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Gujarat

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.
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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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Modi hits out at Congress, says development will prevail over dynastic politics

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the "Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan" organised by the Bharatiya Janata party near Gandhinagar, on October 16, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hit out at the opposition Congress, saying that the coming elections to the Gujarat Legislative Assembly were about "Vikasvaad" (development) versus "Vanshvaad" (dynastic politics) in which the former would prevail.
 
"I am sure Vanshvaad will be defeated," he said at the "Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan" near Gandhinagar, a gathering of thousands of workers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the culmination of two fortnight-long marches through almost all Assembly constituencies across the state.
 
"On one side there are those who believe in dynastic politics but on the other side, we believe in the path shown by our founders," Mr. Modi said, referring to the oft-repeated allegation against the Congress of practising dynastic politics.
 
"For Congress what matters most is power and dynastic politics," he said, and went on to accuse it of corruption, neglecting development of the country, delaying important projects and spreading lies and pessimism.
 
He said the Congress was jealous of the people of Gujarat and had always treated the state like a "thorn" in its side and with a negative approach towards its development. He said history had seen what they had done to Sardar Patel and Morarji Desai.
 
Mr. Modi challenged the Congress to fight the coming elections, expected to be  held in the next few weeks, on the plank of development instead of "trying to manipulate the people".
 
He wondered why the party had lost so many of its legislators ahead ofthe elections. 
 
Mr. Modi described  the Congress was a 'zamanati' party, or 'one out on bail', a veiled reference to the National Herald case in which Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi have got bail.
 
He regretted that the Congress, which had given so many Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers, focussed now on "spreading lies" and "creating an atmosphere of pessimism".
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, BJP President Amit Shah and several other leaders of the party were present on the occasion.
 
Mr. Modi said the Congress had always had a negative approach towards development of Gujarat and had not even completed the Sardar Sarovar Project. "The Congress let the waters of the Narmada flow into the sea, but did not allow it to be used by Gujarat," he said.
 
 "Those questioning us on development of Gujarat must recall what their contribution has been for the state's progress," he said.
 
"The Congress party always backs the corrupt and corruption. They blamed us in every possible manner. But when they saw there was no impact on us, they started blaming our development works," he said.
 
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He said the Government was actively working to address all issues related to the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and thousands of new businessmen are registering for it. Referring to the Congress' criticism of the government's implementation of GST, he said the Congress was an "equal partner" in GST decisions. "They should not spread lies on GST," he said.
 
Referring to the government's drive against corruption and black money, he said licenses of more than two lakh companies had been cancelled, but there was no hue and cry in the country. "We have seen companies where a single company had 2000 bank accounts and cancelled their licenses," he said.
 
"For us it is ‘Dal se bada Desh' (Country is bigger than the party). For us India comes first," he said.
 
Among other things, he said he would return to the state soon to inaugurate the Dahej-Ghogha Ro-Ro Ferry Service across the Gulf of Cambay that would cut the travel time between South Gujarat and Saurashtra by several hours. 
 
Describing it as his "dream", he said he would inaugurate the first phase of the proejct on October 22. Initially, it will cater to passengers and later trucks and other vehicles would be allowed on the ferries. The distance between Dahej and Ghogha, which is about 360 km by road, will be reduced to 32 km by ferry.
 
Mr. Modi praised the grassroot workers of the party for their hard work and appreciated Mr. Shah for taking the BJP to new heights.
 
In the past few weeks, the Prime Minister has been regularly visiting the poll-bound state.
 
The Election Commission is yet to announce the dates for the elections in Gujarat, but Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti, who announced the schedule for elections in Himachal Pradesh on October 12, told newspersons that day that they would be held before December 18.
 
"Polling in Gujarat will take place before December 18 so that in no way the results of Himachal can affect the voting in Gujarat. We will, in a few days, announce the dates for Gujarat elections, but I can say for sure that voting in Gujarat will happen before December 18," he said.
 
The Commission's decision to not announce the election dates for Gujarat along with the poll schedule for Himachal Pradesh has invited strong criticism from the opposition Congress, which alleged that the BJP would use the interim period to announce sops for the people in Gujarat.
 
Earlier this month, on October 7-8, Mr. Modi had paid a two-day visit to Gujarat, during which he travelled to Dwarka, his home town of Vadnagar, Chotila, Gandhinagar and Bharuch, among other places, and launched several development projects in the state. He also addressed a series of public meetings.
 
Before that, Mr. Modi had paid a visit to the state on September 17, when he had dedicated the Sardar Sarovar Dam, built on the Narmada, to the nation at Kevadia. He also visited Amreli, where he inaugurated a new market yard of the APMC and new plants of the Amar Dairy.
 
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Modi to visit poll-bound Gujarat on Monday, will address 7 lakh BJP workers

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit his poll-bound home state of Gujarat today and address the "Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan" near Gandhinagar, a gathering of about seven lakh workers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the culmination of two fortnight-long marches through almost all Assembly constituencies across the state.
 
"I bow to the people of Gujarat for blessing BJP for decades. We will always fulfil the dreams of every Gujarati with full strength & vigour," Mr. Modi said on Twitter yesterday, ahead of the visit.
 
In the past few weeks, the Prime Minister has been regularly visiting the state, where legislative assembly elections are due to be held later this year.
 
The Election Commission is yet to announce the dates for the elections in Gujarat, but Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti, who announced the schedule for elections in Himachal Pradesh on October 12, told newspersons that day that they would be held before December 18.
 
"Polling in Gujarat will take place before December 18 so that in no way the results of Himachal can affect the voting in Gujarat. We will, in a few days, announce the dates for Gujarat elections, but I can say for sure that voting in Gujarat will happen before December 18," he said.
 
The Commission's decision to not announce the election dates for Gujarat along with the poll schedule for Himachal Pradesh has invited strong criticism from the opposition Congress, which alleged that the BJP would use the interim period to announce sops for the people in Gujarat.
 
"Tomorrow in Gandhinagar, I will join Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan, which will bring together lakhs of BJP Karyakartas from across Gujarat," Mr. Modi said on Twitter yesterday.
 
"Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan comes after the successful culmination of the 2 Gujarat Gaurav Yatras. Gujarat Gaurav Yatras covered almost 4500 kms & 149 Assembly seats. People of all age groups & from all sections of society joined the Yatra. 
 
"Gujarat Gaurav Yatras showcased the spirit of Jan Shakti & reflected Gujarat's strong faith in politics of development & good governance," he added.
 
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The 15-day march was launched on October 1 and saw the participation of senior leaders of the BJP.
 
"Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will give his guidance to around seven lakh BJP workers at the Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan to be held in Bhat village," Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani told reporters here on Sunday.
 
BJP President Amit Shah and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani are among those slated to attend the event.
 
Earlier this month, on October 7-8, Mr. Modi had paid a two-day visit to Gujarat, during which he travelled to Dwarka, his home town of Vadnagar, Chotila, Gandhinagar and Bharuch, among other places, and launched several development projects in the state. He also addressed a series of public meetings.
 
Before that, Mr. Modi had paid a visit to the state on September 17, when he had dedicated the Sardar Sarovar Dam, built on the Narmada, to the nation at Kevadia. He also visited Amreli, where he inaugurated a new market yard of the APMC and new plants of the Amar Dairy.
 
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MPEDA discusses ways of boosting exports with Gujarat’s seafood industry stakeholders

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The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, organized a first-of-its-kind interaction with stakeholders from the seafood sector in Gujarat in Somnath on Thursday as part of its efforts to increase the share of value added products in marine exports from 17 percent to 30 percent.
 
Gujarat state government officials, aquaculture farmers, exporters and hatchery owners were among those who participated in the meeting, a press release from MPEDA said.
 
As many as 20 aquaculture farmers participated in the event, which also offered a platform for them to establish direct linkages with exporters.
 
MPEDA Chairman A Jayathilak said that such meetings would benefit farmers directly and keep intermediaries out of the scene.
 
“Seafood export in 2016-17 reached a record 5.8 billion US dollars. The trends in the ongoing financial year are just as encouraging, with a projected increase of 10 per cent to 12 per cent,” Dr. Jayathilak told the meeting.
 
MPEDA has formed 600 farmer clusters across the country under the National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA).
 
“These clusters are completely under the guidance of MPEDA and they will help us to export quality marine products. Moreover, the set-up is such that it provides 100 per cent traceability to quality issues in the farms. Such initiatives will help give a major fillip to the export of quality seafood,” Dr. Jayathilak added. 
 
Observing the prospects of the seafood export industry, Dr. Ajay Kumar, District Collector, Veraval said the district administration would extend every kind of support possible to enhance the sea food trade from the state.
 
Mr  Piyushbhai Fofandi of All India Sea Food Exporters Association also spoke during the event.
 
The formal meeting was followed by buyer-seller interactions, the release added.
 
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Amit Shah's son Jay says will sue The Wire for Rs. 100 crore for defamation

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah's son Jay Shah, an Ahmedabad-based businessman, today said he had decided to file a Rs. 100 crore defamation suit against news website The Wire for allegedly defaming him in an article carried by it.

File photo of Jay Shah with his father and BJP President Amit Shah.
File photo of Jay Shah with his father and BJP President Amit Shah.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah's son Jay Shah, an Ahmedabad-based businessman, today said he had decided to file a Rs. 100 crore defamation suit against news website The Wire for allegedly defaming him in an article carried by it.
 
"Since the website has proceeded in making an absolutely false imputation in a highly slanted article, thereby damaging my reputation, I have decided to prosecute the Author, Editor(s) and the Owner(s) of the aforesaid news website for criminal defamation and sue them for an amount of Rs. 100 crore," the younger Mr. Shah said in a statement.
 
"Both the actions will be filed at Ahmedabad, where I stay, carry on my business and where the cause of action has arisen," he said.
 
"If anyone else republish/rebroadcast the imputations made in the said article, whether directly or indirectly, such person or entity will also be guilty of the very same criminal and/or civil liability," he said.
 
Union Minister Piyush Goyal also addressed a press conference here today to strongly defend Mr. Shah and deny all allegations of wrongdoing made in the article. He said Mr. Shah would launch civil and criminal proceedings against the website and sue them for Rs. 100 crore in damages.
 
