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India, S Africa agrees to expand cooperation in IT, power, tourism

News4u- News Desk-  India and South Africa, whose ties have acquired a “robust and dynamic” character, today agreed to expand cooperation in a number of fields like power, IT, health, tourism and infrastructure development.

This was stated by President Pratibha Patil after talks with her South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, who hailed her state visit as “significant”.

Patil, who arrived Pretoria yesterday on a week-long visit, was given a ceremonial welcome at the historic Union building housing the office of the South African President.

“It is even more satisfying that our bilateral relationship today has acquired a robust and dynamic character, to assume the dimension of a strategic partnership… Today’s discussions with President Zuma were wide-ranging and covered bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest,” she said.


She said India is interested in working closely with the government of South Africa to develop the Gandhi heritage sites in this country.

Extending an invitation to Indian businessmen to invest in South Africa, Zuma said his country has launched an ambitious programme of over USD 100 billion for infrastructure development by 2014.

South Africa would like to enhance cooperation with New Delhi in a number of areas especially infrastructure development, training, trade relations and tourism, he said.

To boost its infrastructure programme, South Africa wishes to enhance skills in the areas of engineering, information and communication technology, computer science, finance, economics and accounting, Zuma said.”With trade between South Africa and India increasing steadily, we should all work to reach even higher figures,” he said.


President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil

President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil
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Kudankulam row: Madras HC dismisses plea seeking lifting of prohibitory orders

News4u-News Desk-The Madras High court today dismissed a public interest petition challenging the prohibitory orders clamped in about 50 villages in Radhapuram taluk in Tirunelveli District as part of measures taken for commissioning the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice M.Y. Iqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam in their order directed the district administration to take action against those disrupting transport services and movement of essential commodities.
The High court urged the petitioners to approach the district collector on its plea seeking withdrawal of prohibitory orders which has been imposed in the area.


Kudankulam Atomic Power Station

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PM urges state govts to ensure payment to MGNREGA workers within 15 days

News4u-News Desk-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday asked the people of Haryana to return Congress to power in the state contending it needed a govt which would work in tandem with the Centre and reap the benefits of centrally- sponsored schemes.
“Only Congress government can do it,” Singh said addressing his first public meeting in poll-bound Haryana.
The Prime Minister said Congress had never played the politics of dividing the society but made efforts to take evrybody along with it.
Attributing the rise in prices of essential goods to global factors and poor monsoon, Singh assured the people that the government would be able to contain inflation after a good Rabi season.
“The most difficult period (when prices of essential commodities soared) has ended. The government will be able to contain price hike after a good produce of Rabi crop,” he said
Singh attributed the price rise to a spurt in prices of foodgrains in global market, poor monsoon causing drought-like conditions and steps initiated by the government by raising prices of farmers produce to give them maximum benefit.
He said the government had initiated steps to check black marketing and hoarding.

News4u-News Desk-Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday expressed concern over delay in wage payment to MGNREGA workers, emphasizing the need to ensure that they get it within 15 days.

“We have achieved successes in MGNREGA in last six years but there are still many challenges before us. The biggest concern is to ensure timely wage payments to workers. For this, the banks and post offices will have to increase their reach. Our effort will be to ensure that the workers get their wages within 15 days,” Dr. Singh said addressing the MGNREGA Conference 2012 in New Delhi..

“Talks about reform in MGNREGA are taking place for quite a long time. The time has now come that we implement them…We cannot ignore the complaints that are coming regarding the irregularities and corruption in the scheme,” Gandhi said.

Pitching for immediate reforms in the Centre’s flagship rural job scheme MGNREGA, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said the complaints of corruption and irregularities regarding the scheme cannot be ignored.

Gandhi said that she was happy that the CAG will also look into the expenditure under the scheme.

“Corruption in MGNREGA is a great injustice to the country and a crime in respect of the Father of the Nation after which it is named,” she said.

Gandhi said, “The delay in payment of their wages is illegal and unacceptable to us under any circumstances. We will have to ensure that MGNREGA workers get timely payment.”

Flagging the challenges ahead in the implementation of the scheme, Gandhi also pointed out, “There is unfortunately apathy towards it in some states especially those states, which are considered poor.”

