ‘Pulling Out’ ceremony, wherein he was ceremonially pulled out in a jeep by Flag Officers and Commanding Officers of Ships and Naval establishments, to resounding ‘Teen Jais’ from the men to the outgoing Commander-in-Chief.
 
Commissioned into the Indian Navy in July 1980, Vice-Admiral Singh is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla. He earned his wings as a helicopter pilot in 1982 and has flown extensively on the Chetak and Kamov helicopters. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington; College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai and has served as Directing Staff in both these Institutions.
 
 
In his career spanning over 37 years, the Admiral has commanded an Indian Coast Guard Ship Chandbibi, Missile Corvette INS Vijaydurg as well as two Guided Missile Destroyers INS Rana and INS Delhi. He has also served as the Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet. 
 
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Ashore, he has served at Naval Headquarters as the Joint Director Naval Air Staff, and as Captain Air and Officer-in-Charge of the Naval Air Station at Mumbai. He has also served as a member of the Aircrew Instrument Rating and Categorisation Board (AIRCATS).
 
On promotion to flag rank, the Admiral was appointed as Chief of Staff, ENC. His other important flag appointments include Chief of Staff of the Tri-Services Unified Command at Andaman & Nicobar Islands and as the Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area (FOMAG).
 
In the rank of Vice-Admiral, he has been the Director General Project Seabird, in-charge of infrastructure development of the Navy’s modern base at Karwar. He was also assigned higher responsibilities at IHQ MoD (Navy) as Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Vice-Chief of the Naval Staff, prior to the present appointment. The Admiral is a recipient of the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) awarded by the President of India.
 
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Sitharaman commissions INS Kiltan, anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette

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INS Kiltan (P30), the third anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvette built under Project 28 (Kamorta Class), was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a ceremony at the Naval Dockyard here today.
 
Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral H C S Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral V K Saxena (Retd), CMD, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited, Kolkata (GRSE), Kolkata, Commodore M B Kunte (Retd), first Commanding Officer of erstwhile Kiltan and a host of other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.
 
The event marked the formal commissioning into the Navy of the third of the four ASW Corvettes, indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by GRSE.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Sitharaman said the Navy's relentless pursuit of self-reliance through indigenisation was highly appreciable and this had helped it to seamlessly transform from a Buyer’s to a Builder’s Navy. She said the addition of INS Kiltan to the naval fleet is a reaffirmation of this transformation. 
 
She said India needed to benchmark its shipbuilding practices to international best practices and produce quality ships in a shorter time frame and at competitive costs. She stated that the Government fully appreciated the nation’s defence requirements and requisite finances for the Armed Forces and Defence industry would be made available for the modernisation and development plans of the Navy. 
 
She later unveiled the commissioning plaque and dedicated the ship to the nation.
 
Earlier, welcoming the gathering, Admiral Lanba stated that the commissioning of INS Kiltan marked yet another milestone in the country's journey of indigenous warship building.
 
"The Indian Navy is deeply committed to the principle of indigenisation and the Government’s thrust on ‘Make in India’. Commissioning of four ships in the last year, all built in Indian shipyards, is a testimony of our resolve. Our commitment to indigenisation also assumes special significance as we have steadily broadened our indigenisation efforts beyond ship building. We have achieved considerable success with indigenous sonars such as Abhay and HUMSA-NG as well as weapons such as Varunastra and BrahMos. These achievements are a result of the Indian Navy’s proactive and integrated approach to achieve self-reliance," he said.
 
This was followed by reading out the Commissioning Warrant of the Ship by the Commanding Officer, Commander Naushad Ali Khan. Subsequently, hoisting of the Naval Ensign onboard for the first time and ‘Breaking of the Commissioning Pennant’ with the national anthem being played marked the completion of the commissioning ceremony.
 
An official press release said INS Kiltan is one of the most potent warships constructed in India. The ship’s keel was laid on 10 August 2010 and launched on 26 March 2013. Her maiden sea trials commenced on 6 May 2017 and finally was handed over to the Indian Navy by GRSE on 14 October 2017. 
 
The sleek and magnificent ship is propelled by ‘Combination of Diesel and Diesel (CODAD)’ propulsion system of four diesel engines to achieve speeds in excess of 25 knots and has an endurance of around 3,500 nautical miles.
 
