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Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia on Friday said the Central government plans to double the number of airports in the country to more than 200 by the year 2023-24. Addressing a conference of the ministers of civil aviation from states and UTs, he said the Centre plans to set up at least one heliport in each district in collaboration with states and UTs.
On the issue of seaplanes, the minister said that the states should provide capital support for this initiative. Besides, he appealed to states and UTs to bring down VAT on aviation fuel as it contributes majorly to the operational cost of the flights.
Currently, India has one of the highest state governments levied VAT rates on jet fuel. This makes the overall cost of airline operations high. According to industry estimates, ATF prices constitute over 40 per cent of total operating cost of domestic carriers and this was 70 per cent higher than the global average. Furthermore, Scindia said that the sector has large cost-benefit ratio and also huge employment potential.
On the issue of drones, he said that rules have been framed for promoting the sector and that 'Production Linked Initiative' scheme will provide a further push. In addition, he called upon the states and UTs to facilitate new airports by swiftly handling the land allotment issues. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Union Minister, Central Government, airports, country, India
The Central government on Monday extended the tenures of the Home Secretary, Defence Secretary, Director of Intelligence Bureau and Secretary of Research and Analysis Wing for a period of two years.
According to the gazette notification issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension on November 15, the tenure of these officials can be extended for up to five years.
Provided also that the Central government may, if it considers it necessary in public interest to do so, give extension in service to the Defence Secretary. Under this rule, the Home Secretary, Director of Intelligence Bureau, Secretary of Research and Analysis Wing, and Director of Central Bureau of Investigation are appointed under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (25 of 1946) and Director of Enforcement is appointed under the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (45 of 2003) in the Central government for such period or periods as it may deem proper on a case-to-case basis for reasons to be recorded in writing, subject to the condition that the total term of such Secretaries or Directors, as the case may be, who are given such extension in service under this rule, does not exceed two years or the period provided in the respective Act or rules made thereunder, under which their appointments are made."
According to the gazette notification: "The chiefs of the Central agencies currently have a fixed two-year tenure, but the government can now give three annual extensions from case to case basis."
The Union government on Sunday issued a notification to extend the tenure of the directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate for up to five years.
On May 27, the Centre had extended the tenure of Intelligence Bureau Chief Arvind Kumar and Secretary, Research and Analysis Wing, Samant Kumar Goel by one year. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla was also given an extension of one year beyond his tenure on August 12, 2021. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Indian government, central agencies, RAW, Home Secretary, Defence Secretary, Director of Intelligence Bureau.
Hyderabad, a hub of innovation, has been selected for setting up a Science and Technology Cluster, an initiative of the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
To be led by Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH), the cluster was formally launched by Telangana’s Industry and Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao and Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Prof K. Vijay Raghavan on Friday. It aims to bolster nationwide scientific collaboration in the innovation hub of the country.
The Principal Scientific Adviser has proposed the establishment of mega S&T clusters in four cities that have strong organizations, institutions, and industries focused on science and technology – Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi-National Capital Region, and Pune.
These S&T clusters are a means to encourage scientific enterprise and to push individual institutional excellence towards collective performance.
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“The goal of PM-STIAC is to develop a futuristic roadmap for science and technology in India. Creation of mega clusters that leverage the local science and technology expertise will pave the way for faster and more efficient deployment of scientific outcomes. We believe that the new Hyderabad cluster will enable and empower patents, products, and profits while solving problems that afflict society,” said Vijay Raghavan.
He noted that India has retained its position as the most innovative country among the Central and South Asian countries. It is also the world’s third-largest start-up hub and continues to grow at a steady pace. With continuing state and central government support, India has the potential to vault to the top of this list.
Telangana, the youngest state in India, has one of the highest growth rates in the country due to its focus on innovation in all sectors, and from all constituents. Hyderabad has, therefore, been chosen as one of the cities for setting up a mega S&T cluster.
Housing the nation’s largest bio-cluster, Genome Valley, which is a group of roughly 200 companies, it is also the ‘Pharma Capital of India’ contributing to about 35 percent of the country’s pharmaceutical output. It is also the ‘Seed Capital of India’ and one of the largest digital technology hubs. It houses over 60 government, multinational, and private research institutions.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: बनारस के वैज्ञानिक ने बनाया इंटेलिजेंस जूता, बॉर्डर पर रोकेगा घुसपैठ, चलाएगा गोली
“The creation of the Hyderabad Cluster, driven by RICH, will help discovery and invention in the labs to move to implementation, promising to change the lives of the citizens. We are looking to help launch at least 5 large impactful companies over a period of the next 5-7 years, which will benefit millions, generate wealth, and create over 100,000 jobs across the country. Longer-term, our goal is to make Telangana the best Centre of Excellence for Lifesciences, Agriculture, and Digital Technology,” said Rama Rao.
The creation of the S&T clusters aims to solve complex local challenges by creating networks between diverse stakeholders ranging from national research and academic institutions, industries, associations, startups, civil society entities, state governments, and central ministries, by providing innovative solutions that transform lives.
The formation of the Hyderabad S&T mega cluster will strengthen the available body of knowledge and drive innovation for addressing key problems at the city and state levels.
“At the Hyderabad Cluster, we will foster multi-disciplinary research and entrepreneurship to build a more prosperous and equitable future for all. We will work with MSMEs, startups, researchers, and the industry to rapidly commercialize promising ideas. The vision is to make Hyderabad the best science startup hub that will become the #1 destination for science startups,” said RICH Director General Ajit Rangnekar.
RICH has fostered collaboration between entities in its core focus sectors of aerospace and defense, food and agriculture, and life sciences for an effective innovation ecosystem. RICH has also expanded its operations into allied fields such as sustainability – with a focus on renewable energy and waste management – and emerging technology. (IANS)
In an attempt to reduce dependence on the Chinese imports, the Central government plans to come out with a fresh solar tender that will provide viability gap funding (VGF) to projects setting up solar wafer and ingot manufacturing facilities.
Silicon wafers and ingots are critical components that go into manufacturing solar cells and modules. However, India does not have manufacturing facilities for these complements that is largely imported from China, even by local solar cell and module makers. China is the biggest maker of these components globally.
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“Under the phased manufacturing plan in solar, government may provide the VGF support to developers of these critical solar components. This high technology manufacturing would change the face of domestic equipment market and eliminate dependence on imports,” said official sources.
The fresh initiative is to give a boost to local manufacturing as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission. While there is push to set up solar cell and module manufacturing in India, absence of wafer and ingot facilities dented these plans as these critical components will continue to be brought from abroad.
Chinese companies dominate the Indian solar components market, supplying about 80 per cent of solar cells and modules used here, given their competitive pricing. India imported $2.16 billion worth of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, panels, and modules in 2018-19.
As part of an accelerated manufacturing plan that is being operationalised in India, it is incentivising setting up of cell manufacturing capacity of 4000 MW that would allow project developers to restrict import of this product completely.
Additionally, 3000 MW of fresh sollar cell capacity is being added under manufacturing linked bids for solar projects. This would incentivise power project developers planning manufacturing in India.
The current capacity of cell manufacturing in India is about 2,500 MW. This is proposed to rise over three times in coming years. In case of solar modules as well, 7000 MW of capacity is being added in addition to existing capacity. (IANS)