Monday, August 29, 2011

Capitals, Governors and Chief Ministers of States


States CapitalsGovernorsChief Ministers
(1) Andhra PradeshHyderabadMr. E.S.L.NarasimhanMr. N.Kiran Kumar Reddy
(2) Arunachal PradeshItanagarGen. (Retd.) J. J. SinghMr. Jarbom Gamlin
(3) AssamDispurMr. J. B. PatnaikMr. Tarun Gogoi
(4) BiharPatnaMr. Devanand KonwarMr. Nitish Kumar
(5) ChhattisgarhRaipurMr. Shekhar DuttDr. Raman Singh
(6) GoaPanajiMr. K. SankaranarayanMr. Digambar V. Kamat
(7) GujaratGandhinagarDr. Kamla BeniwalMr. Narendra Modi
(8) HaryanaChandigarhMr. Jagannath PahadiaMr. Bhupinder S. Hooda
(9) Himachal PradeshShimlaMs. Urmila SinghMr. Prem Kumar Dhumal
(10) Jammu and KashmirSrinagar (Summer) Jammu (Winter)Mr. N. N. VohraMr. Omar Abdullah
(11) JharkhandRanchiDr. Syed Ahmed Mr. Arjun Munda
(12) KarnatakaBengaluruMr. Hans Raj BhardwajMr. DV Sadananda Gowda
(13) KeralaThiruvananthapuramMr. M. O. H. FarookMr. V. S. Achuthanandan
(14) Madhya PradeshBhopalMr. Ram Naresh YadavMr. Shivraj Singh Chauhan
(15) MaharashtraMumbaiMr. K. Sankaranarayan Mr. Prithviraj Chavan
(16) ManipurImphalMr. Gurbachan JagatMr.Okram Ibobi Singh
(17) MeghalayaShillongMr. R. S. MooshaharyMr. Mukul A. Sangma
(18) MizoramAizawlMr. Vakkom PurushothamanMr.Lalthanhawla
(19) NagalandKohimaMr. Nikhil KumarMr. Neiphiu Rio
(20) OrissaBhubaneswarMr. M. C. BhandareMr. Naveen Patnaik
(21) PunjabChandigarhMr. Shivraj V. PatilMr. Parkash Singh Badal
(22) RajasthanJaipurMr. Shivraj V. Patil (Acting)Mr. Ashok Gehlot
(23) SikkimGangtokMr. Balmiki Prasad SinghMr. Pawan Chamling
(24) Tamil NaduChennaiMr. K RosaiahMs. Jayalalithaa
(25) TripuraAgartalaMr. D. Y. PatilMr. Manik Sarkar
(26) UttarakhandDehradunMs. Margaret AlvaMr. Ramesh Pokhriyal
(27) Uttar PradeshLucknowMr. B. L. JoshiMs. Mayawati
(28) West BengalKolkataMr. M. K. NarayananMs. Mamata Banerjee

Russia successfully test-launches ballistic missile


Russia on August 27 successfully test launched its Bulava inter-continental ballistic missile to its maximum range of 8,000 km, in a boost to the country's defence capabilities.

The missile was fired successfully by the White sea-based Russian nuclear submarine Yuri Dolgoruky, the Defence Ministry said.
The successful launch of the Bulava came after a string of setbacks suffered by this programme.
Only eight of its previous 15 launches were officially declared successful.
"The regular launch of the missile was conducted at 7:20 am Moscow time from a submerged position from the regular carrier in line with the state flight development tests at a maximum flight range of the missile," a defence ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by Russian news agency Ria Novosti.
The missile successfully reached its target in the Pacific Ocean in accordance with the necessary shipping security measures, the spokesman said.
The successful test of the missile was reported to President Dmitry Medvedev by the defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
The Bulava, expected to become Russia's main naval strategic missile, is capable of carrying 10 warheads with a range of 8,000 km.
The first test launch from the Yuri Dolgoruky was conducted on June 28, 2011. Before that the missiles were fired from the typhoon-class Dmitry Donskoy submarine.
The three-stage missile is specifically designed for deployment on Borey class nuclear submarines.

India-South Africa CEOs forum


Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and his South African counterpart Rob Davies will interact with leading corporate bigwigs of the two countries at the second India-South Africa CEOs Forum being held in New Delhi on August 29.

The forum is headed by Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata from the Indian side and African Rainbow Minerals Executive Chairman Patrice Motsepe from South Africa.
The first meeting of the forum took place in Johannesburg in August, 2010.
In an official statement, Sharma said the two countries occupy similar positions in the global economic order and it was necessary for both of them to strengthen bilateral ties.
"Also, the fact that both our governments are faced with similar socio-economic imperatives, it would be most appropriate for our governments and industry to step up bilateral cooperation, intensify knowledge-sharing and jointly address developmental issues," he said.
The two ministers will also have bilateral discussions, the statement added.
During the first meeting, the business leaders of both countries discussed in detail the opportunities and challenge that bilateral investment and trade offered and the bottlenecks that were hampering India-South Africa business ties.
The forum had also agreed to jointly explore business opportunities in Africa in diverse fields such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, food processing, automobiles, components, biotechnology, information technology, telecommunications, infrastructure, roads and railways.
Apart from Ratan Tata, other prominent Indian corporate leaders that are part of the forum are Mahindra & Mahindra Vice Chairman and Managing Director Anand Mahindra and Marico CMD Harsh C Mariwala, among others.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