According to the release, the ship has enhanced stealth features resulting in a reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS) achieved by X-form of hull and superstructure along with optimally sloped surfaces. The very low under water acoustic signature makes it a ‘silent killer on the prowl’. This has been achieved by using advanced techniques for propeller design and mountings of main machinery. The ship’s advanced stealth features make her less susceptible to detection by the enemy and help in effective employment of soft kill measure like the Chaff, it said.
 
The release said more than 80 % of the ship is indigenous with state-of-the-art equipment and systems to fight in nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) warfare conditions. 
 
"Also, P-28 weapons and sensors suite is predominantly indigenous and showcases the nation’s growing capability in this niche area. INS Kiltan is the first major warship with superstructure entirely of composite material," it said.
 
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The release said weapons and sensors had been installed/ interfaced on this composite superstructure for the first time on a major warship. Composite superstructure fitted on INS Kiltan ushers the usage of advanced engineering materials on Indian Naval warships with significant improvement in weight and stability parameters, it said.
 
"Apart from her integral ASW capable helicopter, the formidable array of weapons include heavy weight torpedoes, ASW rockets, 76 mm caliber Medium Range gun and two multi-barrel 30 mm guns as Close-in-Weapon System (CIWS) with dedicated fire control systems. She is also fitted with indigenous missile decoy rockets (Chaff) and advanced ESM (Electronic Support Measure) system to detect and map enemy transmissions and direction finder equipment. The ship boasts of a highly advanced Combat Management System and a sophisticated Integrated Platform Management System," it said.
 
The ship gets her name from old INS Kiltan (P79), a Petya class ASW ship that served the nation for 18 years before being decommissioned in June 1987. Named after the coral island belonging to the Lakshadweep group of islands in India, the ship has a total complement of 15 officers and 180 sailors. The sleek and magnificent ship spans 109 meters in length and 14 meters in breadth with a displacement of 3,300 tonnes.
 
"With the changing power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region, INS Kiltan will augment the Indian Navy’s mobility, reach and flexibility whilst proudly flying the Indian Flag. The ship is manned by a team comprising 13 officers and 178 sailors with Commander Naushad Ali Khan at the helm as her first Commanding Officer. The commissioning of Kiltan will add a new dimension to the ASW capability of the Indian Navy and the Eastern Fleet in particular. The multifarious missions that can be undertaken by the ship truly reflect the enhanced multi-dimensional capability of the Indian Navy," the release added.
 
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Infosys Foundation inks Rs. 5.92 crore MoU with Visakha Jilla Nava Nirman Samithi

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Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of IT services major Infosys, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Visakha Jilla Nava Nirman Samithi (VJNNS) to construct 100 gravity fed water supply systems in tribal villages of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. 
 
The endowment of Rs. 5.92 crore will be used to promote good sanitation practices and create efficient water management systems in all target villages.
               
VJNNS, an NGO in Andhra Pradesh, aims at making potable drinking water available to remote tribal villages in the districts of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam. Through this partnership, Infosys Foundation intends to provide an impetus to VJNNS’s objective of constructing a gravity fed water supply system that will help 100 tribal villages and 40,000 beneficiaries using pipelines.
 
This will not only help enhance health but also aid in reducing water-borne diseases, a release from the foundation said.
 
Ms. Sudha Murty, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, said, “Drinking water supply and sanitation in India continue to be a key concern. The Foundation endeavors to promote good sanitation practices and aims to train local communities to effectively manage water supply systems through workshops. Under this project, local communities will also be taught to manage a village development fund.”
 
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Indian Naval Ships Satpura, Kadmatt leave on overseas deployment to East and South-East Asia

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Two Indian Naval ships, INS Satpura and INS Kadmatt, departed here yesterday on overseas deployment to East and South-East Asia as part of India's "Act East Policy".
 
The ships will visit 12 ports in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Brunei and Russia. The two ships will be deployed for more than three months away from home port, an official press release said.
 
During this deployment, the ships will participate in the International Fleet Review hosted by the Association of South East Asian Countries (ASEAN) in Thailand. 
 
They will visit Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia and Brunei to commemorate the 25th anniversary of India-ASEAN dialogue. 
 