The article, titled "The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah", published on the website this morning, alleged that, as per filings made by it with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), the turnover of Mr. Shah's firm had zoomed by over 16,000 times within a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in May 2014 and after Mr. Amit Shah took over as the president of the ruling party.
 
"It is a totally malicious and defamatory article. Jay carries out a fully legitimate and lawful business on commercial lines which are reflected in income tax (filings) and transactions in banks," Mr. Goyal said.
 
Mr. Shah said in his statement that the article made "false, derogatory and defamatory imputation against me by creating in the minds of right-thinking people an impression that my businesses owes its 'success' to my father Amitbhai Shah's political position."
 
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"My businesses are fully legitimate and conducted in a lawful manner on commercial lines, which is reflected in my tax records, and are through banking transactions. I had taken loan either from NBFC or Non-funded Credit Facilities from Cooperative Bank on purely commercial terms strictly in accordance with law. I have repaid the loans by cheque on commercial rate of interest and within the time stipulated. I have mortgaged my family property with the cooperative bank to get the credit facilities," he said.
 
"My lawyer has given details of all my legitimate transactions to the author of the website and all questions posed by her were answered with details since I had nothing to hide," he said.
 
The article, written by Ms. Rohini Singh, quoted the balance sheets and annual reports of Mr. Shah's company, Temple Enterprises Private Limited, obtained from the RoC, to say that, from a profit of Rs. 18,728 on revenues of Rs. 50,000 in 2014-15, its turnover had jumped to Rs. 80.5 crore in 2015-16. The report said the company had received an unsecured loan of Rs. 15.78 crore from a financial services firm.
 
The report went on to say that, one year later, in October 2016, Mr. Shah's company stopped its business activities, declaring in its director's report that its net worth had "full eroded" because of the loss of Rs. 1.4 crore it posed that year and its losses of earlier years.
 
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Modi visits hometown Vadnagar on second day of trip to poll-bound Gujarat

 
Modi receives grand welcome on his visit to hometown Vadnagar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush, aimed at accelerating progress towards the goal of full immunization coverage in the country, during a visit to Vadnagar, his hometown, on the second day of a two-day trip to poll-bound Gujarat.
 
The programme will provide greater focus on urban areas and other pockets of low immunization coverage. 
 
Mr. Modi also distributed e-tablets to health workers to mark the launch of ImTeCHO - an innovative mobile phone application to improve performance of accredited social health activists (ASHAs). He also launched some development works. 
 
This was Mr. Modi's first visit to Vadnagar after assuming office as Prime Minister in May 2014 and people lined up in large numbers along the streets to greet him. He He offered prayers at the Hatkeshwar Temple. He also stopped briefly at the school in which he had studied as a child. 
 
The Prime Minister visited GMERS Medical College, Vadnagar, and unveiled a plaque to mark its dedication. He also interacted briefly with students. 
 
Addressing a gathering, he said that coming back to one's home town and receiving such a warm welcome is special. "Whatever I am today is due to the values I have learnt on this soil, among you all in Vadnagar," he said.
 
"I go back with your blessings and assure you that I will work even harder for the nation," he said.
 
Mr. Modi expressed happiness that he had got to inaugurate projects related to the health sector, particularly Intensified Mission Indradhanush. He mentioned how the Government had brought down the prices of stents, and said that the Government is working constantly to make healthcare affordable for the poor. 
 
Mentioning his interaction with students from the medical college, he said India needed more doctors who could serve the people.
 
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Later, Mr. Modi travelled to Bharuch, where he unveiled a plaque to mark the laying of the foundation stone of Bhadbhut Barrage over the River Narmada. At a public meeting in Bharuch, he also flagged off the Antyodaya Express between Udhna (Surat, Gujarat) and Jaynagar (Bihar). He also unveiled a plaque to mark the laying of foundation stone, and inauguration of various plants of Gujarat Narmada Fertilizer Corporation Ltd (GNFC). 
 
Addressing the public meeting, the Prime Minister said that the Antyodaya Express is a commendable initiative, which connects people and particularly helps those who are from Uttar Pradesh or Bihar, and work far from their home. He said the train will make it easier for people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to go home for Chhath Puja. 
 
Neem coating of urea helped farmers and stopped corruption as well as theft, he said.
 
Mr. Modi said Gujarat's strides in animal husbandry have helped farmers. He said that he had asked the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, to send a team to Gujarat and study the Pashu Arogya Melas. He added that a similar Mela had been organised recently in Varanasi, which he had had an opportunity to visit.
 
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PM dedicates IIT Gandhinagar campus to nation during Gujarat visit

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar to the nation and said his government was working on spreading digital literacy to every part of India, among all age groups and sections of society.
 
"In this day and age, we cannot afford to have a digital divide," he asserted, adding that a Digital India guarantees transparency, effective service delivery and good governance. 
 
Addressing a public meeting here, at which a large number of IIT students were also present, Mr. Modi said, "You are IIT-ians, I was a Tea-ian when I was young," referring to the times when he used to sell tea on railway platforms.
 
"On this day, a few years ago, I took oath as Chief Minister for the first time. Till then, I had never even been an MLA. I had decided that whatever I will do, I will do to the best of my abilities," the Prime Minister said. 
 
He also felicitated trainees under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan. 
 
Mr. Modi said academics should not be examination-driven and there should be focus on innovation.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr. Modi began his two-day visit to the state by offering prayers at the Dwarkadheesh Temple at Dwarka. 
 
He also unveiled plaques to mark the laying of foundation stones for a bridge between Okha and Beyt Dwarka; and other road development projects. 
 
The Prime Minister said he saw a new energy and enthusiasm in Dwarka today. He said the bridge whose foundation stone has been laid, is a means to reconnect with our ancient heritage. It will boost tourism, which will generate employment, he added, noting that development will be the key to promoting tourism. 
 
He recalled how lack of infrastructure, led to difficulties and challenges for the people of Beyt Dwarka, some years ago. 
 
Mr. Modi said that the development of the tourism sector cannot happen in isolation. He said that if we want to draw more tourists to Gir, we should also inspire the tourists to visit other nearby places like Dwarka. 
 
Building of infrastructure should enhance economic activities and add to the atmosphere of development, the Prime Minister said. "We want development of ports and port-led development; the blue economy should help further the progress of India," he added. 
 
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The Prime Minister said that the Government of India is taking steps towards the empowerment of fishermen. He said Kandla Port is seeing unprecedented growth because resources were devoted to improve the port. He said a new lease of life has been given to Alang, and steps taken for the welfare of the labourers working there. 
 
He said that the Government is modernising the marine security apparatus. An institute for this will be set up in this Devbhoomi of Dwarka, he added. 
 
Speaking on the decisions taken by consensus in the GST Council meeting yesterday, the Prime Minister said that when there is trust in a government and when policies are made with best intentions, it is natural for people to support it for the best interests of the nation. 
 
The Prime Minister asserted that the Government wants to help fulfil the aspirations of the people, and fight poverty. 
 
He said that the world's attention is being drawn to India, and people are coming to invest here. "I see Gujarat contributing actively to the development of India and congratulate the Gujarat Government," he said.
 
Mr. Modi later addressed a public meeting at Chotila, in Surendranagar district. He laid the foundation stones for a greenfield airport for Rajkot; six-laning of Ahmedabad-Rajkot National Highway; and four-laning of Rajkot-Morbi State Highway. He also dedicated to the nation, a fully automatic milk processing and packaging plant; and a drinking water distribution pipeline for Joravarnagar and Ratanpur area of Surendranagar. 
 
The Prime Minister said that it was hard to imagine an airport in Surendranagar district. He said such development works empower citizens. 
 
He said aviation cannot be about rich people. We have made aviation affordable and within reach of the lesser privileged, he added. 
 
The Prime Minister said that the definition of development has changed. From the days when handpumps were seen to be a sign of development, today the waters of the Narmada River have been brought for the benefit of citizens. He said Surendranagar district tends to benefit a lot from the waters of the Narmada. He urged people to use water responsibly, and conserve every drop. The Prime Minister said that the Sursagar Dairy would bring enormous benefit to the people. He also recalled how former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel had worked towards making better and safer roads. 
 
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Modi to pay two-day visit to Gujarat on Oct 7-8, will launch various development projects

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a two-day visit from tomorrow to his home state of Gujarat, which will hold legislative assembly elections later this year, and launch various development projects.
 
Mr. Modi will visit the Dwarkadheesh Temple tomorrow morning and later lay the foundation stones at Dwarka for a bridge between Okha and Beyt Dwarka; and other road development projects. He will also address a public meeting. 
 
From Dwarka, Mr. Modi will travel to Chotila, in Surendranagar district, where he will lay the foundation stones for a greenfield airport at Rajkot; six-laning of Ahmedabad-Rajkot National Highway; and four-laning of Rajkot-Morbi State Highway. He will also dedicate a fully automatic milk processing and packaging plant; and a drinking water distribution pipeline for Joravarnagar and Ratanpur areas of Surendranagar. He will also address a public meeting, an official press release said.
 
Mr. Modi will then proceed to Gandhinagar, where he will dedicate the newly constructed building of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar, and launch the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA). He will also address a public meeting.
 
PMGDISHA is aimed at imparting digital literacy to citizens in rural areas. It will provide access to information, knowledge, education, and healthcare. It will create avenues for livelihood generation, and financial inclusion through digital payments. 
 
On Sunday morning, Mr. Modi will reach Vadnagar, his place of birth. It will be his first visit to the town since assuming office as Prime Minister in May 2014.
 
The release said Mr. Modi would visit the Hatkeshwar Temple. At a public meeting, he will launch the Intensified Mission Indradhanush, to accelerate progress towards the goal of full immunization coverage. It will provide greater focus on urban areas and other pockets of low immunization coverage. 
 
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The Prime Minister will distribute e-tablets to health workers to mark the launch of ImTeCHO. ImTeCHO is an innovative mobile phone application to improve performance of ASHAs through better supervision, support and motivation for increasing coverage of proven maternal, newborn and child health interventions among resource-poor settings in India. ImTeCHO stands for “Innovative mobile-phone Technology for Community Health Operations”. “TeCHO” in Gujarati means “support”; therefore, “ImTeCHO” means “I am support.” The Prime Minister will address a public meeting. 
 