NASA to launch moon mission in September


NASA’s discovery mission programme — GRAIL — is making final launch preparations for its Sept 8 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the space agency announced.
The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory twin spacecraft are tasked for a nine—month mission to explore Earth’s nearest neighbour in unprecedented detail.
They will determine the structure of the lunar interior from crust to core and advance our understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon, Xinhua reported.
The spacecraft twins, GRAIL A and B, will fly a circuitous route to lunar orbit taking 3.5 months and covering approximately 2.6 million miles (4.2 million km) for GRAIL—A, and 2.7 million miles (4.3 million km) for GRAIL—B.
“GRAIL will unlock lunar mysteries and help us understand how the moon, Earth and other rocky planets evolved as well,” said Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
GRAIL’s launch period opens Sept 8 and extends through Oct 19.

Hurricane Irene drenching U.S. Atlantic coast

Irene’s sustained winds  are blowing at 80 mph (129 kph) with higher gusts and the storm is moving north-northeast at 16 mph (26 kph). It’s expected to pick up speed. Hurricane warnings extend north to Nantucket, Massachusetts. A tropical storm warning extends all the way to the south coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.
The National Hurricane Center says Irene will be moving over cooler waters but is still expected to stay a hurricane until landfall again near Long Island, New York.
The storm has knocked out power to at least 1.8 million customers from North Carolina to New Jersey.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Urban Poverty

The Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja has said that as per the Planning Commission estimates 25.70% urban population were below poverty line in the year 2004-05. A Statement showing State-wise percentage of urban poor is at Annexure-I.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha today she said, Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has not received any suggestion from the World Bank regarding urban poverty.

She said, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation is implementing scheme of Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) aimed at providing gainful employment to the urban unemployed and under-employed poor, through encouraging the setting up of self employment ventures by the urban poor living below the poverty line, skills training and also through providing wage employment by utilizing their labour for construction of socially and economically useful public assets. Also, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (Basic Services to the Urban Poor and Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme components), aimed at providing basic amenities and affordable to the urban poor, especially slum dwellers is being implemented since December, 2005.

Kumari Selja said, the Government has recently launched a new scheme called Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) for the slum dwellers and the urban poor. This scheme aims at providing support to States that are willing to provide property rights to slum dwellers.

            She said, statements showing state-wise fund sanctioned/ released and spent under Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana and Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) and Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) components under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission implemented by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation during each of the last three years and current year are at Annexure-II, III & IV respectively.

Housing for Weaker Sections


The Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja has said that the Government launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) on December 3, 2005 to assist States/Union Territories to take up housing and related infrastructure projects for the urban poor / slum dwellers.  Under the Sub-Mission Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP), Additional Central Assistance (ACA) is provided to 65 select cities of national importance for undertaking affordable housing and basic amenities viz. security of tenure at affordable prices, improved housing, water supply, sanitation and ensuring delivery through convergence of other already existing universal services of the Government for education, health and social security to the urban poor including weaker sections of the society.  Similar facilities are also provided in other cities/ towns under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP). 

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha today she said, as a part of policy initiative under JNNURM, the Government launched a scheme of Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP) as a part of BSUP with an outlay of Rs. 5000 crores for construction of 1 million houses for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)/Lower Income Group (LIG)/Medium Income Group (MIG) with atleast 25% for EWS category across the country. 

She said, in pursuance of the Government vision of creating Slum-free India, a new scheme of Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) has been launched on June 2, 2011. The scheme aims at providing Central support to States that are willing to assign property rights to slum-dwellers. AHP has now been dovetailed into Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY). A minimum of 12% beneficiary contribution is stipulated under BSUP, IHSDP and RAY, which in the case of SC/ST/BC/OBC/PH and other weaker sections is 10%. State/UT-wise details of the number of houses completed and allotted to urban poor/slum dwellers during last three years and the current year under BSUP and IHSDP are at Annexure.



Financial Inclusion Necessary for Inclusive Growth

Financial inclusion is necessary for inclusive growth. To extend the reach of banking to those outside the formal banking system, the Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee in his Budget Speech 2010-11 had stated that the Government has decided to provide appropriate banking facilities to habitations having population in excess of 2000 (as per 2001 census) by March, 2012. Accordingly, 73,000 such habitations across the country have been identified and allocated to Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks, Private Sector Banks and Cooperative Banks for extending banking services by using the services of Business Correspondents and other models, with appropriate technology back up by March, 2012.

According to Dr. Rangarajan Committee Report on Financial Inclusion (2008), the reach of rural cooperatives in terms of number of clients and accessibility is better but the health of a very large population of rural credit cooperatives has deteriorated significantly. RBI guidelines on KYC (Know Your Customer) are similar to both Commercial Banks and Urban Cooperative Banks.

Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) affiliated to District Central Cooperative Banks and State Cooperative Banks were having a deposit base of Rs.26,245 crore as on 31.3.2009 that increased to Rs.35,286 crore as on 31.3.2010 registering an increase of 34.45%. The loans issued by such Primary Societies (PACS) were of the order of Rs.58,787 crore as on 31.3.2009 and Rs.74,938 crore as on 31.3.2010 registering an increase 27.47% over the previous year.

