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Goa

Parrikar quits as Defence Minister, to be sworn in as Goa CM on Tuesday

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manohar Parrikar on Monday resigned as the Defence Minister and will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Goa on Tuesday at the head of a BJP-led coalition government that will be formed by the party with the support of regional outfits and independent legislators.

Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar today resigned as the Defence Minister and will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Goa tomorrow at the head of a BJP-led coalition government that will be formed by the party with the support of regional outfits and independent legislators.
 
"The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of Shri Manohar Parrikar, from the Council of Ministers, with immediate effect, under clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution," a press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
 
Further, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee has also assigned the charge of the Ministry of Defence to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in addition to his existing portfolios, the communique added.
 
Mr. Jaitley held the Defence portfolio as an additional charge in the initial months after the Narendra Modi government assumed office at the Centre in May 2014. He relinquished the charge in November 2014 when Mr. Parrikar, who was Chief Minister of Goa, was shifted to the Centre as the Defence Minister.
 
The Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the elections to the Goa Legislative Assembly, polling for which was held on February 4 and votes counted on March 11, with 17 seats in the 40-member house. 
 
The ruling BJP ended up with 13 seats, with Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and many of his Cabinet colleagues losing their seats. However, the BJP has managed to get support from two regional outfits -- the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party -- which won three seats each as well as two of the three independents. 
 
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The 13 BJP MLAs and the other eight legislators met Governor Mridula Sinha yesterday evening and she later invited Mr. Parrikar to form the new government.  
 
Mr. Parrikar will have to be elected to the State Assembly within six months in keeping with the Constitutional requirements. He is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, from Uttar Pradesh.
 
For Mr. Parrikar, 61, this will be his third time as Chief Minister of Goa, having first served in that position from October 2000 to February 2005 and then from March 9, 2012 till Novemer 9, 2014. He had also served as Leader of the Opposition in the Goa Legislative Assembly from June 1999 to November 1999 and from June 2005 to March 2012. In all, he was elected six times to the Goa Assembly since 1994. 
 
He has a B.Tech. in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai and was the first IIT alumnus to serve as the Chief Minister of a state.
 
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Assembly elections: Counting of votes to be taken up on Saturday

Counting of votes will begin on Saturday morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and most of the results are expected to be out within a few hours after that.

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Counting of votes will begin tomorrow morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.
 
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
The Election Commission will give out counting trends and results of the elections through its website from 8 am tomorrow.
 
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Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
 
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
 
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.
 
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Punjab, Goa go to the polls to elect new legislative assemblies

Punjab and Goa went to the polls on Saturday to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.

 
Voters queue to cast their votes amidst tight security
Punjab and Goa went to the polls today to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.
 
Voters began queueing outside polling stations in both states from early morning and their numbers were steadily increasing as the day progressed. 
 
Voting, which began at 7 am in Goa and at 8 am in Punjab, will end at 5 pm in both states.
 
Polling also took place today for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the resignation of Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh.
 
The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats and the Goa Assembly 40 seats and both states have single-phase polling today.
 
Uttarakhand will have single-phase polling on February 15, Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8 and Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, will have polling in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa and Punjab assemblies are due to expire on March 18.
 
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for smooth, free and fair elections in both the states.
 
Punjab has a total of 19879069 voters, including 10503108 males and  9375546 females. There are 1145 candidates in the fray, including 81 women and one of the third gender. The Election Commission has set up 22,615 polling stations across the state.
 
In Goa, there are a total of  1110884 electors, including 546742 men and 564142 women. A total of 251 candidates, including 19 women, are in the fray.  The Commission has set up 1642 polling stations across the state.
 
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making a determined effort for another term in office in Goa, while the Congress is hoping to come back to power in Goa. The three-party alliance forged by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena is the other major player in the state.
 
Similarly in Punjab, the Congress is trying to wrest power back from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been in office for a decade.
 
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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, has gone all out to emerge as the alternative to the established players in both the states.
 
In Punjab, SAD leader and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, is seeking re-election for the sixth time. He will face Capt. Amarinder Singh, the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, in the Lambi constituency. The Congress leader is also contesting the elections from his traditional seat of Patiala, where his opponent is former Army chief Gen J J Singh, a candidate of the SAD.
 
The Chief Minister's son Sukhbir Singh will face AAP's Bhagwant Mann, MP, who is his party's likely chief ministerial candidate, in Jalalabad.
 
Former Indian Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the Congress weeks ahead of the polls, is contesting from Amritsar East, a part of the Amrtisar Lok Sabha constituency that he represented in Parliament as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for two terms.
 
Prominent candidates in Goa include Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP) and five former Chief Ministers -- Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane and Luizinho Faleiro (Congress) and Churchill Alemao (NCP). There have been indications that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might return to Goa as Chief Minister if the BJP retains power.
 
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Parrikar wins 22-16 in vote of confidence in Goa Assembly

Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who had resigned as Defence Minister earlier this week to return to state politics, won a vote of confidence by 22 votes to 16  in the 40-member State Legislative Assembly here today.
 
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday, while disposing of a petition filed by the Congress against the appointment of Mr. Parrikar as the new Chief Minister by Governor Mridula Sinha, directed that a floor test be held in the Assembly today. The Governor had earlier given Mr. Parrikar two weeks to prove his majority in the House.
 
The Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the elections to the Assembly, polling for which was held on February 4. Votes were counted on March 11. The Congress won 17 seats, while the ruling BJP ended up with 13 seats, with then Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and several of his Cabinet colleagues losing their seats.
 
However, the BJP managed to get support from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward, two regional outfits, which won three seats each, as well as two of the three independents, making for a total of 21. The two regional parties had laid down a condition that Mr. Parrikar, who was the Defence Minister in the Union Cabinet, should be the Chief Minister. Mr. Parrikar later said that his party enjoyed the support of 22 MLAs.
 
During the floor test today at a specially convened session, Congress legislator Vishwajit Rane abstained from voting and walked out.
 
"We have proved before the people of India, we had support...and we proved it on the floor of house. Everyone voluntarily came and voted, none of them was kept in a hotel room or secluded common place as was the case of Opposition," Mr. Parrikar told journalists later. 
 
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Mr. Parrikar, 61, was sworn in as Chief Minister on March 14 after he had resigned as the Defence Minister the previous day. Along with him, nine other Ministers were also administered the oaths of office and secrecy by the Governor on that day.
 
The Ministers are Sudin Dhavalikar, Manohar (Maharashtrawdi Gomantak Party), Vijai Sardesai, Vinod Palienkar and Jayesh Salgaonkar (Goa Forward), Francis D'Souza, Pandurang Madkaikar (BJP), Govind Gawde and Rohan Khaunte (independents).
 
Mr. Parrikar will have to be elected to the State Assembly within six months in keeping with the Constitutional requirements. He is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, from Uttar Pradesh.
 
For Mr. Parrikar, this is his third time as Chief Minister of Goa, having first served in that position from October 2000 to February 2005 and then from March 9, 2012 till Novemer 9, 2014. He had also served as Leader of the Opposition in the Goa Legislative Assembly from June 1999 to November 1999 and from June 2005 to March 2012. In all, he was elected six times to the Goa Assembly since 1994. 
 
He has a B.Tech. in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai and was the first IIT alumnus to serve as the Chief Minister of a state.
 
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SC refuses to stay Parrikar's swearing-in as Goa CM, orders floor test on Thursday

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the swearing-in of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manohar Parrikar as the new Chief Minister of Goa, slated for later in the day, but ordered that a floor test be held in the State Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
The Supreme Court today refused to stay the swearing-in of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar as the new Chief Minister of Goa, slated for later in the day, but ordered that a floor test be held in the State Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
 
The order came on a petition filed by the Congress challenging the decision of Goa Governor Mridula Sinha appointing Mr. Parrikar as the Chief Minister and giving him two weeks to prove his majority in the Assembly.
 
The Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the elections to the Goa Legislative Assembly, polling for which was held on February 4 and votes counted on March 11, with 17 seats in the 40-member house. 
 
The ruling BJP ended up with 13 seats, with Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and many of his Cabinet colleagues losing their seats. However, the BJP has managed to get support from two regional outfits -- the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party -- which won three seats each as well as two of the three independents. 
 
While extending support to the BJP, the two regional parties had set a condition that Mr. Parrikar, who was the Defence Minister in the Union Government, should be the new Chief Minister.
 
The 13 BJP MLAs and the other eight legislators met Governor Mridula Sinha on Sunday evening and she later invited Mr. Parrikar to form the new government.  
 
In the Supreme Court today, counsel for the Congress said the Governor had not even consulted it, as the single largest party, before taking a decision on inviting the BJP to form the government. According to the party, this posed grave implications for the future of democracy in the country.
 
The Congress had claimed in its petition that the Governor should have invited it first to form the government in keeping with Constitutional norms and conventions.
 
In its order disposing of the petition filed by Goa Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar, the three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and consisting of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R. K. Agrawal, said that the petitioner had not specifically disputed the numbers claimed by the BJP.
 
"During the course of hearing, we were satisfied, that the instant sensitive and contentious issue raised on behalf of the petitioner, can be resolved by a simple direction, requiring the holding of a floor test at the earliest. The holding of the floor test would remove all possible ambiguities, and would result in giving the democratic process, the required credibility.
 
"We therefore hereby direct, that all pre-requisite formalities for holding a floor test, including the formalities required to be completed by the Election Commission, be completed by 15.03.2017. We request the Governor of the State of Goa to ensure, that a floor test is held on 16.03.2017, and the only agenda for the day would be, the holding of a floor test to determine whether the Chief Minister administered the oath of office, has support of the majority. The floor test shall be held on 16.03.2017, as early as possible, but surely during the course of the same day.
 
"With the above directions and observations, the instant petition is disposed of. As a sequel to the above, pending interlocutory application(s) also stand(s) disposed of," the court said.
 
Even as Mr. Parrikar's swearing-in is scheduled for this evening, the Congress is expected to meet the Governor today and demand that it be given an opportunity to form the government.
 
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Mr. Parrikar had resigned from the Union Cabinet yesterday and President Pranab Mukherjee, while accepting his resignation, had assigned the portfolio as an additional charge to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
Mr. Jaitley had held the Defence portfolio as an additional charge in the initial months after the Narendra Modi government assumed office at the Centre in May 2014. He relinquished the charge in November 2014 when Mr. Parrikar, who was then Chief Minister of Goa, was shifted to the Centre as the Defence Minister.
 
Mr. Parrikar will have to be elected to the State Assembly within six months in keeping with the Constitutional requirements. He is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, from Uttar Pradesh.
 
For Mr. Parrikar, 61, this will be his third time as Chief Minister of Goa, having first served in that position from October 2000 to February 2005 and then from March 9, 2012 till Novemer 9, 2014. He had also served as Leader of the Opposition in the Goa Legislative Assembly from June 1999 to November 1999 and from June 2005 to March 2012. In all, he was elected six times to the Goa Assembly since 1994. 
 
He has a B.Tech. in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai and was the first IIT alumnus to serve as the Chief Minister of a state.
 
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BJP rides to stunning wins in UP, Uttarakhand; Congress wrests Punjab, close call in Goa, Manipur

The BJP rode to stunning victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in what is being seen as a resounding endorsement of the Narendra Modi government's policies and performance at the Centre as votes in the crucial elections to legislative assemblies in five states were counted on Saturday

 
Modi party wins India's biggest state
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rode to stunning victories in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, and Uttarakhand in what is being seen as a resounding endorsement of the Narendra Modi government's policies and performance at the Centre as votes in the crucial elections to legislative assemblies in five states were counted today,
 
The Congress, whose alliance with the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh came a cropper and which was handed a crushing defeat in Uttarakhand, however, wrested Punjab from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine which had been ruling the state for the past ten years.
 