In the afternoon of that day, Mr. Modi will reach Bharuch, where he will lay the foundation stone for Bhadbhut Barrage, to be built over the Narmada River. He will flag off the Antyodaya Express between Udhna (Surat, Gujarat), and Jaynagar (Bihar).He will unveil plaques to mark the laying of foundation stone, and inauguration of various plants of Gujarat Narmada Fertilizer Corporation (GNFC) and also address a public meeting. 
 
Mr. Modi will return to the national capital on Sunday evening, the release added.
 
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Cabinet approves renaming of Kandla Port as Deendayal Port

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The Union Cabinet today gave its ex-post facto approval to the renaming of Kandla Port in Gujarat as Deendayal Port.
 
Ports in India are generally named after the city or town in which these are situated. However, the Government, in special cases, after due consideration, have renamed ports after great leaders in the past, an official release said.
 
"There have been public demands from various quarters in Gujarat, especially from Kachhh district, to rename 'Kandla Port' after Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. He had devoted his entire life serving the nation and worked among the masses," the release said.
 
"Upholding the values of democracy founded on tolerance, discipline, selflessness and respect for the law of the land, all his actions were based on the principles of ‘Integral Humanism’.
 
"Throughout his life, he worked tirelessly for Indianisation of democracy and honouring the public opinion. He was the epitome of simplicity, honesty and selfless service for the poor and down-trodden.
 
"Since the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay was to be celebrated on September 25,  it was felt that it would be most appropriate if the decision to rename the Kandla Port as Deendayal Port was made as a part of the birth anniversary celebration of this great national leader," the release added.
 
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Kovind to visit Porbandar in Gujarat on Monday

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President Ram Nath Kovind will pay a visit to Porbandar in Gujarat tomorrow where he will pay his tributes to Mahtma Gandhi at his birth place, Kirti Mandir, on the occasion of his birth anniversary.
 
Later, he will attend a function organized by the Government of Gujarat to declare open defecation free (ODF) status for Rural Gujarat at Kirti Mandir. 
 
Mr. Kovind will also inaugurate or lay the foundation stone of various schemes and initiatives. He will will inaugurate the jetty and other facilities at Jafarabad fishing harbour, the upgradation of Veraval and Porbandar fishing harbour, upgradation of Navibandar, Miyani and Salaya fish landing centres and inauguration of Mangrol Rural Water Supply Augmentation Scheme for 45 villages at Mangrol, an official press release said.
 
He will lay the foundation for development of Mangrol Phase-III fishing Harbour and be present at the announcement for development of Veraval Phase-II, Porbandar Phase-II, Navabandar, Mandhavad and Sutrapada fishing harbours, the release said.
 
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Rahul Gandhi promises waiver of farm loans if Congress is voted to power in Gujarat

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi addressing a public meeting on the last day of a three-day tour of election-bound Gujarat, on September 27, 2017.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi addressing a public meeting on the last day of a three-day tour of election-bound Gujarat, on September 27, 2017.
Continuing his relentless attack on the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the BJP regime in Gujarat, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today promised that his party would waive the loans of farmers in the state if it is voted to power in the coming legislative assembly elections.
 
Addressing a public meeting at Chotila near here on the last day of his three-day tour of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, Mr. Gandhi said the decision on waiver of agricultural loans would be taken within days of forming the Government.
 
Elections are due to be held in November or December in the state, where the Congress has been out of power for more than two decades.
 
Mr. Gandhi told the gathering, consisting mainly of farmers, that the Congress would protect the interests of the farmers, labourers and small shopkeepers and traders, unlike the Modi government that, he alleged, is concerned about 15 top industrial groups.
 
On the last day of his tour in the Saurashtra region, Mr. Gandhi travelled through Surendranagar and Rajkot districts, stopping at various points to address party workers and small gatherings of people. He visited temples at Chotila and spent some time at Khodaldham at Kagvad, a prominent shrine of the influential Patidar community.
 
Mr. Gandhi also addresed a gathering of businessmen and entrepreneurs here, at which he attacked the Modi government over the manner in which it had hastily implemented the Goods and Service Tax (GST) from July this year as well as the decision to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes on November 8 last year.
 
He said the two measures had had a "catastrophic effect" on small and medium enterprises, while demonetisation had helped "the country's biggest thieves" to turn their black money into white.
 
He said the Congress, if voted to power, would ensure that small and medium businesses received a fair share of financing from banks unlike the present times when the bulk of loans are given to big corporates and then turn into non-performing assets (NPAs).
 
He also spoke about how privatisation was affecting the delivery of services such as education and healthcare to ordinary people, with the Government reducing its expenditure in these sectors and neglecting its role of adding to the supply of such facilities across the country.
 
Mr. Gandhi dwelt at length on the crisis on the jobs front, with the Government able to create only about 450 jobs a day against the 30,000 new jobseekers who enter the market every day. He said China, in comparison, was able to create 40,000 jobs a day.
 
He felt that jobs can be created only by supporting the small and medium scale enterprises. "There is anger building up in the country, and if we don't act quickly, it will go out of control," he said. 
 
 
Rahul Gandhi visits Khodiyar Mata Temple on last day of Navsarjan Yatra
Mr. Gandhi said both demonetisation and GST were examples of decisions taken without proper planning and consideration of the possible consequences. He said GST also suffered from a multiplicity of rates and other structural problems. He said GST had shaved off 2% of the country's GDP.
 
The Congress Vice-President said that the BJP and Mr. Modi's problem was that they did not listen to people and take the advice of experts. Even now, if they start listening to the people, half the problems in GST can be solved, he remarked.
 
"They think they know everything, that the people don't know anything. We listen. Our speeches may not be that great, but we are experts in listening. We can understand your problems quickly," he said.
 
He said the Congress always tried to hear all sides and then strike a balance among all of them.
 
When a member of the audience said the Congress must work for a "Modi-free" India, Mr. Gandhi said, "That is too violent. That is not our approach. We don't hate anybody."
 
He went on to say that Mr. Modi's election in 2014 was partly also the result of the Congress' shortcomings during the ten years of the UPA government.
 
"We had given a vision to the people for 2004-2014. But by 2012, our vision had started failing. I admit that," he said, adding that some arrogance had also crept in among some Congress leaders. 
 
Mr. Gandhi said the Congress had learnt from its mistakes and would try to fulfil the expectations of the people, both at the national level and in Gujarat. He also felt that the people had much higher expectations from the Congress than they had from other parties. "When we fail, you punish us. That is good because we learn from that experience," he said.
 
"I don't hate anyone. I don't doubt that Mr. Modi tries to work for India every day. It is unfortunate that he does not listen to anyone. You cannot function as the Prime Minister of India if you don't listen to people," he said. "He does not trust anyone."
 
 
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Kandla Port in Gujarat renamed as Deendayal Port

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The Ministry of Shipping has issued a notification renaming Kandla Port Trust as Deendayal Port Trust with effect from September 25, 2017.
 
Located on the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat, Kandla is one of the twelve major ports in the country. 
 
As per the Ministry’s notification, the Central Government, in exercise of powers conferred on it under Indian Ports Act, 1908, made the amendment to replace “Kandla” with “Deendayal”.
 
While inaugurating various projects at Kandla Port in May this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the suggestion for renaming of Kandla Port after Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, one of the prominent leaders of teh Jana Sangh, the precursor to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who stood for the uplift of the poor and weaker sections of society. 
 
The Ministry of Shipping issued the required notification on the occasion of the closing of the year long centenary celebrations of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, an official press release added.
 
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Rahul Gandhi woos Patidars, hits out at "Gujarat model" of development

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi being greeted by people at Rajkot on the second day of his three-day Navsarjan Yatra in Gujarat, on September 26, 2017.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi being greeted by people at Rajkot on the second day of his three-day Navsarjan Yatra in Gujarat, on September 26, 2017.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today kept up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat on the second day of a three-day visit to the poll-bound state and urged its people to lead the nation to greater heights.
 
Travelling through areas dominated by the influential Patidar community, Mr. Gandhi invoked Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India's first Deputy Prime Minister,  who hailed from Gujarat, as went about wooing members of the community which had launched an agitation for reservation in jobs some time ago.
 
“You gave the country Sardar Patelji... Gujarat gave Sardar Patelji. Gujarat will have to take lead in taking the nation to new heights,” he said while addressing a series of meetings on the way from Jamnagar to Rajkot in the Saurashtra region. 
 
Mr. Gandhi said the BJP government in the state had opened fire at the agitating Patidars and committed atrocities against them.
 
"This is not how the Congress works. We will work with love and understanding. We will take everyone forward together. If Gujarat moves forward, it will be with everyone," he said.
 
The Congress Vice-President said Gujarat had been  built by its farmers, labourers, small traders and small shopkeepers. "If Gujarat has progressed, it is these people who made it possible. Today, the BJP government does not work for them, but for five or six of the richest industrialists in the country," he said.
 
 
Modi works for industrialists, not for common man: Rahul Gandhi
"He has fulfilled all the promises he made to them but not the ones he made to farmers, workers, the poor, the youth and others," he said.
 
"That is the Gujarat model of development that he keeps harping upon," Mr. Gandhi said. "He sells it all over the country and the world, but it is a flop here," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi said the present Gujarat government is remote controlled from Delhi, and felt the people in the state were now yearning for a change.
 
"There is an undercurrent of anger against the present government, which is not being expressed openly because people are afraid but you will see it at the time of the elections. We will come to power this time, you will see, and we will work for the people of Gujarat," he said.
 
"Kem chho? Vikas ka kya ho gaya?" (How are you, what has happened to Vikas?), he asked at one place, in a reference to the popular memes on the theme "Vikas Gaando Thayo Chhe" (Vikas has gone crazy). The memes personify "vikas" as an individual, Vikas, who has gone crazy.
 
"And why has he gone crazy?" Mr. Gandhi asked the audience. "It is because of all the lies and the false promises," he said. "The people feel betrayed."
 
