Modi poised for huge win in Gujarat, Congress wrests Himachal from BJP

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared set for a third straight term in office as the Bharatiya Janata Party headed towards a huge win in the state but it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress as counting of votes progressed in the Assembly elections in both States today.

Counting begins in Gujarat, BJP secures early lead

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared set for a third straight term in office as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed towards a huge win in the state but it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress as counting of votes progressed in the Assembly elections in both states today.

As results and counting trends became available for all the 182 seats in the Gujarat Assembly, the BJP had won 52 and was leading in 65 others, making for a total of 117 seats, the same number that it has in the outgoing house.
The Congress had won 27 seats and was leading in 32 others. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), an ally of the Congress, had won two seats while the Janata Dal (United), an ally of the BJP, was leading in one constituency. Other parties were ahead in three seats.
Adding to the Congress' misery in Gujarat, its state unit chief Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil lost their seats.
In Himachal Pradesh, the ruling BJP conceded defeat as the Congress won 34 seats in the 68-member Assembly and was leading in two others. The BJP had won 23 and was ahead in another three, while others had won four and were leading in two more.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal admitted his party had lost and congratulated the winners. He said the reasons for the BJP's defeat, despite his government's good record of governance, would be analysed at party fora in due course.
In Gujarat, Mr Modi retained his own seat, Maninagar, bagging 120440 votes against 34097 secured by his nearest rival, Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
The controversial former Minister of State for Home, Mr Amit Shah of the BJP, won from Naranpura, garnering 103988 votes against the 40653 secured by his rival Jitubhai B Patel of the Congress.
In the Ellis Bridge constituency in Ahmedabad, Ms Jagruti Pandya, widow of assassinated former Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya, ended up in the third place. Ms Pandya, a candidate of the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) floated by former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, could muster only 9075 votes against Mr Raesh Shah of BJP, who got 106631 votes. Mr Kamleshkumar Shah of the Congress got 29959 votes.
Mr Modhwadia lost in Porbandar, getting only 60458 votes against the 77604 votes secured by Mr Babubhai Bokhiria of the BJP. Mr Gohil lost from Bhavnagar (Rural) to Mr Purshottam Solanki of the BJP. Mr Solanki got 83980 votes as against 65426 secured by Mr Gohil.
The BJP had won 117 seats in the Gujarat Assembly in the last elections in 2007, while the Congress had 59 seats.
Counting of votes began in both states at 0800 hours today and all the results are expected by this evening.
Elections to the 182-member Gujarat assembly were held in two phases on December 13 and 17, when a record 71.3 per cent of the 38 million voters had exercised their franchise.
Polling for the 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh assembly was held in a single phase on November 4, and about 74.7 per cent of the 4.60 million voters had cast their votes.
The supporters of Mr Modi, who has been in office since 2001, are hoping that, with yet another big win, he would be propelled to the centrestage of national politics and become the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Exit polls had predicted a huge win for Mr Modi again this year, while they had given a slight edge in a close contest in Himachal Pradesh.

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Ashish Nanda steps aside as Director of IIM Ahmedabad

Ashish Nanda
Ashish Nanda
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) Director Ashish Nanda today announced that he would step aside from his position with effect from September 1, 2017, citing personal reasons.
"Professionally, I have enjoyed the experience immensely and I have learned a lot. However, personally, living a long distance from my wife and son has been a challenge," Prof. Nanda said in a letter to all members of the IIMA community.
"When I joined, I had committed to serving at most one term. On September 1, it will be four years, to the day, since I took charge. It is a good time to step aside and to hand over the responsibility and honour of leading the Institute to the next, fortunate person. I will hand over responsibilities of director at the end of that day," he said.
"These past three and a half years, I have woken up every day feeling fortunate to be working for an institution that has contributed tremendously to me. I feel privileged to have followed in the footsteps of people I greatly admire, to have had the opportunity to lead the Institute at a crucial time in its trajectory, and to have contributed to the best of my ability to its continuing success," he said.
"I believe we are at a point when there is alignment among various constituencies of the Institute as to the direction we ought to follow and considerable momentum along the path that we are following. We have a committed and enthusiastic chairman providing vision and guidance, a wise and engaged board, faculty that is productive and energized, staff that is loyal and devoted, brilliant and hardworking students, a diaspora of alumni committed to the Institute’s long term success, governmental support for operating autonomously to achieve our dreams, and industry that respects and values the Institute. This is as good a time as any for leadership transition at the Institute," he said.
Prof. Nanda said he had, thus, requested IIMA Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla that he be allowed to step aside from the position of director, and he had acceded to the request.
"Of course, my heart is always with IIMA. I am always available to help the Institute in any way that I can. And I will contribute to effect a smooth transition," he said.
"I am grateful to Mr. Naik, Mr. Patel, and Mr. Birla for their unstinted support and guidance, to the board members for their selfless contribution and prudent counsel, to the faculty for their dedication and effort, to the alumni for their avowed affection and engagement, to the staff for their fidelity and goodwill, and to the students for their dreams and their dedication. But I couldn’t have had this extraordinary adventure without the love of my wife, who, despite the distance we have lived apart, has been a partner with me in this journey every step of the way, the blessings of my parents, and the affection of my son," he added.
Prof Nanda was the Robert Braucher Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School, has been appointed as the new Director of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA).
He is an alumnus of the 1983 batch of IIMA. He is a gold medalist from both Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi and from IIMA. He completed his M.A. in Economics and Ph.D. from Harvard University and has taught courses in Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School. 
He was faculty director of Executive Education and research director at Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School. 