In an indication that the UPA’s flagship scheme could undergo crucial changes in near future, Gandhi wondered that while MGNREA is primarily a guarantee against poverty and employment in rural areas, whether it can be also used for bringing comprehensive reform in public health or managing natural resources in a better way in rural areas.

The Prime Minister also felt that MGNREGA could play a key role in all-round development of villages.

“But for this, there will be a need to coordinate this scheme with other schemes for rural development.”

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said that the shortcomings and criticism of MGNREGA cannot be ignored and promised to bring changes and reforms shortly.

“We have already discussed the issue with the states and will be making it public by the next month,” he said.

Noting that lack of staffs lead to delays in completing the processes required for timely payment of wages to MGNREGA workers, the Prime Minister asked the states to give greater emphasis on resolving this issue.

Dr. Singh was of the view that the full potential of MGNREGA has not been exploited till now and voiced confidence that if the scheme was run properly and implemented better at ground level, this can become a model rural development scheme.

The Prime Minister said a second green revolution could be facilitated by developing land providing irrigation facilities under MGNREGA.

“We desire that small farmers and poor families in particular benefit from this scheme. Hence, we have recently decided that works related to irrigation, farming and land development can be done on the land belonging to the SC, ST and BPL people,” he said.

Singh felt the rate of development will go up in the districts, where MGNREGA is implemented, reducing the reasons for which people sometimes adopt the path of violence.

Echoing similar views, Gandhi noted that some changes should be brought in the scheme for Naxal-affected districts.

She said that panchayats, which have primary responsibility for implementing MGNREGA, were being strengthened. She said the scheme has helped arrest migration from the affected parts of the country as people were getting jobs closer to their homes.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

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Amitabh to do a cameo in ‘English Vinglish’

News4u-Entertainment Desk-agencies-New Delhi: Mega star Amitabh Bachchan will be seen doing a cameo in ‘English Vinglish’, which marks the comeback of his ‘Khuda Gawah’ co-star Sridevi. The film is being directed by filmmaker R Balakrishnan’s wife Gauri Shinde.

The 69-year-old, who has worked with Balakrishnan (Balki) before in ‘Cheeni Kum’ and‘Paa’, says he is delighted to be working with Gauri. The superstar also said he is eager to work with Balki again and is waiting for him to write a script soon.

“The film is the one being directed by Balki’s wife, Gauri ‘English Vinglish’, playing a small cameo appearance..just. And I have to say that being on set is a world and a delight of its own. This I like and enjoy .. Hurry up Balki with ‘your’ script,” Bachchan tweeted.

‘English Vinglish’ follows the story of a middle-class Indian housewife (Sridevi) who is mocked by everyone because of poor English. The film’s about her trip to the US, where she learns the language. Bachchan worked with Sridevi last in the 1992 film ‘Khuda Gawah’.

“In Pune on set with Sridevi after ages .. Perhaps Khuda Gawah! Times a going going long,” he said. Sridevi who gave hits like ‘Chandini’, ‘Mr India’ and ‘Sadma‘, will be seen on the big screen after 14 years.

Amitabh Bachchan returns in Power.

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India should exploit soft power: Shashi Tharoor

News4u-News Desk- London, India needs to do more to leverage its formidable strengths in ‘soft power’ abroad and exploit its capacity to provide global leadership in the area art of culture, according to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

Speaking at a symposium on ‘India as a soft power’ at the India Media Centre of the University of Westminster, Tharoor recalled India’s many strengths such as films, yoga, aurveda, pluralism, diversity and openness to global influences.

Originally defined by Harvard academic Joseph Nye, the idea of ‘soft power’ is the ability of countries to influence and alter other people’s attitudes by attraction rather than coercion (military means).

India, Tharoor said, already had large strengths in soft power, given its long history of ideas, diversity of language and ethnicity, films, literature, food, etc.

The Indian government, he said, needed to exploit these in a systematic manner to achieve its objectives.

Shashi Tharoor

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Govt amends Power Tariff Policy to boost clean energy usage

News4u - News Desk : In a bid to boost clean energy generation in the country, the government amended the Power Tariff Policy, which mandates states to have solar energy as three per cent of their total power purchases by 2022.

