Indian media poses hard-hitting questions to Erdogan who tries to corner India by raking up the Kashmir issue

Questions are being asked about visiting Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan by the Indian media over his human rights record within Turkey, who in turn has tried to pressurize India by raking up the Kashmir issue. The splinter groups affiliated to the Gulen movement of Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen who has been branded as a terrorist organization by Erdogan and who are fairly active in India, even managing several schools across the country, too have begun criticizing the Erdogan visit.

Erdogan’s Government responds to various criticisms by saying it is because of its courageous stand on issues like Palestinian rights, Syrian refugee crisis, etc. that the world is up in arms against it. It is to be noted that ahead of meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Turkish President Erdogan had controversially suggested a “multi-lateral dialogue” to resolve the Kashmir issue to ensure peace in the region. “We should not allow more casualties to occur (in Kashmir). By having a multi-lateral dialogue, (in which) we can be involved, we can seek ways to settle the issue once and for all,” President Erdogan had told a local Turkish channel ahead of his visit to New Delhi.

“All around the world, there is no better option than keeping the channel of dialogue open. If we contribute towards global peace, we can get a very positive result,” he said.

Responding to this, Ruchi Ghanshyam, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry  had said that India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir is very well known  that it is an integral part of the country. “We have always emphasised that India-Turkey relations stand on their own footing and, we believe, the Turkish side reciprocates our sentiment,” Ruchi Ghanashyam had said.

War of words between Gulen supporters based in Delhi and the Erdogan government too has escalated on the side-lines of the visit. While President Erdogan is known to carry his personalised, domestic, anti-Gulen agenda during his foreign trip. It is likely that he would push for his anti-Gulen agenda on his visit to New Delhi, including the Gulen-inspired schools and coaching institutions that are running in various parts of the country, whereas Indian Government need to be cautious in responding to Erdogan’s anti-Gulen request from legal and political point of view but also must take into consideration the relevance of the Gulen movement for integration of Indian Muslims in the country.

Erdogan’s raising of the Kashmir issue and his praise of Nawaz Sharif prior to his visit to India is being seen in the light of the hidden agenda that Erdogan carries and is likely to push forth during his India visit.

Turkish President’s visit to the Jamia Millia campus too has come in the storm. Some students and alumni have opposed Jamia’s decision to present Erdogan with an honorary doctorate degree claiming his involvement in “blatant human rights violation” and acting like “a dictator in Turkey”. Jamia, on the other hand, maintain that Erdogan is visiting Jamia because it is the only institution in the country which provides academic courses in Turkish language and literature and is citing the age-old Indo-Turkish relationship and the likely boost to educational relationship between the two countries that Erdogan’s Jamia visit is likely to give.

Roadmap being readied by Ministry of Minority Affairs for setting up 5 world class universities and 100 odd schools for minorities: Shakir Ansari

Ministry of Minority Affairs under Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Union Minister of State with Independent Charge, is moving ahead with the announced plan for setting up of 5 world class universities and 100 odd schools for the minorities. In this regard, high level meetings have been held and planning is being taken to implementation stage. This information was given by Mohammad Shakir Ansari, Treasurer of Maulana Azad Education Foundation, who has been recently entrusted to take care of the task.

Ansari informed that the schools, to be named after Maulana Azad, will be opened in various cities across India on the lines of Kendriya Vidyalayas. Besides this, the 5 planned universities will work on the lines of modern institutes, providing all modern courses. This will go a long way in providing quality education and technical expertise to youth belonging to the Minority communities, informed Ansari.

Informing about the latest developments, Shakir Ansari said Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is taking keen interest both in the development of Schools and Universities and looks eager to roll out the projects at the earliest possible.

Ansari also lauded the efforts of the Ministry’s attempt to provide skill development training in the Madrasas. “On the initiative of Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Ministry is trying to rope in Madrasas under the Prime Minister’s Skill Development Program and in this regard a meeting was held recently with heads of various Madrasas,” said Ansari. Once this laudable scheme, which is the brainchild of PM Narendra Modi, is implemented in the Madarsas it will go a long way in bringing the youth from minority community in contention for mainstream jobs.

