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DoNER Minister asks Northeast States to expedite fund utilisation

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The Minister of State for Science and Technology (Independent Charge), Earth Sciences (Independent Charge), Prime Minister Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh addressing at the inauguration of a seminar on ‘’Accountability and Transparency”, in New Delhi on August 27, 2014.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has asked the North-Eastern States to expedite the process of Central fund utilisation by them.

Presiding over the first meeting of the Executive Committee of the North Eastern Council (NEC) here today, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the most common factors responsible for delay in the completion of various developmental projects include failure by the States to produce Utilisation Certificates on time, delay in submission of DPRs and inability of the State to provide its share of funding. As a result, not only the projects get delayed but the consequent escalation in the budget leads to further difficulties in timely completion of these projects, he added.

At the meeting attended among others by Union Secretary, DoNER, Shri Ameishing Luikham, Secretary, NEC, Shri Ram Muivah, Chief Secretaries of all the eight Northeast States and Member, NEC, Shri C.K. Das, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the NEC is no longer an advisory body but, in fact, a regional planning body with a wider and more crucial role.

He referred to the recent initiative of constituting inter-ministerial committees of the Ministry of DoNER with other Ministries and at the same time, engaging the Delhi-based Resident Commissioners of different States for the follow up of projects so that the targets could be achieved more smoothly. For this, he also hinted at revisiting and revitalizing the entire functioning of the NEC. However, he noted with satisfaction that the NEC headquarter at Shillong has become fully functional and reverberating with activity because the newly appointed Secretary and members are regularly attending the office on full-time basis.

On India’s “Act East” policy, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is his considered view that to “Act East” effectively, we first need to act east proximal and empower the North Eastern region along the international borders. In this regard, he suggested a number of measures including encouraging the local produce which could find takers for business across the Northeast borders, single window check-posts and limiting the list of items for cross-border trade to products exclusively originating from the region.

Taking a note of the suggestion that the annual budget of NEC had not been enhanced for past almost 40 years in spite of change in fiscal and market scenario, Dr Jitendra Singh advised Secretary NEC to prepare a comprehensive brief drawing comparative statistical differences in the annual budget allocation and disbursement as it existed in the earlier years vis-à-vis the current year, so that the same could be presented before the Union Finance Ministry with a request to seek appropriate enhancement.

Expressing dissatisfaction over delayed progress of work at the airports at Gangtok, Guwahati and Itanagar as well as slow pace of rail and road projects, Dr Jitendra Singh said, this adversely affects the progress in every sphere. He also asked the Chief Secretary of Manipur to personally follow up the land transfer issue for the proposed Sports University at Imphal.

 

(PIB)

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Northeast is Fast Emerging as the new Start-up Destination, Says Minister Jitendra Singh

Due to improvement in connectivity and transport facility in the last two years, coupled with concentrated administrative focus, more and more youngsters are now heading towards the northeastern states to venture into entrepreneurship

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Union Minister of State for Development of the North Eastern Region Jitendra Singh. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 16, 2017 : Union Minister of State for Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh claimed that the area was fast emerging as the new start-up destination for youngsters from all over India, an official statement on Monday.

Due to improvement in connectivity and transport facility in the last two years, coupled with concentrated administrative focus, more and more youngsters are now heading towards the northeastern states to venture into entrepreneurship and take advantage of its unexplored potential, he said, according to a DoNER Ministry statement.

Citing an example, he said in certain areas of Northeast, including states like Arunachal Pradesh, “while almost 40 per cent of the fruit goes waste on account of lack of adequate storage and transport facilities, the same can be used to produce and manufacture fresh and pure fruit juice at a much more cost-effective price”.

ALSO READ Over 4,000 km of roads, highways to be constructed in northeast

During an interaction with youngsters, Jitendra Singh also pointed out that many new airports coming up at Pakyong (Sikkim), Itanagar and Shillong, which along with a time-bound plan to lay broad-gauge rail track, would bring in further ease of doing business.

“Another sector of entrepreneurship which is fast emerging in Northeast is the medical and healthcare sector.

