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Current Affairs - 14 August 2016

General Affairs 

Indian Railways loses Rs 2 crore due to violence in Jammu and Kashmir
  • While train operation in the Kashmir region is proving to be white elephant for the Indian Railways, ongoing unrest in the Valley has made things worse. The Railways has been suffering huge revenue loss in operating trains in the Kashmir region even as the trains have been running at full occupancy.
    The Railways has been spending nearly Rs 80 crore annually on operation and maintenance of 137-km rail network between Banihal and Baramulla. On the other hand, it earns a meager Rs 3 lakh daily from passenger fares. Annually railway's earning in Kashmir valley is nearly Rs 10 crore and thus a loss of Rs 70 crore per year to the national transporter.
    But while the cash-strapped Railways is struggling against high operational cost, violence that erupted in the region after killing of terrorist Burhan Wani has caused a loss of over Rs 2 crore to the Railways. A number of railway properties were damaged which forced the authorities to suspend train operations in the Valley since July 9. Since there is no train operation, its only source of income - the sale of tickets - has also stopped.
    The situation aggravated after violent protests in the region, particularly South Kashmir where Wani operated. "Train operation in Kashmir has been suspended in wake of widespread violence and damage to railway properties. Situation has aggravated in valley for railways as several signals, rail tracks and railway properties are being damaged by protestors," said a railway ministry official.
    The official said that the crowd attacked the rail installations at several places in South Kashmir - from where deadly violence originated - and to avoid any untoward incident the service was suspended.
    Sources said that the angry protesters attacked the railway installations at multiple places in south Kashmir including at Panjgam, Malangpora, Pampore and Hillar. The protesters at Kakapora attempted twice to set ablaze the local station but the paramilitary personnel deployed there foiled the attempts by using force against them.
    Officials said railway network remains to be a prime target of terrorists and anti-India elements in the region which requires heavy deployment of security paraphernalia.
    A large deployment of J&K police, Railway Protection Force (RPF), Government Railway Police (GRP), paramilitary forces and Indian Army personnel is made at railway stations and other prominent establishments. Accordingly salary and other expenses for these security arrangements have to be borne by the railways.
    "Railways incur nearly Rs 80 crore on train operation in Kashmir region as against the daily income of Rs 3 lakh. Nearly 40 percent of the amount goes to the salary of railway and security staff. Additional security arrangements have to be made during unrest in the valley," said Northern Railway CPRO Neeraj Sharma.
    Another major expenditure is incurred on fuel cost and maintenance of rail coaches. Since trains in the region run on diesel, it proves to be costlier than electricity cost. However, maintenance and repair of the rail cars is also an expensive affair. Railway officials said the nearest maintenance facility for DEMU trains is available at Lucknow and hence trains have to be transported by road to Lucknow.
    In some other cases, the repair and maintenance are carried out in Banihal for which the entire system has to be transported to the Kashmir valley
    The rail line in Kashmir Valley was constructed in a phased programme with the railways steadily commissioning sections between Anantnag and Mazahom in October 2008, the Mazahom-Baramulla section in February 2009, and subsequently 18 km-long section between Quazigund to Anantnag in October 2009, completing the 119 km Qazigund-Baramulla railtrack.
    The commissioning of the Pir Panjal Tunnel and the opening of Banihal-Qazigund railway section has brought about greater connectivity of Jammu to the Kashmir region. At present 15 pairs of DEMU services ply on the rail sections providing all-weather connectivity in the region.
    The train as a public mode of transportation has been quite popular since introduction with the railways subsequently augmenting the passenger carrying capacity of the DEMU trains.