Reliance commissions Phase 2 of Para-xylene project at Jamnagar

Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said it had successfully commisisoned the second and final phase of its Para-xylene (PXP project at Jamnagar in Gujarat.
With the commissioning of the project, which includes PX crystallizers trains, trans-alkylation and aromatic extraction units, RIL is poised to emerge as the second largest producer of para-xylene in the world, a press release from the company said.
The release said Reliance is executing major projects in its energy and materials chain at Jamnagar, covering para-xylene, cracker complex along with downstream plants and gasification. 
"Jamnagar is one the largest contemporary project sites globally with some of the largest and most complex process units ever built anywhere in this industry. These projects will add significant value to Reliance’s Refining & Petrochemical business and enable Jamnagar complex to achieve energy self-sufficiency. The benefits of integration at the Jamnagar complex will set a new paradigm of scale and value addition in the Refining and Petrochemicals industry," it said.
"Para-xylene, cracker and downstream projects (MEG, Linear Low density and Low density Polyethylene) as well as gasification which is linked to RIL’s DTA refinery, have now been installed, mechanically complete and are in various stages of pre-commissioning and commissioning.
In December 2016, RIL had announced successful commissioning of the first phase of the PX project, comprising Train 1 of the PX plant. Train 2 as part of second phase has been commissioned earlier this month and the last Train 3, is at an advanced stage of commissioning and will begin production later this quarter, the release said.
According to it, the PX plant is built with state-of-the-art crystallization technology from BP which is highly energy efficient. With the commissioning of this plant, RIL’s PX capacity will be more than double. Reliance will emerge as the world’s second largest producer of PX with about 11% of global production, it said.
The release said the cracker project had a unique configuration as the  world scale plant is tightly integrated with RIL’s refineries and will use refinery off-gases as feedstock. The project comprises 1.5 MMTPA ethylene cracker along with downstream facilities for producing LDPE, LLDPE and MEG. This cracker will have one of the lowest cost positions globally. Additionally, flexibility to crack propane will help optimize feed mix further in a volatile market environment, it said.
Reliance has completed installation of cracker and downstream projects at Jamnagar in the previous quarter and pre-commissioning and start-up activities are in full swing, it said.
The release said gasification, one of the largest clean-fuel initiatives in the world, would make the Jamnagar complex highly energy efficient with the lowest energy cost for any integrated refinery and petrochemicals facility globally.
The installation and mechanical completion for the gasification project linked to DTA refinery has been completed in the previous quarter and the pre-commissioning and start-up activities are on in full swing. The installation and mechanical completion for the gasification linked to RIL’s SEZ refinery has also been substantially achieved and pre-commissioning activities are expected to start in the next quarter, the release added.

Reliance commissions world’s largest ethane project at Dahej in Gujarat

Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said it had successfully and flawlessly completed its ethane project, including commissioning of its ethane receipt and handling facilities and ethane cracking, at its Dahej Manufacturing Facility in Gujarat in a world record time of less than three years.
A press release from the company said RIL was the first company to globally conceptualize large-scale imports of ethane from North America as feedstock for its cracker portfolio in India. 
The project involved seamless integration of several elements across a complex infrastructure value chain. This includes securing ethane refrigeration capacity in the US Gulf coast; delivery of dedicated Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLECs) to carry ethane from the US Gulf Coast to the West Coast of India; construction of ethane receipt and handling facilities; laying pipelines and upgrading crackers (to receive ethane) at Dahej, Hazira and Nagothane Manufacturing Facilities.
"This successful start-up underlines our ability to build world-scale capacities and infrastructure using complex technologies, such as marine transportation of cryogenic ethane, handling of ethane at (-) 90 deg.C, supply of ethane to the crackers in an energy efficient way and pump ethane from Dahej to other locations. The execution of this project at this scale and magnitude is a first in the world," the release said.
According to it, the shale gas industry in North America has grown exponentially in the past five years. Consequently, ethane has become one of the most competitively priced feedstocks for US crackers.
"The supply of ethane to our crackers at Dahej, Hazira and Nagothane will provide feedstock security and flexibility, enabling us to select the most optimal feed mix based on market conditions. This will improve the cost competitiveness of our existing crackers and enable us to optimize the portfolio in a volatile market environment," the release added.

Modi inaugurates various projects in South Gujarat, Dadra & Nagar Haveli

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated several projects in South Gujarat and the Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, incuding a multi-specialty hospital and a diamond manufacturing unit in Surat.

Govt. committed to providing healthcare at cheaper rates: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated several projects in South Gujarat and the Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, incuding a multi-specialty hospital and a diamond manufacturing unit in Surat.
Speaking after inaugurating the Kiran Multi-Speciality Hospital, Mr. Modi described the project was "commendable" and said the state-of-the-art facility would benefit citizens. He emphasized that the poor must have access to quality and affordable healthcare.
In this context he talked about the Union Government’s initiatives to bring down the prices of medicines, stents, and so on. He said he is committed to providing affordable healthcare for the poor and the middle class. 
Calling for focus on preventive healthcare, the Prime Minister said that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is linked to efforts towards a healthier India. 
The Prime Minister said Surat has made a mark in the diamond industry but there is now need to look at the entire gems and jewellery sector. He said that as far as the gems and jewellery sector is concerned, the aim should not only be ‘Make in India’ but also 'Design in India'. 
Later, Mr. Modi inaugurated the SUMUL cattle feed plant at Bajipura and laid the foundation stone for three lift irrigation schemes. He also inaugurated a drinking water supply scheme for Vyara town and Jesinhpur-Dolvan groups of Tapi district. 
Addressing a large gathering, Mr. Modi recalled having worked in this area for a long time. He said SUMUL -- the Surat District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited -- has empowered several people in the nearby areas. He said the stretch from Umbergaon to Ambaji has been transformed and this has benefited the tribal communities of Gujarat. 
"Here, in SUMUL we see the positive results that can be achieved when Sahkar (Cooperatives) and Sarkar (Government) work together," he said. According to him, SUMUL also illustrates the good that happens when farmers and dairies work closely. 
The Prime Minister said that Tapi district is one of the newer districts of Gujarat, and he is happy to see it achieve remarkable progress. 
The Prime Minister called for value addition in the agriculture sector, and focus on increasing per capita milk production. 
In Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Mr. Modi inaugurated various Government projects at Silvassa, including government buildings, solar PV systems, Jan Aushadhi Kendras and a Passport Seva Kendra.
He also distributed aids and assistive devices to persons with disabilities, and other benefits under existing Government schemes.
Speaking on the occasion, he said that, though it was his first visit to Dadra and Nagar Haveli as Prime Minister, he had been to the Union Territory many times in the past.
He said that after assuming office, he sought details on impact of development schemes in Dadra and Nagar Haveli; and since then the Union Government has worked on areas needing attention.
Speaking on development themes, he said that every Indian must have access to housing facilities. He said that in less than a year, the number of beneficiaries under the Ujjwala scheme for LPG has crossed 2 crore.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the Union Government will never allow the poor and the middle class to be looted. He urged the assembled people to download the BHIM App for cashless transactions.
Later, Mr. Modi dedicated to the nation the Phase-1 (Link 2) of the SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation) Yojana, at Botad. He also laid the foundation stone of Phase 2 (Link 2) of the project.
Earlier, he welcomed Narmada water into the Krishna Sagar Lake by pressing a button and offering flower petals. 
Addressing a public meeting, he described water as a holy offering from nature. He said water is reaching Saurashtra with the blessings of the River Narmada. He said this is the result of a lot of effort, and would benefit the farmers. 
He called for the extensive use of drip irrigation, and said the Union Government is working on ways to help double incomes in the agriculture sector. 