“For years, there has been a trend for patients to shift outside the region, mostly to Kolkata or Vellore, but the encouragement given to the private corporate sector has now resulted in the opening of new hospitals within the region itself and young entrepreneurs are taking the lead,” he said. (IANS)

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West Bengal Police Rescue Women from sex traffickers, Raising Funds to help them Make a New Life

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A 16-year-old girl stands inside a protection home on the outskirts of New Delhi, Nov. 9, 2012. She was rescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement), a charity which rescues victims of bonded labor. In the state of West Bengal, police officers are helping rescued women to make a new life. VOA

Police in the Indian state of West Bengal are going beyond the call of duty by raising funds for the women they rescue from sex traffickers to help them get back on track.

“The girls are hardly literate, have no access to bank loans, and government schemes are not enough to sustain them in the long run,” said police officer Chandra Sekhar Bardhan, who is spearheading the program in eastern India. “We had to do something, even though it did not fall in the realm of our duties.”

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The scheme, the first of its kind, began this month, with 22 rescued women singled out for rehabilitation. Police then hope to reach out to 100 more women and create a model to replicate across the region.

Police tailor the aid to the individual women, asking firms to fund their needs as an act of corporate social responsibility. One of the women in the first group wants to set up a sewing business, another to drive her own taxi — anything rather than return to a life of poverty and unemployment.

Green pasture for traffickers

Of an estimated 20 million commercial sex workers in India, campaigners estimate that 16 million women and girls are the victims of sex trafficking. They are mostly trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labor and child marriage.

The South 24 Parganas district where the project began has seen a steady rise in crime against women, with police recording a jump of more than 80 percent in the number of abductions between 2010 and 2013.

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“Due to poverty and backwardness, the area has always been a green pasture for traffickers,” said Subhasree Raptan, coordinator of nonprofit Gorabbose Gram Bikas Kendra, which helps trafficked victims and is supporting the pilot project.

Raptan said the problem grew far worse after cyclone Aila in 2009, displacing more than a million people in the region.

No job, no chance

When victims are rescued from traffickers, they usually return to poverty, a dysfunctional family life and no job.

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Work is key to a new life, and the first group of women include aspiring seamstresses, two women who want to run a stationary shop and another who wants to drive her own taxi.

“I did not know anything about the extent of human trafficking until I was posted to this region and came across the case of a 14-year-old victim, who had been trafficked, abused and dumped in a hospital,” said Bardhan, the policeman leading the project. “Now the program will run as long as the problem persists.” (VOA)

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Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai loses Full Member status in BCCI, Northeastern States included

Under the one-state-one-vote rule, Maharashtra Cricket Association and Gujarat Cricket Association have been picked from their respective states

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Ranji Trophy, Wikimedia

Mumbai, March 19, 2017: Record Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai have been deprived of their Full Member status in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), while the Committee of Administrators (COA) has granted Full Membership to all northeastern states.

With the removal of the Full Member status, Mumbai, Vidarbha, Saurashtra and Baroda have also lost their voting rights as the Supreme Court-appointed COA on Saturday night listed the amended memorandum of rules and regulations that will now govern BCCI. Only the states, all of 30, have been given Full Member status.

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“In States with multiple Existing Members, the full membership shall rotate annually among such Existing Members such that only one of them will exercise the rights and privileges of a Full Member at any given point of time. The rotation shall be as per the policy framed by the BCCI,” the new constitution posted on the BCCI website says.

Under the one-state-one-vote rule, Maharashtra Cricket Association and Gujarat Cricket Association have been picked from their respective states. Cricket Club of India (CCI) and National Cricket Club (NCC) have also been removed, along with all government outfits.

“Each State shall be represented by a state cricket association duly recognised by the BCCI and such associations shall be Full Members. No State shall have more than one Full Member at any given point of time,” a note said.

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“At the Annual General Meeting/Special General Meeting, each Full Member shall have one vote. The Associate Members shall have no vote.”

Apart from the 70-year age-limit for an office bearer, it has been clarified that the nine-year cumulative clause for an office-bearer won’t be calculated separately in the cricket board and state association.

Among other things, it has also been noted that the BCCI shall appoint an independent auditor to scrutinise the statement of accounts with regard to the payments made by the Board to the member and all further payments due to a member, associate member and an affiliate member shall be released after the audit report.

The appointment of an ombudsman has also been included. The decision snaps the BCCI President’s power in dealing with the finality in case of dispute regarding a vote. (IANS)