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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Adani Capital to invest Rs. 50 Crore in Pune-based PRA Realty

Adani Capital Pvt Ltd, the NBFC arm of the Adani Group, has partnered with PRA Realty and will invest Rs. 50 crore in the company to provide capital for its project in Pune.  
This investment will be utilized towards the development of a one off, rare and iconic mixed-use project in the prime, downtown location of Shivaji Nagar in that city.
Promoted by Rustom Bharucha, PRA Realty is amongst the fastest growing real estate developers in Pune with close to 5 mm sq.ft currently under development and having delivered over 1 million sq.ft., a press release from Adani Group said.
“Our philosophy is to back growing and dynamic real estate developers. We were very impressed with PRA’s execution in the Pune market. We look forward to extending our relationship with PRA Realty and to explore opportunities with the group as they grow,” said Gaurav Gupta, CEO of Adani Finserve Private Limited, parent entity of Adani Capital.
“We are delighted to be working closely with Adani Capital, who are a fantastic team of professionals that have proven structuring capabilities and an extremely quick turnaround time. We look forward to partnering with them on our growth trajectory,” said Bharucha, Chairman and Managing Director, PRA Realty.
Adani Capital is Adani Group’s entry into the financial services business with a focus on wholesale and retail lending. The Adani Group is one of India’s leading business houses with revenue of over $12 billion.

Final raising of Sardar Sarovar Dam to EL 138.68 metres cleared by Narmada Control Authority

The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has cleared the final raising of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) in Gujarat, by lowering of gates and impounding of water in the reservoir, upto its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of Elevation Level (EL) 138.68 mts. 
The NCA which met here yesterday under the chairmanship of Dr. Amarjit Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (WR, RD & GR) considered all aspects of environmental and resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) issues, an official press release said.
Raising of SSD was cleared the last time on June 12, 2014, when permission for Phase-I construction of piers, overhead bridge and installation of gates in open or raised position was granted. At that time, the effective height of SSD remained at EL 121.92 mts. with backwater levels of EL 134.32 mts. at dam site. 
With lowering of gates of SSD, the live storage capacity would increase from 1565 to 5740 MCM, that is, by 4175 MCM (267%). The clean (hydro-power generation) would increase from present 1300 MW to 1450 MW with increase in annual generation by about 1100 Million Units (i.e. about Rs.400  crore per annum).
In addition, this additional storage would irrigate about 8 lakh hectares. Additionally, about one crore population would get assured drinking water. As is well known, the Sardar Sarovar Project would primarily meet the water requirement of drought prone and desert areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan, the release said.
Prior to clearance by NCA, the Environment Sub-group of NCA chaired by Mr. Ajay Narayan Jha, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), reviewed the implementation of Environment Safeguard Measures on May 1 and, after observing substantial progress, recommended Phase-II proposal of lowering down of the gates and impounding of water in the reservoir to FRL of EL 138.68 mts. The Environment Sub-group has also asked the State Governments to complete leftover works by June 30.
The Resettlement and Rehabilitation sub-group chaired by Ms. G. Latha Krishna Rao, Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJ&E) reviewed the progress of R&R and the opinions received from Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs) of the States of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra on June 16. 
The State Governments have promised to address all issues of Project Affected Families (PAFs) on priority basis in accordance with Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) Award, liberalized policies of the State Governments and Supreme Court Order dated February 8,2017, the release said.
"NCA has permitted final raising of SSD after following the procedure laid down by Supreme Court order dated October 18, 2000 in WP(C) 328 of 2002 in Narmada Bachao Andolan Vs. Union of India & others," the release added.

Reliance becomes second largest producer of para-xylene globally

Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said it had successfully and flawlessly commissioned the third and last crystallization train of its para-xylene (PX) complex at Jamnagar in Gujarat.
With this, RIL's PX capacity has more than doubled, making it the world's second largest producer of PX with about 11% of global production.
The plant is built with state-of-the-art crystallization technology from BP which is highly energy efficient, a press release from the company said.
Pursuant to installation and mechanical completion of the entire PX complex in the previous quarter, Reliance commissioned the second phase of PX comprising the second crystallization train (Train 2) and Trans-alkylation and Aromatic Extraction units at Jamnagar in April this year. 
Train 3, which was at an advanced stage of commissioning, has now been successfully started, the release added.

