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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed to a reduction of carbon emissions by emphasising various initiatives, including hydel projects, in the Glasgow Climate Summit, but the inhabitants of Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur on Sunday demanded an immediate halt on hazardous hydropower dams in the "fragile and overexploited" Himalayan region.
"We are concerned with this issue... there is global warming which requires action from one platform but the necessity for power is now going to be met by solar, and wind energy and in this, hydel projects are also being touted as 'clean and green'. So we the youth of affected panchayats from Kinnaur have collectivised to send a message to the PM that bumper to bumper dams have been built in the Himalayan region and this has led us today to our struggle, not for electricity, but our very existence," organisers of 'NoMeansNo Campaign' and Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti Ekta Manch said.
"The unprecedented surface and underground construction have not just disturbed the rugged slopes but brought about irreversible land-use changes in an earthquake and landslide-prone zone, adversely impacting the lives and livelihood of the local Kinnaura indigenous community," the protesters alleged.
They also claimed that the new spate of constructions is now planned in altitudes above 3,000 metres going up to the trans-Himalayas, a region that is reeling under the impact of the climate crisis, with glacial melts, cloud bursts, avalanches, and flash floods.
More than 20 projects are in the pipeline even as four big hydro projects are still under construction.
The fate of Kinnaur will be shared by the neighbouring trans-Himalayan district of Lahaul-Spiti where more than 50 projects with a capacity of 3,000 MW are planned on the Chenab River and its tributaries, the protesters said.
Now the tribal people are calling out this "illegal and mindless destruction" and saying #NoMeansNo.
"The gram sabhas of affected villages of proposed projects in Kinnaur have already passed resolutions to halt further hydropower construction. They are standing up for their own survival, to preserve their identity, their homeland. And we stand in solidarity with their demand for halting all future hydropower projects in this vulnerable Himalayan region which has been exploited well beyond its capacity," protesters said.
"Our leaders need to think about this seriously and stop pushing these so-called 'clean and green' dams on us. A tiny district like ours is already contributing 3000 MW to the state now... this needs to be halted which is why we are demanding a ban on further hydropower in our region," they said.
This area -- Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, has laws to protect its biodiversity, they added.
Himachal Pradesh has set up 10 large and 12 small hydropower projects amounting to an installed capacity of 3041 MW, along with 11 transmission lines in one of the most ecologically sensitive and geologically vulnerable Kinnaur district.
Recently, Himachal had witnessed many landslides caused by heavy and incessant rain. This monsoon, Kinnaur witnessed a spate of catastrophic landslides that took the lives of tourists as well as local populace. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: India, Himachal Pradesh, Kinnaur, Climate Change, Narendra Modi, Hydropower Dams
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India's digital public infrastructure solutions can improve the lives of citizens around the world.
Speaking at the InFinity Forum organised by Bloomberg and IFSCA, he said via video link: "We believe in sharing our experiences and expertise with the world and learning from them as well."
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"Tools like 'UPI' and 'RuPay' provide an unparalleled opportunity for every country. An opportunity to provide a low cost and reliable 'real time payment system' as well as a 'domestic card scheme' and 'fund remittance system'."
According to the Prime Minister, India has proved to the world that it is second to none when it comes to adopting technology or innovating around it.
Also Read : Payment Modernization
"Transformational initiatives under Digital India have opened doors for innovative Fintech solutions to be applied in governance.
PM Modi cited successes achieved with 'Jan Dhan' Accounts, 'Rupay', 'FastTag', and other such initiatives taken by the Centre. He mentioned that last year, in India, mobile payments exceeded ATM cash withdrawals for the first time.
The Prime Minister said that fully digital banks, without any physical branch offices, are already a reality and may become commonplace in less than a decade.
In India, mobile payments exceeded ATM cash withdrawals for the first time.Unsplash
Besides, he said the time has come to convert these "FinTech initiatives into a FinTech revolution". "A revolution that helps to achieve financial empowerment of every single citizen of the country."
Furthermore, he emphasized on FinTech security. "Common Indian has shown immense trust in our FinTech ecosystem by embracing digital payments and such technologies," he said.
"This trust is a responsibility. Trust means that you need to ensure that the interests of the people are secured."
In addition, PM Modi said that finance combined with technology would be an important part of India's future development. "Our aim is to provide the best international financial services not just for Indians, but for the world," he added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : digital, India, prime minister, Narendra Modi, finances, digital payments, technology)
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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India. Speaking at an event to celebrate DRI's 64th foundation day, Sitharaman lauded DRI's compact strength of about 800 officers for their relentless efforts despite the imminent risks. The Finance Minister stated that the officers may be keeping a low profile, but they are acting like the frontline defence forces, doing spectacular work in safeguarding the economic frontiers of the country. "The recent smuggling attempts of huge quantities of narcotics, gold, red sanders, ivory, cigarettes etc. unearthed by DRI were appreciated by the Finance Minister," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
"Sitharaman said that the message through such enforcement actions should be such that these acts of brazen attempts at smuggling are nipped in the bud," the statement added. The Finance Minister also said that better coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies and sharing of actionable intelligence are the way forward in protecting the frontiers of the country more efficiently. "Sitharaman also asked the DRI to focus on interdicting dual use technology items as well as preventing the dumping of toxic wastes in our country," the statement said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Nirmala Sitharaman, India, Toxic Wastes)
Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features. Alexa can now identify the sounds of running water and appliances beeping, reports Android Central. This means users can set up an Alexa routine to notify themselves when the washer beeps to indicate that laundry is finished, the report said.
When Alexa detects that the faucet has been left open, it will send users a notification as well so they can take appropriate action, it added. Amazon previously said at its event in September that it would add the ability to programme Alexa to recognise custom sounds, but that feature has yet to arrive. Having said that, the two new sound detection capabilities not only help users save energy, but they also make it easier to avoid paying for unnecessary charges on your home utilities, the report said.
The retail giant has also announced ultrasound motion detection, which will allow you to set up "Occupancy Routines" on additional Echo devices. This feature allows your smart speaker to detect nearby motion and initiate a routine, such as turning on the lights. It is compatible with many of the best Alexa speakers including the 4th-gen Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: laundry, appliances, beeping, running water, Sound, Alexa , Amazon)