Translocation of the Cheetah in India

The Wildlife Institute of India, has short-listed three sites, viz, Shahgarh area in Rajasthan, Kuno Palpur and Neoradehi Sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh, as possible habitats for reintroduction of cheetah. A consultative meeting on Cheetah reintroduction in India was held in Gajner, Rajasthan on the 9th and 10th September 2009 which was attended by conservation organizations including International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other International Cheetah experts, apart from Central and State Government officials. sources for the Cheetah relocation, along with the cost of such relocation have not been finalized.

Campaign for Protection and Welfare of Elephants

The Ministry had constituted a “Task Force on Project Elephant” to recommend measures for a more effective conservation and management regime for elephants in India. The Task Force submitted its report in 2010.One of the recommendations of the Task Force is to reach out to the people to improve conservation and welfare prospects of the elephant. In this direction, the Ministry, in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has launched the nationwide ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ campaign by unveiling the campaign mascot, logo and website of the campaign during the Elephant-8 Ministerial Meeting held in New Delhi on 24th May 2011. Other details of the campaign have not been finalized. No amount has been allocated for this campaign and the Government has not incurred any expenditure so far.

Establishment and Maintenance of Seed Bank

The Ministry of Agriculture is presently implementing a component on "Establishment and Maintenance of Seed Bank" under the Scheme "Development and Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities for Production and Distribution of Quality Seeds". The objective of the component is to meet requirement of seeds during natural calamities and unforeseen conditions. The Government also provides assistance under various schemes for seed production, distribution, certification, quality control and related components for ensuring timely availability of certified quality seeds.

West Bengal State was Renamed Paschim Banga

The West Bengal government and the opposition parties on 19 August 2011 unanimously decided to rename the state Paschim Banga. A committee proposed the shortlisted new names for West Bengal at an all-party meeting. The committee comprised of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee and opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra. The name of West Bengal would be Paschim Banga, both in English and Bengali.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gujarat set to increase mangrove cover by 120 sq km


Gujarat’s environment and forests department is aiming to bring an additional area of 120 sq km along the state’s coastline under mangrove cover by the end of the financial year 2011-12.
“We aim to carry out plantation of mangroves in 120 sq km area by the end of this year. This will increase the mangrove cover in Gujarat from the present 1,080 sq km to 1,200 sq km,” said Additional Chief Secretary, Environment and Forests, Dr S K Nanda.
The plantation would stretch along the 1,600 km coastline of Gujarat, he said.
At the meeting of the State Wildlife Board (SWD) last month, Chief Minister Narendra Modi had stressed on the need of taking up a mangrove conservation drive in right earnest, sources said.
He had asked the forest department officials to focus on two projects: Biodiversity Wildlife Conservation and Integrated Coastal Area Mangrove Protection.
Gujarat’s mangrove cover is the second largest in the country, after West Bengal.
The Gujarat Ecology Commission is also actively participating in the plantation drive. It has helped in regeneration of mangrove forests through a community-based approach.
According to the Forest Survey of India - 2009, the highest mangrove cover in Gujarat is found in Kutch district (775 sq km), followed by Jamnagar (157 sq km) and Bharuch(42 sq km).
The coastal districts of Surat, Valsad and Navasari in south Gujarat have the lowest mangrove cover.
Mangroves comprise several salt-tolerant plant species that grow along the inter-tidal zones of rivers and seas, or estuarine habitats and river-deltas.
They perform a vital role in nutrient recycling, coastal protection and fish breeding. They also provide firewood, timber, fodder, fruit, medicinal herbs, etc.
Mangrove forests are considered to be the most productive and bio-diverse wetlands on the earth, Dr Nanda said. The species can survive in hostile environment and exhibit a variety of adaptations, he said, adding they keep the marine-ecology healthy.
But at present, mangrove forests are considered to be among the most threatened habitats in the world.

World’s longest periscope developed for Kalpakkam reactor


A 10-meter long periscope, indigenously developed for a nuclear reactor at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) in Kalpakkam and claimed to be the longest in the world, was dedicated to the nation today.
The Rs. 3.9-crore periscope, manufactured by city-based Visual Education Aids (P) Ltd (VEA) in collaboration with IGCAR and others, was handed over to Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (Bhavini), Kalpakkam, by IGCAR Director S.C. Chetal.
The periscope is the longest in the world and would be used in the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor to view objects inside the reactor during maintenance.
VEA Director J Balu said the periscope, to be taken to Kalpakkam soon, can be remotely operated and also has motorised facilities for scanning the area of interest and image zooming and rotation.
The Applied Spectroscopy Division, Division of Remote Handling and Robotics and Centre for Design and Manufacture of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) Mumbai were also involved in the two-year long project, Mr. Balu said.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Indian Golf Team won Bronze in a Team Event at 48-year old Nomura Cup in Fiji

An amateur Indian golf team won bronze in a team event at the 48-year old Nomura Cup in Fiji on 19 August 2011. The competition witnessed participation by teams from 18 countries. The Indians edged past golf powerhouse and defending champions Korea by five strokes for the third place on the final day. They finished at a four-day total of 865, and 5-under on the final day.

India’s Khalin Joshi, who also finished tied third in the individual category, saved the day for his team with a 4-under 68 as teammates Faldo Series Asian champion Abhijeet Chaddha, reigning All-India winner S Chikkarangappa and Angad Cheema shot average scores. The best of three scores were counted every day for the team total.