Such people-friendly schemes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are getting good response from the public at large and this could be seen in the recent wins of the party in Maharashtra, UP, Uttarakhand and other states, Ansari added.

RNI (Real News Intl.) News

Games Municipal Corporations play?

A thriving businessman living in New Brij Puri in EDMC’s Shahdara South division, Mehboob Ansari believe that everything is up for grab in this country, by hook or by crook, if you have the money to purchase it. Needless to say, he blatantly uses his money to “purchase” services and favours from erring clerks in municipalities who are ever willing to pass on favours for a little bribe. In one of those rare moments when he opens out in front of others, consequence of a boastful sway of character, Ansari told this correspondent how he has paid money so that the officers look the other way while he got his buildings constructed. Ansari who owns several houses in the locality, which are given on rent, is a habitual offender none of whose houses have been constructed after obtaining the requisite permissions from the authorities. On the contrary all of them, he boasts, have been constructed by paying the floor rate to the junior engineers in the municipal corporations to look the other way.

Look the other way, this is exactly what the municipal corporations do! Social Workers Association which claims itself to be a watchdog since 1987 for implementing, rectifying, altering and/or reforming the society, in the larger interest of the common public, brought the case to the knowledge of the then EDMC commissioner Amit Yadav through a letter dated December 4, 2015 (the copy of which is available with this correspondent) in which it highlighted how few house-owners were targeted for constructing their houses while few others were let go for the same offence.

It so happened that few houses were being constructed in New Brij Puri at the same time. EDMC officers swooped in on the colony and sealed all the houses, including the house of Mehboob Ansari which too was getting constructed. Ansari swung into action and by evening the seal of his house was removed while the remaining houses in the colony remained sealed for more than a year. All construction remained suspended in the other houses while Ansari completed the construction, in a blatant mockery of the law and its executioners. No heed was paid to the complaint by the Association, nor was a need felt by the EDMC to respond.

Without naming Ansari, the letter written to Amit Yadav refers to the 4-5 houses in the colony (New Brij Puri) that had been sealed and said: “it is true that civic rules need to be followed but what is the logic of few houses being sealed while rest continue to be made at a stone’s throw distance. Both were equally flouting the rules, but the authorities decided to seal some and leave some.”

Signed by the secretary, the letter further said: “I wish to bring to your notice that other houses were being built even when few others were sealed and houses are being built even now when the earlier ones remain sealed. Gossip is that owners of those houses which got sealed didn’t do ‘something’ which the others who were left did.”

“It is also being said that one of the house owners, who had shifted on rent to another premise, so that his house could be built,  had taken loan for the purpose and was expecting to return it through rent when the house would be complete, died of heart failure a few days after his under-construction house was sealed. I have heard that even the sealed houses are given a green signal by officials to rebuild, when the file goes to some corners of the MCD office, that too in lieu of certain ‘favours’. Incidentally, some of the sealed houses, have already started rebuilding after opening up the sealed lock.”

The letter asked EDMC to respond whether any policy decision has been taken in this regard. It said: “We wish to know what policy decisions have been taken in this regard and how is it that the same fate does not befall two different people, who both are guilty of the same ‘crime’.”

Social Workers Association, claims its Secretary, is yet to get a response for the letter sent through registered post, way back in December 2015. Meanwhile, the status quo continues wherein houses in all municipalities are getting constructed on regular basis, but at the same time erring junior officers see to it that construction is stalled unless their palms are greased.

The million dollar question is how it is possible that the houses are sealed and de-sealed, without documentation. When asked, a junior clerk in EDMC gave away the answer. Some houses need to be sealed to show that the zonal officers are not keeping a blind eye to the rampant illicit construction. The house owners who try to ‘act smart’ by paying no heed to the JE’s repeated visits or try to negotiate fall to the guillotine. Once sealed, the construction has to remain stalled for some time, until the matter subsides and the file gets buried under the heap of more files. Then, if the house owner pursues ‘in the right earnest’, he is given a go-ahead to remove the seal silently and finish the construction. This is the modus operandi, which could not be substantiated because the EDMC Commissioner did not respond to the pointed questions sought by the Social Workers Association.

