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Modi in Paris: India launches solar alliance and reminds rich nations of ‘green’ promises

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Paris: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an alliance of some 120-odd nations here on Monday to tap solar energy better and asked the rich nations to shoulder their responsibilities in protecting the environment, with funding and transfer of clean technology to poor and emerging economies without further delay.

Today, when the energy sources and the excesses of our industrial age have put our planet in peril, the world must turn to Sun to power our future, the prime minister said at the alliance launch event with French President Francois Hollande.

“This is an alliance that brings together the developed and developing countries, governments and industries, laboratories and institutions in a common enterprise,” he said, offering to host this initiative in India, providing the requisite land and also making a contribution of $30 million for the proposed secretariat.

During his various engagements at the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties (COP-21) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and side events, Modi said India has done its bit by targeting 175 GW of renewable energy in seven years, and said the world must also act with urgency, led by rich nations.

“The entire world, 196 nations, have come together to shape the future of this world and the health of our planet,” he said.

We want the world to act with urgency. We want a comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement, which must lead us to restore the balance between humanity and nature, and between what we have inherited and what we will leave behind,

At another event on innovation also attended by President Hollande, US President Barack Obama and Bill Gates, among others, Modi said it was imperative to make renewable energy much cheaper and more reliable, and the conventional sources cleaner, while developing newer sources that are green.

Our innovation initiative should be driven by public purpose, not just market incentives, including on intellectual property. That also means strong public commitment by suppliers to developing countries. That will make clean energy technology available, accessible and affordable for all.

The prime minister, who landed here on Sunday, also held bilateral talks with Presidents Hollande and Obama, as also Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, besides an unexpected brief meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“India will work closely with the US on ‘Mission Innovation’,” he assured Obama, referring to the initiative to dramatically accelerate public and private involvement on cutting-edge technologies to address climate change, provide affordable clean energy and create commercial opportunities in this area.

Among his other engagements, the prime minister opened the India pavilion at the convention to showcase the country’s commitment towards renewable energy and climate change while also seeking to demonstrate that the world also needs to look beyond to focus on climate justice.

“India’s progress is our destiny and the right of our people. But we must also lead in combating climate change,” said Modi, while assuring 40 percent of India’s installed energy capacity from non-fossil fuels by 2030.

We have a target for renewable generation of 175 gigawatt by 2022. We have got off to a good start, with nearly 12 GW likely to be installed by 2016, more than three times the current capacity,

India has already submitted for the consideration of the conference, what is called the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions sought from the 196 member states of the convention, offering to cut its emission intensity by 33-35 percent by 2030.

So, we approach the negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in a spirit of partnership — which must be based on the principles of equity and common, but differentiated responsibilities,

Alluding to what the rich nations needed to do to protect the environment, he made it clear that a pact reached in Paris must be one of partnership, where resources and technology are shared with poor and developing economies, so as not to deprive people who live between want and hope.

He also launched at the India Pavilion a coffee table book, entitled “Parampara”, with Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal.

Modi was also due to unveil a book authored by him on innovations, “Convenient Action”, and attend an innovation summit.

Ahead of the summit, the prime minister had sought to remind the developed world, through an article in The Financial Times of London, that it has a moral imperative to lead the fight against global warming.

“Principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be the bedrock of our collective enterprise. Anything else would be morally wrong,” he wrote, adding: “Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow.”

(Inputs from IANS)

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PM Narendra Modi: Government bringing Stringent Consumer Protection Law

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Prime Minister Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a speech. IANS

New Delhi, October 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the government was in the process of enacting stringent legislation aimed at protecting consumers along with setting up a Consumer Protection Authority (CPA).

“Consumers’ protection is this government’s priority. We are in the process to bring a new law on consumer protection keeping in mind the need of the country and business practices here,” Modi said at an International Conference on Consumer Protection for East, South and South-East Asian Countries.

“We are in the process of forming a Consumer Protection Authority, which will have executive powers, for immediate redressal.”

The rules were being streamlined to solve consumer problems in less time and at less cost, he added.

“The stress is being given on consumer empowerment. Strict provisions are being contemplated against misleading advertisements,” Modi said.