With nearly all the results available by late this evening, the Congress emerged as the single largest party in Goa, winning 17 seats in the 40-member assembly. The ruling BJP got only 13 and saw its Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and several Ministers falling by the wayside. Both parties were now looking at getting support from the ten others, including three independents. The Mahararashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party won three seats each, while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had got one.
 
Similarly, in Manipur, the ruling Congress ended up as the single largest party with 27 seats in the 60-member house, while the BJP put up a creditable performance to get 21, while the others have won 10.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP garnered an overwhelming 311 seats on its own in the 403-member Assembly, while its allies have got another 14, as the party stormed back to power in the state after a gap of 15 years.
 
The SP-Congress alliance could together manage only 55 seats – 48 for the SP and just seven for the Congress. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) headed by former Chief Minister Mayawati got just 19 seats as all the other parties were crushed by the BJP juggernaut.
 
Nine seats went to Apna Dal (Soneylal), one to the Nihal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal, four to Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party and three to independent candidates.
 
In Uttarakhand, the ruling Congress bit the dust as it could manage just 11 seats in the 70-member house, while the BJP secured 57 and independents took the rest. Chief Minister Harish Rawat lost from both the seats he contested from.
 
In Punjab, the Congress won 77 seats in the 117-member Assembly, while the SAD-BJP alliance could manage only 18. 
 
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is ruling the National Capital Territory of Delhi, emerged as the second largest party with 20 seats, but it failed to make an impact in Goa.
 
The elections in the five States came mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes. As such, the results of these elections are expected to have a major bearing on national politics in the next two years.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
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The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
BJP workers began celebrating their victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand by mid-morning as early counting trends left no room for doubt about the ultimate numbers. The party attributed the wins to Mr. Modi's leadership and campaign and to its president Amit Shah's stewardship.
 
Mr. Shah said Mr. Modi had emerged as the country's "tallest leader" since independence. "The only factor for our win is the performance of the Modi government. The results have shown the faith the poor have reposed in Modi. Even his political rivals will have to admit that he has emerged as the tallest leader in the country since independence," he told a press conference.
 
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi congratulated Mr. Modi and the BJP on their victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, but said his party's fight would continue and would not end till it won the hearts and minds of the people.
 
"Our fight continues and will not end till we win the hearts & minds of people," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter. 
 
Mr. Modi responded within minutes. “Thank you… Long live democracy," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi thanked the people of Punjab for their immense faith and support. "This is a mandate for a brighter future for Punjab and its youth," he said. "My heartiest congratulations to Capt Amarinder Singhji & all our party workers who worked tirelessly," he said.
 
Capt. Amarinder Singh, a former Chief Minister of the state, was the chief ministerial candidate of the party in the elections and is expected to be formally elected as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party tomorrow.
 
"I thank the people of Goa & Manipur for their love &support to the Congress Party. Congratulations to our workers & leaders in both states. 
 
"To all Congress workers across India: We stand resolute & committed to our values & our belief in an India united in strength & purpose," Mr. Gandhi said.
 
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Assembly elections: BJP surges ahead in UP, Uttarakhand, Congress leads in Punjab

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in power at the Centre, on Saturday surged ahead in spectacular fashion in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as initial trends became available in the counting of votes in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies in five States.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre, today surged ahead in spectacular fashion in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as initial trends became available in the counting of votes in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies in five States.
 
All the results in the five States, which include Punjab, Manipur and Goa, are expected to be in by this evening.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP was leading in 246 seats, while the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and its ally Congress were ahead in 72 seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP )headed by former Chief Minister Mayawati was leading in 26 seats.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP was leading in 56 seats, while the ruling Congress was ahead in six.
 
However, the Congress was doing well in Punjab, where it surged ahead in 56 constituencies and appeared set to dislodge the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been ruling the state for 10 years. The SAD-BJP alliance was leading in 27 constituencies and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is in power in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, was ahead in 24.
 
In Goa, the ruling BJP and the Congress were engaged in a close contest, with both parties establishing leads in seven seats each. In Manipur, the Congress was leading in 10 seats and the BJP in eight.
 
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes. As such, the results of these elections are expected to have a major bearing on national politics in the next two years.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
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The Election Commission is giving out counting trends and results of the elections through its website eciresults.nic.in.
 
Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
 
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
 
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.
 
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Counting of votes begins in crucial Assembly elections in five States

Counting of votes began on Saturday morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.

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Counting of votes began this morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.
 
Initial counting trends are expected to be available by mid-morning and all the results are expected by this evening.
 
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
The Election Commission is giving out counting trends and results of the elections through its website eciresults.nic.in.
 
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Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
 
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
 
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.
 
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Assembly elections: ECI issues directions for fool-proof security arrangements for counting of votes

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The Election Commission of India (EC) has issued directions to the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur to ensure fool-proof security arrangements for counting of votes, slated for March 11, in the Assembly elections in the five States.
 
The Commission had earlier issued detailed instructions to the CEOs regarding storage and safety arrangements for the electronic voting machines (EVMs), appointment of counting staff/counting agents and counting procedures.
 
An official press release said the Commission had held several rounds of video conferences with the CEOs and Returning Officers of all five states to take first hand inputs on their preparedness for counting of votes.
 
The ECI has set up 157 counting centres in the five states -- 53 in Punjab, two in Goa, 75 in Uttar Pradesh, 15 in Uttarakhand and 12 in Manipur.
 
"The ECI has taken feedback from all political parties and candidates, based on which these additional instructions have been issued with a view to further bolster security arrangements to tackle both general as well as situation specific exigencies and ensure a smooth counting process in a transparent manner," the release said.
 
According to the release, the instructions are:
 
1.      All the existing instructions of ECI on counting arrangement to be strictly followed by the DEOs and ROs in letter and spirit.
 
2.      Proper barricading arrangements to be ensured inside each of the counting hall with weld wires mesh to segregate the counting agents from the counting personnel and EVMs etc. as per the Commission’s instructions.
 
3.      In each of the counting hall proper arrangement for videography should be made to record the general happenings in the counting hall for effective monitoring of the counting process as per the Commission’s instructions.
 
4.      Effective barricading from the strong room door up to the counting hall door shall made in such a way that EVMs of each constituency should go to its respective counting hall only and shall not criss-cross each other.
 
5.      For ease of identification, coloured badges may be given to the staff engaged for transporting the EVMs to a particular counting hall each of constituency.
 
6.      As per the Commission’s instructions, all counting arrangements must be completed by the night of 7th March, 2017. The Observers shall visit the counting halls on the 8th March, 2017 and shall send a report to the Commission on counting arrangements.
 
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7.      It should be ensured that security protocol of strong rooms, as given in the Commission’s letter no. 51/8/VVPAT/2015-EMS dated 5th May 2015, in no way shall be breached while making the barricading arrangements and other preparatory work for the counting hall. If anywhere, counting hall is in the proximity of the strong room or the passage to the counting hall is near the strong room, then proper strong barricading should be erected to ensure that the access to the inner perimeter of the strong room is completely blocked. In all such matters, the DEO shall personally oversee and approve all such arrangements and ensure that security of EVMs in no way breached. Further, in all such places CCTV cameras may be placed, before under taking the counting arrangements, from where all the happenings of the movement are recorded and shown on a separate TV placed next to the TV fixed already for round the clock viewing of strong room doors by the candidates.
 
8.      On the date of counting, additional CCTV camera may be installed at such locations from where carrying of EVMs from the strong room to the counting hall can be recorded for effective monitoring.
 
9.      The CEO shall personally monitor and ensure that all the counting arrangements are done as per the instructions of the Commission.
 
10.  The entire plan would  be shared with contesting candidates by each DEO. The actual work of preparing for the counting shall be started thereafter for which all the contesting candidates/representatives may be invited to be present, if they wish so.
 
 The EC officer further said that these arrangements would ensure prevention of access to any anti-social element ,and that frisking will be done so that  no one enter the area with arms & ammunitions. Further, no one would be able to enter the counting arena without getting frisked.
 
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Sailboat Tarini to be inducted into Indian Navy on Saturday

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The Indian Navy’s second ocean going sailboat Tarini will be inducted at a ceremony scheduled to be held at the INS Mandovi Boat Pool in Goa tomorrow evening.
 
Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of Naval Staff, will be present on the occasion, an official press release said.
 
INSV Tarini is a sloop built by Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd at Divar, Goa. It is slated to be the platform for the first Indian all-women expedition of the Indian Navy for circumnavigation of the globe.
 
An official press release said the boat had been built to a stock design by Van de Stadt, Netherlands called Tonga 56. The hull is made of wooden core fiberglass sandwich construction for a better performance than aluminum and steel.  
 
INSV Tarini carries a suite of six sails including a Main sail, Head sails (Genoa and stay sails), Downwind sails and Storm sail. Her mast is 25 meters tall and has been custom built by Southern Spars, Cape Town, for sailing in extreme conditions. She boasts a Raymarine navigation suite and an array of latest satellite communication systems through which she can be contacted anywhere in the world.
 
The release said the trials of the newly built INSV Tarini were successfully completed on January 30 and all the learning experience from  her illustrious predecessor INSV Mhadei has been incorporated in this vessel right from the start. The keel of the vessel was laid by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on March 27, 2016 at the Aquarius Shipyard.
 
The construction was overseen by the Warship Overseeing Team, Goa and the vessel is being delivered before the scheduled date of delivery by the boat builder. The successful construction of both the Mhadei and Tarini in Goa are a tribute to the Government’s ‘Make in India’ policy.
 
INSV Tarini is almost identical to the iconic Mhadei which has sailed over 115,000 nautical miles in the past eight years. This includes path breaking voyages like the first Indian solo circumnavigation undertaken by Capt Dilip Donde (Retd) in 2009 and first solo, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation by Cdr Abhilash Tomy in 2013.
 
The boat draws her origin from the famous Tara-Tarini temple of Orissa’s Ganjam district. The word Tarini means a boat and is also a Sanskrit word for saviour. Tara-Tarini is a patron deity for sailors and merchants and is worshipped for safety and success at sea. Tara-Tarini of Orissa is known to have historical linkages with the river Goddess Mhadei- the exclusive boat deity of the Mhadei river of Goa. Both the deities Tarini and Mhadei have sculptural similarities.
 
The release said the Navy had conceptualized the idea of the first Indian all-women circumnavigation of the globe in order to promote ocean sailing activities and to encourage women empowerment.
 
A team of six women officers led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi was selected for the project. The officers have done basic sail training courses at INWTC Mumbai followed by Navigation, Seamanship, Communication and Meterology courses at various naval training schools at Kochi. After completion of theoretical courses, the officers sailed INSV Mhadei to Vizag for the International Fleet Review 2016 and thereafter to Mauritius and back. Following that, they sailed the boat on a gruelling voyage to Cape Town in December 2016.
 
The boat is skippered by Lieutenant Commander Joshi and crew members include Lieutenant Commander Pratibha Jamwal, Lieutenant Aishwarya Boddapati, Lieutenant Patarapalli Swathi, Lieutenant Vijaya Devi and Lieutenant Payal Gupta.
 
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70% polling in Punjab Assembly elections, record 83% turnout in Goa

About 70 percent of the electorate in Punjab and a record 83 percent in Goa exercised their franchise in elections to choose new state legislative assemblies amidst tight security on Saturday.

 
Voters queue to cast their votes amidst tight security
About 70 percent of the electorate in Punjab and a record 83 percent in Goa exercised their franchise in elections to choose new state legislative assemblies amidst tight security today.
 