The question that remains unanswered to this day is how Mehboob Ansari’s house was sealed and then unsealed the same day so that he could continue with his construction. Apparently, despite his boastful self-aggrandizement, there are some secrets that people like Ansari still do not divulge.

The incumbent LG at Delhi is known for strictly enforcing the regulations. It remains to be seen how he pulls up the municipalities to fall in line and make their houses in order, particularly amid the repeated rhetoric of the Aam Aadmi Party regarding corruption in our municipalities.

RNI (Real News Intl) News Agency

Centre Committed to Sustainable Development in Order to Combat Climate Change Challenge, Says India’s Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water & Sanitation Minister

The Centre is committed to its agenda of sustainable development and combating climate change challenges is a very important part of it, said Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Hon’ble Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water & Sanitation, at the concluding session of the National Convention on Innovations in Green Highways late Wednesday evening in New Delhi. “Mother nature allows us to utilize but not overexploit it. Overexploitation of natural resources culminates in climate change and other attendant problems,” Shri Tomar said.

It is with the aim of achieving sustainable growth that the government is committed to greening of national highways and roadways through the National Green Highways Mission (NGHM), Shri Tomar added.

Standing (from left to right): Shri Ranjan Chatterjee [Former IAS and Member Expert Member, National Green Tribunal (NGT)], Shri Lal Singh Choudhary [Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology of J&K ], Shri Narendra Singh Tomar [Hon’ble Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water & Sanitation], Shri AK Bhattacharya [Mission Director, NGHM] and Ms. Induja Rai [Adviser, NGHM]

Standing (from left to right): Shri Ranjan Chatterjee [Former IAS and Member Expert Member, National Green Tribunal (NGT)], Shri Lal Singh Choudhary [Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology of J&K ], Shri Narendra Singh Tomar [Hon’ble Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water & Sanitation], Shri AK Bhattacharya [Mission Director, NGHM] and Ms. Induja Rai [Adviser, NGHM]

Talking about the initiatives taken by Jammu & Kashmir on environmental conservation, Hon’ble Choudhary Lal Singh, Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology of J&K informed the gathering about the massive tree plantation drive undertaken by the J&K Forest Department last monsoon. Invoking the need for systematic planning of infrastructure projects such as roads and highways, Shri Choudhary said, “Construction of national highways by the Centre should be planned in such a manner that it doesn’t interfere with the surrounding tree cover. Similarly, disposal of construction waste, too, should be undertaken in a proper manner avoiding disposing the waste in median construction.”

Speaking on this occasion, Dr. A.K. Bhattacharya, MD, NGHM, observed that expert opinion of 220 experts from 100 organizations from 18 states and several international experts from diverse fields had participated in the Convention and contributed towards the road-map for implementation of Green Highways project and in the development of a research plan. “It is our objective to develop the concept of green highways under a sustainable business model. In this direction, we are also looking at introducing newer innovations,” observed Dr. Bhattacharya.

Ranjan Chatterjee, Expert Member, National Green Tribunal (NGT), Delhi, said “The NGT is looking towards evolving the best possible ways of protecting people living in settlements located close to national highways against dust and noise pollution by using tree cover along them as a strong buffer.”newlogo

Three MoUs were signed on the concluding day between the NHAI regional offices and Forest Development Corporations of J & K, Maharashtra and ITC. “Best Management Practices Manual for Green Highways” authored by Ms Induja Rai, Advisor, NGHM was also released. The manual documents the global best management practices for highways plantations and has the Green Highways Vegetation Management Charter providing guidelines for undertaking plantations along highways. Following this, declaration was done for launch of Delhi Chapter of Bamboo Society of India which aimed at policy advocacy and liaisoning with different agencies for development and promotion of bamboo related initiatives.