The victory at Fiji came a fortnight after Indian golfers bagged silver at the Asia-Pacific Junior Championships.

Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award-2010

Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award for the year, 2010 have been announced today. The Selection Committee has chosen the following three individuals for conferment of the prestigious award. The Award carries a cash prize of Rupees One lakh and a citation to each awardee.

1. Smt. Mira Kagti, Assam- she has established Shishu Sarothi in 1987 for providing education, rehabilitation and training services to the children suffering from Cerebral Palsy and persons with disability. At present her Institute caters to around 800 children and their families to cope with and manage their children`s special needs.

2. Dr. S.A. Thasleem Sulthana, Andhara Pradesh-She is doing service to the orphaned and mentally handicapped children, and working for the welfare, rehabilitation of mentally retarted, hearing impaired, visually challenged and physically challenged children.

3. Dr.Mallika Nadda, Himachal Pradesh-She is a leading social activist in Himachal Pradesh. She founded Chetna, at Bilaspur a civil society initiative with a vision to integrate physically and mentally challenged children. She provides voluntary services and , material in kind, equipments, surgery intervention support, clothing etc. to the children.

In pursuance of the Government of India’s policy to support and promote voluntary action in the area of Child Development/Welfare, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India instituted the “Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award for Service to Children” in 1994 to honour individuals who have made outstanding contribution towards the cause of children.

The Award was instituted on 20th August,1994, the 50th Birth Anniversary of the late Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi who had deep love and concern for children.

Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award is conferred on three individuals who make outstanding contribution in the field of Child Protection, Child Development or Child Welfare for over ten years. The selection for the award is made each year by a National Selection Committee.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

US credit rating was downgraded to AA+ from AAA

The US credit rating was downgraded to AA+ from AAA by Standard and Poor’s on 5 August 2011. This can increase the cost of borrowing for the US and setting off more panic selling in stock markets. This is the first time that Standard and Poor issued a negative outlook on the US government since it started rating the credit-worthiness of railroad bonds in 1860. The rating may be cut to AA within two years if spending reductions are lower than agreed to, interest rates increase or new fiscal pressures result in higher government debt.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chhattisgarh to have 9 New Districts

Chhattisgarh will have 9 new districts with effect from January 2012, taking the  total number of districts in the state to 27. These districts will be Sukma, Kondagaon, Gariabandh, Balodabazar, Balod, Bemetera, Mungeli, Surajpur and Balrampur. 
This was announced by the  Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on 15 August 2011 while addressing the people on the occasion of the Independence Day at the police parade ground in Raipur. This step will be a mile stone in the administrative history of the state.

Jharkhand State Government Launched Dal Bhat Scheme on Independence Day

Jharkhand state government on 15 August 2011 launched the Dal Bhat scheme under which lunch will be given to a poor person at Rupees 5. To execute this scheme, 100 food centres in all the 24 districts were opened. Under the dal bhat scheme a person will get 200 grammes of rice, pulses and chokha. The food centres will be run by NGOs and monitored by the district administration. According to an estimate, half of Jharkhand’s three crore population falls under the Below Poverty Line.

Astronomers Discovered Largest and Farthest Reservoir of Water

Two teams of astronomers discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe.The water in the reservoir is equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world’s ocean. The water surrounds a huge feeding black hole, called a quasar more than 12 billion light years away.

 A quasar is powered by an enormous black hole that consumes a surrounding disk of gas and dust. Astronomers studied a quasar called APM 08279+5255. This quasar harbors a black hole 20 billion times more massive than the sun and produces as much as energy as a thousand trillion suns. The water vapour was expected to be present in the early distant universe. There is water vapour in the Milky Way but 4000 times less than in the quasar. It is because most of the Milky Way’s water is frozen in ice.

TrES-2b: Darker than Any Planet or Moon in our Solar System

Astronomers discovered that the planet named TrES-2b was darker than any planet or moon in our solar system. This planet reflects less than one percent of the sunlight falling on it. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft was used by the astronomers to make this observation.

TrES-2b was discovered in 2006 by the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey. It orbits its star at a distance of only three million miles. The star heats TrES-2b to a temperature of more than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. TrES-2b orbits the star GSC03549, which is located about 750 ligh-years away. It can be observed near the constellation Draco.

Environmental Damage

In a recent study carried out by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IITD) under the aegis of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to assess the environmental pollution of 88 industrial clusters (indicating combined effect of all industries in the area) in different parts of the country, the internally generated Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) using the same methodology indicate that the pollution level of the coal mines are much lower compared to the total pollution level of the clusters identified by CPCB. 
The Minister said that it is pertinent to mention here that the Environment Management Plan (EMP) for each project is prepared taking into account the likely impact on environment, ground water, human beings etc which involves the holding of Public Hearing with the stake holders and the officials of the State Government concerned. The EMP is finalized addressing the issues raised by the Stake holders and placed for approval of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Project proponents have to comply with the conditions laid by MoEF while according environment clearance. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Skill Development Centres

The Government of India has initiated a Pilot Project namely Youth Employability Skill (YES) Project with the objective to enhance the employability of youth by running a variety of employable skills based training courses through recognized Vocational Training Providers (VTPs) for nearly 1000 rural youths and 7000 youth club members in the States of North Eastern Region. The skill training would be provided by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) through its partner agency. A training programme of three months duration in Rural Retail Sales & Marketing with Information Technology and Personality Development has already been started in July, 2011 in Manipur.

