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Mosque, Temple Loudspeakers In UP To Be Used To Popularize Govt Schemes

Loudspeakers, installed in mosques, have often been a cause of communal dispute in western UP.

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LUCKNOW (Uttar Pradesh): The Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation has now decided to use loudspeakers installed in mosques to make announcements for the state government’s new scheme which allows farmers to pay their tubewell bill in easy instalments.

The scheme called ‘UP Kisan Asaan Kisht Yojana‘ (“UP Farmers’ Easy Installments Scheme”) is aimed at enabling tube well owners to pay their bills in easy instalments without interest.

The power corporation wants the maximum number of farmers to register for the scheme.


According to Pashchimanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited (PVVNL) officials, announcements will be made in all 14 districts under its jurisdiction.

The 14 districts of west UP that fall under PVVNL jurisdiction are Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Moradabad, Sambhal, Amroha, Rampur and Bijnor.

PVVNL managing director Arvind Mallapa Bangari, said, “It is good that loudspeakers that have caused undue tensions in the past will be put to some good use now. I feel that announcements through loudspeakers will spread the word faster and ensure maximum registration for the scheme.”


The PVVNL MD added, “During my visit to a camp for promotion of the scheme in a Meerut village, I found that the advertisement of the scheme was not too penetrative to ensure maximum registration. Hence, I have directed the officials concerned to utilize each and every possible means to maximize the reach of the scheme, be it beating of drums, pasting posters or even making announcements on loudspeakers at religious places like mosques and temples. The message should reach even the last person.”

Loudspeakers, installed in mosques, have often been a cause of communal dispute in western UP.

Loudspeakers in mosques are regularly used to make announcements after Friday prayers to organise protests etc, which often turn violent. While almost all mosques use loudspeakers for call to prayer (Azaan), use of loudspeakers by Hindu temples are many times opposed by Muslims.

In one such incident in June last year, a Muslim mob reportedly entered a temple in Ghasauli village, Meerut, and beat up a group of Dalit men who had put up loudspeakers in the temple for playing devotional songs.

The Muslim community had objected to the loudspeaker on temple premises, which is near a mosque after the men from Dalit community put them up.

Later, the mob attacked the temple and beat up the Dalit men with lathis and sticks. They also reportedly attacked them with a sharp object and even started pelting stones. Over half a dozen people inside the temple were injured and the communal tensions escalated.


A similar incident had taken place in Pilbhit, Uttar Pradesh when a mob had ransacked a temple to oppose loudspeakers. The mob broke the loudspeaker and took away the idols of the temple along with them. Five men – Mehboob, Monis, Israel, Azaad and Alanoor were arrested and a case has been registered for trying to create enmity between religious groups.

Protest By Islamic Clerics Against Decision:

The move, expectedly, has not gone down well with Islamic clerics in the State.  The clerics in the state are “up in arms against the use of loudspeakers in masjids for popularizing government schemes.”

A Shia cleric has been quoted as saying that a government’s good work should not need loudspeakers.

It has to be seen whether the proposal can be implemented without controversies.  Religious leaders will always have recourse to court in matters like this.

Armed with a high court order, the Yogi Adityanath government had earlier banned the use of loudspeakers at temples, mosques and other public places without permission and set January 15 as the deadline to remove the amplifiers.

After receiving flak from the Allahabad high court over noise pollution in Uttar Pradesh, the state government also issued detailed directives on the use of permanently installed loudspeakers at these places.

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AGENTS OF CHANGE

IDSA Renamed as Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses

The decision has been taken to honour the commitment and legacy of late Manohar Parrikar.

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NEW DELHI: The Government has decided to rename ‘The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses’ (IDSA) as ‘Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies andAnalyses’. The decision has been taken to honour the commitment and legacy of late Manohar Parrikar. It will align the vision and aspiration of the premier defence Institute with the contribution of the former Raksha Mantri and Padma Bhushan awardee.

Raksha Mantri chairs the Executive committee of the lnstitute’s society.

An epitome of integrity and dedication in public life, throughout his career, late Manohar Parrikar showed a tremendous fighting spirit, taking on the odds with fearlessness. He was Raksha Mantri from November 9, 2014 –March 14, 2017, and steered the Ministry through the tough challenges of attacks like Pathankot and Uri and responded to these with exemplary boldness.


When late Manohar Parrikar was Raksha Mantri, India witnessed a series of decisions that enhanced India’s security capacities, boosted indigenous defence production and bettered the lives of ex-servicemen.

His biggest contribution was towards the implementation of long-standing One Rank One Pension (OROP) demand for the Armed Forces.

He initiated major military reforms with the objective of having a better teeth-to-tail ratio by setting up an expert committee under Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar for enhancing combat capability and rebalancing defence expenditure.

An autonomous body under the Ministry of Defence, IDSA was established as a registered society in New Delhi in 1965, dedicated to objective research and policy-relevant studies on all aspects of defence and security.

Its aim is to promote national and international security through the generation and dissemination of knowledge on defence and security-related issues. To achieve its goals, the institute undertakes scholarly research, policy-oriented research, dissemination of research findings, training and capacity building and public education.


The IDSA has a well-qualified multi-disciplinary research faculty drawn from academia, defence forces etc., representing a diversity of views. Research at the Institute is driven by a comprehensive agenda and the need to provide impartial analyses and policy recommendations.

Since its inception, IDSA has served as a forum to debate important aspects of national and international security.

The institute conducts several national and international conferences every year and regularly holds round tables and workshops on important developments.

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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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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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