GoAir launches three daily direct flights between Ahmedabad, New Delhi

Low-cost carrier GoAir today said it would launch three daily direct flights between Ahmedabad and New Delhi -- two from June 11 and the third from June 16.
The flights would give business travellers same-day connectivity between the two important cities, a press release from the airline said.
It said the service was being introduced in response to growing demand on the route, particularly from business and corporate travellers.
Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, Managing Director & CEO, GoAir, said, “The introduction of this new sector is in keeping with the airline’s growth plans with a focus on scaling up operations gradually. Both Ahmedabad and New Delhi are popular destinations for business, tourism and employment. Strengthening our network from a city like Ahmedabad will help GoAir provide a flexibility of choice to customers along with on time, convenient and an affordable flying experience. We have been growing our route network across the 23 destinations that we are present in and will continue to do so with the addition of new aircraft in our fleet as well.”

Cabinet approves transfer of 4.64 hectares of land belonging to IISWC at Vasad, Gujarat to NHAI

The Union Cabinet yesterday approved a proposal for transfer of 4.64 hectares (46384 sq. meters) of land belonging to the Indian Institute of Soil & Water Conservation (IISWC) Research Centre at Vasad, Gujarat to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for extension and six-laning of Ahmedabad-Vadodara Highway on National Highway (NH)-8.
A compensation amounting to Rs. 12.67 crore is to be paid for the transfer, an official press release said yesterday. 
The transfer of land to the NHAl for the construction of extension and six- laning is likely to benefit the region, leading to enhanced opportunities for growth and development in terms of infrastructure, transport, communication, employment generation, and so on, the release added.

Govt. says no new cases of Zika virus disease reported after three found in Ahmedabad

The Government has said that, apart from the three cases of laboratory-confirmed Zika virus disease reported from Ahmedabad during January-February this year, no other sample has been tested positive in any part of the country so far.
"The ongoing country-wide Zika laboratory based surveillance in India has so far tested 36613 human samples and 16571 mosquito samples for the presence of Zika virus. No other sample has been tested positive apart from the three laboratory confirmed cases reported from Ahmedabad," a press release from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said here yesterday.
The release said that cases of vector borne disease (VBD), mainly Dengue and Chikungunya, were noticed in the State of Gujarat during the post-monsoon period last year. The State Government had accordingly planned fever surveillance, vector surveillance and intense vector control activity. 
It said that one of the blood samples collected during laboratory surveillance during this period from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation limits tested positive for Zika virus. This sample was retested at National Institute of Virology, Pune and was further confirmed through positive RT-PCR test and virus sequencing at National Institute of Virology, Pune on January 3 this year, it said.
This sample was from a 34-year-old female patient admitted to hospital with complaints of fever following delivery of a healthy baby. She had no travel history to any Zika affected country. 
"Following the first case, the surveillance was further strengthened and thousands of blood samples were tested as only a thorough investigation can detect cases, given that 80 % of the cases are asymptomatic. Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) surveillance and testing of antenatal cases were undertaken by the State Government and ICMR in Ahmedabad. This surveillance in total yielded 2 more cases of laboratory confirmed Zika virus disease (samples collected during January and February 2017). The other two cases include a 22-year-old pregnant woman in her 37th week of pregnancy and a 64-year-old male with 8 days history of fever," it said.
The release said the Zika virus disease case was reported as part of an answer to a Parliament question raised by Ms. Vanaroja R, a member of the Lok Sabha, on March 17.
It said that, after due process of investigation and verification of the Zika virus disease cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) was notified of all the three Zika virus disease cases on May 15.
"On 18th November, 2016 WHO had declared that Zika disease infection no longer constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Since WHO had already withdrawn the notification of Zika virus disease as a PHEIC the case was handled as per our existing protocol. 
"As a matter of abundant caution, measures to contain local transmission were carried out in the affected area. No further samples taken during antenatal screening and acute febrile illness surveillance have tested positive for Zika virus disease," it said.
Giving details of India's response to the Zika virus disease outbreak in other countries, the release said that, following the declaration of Zika virus disease as a PHEIC in February, 2016, the Government has been taking adequate steps to prevent, detect and respond to the situation. 
"The notification for Zika being a PHEIC was withdrawn by WHO on 18th November, 2016. However, India continues to maintain high vigilance and surveillance on the issue," it said.
According to the release, the following are some of the steps taken in this regard:
National Guidelines and Action Plan (with scenario based approach) on Zika virus disease have been prepared and shared with the States to prevent outbreak of Zika virus disease and containment of spread in case of any outbreak. 
An Inter – Ministerial Task Force has been set up under Chairmanship of Secretary (Health & FW) with Secretary (Bio – Technology), Secretary (Department of Health Research) as members. 
The Joint Monitoring Group, a Technical group under DGHS, tasked to monitor emerging and re-emerging diseases is regularly reviewing the situation on Zika virus disease. 
All the International Airports / Ports have displayed signage providing information for travelers on Zika virus disease and to report if they are returning from any of the affected countries and suffering from febrile illness. 
Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) is tracking for clustering of acute febrile illness in the community. It has also sensitized its State and District Rapid Response Teams. 
In addition to National Institute of Virology, Pune, and NCDC, Delhi, 25 laboratories have been strengthened by Indian Council of Medical Research for laboratory diagnosis. 
In addition, 3 entomological laboratories are conducting Zika virus testing on mosquito samples. 6 more Laboratories staff have been trained for vector surveillance for Zika virus. 
The Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) is monitoring microcephaly from 55 sentinel sites. As of now, no increase in number of cases / clustering of microcephaly has been reported from these centers. 
A 24x7 control room (011-23061469) is functioning from Directorate General of Health Services. The situation is being monitored closely. 