The ships will also participate in the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise at Malaysia. In Russia, the ships will participate in the annual India-Russia bilateral exercise INDRA. This year, for the first time, Exercise INDRA will witness the joint participation of Army, Navy and Air Force of both countries and be a major milestone in the bilateral relations between the two countries. 
 
"The Indian Navy routinely undertakes deployment of ships to friendly nations. The visit of Indian Naval Ships to East and South-East Asia underscores India’s peaceful presence and harmonious relations with the countries in the region. The deployment aims to strengthen existing bonds between India and the regional countries. Besides making port calls, the visit of ships will help in people-to-people interactions, meetings between Indian Naval delegations with local dignitaries, and naval exercises to share best practices at sea and enhance interoperability. 
 
"India has made great strides in field of warship design and construction. INS Satpura and INS Kadmatt are both indigenously built warships. INS Satpura, synonymous with the formidable mountain range in Central India, is a multi-role stealth frigate and is commanded by Captain Rahul Shankar. INS Kadmatt, named after an island in the beautiful Lakshadweep chain, is an Anti-Submarine Corvette and is commanded by Commander Nithin Cariappa," the release added.
 
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Chief of Naval Staff honours award winners at Naval Investiture Ceremony

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Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), conferred gallantry and non-gallantry awards on several recipients at the Naval Investiture Ceremony here today.
 
The annual event for the Indian Navy was held at Command Parade Ground, Eastern Naval Command (ENC).
 
Admiral Lanba was received at the parade ground by Vice-Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. The CNS inspected a 50-man Armed Guard and reviewed the platoons of Naval and DSC personnel drawn from various ships and establishments of the ENC.
 
Admiral Lanba said that the occasion was of special significance as it formally acknowledged the commendable gallantry as well as devotion to duty of fellow shipmates. He also thanked the family members of the award winners for their support to the service personnel in their performance of duty. 
 
The core values -- Duty, Honour and Courage -- form the fundamental traits expected from all naval personnel. The award winners have displayed these and many more qualities such as patriotism, courage, fighting spirit, integrity sincerity, perseverance, discipline humility and selflessness that have come to define the service.
 
He also said that he firmly believed that it is the team work and never-say-die attitude of naval personnel that has made the Indian Navy a strong and capable maritime force in the world today. The leadership, foresight and devotion to duty displayed by naval personnel has enabled a steady growth of the service and transformed it into a blue water navy.
 
Lt Cdr Vikash Kumar Narwal, Lt Cdr Neeraj Kumar, Veer Singh Chief Petty Officer Clearance Diver I and Rakesh Kumar Hull Artificer-4 (posthumously) were awarded Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry) for their indomitable courage, conspicuous gallantry and outstanding professionalism.
 
Other awards presented included eight Nao Sena Medals for Devotion to Duty, sixteen Vishisht Seva Medals, Sarvottam Jeeven Rakshak Padak awarded to Cdr Shishir Kumar Yadavannavar (posthumous), Jeeven Rakshak Padak to Lt Cdr Kapil Kumar Shishodia and Mr. Neelkant Ramesh Harikantra LASCAR-1. Captain Ravi Dhir Medal was awarded to Aravind Marisamy Master Chief Air Artificer II and Lieutenant VK Jain Memorial Gold Medal was awarded to Commander Ravi Kumar Singh.
 
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The CNS also presented unit citation to two afloat units and six shore establishments who have delivered exceptional performance over the past one year. These include IN Ships Trikand, Sunayna, IN Air Squadron 312A, Command Clearance Diving Team, Mumbai, INS Eksila at Visakhapatnam, Naval Ship Repair Yard, Karwar, Base Victualling Yard, Kochi and INS Kardip in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Naval Dockyard, Mumbai and INS Shivaji at Lonavala, Maharastra were awarded the ‘CNS Trophy for Best Green Practices’ for the environment friendly / green initiatives.
 
Apart from the relatives of the award winners, the ceremonial parade was also attended by Flag Officers, Commanding Officers of various ships, submarines and establishments and a large number of service and civilian personnel and their families.
 
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Prabhu launches Vistadome coach, mechanised laundry and Lifeline Express

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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation stone for and launched various railway initiatives, including the new Vistadome coach, at Rail Sadan here yesterday through video-conferencing.
 