Kejriwal reiterates demand for Delhi's statehood
  • In his first public comments after his 10-day meditation break, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday reiterated his demand for full statehood of Delhi.
    Addressing a meeting to mark unveiling of a statue of Delhi's first Chief Minister, Chaudhry Brahm Prakash, Kejriwal also made an oblique criticism of a Delhi High Court ruling that has given Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung primacy in the affairs of the administration in the capital.
    The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader quoted the late Brahm Prakash's son as saying that his father fought doggedly to secure statehood for Delhi.
    Key highlights
    1. "We are also fighting for statehood," Kejriwal said. "We are also fighting for the rights of the people."
    2. The Chief Minister said the decision to make the Lt. Governor the supremo in Delhi was an insult to the people of Delhi and the choice they made in the February 2015 assembly elections.
    3. "Why should it be that the value of a vote in Haryana is more than in Delhi? This is an insult to the people of Delhi. We too are part of this country. But our vote has no value," he quipped.
    4. Underlining the development work being done by the AAP government, Kejriwal said that providing better education and health facilities were the main focus of his government.
    5. "We are focusing more on health and education because we feel that better education of our children will help in the development of our nation."
    6. He said the government would open 1,000 Mohalla Clinics by the end of this year and that 100 of them were already functional.
    7. "We want to construct 10 big hospitals across Delhi but the DDA (Delhi Development Authority) is not providing us land even though we are ready to pay for the land," he added.
    8. Kejriwal said a naturopathy centre would be opened at the Chaudhry Brahm Prakash Ayurveda Charak Sansthan in outer Delhi.

Why call it "PM crop insurance scheme" when states also pay for scheme, questions Nitish Kumar
  • Two after implementing the PM Crop Insurance Scheme in the state, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has targeted the Central government for naming the scheme after the Prime Minister when the states also had to pay for the said scheme.
    Speaking at the occasion of Kushwaha Rajnitik Chetna Manch event in Patna, Bihar CM lashed out at the Central government's  PM Crop Insurance Scheme asserting that the said scheme was only going to benefit the insurance companies and not the farmers.
    Key highlights
    1. Bihar government had refused to implement the scheme in the state this financial year, however, after last minute meeting between the state Cooperative Minister Alok Mehta and Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh ensured that the scheme was implemented in the state too.
    2. The Bihar CM said that the Central government would be paying Rs. 650 crore for implementation of the scheme in Bihar and similar amount will be pumped in by the state government too. In this case, Nitish questioned as to why this scheme be named after the Prime Minister. He said that the Central government was a master at publicizing schemes and make it appear as if only Centre is funding this scheme in Bihar and other states.
    3. "This scheme will only benefit insurance companies. Bihar government has implemented this scheme in Bihar as it was a central government scheme but it only on a trial basis at the moment. Since both Centre and Bihar government will pay Rs. 650 crore each for this scheme, why call it PM Crop Insurance Scheme ?", questioned Nitish.
    4. The Bihar CM said that the name of the scheme should be changed and be renamed as Centre-State-Farmer Crop Insurance Scheme as all were stakeholders in the said scheme.
    5. "The government at the Centre is master in garnering publicity. They are "Mahagyanis". However, what we do never gets publicized. The name of the scheme should change as State was also funding the scheme", said Nitish Kumar.
    6. Bihar government which notified the PM Crop Insurance Scheme couple of days back can enroll farmers for the scheme till 31st August.

Sushma Swaraj meets Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, discusses NSG, Masood Azhar
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today met her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, who is on a three-day visit to India to brief Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the G-20 summit that's scheduled for September and will be hosted by China.
    This was the first meeting between the two countries after China blocked India's membership.
    "Lengthy discussion was held on India's NSG membership. Swaraj outlined the importance of meeting our clean energy goals in the context of COP-21. She offered to discuss any technical issues China may have. It was agreed that the DGs of Disarmament of the two countries would meet soon," official sources said.
    At the NSG plenary held in Seoul in June this year, China blocked India's bid for membership on the ground that a country joining the 48-member group should be a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
    According to External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, the discussions were positive, constructive and held in an open spirit.
    He said progress in bilateral ties was reviewed, as also challenges on some recent issues.
    "Positive assessment of expanding investments, more infrastructure cooperation, easier visas, greater tourism and expanded cultural, academic and civil society interactions," the spokesperson said.
    The issue of China vetoing India's bid to put Pathankot airbase attack mastermind and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar on the UN terror list also came up for discussion.
    Swarup said that China was urged to revisit its technical hold in line with its own professed zero tolerance towards terrorism.
    Sushma Swaraj also conveyed to Wang India's concerns on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
    "The situation on the border was reviewed and further steps to strengthen peace and tranquility were discussed," Swarup said.