Modi assures African nations that India will always stand with them

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 52nd African Development Bank Annual Meetings, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on May 23, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 52nd African Development Bank Annual Meetings, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on May 23, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured African nations that India would always stand with  them, shoulder to shoulder, supporting them in the long and difficult race for a better future.
"India’s partnership with Africa is based on a model of cooperation which is responsive to the needs of African countries. It is demand-driven and free of conditions," he said at the inauguration of the Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) here.
He said that, as one plank of this cooperation, India extends lines of credit through India’s Exim Bank and as many as 152 credits have been extended to 44 countries for a total amount of nearly $ 8 billion so far.
He recalled that, during the Third India-Africa Forum Summit, India had offered $ 10 billion for development projects over the next five years. It had also offered grant assistance of $ 600 million.
Mr. Modi spoke about the strong ties between India and Africa over the centuries. "Historically, communities from western India, especially Gujarat, and the eastern coast of Africa have settled in each other's lands. The Siddhis of India are said to have come from East Africa. The Bohra communities in coastal Kenya date back to the twelfth century. Vasco da Gama is said to have reached Calicut with the help of a Gujarati sailor from Malindi. The dhows of Gujarat took merchandise in both directions. Ancient links between societies have also enriched our cultures. The rich Swahili language includes many Hindi words," he said.
He mentioned the thousands of Indians who went to Kenya to build the iconic Mombasa-Uganda railway and stayed back to start small businesses. During the colonial years, merchants, artisans and later officials, teachers, doctors and other professionals went to East and West Africa creating a vibrant community which combines the best of India and Africa, he said.
Mr. Modi also spoke about Mahatma Gandhi, another Gujarati, who perfected his tools of non-violent struggle in South Africa.
"Over decades, our ties have become stronger. After assuming office in 2014, I have made Africa a top priority for India’s foreign and economic policy. The year 2015 was a watershed. The third India Africa Summit held that year was attended by all fifty-four African countries having diplomatic relations with India. A record forty-one African countries participated at the level of Heads of State or Government," he said.
The Prime Minister said that, since 2015, he had visited six African countries:  South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritius and Seychelles. India's President has visited three countries -- Namibia, Ghana and Ivory Coast -- and the Vice-President visited seven countries -- Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria, Mali, Algeria, Rwanda and Uganda. "I am proud to say that there is no country in Africa that has not been visited by an Indian Minister in the last three years," he sai
"From a time when we mainly had mercantile and maritime links between Mombasa and Mumbai, we have today this Annual meeting which connects Abidjan and Ahmedabad; business links between Bamako and Bangalore; cricketing links between Chennai and Cape Town; development links between Delhi and Dakar," he said.
Mr. Modi said India was proud of its educational and technical ties with Africa. Thirteen current or former Presidents, Prime Ministers and Vice-Presidents in Africa have attended educational or training institutions in India. Six current or former chiefs of armed forces in Africa trained in India’s military institutions. Two current Ministers of the Interior have attended Indian institutions. Under the popular India Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme, more than thirty three thousand scholarships have been offered to officials from African countries since 2007, he said.
He also mentioned the training of “solar mamas”, as part of which every year eighty African women are trained in India to work on solar panels and circuits. "After their training they go back and literally electrify their communities. Each woman is responsible for electrifying 50 houses in her community on return. A necessary condition for the women to be selected is that they be illiterate or semi-literate. They also learn several other skills, like basket making, bee keeping, and kitchen gardening during their stay," he said.
"We have successfully completed the Pan Africa e-network project for tele-medicine and tele-network covering 48 African countries. Five leading universities in India offered certificate, under graduate and post graduate programmes. Twelve super-speciality hospitals offered consultations and Continuous Medical Education. Around seven thousand students have concluded their studies. We will soon launch the next phase. 
"We will soon successfully complete the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme for African Countries launched in 2012. The project was implemented in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda," he said.
Mr. Modi said Africa-India trade has multiplied in the last 15 years. It has doubled in the last five years to reach nearly $ 72 billion in 2014-15. India’s commodity trade with Africa in 2015-16 was higher than its commodity trade with the United States of America, he said.
"India is also working with United States and Japan to support development in Africa. I gladly recall my detailed conversation with Prime Minister Abe during my visit to Tokyo. We discussed our commitment for enhancing growth prospects for all. In our joint declaration, we mentioned an Asia Africa Growth Corridor and proposed further conversations with our brothers and sisters from Africa. 
"Indian and Japanese research institutions have come up with a Vision Document. I congratulate RIS, ERIA and IDE-JETRO for their efforts in putting it together. This was done in consultation with think tanks from Africa. I understand the Vision Document would be presented at the Board meeting later. The idea is that India and Japan, with other willing partners, would explore joint initiatives in skills, health, infrastructure, manufacturing and connectivity," he said.
Mr. Modi said their partnership was not confined to Governments alone and India's private sector was at the forefront of driving this impetus.