He also inaugurated the Lifeline Express at Sindhudurg, Maharastra, an official press release said.
 
While flagging off a train with the new Vistadome coach between Visakhaptnam and Araku,  Mr. Prabhu said the coach, which features such as glass roof, LED lights, rotatable seats and GPS based info system, would help tourists enjoy the scenic beauty along the route.
 
He said the mechanised laundry at Visakhapatnam under the BOOT (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) model  would help improve the quality of linen provided to passengers on trains.
 
Inaugurating the Lifeline Express of Konkan Railway, he said it would be a great boon for poor patients.
 
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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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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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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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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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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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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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BRICS countries for ‘zero waste’ approach in water & sanitation management

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Placing water and sanitation management in urban areas among the most daunting challenges in the context of rapid urbanisation, BRICS countries have called for a ‘zero waste’ policy through reuse and recycling in a focussed manner.
 
Participating in a discussion on ‘Resilient Water and Sanitation Management’ at the BRICS Urbanisation Forum here on Friday, policy makers and experts stressed on waste reduction and reuse.
 
China showcased the city of Shenzen where only 6% of municipal solid waste is being dumped in the open. Mr.Xu Hayun, Chief Engineer, China Construction Group said that daily 2,10,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste is being recycled to generate 4,300 MW of electricity.
 
The waste-to-energy conversion of the city has been substantially enhanced since 1988 when only 150 tonnes of such waste was converted into power. At present, 94% of solid waste being generated in Chinese cities is being recycled, he added.
 
Experts stressed the need to step up the capacities of cities to ensure such zero waste approach. Dr. B. Chandra Mohan, Revenue Secretary of Tamil Naidu said Chennai is a leading example of resilience in water management being the first city in the country to set up a desalination plant enabling use of 200 million litres of sea water per day.
 
Rain water harvesting is ensured in all the buildings in the city to meet water needs of citizens. Tamil Nadu Government was taking measures to supply 240 million litres of Treated Reusable Water per day to industrial units which could give more revenues than the income from supply of regular water, he added.
 
Ms. Ruth Jurberg of Brazil called for proper data generation by cities to ensure effective water and sanitation management besides involvement of people in these critical areas.
 
Noting that only 1% of readily usable water was available for use of humanity with 97% of water being in seas and another 2% being locked up in deep acquifers, Ms. N. A. Buthelegi of South Africa called for adoption of appropriate technologies and response mechanisms to meet water needs of people.
 
She called for a holistic approach to water management given the linkages with various other utilities. In South Africa, 15,000 water ambassadors are pressed into service to educate people about proper water use.
 
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Ms. Karuna Gopal, President, Foundation for Futuristic Cities said the Government, under different new urban missions has launched concerted efforts to ensure proper water supply and management in urban areas.
 
During a discussion on ‘New Towns and Regional Planning’, the experts called for developing new urban habitations based on sound economic logic so that the inhabitants of such new locations are not pushed into ‘poverty traps’.
 
This needs to be ensured through necessary linkages with other centres of production and consumption for employment generation on a sustainable basis. Experts from Brazil, China, India and South Africa voiced concern over unplanned and unanticipated urban expansion resulting in social and economic inequalities.
 
Some of the experts called for ‘extended urbanism’ based on the principle of effective regional planning.
 
The experts unanimously called for augmenting the capacities of cities to promote effective urban planning and management besides ensuring wider participation of people in urban affairs.
 
Ms. Zou-Kota Fredericks, South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Settlements, while expressing concern over the growing slums and informal settlements in urban areas called for ensuring liveable and sustainable human settlements in urban areas.
 
The BRICS nations during the deliberations stressed on ensuring urban renaissance to stimulate economic growth besides enabling decent living for all sections of the society.
 
Dr. Jagan Shah, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, Ministry of Urban Development said urban renaissance in India was based on the five pillars of empowering urban local bodies, citizen participation, capacity building of stakeholders, effective urban planning and augmenting financial resources of cities and towns.
 
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BRICS countries call for new ‘social contract’ to address urban transition challenges

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BRICS member-countries have called for a new ‘Social Contract’ among the governments at all the three levels, people and other stakeholders to mount collective efforts to address various challenges associated with urban transition and enable urban renaissance.
 
