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‘Smart City’ is one of the many ambitious projects of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi that is aimed at altering the urban backdrop of the nation by making cities all-inclusive and livable, in addition to driving the growth in economy here. Under this program, every selected city, which falls under this scheme, will get central government’s assistance of around Rs 100 crore every year for a period of around five years.
The 2015 federal budget also includes provisions for the ‘smart living and smart practices’, with around USD 1 billion allotted for this Urban Rejuvenation Mission and approximately USD 84 million reserved for the development and habitation of these 100 selected smart cities. The budget is forecasted to enhance investments into tourism, infrastructure, innovation, renewable energy, and livability, consistent with the sharp focus on the smart cities.
If it all goes according to the government’s plans, all states will, in due course, will have at least one ‘Smart City’.
The prime minister has started bringing this plan to action. He has been talking to a number of countries like Japan, Singapore, and France etc. who all have extended their help in transforming cities and states like Nagpur, Varanasi, and Andhra Pradesh into smart cities.
The latest addition in the cities that have come forward to help this transformation is Abu Dhabi.
A real estate company based in Abu Dhabi has gone into a strategic partnership with Indian builder firm to institute ‘Smart City’ projects in the country. Every chosen city under this scheme will get a central funding help of Rs 100 crore every year for development and maintenance afterwards.
Abu Dhabi’s real estate giant, Tasweek Real Estate Development’s newly formed Strategic Partnership with the MAMS Holdings Group, has established itself as an international construction and development company to communally pursue investment and business projections in the GCC and India.
The member states of GCC are the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain. To shape the partnership, MAMS Holdings Group and Tasweek officials, recently, met the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav to talk about various investment prospects related to the ‘Smart City’ and the urban development that can be initialized in U.P.
The Chief Minister said that he is interested in delivering affordable smart residential solutions and constructing 2,00,000 low priced houses in the state in some years. The terms of agreement mentioned that the partners will predominantly pursue commercial, residential, and mixed-use construction empowered with all the ‘smart’ technologies of India.
They also plan to focus on the investment prospects in the affordable housing concept, as part of their agreement.
The CEO of TASWEEK Real Estate Development, Masood Al Awar, said that their partnership with the MAMS Holdings is very strategic and timely as they have access to the local market ‘know-how’ and expertise on how to back the affordable but ‘smart living’, starting with U.P. and reaching other states of India like Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Kolkata, and Telangana.
He added that they will continue discussing breaks with their partner in association with the long-term development agenda of India.
While the naysayers still doubt how Modi will be able to carry it off, the transformation has already started with examples like Gujarat’s GIFT City leading it.
NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.
The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, the Indian navy spokesman, said four ships will take part.
The ships will also participate in a multilateral exercise, MALABAR-21, along with the Japanese, Australian and U.S. navies, the statement said.
It said the exercises will enhance coordination with friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and a commitment to freedom of navigation.
"Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations," the statement said.
The U.S., India, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad regional alliance created in response to China's growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
India is also in a continuing standoff with China over their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. The countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.
Last year, 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists in a portion of the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.(VOA/HP)
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.