    It was also agreed to set up a new mechanism at the level of Foreign Secretaries to discuss ties.
    Regional and international issues including the implications of Britain's exit from the European Union, the situation in Korean Peninsula, UN Security Council reforms and forthcoming G20, East Asia and BRICS summits were also on the agenda.
    "South China Sea was not brought up by China," Swarup said.
    An international arbitration tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague ruled on July 12 that China violated the Philippines' rights in the South China Sea, one of the busiest commercial shipping routes in the world.
    The court accused China of interfering with the Philippines' fishing and petroleum exploration, building artificial islands in the waters and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.
    The tribunal held that fishermen from the Philippines had traditional fishing rights in Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea and that China had interfered with these rights by restricting their access.
    The court held that Chinese law enforcement vessels unlawfully created a serious risk of collision when they physically obstructed Philippine vessels in the region.
    China is locked in disputes over the Spratly and Paracel groups of islands in the South China Sea with other countries of the region.

Modi's call resonates in Pakistan's Balochistan, activists appeal to PM to take the matter to UN
  • A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the diplomatic fight to Pakistan over abuse of human rights in Balochistan, activists in the Pakistani province on Saturday welcomed the stand. At an all-party meet on Kashmir held on Friday, Modi had said that it was time when Pakistan is exposed for its atrocities on its own people in Balochistan and suppression in PoK.
    The Baloch National Movement leader Hammal Haider Baloch said, "We welcome PM Modi's statement to support freedom movement of Balochistan. This is the first time ever that an Indian PM has expressed his wish to support the Baloch people. It is a very crucial decision."

    In response to Modi's indictment of Pakistan for bombing its own people in Balochistan, Haider further added, "The Baloch people share common interests with India. We are secular and believe in democratic principles. Pakistan butchers Sindhi political activists and supports religious groups which are threat to the world."

    Another very prominent voice of Baloch movement Naela Qadri Baloch, who is World Baloch Women's Forum president, has expressed hope that India will raise Balochistan issue at the UN. She said, "We the people of Balochistan are suffering. We hope that you raise this issue in the UN session in September."
    Pakistan has been actively fomenting trouble in the Valley directly as well as through non-state actors. Islamabad has raised Kashmir issue on all the international fora accusing Indian security forces of violating human rights of people. Pakistani establishment openly praise terrorists operating in Kashmir. Intelligence agencies have found some evidence of cross-border support even in the ongoing wave of social unrest in the Valley.

    To counter Pakistan's covert support to terrorism on Indian soil, PM suggested a counter-strategy of exposing Pakistan for its deeds in Balochistan. He also asked the External Affair Ministry officials to establish a channel of communication with the people of PoK living anywhere in the world. With enthusiastic response from Baloch leaders, Modi seems to have hit the bull's eye.