“The solar power purchase obligation for states may start with 0.25 per cent in phase I (by 2013) and go up to 3 per cent by 2022,” an official statement said.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet held inNew Delhi on Thursday, it added.
“The present amendment in the Tariff Policy is as per the National Solar Mission Strategy, which was approved by the Cabinet on 19th November, 2009,” the statement added.
As per the amendment, the power purchased by the state electricity boards or other state utilities will be complemented by solar specific Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) mechanism, through which solar power generation companies will sell certificates to the buyers.
The certificate will also help the buyers to meet their solar power purchasing obligations, the statement said.
Earlier, the Ministry of Power had asked the Cabinet to amend the tariff policy 2006, so that state electricity regulators can fix a percentage of energy purchased from solar power.
The amendment will come into effect from the date of its publication in the official gazette, the statement added.

SOLAR ENERGY

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Power companies to begin ‘power cuts’ in Rajasthan

News4u-News Desk-Jaipur, The Power Distribution Companies will tomorrow begin a phase-wise electricity cut for one to five hours daily in all the 33 districts of Rajasthan as the state is reeling under power shortage due to hot weather.

“Though the state is buying every day about 200 lakh units (LU) of power from power exchanges, but non-availability in next couple of days would aggravate the shortage,” Shailendra Agarwal, CMD of all the three power distribution companies said today.

On an average, Rajasthan requires about 1240 LU daily against 1,000 LU generated by the state’s own resources.

Power situation would be grim in the state in coming days if monsoon failed, Agarwal said.

Jaipur would face power cut for one hour in phased manner, while there would be two-hour cut in divisional headquarters, the CMD said.

Rajasthan Map

Rajasthan Map

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In Delhi Power demand soars to record high

News4u-News Desk-New Delhi, The national capital continued to reel under long power cuts with some areas facing outages for three to four hours as demand soared to record high today.

Power Department officials said the maximum demand was recorded at 4,644 mw, the second highest power demand in the city.

The power demand in the city had touched an all-time high of 4,668 mega watt last week.

Power department officials attributed the loadshedding to planned shutdown of major transmission lines as well as to local faults.

Several transmissions lines in South Delhi were closed to help PWD and other agencies carry out works related to Commonwealth Games.

Areas in South, East and North Delhi faced loadshedding ranging one to to four hours.

Delhi Map

Delhi Map

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Power cuts in several areas in Delhi

News4u-News Desk-New Delhi, Several areas in the city faced power cuts for varying duration as maximum demand remained above 4,500 mega watt for the second successive day today.

Many areas in South Delhi including Bhogal, Jungpura Extension, Nizamuddin, South Extension, Saket, Sarojini Nagar faced power cuts due load shedding for one to two hours.

Several areas in East Delhi including Dilshad Garden, Krishna Nagar, Jhilmil, Patparganj also faced load shedding.

The peak power demand had touched an all time high of 4,581 MW yesterday. Today the peak demand was recorded at 4,517 MW.

In view of increasing demand, discom BSES today appealed to its over 25 lakh customers to use electricity judiciously.

The highest demand in the year 2008 was recorded at 4,034 MW while the peak demand in 2006 was 3,626 MW.

Power cuts in several areas in Delhi

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Power cuts for two weeks in areas of South Delhi

News4u-News Desk-New Delhi, Several areas in South Delhi will face power cuts for next two weeks beginning tomorrow due to a planned shut down of a major transmission line.

A power department official said the 220-KV Badarpur-Okhla line will be closed down to carry out construction activities at the under-construction Metro depot at Sarita Vihar.

“The 220-KV line will be shut down tomorrow and it will be functional on May 18. All the areas in South Delhi, including Grater Kailas, East of Kailas, Vasant Kunj, Munirka, JNU, Okhla, Nehru Place and Tuglakabad will face power cuts due to the shut down,” the official said.

However, alternative arrangements are being made to supply power in this locality through other lines. The height of the 220-KV line will be further elevated for easy functioning of the depot.

Power cuts for two weeks in areas of South Delhi

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