Naidu launches 352 housing projects in 53 cities to build more than 200,000 houses

Aiming to build more than 200,000 houses with an investment of over Rs. 38,000 crore, Union Minister for Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M. Venkaiah Naidu launched 352 housing projects in 53 cities in 17 States across the country here yesterday.
These housing projects to be taken up by the members of Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) across the country is the first major private investments initiative in affordable housing. These projects were launched in the Gujarat capital.
As per the details furnished by CREDAI, the cost of construction will be in the range of Rs. 15 lakh to Rs. 30 lakh with average cost of construction coming to Rs. 18 lakh per house.
The event was held in the backdrop of several initiatives by the Union Government to promote affordable housing for Economically Weaker Sections, Low and Middle Income Groups including sanction of ‘infrastructure status’ for the housing sector.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Gujarat Minister of Urban Development Shankar Chaudhary, outgoing President of CREDAI Gitambar Anand and more than 3000 delegates from across the country were present at the function.
Mr. Naidu complimented CREDAI and its members for coming forward to invest in affordable housing projects and assured them that his Ministry and Central nodal agencies like the National Housing Bank and HUDCO will extend full cooperation in reaching the benefits prescribed under PMAY (Urban) to the beneficiaries.

Prabhu flags off three trains linking Saurashtra in Gujarat with Mumbai

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off three pairs of trains linking Saurashtra region in Gujarat with Mumbai through video-conferencing from here today.
The new train services are: Train No 22992/22991 Veraval - Bandra Terminus Super Fast Express; Train No 22994/22993 Mahuva - Bandra Terminus Super Fast Express and Train No 19030/19029 Mahuva - Bandra Terminus Super Fast Express.
Railway Board Chairman A. K. Mittal, Member Traffic Mohd Jamshed, Member Engineering Aditya Kumar Mittal, Member Rolling Stock Railway Board Ravindra Gupta, other Railway Board Members and senior officials were also present on the occasion.
Mr Prabhu said the train services would fulfil demands of people of Saurashtra. Pilgrims to Somnath will also benefit from Veraval-Bandra Terminus trains. Groundnut and cotton farmers of Saurashtra region shall stand to gain from the new services, he said.
While one pair of Mail/Express will run between Veraval and Bandra (T), two pairs will run between Mahuva and Bandra. These trains will provide  additional connectivity between Veraval and Bandra (T) and Mahuva and Bandra (T), an official press release added.

APM Terminals Pipavav receives inaugural container train service from Rail Container Terminal, Vadodara

APM Terminals at Pipavav in Gujarat received the inaugural container train from Rail Container Terminal [RCT], Vadodara carrying glass materials, syringes, LED bulbs, flexible intermediate bulk container [FIBC] jumbo bags and platic articles for export.
Operated by Container Corporation of India [CONCOR], the inaugural trip of the service was welcomed by officials from Railways, CONCOR, APM Terminals and liners, a press release from the company.
Vadodara is a major business and trade centre in western India, with  industries like Petrochemicals, Engineering, Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Plastics, IT and Foreign exchange services amongst others. It is also an important terminal for the Indian railways connecting Vadodara city with North, South and Eastern regions of the country. 
Through this service, customers in and around the city will get an option of movement of their cargos to and from Vadodara for export and import.
The current fortnightly service will be converted to a weekly service going forward, the release said.
Mr. Keld Pedersen - Managing Director, APM Terminal, Pipavav said, “We thank CONCOR for this initiative of connecting port Pipavav and Vadodara city. The new service will help safe and secure movement of cargos to our customers.”
APM Terminals Pipavav [Gujarat Pipavav Port Ltd.] is India's first Public Private Partnership (PPP) port in India having connectivity to the Gujarat Region and the Northern hinterlands of India. It serves as a gateway for movement of containers, bulk, liquid and RORO cargo.
The company is a part of the APM Terminals which is a leading global port and cargo inland services provider with a presence in 69 countries with 73 ports, nine new ports under construction and ten facilities in expansion mode – along with an inland services network spanning 140 locations.   Based in The Hague, Netherlands, the company works with shipping lines, importers/exporters, governments, business leaders and the global supply chain to provide solutions for businesses.

BHEL commissions 250 MW CFBC technology-based lignite power plant in Gujarat

The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had successfully commissioned a 250 MW unit based on eco-friendly Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion (CFBC) technology, using low grade coal (lignite) as the primary fuel, in Gujarat.
The 250 MW lignite based thermal unit is the second unit to be commissioned at Bhavnagar Energy Company Limited's (BECL)’s 2x250 MW thermal power project, located at Padva village in Bhavnagar district.
The first unit of the project was commissioned earlier in May, 2016. The project is based on CFBC technology – an environment friendly technology to utilize India’s large resource of low grade, high moisture lignite, a press release from the company said.
BHEL has the distinction of engineering, supply, erection and commissioning of four units of India’s largest capacity CFBC boilers of 250 MW rating, including the two units at Bhavnagar, it said.
BHEL’s scope of work in the contract envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of Boilers, Steam Turbines and Generators along with associated Auxiliaries and Electricals, state-of-the-art Controls & Instrumentation (C&I) and Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs), the release said.
Earlier in the state of Gujarat, BHEL has executed the 4x125 MW Surat Lignite Power project in Surat district, also involving CFBC technology.
CFBC boilers are highly fuel flexible and can burn a wide variety of fuels, including lignite, efficiently and are highly environment friendly with very low pollutant emissions. 
"The successful commissioning of CFBC technology-based units has reinforced BHEL’s leadership status in execution of a variety of thermal power projects involving supply of state-of-the-art equipment, suited to Indian fuel and Indian conditions," the release added.