The turnout in Goa was better than the 81.8 percent recorded in the last assembly elections in 2012, while Punjab had recorded 78 percent voting in the last elections.
 
The final numbers may be slightly higher since reports from many polling booths were still coming in, Election Commission officials said this evening.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful in both states and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
 
Punjab and Goa were the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Cente and just two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes. The polls are being seen as a test of the Modi government's popularity as well as an indication of how the people have reacted to the sudden and drastic move to withdraw high-value notes, which accounted for 86 percent of the total cash in circulation in the country.
 
Voters began queueing outside polling stations in both states from early morning and their numbers steadily increased as the day progressed. Voting, which began at 7 am in Goa and at 8 am in Punjab, ended at 5 pm in both states.
 
Polling also took place today for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the resignation of Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh.
 
The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats and the Goa Assembly 40 seats and both states had single-phase polling today.
 
Uttarakhand will have single-phase polling on February 15, Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8 and Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, will have polling in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa and Punjab assemblies are due to expire on March 18.
 
The Election Commission had made elaborate security and other arrangements for smooth, free and fair elections in both the states.
 
In Punjab, a total of 19879069 voters, including 10503108 males and  9375546 females, were eligible to exercise their franchise. There were 1145 candidates in the fray, including 81 women and one of the third gender. The Election Commission had set up 22,615 polling stations across the state.
 
In Goa, as many as  1110884 electors, including 546742 men and 564142 women, were eligible to vote in today's elections.  A total of 251 candidates, including 19 women, were in the fray.  The Commission had set up 1642 polling stations across the state.
 
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The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made a determined effort for another term in office in Goa, while the Congress is hoping to come back to power in the state. The three-party alliance forged by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena is the other major player in the state.
 
Similarly in Punjab, the Congress has tried to wrest power back from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been in office for a decade.
 
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, went all out to emerge as the alternative to the established players in both the states, turning the elections into a triangular contest.
 
In Punjab, SAD leader and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, sought  re-election for the sixth time. He faced Capt. Amarinder Singh, the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, in the Lambi constituency. The Congress leader also contested the elections from his traditional seat of Patiala.
 
The Chief Minister's son Sukhbir Singh faced AAP's Bhagwant Mann, MP, who is his party's likely chief ministerial candidate, in Jalalabad.
 
Former Indian Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the Congress weeks ahead of the polls, contested from Amritsar East, a part of the Amrtisar Lok Sabha constituency that he represented in Parliament as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for two terms.
 
Prominent candidates in Goa included Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP) and five former Chief Ministers -- Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane and Luizinho Faleiro (Congress) and Churchill Alemao (NCP). There have been indications that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might return to Goa as Chief Minister if the BJP retains power.
 
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Punjab, Goa to vote on Saturday to elect new legislative assemblies

Punjab and Goa will go to the polls on Saturday to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first of five states that will hold crucial elections in the coming weeks, midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.

Punjab and Goa will go to the polls tomorrow to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states that will hold crucial elections in the coming weeks, midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.
 
The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats and the Goa Assembly 40 seats and both states will have single-phase polling tomorrow.
 
Uttarakhand will have single-phase polling on February 15, Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8 and Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, will have polling in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa and Punjab assemblies are due to expire on March 18.
 
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for smooth, free and fair elections in both the states.
 
Punjab has a total of 19879069 voters, including 10503108 males and  9375546 females.
 
There are 1145 candidates in the fray, including 81 women and one of the third gender.
The Election Commission has set up 22,615 polling stations across the state.
 
In Goa, there are a total of  1110884 electors, including 546742 men and 564142 women. A total of 251 candidates, including 19 women, are in the fray.  The Commission has set up 1642 polling stations across the state.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making a determined effort for another term in office in the state, while the Congress is hoping to come back to power in Goa. The three-party alliance forged by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena is the other major player in the state.
 
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Similarly in Punjab, the Congress is trying to wrest power back from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been in office for a decade.
 
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, has gone all out to emerge as the alternative to the established players in both the states.
 
In Punjab, SAD leader and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, is seeking re-election for the sixth time. He will face Capt. Amarinder Singh, the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, in the Lambi constituency.
 
The Chief Minister's son Sukhbir Singh will face AAP's Bhagwant Mann, MP, who is his party's likely chief ministerial candidate, in Jalalabad.
 
Prominent candidates in Goa include Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP) and five former Chief Ministers -- Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane and Luizinho Faleiro (Congress) and Churchill Alemao (NCP). There have been indications that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might return to Goa as Chief Minister if the BJP retains power.
 
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Exercise Konkan 16 between Indian Navy, Royal Navy begins

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Konkan 16, the 2016 edition of the annual bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy, is being held from today till December 16 in Mumbai and Goa as part of efforts to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and the United Kingdom.
 
The exercise will also enhance the capability of the two navies to work together to contribute towards maritime security in the global commons, an official press release said.
 
The exercise, named Konkan after the Western coastal region of India, was institutionalised in 2004. Since then, it has been hosted in rotation by both the navies and has grown in complexity, scale and intensity.
 
The release said the exercise would be conducted in two phases in Mumbai and Goa. The first phase from December 5-9 would be a Command Planning exercise involving the two navies in Mumbai, where planners from both sides will undertake planning for combined maritime operations. 
 
The second phase is a live exercise to be held from December 12-16 in Goa, which involves interaction between the IN Marine Commandos (MARCOs) and the Royal Marines.
 
Both phases will involve sharing of best practices and lessons learnt from recent operations, especially in the field of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO).
 
"Konkan 16 will be an important chapter in the maritime interactions under the aegis of Konkan series as it will familiarise both forces with each other’s planning processes and further enhance synergy and inter-operability. In addition, participation of IN MARCOs and Royal Marines would add another dimension to this exercise and provide valuable opportunity for both navies to interact and cooperate in the field of Maritime Security Operations," the release said.
 
"Successive editions of Konkan have built on past experiences and have enhanced operational inter-operability between the two navies. This cooperation between the two navies is a positive and tangible symbol of commitment in ensuring a positive climate for maritime security and economic development," it added.
 
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‘Allama’ nominated as Indian entry for ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal

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‘Allama’, a film by the national award winning director T.S. Nagabharana about the journey of a 12th century metaphysician, will compete for the International Council for Film, Television and Audio-visual Communication (ICFT) UNESCO Gandhi Medal at the ongoing At 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
 
ICFT Paris in collaboration with UNESCO will award the film that best reflects the Gandhi ideals of peace, tolerance and non-violence, a prestigious Gandhi Medal and Certificate. This competition section shall have eight films including ‘Allama’ that will vie for the prestigious ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal.
 
Other films that will compete in this section are ‘A Real Vermeer’, ‘Beluga’, ‘Cold of Kalandar’, ‘Exiled’, ‘Harmonia’, ‘The Apology’ and ‘The Family: Dementia’.
 
‘Allama’ is a film about a 12th century metaphysician, son of a temple dancer who embarks on a quest for knowledge and answers to his four core sentiments, yearning, and obsession to play the maddale (a type of drum), failures and self-realisation.
 
When he evolves and becomes “Prabhu”, a master of monotheistic and non-dualistic philosopher, he begins to question many core values in his ideal world where he can foresee violence and advices people to find solace and departs on his final journey to become one with nature and a true spirit.
 
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Workshop on 'Restoration of Satyajit Ray Preservation project’ held at IFFI

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A workshop on Restoration of Satyajit Ray Preservation Project was held by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) at Kala Academy as part of the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2016 here yesterday.
 
The workshop, presented by Ms Tessa Idlewine, Short Film Preservationist at AMPAS, highlighted the challenges involved in the task of restoring films. 
 
Ms Idlewine mentioned they have been able to restore and preserve 21 of Satyajit Ray's films in the time span of 20 years.
 
Ms. Idlewine, an inventory film archivist at AMPAS, spoke in detail about the commendable efforts undertaken by the institution to restore, conserve and preserve Ray’s films. 
 
Ms. Idlewine has specialized in film handling, film identification, cataloguing, film archiving, preservation and conservation. The session was moderated by Shivendra Dungarpur, an Indian filmmaker, producer, film archivist and restorer himself.
 
AMPAS is a professional honorary organization with the stated goal of advancing the art and sciences of motion pictures.
 
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Baahubali among 26 films to be screened in Panorama at IFFI 2016

Baahubali, directed by S. S. Rajamouli and winner of the Best Feature Film Award at the 63rd National Film Awards 2015 and Malayalam film Roopanthram, directed by M. B. Padmakumar, are among the 26 feature films selected for the Indian Panorama section of the 47th International Film Festival of India 2016 to be held in Goa from November 20-28.
 
The Jury for Feature Films, headed by well-known actor and director Rajendra Singh Babu, has selected 22 films out of 230 eligible entries. The 13-member jury took a month to finalize the selections, an official press release said.
 
As per Clause 8.6 of the Indian Panorama 2016 Regulations, the Best Feature Film of 63rd  National Film Awards 2015 is included in the Indian Panorama 2016. Three mainstream films have also been selected for the Panorama.
 
The following is the list of 26 feature films that will be screened in the Panorama Section of the festival:
 
1.  Roopanthram (Malayalam) - M B Padmakumar
2.  Harikatha Prasanga (Kannada) - - Ananya Kasaravalli
3.  Natsamrat - Asa Nat Hone Nahi (Marathi) -- Mahesh Manjrekar
4.  Loktak Lairembee (Manipuri) -- Haoban Paban Kumar
5.  Bastu Shaap (Bengali) - Kaushik Ganguly
6.  Veeram Macbeth (Malayalam) -  Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair
7.   Ekk Albela (Marathi) - Shekhar Sartandel
8.   Kaadu Pookkunna Neram (Malayalam) -- Dr.Biju
9.   U Turn (Kannada) - Pawan Kumar
10.  Ishti (Sanskrit) - G. Prabha
11.  Shankhachil (Bengali) - Gautam Ghose
12.  Irudhi Sutru (Tamil) - Sudha Kongara
13.  Pinky Beauty Parlour (Hindi) - Akshay Singh
14.  Mantra (English) - Nicholas Kharkongor
15.  Ringan (Marathi) - Makaramd Mane
16.  Onaatah (Khasi) - Pradip Kurbah
17.  Chitrokar (Bengali) - Saibal Mitra
18.  Sahaj Paather Gappo Colours of Innocence (Bengali) - Manas Mukul Pal
19.  K Sera Sera (Konkani) - Rajeev Shinde
20.  Allama (Kannada) - T S Nagabharna
21.  Sairat (Marathi) -  Nagraj Manjule
22.  Dikchow Banat Palaax (Assamese) - Sanjib Sabhapandit
23.  Baahubali (Best  Feature Film in 63rd NFA) (Telugu) - S.S Rajamouli    
24.  Bajirao Mastani (Hindi) - Sanjay Leela Bhansali
25.  Airlift (Hindi) - Raja Krishna Menon
26.  Sultan (Hindi) - Ali Abbas Jaffar
 
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The Jury has recommended Sanskrit film Ishti as the opening feature film of Indian Panorama 2016.
 
The Jury for Feature Films included filmmakers Rama Vij, Arup Manna, C. V. Reddy, Girish Mohite, N. Krishnakumar, Sabyasachi Mohapatra and Ahathian, writer and filmmaker Uday Shankar Pani, writer K. Puttaswamy, drector and columnist Sanjay Pawar and critics and journalists Satinder Mohan and Swapan Mullick.
 
The Non-Feature Films Jury chaired by well-known documentary filmmaker Arvind Sinha has picked 21 films out of 198 eligible entries. The seven-member jury took 15 days to finalize the selections. 
 