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Rahul Gandhi reaches out to farmers, youth, traders on day one of Gujarat visit

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre and in Gujarat and tore into the Government's economic policies as he reached out to farmers, youth and traders on the first day of a three-day "Navsarjan Yatra" in the election-bound state.

 
PM dealt a severe blow to India's economy: Rahul Gandhi
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today hit out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre and in Gujarat and tore into the Government's economic policies as he reached out to farmers, youth and traders on the first day of a three-day "Navsarjan Yatra" in the election-bound state.
 
Mr. Gandhi began the day by offering prayers at the famous Dwarkadhish Temple in Dwarka and interacted with people at several places and addressed small and big gatherings at various points along the route.
 
At one place, after being denied permission for a ride in an open jeep by the local authorities, he got on to a bullock cart on the Dwarka-Jamnagar route and seemed to relish the experience.
 
At several places, he was welcomed with banners and hoardings and people lined up to greet him with garlands as he shook hands with people and exchanged a few words with them.
 
The main theme of Mr. Gandhi's speeches today was about the lack of enough jobs for India's youth. He recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, promised to create 2 crore jobs a year and millions of youth across the country had believed him.
 
He said about 30,000 youths were joining the job market every day and the Government was able to provide jobs to just 400 of them each day. He said the youth who had reposed faith in Mr. Modi were now feeling let down. "There is anger among them, and this is growing," he said.
 
He said added to this was Mr. Modi's November 8, 2016 decision to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes. He said this was a massive assault on the country's economy and the people, especially farmers, shopkeepers, small traders and others, had been dealt a severe blow.
 
Mr. Gandhi said the hasty implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) had added to the crisis. He said the poor implementation and the multiple rates of tax had created enormous difficulties for small businessmen. He said millions of jobs had been lost and thousands of small establishments were forced to shut down because of all this.
 
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He said farmers around the country were in distress, unable to get a fair price for his produce.
 
"This government works for only a handful of industrialists. They get land, electricity, water, loan waivers and so on in a few hours. You have to wait for months for anything," he said.
 
"This is the Gujarat model of development that the BJP kept talking about. There is no place in their hearts for the weak, the poor. But all doors are open for the wealthy and the rich. This is the difference between them and us," he said.
 
He said privatisation had affected sectors such as education and health, and the poor were not able to afford such services any more.
 
He said that the primary duties of a government were to provide jobs, education, health services and safety and security. According to him, the BJP governments at the Centre and in Gujarat had failed on these counts.
 
Mr. Gandhi said that if the Congress were voted to power in the coming Assembly elections in Gujarat, expected to be held in November or December, it would provide a government that would work for farmers, teh poor and the youth. "I can guarantee this, and the Congress party delivers on its promises," he said.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr. Hardik Patel, who had spearheaded the reservation agitaiton by the Patidar community in the state some months ago, welcomed Mr. Gandhi on his Gujarat visit. 
 
"Congress ke rashtriya upadhyaksh Rahulji ka Gujarat mae hardik swagat hai..Jay Shri Krishna," Mr. Patel said on Twitter.
 
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Pradhan inaugurates Skill Development Institute set up by ONGC at Ahmedabad

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Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated a Skill Development Institute (SDI) set up by the public sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at Adalaj here today.
 
The institute has been established to achieve the National Skill Development Mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which aims to empower the youth of the nation through skill training and capacity building, a press release from ONGC said.
 
The release said the institute is equipped to impart training in three trades -- Fitter Fabrication, Welding and Production Technician -- through a six months’ residential programme. The first batch of 90 students has been enrolled, including 76 students from SC/ST and OBC communities. 
 
Aspire Disruptive Skill Foundation is the training partner for the programme. With this initiative, opportunities for employment and income generation will open up for the youth of the country, the release said.
 
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Pradhan said that nearly one crore youth are seeking employment opportunities annually. To provide suitable jobs the youth need to be provided requisite skill enhancement training.
 
The minister said that Skill Development Institutes being set up with the support of the oil sector companies are a major step in this direction. “To meet the aspirations of the youth, skill development cannot be done by the Government only. It needs the support of PSEs, corporates, training institutes and industrial sector, all in a cohesive manner," he said.
 
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has established the Hydrocarbon Skill Council which would ensure setting up and functioning of six Skill Development Institutes (SDI) in different states. Oil PSUs such as ONGC, IOC, HPCL, BPCL, OIL, GAIL, EIL and Balmer Lawrie have been entrusted responsibility of promoting these Institutes.
 
Three institutes, at Bhubaneswar, Vishakhapatnam and Kochi are already functional. The fourth Institute has been established at Ahmedabad to meet the aspirations of the youth of Gujarat and neighboring States. Two more Institutes will commence shortly at Rae Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and Guwahati in Assam.
 
Director General of Hydrocarbons Atanu Chakraborty, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajesh Agarwal, Director (Onshore) ONGC, V.P. Mahawar, senior government officers, executives from Oil PSUs, trustees, faculty members and students of the institute participated in the inaugural event.
 
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AAI to develop new airport at Rajkot, add facilities at Lucknow, Deogarh, Allahabad airports

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The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will take up the work of development of a greenfield airport at Hirasar, Rajkot in Gujarat on build, operate and maintain basis.
 
The Government of Gujarat has provided land free of cost and proposed construction of the greenfield airport to meet the traffic potential of the Saurashtra region, as indicated by its high level of economic growth, an official press release said here today.
 
The release said the AAI would undertake new development works at Lucknow, Deogarh and Allahabad airports to improve infrastructure and meet growing traffic demands.
 
AAI plans to construct a new integrated passenger terminal building at Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow at an estimated cost of Rs. 1230 crore. Passenger traffic at this airport has grown steadily during the last five years. The new terminal will be able to handle 4000 passengers during peak hour and 6.35 million passengers per annum, it said.
 
At Deoghar in Jharkhand, AAI will develop the airport to facilitate joint use for civil operation up to Airbus-320 and DRDO operation up to C-130 type of aircraft, the release said.
 
The work will be carried out at an estimated cost of Rs. 401.34 crore on fixed cost basis and Rs. 427.43 crore on completion cost basis. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Government of Jharkhand, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and AAI in March, 2017. As per the MoU, there will be financial input to the tune of Rs. 50 crore by Government of Jharkhand, Rs. 200 crore by DRDO and balance cost by AAI. 
 
To meet the demand of increasing air travel in Allahabad, a new civil enclave at will be developed by AAI at an estimated cost of Rs. 125.76 crore. The new terminal is to be made operational before the ‘Ardh Kumbh Mela’ to be held in January 2019. 
 
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Modi dedicates Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat to nation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Sardar Sarovar Dam, built on the Narmada river, to the nation at Kevadia in Gujarat on Sunday.

 
Modi dedicates Sardar Sarovar Dam to nation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated the Sardar Sarovar Dam, built on the Narmada river, to the nation at Kevadia in Gujarat today.
 
The occasion was marked by prayers and chanting of hymns at the Dam at Kevadia. Mr. Modi unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion. 
 
Later, the Prime Minister visited the construction site of the Statue of Unity, dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, at Sadhu Bet, a short distance from the dam. He was given an overview of the progress of work at the site. 
 
Later, at a public meeting in Dabhoi, Mr. Modi unveiled a plaque to mark the laying of foundation stone of the National Tribal Freedom Fighters' Museum. The occasion also marked the closing ceremony of the Narmada Mahotsav, which generated awareness about River Narmada in various districts of Gujarat. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, he said the huge gathering showed the respect that people had for "Maa Narmada". On the occasion of Vishwakarma Jayanti, he said that he salutes all those who are working to build the nation. "Let us leave no stone unturned to build a New India by 2022," he said.
 
Mr. Modi recalled Sardar Patel's vision of the dam. He said that both Sardar Patel and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar gave a lot of emphasis to irrigation and waterways. 
 
The Prime Minister said lack of water resources has been a major impediment to development. He recalled visiting the border areas in the past, when Border Security Force (BSF) jawans did not have enough water. "We brought Narmada waters to the border areas for the jawans," he said. 
 
The saints and seers of Gujarat have played a very big role in the making of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, he said. The waters of the River Narmada will help citizens and transform lives, he added. 
 
The Prime Minister said that in the western part of the country, there is water shortage, and in the eastern part, there is power and gas shortage. He said the Government is working to overcome these shortages, so that India scales new heights of development. 
 
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The Prime Minister said the Statue of Unity would be a fitting tribute to Sardar Patel, and would draw tourists from all over. He recalled freedom fighters from tribal communities, who fought against colonialism. 
 
Later, Mr. Modi inaugurated a newly constructed market yard of APMC, at Amreli. He also inaugurated a new plant of Amar Dairy, and laid the foundation stone for a honey plant. 
 
At a Sahakar Sammelan in Amreli, the Prime Minister said he was happy to see younger people coming to the fore and taking leadership of the cooperative sector. He recalled how dairies had grown in Saurashtra, in the period when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat. 
 
He said the e-NAM Yojana is benefiting farmers and giving them access to better markets. He said the blue revolution and the sweet (honey) revolution have the potential to transform the lives of people in Saurashtra. 
 
The Prime Minister said the Union Government is sensitive to the needs and concerns of the farmers.
 
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Modi to dedicate Sardar Sarovar Dam to nation, address two public meetings in Gujarat

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the Sardar Sarovar Dam, built on the Narmada, to the nation at Kevadia in Gujarat tomorrow.
 
The height of the dam was recently raised to 138.68 metres, facilitating a usable storage of 4.73 million acre feet (MAF). This will greatly benefit the participating States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, an official press release said.
 
The release said the project had helped transport the waters of River Narmada to the water-deficient areas of Gujarat through an elaborate canal and pipeline network. Irrigation from the project is expected to benefit about 10 lakh farmers, and drinking water to be supplied to various villages and towns, is likely to benefit upto 4 crore people. 
 
"The project has been described as one of largest ever human endeavours for water transport. Up to a billion units of hydropower are also expected to be generated annually," it said.
 
From the dam site, Mr. Modi will travel to Sadhu Bet, where the Statue of Unity, a statue and associated memorial complex for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, is currently under construction. He will be given an overview of the progress of work on this project. The project comprises a 182-metre tall statue, an exhibition hall, a memorial garden, and a visitor centre. 
 