The group, comprising Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa, stressed the need for an integrated approach during the three-day Urbanisation Forum on ‘Urban Transition in BRICS’ that concluded here yesterday.
 
Ministers, policy makers, experts and members of academia from member-countries, during detailed discussions on challenges of rapid urban transformationm stressed the need for inclusive and sustainable urban development approaches based on people’s participation in managing urban affairs.
 
Expressing concern over the consequences of unplanned and unanticipated urban expansion in member countries, delegates called for enhancing planning, technical and financial capacities of city governments.
 
They stressed the need for coordination of policies of federal, provincial and city governments for an integrated approach to urban development and for forging effective partnerships with private sector for resource mobilisation in an enabling environment.
 
BRICS countries, who are at different levels of urbanization, shared their experiences and approaches to emerging challenges and agreed on the need to enable planned and guided urbanisation.
 
They took stock of deficiencies in urban structure, various aspects of smart city development, expanding slums and the need for ensuring liveable and sustainable human settlements, financing urban infrastructure and reforms required to enable urban renaissance in member countries.
 
Addressing the closing session of the three-day conference, Union Minister of State for Urban Development Rao Inderjit Singh urged them to step up cooperation to effectively address the new urban agenda focussing on inclusive urban development.
 
Member-countries should ensure effective follow-up actions in pursuance of new urban agenda to be finalised at the HABITAT-III Conference to be held in Quito, Eucador next month, he added.
 
Mr. Inderjit Singh said that there was immense scope for cooperation among BRICS members on matters of urbanisation based on respective experiences and shared goals. Appreciating the intense three-day deliberations, he stressed on the need to enhance capacities of urban local bodies.
 
Dr. P. Narayana, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Urban Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh gave an account of the initiatives of the State Government to enable transparent urban governance and better service delivery.
 
Perspectives of member-countries on various issues concerning urban transition, common concerns and positions thereon would be placed for consideration by leaders at the BRICS Summit to be held in Goa next month.
 
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BRICS experts suggest people’s involvement in smart city development

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Policy makers and experts from BRICS countries have emphasised the need to focus more on bringing people in urban areas together by ending social exclusion while developing smart cities using technology only as a tool.
 
Participating in the plenary session at the BRICS Smart Cities Conclave here yesterday, they stressed that adoption of technology cannot be the ultimate goal of smart city development. It should be used as a tool to meet the aspirations of the people.
 
Expressing concern over growing social exclusion in cities, Prof. D Alvaro de Oliveira, representing Brazil, pointed to the need to give primacy to the human aspect of smart city development. 
 
He cited the examples of initiatives taken in Brazil to end social conflicts by creating integrated neighbourhoods in the capital Rio de Janiero and the Portugese city of Lisbon.
 
Prof. Oliveira suggested setting up a ‘BRICS Human Smart Cities Institute’ to mount collective efforts for socially and economically integrated urban development.
 
Prof. Pradipta Banerjee, Director, IIT, Roorkie said smart city development is not all about technology but it is about meeting the needs of people. Urban development approaches should address trust deficit between the people and governance institutions.
 
He favoured development of ‘connected smart city regions’ rather than smart cities including improvement in quality of life in rural areas.
 
South Africa’s Philip Harrison called for ensuring that urban development with focus on smart cities should not further increase existing inequalities in urban areas. Governance should not be allowed to become more technocratic and less responsive, he added.
 
Mr Karikal Valaven, Principal Secretary (Urban Development), Andhra Pradesh who chaired the session said under the Smart City Mission well considered efforts were being made to integrate physical, digital and human systems to enable economically productive, inclusive and prosperous urban areas.
 
He stressed that technology is being used to serve the objective of improving governance and enhancing the efficiency of use of urban infrastructure.
 
Representative of China Lie Tie said that given huge mobile and internet penetration in his country, the government is making ‘internet’ the corner stone of enhancing the efficacy of municipal governance and employment generation.
 
Georgy Antsev of Russia gave an account of the technology based initiatives being taken in the country  to effectively respond to the consequences of natural disasters to provide immediate relief to the people in quick time.
 
Stating that about 80% of the world’s population lives along the coast, he said that efforts are on to make water vessels that can travel at a speed of over 500 km per hour to provide relief to disaster victims.
 