Indian Universities under United Nation Programme

The United Nations Academic Impact is an initiative open to universities and other institutions of higher education and research worldwide which undertake activities in support of the mission and mandates of the United Nations. The new initiative aims to promote a culture of intellectual cooperation, serving as a point of contact for ideas and proposals relevant to the United Nations mandate, and foster direct engagement by institutions in programmes, projects and initiatives for the realization of the Millennium Goals and other United Nations objective. About 50 Indian institutions have joined UNAI so far.

UNAI gives active support to 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution, which are based on the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Millennium Development Goals target.

18th Ladakhi Kisan-Jawan-Vigyan-Mela

The impounding silence of the valley was broken by the sounds of drums and trumpets with joyous chats of people as Leh woke up to celebrate the 18th Ladakhi Kisan-Jawan-Vigyan-Mela organized at Leh by Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), earlier known as Field Research Laboratory (FRL) here today. DIHAR, a DRDO lab situated at an altitude of 3,500 meters above MSL (mean sea level), the world’s highest located agro-animal laboratory, famous for its pioneering work in developing and propagating wide range of high altitude agro-animal technologies in Ladakh region, holds the event annually. This year the event assumed all the more significance as DIHAR is celebrating its Golden Jubilee year with dedicated service to the Nation. In addition to DIHAR, technologies/ products/services related to high altitudes from other DRDO labs, various units of armed forces/paramilitary forces and industry were on display. The mela, which, true to its name, has become the symbol of unique synergy among the Armed forces, the local Ladakhi people, especially farmers and the DIHAR scientists, was attended by over 15,000 people that included over 2500 personnel of armed forces, farmers, entrepreneurs, students and women and children.

National Culture Fund

Minister for Culture and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja has said that the details of monuments in the country taken up for protection and conservation under the National Culture Fund (NCF) are at the Annexure-I

The quality of work in any conservation project is not dependent on the source of funding.  Efforts are always made to ensure that the projects comply with acceptable quality standards.

The proposals received by ASI for protection of ancient monuments and archaeological sites for declaration as of national importance under Section 4 of the Ancient Monuments, Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 is annexed as Annexure-II.
Annexure I
The details of the monuments in the country taken up for protection and conservation under National Culture Fund (NCF)

S.No.
Name of the Monument
Year in which taken up the project for protection and conservation
Name of the Corporate/Organisation

1.
Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi.
1999
Agha Khan Trust and M/s. Oberoi Group of Hotels.
2.
Shaniwarwada Palace, Pune
2001
Pune Municipal Corporation, Pune
3.
Jantar Mantar, New Delhi
2000
M/s. Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Ltd.
4.
Pardesi Synagogue Clock Tower, Cochin.
2001
World Monuments Fund, New York.
5.
Group of Monuments at various parts of the country:
Sun Temple, Konark, Kanheri Caves, Mumbai,  Group of Temples Khajuraho,  Archeological remains at Vaishali and Kolhua, Warangal Fort, Warangal
2001
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Indian Oil Foundation (IOF).

6.
Taj Mahal, Agra.
2001
M/s. Indian Hotels Company Ltd.
7.
Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
2003
Archaeological Survey of India and World Monuments Fund, New York.
8.
Lodhi Tomb, New Delhi.
2006
M/s. Steel Authority of India Ltd., New Delhi.
9.
Lauriya Nandangarh Chanki Garh and Rampurwa in West Champaran District of Bihar.
2007
M/s. Bokaro Steel Plant
10.
Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur.
2008
M/s. State Trading Corporation.
11.
Wazirpur-Ka-Gumbad, New Delhi.
2008
M/s. PEC Ltd. New Delhi.
12.
Krishna Temple, Hampi.
2008
Hampi Foundation and World Monuments Fund, New York.
13.
Hidimba Devi Temple, Manali.
2008
UCO Bank, Chandigarh Branch.

14.
Alambazar Math, Kolkata.
2008
National Culture Fund and Alambazar Math, Kolkata.
15.
Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur.
2009
M/s. Nauras Trust, Bangalore

16.
Group of Monuments:
Mandu (MP),
Group of temple,  Jageshwar (Uttarakhand), Archeological sites, Lalitgiri/Dhauli (Odisha)
2009
M/s. NTPC Ltd.


17.
Ancient Shiv Mandir, Ambernath.
2010
M/s. Nagrik Seva Mandal, Ambernath.
18.
Ahom Monuments, Assam.
2010
M/s. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). 
19.
Hazardurai Palace, District Murshiradabad, West Bengal.
2010
State Bank of India, Kolkata Branch.
20.
Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram.
2011
M/s. Shipping Corporation of India Ltd.


