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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Hitachi India Limited and Siemens Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the capital today to form a consortium that would create pilots and replicate them throughout the country for setting up 100 smart cities. The MoU was signed on behalf of Hitachi by their MD, Mr. Ichiro Iino and MD, Siemens Ltd, Mr. Sunil Mathur and DG, CII Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee in the presence of DIPP Secretary Mr. Amitabh Kant.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Amitabh Kant said that while cities occupy only 3 % of the total geographical area of the world, they contribute nearly 80% of GDP and 2/3rd of global emissions. Hence, there was a challenge to do urbanisation in an innovative and systematic manner.

The much awaited Smart Cities project which was declared last year is likely to be rolled out next month. NDA government had last year declared the mission of creating 100 Smart Cities across the nation based on better technology, superior management and modern governance.

Minister of Urban Development M.Venkaiah Naidu on Monday had said that the two new major initiatives in the urban sector – development of Smart Cities and the New Urban Development Mission for 500 cities will take off next month. He announced about the project while speaking at a Symposium on Smart Cities on Monday. He informed that the necessary approvals for these two new schemes would be obtained at the earliest so that they can take off the ground next month.

Smart Cities being a transformative new initiative required extensive consultations with all the stakeholders including the states, urban local bodies, related central ministries, real estate developers and experts including architects, designers, urban planners etc. Four rounds of consultations were held with the states to sensitize them to the challenges of making the cities smart and urban governance reforms to be implemented.

On how a smart city is different from a city in which smart things happen, the Minister said a three-fold approach was taken. Explaining them, he said, “Retrofitting and redevelopment of unsustainable urban areas that we have inherited and identified for development as smart cities, and development of new smart cities.”

“We want smart cities to be developed to take advantage of and further evolve around their core economic activity, using it as an economic engine, like port cities, tourism cities, healthcare and educational cities,” he added. However, Naidu said the selection of the Smart City will be strictly on the basis of the criteria laid out by the government and no other consideration, including political ones, will be taken into account.

Basic urban services and amenities will be provided under the New Urban Development Mission for 500 cities while projects of wider impact based on area development would be taken up under the Smart Cities scheme. The Urban Development Minister while elaborating on the Government’s vision of urban development said that the Government is committed to enable sustainable and inclusive urban development to promote societal progress and economic opportunities for all.

Venkaiah Naidu has expressed concern over the unsustainable urban practices in the country. He said the urban sector initiatives are intended to promote efficient use of urban land, water and electricity to ensure that urbanization does not benefit the rich alone.

The Minister noted that architects have an important role to play in promoting sustainable urbanization through effective planning of physical spaces that promote living in harmony with the nature. Referring to the limited incentivisation of green construction, Naidu noted that it was time to consider if green planning could be enforced through mandatory regulation.


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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Clean and maintained hands boost confidence in daily life activities.

If you feel that clean and well-groomed hands are just an essential prerequisite for women, you might like to think twice. Men should equally pay attention to their hands because our hand houses 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of its skin. You can easily assume what havoc it can create in our body because in India we have the culture of eating with our hands and spaces beneath nails can become breeding heaven for germs. Moreover, clean and maintained hands boost confidence in their daily life activities. Therefore, it's important to keep your hands clean irrespective of your gender by washing or sanitizing at regular intervals. And, to keep them groomed, you don't have to visit a salon.

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