The following is the list of non-feature films selected for the Panorama:
1.    The Wind in the Maruwa - Sankhajit Biswas (Bengali)
2.    Taandav - Devashish Makhija (Hindi)
3.    Paywat - Mithun Chandra Chowdhary (Marathi)
4.    In return, Just a Book - Shiny Jacob Benjamin (Malayalam)
5.   Gudh - Saurav Rai (Nepali)
6.   Cecilia - Pankaj Johar - English 
7.   Guns and Guitars – a musical travelogue - Bidyut Kotoky (English)
8.   Randu Kurippukal - Gireesh Kumar.K (Malayalam)
9.   Gods in Shackles - Sangita Iyer (English)
10.  Memories of a forgotten war - Utpal Borpujari (English)
11.  Ima Sabitri - Bobo KH (Manipuri) 
12.  Earth Crusader - Shabnam Sukhdev (English)
13.  Bachchha Saheb - Saikat Sekhareswar Ray (Bengali)
14.  Ormayude Athirvarambukal - Sudesh Balan (Malayalam)
15.  Chaukat - Umesh Mohan Bagade (Marathi)
16.  Edpa Kana - Niranjan Kumar Kujur (Hindi)
17.  Sabin Alun - Altaf Mazid Karbi (Assam) 
18.  Samann - Billu Paul (Haryanvi)
19.  Daayra - Sonia Saharan (Haryanvi)
20.  Daaravtha - Nishant Roy Bombarde (Marathi)
21.  Amdavad Ma Famous - Hardik Mehta (Gujarati)
 
Amdavad Ma Famous, winner of the award for the Best Non-Feature Film of the 63rd National Film Awards 2016 has been included in the Panorama as a direct entry as per the regulations of the festival.
 
The Jury for Non-Feature Films consisted of documentary filmmakers        Aarti Srivastava, Abhijit Mazumdar, Ronel Haobam, animation filmmaker Gautam Benegal, writer and director Madhureeta Anand, critic and filmmaker Suresh Sharma.
 
Ima Sabitri has been chosen as the opening non-feature film.
 
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Parrikar inaugurates HAL-Safran JV for maintenance, repair of helicopter engines

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Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated Helicopter Engines Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Pvt. Limited (HE-MRO), a joint venture between the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran Helicopter Engines (SafranHE), France at in Sattari, North Goa yesterday.
 
An official press release said the joint venture (JV) would provide MRO services for Safran TM333 2B2 and HAL Shakti engines installed on HAL-built helicopters operated by the defence services.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Parrikar said this was a step towards creating employment opportunities with corresponding boost to economic activities in Goa. “This is the right place for MRO activities related to helicopter engines. We have local talent to meet the skill requirement for the project,” he added.
 
HAL Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju said the JV reflected the long-standing relationship between HAL and Safran Helicopter Engines.
 
“Goa is a natural choice for this. With demand for helicopters engines on the rise, sky is the only limit in this business” he said and thanked the state Government for providing all the support in making the JV a reality. 
 
He said the JV brings about synergy of the expertise from HAL and SafranHE in the field of ROH of Safran family of engines. He added that the partnership would improve customer satisfaction through improved serviceability, reduced cycle time for ROH, availability of spares, troubleshooting, field support and modifications to overcome design deficiencies.
 
The MRO Centre plans to progressively support engines of International Operators and other engines as mutually agreed between the partners. In addition to carrying out overhaul activities at Goa, the JV will also provide support through Certified Maintenance Centers located centrally at customer bases, he said.
 
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Safran Helicopter Engines CEO Bruno Even said, “HE-MRO marks a new step in the long-lasting and fruitful partnership between Safran and HAL. We are extremely proud of the continued confidence placed in us by HAL. Together we are committed to delivering world-class support to our customers, both in India and throughout the region”.
 
With a fleet of over 1,000 engines, including 250 TM333 and 250 Shakti, India’s armed forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines. Shakti is the Indian designation for the Safran Ardiden 1H1, co-developed with HAL and produced under license.
 
Shakti is fitted to HAL’s ALH/Dhruv and has been selected to power the HAL-designed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). The Ardiden 1U variant powers the new Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), a three-ton single-engine aircraft that made its maiden flight in September 2016.
 
The function was attended by Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and senior officials of HAL and the State Government.
 
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India, Brazil agree to scale up engagement, reinforce strategic partnership

India and Brazil on Monday agreed to scale up their engagement, noting the potential for greater bilateral cooperation in all areas, in line with their mutual desire for a reinforced strategic partnership.

 
Modi, Brazilian PM Michel Temer hold talks in Goa
India and Brazil today agreed to scale up their engagement, noting the potential for greater bilateral cooperation in all areas, in line with their mutual desire for a reinforced strategic partnership.
 
"Brazil is among our most important economic partners in Latin America," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a joint media interaction with his Brazilian counterpart Michel Temer after their bilateral talks here.
 
"President Temer and I have reviewed the full range of bilateral cooperation," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said the two countries had finalised the text of a bilateral investment agreement, which will provide much needed momentum to increased bilateral business and investment linkages. 
 
"We have taken note of the priority that President Temer attaches to reviving the domestic economic agenda in Brazil. In this, India can be a valuable partner. I welcome Brazilian companies to come and invest in India and to forge long term commercial partnerships. President Temer and I have just met with our CEOs to hear from them first hand.I am encouraged at the steps they are taking to advance pragmatic collaboration. We will fully support this," he said.
 
Mr. Modi sought Mr. Temer's support in facilitating greater market access and investment opportunities for Indian products and companies. 
 
"I am thankful for President Temer's positive consideration. We have also made progress in opening new areas of cooperation during this visit in drug regulation, agricultural research and on cyber security issues. President Temer and I also agreed to intensify and strengthen our coordination in important international fora. There is much that is common in our approach and positions. We will work closely at the United Nations, the G-20, G-4, WTO, BRICS, IBSA and other important platforms," he said.
 
Mr. Modi deeply appreciated Brazil's support for India’s actions in combating terrorism. 
 
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"We agreed that the world must come together to fight this menace without distinction or discrimination.We will continue to work with Brazil as an important partner in early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention Against International Terrorism (CCIT) at the United Nations. We thank Brazil for understanding India's aspiration for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group," he said.
 
"Both bilaterally and multilaterally, the partnership between India and Brazil is filled with possibilities that we are keen to harvest. President Temer's visit provides an important occasion to work on a roadmap to achieve this. As they say in Portuguese 'A uniao faz a forca' – 'our union makes us stronger'," he added.
 
Mr. Modi said he was delighted that Goa, with its common cultural Portuguese heritage, was part of Mr. Temer's maiden visit to India.
 
"Though separated by geography, Brazil and India are natural partners linked by common values of democracy, rule of law and shared aspirations for development, peace and prosperity. President Temer as a foremost constitutional expert understands and appreciates this well. This visit takes place as both countries mark a decade of our strategic partnership. The world has changed in these ten years. The bilateral relations between India and Brazil have grown for the better. We have increased interaction at all levels. We are also joined together in shaping the international context to support our common pursuits and endeavors. 
 
"I warmly recall my visit to Brazil in 2014. It was the first country I visited outside Asia after assuming office. I felt the full warmth of our friends in Brazil towards India. Excellency, India is the first country you have chosen for a bilateral visit outside Latin America since assuming your important new responsibility. Your visit reflects the importance we attach to our bilateral relationship. This was evident in our productive discussions this morning," he added.
 
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Modi slams Pakistan, says terrorism has become its favourite child

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In a thinly veiled reference to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said all nations in South Asia and BIMSTEC are motivated to pursue a path of peace, development and economic prosperity for its people, barring one which embraces and radiates the darkness of terrorism.
 
"Terrorism has become its favorite child. And, the child in turn has come to define the fundamental character and nature of its parent," he said in his welcome remarks at the Plenary Session of BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit here.
 
Mr. Modi said terrorism, radicalization, and transnational crimes posed grave threats to each of them.
 
"Geographical barriers and borders pose no limitations on those who wish to harm our societies. They not only threaten the lives of our nationals; they also block our march towards economic prosperity," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said the time for condemning the state sponsored terrorism was long gone.
 
"It is time to stand up and act, and act decisively It is, therefore, imperative for BRICS and BIMSTEC to create a comprehensive response to secure our societies against the perpetrators of terror.
 
"To those who nurture the philosophy of terror, and seek to de-humanize the mankind, we must send a clear message to mend their ways or be isolated in the civilized world," he said.
 
The summit was attended by Presidents Michel Temer of Brazil, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China and Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who, along with India, are members of the five-nation BRICS. It was also attended by President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka, Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' of Nepal, Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar and Vice Foreign Minister Virasakdi Futrakul of Thailand, countries which are part of BIMSTEC.
 
"BRICS and BIMSTEC have been shaped by different contexts. They are located in different geographies. Together, we represent two thirds of humanity. But, we are joined by a common vision and commitment to peace, stability and development. We are also united by similar challenges and concerns that shape our domestic choices and international partnerships. India is privileged to belong to both these groups," he said.
 
"Unequal development, food and energy insecurity, poverty eradication, the impact of climate change, and the growing threats posed by terrorism and transnational crime define our governance priorities. But, alongside these challenges, there exists a large basket of economic opportunities.
 
"With 1.5 billion people and a combined GDP of 2.5 trillion US Dollars, the countries of BIMSTEC have shared aspirations for growth, development, commerce, and technology. Their quest for economic prosperity can shape the agenda for building economic partnerships with BRICS. Similarly, BRICS represents large emerging economies, G-20 member-states and 2 permanent members of the Security Council. Its linkages with BIMSTEC economies will enlarge the regional and global sphere of dynamic growth and prosperity," he said.
 
Mr. Modi dwelt at length on the possibilities of economic cooperation among the member countries of the two groupings. He said the single most important resource for many of them was, perhaps, their young population.
 
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Goa Declaration at 8th BRICS Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Presidents Michel Temer of Brazil, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China and Jacob Zuma of South Africa in the BRICS Leaders’ family photograph at the BRICS Summit, in Goa on October 16, 2016.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Presidents Michel Temer of Brazil, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China and Jacob Zuma of South Africa in the BRICS Leaders’ family photograph at the BRICS Summit, in Goa on October 16, 2016.
Following is the Goa Declaration issued by the Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa at the end of the 8th BRICS Summit here today:
 
We, the Leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa, met on 15-16 October 2016 in Goa, India, at the Eighth BRICS Summit, which was held under the theme "Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions.”
 
Recalling all our previous declarations, we emphasise the importance of further strengthening BRICS solidarity and cooperation based on our common interests and key priorities to further strengthen our strategic partnership in the spirit ofopenness, solidarity,equality, mutual understanding, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation. We agree that emerging challenges to global peace and security and to sustainable development require further enhancing of our collective efforts. 
 
We agree that BRICS countries represent an influential voice on the global stage through our tangible cooperation, which delivers direct benefits to our people. In this context, we note with satisfaction the operationalisation of the New Development Bank (NDB) and of the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), which contributes greatly to the global economy and the strengthening of the international financial architecture. We welcome the report presented by NDB President on the work of the Bank during the first year of its operations. We are pleased to note the progress in operationalising the Africa Regional Centre (ARC) of the NDB and pledge our full support in this regard. We look forward to developing new BRICS initiatives in a wider range of areas in the years to come. 
 
We note with appreciation the approval of the first set of loans by the New Development Bank (NDB), particularly in the renewable energy projects in BRICS countries. We express satisfaction with NDB's issuance of the first set of green bonds in RMB. We are pleased to note that the operationalisation of BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangements (CRA) has strengthened the global financial safety net. 
 