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During a discussion on ‘Financing Urban Infrastructure’, the experts referred to the strong correlation between inequality in access to infrastructure and inequality in incomes in urban areas.
 
They stressed the need to ensure effective urban governance supported by a strong political leadership and vision to enable cities attract huge investments required for building infrastructure.
 
The participants stressed on the need to make urban local bodies self-reliant through enhanced resource streams including issuing of Municipal Bonds for which cities have to become creditworthy.
They expressed concern over investments in urban infrastructure not resulting in adequate returns to ensure repayment and called for effective measures in this regard.
 
It was noted that in South Africa, the leading eight metropolitan cities mobilise 45% of required finances through Municipal Bonds.
 
Emphasising the need for effective municipal governance, representatives of member countries urged the New Development Bank set up by BRICS to support development of governance institutions.
 
Mr  Prakash Gaur, CEO of Andhra Pradesh Urban Infrastructure and Asset Management Limited said a per capita investment of Rs.10,000 per year in urban areas is required in the State to improve infrastructure and an investment of Rs. 53,000 crore is required over the next four years.
 
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Political class more sensitised now to urban sector challenges: Naidu

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Minister for Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M.Venkaiah Naidu yesterday said that the political class of the country was now more sensitised than ever before to the challenges in the urban sector and the need to fix them at the earliest in the interest of rapid economic growth and decent quality of life.  
 
Inaugurating a three-day conference on ‘Urban Transition in BRICS’,        Mr Naidu said this much desired awareness was a result of the initiatives taken by the Central government to enable urban revival during the last two years.
 
After detailed consultations with all stakeholders including citizens, urban local bodies, State Governments and others, the Central Government has set in motion a 10-point strategy for urban renaissance and this paradigm shift has begun to yield results, he said.
 
Stating that resources were key to addressing huge infrastructure deficit in urban areas, Mr Naidu said  measures were being taken to enable increased flow of resources to urban local bodies (ULBs) and States, which includes enhanced Central assistance.
 
Under Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), the Central Government has committed to provide an assistance of Rs.1.13 lakh crore to improve basic urban infrastructure, till 2018-19, he said.
 
 “This is a quantum jump from Central assistance of Rs. 33,902 crore committed during 2004-14 under JNNURM for basic infrastructure,” the Minister said.
 
“The pace and scale of project and investment approvals have increased manifold since 2015 with the central government approving an assistance of Rs. 1.84 lakh crore. This includes Rs. 78,292 crore under smart city plans of 33 mission cities, Rs.45,293 crore under Atal Mission and another Rs.56,231 crore for building affordable houses for urban poor. These are the early gains of urban renaissance in the country,” he added.
 
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Mr Naidu said urban revival was being sought to be realised based on citizens’ participation, autonomy to urban local bodies and States in project formulation and their appraisal and approval, promotion of a healthy spirit of competition among urban local bodies, area based development, capacity building and enhanced resource flows to urban local bodies and States.
 
Giving an illustration of increased investments and scale of central assistance, he said an investment of Rs.15,827 crore has been approved over the last one year with Central assistance of Rs. 4,571 crore for Andhra Pradesh.
 
This includes Rs. 10,579 crore for constructing affordable houses for urban poor, Rs. 3,595 crore for developing Visakhapatnam and Kakinada as smart cities and another Rs. 1,540 crore for improving water supply and sewerage systems in AMRUT cities.
 
Stating that Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), with a population of over 3 billion account for over 53% of world’s population and about one fourth of global GDP, Mr Naidu urged them to step up cooperation in addressing the challenges associated with urban transition based on sharing of experiences and knowledge.
 
He said given the size of the economies of BRICS countries and the potential still to be realised, member countries need  to collectively address urban challenges so that they could drive global economic recovery.
 
Ministers from BRICS, experts, members of academia and representatives of industry are attending the three-day conference.
 
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Leaders of BRICS countries to discuss urban transition

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Ministers and experts from BRICS countries will discuss urban transition and the attendant challenges in the member-countries over three days from September 14 in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
 
Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M. Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the three-day conference on ‘Urban Transition in BRICS’ which seeks to promote cooperation among member countries in the urban sector.
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu, Ministers from other BRICS nations besides a large number of urban planners, experts and members of academia will attend the conference.
 