IIMA hikes fees for flagship two-year programmes to Rs. 21 lakh

IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Ahmedabad
The Board of Governors of the Indian Insititute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) met here yesterday and approved a 7.7 percent in hike in the fees for its flagship Post Graduate Programme in Management and Post Graduate Programme in Food and Agri-Business Management to Rs. 21 lakh.
"This fee covers costs associated with tuition, accommodation, course material, library, placement services, and IT resources," a press release from IIMA said.
Both programmes are two-year courses and, at the increased level, the fees would work out to Rs. 10.5 lakh per year.
"General inflation and Seventh Pay Commission implementation exert an upward push on cost of programme delivery. The Institute is committed to striving for efficiency in its operations. As the most liberal among Indian management institutions by far in financial aid disbursements (in 2016-17, one-third of our students received financial aid), IIMA is also committed to ensuring that no capable candidate is denied entry for reason of lacking financial wherewithal," the release added.
IIMA had increased the fees for these programmes to Rs. 19.5 lakh from Rs. 18.5 lakh last April.

UK visa application centre inaugurated in Ahmedabad

British Deputy High Commissioner Ahmedabad Geoff Wain formally inaugurated the new UK visa application centre (VAC) here today.
A press release from the British High Commission said the new VAC offers a number of benefits to customers in Ahmedabad including more application counters to make it quicker and easier for customers to submit their visa applications. 
The VAC is also located in a more convenient area of Ahmedabad and continues to be co-located with the Schengen visa application centre to make it more straightforward for customers to apply for both visas at the same time.
"The UK continues to welcome more and more visitors from India. The latest visa figures show that over 395,000 Indian visitors came to the UK last year, a six per cent increase from 2015," Mr. Wain said.
"India is an incredibly important market to the UK which is why we continue to make it easier for people to apply for their visas and visit. Last year we introduced a new visit visa application form which for the first time is translated into Gujarati. We will continue to listen to feedback from our customers in order to make further improvements where we can," he added.

Seven dead, four injured as jeep overturns in Gujarat's Valsad district

7 dead, 4 injured after jeep overturns in Valsad district of Gujarat
As many as seven persons died and four others suffered injuries when the jeep they were travelling in overturned in the ghats region of Dharampur in Valsad district of Gujarat last night.
Police sources said the mishap occurred around 9.30 pm yesterday when the men were returning to their village of Motikarol after delivering vegetables and other supplies for a marriage in another village, Dhamasdi.
The jeep veered off the road, resulting in the deaths of seven men on the spot, the sources said. 
People from nearby areas alerted the police and helped extricate the victims from the vehicle, they said.
The injured were admitted for treatment to a nearby hospital, where their condition was stated to be stable, the sources added.

Minor earthquake shakes Banaskantha region of Gujarat

An earthquake of slight intensity shook the Banaskantha region of Gujarat this afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.6°N and longitude 72.1°E, occurred at 1552 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.

IIMA invites alumni, corporates to contribute to restoration, conservation of its campus

IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Ahmedabad
For the first time in its history, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) has invited its alumni and corporates to contribute to the conservation and restoration of its Heritage Campus.
"About five decades ago, the renowned American architect Louis Kahn translated education philosophy into infrastructure when he assumed responsibility of building IIMA’s infrastructure," a press release from IIMA said.
"Generations of students since then have been inspired by the spaces to reflect, deliberate, break the mould, and free the spirit. These buildings have witnessed generations of academic life on campus and withstood Gujarat Earthquake. The grandeur of the Louis Kahn Campus infrastructure leaves the visitors to campus awestruck. But age has taken its toll, requiring conservation and restoration on priority," it said.
The release said the Government of India had recognized the conservation and restoration of IIMA’s iconic Louis Kahn Campus buildings as an important task and contributions for this are covered within the ambit of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Companies Act 2013 under “protection of national heritage, art and culture, including restoration of sights of historical importance as well as promoting education.”
IIMA has recently received significant funding from individual alumni and alumni batches to support conservation and restoration of dorms, classrooms, and other infrastructure. 
The institute had announced last year the TCS–IIMA partnership for restoration and upgradation of Vikram Sarabhai Library at IIMA, supported by a Rs. 20 crore funding by TCS Foundation.
Dorm D1 is being renamed the “D-1 Professor Kamla Chowdhury Dorm” in memory of a founding faculty of the institute, with funding support of Rs. 3.5 crore by individual alumni. Classroom 3 is being renamed “CR-3: Professor Labdhi Bhandari Classroom” in the memory of another distinguished faculty member, with financial support of Rs. 2.5 crore also contributed by one of its alumni.
Classroom 4 is being renamed "CR 4:  1992 Batch Classroom" supported by a Rs. 2.5 crore contribution by the Silver Jubilee Reunion batch last December. The 1992 batch representative, Mr. Birendra Baid, said, "The time we spent at IIMA was among the best years of our lives. IIMA has given us much more than just an MBA degree –it is here we made lifelong friends, developed our personalities, and gained life skills that allowed us to pursue our careers with confidence. Giving back to the alma mater was always one of the top items on our agenda when we started planning our Silver Jubilee Reunion that was held in December 2016. We were fortunate that around the same time IIMA was embarking on a comprehensive restoration project for the Heritage Campus. The Batch of '92 is delighted to have contributed towards restoration of one of the Classrooms where we studied 25 years ago."
Tower Lawn opposite Louis Kahn Plaza is being conserved and upgraded with funding support of Rs. 1 crore by the 1995 batch that came for their reunion on campus in December 2015. The 1995 batch coordinator, Mr. Rahul Phondke, said, "It was a small gesture from the batch reflecting our collective recognition of the fact that we all owe a significant part of our careers, lives and relationships to the Institute and no amount of financial contributions can really pay back the emotional debt which we owe to the Institute."
Ms. Susan Macdonald, Head – Buildings and Sites, the Getty Conservation Institute added, “After some 50 years, Louis Kahn's magnificent IIM complex still has the ability to inspire and move the human spirit. Inevitably, it is now suffering many of the conservation challenges typical of many great architectural works of the modern era. It is to be commended that IIM has commenced a careful and thorough program of work that seeks to understand these challenges and develop conservation approaches to sustain Kahn's great work over the next 50 years.”
 “I am touched by these gestures and thankful to our alumni for the love and care that they have for the Institute. The strong commitment of IIMA alumni to the institute will enable us to pursue excellence in teaching, research, and infrastructure and educate future generations of leaders,” said Prof. Ashish Nanda, Director IIMA.