In order to reach out and enrich our understanding and engagement with fellow developingand emerging economies, we will hold an OutreachSummit of BRICS Leaders with the Leaders of BIMSTEC member countries - Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation comprising of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The meeting will be an opportunity to renew our friendship with BIMSTEC countries as well as to jointly explore possibilities of expanding trade and commercial ties,and investment cooperation between BRICS and BIMSTEC countries,while advancing our common goals of peace, development, democracy and prosperity. 
 
We reiterate our common vision of ongoing profound shifts in the world as it transitions to a more just, democratic, and multi-polar international order based on the central role of the United Nations, and respect for international law. We reaffirm the need for strengthening coordination of efforts on global issues and practical cooperation in the spirit of solidarity, mutual understanding and trust. We underline the importance of collective efforts in solving international problems, and for peaceful settlement of disputes through political and diplomatic means, and in this regard, we reiterate our commitment to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. 
 
We note the global character of current security challenges and threats confronting the international community. We reiterate our view that international efforts to address these challenges, the establishment ofsustainable peace as well as the transition to a more just, equitable and democratic multi-polar international order requires a comprehensive, concerted and determined approach, based on spirit of solidarity, mutual trust and benefit, equity and cooperation, strong commitment to international law and the central role of the United Nations as the universal multilateral organisation entrusted with the mandate for maintaining international peace and security, advance global development and to promote and protect human rights. We underline the importance of further strengthening coordination of our efforts in this context. 
 
We reaffirm our commitment to contribute to safeguarding a fair and equitable international order based on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations including through consistent and universal respect and adherence to the principles and rules of international law in their inter-relation and integrity, compliance by all states with their international legal obligations.We express our commitment to resolutely reject the continued attempts to misrepresent the results of World War II. We recall further that development and security are closely interlinked, mutually reinforcing and key to attaining sustainable peace. 
 
We remain confident that resolving international problems require collective efforts for peaceful settlement of disputes through political and diplomatic means. Implementation of principles of good-faith, sovereign equality of States, non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and cooperation excludes imposition of unilateral coercive measures not based on international law. We condemn unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions in violation of international law and universally recognised norms of international relations. Bearing this in mind, we emphasise the unique importance of the indivisible nature of security, and that no State should strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others. 
 
We recall the 2005 World Summit Outcome document. We reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countriesso that it can adequately respond to global challenges. China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN. 
 
We welcome the substantive measures undertaken by the UN membership to make the process of selecting and appointing the UN Secretary-General more transparent and inclusive. 
 
We expressour gratitude to UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon for his contributions to the United Nations in the past ten years. We congratulate Mr. AntónioGuterres, on his appointment as the Secretary-General of the United Nations andexpress oursupport and to work closely with him. 
 
Cognizant of BRICS countries’ significant contributions to UN Peacekeeping operations, and recognising the important role of UN Peacekeeping operations in safeguarding international peace and security, we realise the challenges faced by UN Peacekeeping and emphasise the need to further strengthen its role, capacity, effectiveness, accountability and efficiency, while adhering to the basic principles of peacekeeping. We emphasise that UN Peacekeeping operations should perform the duty of protection of civilians in strict accordance with their respective mandates and in respect of the primary responsibility of the host countries in this regard. 
 
We are deeply concerned about the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. We support all effortsfor finding ways to the settlement of the crises in accordance with international law and in conformity with the principles of independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the countries of the region. On Syria, we call upon all parties involved to work for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the conflict taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria,through inclusive national dialogue and a Syrian-led political process based on Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 and in pursuance of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and 2268 for their full implementation.While continuing the relentless pursuit against terrorist groups so designated by the UN Security Councilincluding ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organisations designated by the UN Security Council. 
 
We reiterate also the necessity to implement the two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the relevant UNSC resolutions, the Madrid Principles and Arab Peace Initiative, and previous agreements between the two sides,through negotiations aimed at creating an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian State livingside-by-side in peace with Israel, withinsecure, mutually agreed and internationally recognised borders on the basis of 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as envisaged in the relevant UN Resolutions. 
 
We express deep concern at the persisting security challenges in Afghanistan and significant increase in terrorist activities in Afghanistan. We affirm support to the efforts of the Afghan Government to achieve Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national reconciliation and combat terrorism, and readiness for constructive cooperation in order to facilitate security in Afghanistan, promote its independent political and economic course, becoming free from terrorism and drug trafficking. The Leaders expressed the view that capable and effective Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) should be the key to the stabilisation of Afghanistan. In this regard, the Leaders emphasised the need for continued commitment of regional countries and wider international community, including the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, which as the ISAF’s heir has a key role in the ANSF capacity-building. The Leaders stressed the importance of multilateral region-led interaction on Afghan issues, primarily by those organisations, which consist of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and other regional states, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Collective Security Treaty Organization, and the Heart of Asia Conference. 
 
We welcome the African Union’s (AU) vision, aspirations, goals and priorities for Africa’s development enshrined in Agenda 2063, which is complementary with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We reaffirm our support for Africa’s implementation of its variousprogrammesin pursuit of its continental agenda for peace and socio economic development. We will continue to engage in joint endeavours to advance Africa's solidarity, unity and strength through support measures for regional integration and sustainable development.We further welcome recent elections that have been held in the continent and the peaceful manner in which they were conducted. 
 
We support the AU’s efforts to resolving conflictsthrough its peace and security architecture, in collaboration with the United Nations and the continent’s regional organisations, and to contribute towards lasting and sustainable peace and security in Africa. 
We welcome the decision of the African Union’s Assembly to operationalise its Peace Fund, in order to contribute to financing of its peace and security operations. We support efforts aimed at full operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF) and note the progress being made in this regard, including the contributions by the African Capacity for Immediate Responses to Crises (ACIRC). 
 
We express our concern that political and security instability continues to loom in a number of countriesthat is exacerbated by terrorism and extremism.We call upon the international community through the United Nations, African Union and regional and international partners to continue their support in addressing these challenges, including post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts. 
 
We welcome the adoption of landmark 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals during the UN Summit on Sustainable Development on 25 September 2015 and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. We welcome the people-centred and holistic approach to sustainable development enshrined in the 2030 Agenda and its emphasis on equality, equity and quality-life to all. We welcome the reaffirmation of the guiding principles of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR). 
 
The 2030 Agenda, with its overarching focus on povertyeradication, lays an equal and balanced emphasis on the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. We call upon developed countries to honour their Official Development Assistancecommitments to achieve 0.7% of Gross National Income commitment for Official Development Assistance to developing countries. Those commitments play a crucial role in the implementation of the SDGs. We further welcome the establishment of a Technology Facilitation Mechanism within the UN with a mandate to facilitate technology for the implementation of the SDGs. 
 
We commit to lead by example in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development inline with national circumstances and development context respecting the national policy space. We welcome the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Developmentadopted during G20 Hangzhou Summit and commit to its implementation by taking bold transformative steps through both collective and individual concreteactions. 
 
We meet at a time when the global economic recovery is progressing, with improved resilience and emergence of new sources of growth.The growth, though is weaker than expected with downside risks to the global economy continuing to persist.This gets reflected in a variety of challenges including commodity price volatility, weak trade, high private and public indebtedness, inequality and lack of inclusiveness of economic growth. Meanwhile, the benefits from growth need to be sharedbroadly in an inclusive manner.Geopolitical conflicts, terrorism, refugee flows, illicit financial flows and the outcome of UK referendum have further added to the uncertainty in the global economy.
 
We reiterate our determination to use all policy tools – monetary, fiscal, and structural, individually and collectively, to achieve the goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. Monetary policy will continue to support economic activity and ensure price stability, consistent with central bank’s mandates. Monetary policy alone, though, cannot lead to balanced and sustainablegrowth. We, in this regard, underscore the essential role of structural reforms.We emphasise that our fiscal policies are equally important to support our common growth objectives. We also take note that the spill-over effects ofcertain policy measures in some systemically important advanced economies can have adverse impact on growth prospects of emerging economies. 
 
We recognise that innovation is a key driver for mid and long term growth and sustainable development. We stress the importance of industrialisation and measures that promote industrial development as a core pillar of structural transformation. 
We highlight the need to use tax policy and public expenditure in a more growth-friendly way taking into account fiscal space available, that promotesinclusiveness, maintains resilience and ensuressustainability of debt as a share of GDP. 
 
We note the dynamic integration processes across the regions of the world, particularly in Asia, Africa and South America.We affirm our belief to promote growth in the context of regional integration on the basis of principles of equality, openness and inclusiveness. We further believe that this will promote economic expansion through enhanced trade,commercial and investmentlinkages. 
 
We highlight the importance of public and private investments in infrastructure, including connectivity,to ensure sustained long-term growth. We, in this regard, call for approaches to bridge the financing gap in infrastructure including through enhanced involvement of Multilateral Development Banks. 
 
We reaffirm our commitment to a strong, quota based and adequately resourced IMF. Borrowed resources by the IMF should be on a temporary basis. We remain strongly committed to support the coordinated effort by the emerging economies to ensure that the Fifteenth General Review of Quotas, including the new quota formula, will be finalised within the agreed timelines so as to ensure that the increased voice of the dynamic emerging and developing economies reflects their relative contributions to the world economy, while protecting the voices of least developed countries (LDCs), poor countries and regions. 
 
We welcome the inclusion of the RMB into the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency basket on 1October, 2016. 
 
We call for the advanced European economies to meet their commitment to cede two chairs on the Executive Board of the IMF. The reform of the IMF should strengthen the voice and representation of the poorest members of the IMF, including Sub-Saharan Africa. 
 
We share concerns regarding the challenges of sovereign debt restructurings, and note that timely and successful debt restructuring is key for ensuring access to international capital markets, and hence economic growth, for countries with high debt levels. We welcome the current discussions to improve the debt restructuring process,and on the revised collective action clauses (CACs). 
 
We reiterate our support for the multilateral trading system and the centrality of the WTO as the cornerstone of a rule based, open, transparent, non-discriminatory and inclusive multilateral trading system with development at the core ofits agenda. We note the increasing number ofbilateral, regional, and plurilateral trade agreements, and reiterate that these should be complementary to the multilateral trading system and encourage the parties thereon to align their work in consolidating the multilateral trading system under the WTO in accordance with the principles of transparency, inclusiveness, and compatibility with the WTO rules. 
 
We emphasise the importance of implementing the decisions taken at the Bali and Nairobi Ministerial Conferences. We stress the need to advance negotiations on the remaining Doha Development Agenda (DDA) issues as a matter of priority. We call on all WTO members to work together to ensure a strong development oriented outcome for MC11 and beyond. 
 
We appreciate the progress in the implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership and emphasise the importance of the BRICS Roadmap for Trade, Economic and Investment Cooperation until 2020. We believe that close cooperation between the sectoral cooperation mechanisms, BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues, the BRICS Business Council, New Development Bank and the BRICS Interbank cooperation mechanism is crucial in strengthening the BRICS economic partnership. We welcome, in this context, the continued realisation of the major BRICS economic initiatives such as enhanced cooperation in e-commerce, "single window”, IPR cooperation, trade promotionand micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).We recognise non-tariff measures (NTMs),services sector, and standardisation and conformity assessments as possible areas of future cooperation.We note in this context the meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers in New Delhi on 13 October 2016 and welcome its substantive outcomes. 
 
In operationalising the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, we encourage measures that support greater participation, value addition and upward mobility in Global Value Chains of our firms including through the preservation of policy space to promote industrial development. 
 
We welcome India's initiative to host the first BRICS Trade Fair in New Delhi. This is an important step towards the implementation of Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership. We believethis will further consolidate trade and commercial partnership among BRICS countries. We welcome the deliberations and outcome of the meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers held on 13October 2016 in New Delhi. 
 