The conference will discuss and evolve a common agenda for BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa) countries to be presented at the HABITAT-III Conference to be held in Quito, Eucador.
 
Other issues to be discussed are development of smart cities, financing urban infrastructure, inclusive housing, climate change, regional planning, water and sanitation management and new reforms for urban renaissance.
 
The Visakhapatnam conference is being organized as a part of the Government’s efforts to take cooperation among BRICS group on various issues to the people for which several such meetings are being organized across the country.
 
India currently holds the chairmanship of BRICS and has chosen ‘Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions’ as the theme for this year and the BRICS Summit will be held in Goa in October this year.
 
In his message to the conference, Mr Naidu said, “The underlying rationale of cooperation on urbanization between BRICS countries is to share urban knowledge, develop mechanisms for peer to peer exchange, promote evidence based policy making and learn useful lessons from individual experience of urban transition.”
 
BRICS nations account for over 3 billon population constituting 53.40% of world’s population, 23.10% of global GDP and 26.70% of world’s geographical area, spread over four continents.
 
Range of urbanization varies from 84% in Brazil, 73% in Russia, 64% in South Africa, 57% in China and 32% in India.
 
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CONCOR inaugurates port side container facility at Krishnapatnam Port

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The Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) has set up a port side container facility at Krishnapatnam Port, an all-weather; deep water port on the east coast in Andhra Pradesh.
 
The facility will help in the expansion and growth of the container terminal at the port, a press release from Krishnapatnam Port said.
 
It will also help keep the quality of the cargo intact and help in safe and efficient transportation, it said.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the facility as well as the construction of the grade separator and the crew running room at the port in the presence of Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.
 
CONCOR has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Andhra Pradesh for the development of three Multi-Modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs) at Visakhapatnam, Krishnapatnam and Kakinada.
 
The release said CONCOR has regular train services to and from Krishnapatnam Port. The port has already acquired 140.58 acres of land at Krishnapatnam for setting up the MMLP and is in the process of acquisition of another 24.03 acres. The construction work of the Phase-1 will commence soon at Krishnapatnam, it said.
 
The dignitaries also inaugurated the state-of-the-art Golf Course in the premises of Krishnapatnam Port.
 
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Chief of Naval Staff commissions new Marine Commandos base at Visakhapatnam

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Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff, commissioned a Marine Commandos unit as ‘INS Karna’ at a solemn ceremony held at the Naval Base at Bheemunipatanam here today.
 
Vice-Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command and senior naval dignitaries were also present on the occasion. 
 
The Marine Commando Force (MCF), also called as the MARCOS, was raised in February 1987 as the Indian Marine Special Force (IMSF), capable of operating in all three dimensions, at sea, in air and on land. 
 
The event commenced with a parade which was reviewed by the Chief of the Naval Staff. Vice-Admiral Bisht addressed the gathering which was followed by reading out of the Commissioning Warrant by Commanding Officer (Designate), Captain Varun Singh. The ceremony was solemnised by an invocation in Sanskrit. 
 
Mrs. Reena Lanba, wife of Admiral Lanba, unveiled the Commissioning Plaque and named the Special Forces Unit as ‘INS Karna’. This was followed by hoisting of the Naval Ensign and playing of the national anthem, in accordance with the customs and traditions of the Indian Navy.
 
Conveying his best wishes to the newly commissioned unit, the Chief of the Naval Staff said that MARCOS had established themselves as a Special Operations Force of international repute in a short span and had won well deserved gallantry awards for their acts of courage and valour.  He added that MARCOS proved their excellence wherever they had been deployed in various operations. 
 
Over the years, the Special Force has conducted numerous independent missions of direct action, reconnaissance and surveillance, and recovery operations, he added.
 
Admiral Lanba emphasised the need for all Marine Commandos to keep their “steel sharp and powder dry” as they would be the first into the battle and the need to be ‘Mission Ready and a Winner’ always. As the roles and responsibilities of the Indian Navy have expanded in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond, Special Operations Force would be required to be deployed in future combat at the strategic and operational level, he said.
 
"The commissioning of INS Karna, has added a new base to the Special Forces of the Indian Navy as they deploy to safeguard our nation’s vast maritime interests," an official press release added.
 
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