"From 1996 to 2016, Africa accounted for nearly one-fifth of Indian overseas direct investments. India is the fifth largest country investing in the continent, with investments over the past twenty years amounting to fifty four billion dollars, creating jobs for Africans. We are encouraged by the response of African countries to the International Solar Alliance initiative, which was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015. The Alliance is conceived as a coalition of countries rich in solar resources, to address their special energy needs. I am happy to note that many African countries have extended their support to this initiative," he said.
He said that as a founder of the New Development Bank, popularly called the “BRICS Bank”, India has consistently supported establishment of a Regional Centre in South Africa. This will provide a platform to promote collaboration between NDB and other development partners including the African Development Bank, he said.
He recalled that India joined the African Development Fund in 1982 and the African Development Bank in 1983. India has contributed to all of the Bank’s General Capital Increases. For the most recent African Development Fund replenishment, India pledged $ 29 million. It has contributed to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries and Multilateral Debt Reduction Initiatives.
Mr. Modi said that, on the sidelines of the annual meetings, the Government of India is organising a Conference and Dialogue in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry. There is also an exhibition in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The focus areas range from Agriculture to Innovation and start-ups and other themes. 
The theme of this event is “Transforming Agriculture for wealth creation in Africa”. This is an area where India and the Bank can fruitfully join hands, he said, mentioning in particular the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme. 
"Here in India, I have launched an initiative to double farmers’ incomes by 2022. It will require concerted steps, ranging from improved seeds and optimal inputs, to reduced crop losses and better marketing infrastructure. India is keen to learn from your experiences as we proceed on this initiative. 
"Many of the challenges we face are the same: uplifting our farmers and the poor, empowering women, ensuring our rural communities have access to finance, building infrastructure. We have to do these within financial constraints. We have to maintain macro-economic stability so that inflation is controlled and our balance of payments is stable. There is much for us to gain by sharing our experiences on all these fronts. For example, in our push to a less-cash economy, we have learnt from the great strides that African countries like Kenya have made in the area of mobile banking. 
"I am happy to share that India has, in the last three years, improved on all macro-economic indicators. The fiscal deficit, balance of payments deficit, and inflation are down. The GDP growth rate, foreign exchange reserves and public capital investment are up. At the same time, we have made big strides in development," he said.
"Mr. President of the African Development Bank, it is reported that you have described our recent steps as text book chapters for other developing nations and called us a development beacon. While thanking you for these kind words, I am also glad to know that you have spent quite some time training in Hyderabad earlier. However, I must say that I remain focused on the many challenges ahead. In that context, I thought I could share with you some of the strategies we have used in the last 3 years. 
"By paying subsidies directly to the poor rather than indirectly through price concessions, we have achieved large fiscal savings. In cooking gas alone we have saved over 4 billion dollars in three years. In addition, I appealed to well-off citizens to voluntarily give up their gas subsidy. Under the ‘Give it up’ campaign, we promised the saving would be used to provide a connection to a poor family. You will be surprised to know that over 10 million Indians volunteered to do so. Thanks to the savings, we have launched a programme to provide gas connections to 50 million poor families. More than 15 million connections have already been provided. This transforms the lives of rural women. It frees them from the health hazards of cooking with firewood. It also protects the environment and reduces pollution. This is an example of what I call ‘reform to transform’: a concerted set of actions which transform lives. 
"Some of the subsidised urea fertiliser intended for farmers used to get illegally diverted to non-agricultural uses, like production of chemicals. We introduced universal neem-coating of urea. This makes the fertiliser unsuitable for diversion. Not only have we got substantial financial savings but in addition, studies have shown that neem coating has improved the effectiveness of the fertiliser. 
"We are also providing our farmers with soil health cards which tell them the exact nature of their soil, and advise on the best mix of inputs. This promotes optimal use of inputs, and increases crop yield. 
"We have made unprecedented increases in capital investment in infrastructure, covering railways, highways, power, and gas pipelines. By next year, no village in India will be without electricity. Our Clean Ganga, Renewable Energy, Digital India, Smart Cities, Housing for All and Skill India missions are preparing us for a cleaner, more prosperous, faster growing and modern new India. Our aim is that India must be an engine of growth as well as an example in climate friendly development in the years to come. 
"There are two crucial factors which have helped us. The first set of changes is in the banking system. In the last three years, we have achieved universal banking. We launched the Jan Dhan Yojana or People’s Money campaign under which over two hundred and eighty million bank accounts have been opened for the poor in urban and rural areas. Thanks to that initiative, virtually every Indian family has a bank account. Normally banks are associated with helping businesses and the rich. We have enlisted them for helping the poor in their quest for development. We have strengthened our state-owned banks by freeing them from political decisions and appointing professional chief executives on merit through a transparent selection process. 
"Our universal biometric identification system called Aadhaar has been the second crucial element. It prevents claiming of benefits by those who are not eligible. It enables us to ensure that those who deserve government aid receive it with ease, while excluding non-genuine claims," he added.

