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The Central government plans to double the number of airports in the country to more than 200 by the year 2023-24.

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)


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The Central government extended the tenure of the Home Secretary, Defence Secretary, Director of Intelligence Bureau and Secretary of Research and Analysis Wing for a period of two years.

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)


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An initiative of the Prime Minister's Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC). Pixabay

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.

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The fresh initiative is to give a boost to local manufacturing as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission. Wikimedia Commons

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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