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New Delhi: During the one year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s term, the ministry of railways has claimed several “new beginnings” and “key reforms”. Among its achievements: More rail track (1,375 km) electrified in one year than ever before; earnings increased 12 percent; more bio-toilets installed; and a feasibility report received from Japan for the Mumbai-Ahmadabad bullet train during 2014-15.
Fact Checker took a look at the claims and the reality.
- Twelve percent rise in earnings due to “key reforms”: Earnings lower than previous two years.
Claim: An increase of 12.2 percent increase in earnings during 2014-15 due to “key reforms in railways.
Reality: The 12 percent increase in earnings during 2014-15 compared with 2013-14 is lower than the 19 percent and 12.9 percent respectively, during each of the previous two financial years 2012-13 and 2013-14.
- Record electrification of rail track: It happens every year
Claim: 1,375 km of railway electrification completed during 2014-15, termed best-ever for Indian Railways.
Reality: Electrification data reveal such records are set every year. The increase in electrification between 2013-2014 and 2014-15 in terms of “route kilometers” is the least when compared to consecutive years over the past eight years (barring 2010-11).
- Bio-toilets, a key achievement: Yes, since 2009
Claim: Bio-toilets have been stated as key achievements by railways for 2014-15.
Reality: Bio-toilets, which treat human waste instead of letting it on to the tracks, were first installed in 2009: 11,777 bio-toilets have been installed in 4,356 passenger coaches till June 30, 2014.
- Study Done For Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train: Series of such studies over 13 years
Claim: Feasibility report from Japan on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.
Reality: Parliament data show a series of feasibility (or prefeasibility) studies between 2002 and 2015.
- Helpline is launched: It was ready for launch before UPA quit
Claim: Launching of a security helpline for passengers.
Reality: The plan was first approved for 2010-11 and just before the previous government finished its term, the ground work, including finalising the nodal railway zone (Northern Railway), executing agency, budget (Rs 5.2 crore) and signing an agreement with the telecom ministry, had been done.
- 108 Adarsh (ideal) stations: Routine since 2009
Claim: Passenger facilities improved at 108 stations under the Adarsh-stations scheme.
Reality: This is a routine affair, since the Adarsh-stations scheme kicked off in 2009 (to provide drinking water, toilets, catering services, waiting rooms and dormitories, especially for female passengers, better signage).
- Meghalaya gets a rail line: Work has been on for 19 years
Claim: Lumding-Silchar broad gauge section inaugurated, Meghalaya comes on the rail map.
Reality: Gauge conversion work of Lumding-Silchar section started in 1996-97. There was often no money to continue the line or law-and-order problems delayed work. The target date was extended several times over the past few years.
- World Bank Loan for Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor: Approved by the previous government
Claim: Agreement signed for $1.1-billion loan from the World Bank for the Eastern Dedicated Freight (EDF) corridor.
Reality: The $1.1-billion loan from the World Bank for EDF corridor-II was approved on April 22, 2014, before Modi’s term began.
By Manoj K
With the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor in Varanasi on December 13, the whole of Uttar Pradesh will be lit up similar to Diwali-like celebrations. This year the people of the state will invoke Lord Shiva in their homes by lighting lamps on the occasion of the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor, the highest revered shrine of Hindu faith. Along with this, a laser show and fireworks will light up all temples, streets, 'crossroads' and other public places in Varanasi.
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The planners will celebrate the festival of 'Deepotsav' on the lines of the 'Grand Kashi, Divya Kashi' in the whole of Uttar Pradesh. For this every BJP worker will light a lamp in the village, town and city. The BJP believes that this will create a festive atmosphere with ideological commitment which will send out the message of strong cultural ethos.
After the inauguration on December 13 in the evening, the Prime Minister will take a tour of the Ganga river in a boat and perform the 'Ganga aarti'. During this tour, the Chief Ministers of various BJP-ruled states will also be present. The Prime Minister will hold talks with the Chief Ministers and public representatives the very next day. After this, Modi will visit the Swarved temple, Umrah, and a CNG plant in Shahanshahpur and leave for Delhi on December 14 in the afternoon.
Also Read : The Varanasi Hot Air Balloon Festival
On the day of the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor, all boats will be decorated with colorful lights which will be the main centre of attraction. An appeal has been made by the state administration to all the people to light lamps in their homes on the lines of Diwali celebrations. The people have been instructed to keep the streets and their locality clean and cooperate in the public cleanliness drive.
Diyas will be lit in every house, every temple, streets and BJP offices in the state. Unsplash
If political experts are to be believed, amid the ongoing Ram temple construction in Ayodhya, the BJP is once again trying to assert power through its ideological plank of Hindutva and its cultural agenda, while raising issues like building of a temple in Mathura.
A senior BJP leader involved in formulating the election strategy in Uttar Pradesh and working closely with the party's central leadership said that once again the party is going to celebrate Deepotsav on December 13.
Several BJP workers have been asked to make the occasion a grand success. BJP Kashi regional President, Mahesh Chandra Srivastava said, "On December 13, there will be a festive atmosphere in the state. Diyas will be lit in every house, every temple, streets and BJP offices in the state. We are going to celebrate a grand festival."
Kashi Vishwanath Dham, the work of which is in final stages, is the dream project of Prime Minister Modi. The corridor is now gleaming with lights. After the launch of the corridor, Chalo Kashi month' will also begin under which many programmes will be organised here.
After the inauguration on December 13 in the evening, the Prime Minister will take a tour of the Ganga river in a boat and perform the 'Ganga aarti'.Unsplash
According to the information received from the state government, a symbol of nationalism will be visible between Ganga and Lord Vishwanath temple which will give a new identity to Kashi. Idols of Rani Ahilyabai, Mother India (Bharat Mata), Kartikeya and Adi Shankaracharya will be installed in the Dham.
Kashi Vishwanath Dham is spread over an area of 54,000 square metre. The construction work of the Dham is being completed in two phases. The work of the first phase is in the final stage which includes construction of Mandir Chowk, Varanasi city gallery, museum, multipurpose auditorium, hall, devotee facilitation centres, public facility, spiritual house, Godoulia gate, 'Bhogshala', shelter for priests and sewadars, spiritual book palace, among others.
The statue of Mother India, a symbol of nationality, will also be seen between the Lord's court and the sacred Ganga. The idol of Kartikeya and Adi Shankaracharya will be installed in the grand courtyard of Kashi Vishwanath Dham. The statue of Queen Ahilyabai, who renovated the Kashi Vishwanath temple in 1669 will also be installed here. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Uttar Pradesh, diwali, Kashi Vishwanath, Varanasi, December, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, ganga, BJP, corridor, nationalism, people.)
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)