Modi attends 116th meeting of trustees of Somnath Trust at Somnath

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the 116th meeting of the trustees of Shri Somnath Trust at Somnath in Gujarat today. 
Apart from Mr. Modi, the meeting was attended by former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah, former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, Mr. P. K. Laheri, Mr. J.D. Parmar and Mr. Harsh Neotia.
Mr. Modi suggested at the meeting that the entire campus of the Shree Somnath temple be upgraded with water, greenery and facilities. He  recommended that the Trust should actively participate in the effort to make Veraval and Prabhas Patan cashless. He also said that the Trust should organise special "Mahotsavas" in all major cities. 
The meeting was decided Mr. Patel would continue as Chairman of the Trust for the year 2017.

Modi dedicates ONGC Petro additions Ltd plant in Gujarat to nation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated to the nation the ONGC Petro additions Ltd (OPaL) plant -- a Rs. 30,000 crore joint venture project promoted by ONGC, GAIL and GSPC --at Dahej in Gujarat.
He also visited OPaL where he was given a detailed presentation on the company and also addressed an industry meet.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh L. Mandaviya were amongst those present on the occasion.
OPaL is implementing a grass root integrated petrochemical complex located in Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) at Dahej. The company was incorporated on 15th November, 2006.
A press release from ONGC said this was the single largest petrochemical plant in India and, at full capacity, would annually produce 14 lakh metric tonnes of polymers such as linear low density / high density polyethylene and polypropylene and 5 lakh metric tonnes of chemicals like benzene, butadiene and pyrolysis gasoline. 
The Product Warehouse is one of the largest in India with an area of 1,28,250 square metres, it said.
OPaL will use ONGC’s captive feed of C2+ streams (Ethane, Propane and Butane) from C2-C3 Extraction plant, and Naphtha from Hazira and Uran to produce polyethylene and polypropylene.
The plant is strategically located in the petrochemicals and chemical hub of the country with excellent connectivity, creating an integrated ecosystem. It will generate direct employment for 3,500 personnel and indirect employment for around 10,500 people, the release said.
According to it, the project will help the growth of new downstream plastic processing industries in the country, generating further investment of Rs 40,000 crore and over 20,000 indirect employment opportunities, giving a thrust to the government’s Make in India programme. The increased use of polymers will also reduce burden on traditional materials like wood, paper, metal and will help in conserving natural resources like water and energy and promote food safety & food conservation, it said.
The release said OPaL’s projected market share in the polymer sector will be 13% by 2018. The company would also contribute in encouraging polymer consumption in the country and its products will be used for important sectors like Infrastructure, Housing, Packaging, Irrigation, Automotive, Healthcare, and so on. OPaL’s production of polymer will help country towards self-sufficiency.
The average per capita consumption of polymers in India is 10kg, compared to a world average of 32 kg. There is tremendous potential for growth of the sector catalysed by growth drivers such as increasing middle class, higher disposable income and urbanization, the release said.
The petrochemical sector in the country has witnessed a robust growth of 10-12% per annum in the last decade, and is expected to grow at a rate of 12-15% in the next decade.

APM Terminals Pipavav welcomes one of the largest RoRo carriers

APM Terminals Pipavav in Gujarat recently welcomed Hoegh Tracer, one of the world’s largest pure car and truck carrier (PCTC), and the largest to ever call at an Indian port.
At 14 decks high, the Hoegh Tracer has a capacity of 8,500 vehicles, and loaded 1,700 cars at Pipavav for export delivery on the Hoegh Middle East, India and Africa (MIAF) Service.
”This achievement showcases Pipavav’s infrastructure capability and efficiency in handling large car carriers in this important growing market,” said APM Terminals Pipavav Managing Director Keld Pedersen.
APM Terminals Pipavav, in partnership with NYK Auto Logistics (India), opened a dedicated common user integrated RoRo terminal in August of 2015, with a capacity of 250,000 vehicles annually. The port is equipped to accommodate 4,500 to 5,000 cars and a Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) facility. 
There is also a mobilization yard for 150 cars, with a capacity to accommodate approximately 500 cars on the quay, a press release from the company.
APM Terminals Pipapav along with NYK Auto Logistics provides logistic support to auto manufacturers in western India for export and for inter-Indian port coastal shipping. 
Indian auto manufacturers exported $ 5.4 billion worth of passenger cars in 2015, the release added.

Bharatanatyam exponent C. V. Chandrasekhar, 81, enthralls dance lovers in Vadodara

C. V. Chandrasekhar
C. V. Chandrasekhar
Renowed Bharatanatyam exponent C. V. Chandrasekhar, who is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, the nation's third highest civilian honour, enthralled an audience of dance lovers with a mesmerising performance at the C. C. Mehta Auditorium here on February 15 evening, making light of his 81 years of age.
The event was organized by Ghargharika, an organization in Vadodara that aims to promote classical dance with Prof. Chandrasekhar as its president and Ms. Tejal Amin as its secretary. Ms. Rema Shrikant, a well-known Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer and guru, based in the city, who has trained under Prof. Chandrasekhar for 17 years, took the lead in organising the event.
The organisers also arranged a dance workshop by Prof. Chandrasekhar at the Navarachana School the next day.
Dignitaries present at the recital included Mrs. Shubhangini Devi Gaekwad, wife of late Ranjitsingh Gaekwad, the head of the erstwhile ruling family of Gaekads of Baroda, renowned painter Ghulam Mohammed Shaikh and noted dance critic Sunil Kothari.
For the audience, it was an evening of sheer divinity, as though Lord Shiva himself had descended onto the stage in his Nataraja form. The recital was marked by perfect form, clean lines, complex tirmanams and controlled yet powerful abhinaya as Chandrasekhar danced without a break, including a 40-minute varnam.
Despite his advanced age, Chandrasekhar performed with agility, perfection and beauty in execution.
With his wife Jaya Chandrasekhar rendering the natuvangam (together, they are among India's best known dancer-couples) and Natarajan on the mridangam, it was truly one of the most memorable performances for most of those present.
For dance lovers in Vadodara, Chandrasekhar is one of their own, the guru having taught  at the Faculty of Performing Arts at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda for long years. He served as the  Head of the Department of Dance and the Dean of the Faculty, from which position he retired in 1992. He has moulded hundreds of students over the years, and many of them were present in the auditorium for his recital. 
Prof. Chandrasekhar and Jaya Chandrasekhar now run their own dance institution, Nrityashree, in Chennai.
He was awarded the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Bharatnatyam in 1993, by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama. He received the prestigious Kalidas Samman in 2008 and the Padma Bhushan in 2011. In 2016, he was honoured with the prestigious Fellowship of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
An alumnus of the renowned Kalakshetra, where he trained under the legendary Rukmini Devi Arundale, Karaikkal Saradambal, K.N. Dandaydhapani Pillai and others, he has also received training classical music under teachers like Budulur Krishnamurthy Sastrigal and M.D. Ramanathan.
Chandrasekhar began his career as a dancer in 1947, at a time when there were very few male dancers in the country. He taught for some years at the Banaras Hindu University before joining M. S. University of Baroda and has, over the years, acquired tremendous respect for his accomplishments as a dancer, choreographer, researcher, musician, academician, composer and teacher.