Business Affairs 

Even as the government pushes for a more 'predictable' tax regime, corporate tax disputes continue to rise
  • On March 30, 2016, two Mumbai tax officers raised a demand of Rs 10,000 crore, which included a hefty interest component for late payment, with State Bank of India, alleging that the public sector bank had not complied with its advance tax commitments. The bank obliged the tax department on the same day, but also sent an accompanying letter detailing its advanced tax payments for the fiscal.
    The taxmen acknowledged the receipt of the letter, conceded their oversight (faulty record keeping) and processed the refund of Rs 9,500 crore on April 1. In the Indian tax system, this would have gone down as 'routine' and not something to make a hue and cry about. However, essentially, the taxmen were playing the system to meet their collection targets for the financial year 2015/16. The arrangement worked well for them - the Rs 10,000 crore figure went down as part of the tax collected for the fiscal in department records, and the refund two days later would be recorded as part of transactions for 2016/17.
    It could very well have slipped through the cracks if not for the revenue secretary, who detected three large refunds totalling over Rs 20,000 crore in April 2016. A probe was ordered into the incident. The two tax officers were transferred. This led to protests by other tax officers in Mumbai.
    The incident brings to fore the pressure of 'targets' under which tax officers work and the frivolous nature of tax demands. It also points to one of the major worries for the department - the large number of disputes and pending cases at different levels of adjudication.
    Frivolous tax demands by the department have, in fact, been a big concern for businesses, both domestic and MNCs, over the years. Some of the tax disputes, especially those involving international players, have not only given India a bad name, but have unnecessarily held back large sums in legal wrangles causing great loss to both businesses and the government.
    The Problem
    The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that at the end of 2014/15, the amount stuck in different tax disputes (direct and indirect taxes) at different levels of adjudication and appeals were worth Rs 7.7 lakh crore. Of these, disputes related to direct taxes alone accounted for Rs 6.15 lakh crore. A big chunk of direct tax cases - involving Rs 3.84 lakh crore, which was almost on par with the government's revised revenue deficit for the fiscal - was pending before the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeal) in 2014/15. In the first half of 2015/16, the amount had gone up to Rs 5.67 lakh crore, says a CAG report.
    While our legal system is very slow in disposing off tax-related disputes, even at the CIT (A) level the pendency rate is very high. In 2014/15, out of the 306,000 cases pending before the CIT (A) only 74,000 were disposed off - the highest in five years. Cases pending before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) for the fiscal were worth Rs 1.45 lakh crore, followed by the Supreme Court at Rs 46,500 crore and high courts (Rs 37, 600 crore).
    Experts says many cases that come before the CIT (A) are repetitive and despite precedence and Supreme Court guidelines, the same assessment errors are committed year after year. This results in a large number of cases going against the revenue department. "The errors are repetitive and the main problem is lack of supervision from senior officers," says Himanshu Sinha, who served the Indian Revenue Services (IRS) for more than a decade, and is now Partner, Direct Taxes, in law firm Trilegal.
    The poor success rate of the department, especially in cases of direct tax disputes, also speaks volumes. Between 2011/12 and 2012/13, 50-60 per cent of cases before tax tribunals and courts, leading all the way up to the apex court, went in favor of taxpayers, while the revenue department got favourable verdicts in 10-25 per cent of cases. Sinha, in fact, pegs the failure rate of the revenue department at 70-80 per cent and says that 95 per cent of the losses are because the cases are weak. Only 5 per cent are lost because of the quality of legal representation.
    The Cause
    The revenue department has often been criticised for making wrong and aggressive demands leading to unnecessary tax disputes. While most experts attribute this to the tax officers' lack of understanding of evolving business models, proper guidance and unrealistic targets, insiders point to a deeper malaise. Says Sunil Agarwal, Senior Taxation Partner, at AZB & Partners, and a former ITAT counsel: "The (unwritten) instruction from the CBDT is that if an assessing officer is not sure about the assessment and there is a possibility of an error, he or she must err in favour of the department."
    This, says Agarwal, is to cut down on the possibility of not taxing something that should have been taxed, because the department does not have remedial measures, and may even be reprimanded by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the executive for an error. "There are powers of reopening the cases but those powers come with a lot of conditions and limitations," he adds. During an audit, the CAG has the power to raise objections and ask the department why a particular transaction was not taxed, based on its calculations. The tax department is entitled to respond to the CAG audit, but counter arguments are often dismissed by the auditor general. As a consequence, these reported anomalies find a place in the annual Public Accounts Committee report placed before the Parliament, where the executive has the right to ask for an explanation and even initiate civil or criminal proceedings against the erring officer for causing loss to the exchequer. Given the risks, a tax officer usually plays safe and raises demands even if he is not sure about the assessment. On the other hand, say experts, the taxpayer has multiple channels to get the assessment rectified.
    The government's penchant for retrospective changes in tax laws has further added to the number of disputes. Vodafone and Cairn Energy tax disputes are cases in point, where India could have been spared of negative publicity.
    Solution at Sight?
    Mounting tax disputes and slow disposal of cases make India a difficult tax jurisdiction. But the government has been working towards creating an environment where not only are disputes minimised, but the judicial processes are also expedited. The committee headed by retired judge R.V. Easwar has already come out with a set of recommendations to simplify the regime, and the government has accepted most. There's more to come.
    Since July 2014, the Income Tax Department has issued 23 circulars to help tax officers become more efficient and approach cases with more clarity. The apex court, too, played its part by constituting a special bench to hear only tax cases and deposed 197 cases in 2015. The special bench is likely to continue hearing cases this year as well. The government has also come up with a direct tax dispute resolution scheme to clear pending cases before CIT(A) and cases involving tax demand due to retrospective changes in laws. The revenue department is hopeful that a lot of people may come forward and pay their dues to settle disputes.
    While such one-time measures may be effective, concerted efforts to change the way the tax department thinks and works will be key to bringing down tax disputes and high pendency rates. However, if the government is serious about its 'ease of doing business' initiative, technology will have to play a major part to overhaul the Indian tax assessment system.

