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NITI Aayog to get India-Bangladesh rail project on track


ModiNITI Aayog will hold a meeting in New Delhi on June 18 in a bid to break the deadlock on the proposed India-Bangladesh railway project, Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey said on Tuesday.

“NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has called a meeting on Thursday (June 18) to break the deadlock on the 15-km Agartala-Akhaura rail project along Tripura,” Dey told reporters here.

Meanwhile, a senior state official said that the central government was “yet to provide funds for the project”. NITI Aayog’s chief executive officer or special secretary will preside over the Delhi meeting, where officials of ministries of railway, development of northeastern region and external affairs and the Tripura government will participate.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina discussed the project during Modi’s official visit to Dhaka on June 6-7. The Rs.575-crore ($90 million) railway project was finalised in January 2010 during the Bangladesh prime minister’s meeting with then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

“The central government is yet to provide required funds for the project. Land acquisition and subsequent works for the rail project to connect Tripura with Bangladesh will be delayed as a result,” a top state government official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS.

He said the state government recently approached the railway ministry again to allocate funds. “No funds were allocated in the railway budget for 2015-16, even for land acquisition,” the official said.

The project cost was earlier estimated at Rs.271 crore. In addition, Rs.302 crore was needed to acquire around 98 acres of land in India for laying the tracks.”Work to lay the 15-km railway track to link Tripura capital Agartala with Bangladesh’s south-eastern Akhaura city is yet to start although the two countries are very serious about executing the project,” a Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) official said.

State-owned Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON) is expected to lay the tracks on both sides of the border, with five km falling in the Indian territory and the remaining in Bangladesh. “The new railway connectivity between the northeastern state and Bangladesh will boost socio-economic, trade and business ties between the two countries,” the transport minister said.

The 1,650-km distance between Agartala and Kolkata would be reduced to only 515 km once the rail track is constructed through Bangladesh. The NFR is the nodal agency for the project, for which alignment of rail line and other technical details were finalised by officials of both India and Bangladesh.


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Cultural Innovation: British Council launches £50,000 seed fund to boost India-UK Cultural Ties

It is a culmination of a five year programme that aims to introduce an enthusiastic Indian audience to the best contemporary arts of UK

British Council. source-
  • British Council India is investing £50,000 in a one of its kind cultural project
  • It is a culmination of a five year programme that aims to introduce an enthusiastic Indian audience to the best contemporary arts of UK
  • PM Narendra Modi and PM David Cameron announced a year long programme in 2017

In an attempt to strengthen the cultural ties between the nations of UK and India, British Council, India is funding a one of its kind cultural project. It plans on investing £50,000 (Rs 50 lakh approximately) in this project. In this innovation funding, the Council will select five projects by the end of July 2016. It will invest £10,000 in seed funding of each project.

In the Open Call, the details of the funding have been provided clearly. They are claiming that this is a culmination of a five year programme that aims to introduce an enthusiastic Indian audience to the best contemporary arts of UK. They have an ambitious aim for online audience, which are 10 million people in 2016 and 50 million people in 2017.

In the eligibility criteria, they’ve mentioned that the participant should be based in UK or India. He or she should have a track record of creating new digital projects or successful experiences that have reached new audiences. They have specified that it is acceptable if the audience that had been reached before had not been of the scale that the British Council is currently aiming for.

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“We want to have ideas from India and Britain and bring those ideas together to make brilliant new things. In return for this seed funding, we would like to see a prototype or proof of concept of your project that we can test with potential audiences in September and October 2016. Following user testing in autumn, we will make a number of commissions based on potential audiences and costs of projects. Full commissions must launch during 2017” said Alan Gemmell, director of British Council, reports

Noon, UK time, Friday 08 July 2016 has been declared as the deadline for submission of applications.

The British Council is partnering with Manchester International Festival on a digital co-commission for 2017. If the project submitted to this open call is selected, it will be launched during the festival in June/July 2016.

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's walks with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron as they leave 10 Downing Street after their meeting, in London, November 12, 2015. Photo: Reuters
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s walks with Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron as they leave 10 Downing Street after their meeting, in London, November 12, 2015. Photo: Reuters

During the November 2015 visit of PM Narendra Modi to London, he and PM David Cameron has announced a year long programme in 2017. It is to celebrate the cultural ties between the two countries and the 70th year of independence for India.

According to, Gemmell added: “With the British Council, we believe that culture has a powerful role to play in helping people understand one another. India’s cultural relationship with Britain is incredibly important. We want to develop stronger cultural relations between Britain and India. We want to celebrate, reconnect, revive and inspire the next generation of people culturally. We want to develop stronger cultural relations between Britain and India.”

The British Council is one of UK’s international organisations that take various measures to strengthen the cultural ties between different nations. It also works at providing educational opportunities to the masses.

-The report is compiled by a Staff-writer at NewsGram.


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India, Bangladesh have set example of building relationship: PM Modi


New Delhi, March 24: India and Bangladesh have set an example of how neighbouring countries can build a relationship with each other, said PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

“There was a time when Bangladesh was afflicted with pain and suffering,” Prime Minister Modi said while jointly inaugurating a power transmission line and an internet connectivity project between the two south Asian nations via video-conference with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

“Today Bangladesh is progressing to achieve greater heights. We are setting an example for the world how to build relationship with neighbours,” he said.

The new power transmission line will link Surjyamaninagar in Tripura with South Comilla in Bangladesh.

India will export 100 MW of electricity through this line.

The leasing of internet bandwidth from Akhaura in Bangladesh to Agartala, apart from helping the people of Tripura to avail more reliable internet connectivity, will also improve internet speed in the entire northeastern region.

India’s BSNL has leased 10 GBPS bandwidth of Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited from its Cox’s Bazar internet port.

Prime Minister Modi said the power transmission to Bangladesh has provided yet another opportunity for the development of the south Asian nation.

Regarding the internet connectivity, he said this was an era of communication and it was an opportunity to strengthen the power of communication.

“Opening of the eastern gateway of digital world with Bangladesh in itself is a great opportunity of creating awareness for the youth, especially in the northeastern states of the country,” the prime minister said.

He highlighted the multiple channels of increased connectivity between the two countries in recent times, including road connectivity and digital connectivity.

Prime Minister Modi offered all support to Bangladesh for the launch of the Bangabandhu satellite. (IANS)

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Promotion of Indian Languages to go digital


New Delhi: The Human Resource Development Ministry’s Bharatvani project will surely prove to be a great boon for the promotion on Indian Languages, a step put forward by the BJP government.

The Ministry will release multimedia content and study material for school and professional courses in 22 Indian scheduled languages on this International Mother Language Day on February 21.

Task for gathering and compiling the content for the portal is assigned to the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore by the Ministry. This project, creating a knowledge society is also a part of the Prime Minister’s Digital India initiative.

School and college textbooks, dictionaries, grammar books in 22 languages will be made available on the portal. The content for the website and other data is being compiled by University Grant Commission, Central Board of Secondary Education, National Book Trust, Indira Gandhi National Open University, National Council of Educational Research and Training and its 16 state partners.

“Besides the school textbooks, Bharatvani will also have books on anthropology, history, books on medical science and text books for engineering courses, available in all possible regional languages,” informed Professor Awadesh Kumar Mishra, director of CIIL.

Education bodies affiliated by Sangh have been only attempting to influence decisions made by the officials to make study material for professional courses available in regional languages.(input from agencies)