We noted the Annual Report by the BRICS Business Council, including the various initiatives undertaken by its Working Groups. We further direct the Council to accelerate the development and realisation of joint projects which, on a mutually beneficial basis, contribute to the economic objectives of BRICS. 
 
We agreed that MSMEs provide major employment opportunities, at comparatively lower capital cost, and create self-employment opportunities in rural and underdeveloped areas. MSMEs thus help assure equitable wealth distribution nationally and globally. We commend organisation of BRICSsecond round-table on MSMEs by India with a focus on technical and business alliances in MSMEs Sector. We agree to work for greater integration of MSMEs in Regional and Global Value Chains. 
 
We commend China for the successful hosting of the 11th G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hangzhou and its focus on innovation, structural reform and development as drivers of medium and long term economic growth. We recognise the role of G20 as the premier forum for international and financial cooperation and emphasise the importance of the implementationof the outcomes of G20 Hangzhou Summit, that we believe will foster strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth and will contribute to improved global economic governance and enhance the role of developing countries. 
 
We stress the importance to foster an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy.We will enhance our consultations and coordinationon the G20 agenda, especially on issues of mutual interest to the BRICS countries, and promote issues of importance for the Emerging Market and Developing Economies (EMDEs). We will continue to work closely with all G20 membersto strengthen macroeconomic cooperation, promote innovation, as well as robust and sustainable trade and investment to propel global growth,improve global economic governance,enhance the role of developing countries,strengthen international financial architecture,support for industrialisation in Africa and least developed countries and enhance cooperation on energy access and efficiency. We stress the need for enhanced international cooperation to address illicit cross-border financial flows, tax evasion and trade mis-invoicing. 
 
The role of BRICS and its collaborative efforts in the field of economic and financial co-operation are yielding positive results. We emphasise the importance of our cooperation in order to help stabilise the global economy and to resume growth. 
 
We welcome experts exploring the possibility of setting up an independent BRICS Rating Agency based on market-oriented principles, in order to further strengthen the global governance architecture. 
 
We welcome the reports of BRICS Think Tanks Council and BRICS Academic Forum that have emerged as valuable platforms for our experts to exchange views. They have submitted their valuable suggestions with regard to promoting market research and analysis in BRICS and developing countries and exploring possibilities of carrying this process forward.We believe that BRICS institution-building is critical to our shared vision of transforming the global financial architecture to one based on the principles of fairness and equity. 
 
We emphasise the importance of enhancing intra-BRICS cooperation in the industrial sector, including through the BRICS Industry Ministers Meetings, in order to contribute to the accelerated and sustainable economic growth, the strengthening of comprehensive industrial ties, the promotion of innovation as well as job creation, and improvement of the quality of life of people in BRICS countries. 
 
We congratulate the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for the 50th anniversary of its foundation and recall its unique mandate to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development and its contribution in promoting industrialisation in Africa. We note, in this context, the progress achieved so far in the establishment of the UNIDO-BRICS Technology Platform. 
 
We commend our Customs administrations on the establishment of the Customs Cooperation Committee of BRICS,and on exploring means of further enhancing collaboration in the future, including those aimed at creating legal basis for customs cooperation and facilitating procedures of customs control. We note the signing of the Regulations on Customs Cooperation Committee of the BRICS in line with the undertaking in the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership to strengthen interaction among Customs Administrations. 
 
We recall the Fortaleza Declaration wherein we recognised the potential for BRICS insurance and reinsurance markets to pool capacities and had directed our relevant authorities to explore avenues for cooperation in this regard. We would like this work to be expedited. 
 
We reaffirm our commitment towards a globally fair and modern tax systemand welcome the progress made on effective and widespread implementation of the internationally agreed standards. We support the implementation of the Base Erosion andProfit Shifting Project (BEPS) with due regard to the national realities of the countries.We encourage countries and International Organisations to assist developing economies in building their tax capacity. 
 
We note that aggressive tax planning and tax practices hurt equitable development and economic growth. Base Erosion and Profit Shiftingmust be effectively tackled. We affirm that profit should be taxed in the jurisdiction where the economic activity is performedand the value is created. We reaffirm our commitment to support international cooperation in this regard, including in the Common Reporting Standard for Automatic Exchange of Tax Information (AEOI). 
 
We note the ongoing discussions on international taxation matters. In this regard, we recall the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development including its emphasis on inclusive cooperation and dialogue among national tax authorities on international tax matters with increased participation of developing countries and reflecting adequate, equitable, geographical distribution, representing different tax systems. 
 
We support the strengthening of international cooperation against corruption, including through the BRICS Anti-Corruption Working Group, as well as on matters related to asset recovery and persons sought for corruption. We acknowledge that corruption includingillicit money and financial flows, and ill-gotten wealth stashed in foreign jurisdictions is a global challenge which mayimpact negatively on economic growth and sustainable development. We will strive to coordinate our approach in this regard and encourage a stronger global commitment to prevent and combat corruptionon the basis of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and other relevant international legal instruments. 
 
We recognise that nuclear energy will play a significant role for some of the BRICS countries in meeting their 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement commitments and for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions in the long term. In this regard, we underline the importance of predictability in accessing technology and finance for expansion of civil nuclear energy capacity which would contribute to the sustainable development of BRICS countries. 
 
We reiterate that outer space shall be free for peaceful exploration and use by all States on the basis of equality in accordance with international law.Reaffirming that outer space shall remain free from any kind of weapons or any use of force, we stress that negotiations for the conclusion of an international agreement or agreements to prevent an arms race in outer space are a priority task of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, and support the efforts to start substantive work, inter alia, based on the updated draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects submitted by China and Russian Federation.We also note an international initiative for a political obligation onthe no first placement of weapons in outer space. 
 
Priority should be accorded to ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, as well as ways and means of preserving outer space for future generations. We note that this is an important objective on the current agenda of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). In this respect, we welcome the recentdecision by the UNCOPUOS Scientific and Technical Sub-Committee Working Group on Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities to conclude negotiations and achieve consensus on the full set of guidelines for the long term sustainability of outer space activities by 2018to coincide with the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE + 50). 
 
We strongly condemn the recent several attacks, against some BRICS countries, including that in India.We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stressed that there can be no justification whatsoever for any acts of terrorism, whether based upon ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic or any other reasons. We agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating international terrorism both at the bilateral level and at international fora. 
 
To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, we support and emphasise the need for launching multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, including at the Conference on Disarmament.In this context, we welcome India’s offer to host a Conference in 2018 aimed at strengthening international resolve in facing the challenge of the WMD-Terrorism nexus. 
 
We call upon all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, which should include countering violent extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, radicalisation, recruitment, movement of terrorists including Foreign Terrorist Fighters, blocking sources of financing terrorism, including through organised crime by means of money-laundering, drug trafficking, criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases, and countering misuse of the Internet including social media by terror entities through misuse of the latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).Successfully combating terrorism requires a holistic approach. All counter-terrorism measures should uphold international law and respect human rights. 
 
We acknowledge the recent meeting of the BRICS High Representatives on National Securityand, in this context, welcome the setting up and the first meeting of the BRICS Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism on 14September 2016 in New Delhi. We believe it will further promote dialogue and understanding among BRICS nations on issues of counter terrorism, as well ascoordinate efforts to address the scourge of terrorism. 
 
We acknowledge that international terrorism, especially the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Daesh) and affiliated terrorist groups and individuals, constitute a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security. Stressing UN’s central role in coordinating multilateral approaches against terrorism, we urge all nations to undertake effective implementation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and reaffirm our commitment on increasing the effectiveness of the UN counter terrorism framework.We call upon all nations to work together to expedite the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN General Assembly without any further delay. We recall the responsibility of all States to prevent terrorist actions from their territories. 
 
We reaffirm our commitment to the FATF International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation and call for swift, effective and universal implementation of FATF Consolidated Strategy on Combating Terrorist Financing, including effective implementation of its operational plan. We seek to intensify our cooperation in FATF and FATF-style regional bodies (FSRBs). 
 
We welcome the outcome document of the Special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem, held in New York from 19-21 April 2016. We call for strengthening of international and regional cooperation and coordination to counter the global threat caused by the illicit production and trafficking of drugs, especiallyopiates. We note with deep concern the increasing links between drug trafficking and terrorism, money laundering and organised crime. We commend the cooperation between BRICS drug control agencies and welcome the deliberations in second Anti-Drug Working Group Meeting held in New Delhi on 8 July 2016. 
 
We reaffirm that ICT expansion is a key enabler for sustainable development, for international peace and security and for human rights. We agree to strengthen joint efforts to enhance security in the use of ICTs, combating the use of ICTs for criminal and terrorist purposes and improving cooperation between our technical, law enforcement, R&D and innovation in the field of ICTs and capacity building institutions. We affirm our commitment to bridging digital and technological divides, in particular between developed and developing countries. We recognise that our approach must be multidimensional and inclusive and contains an evolving understanding of what constitutes access, emphasising the quality of that access. 
 
We reiterate that the use and development of ICTs through international and regional cooperation and on the basis of universally accepted norms and principles of international law, including the Charter of the UN; in particular political independence, territorial integrity and sovereign equality of States, the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, non-interference in internal affairs of other States as well as respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to privacy; are of paramount importance in order to ensure a peaceful, secure and openand cooperative use of ICTs. 
The increasing misuse of ICTs for terrorist purposes poses a threat to international peace and security. We emphasise the need to enhance international cooperation against terrorist and criminal misuse of ICTs and reaffirm the general approach laid in the eThekwini, Fortaleza and Ufa declarations in this regard. We reaffirm the key role of the UN in addressing the issues related to the security in the use of ICTs. We will continue to work together for the adoption of the rules, norms and principles of responsible behaviour of Statesincludingthrough the process of UNGGE. We recognise that the states have the leading role to ensure stability and security in the use of ICTs. 
 
We advocate also for an open, non-fragmented and secure Internet, and reaffirm that the Internet is a global resource and that States should participate on an equal footing in its evolution and functioning,taking into account the need to involve relevant stakeholders in their respective roles and responsibilities. 
 
We recognise the importance of energy-saving and energy-efficiency for ensuring sustainable economic development and welcome the Memorandum of Understanding which was signed in this regard. 
 
We recognise the challenge of scaling-up power generation and its efficient distribution, as well as the need to scale up low carbon fuels and other clean energy solutions. We further recognise the level of investments needed in renewable energy in this regard. We therefore believe that international cooperation in this field be focused on access to clean energy technology and finance. We further note the significance of clean energy in achieving Sustainable Development Goals. We recognise that sustainable development, energy access, and energy security are critical to the shared prosperity and future of the planet. We acknowledge that clean and renewable energy needs to be affordable to all. 
We support a wider use of natural gas as an economically efficient and clean fuel to promote sustainable development as well as to reduce the greenhouse emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement on climate change. 
 
We note that BRICS countries face challenges of communicable diseases including HIV and Tuberculosis. We, in this regard, note the efforts made by BRICS Health Ministers to achieve the 90–90–90 HIV treatment target by 2020. We underline the imperative to advance cooperation and action on HIV and TB in the BRICS countries, including in the production of quality-assured drugs and diagnostics. 
 
We take note of United Nations High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS in June 2016 and forthcoming Global Conference on TB under WHO auspices in Moscow in 2017. 
Recognising global health challenges we emphasise the importance of cooperation among BRICS countries in promoting research and development of medicines and diagnostic tools to end epidemics and to facilitate access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines. 
 
We welcome the High Level meeting on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) during UNGA-71, which addresses the serious threat that AMR poses to public health, growth and global economic stability. We will seek to identify possibilities for cooperation among our health and/or regulatory authorities, with a view to share best practices and discuss challenges, as well as identifying potential areas for convergence. 
 
