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VIDEO: Watch Prime Minister Share His Thoughts On Budget 2020

Reforms announced in the budget will boost the economy and financially empower every citizen: PM

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the reforms announced in the budget will boost the economy and financially empower every citizen.

In a televised address, PM Modi said that his government has given a lot of emphasis on agriculture, infrastructure, textiles and technology in the budget to increase the employment generation.

PM Modi said that to double the income of the farmers, 16 action points have been created which will increase employment in the rural areas.

The Prime Minister said that the modern infrastructure is of great importance for modern India and infrastructure sector is also a large employment generator.


PM Modi said that the construction of 6,500 projects from 100 lakh crore rupees will increase employment opportunities on a large scale.

The Prime Minister said that the businesses will also benefit from the National Logistics Policy.

PM Modi congratulated Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her team for the first budget of this decade saying the Union Budget has vision and action.

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AGENTS OF CHANGE

Atal Bhujal Yojana: India, World Bank Sign $450m Loan To Improve Groundwater Mgmt In 7 States

The states span both the hard rock aquifers of peninsular India and the alluvial aquifers of the Indo-Gangetic plains.

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NEW DELHI: The Government of India and the World Bank today signed a $450 million loan agreement to support the national programme to arrest the country’s depleting groundwater levels and strengthen groundwater institutions.

The World Bank-supported Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY) – National Groundwater Management Improvement Programme will be implemented in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh and cover 78 districts.

These states span both the hard rock aquifers of peninsular India and the alluvial aquifers of the Indo-Gangetic plains.


The states were selected based on several criteria, including degree of groundwater exploitation and degradation, established legal and regulatory instruments, institutional readiness, and experience in implementing initiatives related to groundwater management.

The programme will, among others, enhance the recharge of aquifers and introduce water conservation practices; promote activities related to water harvesting, water management, and crop alignment; create an institutional structure for sustainable groundwater management; and equip communities and stakeholders to sustainably manage groundwater.

Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance said that in India groundwater is an important source for rural and urban domestic water supplies and its depletion is a cause of concern. The Atal Bhujal Yojana intends to strengthen the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management and encourage behavioural changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management. The use of cutting-edge technology, involving Artificial Intelligence and space technology will further help in better implementation of the programme.


The loan agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, on behalf of the Government of India and Mr Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, India on behalf of the World Bank.

Mr Junaid Ahmad said that groundwater is India’s most crucial water reserve and managing this national resource is the need of the hour. This programme will contribute to rural livelihoods and in the context of climatic shifts, build the resilience of the rural economy. But its impact will also be felt globally as it stands as one of the important programmes of groundwater management worldwide.

The last few decades saw exponential growth in the exploitation of groundwater through the construction of millions of private wells. Between 1950 and 2010, the number of drilled tube wells increased from 1 million to nearly 30 million. This allowed the area irrigated by groundwater to increase from approximately 3 million ha to more than 35 million ha. Groundwater currently provides approximately 60 per cent of irrigation water. Over 80 per cent of the rural and urban domestic water supplies in India are served by groundwater making India the world’s largest user of groundwater.

If the current trends persist, 60 per cent of districts are likely to reach a critical level of groundwater depletion within two decades, which in turn will render at least 25 per cent of the agriculture production at risk. Climate change will likely exacerbate current pressures on groundwater resources.

The programme will introduce a bottom-up planning process for community-driven development of water budgets and Water Security Plans (WSPs). Water budgets will assess surface and groundwater conditions (both quantity and quality) and identify current and future needs. The WSP, on the other hand, will focus on improving groundwater quantity and incentivize selected states to implement the actions proposed. Such community-led management measures will make users aware of consumption patterns and pave the way for economic measures that reduce groundwater consumption.


“The Programme will support on-ground actions that are based on community ownership and judicious management of water resources. Reversing groundwater overexploitation and degradation is in the hands of the hundreds of millions of individuals and communities – they need the right incentives, information, support, and resources to move to a more sustainable development and management of groundwater resources,” said Abedalrazq Khalil and Satya Priya, Senior Water Resources Management Specialists and World Bank’s Task Team Leaders for the programme.

Crop management and diversification will be the other focus areas. Studies indicate that a one per cent increase in the area irrigated with groundwater leads to a 2.2 per cent increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Also, a one per cent increase in irrigation efficiency will reduce GHG emissions by 20 per cent. The programme will support the adoption of micro-irrigation systems, including sprinkler and drip irrigation to increase productivity and support farmers to shift to low water-intensive crops.

To facilitate this process, the government will transfer a significant portion of the money (nearly 80 per cent) to local governments, including districts and gram panchayats, as incentives for achieving targets in groundwater management. The remaining funds will be used for providing technical support for sustainable management of groundwater and strengthening institutional arrangements in the selected states.

The $450 million loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 6-year grace period, and a maturity of 18 years.