Foundation stone laid for first training centre for para athletes

As the first step towards setting up the first ever training centre of excellence dedicated for para athletes in the country, Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Vijay Goel has laid the foundation stone of the boundary wall for the centre here.
Para athletes had won four medals at the Rio Olympics and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after meeting gold medallist Devender Jhajharia expressed the desire to open a world class para athletic centre. Accordingly, the Sports Minister approved a Centre of Excellence for Differently Abled Sportspersons at Sports Authority of India, Gandhinagar, an official press release said.
Speaking on the occasion here yesterday, Mr Goel said a Talent Search Portal would be launched soon to spot budding sportspersons in the country. 
He said the centre would help para ahtletes to showcase their skills and talent further at national and international levels.
The centre is proposed to be built at an estimated budget of over Rs. 50 crore. It will have world class facilities where para athletes will be trained for various international competitions.
It will also host seminars, educational programmes and workshops throughout the year with the help of International Paralympic Committee.
The centre will have a fully air-conditioned indoor hall, 100-bed elite hostel, VIP accommodation for foreign guests and open land for warm-ups.
The entire project will be completed by the CPWD in coordination with the various experts and consultants.
Earlier in the day, Mr Goel inaugurated SAI Training Centre (Para) at SAI NSWC Gandhinagar. This centre will provide facilities for training boys and girls in the in the age group of 14 – 20 years in athletics, swimming and power lifting.
With a total strength of 50 (Boys & Girls), the annual budget for this scheme is Rs. 50 lakh.  All the selected para athletes will be accommodated in Elite Hostel.
Synthetic Athletic Track, International Standard Swimming Pool and modern fitness centre with world class equipment will be available at the centre along with qualified coaches in each discipline.
Facilities like Lodging / Boarding, Sports Kits, Competition exposure, Medical Insurance will be provided under the STC Scheme.
Selection trials were conducted on February 3 and 4 and the selected probables will be joining the centre after the completion of their examination.
The dignitaries, players and coaches at the foundation laying ceremony included Devender Jhajharia, Vijay Muneshwar, Arjuna awardee, Power-Lifting, R. D. Singh, Dronacharya Awardee (Athletics) and senior officials of Department of Sports and SAI.

BHEL bags 3.6 MW rooftop solar PV systems order from Surat civic body

The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has secured an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) order for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop systems totalling 3.6 MW capacity from the Surat Municipal Corporation in Gujarat.
While all the 10 identified areas of installation would be within the municipal limits of Surat; 1 MW of energy will be required for Surat Smart City. 
"This is the single largest order for a rooftop PV system won by BHEL and will be an important step in establishing BHEL as one of the leaders in the Rooftop PV system segment also," a press release from the company said.
BHEL manufactures solar cells and modules at its Electronics Division in Bengaluru, while space-grade solar panels using high efficiency cells and space-grade battery panels are manufactured at its Electronic Systems Division, also in Bengaluru.
The company has enhanced its annual manufacturing capacity of solar cells to 105 MW and solar modules to 226 MW. Its new state-of-the-art 200 MW Solar PV Module Manufacturing Line and upgraded 105 MW Solar PV Cell Manufacturing Line were recently inaugurated by Union Minister for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Anant Geete, at the company’s manufacturing plants in Bengaluru.
BHEL is one of the few companies in India whose solar business is backed by a dedicated R&D team at the company’s Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell Plant (ASSCP) in Gurgaon near here, the release said.
BHEL offers EPC solutions for both off-grid and grid interactive Solar PV power Plants in Utilty Scale and Rooftop applications and has set up solar plants in various locations in India including Lakshadweep Islands for island electrification, it added.

SpiceJet re-introduces services on Surat – Delhi route

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today announced the relaunch of twin daily direct flights on the Delhi – Surat – Delhi route effective from March 26.
The new flight is a part of SpiceJet’s enhanced summer schedule and will further augment its connectivity in the domestic sector, a press release from the airline said.
“While the year 2016 has witnessed a sharp growth in air passenger traffic, a large count today still remains untapped who travel from Tier 2 cities. Surat, being an important economic hub of Gujarat, has always been a critical market for us, especially from the point of view of serving our business travellers. The twin daily flight service will offer immense flexibility to the corporate travellers on the SpiceJet network," Ms. Shilpa Bhatia, Sr VP, Commercial, SpiceJet, said.