Annexure-II

List of monuments/sites identified for consideration to be declared as of national importance in the country

S.No.
Name of Monument/site with Locality/District
Name of State

1.         
Ancient Site at Juni-Karan, Kutch
Gujarat
2.         
Palace building near Firozshah Palace and Tehkhana, Hissar, District Hissar.
Haryana
3.         
Group of Temples at Haradib, District Ranchi
Jharkhand
4.         
Shahpur Quila, Shah-pur, District Palamu
Jharkhand
5.         
Navratanagarh Fort and Temple Complex, Gumla
Jharkhand
6.         
Tiliagarh Fort, Sahebganj
Jharkhand
7.         
Fort and Jain RockCut sculptures at Koluha, Hill, Chatra
Jharkhand
8.         
Janardana Temple, Panamaram, Waynad, District Waynad
Kerala
9.         
Vishnu Temple, Nadavayal District Waynad
Kerala
10.    
Fortification wall of Daulatabad Fort, Aurangabad
Maharashtra
11.    
Old High Court Building, Nagpur, District Nagpur
Maharashtra
12.    
Fort, Ginnurgarh, District Sehore
Madhya Pradesh
13.    
Biranchi Narayana Temple, Buguda
Orissa
14.    
Group of Temples at Ranipur Jharial, District Bolangir
Orissa
15.    
Sita Ram Ji Temple, Deeg, Bharatpur
Rajasthan
16.    
Rambagh Palace, Deeg, District Bharatpur
Rajasthan
17.    
Jamwan Ramgarh Fort, Jaipur, District Jaipur
Rajasthan
18.    
Bala Qila in Alwar and a step well in Neemrana in Alwar
Rajasthan
19.    
St. Thomas Church, Dehradun, District, Dehradun
Uttrakhand
20.    
Excavated Site, Sringaverapura, District Allahabad
Uttar Pradesh
21.    
Nauseri Banu Mosque and Chowk Masjid, Kella Nizamat, District Murshidabad
West Bengal
22.    
Archaeological Site (Sakeesena Mound), Mogalbari, District Paschim Medinapur
West Bengal
23.    
Khwaza Anwar Ber (Nawab Bari), District Barddhaman
West Bengal
24.    
Brindaban Chandra Temple and Radha Damodar Temple District Bankura
West Bengal
25.    
Motijhil Jama Masjid, Murshidabad
West Bengal

National Monuments Authority

Minister for Culture and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja has said that the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010, which came into force on 30 March, 2010, provides for the establishment of a National Monument Authority.  The Authority shall consist of:-

(a) A Chairperson, on whole-time basis, to be appointed by the President, having proven experience and expertise in the fields of archaeology, country and town planning, architecture, heritage, conservation-architecture or law;
(b) Such number of members not exceeding five whole-time members and five part-time members to be appointed, on the recommendations of the Selection Committee referred to in section 20G, by the Central Government, having proven experience and expertise in the fields of archaeology, country and town planning, architecture, heritage, conservation-architecture or law;
          (c)  the Director General as member, ex officio.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha today she said, the National Monuments Authority shall discharge the following functions:-

(a) make recommendations to the Central Government for grading and classifying protected monuments and protected areas declared as of national importance   under section 3 and 4, before the commencement of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation)Act, 2010;

(b) make recommendations to the Central Government for grading and classifying protected monuments and protected areas which may be declared after the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010, as of national importance under section 4;
           (c)  oversee the working of the competent authorities;
(d)   to suggest measures for implementation of the   provisions of this Act;
(e) to consider the impact of large-scale developmental projects including public projects and projects essential to the public which may be proposed in the regulated areas and make recommendations in respect thereof to the  competent authority;
(f)   to make recommendations to the competent authority for grant of permission.

          The Minister said, the establishment of the National Monuments Authority shall be notified as soon as the first whole-time or part-time Member is appointed from among various professionals identified.   This is a time consuming process in view of several sequential steps that need to be taken.   Since there is no provision in the Act to consider grant of any permissions except on the recommendation of the National Monument Authority, only preliminary scrutiny and preparatory work is being undertaken by the Competent Authorities, at this stage.

Census of India 2011 – A Story of Innovations

Indian Census is the single largest source of a variety of statistical information on different characteristics of the people of India. It is the most credible source of information on demography, economic activity, literacy and education, housing & household amenities, urbanisation, fertility and mortality, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, language, religion, migration, disability and many other socio-cultural and demographic data.

With a history of more than 130 years, this reliable, time tested exercise has been bringing out a veritable wealth of statistics every 10 years, beginning from 1872 when the first census was conducted in India non-synchronously in different parts.

The recently concluded Census 2011 is the 15th National Census of the Country in the unbroken series since 1872 and the seventh after Independence. It is remarkable that the great historical tradition of conducting a Census has been maintained in spite of several adversities like wars, epidemics, natural calamities, political unrest etc. Very few countries in the world can boast of such a glorious tradition. 

The responsibility of conducting the decennial Census rests with the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India (ORGI) under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, which includes conceptualization, planning and implementation of the Census operation in the country. The organization has field offices in all the States and Union Territories (except the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu, which are attached to the office at Gujarat). The field officers are headed by the Directors of Census Operations, who are responsible for the conduct of Census in their respective jurisdictions.

Methodology


The Census of India is conducted once in a decade, following an extended de facto canvasser method. Under this approach, data is collected on every individual by visiting the household and canvassing a single questionnaire over a period of three weeks. The count is then updated to the reference date and time by conducting a Revision Round. In the Revision Round, any changes in the entries that arise on account of births, deaths and migration between the time of the enumerators visit and the reference date/time are noted down and the record updated.

            Census 2011 has been conducted in two phases. In the first phase, known as Houselisting and Housing Census, each building, house and other structures were systematically listed and numbered. Besides, useful information on use of the house, amenities available to the households, if residential, and assets owned by them was collected. This exercise, held between April to September, 2010 in different States/Union territories was used to draw up a frame for the second phase of Census 2011, known as Population Enumeration held in February 2011.