Five African nations join International Solar Alliance

Four African nations -- Djibouti, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Ghana -- signed the ISA framework agreement to join the International Solar Alliance here today while Comoros is expected to sign and submit its ratification instrument tomorrow. 
Nauru also submitted its instrument of ratification, a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
An ISA event was held on the sidelines of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Annual Meeting in Gandhinagar. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was present at the signing and ratification ceremony organised by MEA.
A total of 30 countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Guinea Bissau, India, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Nauru, Niger, Republic of Guinea, Senegal, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) signed the ISA Framework Agreement in Marrakech on 15 November 2016 (within 41 days of finalizing the text of the agreement, a record in itself). 
Rwanda signed the Framework Agreement on 9 January 2017, taking the total number of signatories to 25 countries, the release said.
Within seven months of the opening of the Framework Agreement for signature in November 2016, the total number of signatories to the ISA framework agreement has reached 31, with six countries ratifying the agreement, a record in itself. The ISA as a legal entity will come into existence once 15 countries ratify and deposit the framework agreement.
India and France were the first two countries to ratify the Framework Agreement. Fiji has also completed the ratification process and will deposit its instrument with the MEA in the next few weeks, the release said.
The ISA initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on 30 November 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande. It is conceived as a coalition of solar resource rich countries to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach. 
The Prime Minister of India and the President of France jointly laid the foundation stone of the IDS Headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram, Haryana on 25th January, 2016. 
Launching the Secretariat, Mr. Modi had stated that the ISA as a potent tool for cooperation among the member countries for mutual gains through enhanced solar energy utilization.
The total Government of India support including the normative cost of the land will be about Rs. 400 crore (US$ 62 million). Of this, Rs. 175 crore (US $ 27 million) will be utilized for creating building infrastructure and recurring expenditure. The recurring expenditure on ISA will be met from voluntary contributions from member countries, bilateral and multilateral agencies; other appropriate institutions; and from interest earned from the augmented corpus to be built up. In addition to contribution for creating ISA corpus fund, Government of India has offered training support for ISA member countries at National Institute for Solar Energy (NISE) and also support for demonstration projects for solar home lighting, solar pumps for farmers and for other solar applications. 
The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) also announced contribution of US $ 1 million each to the ISA corpus fund. 
The International Steering Committee of the ISA, open to all 121 prospective member countries of the ISA (those falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn) held its meetings in Paris (1 December 2015), Abu Dhabi (18 January 2016), and New York (22 April 2016). The ISC held its 4th meeting on 5 October 2016 in New Delhi.
At the 4th ISC meeting in New Delhi, the draft Framework Agreement on establishment of the ISA was circulated among the prospective member countries. Prospective ISA countries were requested to convey their acceptance, suggest comments (if any) or seek clarifications (if required) on the Draft Framework Agreement of the ISA by 17 October 2016. The finalized ISA Framework Agreement, which seeks to establish ISA as a treaty-based organization was opened for signature at the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-22) in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016. MEA's Economic Diplomacy Division has been spearheading the process of getting the prospective countries to sign up and ratify the framework agreement. 