We reaffirm our commitment to promote a long-term and balanced demographic development and continue cooperation on population related matters in accordance with the Agenda for BRICS Cooperation on Population Matters for 2015-2020. 
 
We welcome the outcomes of the meetings of BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers held on 9 June 2016 in Geneva and on 27-28 September 2016 in New Delhi. We take note of the possibility of bilateral Social Security Agreements between BRICS countries, and of the commitment to take steps to establish a network of lead labour research and training institutes, so as to encourage capacity building, information exchange and sharing of best practices amongst BRICS countries. We recognise quality employment, including a Decent Work Agenda, sustaining social protection and enhancing rights at work, are core to inclusive and sustainable development. 
 
We welcome the outcomes of the fourth BRICS Education Ministers’ meeting held on 30 September 2016 in New Delhi, including the New Delhi Declaration on Education. We stress the importance of education and skills for economic development, and reaffirm the need for universal access to high-quality education. We are satisfied with the progress of the BRICS Network University (BRICSNU) as well as the BRICS University League (BRICSUL), which will commence their programmes in 2017. These two initiatives will facilitate higher education collaboration and partnerships across the BRICS countries. 
 
We appreciate the organisation of Young Diplomats’ Forum held on 3-6 September 2016 in Kolkata. We also welcome the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between BRICS Diplomatic Academies to encourage exchange of knowledge and experiences. 
We welcome the outcomes of the fourth BRICS STI Ministerial Meeting held on 8 October 2016, wherein they adopted theJaipur Declaration and endorsed the updated Work Plan (2015-2018) aimed at strengthening cooperation in science, technology and innovation, especially leveraging young scientific talent for addressing societal challenges; creating a networking platform for BRICS young scientists; co-generating new knowledge and innovative products, services and processes; and addressing common global and regional socio-economic challenges utilising shared experiences and complementarities. 
 
We stress the importance of implementation of the BRICS Research and Innovation Initiative. We welcome the hosting of the first BRICS Young Scientists Conclave in India, instituting of BRICS Innovative Idea Prize for Young Scientists.We note the progress of the first Call for Proposals under the BRICS STI Framework Programme, in ten thematic areas, with funding commitment from the five BRICS STI Ministries and associated funding bodies. We welcome the establishment of the BRICS Working Group on Research Infrastructure, and Mega-Science to reinforce the BRICS Global Research Advanced Infrastructure Network (BRICS-GRAIN). 
 
We welcome the outcomes of the Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting, held on 23 September 2016, including the Joint Declaration. We emphasise the importance of ensuring food security, and addressingmalnutrition, eliminating hunger,inequality and poverty through increased agricultural production, productivity, sustainable management of natural resources and trade in agriculture among the BRICS countries. As the world's leading producers of agriculture products and home to large populations, we emphasise the importance of BRICS cooperation in agriculture.We recognize the importance of science-based agriculture and of deploying information and communication technology (ICT). 
 
To further intensify cooperation among BRICScountries in agricultural research policy, science and technology, innovation and capacity building, including technologies for small-holder farming in the BRICS countries, we welcome the signing of the MoU for Establishment of the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform. 
 
Considering the dependence of agriculture on water, we call upon the development of infrastructure for irrigation to assist farmers in building resilience during times of drought and welcome sharing of experiences and expertise in these areas. 
 
We affirm that the value of sharing expertise and experiences among BRICS countries with regard to usage of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in e-governance, financial inclusion, and targeted delivery of benefits, e-commerce, open government, digital content and services and bridging the digital divide. We support efforts aimed at capacity building for effective participation in e-commerce trade to ensure shared benefits. 
 
We welcome the forthcoming BRICS Telecommunication Ministerial Meeting that will further strengthen our cooperation, including on technology trends, standards developments, skill developments, and policy frameworks. 
 
We believe it is necessary to ensure joint efforts towards diversification of the world market of software and IT equipment. We call for developing and strengthening the ICT cooperation in the framework of the BRICS Working Group on ICT Cooperation. 
 
We welcome the outcomes of the meetings of BRICS Ministers responsible for Disaster Management held on 19-20 April 2016 in St. Petersburg and on 22 August 2016 in Udaipur. We also welcome the Udaipur Declaration adopted at the second meeting and applaud the formation of BRICS Joint Task Force on Disaster Risk Management. 
We extend our deepest condolences to the people of Haiti and the Caribbean on the tragic loss of lives following hurricane Matthew. We support the efforts of the UN and humanitarian partners in their response to this tragedy. 
 
We welcome the outcomes of the BRICS Ministerial Meeting on Environment held on 15-16 September 2016, in Goa, including the Goa Statement on Environment. We welcome the decision to share technical expertise in the areas of abatement and control of air and water pollution, efficient management of waste and sustainable management of bio-diversity. We recognise the importance of participation by BRICS countries in environmental cooperation initiatives, including developing a platform for sharing environmentally sound technologies. 
 
We welcome the outcome of the 17th Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), held in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a landmark advancement of the regulation of international trade in endangered species from 24 September - 4 October 2016. 
We welcome the adoption of the Paris Agreement anchored in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and its signing by a large number of countries on 22 April 2016. We emphasise that the comprehensive, balanced and ambitious nature of the Paris Agreement reaffirms the principles of UNFCCC includingthe principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances (CBDR & RC). 
We welcome the Paris Agreement and its imminent entry into force on 4 November 2016.We call on the developed countries to fulfil their responsibility towards providing the necessary financial resources, technology and capacity building assistance to support the developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. 
 
We reiterate the commitments to gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls as contained in the 2030 Agenda. We recognise that women play a vital roleas agents of developmentand acknowledge that their equal and inclusive participation and contribution is crucial to making progress across all Sustainable Development Goals and targets. We emphasise the importance of enhancing accountability for the implementation of these commitments. 
 
Cognizant of the potential and diversity of youth population in our countries, their needs and aspirations, we welcome the outcomes of the BRICS Youth Summit in Guwahati including, "Guwahati BRICS Youth Summit 2016 Call to Action” that recognise the importance of education, employment, entrepreneurship, and skills training for them to be socially and economically empowered. 
 
We welcome the BRICS Convention on Tourism, that was organised in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh on 1-2 September 2016 as an effective means to promote tourism cooperation among BRICS countries. 
 
As home to 43% of the world population and among the fastest urbanising societies, we recognise the multi-dimensional challenges and opportunities of urbanisation. We affirm our engagement in the process that will lead to adoption of a New Urban Agenda by the Conference of the United Nations on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III(Quito, 17-20 October, 2016).We welcome the BRICS Urbanisation Forum, BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave, held in Visakhapatnam on 14-16 September 2016, and in Mumbai on 14-16 April 2016, respectively, which contributed to fostering increased engagements between our cities and stakeholders. We call for enhanced cooperation with regard to strengthening urban governance, making our cities safe and inclusive, improving urban transport, financing of urban infrastructure and building sustainable cities. 
 
We note India’s initiative on the upcoming BRICS Local Bodies Conference to exchange expertise and best-practices, including in local budgeting. 
 
Noting the importance of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, we welcome the outcomes of first BRICS Migration Ministers Meeting in Sochi, Russian Federation, on 8 October 2015. 
 
We recognise the important role of culture in sustainable development and in fostering mutual understanding and closer cooperation among our peoples. We encourage expansion of cultural exchanges between people of BRICS countries. In this context we commend the hosting of the first BRICS Film Festival in New Delhi on 2-6 September 2016. 
 
We welcome the forthcoming meeting of the Second BRICS Parliamentary Forum in Geneva on 23 October 2016under the theme of ‘BRICS Parliamentary Cooperation on the implementation of the SDGs’. 
 
We appreciate the deliberations of the BRICS Women Parliamentarians’ Forum in Jaipur on 20-21 August, 2016 and the adoption of Jaipur Declaration, centred on SDGs, that inter alia emphasises the commitment to strengthen parliamentary strategic partnerships on all the three dimensions of sustainable development,fostering gender equality and women empowerment. 
 
We note the deliberations on a BRICS Railways Research Network aimed at promoting research and development in this field to further growth in our economies in a cost effective and sustainable manner. 
 
We congratulate India on organising the first BRICS Under-17 Football Tournament in Goa on 5-15 October 2016. We,in this regard, note the initiative towards a BRICS Sports Council to foster exchanges among BRICS countries. 
 
Recognising the increasing trade, business and investment between BRICS countries and the important role of BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism, we welcome the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the BRICS countries National Development Banks and the New Development Bank (NDB). We welcome the initiative of the Export-Import Bank of India of instituting Annual BRICS Economic Research Award to promote advanced research in economics of relevance to BRICS countries. 
We reiterate our commitment to strengthening our partnerships for common development. To this end, we endorse the Goa Action Plan. 
 
China, South Africa, Brazil and Russia appreciate India’s BRICS Chairpersonship and the good pace of BRICS cooperation agenda. 
 
We emphasise the importance of review and follow up of implementation of outcome documents and decisions of the BRICS Summits. We task our Sherpas to carry this process forward. 
 
China, South Africa, Brazil and Russia express their sincere gratitude to the Government and people of India for hosting the Eighth BRICS Summit in Goa. 
India, South Africa, Brazil and Russia convey their appreciation to China for its offer to host the Ninth BRICS Summit in 2017 and extend full support to that end.
                                                                                           
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Rosneft, consortium led by Trafigura to acquire 98% in Essar Oil for $12.9 billion

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Russian oil giant Rosneft and commodity and logistics major Trafigura Group have agreed to acquire 98 percent in Essar Oil Limited (EOL) for a total of $ 12.9 billion (Rs. 86,100 crore), making it India's largest inbound foreign direct investment (FDI).
 
A press release from Essar said the transaction includes Rs. 72,800 crore ($10.9 billion) for Essar Oil’s refining and retail assets, and Rs 13,300 crore ($2 billion) for Vadinar port and related infrastructure.
 
The release said that Essar Energy Holdings Limited and Oil Bidco (Mauritius) Limited, companies incorporated and managed under the laws of Mauritius, the controlling shareholders of EOL, had entered into separate definitive agreements for the sale of 98% of EOL. 
 
The first sale and purchase agreement envisages the sale of 49% to Petrol Complex Pte. Ltd (a subsidiary of PJSC Rosneft Oil Company); the second envisages the sale of the remaining 49% to Kesani Enterprises Company Limited (owned by a consortium led by Trafigura) at an enterprise valuation of Rs 72,800 crore ($10.9 bn). 
 
An additional Rs 13,300 crore ($2 billion) will be paid for the acquisition of Vadinar Port, which has world-class storage and import/export facilities, the release said.
 
The business transaction was announced in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Ptin on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit here yesterday.
 
The all-cash deal encompasses EOL’s 20 million tonne refinery in Gujarat, India, and its pan-India retail outlets. The closing of the transaction is conditional upon receiving requisite regulatory approvals and other customary conditions. The parties expect to obtain the relevant approvals before the end of this year, the release said.
 
According to it, investing in EOL, which operates one of the world’s most complex refineries and runs India’s largest private sector retail network, gives the new stakeholders a strong foothold in the Indian market that will witness robust demand growth for petroleum products in the long term. 
 
The growth for refined petroleum products in the Indian market for the next five years is expected to be in the 5%-7% range, it said.
 
The release said EOL’s value had also been strengthened by the integrated nature of its business and the strategic positioning of its assets. Its 20 million tonne oil refinery in Vadinar, which accounts for 9% of India’s total refining output, is supported by a 1,010 MW captive power plant, and complemented by a network of around 2,700 operating retail outlets. The additional Rs 13,300 crore that the new stakeholders have agreed to pay is for the 58 million tonne deep draft port in Vadinar that helps in importing crude and exporting finished products.
 