The Prime Minister will attend the closing ceremony of the Narmada Mahotsav, and address the gathering at Dabhoi. He will lay the foundation stone for the National Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum during the event. 
 
The Prime Minister will later visit Amreli. He will inaugurate a new market yard of APMC. He will also inaugurate new plants of Amar Dairy, and lay the foundation stone of a honey production centre. He will address a Sahakar Sammelan at Amreli, the release added.
 
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India signs $ 76 million loan deal with JICA to upgrade Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards

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The Government signed a loan deal with $ 76 million with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) yesterday for a project to upgrade the environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards. 
 
The total cost of the project will be $ 111 million, out of which $ 76 million will be provided as soft loan from JICA. 
 
Out of the remaining amount, $25 million as taxes and fees will be borne by Government of Gujarat and the balance $ 10 million will be shared by Ministry of Shipping and the Government of Gujarat, an official press release said. 
 
The project will be executed by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and is likely to be completed by 2022, it said.
 
The release said the project would help Alang-Sosia ship-recycling yards to comply with international safety and environmental regulations. This will attract more business at the recycling facilities at Alang, thereby further consolidating India’s share in the global ship-recycling industry, it said.
 
"This project will also help in safeguarding the marine and coastal environment. The use of advanced decontamination technology will rule out the possibility of fire accidents in oil and chemical tankers, thereby ensuring workers safety. 
 
"The project is expected to result in increase in direct employment from 50,000 to 92,000 people and indirect employment from 1.5 lakhs to 3 lakh people," the release added.
 
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Modi invites more Japanese to invest, live and work in India

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited more and more Japanese people and companies to come, live and work in India, stressing that Japan could benefit tremendously with the size and scale of the country's potential an the skilled hands that it offered.
 
"In fact, all of India’s development agenda is relevant for Japanese companies," he said in his address at the India-Japan Business Leaders Forum here, at which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also present.
 
"To allow entry of capital and technology, we have worked hard on opening our economy. Every day we are making it easier to invest and do business in India. We have already resolved a number of regulatory and policy issues facing the businesses and companies. We have got very good results of these efforts," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said India and Japan were ancient civilizations and vibrant democracies which knew how to distribute the fruits of progress and prosperity to the common man.
 
"India needs affordable solutions and processes which can ease the delivery of government services to its citizens. Japan needs opportunities where it can deploy its hard earned knowledge and technology. I have been saying that 21st Century is Asia's Century. I have also been saying that India and Japan will play a major role in Asia's emergence. The growing convergence between India and Japan on strategic and economic issues has the capacity to stimulate the global economy. I am confident that Strong India and Strong Japan will also be a stabilising factor in Asia and the world.
 
"In this mutual and global pursuit I thank Prime Minister Abe and Japan for being a perfect partner," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said his personal engagement with the leadership, government, industry and people of Japan was now a decade old.
 
"When I first visited Japan as Chief Minister of Gujarat, I had said that.... I want to see a mini Japan in Gujarat. Today, that dream has come true. I am happy to see so many friends from Japan happily living and doing business in Gujarat. It also gives me great pleasure to see so many familiar faces here. I am also happy to see that dedicated townships, clusters and institutions have come up to make the Japanese life and work experience better. Today also, one Japanese township has been announced. Gujarat's Industry and Government still cherish the fact that Japan became the first partner country in the Vibrant Gujarat event. Not only did this partnership continue, but our engagement has kept growing. It has resulted in much greater level of engagement of the Japanese industry with the Indian economy. I thank Keidanren, JETRO and other organisations for helping us in this process. The mechanism of Japan Plus has also helped in the process of hand holding," he said.
 
"The Government and the people of Japan have always shown great affection towards me and my country. In fact, 1.25 billion people of India have the same affection for the Japanese people. I am particularly grateful to Prime Minister Abe for his encouragement and support at a personal level. Prime Minister Abe and I do not miss any opportunity to meet. This closeness and understanding has helped us bridge a number of gaps in our bilateral relations. Last year has seen the highest ever disbursement of Official Development Assistance from Japan in a financial year. Similarly, the number of Japanese companies working in India has gone up steadily in the last few years. From the activities launched today, you can see the depth of relationship between the two countries," he said.
 
In this context, he referred to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project, for which Mr. Abe and he laid the foundation stone in Ahmedabad today.
 
"We are grateful for the support of the Japanese Government for this project. I hope that the construction of the 500-km long bullet train will begin soon and it would become operational by 2022-23. Along with the High Speed Rail project, a training institute is also taking shape. It will prepare the makers of a New India – the highly skilled manpower required to build, operate and maintain the high speed railway.
 
"Second is the development of Japanese Industrial Townships: countrywide, four locations have been finalized. Apart from Gujarat, they are located in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
 
"Third is our cooperation in automobiles: The Suzuki plant at Maandal is exporting cars worldwide, and foundation has been laid for production of lithium-ion batteries to power the next generation hybrid and electric vehicles.
 
"Fourth is for Human Resource Development through the Japan-India Institutes of Manufacturing They are being developed by Japanese companies. In addition to Gujarat, they will be developed in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
 
"You know that the ancient and holy city of Varanasi is my second home. The project of Varanasi Convention Centre is a symbol of cultural co-operation between Kyoto city of Japan and Varanasi. It was conceived by Prime Minister Abe and I when we visited Varanasi together in 2015. I have named it Rudraksh – the symbol of love, and a Prasad of Lord Shiva to Humanity. This Rudraksh will be a garland of love of Japan for Varanasi. It will also be a tribute to our shared Buddhist heritage present at Sarnath too. For Japan’s financial assistance to this project, I extend my warmest personal thanks to Prime Minister Abe. 
 
"You have also seen some other announcements for investment by Japanese companies. On political and strategic side too, this visit of Prime Minister Abe has been very productive. We have concluded a number of agreements on very important matters. All this shows the depth of our understanding and the comfort and confidence which we have with each other," he said.
 
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Mr. Modi said that, over the last three years, the Government had worked very hard on the Ease of Doing Business front. He said a series of administrative reforms had significantly improved the business sentiment in the country. 
 
"These reforms and initiatives are all aimed at preparing India for the 21st century. They are aimed at transforming the country and making a New India. Powered by the energy of our youth, we are positioning India as a global manufacturing hub. For this purpose, we have launched the ‘Make in India’ campaign. We are also developing India into a knowledge based, skill supported and technology driven society. A grand beginning has already been made through our drives like Digital India and Skill India. For the same purpose, we have started the Start-up India campaign. India is ranked 3rd in the Global Start-Up Eco-system, and has seen a momentous rise in the past couple of years. The Start-Up India initiative also aims to build a strong eco-system of innovation. On infrastructure side also, my Government has launched ambitious initiatives. These projects create and present life time opportunities to investors. This includes 100 Smart Cities Mission, Housing for 50 million homeless, building roads, bridges, ports, railways tracks as well as stations," he said.
 
Mr. Modi listed various global recognitions received by India in recent times, including moving up in the index of Ease of Doing Business of the World Bank.
 
"We have moved up 32 places in last two years in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum – this is higher than any other country; We have also moved up 21 places on the Global Innovation Index of WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization in two years. We moved 19 places on the Logistics Performance Index of 2016 of World Bank; and We are 3rd among the top 10 FDI destinations listed by UNCTAD the UN Conference on Trade and Development. India’s biggest tax reform, the GST has been introduced recently. With this, we are also moving towards a modern tax regime, which is transparent, stable and predictable. 
 
"Today, India has one of the most liberal FDI regimes in the world. More than 90 percent of the FDI approvals have been put on automatic route. We have abolished the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. This liberalization has seen India’s FDI reach 60 billion dollars in the last financial year. FDI flows from Japan have almost tripled in last three years. The new Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code will make it easier for investors to have an exit. We are setting up commercial courts and commercial divisions to ensure speedy disposal of commercial matters. Arbitration proceedings will now become faster as the Arbitration law has been amended. We have also announced a new Intellectual Property Rights policy. These are just a few examples of the direction in which we are moving. We will do more and more; better and better; faster and faster," he added.
 
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India-Japan Joint Statement

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at Mahatma Mandir, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat for the 12th  India-Japan Annual Summit, on September 14, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at Mahatma Mandir, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat for the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit, on September 14, 2017.
Following is the text of the Joint Statement issued by India and Japan during visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to India on September 14, 2017:
 
Toward a Free, Open and Prosperous Indo-Pacific
 
H.E. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan is paying an official visit to India from 13 September to 14 September, 2017 at the invitation of H.E. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India. On 14 September, the two Prime Ministers held strategic discussions on a wide range of issues under the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries.
 
1. The two Prime Ministers welcomed significant deepening of bilateral relations in the past three years and the growing convergence in the political, economic and strategic interests, based on the firm foundation of common values and traditions, as well as on an emerging consensus on contemporary issues of peace, security and development. They decided to work together to elevate their partnership to the next level to advance common strategic objectives at a time when the global community is faced with new challenges.
 
2. The two Prime Ministers affirmed strong commitment to their values-based partnership in achieving a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region where sovereignty and international law are respected, and differences are resolved through dialogue, and where all countries, large or small, enjoy freedom of navigation and overflight, sustainable development, and a free, fair, and open trade and investment system.
 
3.  The two Prime Ministers underlined that India and Japan could play a central role in safeguarding and strengthening such a rules-based order. To this end, they pledged to reinforce their efforts to:
 
- align Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy with India’s Act East Policy, including through enhancing maritime security cooperation, improving connectivity in the wider Indo-Pacific region, strengthening cooperation with ASEAN, and promoting discussions between strategists and experts of the two countries;
- enhance defence and security cooperation and dialogues, including the MALABAR and other joint exercises, defence equipment and technology cooperation in such areas as surveillance and unmanned system technologies, and defence industry cooperation.
- ensure partnerships for prosperity through the India-Japan Investment Promotion Partnership, speedy implementation of key infrastructure projects including the Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Railway (MAHSR), and advancing cooperation in the fields of energy, smart cities, information and communication technology, space, science and technology, bio-technology, pharmaceuticals and health.
- strengthen people-to-people and cultural ties through enhanced Japanese language teaching in India and collaboration in the fields of tourism, civil aviation, higher education, women’s education, skills development and sports;
- work together on global challenges such as proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), terrorism, space and cyber security, United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform, climate change and environment;
- strengthen trilateral cooperation frameworks with the United States, Australia and other countries.
 