The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India has set aside US$2 billion for solar projects in Africa out of Government of India's US$10 billion concessional Line of Credit for Africa. The LOC will be extended to all those African countries that have signed and ratified the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement, the release added.

Modi on two-day visit to Gujarat, to attend AfDB Annual Meetings in Gandhinagar on Tuesday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a two-day visit to Gujarat, during which he will inaugurate and lay foundation stones for various development projects in Kutch on Monday.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will  be on a two-day visit to Gujarat, during which he will inaugurate and lay foundation stones for various development projects in Kutch today.
Tomorrow, Mr. Modi will participate in the opening ceremony of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Annual Meetings in Gandhinagar.
“Tomorrow I will begin a two day Gujarat visit, during which I will join programmes in Kutch and Gandhinagar," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
"I shall inaugurate & lay the foundation stone for various projects of the Kandla Port and address a public meeting at Gandhidham. In Bhachau, a pumping station would be inaugurated & I shall join a public meeting. Watch it on your mobile.
"Kutch has a very special place in my heart. It is blessed with wonderful people and a remarkable spirit of resilience. From suffering unimaginable destruction due to the 2001 quake, Kutch is today known as one of India’s fastest growing districts.
"On Tuesday, I will be in Gandhinagar to participate in the opening ceremony of the meetings of the @AfDB_Group. #AfDBAM2017
"The Annual Meetings of @AfDB_Group have chosen the very relevant theme of ‘Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa.’
On the sidelines of @AfDB_Group Annual Meetings, I shall meet some of the distinguished delegates who will be taking part in #AfDBAM2017,” Mr. Modi added.

Indian Navy and Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad sign MoU on data sharing, scientific cooperation

Vice-Admiral S N Ghormade, Director General, Naval Operations, and Space Application Centre (SAC) Director Tapan Misra signed a memorandum of understanding here today on data sharing and scientific cooperation in the field of meteorology and oceanology.
With this initiative, both the organisations have embarked on a common platform of mutual cooperation, where the scientific advancements and expertise achieved by SAC would be synergised into the Indian Navy's efforts to keep the nation’s defence forces in step with rapid development in the field of Environment Sciences and Satellite Data acquisition technology, an official press release said.
This has further boosted the already established collaboration between the two organisations, it said.
The release said the broad areas of cooperation include sharing of non-confidential observational data for pre-launch sensor calibration and post launch satellite data validation, operational use of SAC generated weather products, provisioning expertise for installation of various satellite data processing modules at Naval METOC organisations, carrying out calibration and validation for ocean models, transfer of technology to generate weather information, training on latest technology and sharing of subject matter experts between the organisations for effective knowledge transfer.
Scientists from SAC, Principal Director Naval Oceanology and Meteorology and Chief Staff Officer, Gujarat Naval Area were among those present on the occasion.

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.
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