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AGENTS OF CHANGE

First Inter-City Electric Bus Service In Maharashtra Inaugurated By Nitin Gadkari

The 43-seater capacity bus, manufactured by Mitra Mobility Solution, runs 300 KM on a single charge.

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PUNE (Maharashtra): Union Minister for Transport, Highways, and MSMEs, Nitin Gadkari on Friday inaugurated the first inter-city electric bus service, between Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra.

The 43-seater capacity luxury electric bus, manufactured by Mitra Mobility Solution, has a range of 300 kilometres on a single charge and would be operated twice daily between the two cities, the operator Prasanna Purple Mobility Solutions said.

The company, which claims to already have around 1,300 electric buses in operation, is also looking to extend these services in other parts of Maharashtra and adjoining states, it’s Chairman and Managing Director Prasanna Patwardhan told reporters.


“This new move in the electric vehicle space gives us yet another opportunity to serve our customers. We also plan to extend this service to other routes within Maharashtra and adjacent states,” Patwardhan said.

Speaking at the event Gadkari said his efforts in the last 4-5 years have been to see that electric buses run in large numbers on the country’s highways. He also said various corporations, state government corporations and private operators might order some 10,000 electric buses this year.

“We are also planning to build e-(electric) highways,” he said.


Recently, we had reported that the minister had urged industry players to join hands with the government for the proposed electric lane on Rs 1.03 lakh crore Delhi-Mumbai Expressway while promising to provide policy support to serious players.

“Indian investors should come forward for investing in electric lane stretch of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway to be built at a cost of Rs 1.03 lakh crore within three years,” the Minister had said while addressing a conference on ‘Developing a Roadmap for Low Carbon & Sustainable Mobility in India’ by FICCI.

The minister had also said that the government is ready to provide policy support to serious investors and also appealed them to come forward in the field of alternative fuel including bio-CNG and electric vehicles. This could cut India’s huge Rs 7 lakh crore crude imports, he said. Stressing on modern transport infrastructure, he said he will also take up the issue of electric highways during his ensuing visit to Sweden this month.

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CHANGE ON THE GROUND

Dwarka Expressway To Be Operational By The End Of The Year: NHAI

The contracts pertaining to the construction of the project have awarded to four construction companies with a strict timeline.

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NEW DELHI: The much-delayed Delhi-Gurugram-Dwarka expressway is expected to be completed within one year from now, an official said on Wednesday.

Northern Peripheral Road or NH 248-BB, commonly known as Dwarka Expressway is a 27.6 km (17.1 miles) long, under construction, 8-lane, controlled-access highway connecting Dwarka in Delhi to Gurugram in Haryana.

According to a senior official of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), 30 per cent of this expressway has already been completed. The contracts pertaining to the construction of the project have awarded to four construction companies with a strict timeline.


We have divided into four packages this 16 lanes expressway starting from the Delhi Gurugram expressway at Shiv Murti and going all the way to Kherki Dhaula toll plaza via Dwarka Sector 21, Gurugram border and Basai,” the NHAI official said.

The first package starts from Shiv Murti to Dwarka Sector 21 covering 5.3 km, the second package is 4.2 km from Dwarka Sector 21 to the Gurugram border, the third package is from the Gurugram border to Basai flyover having distance of 10.2 km and the fourth package from Basai to Kherkidhaula on National Highway (NH) 8.

An 18.9 km stretch of the expressway falls under Gurugram, while the remaining 9.5 km falls under the territories of Delhi.

Following over 10 years of delay, the stone foundation of the expressway was laid on March 8, 2019, by Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.


The project of the Dwarka expressway has been delayed due to non-acquisition of land in Delhi. The total cost of the project is Rs 7,500 crore and provides signal-free travelling experience to commuters who can reach from one point to another in 20 to 25 minutes. It will remove the traffic burden of existing Delhi-Gurugram expressway,” the official said.

Delays:

The project has been much delayed due to land acquisition issues in Gurugram faced by the Haryana Shahari Vikash Pradhikaran, and in Delhi faced by the Sheila Dixit and Arvind Kejriwal governments.

The entire project, costing INR 7,500 crore was planned in 2006, and the contract was awarded in 2011. Of the original 18 km project, 14 km were completed by 2016. Several more kilometre project routes were added to the scope of the project as an extension.

Various parts of the project remained delayed due to land acquisition and tree transplantation hurdles, resulting in the intervention from the Prime Minister’s office in November 2018 to resolve the pending issues.


Subsequently, the land for the 10 km section was handed by the Haryana and Delhi, AAI and HSVP were in the process of expediting the resolution in December 2018.

One of the causes of the delay was due to NHAI’s need for the land from DDA to transplant 13,000 trees from the route alignment.

In December, Haryana handed over the land for 10 km route to NHAI and was in process of handing over the remaining land for the 4 km route by 31 December 2018.

Earlier in January 2018, AAI too had agreed to sell their land to NHAI for the route falling on their land.

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