Reinforcing Defence and Security Cooperation
 
4. The two Prime Ministers emphasised the significance of defence and security cooperation in enhancing the strategic partnership between the two countries. In this context, they welcomed the regular and institutionalised engagement through the annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue, the National Security Advisers' dialogue, the "2+2” Dialogue, the Defence Policy Dialogue and Service-to-Service staff talks.
 
5. The two Prime Ministers commended the significant progress achieved in maritime security cooperation evidenced by the expansion in scale and complexity of the MALABAR Exercise in the Bay of Bengal in July 2017 (MALABAR-17). They noted the ongoing close cooperation between the Indian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) in various specialised areas of mutual interest, including anti-submarine aspects. They also acknowledged the importance of bilateral cooperation in maritime security by strengthening and enhancing exchanges in expanding maritime domain awareness (MDA) in the Indo-Pacific region.
 
6. The two Prime Ministers shared the intention to expand joint exercises and cooperation in such areas as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR), peacekeeping operations(PKOs), counter-terrorism including the possibility of joint field exercises between Indian Army and Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF) in 2018, and reciprocal visits by air assets to each other’s country. They welcomed significant development in the long-standing partnership between the two Coast Guards, including the 16th High Level Meeting and the joint exercise in Yokohama in January 2017 between the two coast guards.
 
7. The two Prime Ministers noted recent progress in bilateral cooperation on defence equipment and technology, including the commencement of the technical discussion for the future research collaboration in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Robotics. Japan’s readiness to provide its state-of-the-art US-2 amphibian aircraft was appreciated as symbolising the high degree of trust between the two countries. The two governments decided to continue their discussions in this regard.
 
8. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the recently held annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue and the first Defence Industry Forum in Tokyo on 5 September, which was addressed by the two Defence Ministers as well as the discussions covering other promising initiatives in defence industry cooperation. They recognised the importance of enhancing interactions between governments and defence industries of the two countries in order to encourage equipment collaboration including defence and dual-use technologies.
 
9. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the holding of the Second India-Japan Cyber Dialogue in New Delhi on 17 August this year and reaffirmed their commitment to an open, free, secure, stable, peaceful and accessible cyberspace, enabling economic growth and innovation as well as mutual cooperation in this regard. 
 
Working Together for a Better Connected World
 
10. The two Prime Ministers expressed their strong commitment to work together to enhance connectivity in India and with other countries in the Indo-Pacific region including Africa. They welcomed the deepening of their connectivity dialogue aimed at achieving concrete progress, and decided to further accelerate such an initiative.
 
11. The two Prime Ministers also underlined the importance of all countries ensuring the development and use of connectivity infrastructure in an open, transparent and non-exclusive manner based on international standards and responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law, and the environment. They also reaffirmed the importance of "quality infrastructure” which, among others ensures alignment with local economic and development strategies, safety, resilience, social and environmental impacts, and job creation as well as capacity building for the local communities.
 
12. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the efforts to explore the development of industrial corridors and industrial network for the growth of Asia and Africa, which will benefit various stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region including Africa. They shared the desire to further promote cooperation and collaboration in Africa in line with the priority measures identified through the India-Japan dialogue on Africa and the processes of the India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) and Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
 
13. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the India-Japan cooperation on development of India’s North Eastern Region (NER) as a concrete symbol of developing synergies between India’s Act East policy and Japan’s Free and Open Indo Pacific Strategy. In this context, they noted with satisfaction the setting up of the India-Japan Act East Forum. They appreciated the cooperation between Japan and North Eastern Region of India, ranging from key infrastructure such as road connectivity, electricity, water supply and sewage, to social and environmental sustainability such as afforestation and community empowerment, as well as people-to-people exchanges including the "IRIS Program” inviting youth from the NER to Japan.
 
14. The two Prime Ministers also stressed the importance of the development of the smart islands to enhance regional connectivity and decided to further accelerate consultations to identify technologies, infrastructure and development strategies for the purpose.
 
Partnership for prosperity
 
15. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the commencement of the project on the ground at the Sabarmati Station for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR), which will be an important symbol of a new era marked by the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence. Expressing satisfaction at the steady progress, they directed their teams to multiply their efforts for achieving the target schedule.
 
16. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the exchange of notes for 100 billion yen as the first ODA loan for the MAHSR project. They also witnessed commencement of the construction of the HSR training institute in Vadodara. They appreciated the commencement of the JICA technical cooperation program for the capacity development of the National High Speed Rail Corporation.
 
17. The two Prime Ministers committed to advancing "Make in India” and transfer of technology in HSR projects, and expressed optimism in this direction. They welcomed the series of business matching efforts to establish India-Japan cooperation, such as the prospective technology collaboration between Kawasaki and BHEL. Both sides will explore further strengthening of partnership in high speed railways. They also recognised that there is potential for further collaboration between India and Japan in the modernisation and expansion of the conventional railway system and the construction of metro rails in India. They also highlighted the importance of the safety of conventional railways, and appreciated the commencement of the JICA technical cooperation program by the dispatch of railways safety experts of Japan in August 2017,followed by a railway safety seminar and other programs.
 
18. Prime Minister Modi updated Prime Minister Abe about his Government’s efforts for the country’s economic and social development. Prime Minister Abe reiterated Japan’s strong support for the initiatives such as "Make in India”, "Digital India”, "Skill India”, "Smart City”, "Clean India,” and "Start-Up India”. Prime Minister Abe highly appreciated Prime Minister Modi’s economic reforms, especially the historic introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which facilitates ease of doing business and promotes market integration in India by realising a simple, efficient and nation-wide indirect tax system.
 
19. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the expansion of Japan’s Foreign Direct Investment in India under the "India-Japan Investment Promotion Partnership”, committed to by both sides in 2014. They shared the view that the India-Japan Roadmap for Investment Promotion will provide greater impetus to "Make in India” through investment promotion activities, expanding the scope of professional services and assistance provided by JETRO to Japanese Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) operating in India, Review Mechanisms for Issue Resolution and Approvals, Single Window Clearance Procedures, Japan Industrial Townships and infrastructure development. Prime Minister Abe expressed appreciation for the facilitation provided by "Japan Plus”, and the coordination by the Core Group. They also welcomed the progress in the projects of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), through JICA, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) including the DMIC Logistic Data Bank Project and expressed expectations of promoting industrial investment in DMIC cities. They welcomed the signing of "the Joint Statement on the Development of the New Capital City and Industrial Cooperation in Andhra Pradesh”. They also welcomed Japanese cooperation for smart city projects in Ahmedabad, Chennai as well as Varanasi.
 
20. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation on the joint development of the "Japan and India Special Program for Make in India” in Mandal-Becharaj-Khoraj, Gujarat, as a regional development project driven by manufacturing cluster, and the plan to establish a JETRO’s Business Support Centre in its Ahmedabad office to promote Japanese SMEs investment in Gujarat.
 
21.  The two Prime Ministers welcomed the start of the first four Japan-India Institutes for Manufacturing (JIMs) in the States of Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu in 2017,under the Manufacturing Skill Transfer Promotion Program, and looked forward to more JIMs. They also welcomed the commencement of the first Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) in Andhra Pradesh from September 2017. They strongly hoped that this program will introduce Japanese manufacturing practices and accelerate training of future shop floor leaders and engineers.
 
22. The two Prime Ministers expressed the confidence that synergy between Japan’s advanced technology and India’s rich human resources can transform both countries into new centres of production in the global industrial network. They underscored the potential to further cooperate in human resources development and exchanges, including through utilising such frameworks as Japan’s "Innovative Asia” initiative and the Technical Intern Training Program(TITP).
 
23. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the significant contribution of Japan’s ODA to the socio-economic development of India, especially the historically highest ever amount of ODA loan provided through JICA in the last two consecutive years. Prime Minister Abe expressed Japan’s intention to continue to support India’s efforts for social and industrial development including building key infrastructure projects.
 
24.  Prime Minister Modi appreciated the provision of ODA loan to the following projects, in addition to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway (MAHSR) Project and its related training institute:
 
- Project for Upgradation of Environmental Management for Ship Recycling in Alang and Sosiya in Gujarat
 
- North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project (Phase 2)
 
- Kolkata East-West Metro Project (III)
 
- Gujarat Investment Promotion Program
 
In this regard, the two Prime Ministers welcomed progress in the ODA projects in urban transportation sector such as the Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Ahmedabad Metro, the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link Project, and the introduction of the Intelligence Transport System along with the Eastern Peripheral Highway in Delhi.
 
25. The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the entry into force of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of Japan for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. They looked forward to a working group to strengthen bilateral cooperation in this field and reiterated their shared view that the Agreement reflects a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership in the cause of clean energy, economic development and a peaceful and secure world.
 
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26. The two Prime Ministers recognised that access to reliable, clean and affordable energy is critical for the economic growth of both countries. In this regard, they decided to strengthen bilateral energy cooperation and welcomed the India-Japan Energy Partnership Initiative as well as early convening of 9th Energy dialogue. They appreciated Japan’s proposal for India-Japan Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Cooperation Plan. They also welcomed the efforts to promote renewable energy, including the establishment of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), and the progress of New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)’s demonstration project such as a micro grid system using solar power in Neemrana. They looked forward to further acceleration of cooperation in areas of energy saving, energy efficiency and energy storage as well as manufacturing of eco-friendly vehicles including hybrid and electric vehicles.
 
27. In this regard, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the opening of the first lithium-ion battery factory in India by a joint venture of three Japanese companies – Suzuki, Toshiba and Denso as well as a new automotive factory this year. They decided to further promote public and private sector collaboration to make environmentally friendly and energy efficient technologies accessible and affordable to the general public, recognising that such investments facilitate India’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption of Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) vision, and underlined the importance of support measures to promote eco-friendly vehicles including in terms of "Make in India” and transfer of technology.
 