    Mistry looks at a Larger Play in Europe
    • Cyrus Mistry, chairman, Tata group on Friday said that Tata Steel UK is in discussion with strategic players in the steel industry for potential joint venture. A day before, Germany's Thyssenkrupp AG said it is continuing discussions with Tata Steel for a potential joint venture in Europe. "We are focused on developing a sustainable business in Europe. In this context, we look at a larger strategic play and are in discussions with companies, the government and other stakeholders," said Mistry in response to a shareholder query at the annual general meeting (AGM).  It is potential to improve the performance with new investments in steel making and rolling facilities as well as restructuring in the UK, he added.

      The growth in Europe is expected remain low in this financial year amidst uncertainties like Brexit referendum, migrant crisis and local geopolitical tensions, he said in his speech. "In the last financial year, the European market faced challenges including significant third party import, especially to the UK, sharp drop in the spread between steel and raw material prices and volatile currency movements. The adverse operating environment in Europe deeply impacted the consolidated financial performance of Tata Steel UK," he explained. The company has focused on higher value products than volume in the UK in the last financial year and it lead to 13 per cent drop in production. "The Netherlands business generated the bulk of the operating earnings in the last financial years for European business… The European business launched 30 new products in the last year," said Mistry. 

      At the Indian business, the steelmaker is undertaking a programme to structurally enhance the business through operational improvement, right sizing of manpower, improvisation of employee productivity and new product development. "In the next couple of years, the new Kalinganagar plant will be the key growth driver for the company. The combination of Jamshedpur and Kalinganagar plants will enable us to enhance the product portfolio and customer footprints," he noted.  

      Mistry pointed out at the importance of supply side discipline, which is critical for the health of the steel industry. "As the world adjusts to the structurally lower commodity prices, the consolidation of the steel industry would remain a key thing, especially in geographies where demand is unlikely to go up in the near future." He added that Tata Steel's Indian business is the foundation of the whole business. "The Indian business' growth was strong because of automotive and special products sale. The branded products and retail sales contributed to 35 per cent of the sales last year. Tata Tiscon, the largest brand of Tata in India, registed highest sales with 13 per cent growth. Retail customers increased to around 30 lakh households across India," he said.  

      "We are getting used to an unpredictable and dynamic market environment. The current fiscal will not be any different from the previous year. In India, the economic growth is projected to remain strong as low inflation and government growth stimuli will benefit the overall economic development. The GST bill is an important step towards stable economic environment. Having said that we must not forget the weakness in financial sector as well as global macro economic risks which pose serious threat to the India growth story," he added.  Earlier, Tata steel was looking to sell the bleeding UK assets after the cheap Chinese dumping turned it unviable.

      Kent forays into car purifier market
      • To tap the growing demand for air-purifiers for cars in the country, water purifying company KENT RO Systems Ltd. has launched KENT MAGIC purifier priced at Rs 7,999.
        India is one of the fastest growing markets for purifiers largely because of deteriorating air quality as major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune have high pollution levels and are ranked among the most polluted cities in the world. According to TechSci Research report, India's air purifiers market is likely to reach Rs 1,500 crore by 2021.
        Commenting on the launch, Mahesh Gupta, Chairman, KENT RO Systems said, "We set out to create a product that enables a healthy and comfortable air environment in all vehicles. In India, the typical car commuter spends more than 5-6 hours a day in his car. Since vehicular emissions and in-car pollution contribute heavily to air pollution as well as several health hazards, this smart device can effectively diminish the impact of air pollution."
        MAGIC is a smart device that silently cleanses the air inside the car. It is capable of removing dust, allergens, chemicals, viruses, odours, and other air pollutants from your car based on the High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) dust collection technology from Japan. It also has an inbuilt ioniser that keeps the air fresh and has carbon filters to neutralise unpleasant odours.