Rosneft Oil Company is the world’s largest petroleum company with revenues in excess of $80 billion. The company’s main business activities include exploration & production, refining and product marketing in Russia and across countries in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
 
Trafigura Group is one of the world's leading independent commodity trading and logistics group of companies with revenues of approximately $100 billion. United Capital Partners (UCP) is a large independent Russian private investment group with investments of over $3.5 billion in various industrial sectors.
 
The transaction is the single largest tranche of FDI in India, and re-establishes the image of India as an attractive destination for foreign investments, the release said.
 
"Earlier in 2007, Essar Group, together with Hutchison Whampoa, brought Vodafone into India through an $11.1-billion transaction. With the current transaction, this is the second instance that Essar has brought in world leaders in the sector to participate in the India growth story," it said.
 
Essar Group Chairman Shashi Ruia, said: “It is a historic day for Essar. The transaction demonstrates our unique ability to build world-class assets and create immense value in our businesses. The monetisation of our stake in Essar Oil will help drive the next level of growth for our other businesses.”
 
Mr Prashant Ruia, Director, and Essar, said: “We have once again reinforced our unique expertise in project incubation, execution, value creation and monetisation. We have established world-class assets that have attracted the attention of leading global companies and investors. The deals we have done have led to an FDI infusion of more than $30 billion into India.”
 
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Mr Igor Sechin, CEO, Rosneft, said: “This is a significant milestone for the Company. Rosneft is entering one of the most promising and fast-growing world markets. At the same time, this project provides unique opportunities for synergies with the existing assets of the Company and is consistent with Rosneft's enhanced presence in the fast growing markets of other APR countries, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and The Philippines.”
 
Mr Jeremy Weir, Chief Executive Officer of Trafigura, said: “This is an important and exciting investment. Essar Oil occupies a strategic position in the global oil market and owns world-class refining and infrastructure assets that will create multiple synergies with our trading business.”
 
Mr Ilya Sherbovich, Managing Partner of UCP, stated: “We are very pleased to reach an agreement to acquire shares of Essar Oil Limited. This is a top-tier asset operating in the promising Indian market, one of the largest and rapidly developing economies in the world. The announced transaction establishes a strategic partnership between our investment consortium members. Deal participants have extensive operational and financial expertise, which we believe will help to unlock significant value and provide strong financial results for all investors.”
 
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India, Russia call for zero tolerance in dealing with terrorists and their supporters

India and Russia on Saturday strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and affirmed the need for zero tolerance in dealing with terrorists and their supporters.

 
Modi, Putin hold annual summit in Goa
India and Russia today strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and  manifestations and affirmed the need for zero tolerance in dealing with terrorists and their supporters.
 
"Russia’s clear stand on the need to combat terrorism mirrors our own," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a joint media interaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the 17th annual India-Russia Summit here.
 
"We deeply appreciate Russia’s understanding and support of our actions to fight cross-border terrorism, that threatens our entire region," he said.
 
A joint statement issued by the two sides said the two leaders  emphasized the necessity of comprehensive international collaboration in order to ensure the eradication of terrorism.
 
"India and Russia recognize the threat posed by terrorism, and believe that the full implementation of the relevant UNSC resolutions, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy without application of any double standards or selectivity will be instrumental in countering this challenge," it said.
 
They stressed the need to deny safe havens to terrorists and the importance of countering the spread of terrorist ideology as well as radicalization leading to terrorism, stopping recruitment, preventing travel of terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters, strengthening border management and having effective legal assistance and extradition arrangements. Furthermore, stressing the need to have a strong international legal regime built on the principle of ‘zero tolerance for direct or indirect support of terrorism’, both sides called upon the international community to make sincere efforts towards the earliest conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
 
Mr. Modi began by appreciating Mr. Putin's deep affection for India. He quoted a Russian saying to point out that "an old friend is better than two new friends".
 
"In the complex and changing global context, your leadership has provided stability and substance to our strategic partnership. Ours is a truly privileged and unique relationship," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said Mr. Putin and he had held an extensive and useful conversation on the entire spectrum of the bilateral engagement.
 
"The highly productive outcomes of our meeting clearly establish the ecial and privileged nature of our strategic partnership. They also lay the foundations for deeper defence and economic ties in years ahead," he said.
 
He said the agreements on manufacturing of Kamov 226T helicopters; constructions of frigates; and acquisition and building of other defence platforms were in synergy with India’s technology and security priorities. They wil also help achieve the objectives of his government's Make in India campaign, he said.
 
"We have also agreed to work on an annual military industrial conference that will allow stakeholders on both sides to institute and push collaboration. These projects are new chapters in a long history of strong and diverse defence partnership that both sides can take much pride in. Just minutes ago, with dedication of Kudankulum 2 and laying of foundation concrete of Kundankulum 3 and 4, we saw the tangible results of India-Russia cooperation in the field of civil nuclear energy. 
 
"And, with proposed construction of another eight reactors, our wide ranging cooperation in nuclear energy is set to bring rich dividends for both of us. It also fits in with our needs of energy security, access to high technology and greater localization and manufacturing in India. Last year in Moscow, I had said that we would be enlarging our presence in Russia’s Hydrocarbon sector. In last four months alone, in a clear expression of our strong and deep engagement in the hydrocarbon sector, Indian companies have invested close to US Dollars 5.5 billion in Russia’s oil and gas sector. And, with President Putin’s support, we are ready and willing to expand the scope of our engagement further. We are also undertaking a joint study of a gas pipeline route between our two countries. A combination of robust civil nuclear cooperation, LNG sourcing, partnership in the oil and gas sector, and engagement in renewables can construct a promising ‘Energy Bridge’ between our two countries," he said.
 
The two sides also agreed to set up a Science and Technology Commission, through which their societies will reap the benefits of joint development, transfer and sharing of cutting edge technologies in different fields.
 
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" As with the last Summit, we also continue to expand, diversify and deepen our economic engagement. Businesses and industry between our two countries is connected more deeply today. Trade and investment ties are on the upswing. And, with President Putin’s backing, we hope to fast track India’s association with Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement. The Green Corridor and the International North South Transport Corridor will serve to strengthen trade facilitation, logistical links and ensure better connectivity between our countries. Our efforts for early setting up of the Investment Fund of US Dollars 1 billion between National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) will help advance our infrastructure partnership. We also want our economic linkages to connect the regions and states in both countries," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said the success of the summit shone a spotlight on the abiding strength of the India-Russia strategic partnership.
 
He said Mr. Putin and he noted the similarity of their views on the situation in Afghanistan and turmoil in West Asia. They also agreed to work closely to respond to the challenges posed by the unsettled nature of the global economic and financial markets.
 
"Our close collaboration at the United Nations, BRICS, East Asia Summit, G-20, Shanghai Cooperation Organization makes our partnership truly global, both in its scope and coverage," he said.
 
"As we approach the seventieth anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic ties next year, India and Russia are celebrating and building on the achievements of our past. We are working to model a partnership that befits our common ambition and meets our shared goals for the twenty-first century. Our close friendship has given clear direction, fresh impulse, stronger momentum and rich content to our ties.In the emerging regional and global landscape, it has been a source of strength and substance, a driver of peace and a factor of stability," he added.
 
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Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to visit India from October 17-19

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Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will pay a state visit to India from October 17-19 that will provide an opportunity for the two sides to discuss issues of mutual interest and seek ways to further strengthen their close and friendly ties.
 
The state visit will take place immediately after the conclusion of the BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit to be held in Goa on October 16, to which Ms. Suu Kyi will lead the Myanmar delegation. 
 
Ms. Suu Kyi will be accompanied by several key Ministers and senior officials. During her visit, she will call on President Pranab Mukherjee and hae meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
 
She will also attend a business event during which she will interact with leading Indian business leaders on ways of bolstering bilateral economic and commercial relations, a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs added.
 
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Admiral Lanba calls for greater cooperative maritime security

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Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff has reiterated the importance of cooperative engagement to promote maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.
 
This, has been the Navy’s consistent approach and was congruent to the government’s SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) initiative for inclusive development, Admiral Lamba said inaugurating the first ever Goa Maritime Symposium conducted by the Naval War College here yesterday.
 
He also presented awards to the graduating international officers of the maiden Regional Maritime Security Course. He urged them to take forward the knowledge gained and bonds developed during their stay at Goa to build a better and more secure future.
 
Divided into four sub-themes, the symposium conducted over two days evaluated Strengthening of Regional Maritime Security Architectures; Enhancing Interoperability in the Indian Ocean Region; Challenges to Freedom of Navigation; and Maritime Security Challenges in the IOR.
 
Each of these themes was elaborated upon by speakers of national and international renown, comprising a veritable who’s who of analysts, scholars and practitioners such as Admirals Raja Menon, Arun Prakash, Sureesh Mehta, Vijay Shankar, Pradeep Chauhan; Commodore Uday Bhaskar; Professor Geoffrey Till, Vijay Sakhuja, Dattesh Parulekar and Ms Tomoko Kiyota.
 
Senior officers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar and Sri Lanka actively contributed to the symposium by sharing the experiences, concerns and perspectives of their respective countries. 
 
“Each sub-theme stimulated engaging discussions and we collectively deliberated on several aspects of regional security mechanisms and cooperative frameworks in the context of present as well as future maritime challenges and how we can achieve greater efficacy and efficiency in mitigating them,” said Rear Admiral Monty Khanna, Commandant of the Naval War College.
 
He added that basic security perception, projection and understanding of all affairs – maritime – must have the essential elements of regional cooperation.
 
The symposium contributed majorly towards fostering a sense of maritime awareness that presupposes efficiency in cooperative mechanisms, he said.
 
It also brought out competing narratives and suggested roadmaps for the future including strengthening existing frameworks such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) – an Indian Navy initiative since 2008.
 
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Goa Shipyard hands over first Fast Patrol Vessel to Mauritius

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Indo-Mauritian defence co-operation got another fillip with the delivery of the first Fast Patrol Vessel, MCGS Victory, designed and built in-house by Goa Shipyard Limited for the Mauritius Coast Guard.
 
The vessel, handed over yesterday, is primarily designed for coastal patrolling, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling, anti-drug surveillance, anti-poaching operations, and search and rescue operations.
 
The vessel is 50 metres long, fitted with 30 mm CRN-91 Gun, 12.7 mm HMGs and 7.62 mm MMGs besides state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment, an official press release said.
 
It is capable of achieving a high speed of 35 knots. Significantly, trials were undertaken in peak monsoon months and the vessel achieved all design parameters.
 
The ship was ceremonially handed over by Rear Admiral Shekhar Mital, (Retd), Chairman and Managing Director, Goa Shipyard Ltd to Mr. K. Jhugroo, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mauritius Police Force, in the presence of senior officials from Mauritius and India. 
 
Rear Admiral Mital said the contract for the vessel was signed on May, 17, 2014 and the keel of the vessel was laid on December 18, 2014.
 
Despite all the challenges, including delay of over six months in supply of steel and being the first ship of the series, we have successfully delivered this ship as per contractual schedule of September 2016, he said.
 
“It is in line with the track record of GSL in recent years of timely deliveries and shows the dedication and commitment of all the stakeholders involved,” he added.
 
Mr. Jhugroo, lauded the excellent work being done in the shipyard and complimented GSL for delivery of the state-of- the-art new ship for Mauritius. 
 
GSL is the largest exporter of ships from the Indian subcontinent. It is at present executing export orders worth Rs. 1200 crore.
 
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