Reliance-Sibur JV plans to set up halogenated butyl rubber unit at Jamnagar

Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Russian petrochemical giant Sibur signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the recently-concluded Vibrant Gujarat Summit at Gandhinagar to set up South Asia’s first butyl rubber halogenation unit at RIL’s integrated petrochemicals site at Jamnagar in Gujarat.
The unit will produce 60,000 MT of halogenated butyl rubber every year under Reliance Sibur Elastomers Private Limited (RSEPL) – a joint venture (JV) of which RIL owns 74.9%, and Sibur 25.1%, a press release from RIL said.
Apart from the planned halogenation unit, the JV owns a 1,20,000 MT per annum butyl rubber plant, currently under construction at the same venue which will provide the necessary butyl rubber feed to the halogenation unit.
Mr Nikhil Meswani, Executive Director, RIL, said, “RSEPL’s halogenated butyl rubber plant will be well-poised to capitalise on the significant surge in regional demand in tyre and pharmaceutical industries. India is expected to see a quantum jump in tyre production, with Indian and international tyre majors gearing up to make capital investments of Rs. 15,000 crore. The halogenated butyl rubber demand is expected to grow at a rapid pace of 8-10% CAGR over the next few years, driven by increasing customer preference for tubeless tyres in India and neighbouring countries, and significant investments in the manufacture of pharmaceutical closures and tank inner liners.”
“India offers attractive investment opportunities given the growing local demand for synthetic rubbers and Gujarat’s favourable investment environment coupled with the well-developed infrastructure and raw material availability at a world-class Industrial site owned by RIL. Sibur has a long track record of successful cooperation with RIL and Gujarat’s government, which has provided us with a solid basis for expanding our footprint in India,” said Mr. Dmitry Konov, Chairman of Sibur’s Management Board.
Halogenated butyl rubber is a key ingredient for manufacturing inner liner of tubeless tyre. 
With the Indian automobile trend aligning with global trends, penetration of tubeless tyres is expected to accelerate in the Indian market, resulting in an increased demand of halogenated butyl rubber. The ingredient is also used in the manufacture of pharma stoppers, inner liner of storage tanks, and so on, the release said.
Construction of the butyl rubber plant is in full swing at Jamnagar and it is expected to be commissioned in 2018.
Production from RSEPL will substitute imports and reduce outflow of valuable foreign exchange from India, providing impetus to the government’s Make in India initiative.
Sibur is a vertically integrated gas processing and petrochemicals company. It owns and operates Russia’s largest gas processing business in terms of associated petroleum gas processing volumes, and is a leader in the Russian petrochemicals industry.

IIM Ahmedabad launches ePGP course with Hughes as technology partner

The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) yesterday launched its e-Post Graduate Program in Management (ePGP), a two-year post graduate diploma program offered on Interactive Onsite Learning (IOL) platform, with Hughes Global Education as the technology partner.
A press release from IIMA said the objective of the program is to impart management education to junior, mid- and senior level professionals and entrepreneurs seeking skills and strategies to take their organizations to the next level.
The course, with over 800 classroom instruction hours, will provide the participants with skills for leadership in today’s knowledge economy through an innovative curriculum, it said.
During the first year of the program, the curriculum focuses on equipping participants with knowledge in various areas of management. Second year curriculum offers a range of electives to allow participants to explore management subjects in depth, it said.
The release said the ePGP would be a long-duration diploma program offered in hybrid learning mode, combining sessions delivered through Interactive Learning platform, class room based instruction, continuous evaluation, and mentored project work.
The program will comprise compulsory core courses during the first year followed by a bouquet of elective courses in the second year. Three campus modules are planned as integral parts of the program.
Hughes Global Education India Ltd. (HGEIL) is the education business subsidiary of Hughes Communication India Ltd (HCIL) and has pioneered ‘class apart learning’ in India for working executives, with more than 2500 students enrolling every year using technology since 2001.

Tough decisions like demonetization difficult but needed for clean-up: Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said tough decisions initially pass through difficult phases resulting in temporary pain, in an apparent reference to the Government's November 8 announcement on demonetization of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 notes.
India needed such bold decisions as it was time now to clean up the table, he said at a seminor on "GST: The Game Changer for Indian Economy" on the second day of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit at Mahatma Mandir here.
"Demonetization will have an impact over the course of our present and future lives," he said.
Mr. Jaitley said most of the issues regarding implementation of the Goods & Service Tax (GST) had been resolved. A few critical ones are left which will be resolved in the next few weeks. The GST Council is deliberative democracy in action and the impact of both GST and demonetization will be felt this year, he said.
He said that when GST merges all the taxes and makes India into one entity, it would be an advantage to the asessee. Once the GST is implemented, the combination of a more digitized economy along with a more efficient tax system will make India better, he said.
Since people want transparency, government is emphasizing on bringing transparency and elimination of discretion. Indian economy has opened up significantly in the last two years, he added.

