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NULM scam: Government used over Rs. 1000 crore to construct only 200 houses for poor

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Supreme Court has found severe financial holes in NDA government’s scheme to construct permanent housing facilities for the urban poor under the  National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM).

Giving the government a piece of its mind, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said, “It is a big scam. Your (Centre’s) affidavit tells us everything. Where has the money gone. Affidavit shows us that no construction was done in Maharashtra. How was the Rs 170 crore granted to it utilized?”

In the last financial year, Centre had released Rs. 1,078 crore to states for constructing housing facilities for over 9 lakh urban homeless people. However, only a 208 houses were built across the country.

Funds granted to all the states were ‘utilized’ only by 14 states while no altering in the urbanscape was seen in the remaining 11 states and Union Territories. UP constructed 37 houses for Rs. 180 crore, while Maharashtra could not manage a single wall from the Rs. 170 crore it was given.

The funds released for a urban poor development scheme under NULM, in 790 cities were aimed at constructing permanent, all-weather houses for the homeless urban population.

The Centre had earlier said that executive committees have been set up in states and Union Territories and that the government would monitor the progress of the project. States and UTs were supposed to give monthly reports too.

However Centre’s enthusiasm and States’ sincerity are conspicuous by their presence on the ground, while some 10 lakh urban people continue their lives on roads, footpaths and under flyovers.

The apex body has asked the Ministry of Urban Development to submit a financial statement within two weeks. The ministry was also charged a fine of Rs. 10,000.

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)

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Thane (Maharashtra) to be assessed for implementing district cooling system

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Thane
Thane (Maharashtra) to be assessed for implementing district cooling system (Image:wikipedia)

Chennai, November 2, 2017: Thane in Maharashtra will be the first Indian city to be assessed for potential for implementation of district cooling system, said the Indian subsidiary of Danish company Danfoss A/S.

In a statement issued here, Danfoss Industries said: “As part of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, six cities in India including Thane, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Rajkot, Coimbatore and Bhopal have been chosen to explore District Energy systems.”

 “Thane – also part of the Central Government’s Smart Cities Mission – will be the first city to be assessed for its potential for implementation of the district energy system,” it said.

Simply put, district cooling is a system where water is chilled at a central place and is sent to various buildings via pipelines to cool indoor air using the air conditioning system there.

According to Danfoss, district cooling systems are energy efficient and would reduce total power consumption for cooling buildings.

The water is not for human consumption.

“With the Central Government’s vision to build 100 smart cities and the UN’s District Energy in Cities initiative, we are certain that the six pilot projects of District Cooling which are being launched today, will serve as an inspiration for the rest of the country,” Ravichandran Purushothaman, President, Danfoss Industries was quoted as saying in the statement.

“Danfoss has implemented both, district cooling and district heating technologies around the globe and we are now looking to showcase this expertise in India as well,” he added.(IANS)

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Gram Art Project: Innovative way to voice Indian Farmer’s Issues

Land art was used in Maharashtra under The Gram Art Project to voice the farmer’s ache through creativity

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A distant farm
A distant farm. wikimedia
  • The Gram Art Project, last year created a portrait of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the field, it was their way of asking him to ‘Grow in India’
  • There are many issues being faced by the community, yet they have not come together as one
  • Last year, artists from across India discussed contemporary problems of farming with the farmers of the village at the Gram Dhara Chakra Utsav

Nagpur, Maharashtra, August 4, 2017: The Gram Art Project is a praiseworthy initiative in which Land Art was used to voicing farmer’s issues. The term Land Art means, creating art which is made directly on the landscape by sculpting the land and making structures in the landscape.

It is done by using natural materials such as rocks or twigs etc. The term originated from the art movement in the U.S.A in the 1960s and 1970s.The Gram Art Project was in the news last year as well after it created a portrait of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the field, it was their way of asking him to ‘Grow in India’.

The collective has been since then involved in working with farmers and highlighting issues of the rural, agrarian economy using art in the village Paradsinga, near Nagpur, Maharashtra. Its volunteers and artists (mostly natives of the village) were present in Delhi to talk about their work.

“Last year, artists from across India discussed contemporary problems of farming with the farmers of the village at the Gram Dhara Chakra Utsav, organised by volunteers, after which seven images for land art were drawn out and grown on the fields,” said Shweta Bhattad (who initiated the project), mentioned Indian Express Report.

One of the images was grown by artist Ganesh Dhoke. He made an Indian map with a farmer and his bull inside. “India is primarily dependent on agriculture and, without it, there will be no food. People need to understand that farmers are leaving the profession and youngsters are not joining it. This message is for the government, too,” Dhoke said. He is the only youngster in his village to be a full-time farmer.

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Mumbai-based artist Kalyani Uday’s land art consisted of two adjacent pyramids, with one of them in reverse. It had a leafy legume accompanied with the slogan Kisan Ekta Zaruri Hai.

Tanmay Joshi, a volunteer said, “There are many issues being faced by the community, yet they have not come together as one. They are at the bottom of the pyramid, so we wanted to show that the reverse of the equation is possible.” Satyabhama Manjhi, an artist belonging to Odisha, created a small Land Art – the local village school and the students.

Adarsh Dhoke said that earlier many people used to urinate near that school wall, so they decided to grow a toilet seat with plants, resulting which the practice stopped. His parents are into farming but he never wanted to do the same. During his interaction with school children, other children echoed his view, though he tried to change that. “Nobody wants to pursue farming but, after I spoke to them, they started thinking about it,” he said.

Also Read: Israeli experts train Indian farmers in advanced agricultural practices to cultivate Dates in Gujarat

Gram Art Project also promotes chemical-free farming and use of native seeds in Paradsinga. The volunteers are involved in activities like building machans and providing the daily weather forecast.

Ganesh Dhoke has reached out to other like-minded people and a road was built that connects 50 fields. It made locomotion in monsoon easier. Similarly, Vednath Lohi recognized the need that there was no place for children to play. With the help of the artists, they converted a land, called Gothan, which was earlier used for bad practices like defecation and gambling and they turned it into a playground for children. Also decorated it with sustainable sculptures near which children can play.

The condition of Indian farmers is quite problematic as many farmer’s suicide due to the heavy loan’s on them which they are not capable to pay off or poor financial condition in general. So, initiatives like this are a positive step towards highlighting farmer’s issues.

– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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