He said India was among the few countries which had enacted a law a year after the UN adopted guidelines on consumer protection in 1986.

The Prime Minister also said the prices of commodities were set to go down and consumer protection for their interest effects due to the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Due to the GST, the competition among companies was going to increase. So prices will go down. It will help consumers from lower middle class and poor sections,” Modi said.

“Earlier, transportation by trucks would take five days but it has come down to just three three days now as checkposts on borders have vanished after the GST. It means transportation cost has gone down. This is going to be transferred to consumers,”

Taking a dig at those opposed to the GST, he said: “Some people may be taking advantage of the lack of awareness. However, the benefits will be transferred (to consumers) in days to come.”

Talking about the conference, Modi said: “It shows how seriously we take the needs of our citizens and how we strive hard to solve their problems”.

“It is the first conference in the region, where everyone is trying in their own ways to save the interest of consumers. However, we have to keep in mind that the world is going towards a single market,” Modi said.(IANS)

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Tillerson’s Visit to India Highlights Strong Emerging Alliance

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting at the Prime Minister's residence in New Delhi. VOA

The United States pledged its commitment to deepening strategic ties with India as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders in New Delhi during a visit that highlighted their strong emerging alliance.

Combating terrorism and expanding India’s role in helping Afghanistan’s development were key issues discussed by Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Tillerson, who arrived in the capital city after stops in Kabul and Islamabad.

At a news conference after the talks, Tillerson extended an assurance that “in the fight against terrorism, the United States will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with India. Terrorist safe havens will not be tolerated.”

The top U.S. diplomat visited the region after the Trump administration unveiled a new South Asia strategy calling on India to play a larger role in Afghanistan’s economic stabilization and on Pakistan to take more action against militant groups based in the country.

Indian foreign minister Swaraj said President Donald Trump’s new strategy for the region “can only be successful if Pakistan acts decisively against all terror groups without any discrimination.” New Delhi has long blamed Islamabad for supporting insurgent groups that carry out terror acts in India.

Tillerson, who last week said that he sees India as a key partner in the face of what he considers negative Chinese influence in Asia, reiterated that India could play a wider role in the region. Analysts say Washington’s overtures for closer ties with India are prompted by the need to counter China’s rise.

Tillerson told reporters “the United States supports India’s emergence as a leading power and will continue to contribute to Indian capabilities to provide security throughout the region.” He said Washington was willing to provide New Delhi with advanced technologies for its military modernization.

“We also look forward to further cooperation in the broader Indo Pacific region as we both promote a rules-based approach to commerce and a transparent and sustainable approach to economic development,” he said.(VOA)

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BJP to Celebrate November 8 as ‘Anti-Black Money Day’

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Anti black money day, Demontisation
Demontisation ousted one thousand rupee notes in India last november. Pixabay free

New Delhi, October 25: In a bid to counter the opposition campaign, the BJP will celebrate November 8, the day high-value currencies were demonetized last year, as “Anti-Black Money Day” across the country.

Announcing the party’s decision to counter the opposition plans for observing the day as “Black Day”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said all prominent leaders, union ministers, state ministers and office bearers will participate in programmes across the country.

On November 8, the party will organize programmes highlighting all the steps the government has taken against black money. He said since the government was formed in 2014, from day one it had taken steps against black money.

“There was a parallel black money economy in the country. When the NDA government came to power (May 2014), Prime Minister Narendra Modi took steps to minimise and end it. On November 8, the BJP will celebrate ‘Anti-Black Money Day’ and mobilize people in favor of the steps taken against black money,” Jaitley told reporters here.

The special investigation team (SIT) to go into black money, which was directed by the Supreme Court in 2011 and was not acted upon by the previous UPA government, was formed by the NDA, the Finance Minister said.

Jaitley also hit out at the Congress over its plans to observe the day because the demonetization decision was “ill-conceived”.

Apparently referring to the opposition criticism, Jaitley said it was normal for political parties which had a number of opportunities to be in power earlier not recognize that the squeeze on black money and the other steps cannot be achieved through baby steps.

The Finance Minister said the BJP would carry forward the debate by the opposition to polarize people against black money through its own campaign.(IANS)