In the second phase, the Population Enumeration exercise was held throughout the country from 9th to 28th February 2011. During this period, about 2.7 million Enumerators visited about 240 million households collecting information on every person living in these households. On the night of 28th February, 2011 the Houseless population was enumerated. Thereafter, a Revision Round was conducted to update the population with reference to the Census Moment, i.e., 00:00 hours of 1st March, 2011 by updating information on births and deaths occurring in the households.

Innovations Adopted

India had witnessed unparalleled change in terms of growth in population, economic development and adoption of new technology, particularly in the filed of Information Technology in comparison to the previous decades. This offered an opportunity to reassess each stage of census taking and modify the procedures taking into account the availability of resources and their optimum utilization. From planning to execution of the Census Operation, innovation was the key word. The objective was to ensure full coverage of the area and the population without omission or overlapping, collection of quality data without any prejudice and bias and to quickly process the data to make it available in the public domain for use before it becomes obsolete.

            Following are some of the steps taken in this direction: 

Complete and Unduplicated  Coverage of Population-While undertaking census operation, a key aspect is to ensure complete coverage of the geographic area of the country without any omission or duplication. This requires the updating of jurisdictional boundaries of all the administrative units from States to the Villages/Towns. Towards this end for use in Census 2011, information on changes in the jurisdiction of the administrative boundaries of 35 States/Union Territories, 640 districts, 5,924 sub-districts, 7,935 towns and 6,40,867 villages were meticulously collected along with official notifications and maps. Each of these changes was recorded in the digitized maps using latest GIS software. In addition, the Census Organization has completed preparation of detailed digital maps of 33 capital cities of the country based on satellite imagery. These maps show detailed layout of buildings, houses, other structures, road network and important landmarks and were used in Census 2011.

Quality of Content


            Designing the Census Schedules- Two types of Questionnaire, known in Census as Schedules, are canvassed for the two phases of Census. In Census 2011, the work of designing the Schedules was entrusted to the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad which came up with brilliant designs, which were easy to use, aesthetically developed, easy to scan and comparable to the best in the world. The Schedules had several unique features like Bar Code, Unique Form Number and drop-out color from a standard palette. All these helped in collecting quality information and better inventory management, a nightmare in the past. These features have greatly enhanced the processing of data.

            Training- One of the most critical elements in Census is the training of the field Enumerators who collect information. Unless the 2.7 million functionaries are clear about the concepts and methodology, the quality of data collected will suffer. For the first time support of the NGOs was taken in imparting training in local languages. In Census 2011, a three-tier training hierarchy was put in place with National Trainers (90 in number) at the country level, Master Trainers Facilitators (725) at the State level and Master Trainers (54,000) at the District level. It was the responsibility of the Master Trainers to train 2.7 million Enumerators/ Supervisors at the grass-root level, a ratio of just 50 Enumerators per Master Trainer. The Instruction Manual was substantially improved by incorporating suitable illustrations and examples. In addition, Training Guides showing minute to minute agenda was prepared for use by the trainers at each stage of training. The Guide not only focused on elaborating concepts and methodology in Census but also covered such aspects as communication, rapport building etc. One important addition to the basket of training aids was the introduction of e-Learning modules on important census concepts, where animation characters representing Enumerators and Respondent(s) were shown actually delivering the dialogues and asking questions.

            Publicity Campaign in Census 2011- For any large scale operations like Census Operations to succeed, undertaking adequate publicity campaign is an important element. Adequate sensitization of the people is a pre-requisite, as Census aims to collect personal information on each individual residing in the country at the time of Census. It is also important to focus on proper enumeration of such critical aspects as gender and disability in the population. In absence of adequate in-house expertise, the work of devising the entire campaign was assigned to reputed advertising agencies in the country with support from the UN Agencies. Elaborate campaign was planned and executed by using mass media, public outreach and digital media to achieve the objectives. The basic modules in Hindi were translated in 12 languages for use in different parts of the country. The media plan was prepared using the latest reports available on reach of media in different parts of the country using different modes on a scientific basis.

Census in School Programme- To sensitize school students about the Census 2011, an innovative programme was introduced throughout the country, where specially prepared and attractively designed School Kits were sent to about 60 to 80 schools in each of the 593 districts in the country. Each School Kit contained a letter from the Census Commissioner, India to the Principals of these schools requesting them to sensitize the students about the ensuing Census 2011 and also about the importance and utility of Census. Special attention was paid to the students of Class VI, VII and VIII for whom special lessons were sent on different subjects. The Census Commissioner, India also requested the Principals to designate one week in January 2011 as Census Week to develop awareness about Census 2011.

            Gender Sensitization- Even though gender had been a prominent cross-cutting priority in 2001 Census, data related to female count, marital status, female headed households, female disability and female work-participation has continued to suffer from undercount or under-reporting. The 2001 census enumerated several villages/ districts that had reported very few women, very low female literacy and no female worker. To ensure collection of accurate information, an attempt was made to integrate gender issues into various stages of census taking by identifying gender critical districts, which had low sex ratio (less than 900); low female literacy (less than 30%) or low female work participation rate (less than 20%) on the basis of 2001 Census. In this way 262 Critical Districts were identified for focused attention and training. Special steps were taken to appoint additional Master Trainer Facilitators to sensitize the Enumerators on gender issues and train them in collecting authentic information. Special Data Sheets and Posters were prepared and displayed at each training class to sensitize the Enumerators on the poor status of women with reference to these three critical indicators. Extra effort was also made during the publicity campaign to sensitize the people to provide correct information about women and the girl child at the time of enumeration.