28. The two Prime Ministers also stressed that sustainable ship industry is one of the key areas for sustainable growth of India, and reaffirmed their intention to achieve an early conclusion of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009.
 
29. The two Prime Ministers recognised the important role of science and technology in dealing with both developmental and societal challenges, and underlined the importance of enhanced bilateral cooperation in such fields as IoT, ICT, marine science, biomedical sciences, genetics, stem cell technology, and heavy ion radiotherapy. In this regard, they welcomed the successful holding of the 9th India-Japan Joint Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation in January 2017 in Delhi.
 
30. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the progress made in the bilateral IT and IoT cooperation through the bilateral Joint Working Group on IT and Electronics, in particular by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) of India and IoT Acceleration Consortium (ITAC) of Japan.
 
31. The two Prime Ministers directed their respective sides to work closely to establish an India Japan Startup Hub, which will serve as a platform for promotion of information exchange, business collaboration and investments between the vibrant and innovative Startup ecosystems of two countries.
 
32. The two Prime Ministers acknowledged that outer space is an ever-expanding frontier of human endeavour and welcomed the deepening of cooperation between the space agencies of the two countries in the field of earth observation, satellite based navigation, space sciences and lunar exploration. They welcomed establishment of the ISRO-JAXA Joint Working Group under the space cooperation MoU signed in November 2016. They also welcomed co-hosting by India and Japan of the 24th Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-24) in November 2017 in India. They stressed the importance of enhancing comprehensive space cooperation.
 
33. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress in the health sector and the joint efforts by their medical experts on medical device development. They also noted the opportunities for collaboration between Indian and Japanese pharmaceutical companies in light of the target regarding the quantitative share of generic medicines in Japan.
 
34. The two Prime Ministers shared the importance of strengthening cooperation in the fields of agricultural and food related sectors. They welcomed Japan’s participation in World Food India 2017 as a partner country.
 
35. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the efforts to develop cooperation in disaster prevention, response, recovery and reconstruction as envisaged in the Memorandum of Cooperation on disaster risk reduction between the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India and the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan . They underlined the importance of identifying and disseminating best practices to "build better” and thus reducing losses arising from infrastructure damage during natural disasters, as aimed by the international coalition proposed by Prime Minister Modi at the Asia Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction(AMCDRR)-2016.
 
36. The two Prime Ministers recognised the importance of the empowerment of women to maximise their national potential, and decided to strengthen cooperation in this area, including through conferences such as the World Assembly for Women (WAW!). They welcomed the convening of the "Indo-Japan Consultation on ‘Women at Work and Changing Social Norms’” in Delhi in July 2017.
 
Expanding vistas of People-to-People Cooperation
 
37. The two Prime Ministers renewed their commitment to strengthening human and cultural ties commensurate with their Special Strategic and Global Partnership.In this context, the two Prime Ministers welcomed a series of cultural events successfully held through the Year of India-Japan Friendly Exchanges in 2017.
 
38. The two Prime Ministers recognised the importance of expanding Japanese language education in India, for achieving wider and closer industrial cooperation. In this regard, they decided to endeavour towards establishing Japanese language certificate courses at 100 higher educational institutions in India as well as training1,000 Japanese language teachers, over the next five years.
 
39. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the exchange of notes for the construction of a state-of-art Convention Centre in Varanasi as a symbol of friendship between India and Japan and expressed their hope for its early completion.
 
40. The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the increased interaction at all levels of the government, between Members of Parliament, and between prefectures and states. They welcomed the strengthening of parliamentary exchanges through mutual visits of parliamentarians from both sides.
 
41.With a view to achieving greater policy coordination and deepening intellectual exchanges between the two countries, the two Prime Ministers encouraged interactions among senior officials, strategists and experts in leading think tanks and universities on wide-ranging issues in the Indo-Pacific region.
 
42. Prime Minister Modi welcomed the growing interest in celebrating the International Day of Yoga in Japan and, in particular, welcomed the first-ever Parliamentary League for Promotion of Yoga set up in the Japanese Diet in April 2017.
 
43. The two Prime Ministers underscored the importance of promoting tourism exchange between the two countries and hoped that the opening of the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) office in Delhi in March 2017 and further relaxation of visa requirements will facilitate business and tourism links between the two countries.
 
44. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the expansion of civil aviation connectivity between India and Japan, utilising the recently updated open sky policies between the two countries.
 
45. The two Prime Ministers noted the steady increase in the number of Indian students in Japan. They welcomed the SAKURA Science Plan (Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Programme in Science) and the Japan East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) which contributed to increase in numbers of young Indian students and researchers in science and technology visiting Japan and hoped for further strengthening of collaboration in these fields.
 
46. Aiming to enhance the positive influence of traditions of non-violence, tolerance and democracy in Asia, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the SAMVAD II conference held in Yangon, Myanmar, in August 2017 and looked forward to the next conference in 2018.
47. Prime Minister Abe welcomed the support offered by Prime Minister Modi for Japan’s efforts towards the successful organisation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the institutional linkages set up between India and Japan. They also acknowledged that the Olympic and Paralympic Games offer a unique opportunity for the two countries to further deepen their cooperation.
 
Working with Partners on Regional and Global Challenges
 
48. Welcoming the 50th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN, the two Prime Ministers renewed their commitment to strengthening political, economic, and security cooperation with ASEAN countries, with a view to supporting the ASEAN’s unity and its centrality to regional architecture. They welcomed deepening bilateral policy coordination, including the launch of the India-Japan Dialogue on ASEAN in March 2017, and determined to work together to shape and strengthen the evolving regional architecture through ASEAN-led fora such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum.
 
49. The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed that regular convening of the East Asia Summit (EAS) Ambassadors Meeting in Jakarta and the establishment of EAS Unit within the ASEAN Secretariat have contributed to ensuring that the EAS process, as the premier leaders-led forum to discuss broad strategic, security and economic issues of common concern, continues to retain its dynamic proactiveness in responding to emerging issues of global importance. They decided to work in unison to enhance physical and digital connectivity within the EAS framework while striving to ensure greater economic benefits to all in an equitable and balanced manner. They also decided to continue to enhance their cooperation in the maritime domain bilaterally as well as in multilateral fora.
 
50. The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in accordance with international laws. They also highlighted the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes, including through full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, and in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, notably the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The two Prime Ministers also reiterated their desire and determination to work together to maintain and promote peace, stability, and development in the Indo-Pacific region.
 
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51. The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of securing the maritime domain and combating piracy, armed robbery at sea and other transnational organised crimes through regional and international mechanisms such as the ARF, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) Mechanism, and expressed their commitment to pursue regional and international cooperation to combat these activities.
 
52. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the renewed momentum for trilateral cooperation with the US and Australia. They stressed on the strategic importance of these cooperative frameworks and shared willingness to expand concrete cooperation. They resolved to work with other countries and regional partners to ensure a rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific Region.
 
53. The two Prime Ministers condemned in the strongest terms North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, including the latest nuclear test conducted by North Korea on 3 September as well as its uranium enrichment activities. Recognising that North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its proliferation links, including the launch of a ballistic missile flying over Japanese territory on 29 August 2017, pose grave and real threat to international peace and stability and the international non-proliferation efforts, the two Prime Ministers strongly urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and not to take any further provocative actions, and to fully comply with its international obligations under relevant UNSC resolutions including the newly and unanimously adopted resolution 2375, and other international commitments. They pledged to work together to deal with the current serious situation and called on the international community to rigorously and fully implement relevant UNSC resolutions to maximise pressure on North Korea. They stressed the importance of holding accountable all parties that have supported North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes. They also urged North Korea to address at the earliest the abductions issue.
 
54. The two Prime Ministers also condemned in the strongest terms the growing menace of terrorism and violent extremism. They shared the view that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is a global scourge that must be forcefully combatted through concerted global action in the spirit of "zero tolerance”. Accordingly, the two Prime Ministers called upon all UN member countries to implement the UNSC Resolution 1267 and other relevant resolutions designating terrorist entities. They also called upon all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists. They underlined the need for all countries to ensure that their territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries. They emphasised the need for stronger international partnership in countering terrorism and violent extremism, including through increased sharing of information and intelligence. They called for enhanced bilateral cooperation in this regard. The two Prime Ministers also called for Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorist attacks including those of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai and the 2016 terrorist attack in Pathankot. They looked forward to the convening of the fifth India-Japan Consultation on Terrorism and to strengthening cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including Al-Qaida, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lakshar-e-Tayyiba, and their affiliates.
 
55. The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their shared commitment to expedite the reform process of the United Nations, in particular the UN Security Council, in order to make it more legitimate, effective and representative, given the contemporary realities of the 21st century, and emphasized the importance of building upon the recent developments in the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) aimed at launching text-based negotiations during the 72nd session of the General Assembly. In this regard, they also called for collaboration among reform-oriented countries through the "Group of Friends” on UNSC reform. They reiterated their support for each other’s candidature, based on the firmly shared recognition that India and Japan are legitimate candidates for permanent membership in an expanded UNSC.
 
56. The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Abe stressed the importance of early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). They called for an immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) on the basis of Shannon Mandate. They expressed their resolve towards strengthening international cooperation to address the challenges of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.
 
57. Prime Minister Abe welcomed India's accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) and its intensified engagement with the export control regimes. The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work together for India to become a full member in the remaining three international export control regimes: Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group, with the aim to strengthen the international non-proliferation efforts.
 
58. The two Prime Ministers emphasised the need for concerted global action to combat climate change reflecting the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances and to preserve the environment for future generations. They reiterated their commitment to work together to finalise the work programme for implementation of the Paris Agreement adopted under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change by 2018. They also decided to accelerate further consultations on the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM). Prime Minister Modi welcomed Japan’s cooperation on Clean India, including the Clean Ganga project.
 
59. The two Prime Ministers underlined the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and enhancing free, fair, and open trade, for achieving sustainable growth and development. They committed to resist protectionism including unfair trade practices and underlined the need to remove trade-distorting measures. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together to implement the Bali and Nairobi Ministerial decisions and make the eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference a success. They also decided to steadily implement WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.
 