        Increasing air pollution across the country due to expanding vehicle fleet size is leading to higher emission of harmful particulate matter. Various institutional places such as embassies, hospitals, corporate office, government buildings, schools and colleges, etc., are major demand generators for air purifiers in the country. The rising number of tourists that grew at a CAGR of over 7.3 per cent during 2010-2014 has also been driving demand for air purifiers from the hospitality sector in the country.

      Investors seek clarity in Grasim-Nuvo merger
      • Billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla's plan to merge Aditya Birla Nuvo with Grasim has drawn flak from the stock market as the share prices of both the companies fell on Friday in the initial trade by 25 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively.
        The complexity of the holding-company-structure is the major worry for the investors, though it will create Rs 60,000-crore company.
        Nuvo, which is primarily an incubator for nurturing new businesses of the Aditya Birla Group, has businesses like financial services, retail, textile, urea and insulators under its fold.
        In addition, it holds 23.26 per cent stake in Idea Cellular. Grasim also holds a stake (4.75 per cent) in Idea along with other group companies Hindalco and Birla TMT.
        The major holding of Grasim is its 60.25 per cent stake in the 90 million tonne a year cement-making company, UltraTech. Textile and chemicals are the other businesses in Grasim.
        Birla is looking to unlock value through demerger of the financial services businesses. The group had already spun off fashion and carbon black businesses in the past as part of value unlocking. The new entity is expected to help merging similar businesses like textile and caustic soda, which comes under Grasim and Nuvo, say officials. Under the unified Grasim, the businesses are expected to complement each other, sharing the financial resources.
        Retail shareholders say that they don't want to take positions in unknown businesses. "The merger will create a company with exposure in cement, telecom, financial services, textile, retail and chemicals. This is a bundle of manufacturing and services businesses, which is hard to understand. The holding company business is not well understood in the Indian market," says an investor.
        Some are saying the purpose of the merger is also unclear. "Will the companies share their respective financial resources?" they ask.

        The merger of the cement businesses under UltraTech in 2009 was one of the major restructurings in the Aditya Birla group. Similarly, groups like Vedanta, Bajaj, Godrej and Reliance restructured their companies several times for value unlocking, consolidation of assets and simplification of structure. 

        Indiabulls Housing to raise borrowing limit to Rs 1.25 lakh crore
        • Indiabulls Housing Finance plans to raise company's borrowing limit to Rs 1.25 lakh crore, from the existing Rs 1 lakh crore to carry on the growth momentum.
          The shareholders of the company at their Annual General Meeting held in September last year had approved a borrowing limit up to Rs 1 lakh crore.
          However, in order to sustain growth of company's business, substantial funds are required to be raised by it from various banks, institutions, corporates, entities etc which may exceed the limit earlier approved by the shareholders, the company said in a regulatory filing today.
          "It is therefore proposed to increase the borrowing limit of the company from Rs 1,00,000 crore to Rs 1,25,000 crore," it said.
          The company will seek approval from its shareholders at the 11th AGM scheduled for September 8, 2016.

          Among other businesses enlisted for shareholders' approval include passage of a special resolution for issuance of non-convertible debentures or other hybrid instruments on a private placement basis to raise capital.

        General Awareness

        Smart Ganga City Scheme Launched in Ten Cities

          • Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti and Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu launched Smart Ganga City Scheme in 10 cities located along Ganga to set up Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and improve drainage.
            The 10 Cities:
            The Scheme bound 10 Cities
              • These cities has been chosen by the National Mission for Clean Ganga where the programme will be established in the first phase for infrastructure development for sewage treatmenton hybrid annuity mode on public private partnership basis.
              • While addressing launching function the Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti said district level mentoring committees will be constituted to monitor the speedy implementation of Namami Gange programme.
              • The first phase only covers ten cities and more cities would be added in the future also involvement of district administration and municipal body is key to success of this program.
              Namami Ganga Programme:
              • Namami Ganga Yojana is an ambitious Union Government Project to clean and protect the Ganga River in a comprehensive manner.
              • In the maiden budget Union Finance Minister ArunJaitley announced an integrated Ganga development project titled Namami Ganga and allocated Rs.2,037 crore for this purpose.

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