            Using Social Networking Websites-With the overwhelming popularity of the social networking sites among the youth today, for the first time, in Census 2011, a conscious effort was made to reach them directly. Census 2011 Group was created on Facebook and Twitter in the first week of February 2011 and regular posts were made initially informing the visitors about different facets of Census in general and Census 2011 in particular inviting their support in spreading the message on Census. Within a short time, a large number of persons, mostly from the younger sections of the population, became members and actively posted views on the wall. The experience was quite satisfactory as most of the posts complimented the efforts while a few pointing out about not being covered in Census 2011. Immediate action was taken to redress their grievances. The site was also used for disseminating information on Census 2011 extensively. At present, there are more than 20,000 members on this Group. Similarly on Twitter as well, the members welcomed the new initiative.  The Census Commissioner, India was awarded Exceptional Achievement  for  innovative use of social media in the country’s biggest governance exercise.

            Community Volunteers- This was a unique initiative in some North Eastern States where Civil Society Organisations joined hands with the Directorates to not only spread awareness but actually take part in the conduct of the Census. This has had a significant impact in these States and has greatly enhanced the participation of the general people in the Census.

Time bound completion of field operations and timely release of data.

            Using State of the Art data recognition technology in data capture and data processing-  The Census Office has always been in the forefront in the adoption of the latest data processing technology in the processing of census data. At 2001 Census, for the first time, a major technology change in the vital activity of data extraction recorded on the Census Schedule and creating associated computer data files was introduced, so as to fully computerize the subsequent data processing activities in generating output tables for use. India was the only large country in the world to have used this technology in 2001 Census. In the new technology used, the Census Schedules were scanned using high speed duplex scanners and information read using ICR technology. When the Census Office adopted this technology in India, it was considered a risk by many as the technology had been used only by a few small countries and not tested for a large country. This innovation by the Indian Census not only saved time and money but allowed accurate capture of data as well. Another major benefit in adopting this technology was that it allowed the Census to tabulate the entire data on a 100% basis rather than on a sample basis as was the case till 1991 Census. Using the ICR technology not only saved time for data capture and data tabulation thus ultimately making it available to the users early, but also was very cost effective saving public money.

Despatch and delivery of Census material-In Census 2011, approximately 340 million Census Schedules, 6 million Instruction Manuals, and other printed materials in 18 languages were used. The despatch and delivery of these Census materials weighing about 2000 metric tons, printed in the right language(s) from about twenty printing presses located in different parts of the country and delivering them to about 17,000 locations in each tehsil in the country was a logistic nightmare. After the operations, the filled-in Schedules were to be collected and delivered to the 17 Data Scanning Centres and the 33 Census Offices. This job of collection, delivery and return collection was given to Indian Posts which used their Logistic Post Service to deliver the material in each tehsil in the country, safely and securely and in time. With their expert services, the India Posts were able to complete the work in  time satisfactorily.

            Public Grievances and Monitoring-A Call Centre was set up to receive complaints from the public on various issues relating to Population Enumeration. Located in Pune, the facility was extended in 14 languages throughout the country. The complaints on non-coverage and other issues were quickly resolved with support from the local Census Offices. The Call Centers facility was also used to monitor the progress of enumeration work by directly contacting the Supervisions. At the conclusion of the Population Enumeration exercise, they have been assigned the job of Post Enumeration Survey (PES) in four metro cities.

            Outsourcing of non-critical activities-Undertaking the Census Operation requires planning and execution of a wide array of activities, some demanding serious application of mind and some simply involving logistics and infrastructure. The scale of operations in all cases, however, was gigantic, due to the geographic spread and absence of adequate infrastructure in the country. It was decided at the planning stage itself to outsource non-critical activities in Census 2011 to allow Census Officials to focus more on Census related activities than managing logistics.

Adoption of Green Technology.

Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India supervised and monitored the progress of the Census Operations through video conferences with all the 640 District Collectors every week. The video conferencing technology saved huge amount of money which otherwise would have been necessary if the supervision team practically travelled to all the places or issued instructions through letters or correspondences.

Availing Call Centre facility to address public grievances during census helped in spreading green technology.

Cost

The cost of Census taking in such a large country as India is enormous. In Census 2011, about Rs 2200 crore was spent from the Central Budget during the two phases of Census, i.e., Houselisting and Housing Census held from April to September 2010 and the Population Enumeration held in February 2011. The amount spent was quite low as compared to the world average. According to the 25th Population Conference organized by the UN Statistical Division held in Seoul this year, the average cost of Census taking in the world is estimated as $ 4.6 per person. In India, the cost was less than $ 0.5 per person in Census 2011.

The heroines and heroes of Census 2011 have undoubtedly been the 2.7 million enumerators and supervisors who have spared no efforts to complete the arduous task in time.  Three weeks to cover a vast and diverse country like India – a task looked at with awe by the world, but accomplished by these humble women and men with sincerity and devotion to duty. The Nation is proud of them and we salute each one of them for their hard work, perseverance and patience.