India offers unprecedented opportunities for investors: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that India's development agendra was ambitious and it was taking a leap towards next generation infrastructure in both core and social sectors, in rural and urban areas, offering unprecedented opportunities for investors.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017, at Mahatma Mandir, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on January 10, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017, at Mahatma Mandir, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on January 10, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India's development agendra was ambitious and it was taking a leap towards next generation infrastructure in both core and social sectors, in rural and urban areas, offering unprecedented opportunities for investors.
"Most of you can work with us in a number of areas which include: from hardware to software; from soft skills to scientific temper; from defence systems to cyber security; and from medicine to tourism," he said 
"I daresay, that India alone offers the opportunities that could rival those of an entire continent. It offers today, the possibilities of a full century. And we want to do all this in a cleaner, greener and sustainable way. We are committed to protect the environment and uphold our responsibility towards Nature. Ultimately, this is what India has stood for since ages," he said.
Mr. Modi said India's strength lay in the three Ds: Democracy, Demography and Demand.
"Our biggest strength is the depth of our Democracy. Some people say that democracy cannot deliver effective and fast track governance. But we have seen in the last two and a half years that it is possible to deliver quick results in a democratic set up as well. Over the last two and a half years, we have also evolved a culture of healthy competition among states. States are being rated on parameters of Good Governance. The World Bank is helping us in this process.
"Coming to Demography, ours is a nation of vibrant youth.  The disciplined, dedicated, and talented youth of India offers a globally unmatched work-force. We are the second largest English-speaking country. Our youth are not merely looking for jobs. They have begun taking risks and often prefer to become entrepreneurs.
"On the Demand front, our rising middle class offers a huge domestic market. The seas that surround the Indian peninsula, connect us to some of the world’s biggest markets, including Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
"Nature has been kind to us. Our three crop seasons enable us to grow food, vegetables and fruits in abundance. The diversity in our flora and fauna is unparalleled. The richness of our culture and its living symbols is unique. Our Institutions and scholars are recognised the world over. India is now an emerging R&D hub. We produce the world’s second largest number of scientists and engineers.
"Our entertainment industry is making waves worldwide. All this helps ensure a good quality of life, at relatively low cost," he said.
The Prime Minister said his Government was elected first and foremost on the promise to provide clean governance and end the "prevailing regime of corruption and nepotism".
"It is our vision and mission to bring a paradigm shift in the ways of our polity and economy. We have taken a series of decisions and steps in this direction. To give you some examples, we are bringing a shift: from relation based governance to system based governance; from discretionary administration to policy based administration; from random interference to technological intervention; from favouritism to level playing field; from Informal economy to formal economy," he said.
"In doing this, digital technology has played a key role. I have often said that e-governance is easy and effective governance. I have also emphasized the need for policy driven governance. Online processes help bring speed and openness in decision making. Towards this end, we are working to adopt and absorb newer technologies, to bring about transparency, and to end discretion. Believe me, we are on the threshold of becoming the world’s most digitised economy. Most of you wanted this change in India. I am proud to say that it is happening before you," he said.
Mr. Modi said that, over the last two and a half years, the government had worked relentlessly to realise India’s potential, and to set right the economy. He said the results had been very encouraging and there had been substantial improvement in key macro-economic indicators like GDP growth, inflation, fiscal deficit, current account deficit as well as foreign investments.
"India has become the fastest growing major economy in the world. Despite the global slowdown, we have registered excellent growth.Today, India is a bright spot in the global economy. We are seen as the engine of global growth.
"World Bank, IMF and other institutions have projected even better growth in the coming days. In 2014-15, India contributed 12.5 per cent of global growth. Its contribution to global growth is sixty eight per cent higher, than its share of the world economy.
"Creating an enabling environment for business, and attracting investments, is my top priority. We have to do this in order to create opportunities for our youth. With that spirit, we are moving towards implementation of some historic initiatives. This includes the Goods and Services Tax.
"The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the National Company Law Tribunal, a new arbitration framework and a new IPR regime are all in place. New commercial courts have also been set up.  These are just a few examples of the direction in which we are going. My government is strongly committed to continue the reform of the Indian economy," he said.
Mr. Modi said the Government had placed the highest emphasis on Ease of Doing Business. He said it had taken decisive steps to ease licensing processes, and rationalize provisions and procedures relating to clearances, returns, and inspections. 
"We are monitoring implementation of hundreds of action points across various sectors, aimed at improving the regulatory framework. This is part of our promise of Good Governance.
"The outcomes of our efforts are visible in India’s global rankings on various indicators. A number of global reports and assessments over the last two years have shown that India has improved its policies, practices and hence its economic profile.
"India’s rank has improved considerably, in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report. India is ranked third in the list of top prospective host economies for 2016-18 in the World Investment Report 2016 released by UNCTAD. Our rank also improved by thirty two positions in World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Competitiveness Report 2015-16 and 2016-17'," he said.
Mr. Modi said India had moved up 16 ranks in the ‘Global Innovation Index 2016’ brought out by WIPO and other institutions. It had moved up 19 positions in the World Bank’s ‘Logistics Performance Index of 2016'.
"You can see that we are moving closer to global best practices. Day by day we are getting more and more integrated with the world. Our confidence has been boosted by the positive impact of our policies and practices. This also gives us the motivation to further simplify our processes to become the easiest place to do business.
"Every day, we are further rationalising our policies and procedures, to make it simple for businesses to establish and grow. We have liberalised our FDI regime in many sectors and in various ways. India is today among the most open economies. This change in environment has been recognized by both domestic and foreign investors.
"An encouraging Start-up eco-system is now taking shape in the country. This unleashing of the youth power is heartening.
"The total FDI inflows in the last two and a half years have touched US $ 130 billion. The FDI equity inflow in the last two financial years was 60 per cent higher as compared to previous two financial years. In fact, the total FDI inflows received during the last year have been the highest ever," he said.
The Prime Minister said the number of countries from where FDI is coming in and the sectors in which they are being routed have also diversified in the last two years. India is now the leading recipient of capital investment in the Asia-Pacific. It also continues to be among the top ten countries globally in terms of FDI inflows.
"But the story does not end here. India has left every other country behind in terms of providing return on investment. In 2015, India has risen to first position in the Baseline Profitability Index," he said.
Mr. Modi said Make in India had become the biggest brand that India has ever had. It is directed towards making India a global hub for manufacturing, design and innovation, he said.
"I am delighted to share that we have become the sixth largest manufacturing country in the world, up from ninth largest previously. Our Gross Value Added in manufacturing has recorded a growth of nine per cent in 2015-16. This is much higher than the five to six per cent growth in the previous three years. All this is helping us expand the job market and raise the purchasing power of our people. But the real potential is even higher.
"To give you a few examples: India’s Food Processing Industry is expected to increase almost five fold in the next ten years. Similarly, India's low vehicle penetration makes it one of the world's most attractive auto markets.
"At the Government level, we have to ensure that our growth process is inclusive and embraces both rural and urban communities. We are committed to an India with: better job opportunities; better income; better purchasing power; better quality of life; and better living standards," he said.
"Our development needs are huge. Our development agenda is ambitious. For instance: we want to provide a roof over every head; we want to provide jobs to every hand; we want to produce energy that is cleaner; we want to build roads and railways faster; we want mineral exploration to become greener; we want to build urban amenities that are sturdier; we want to see our quality of life getting better and better," he said.
"We are taking a leap towards next generation infrastructure: in both core and social sectors; in both rural and urban areas. This includes Freight Corridors, Industrial Corridors, High Speed and Metro Rail projects, Logistics Parks, Smart Cities, Coastal Zones, regional airports, water, sanitation and energy initiatives. Our per capita electricity consumption must rise. Even as we do so, we are committed to promoting renewable energy.
"We are keen to promote tourism in a big way and this needs tourism infrastructure. The targets for construction of roads and laying of railways have been increased manifold. India is going to emerge as one of the world’s largest construction markets as it adds millions of homes. 
"Welcome to India: the land of tradition and tranquillity; the land of empathy and excitement; the land of experiment and enterprise. The land of openings and opportunities.
"Once again, I welcome you and invite you to be part of - India of Today; and India of Tomorrow. I assure you that I will be available to hold your hands whenever required," he added.
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