60.  Recognising India as the largest democracy and a fast growing large economy in the Asia-Pacific region, and acknowledging India’s robust macro-economic stability and its efforts at financial reforms, Japan reaffirmed its support to India’s membership in the APEC. The two Prime Ministers decided to work towards liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. They reaffirmed to cooperate towards conclusion of a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, in order to achieve a balanced outcome. They reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening cooperation and to working with partners to tackle excess capacity in steel. In this regard, they called for the removal of market-distorting subsidies and other types of support by governments and related entities. They also reaffirmed their commitment to developing concrete policy solutions at the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity by November 2017.
 
Conclusion
 
Prime Minister Abe thanked the Government and the people of India for their warm hospitality and extended a cordial invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit Japan at a mutually convenient time for the next annual summit meeting. Prime Minister Modi accepted the invitation with appreciation. 
 
Prime Minister of the Republic of India             ----               Prime Minister of Japan 
Signed at Gandhinagar, Gujarat on 14 September 2017.
 
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Modi, Abe lay foundation stone for India's first high speed rail project

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday jointly laid the foundation stone for India's first high speed rail project, based on Japanese technology, between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

 
Modi, Abe lay foundation stone for India's first bullet train project
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today jointly laid the foundation stone for India's first high speed rail project, based on Japanese technology, between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
 
The public function to mark the commencement of work on the "Bullet Train" project was the highlight of Mr. Abe's two-day visit to India which concluded today.
 
The train is expected to significantly reduce travel time between the two cities. Japan is a pioneer in high-speed rail networks, and its Shinkansen bullet train is among the fastest in the world.
 
The $ 16.87 billion bullet train project will be 81 percent funded by Japan through a concessional long-term loan. The bullet train is expected to cut the 500 km journey from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, to just 2 to 3 hours as compared to the 7-8 hours it takes now.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi spoke of the high ambition and willpower of “New India.” He congratulated the people of India on the occasion, and said that the bullet train project will provide speed and progress, and deliver results quickly. He said the Government’s focus is on increasing productivity through high speed connectivity. 
 
The Prime Minister thanked Japan for the technical and financial help given to India, for this project. He praised Prime Minister Abe for the fact that this project is being launched within such a short time. 
 
The Prime Minister said that this high speed railway would not only bring two cities closer, but also bring the people living hundreds of kilometers away, closer to each other. He said a new economic system is being developed along the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor, and the entire area would become a single economic zone. 
 
The Prime Minister said technology is useful only if it provides benefit to the common man. He said the technology transfer envisaged in this project will benefit Indian Railways, and boost the “Make in India” initiative. He said the project would be eco-friendly as well as human-friendly. He said “high-speed corridors” would be regions for rapid growth in the future. 
 
The Prime Minister said that the Government is working to ensure that infrastructure is developed keeping in mind futuristic requirements. He expressed confidence that everyone would work together to complete this project in the shortest possible time. 
 
Earlier, Mr. Abe said that the India-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global. He said that he hopes to see the beauty of India through the windows of the Bullet Train, a few years hence,
 
After the ceremony, Mr. Abe, accompanied by Mr. Modi, visited the Dandi Kutir at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, the venue for the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit today.
 
At a joint  media interaction with Mr. Abe after their summit, Mr. Modi said the high-speed rail project was a "very big step".
 
"This is not just the beginning of high speed rail. While looking forward at our future needs, I consider this new railway philosophy as the lifeline of a New India. India's uninterrupted progress has now been attached to a much faster pace," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said mutual trust and faith, understanding of each other's interests and concerns, and continuous high level interactions made the India-Japan relationship unique.
 
"The scope of our special strategic and global partnership is not confined to bilateral or regional levels only. We also have close cooperation on global issues. Last year, during my visit to Japan, we had a historic agreement for peaceful use of nuclear energy. I express my gratitude to the people of Japan, Parliament of Japan, and especially Prime Minister Abe for its ratification. This agreement has added a new chapter to our cooperation on the issue of clean energy and climate change," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said that, in 2016-17, India got Japanese investment worth $ 4.7 billion, which is 80 percent more than the previous year. 
 
"Now Japan is the third largest investor in India. It clearly shows how much confidence and optimism is prevalent in Japan towards India's economic development and a golden tomorrow. And by looking at this investment, it can be assumed that in the coming days people-to-people ties between India and Japan will grow further along with a growing business. We already provide visa on arrival facilities to citizens of Japan and now after the collaboration between India Post and Japan Post we are going to introduce a Cool Box Service so that the Japanese people living in India can directly get their favorite food from Japan. At the same time, I would also request the Japanese business community to open more Japanese restaurants in India! 
 
"Today, India is on the path of a radical change at many levels. Whether it is ease of doing business or Skill India, taxation reforms or Make in India, India is transforming completely. This is a huge opportunity for Japanese businesses. And I'm glad that many Japanese companies are deeply involved with our flagship programs. We will also get to see its direct benefit during our conversation in today's evening program with the business leaders of both the countries. We are the largest partner in Japan's official development assistance programme and I warmly welcome the agreements that have been signed today for the projects in several sectors," he said.
 
"I am confident that our dialogue and the agreements signed by us today will further strengthen the partnership between India and Japan in all areas," Mr. Modi added.
 
The two sides signed 15 agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on the occasion in areas such as Disaster Risk Management, Skills Development, Connectivity, Economic and Commercial, Investment, Civil Aviation, Science & Technology, Sports and Academics/Think Tanks.
 
NNN
 
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Japan's PM Shinzo Abe arrives in Ahmedabad for annual dialogue with Modi

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Ahmedabad on a two-day visit during which he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit at Gandhinagar and set the future direction for the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries.

 
Modi, Abe in roadshow from Ahmedabad airport to Sabarmati Ashram
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived here today on a two-day official visit to India during which  he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit at Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, and set the future direction for the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries.
 
This will be the fourth annual summit between Mr. Modi and Mr. Abe, during which the two leaders will review the recent progress in the multi-facted bilateral cooperation.
 
Mr. Modi dispensed with protocol to personally receive Mr. Abe and his wife Akie when they landed here this afternoon in his home state. Mr. Modi welcomed Mr. Abe with a hug before the Japanese Prime Minister inspected a guard of honour at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport.
 
From the airport, Mr. Modi and Mr. Abe travelled in an open jeep in a motorcade along an eight km route to the Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi. Along the way, students and artistes staged cultural performances at different points, highlighting the rich and diverse cultural traditions of the country. This was the first time that two Prime Ministers have participated in such a road show.
 
Mr. Abe and his wife changed into Indian attire for the road show -- with the Japanese Prime Minister wearing a royal blue Nehru jacket and Ms. Abe dressed in a pink silk kurta.
 
Mr. Abe and his wife, accompanied by Mr. Modi, also visited the iconic Sidi Saiyyed Mosque here, built in 1573, and noted for its beautifully carved ten latticework windows (Jalis) on the side and rear arches.
 
The two bays flanking the central aisle have reticulated stone slabs carved in designs of intertwined trees and foliage and a palm motif. This intricately carved lattice stone window is the Sidi Saiyyed Jali, the unofficial symbol of city of Ahmedabad and the inspiration for the design of the logo of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad.
 
Mr. Modi explained the history and the importance of the mosque to Mr. Abe. The two Prime Ministers also posed for photographs in front of the monument.
 
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Later in the evening, Mr. Modi hosted dinner for the Japanese leader and his wife at a heritage hotel here. The fare was vegetarian and a mix of Japanese and Gujarati dishes.
 
The India-Japan Summit will be held tomorrow at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. The two leaders will deliver statements to the media. An India Japan Business Plenary is also scheduled tomorrow.
 
The highlight of the visit will be a public function to mark the commencement of work on India’s first high-speed rail project, based on Japanese technology, between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, tomorrow. The train is expected to significantly reduce travel time between the two cities. Japan is a pioneer in high-speed rail networks, and its Shinkansen bullet train is among the fastest in the world.
 
The $ 16.87 billion bullet train project will be 81 percent funded by Japan through a concessional long-term loan. The bullet train is expected to cut the 500 km journey from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, to just 2 to 3 hours as compared to the 7-8 hours it takes now.
 
Mr. Abe will not be visiting New Delhi on this trip, with all his engagements confined to Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.
 
In September 2014, Mr. Modi had hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in Ahmedabad.
 
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Nirmala Sitharaman visits Gujarat, briefed about Sir Creek

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited Gujarat for two days on September 10-11 where she was, among other things, briefed about the Sir Creek, the disputed area on the border between India and Pakistan.
 
Ms. Sitharaman was received on arrival in Ahmedabad by Chief of Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and Lt General P M Hariz, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command.
 
The Army Commander, Southern Command briefed the Defence Minister about the operational situation, an official press release said.
 
The release said the Minister preferred to use her first call to the region to visit Sir Creek because of the relevance of the area to the overall security requirements of Southern Command.
 
The General Officer Commanding Golden Katar Division briefed Ms. Sitharaman on the historic relevance and strategic implications of the need to maintain effective surveillance in the area. 
 
Interacting with all ranks of Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, the Minister appreciated the manner in which the troops are maintaining territorial integrity and are prepared for any eventuality, the release added.
 
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RIL to acquire assets of Kemrock Industries, to foray into new materials business

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Energy and petrochemicals Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has acquired the assets of Kemrock Industries and Exports Limited of Vadodara in Gujarat as part of its foray into the new materials business.
 
A press release from RIL said the company won the online bidding process held by Allahabad Bank, as the leader of the consortium of 11 banks, to sell and dispose of the assets of Kemrock.
 
The release said RIL's participation in the process was part of its efforts to enter the composites business and establish a leadership position in this large and growing market in India. 
 
Composites are used in a variety of applications and industries such as renewable energy, mass transportation, infrastructure and a host of other industrial products, it said.
 
The release said the assets would pave the way for Reliance to foray into new materials (Composites and Carbon Fibre) and further strengthen its petrochemicals business portfolio.
 
"The company is in the process of complying with the necessary formalities for acquisition of assets," the release added.
 
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