The aim of the National Convention on Innovations in Green Highways was to collate information on innovations and research in the field of green pathways, both locally and globally. Research, training and capacity building requirements for the project stakeholders were identified and analyzed at the forum.

 Eminent national and international experts discussed varied themes such as global trends in green highways, recent researches and technologies in the field, accruing carbon credits through green highway plantations, plantation as a road safety tool, scope of roadside bamboo plantations and operational models to involve local communities in the 11 high-level technical sessions spread over three days. Going forward, these deliberations are expected to provide a robust framework for the proposed ‘Centre for Innovations in Green Pathways’.

National Green Highways Mission (NGHM)

The National Green Highways Mission (NGHM) was established by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) under National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) with a vision to develop green corridors along national highways for sustainable environment and inclusive growth. The NGHM has been entrusted with the task of planning, implementation and monitoring roadside plantations along one lakh km network of national highways.

National Convention on Green Highways to Provide Framework for Proposed ‘Centre for Innovations in Green Highways’

newlogoThe National Green Highways Mission (NGHM) is organizing a national convention to discuss innovations in green highways as well as prepare a road map for establishing the ‘Centre for Innovations in Green Pathways’. The workshop will be held from Monday, November 07 to Wednesday, November 09, 2016, in New Delhi.

 The aim of the first such forum to be held in India is to collate information on innovations and research in the field of green pathways both locally and globally. Research, training and capacity building requirements for the project stakeholders will be identified and analyzed during the three-day event. The convention is expected to provide an effective platform for networking, linkages and convergence with national and international organizations engaged in similar initiatives.

 Eminent national and international experts will be touching upon varied themes such as global trends in green highways, recent researches and technologies in the field, accruing carbon credits through green highways plantations, plantations as a tool for road safety, scope of roadside bamboo plantations and operational models to involve local communities during the several panel discussions. Going forward, the deliberations are expected to provide a robust framework for the proposed centre on green pathways.

 Shri Nitin Gadkari, Honourable Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Government of India, will be opening the convention. Shri Raghav Chandra, Chairman, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will be the keynote speaker. Dr. A.K. Bhattacharya, Mission Director, NGHM, will deliver the welcome address.

 National Green Highways Mission (NGHM)

The National Green Highways Mission (NGHM) was established by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) under National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) with a vision to develop green corridors along national highways for sustainable environment and inclusive growth. The NGHM has been entrusted with the task of planning, implementation and monitoring roadside plantations along one lakh km network of national highways. To conduct this task effectively, the NGHM needs to adapt learnings from other parts of the world and undertake new researches and test innovations. To meet this requirement, a knowledge center would be established under the NGHM, which would be called “Centre for Innovations in Green Pathways”.

Manish Pant, RNI

How will trees be planted along one lakh kilometre network of national highways?

3-day convention to develop detailed road-map and framework


RNI News:

The National Green Highways Mission (NGHM) has been entrusted with the task of planning, implementation and monitoring roadside plantations along one lakh kilometre network of national highways. To conduct this task effectively, the NGHM needs to adapt learnings from other parts of the world and undertake new research and test innovations at pilot scale so as to implement them later on larger scale. With this perspective, NGHM is organizing a three-day convention from 7th November at Madhyanchal located at Delhi’s Vasant Kunj in which experts from various related fields will put forth their views and highlight the hurdles in the way.nitingadkari

The National Green Highways Mission (NGHM) was established by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) under National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) with a vision to develop green corridors along the national highways for sustainable environment and inclusive growth.

newlogoMinister of Road Transport and Highways will be the Chief Guest in the inaugural session. Dr. AK Bhattacharya (Mission Director, NGHM), Mr. Raghav Chandra (Chairman, NHAI), Mr. Vijay Chhibber (Ex Secretary, MoRTH), Dr. CK Varshney (Ex Professor and Dean, JNU), Mr AP Frank Noronha (DG, PIB), Dr. Hans Friederich (INBAR, China) and Mr. Anuj Sharma (DGM, NGHM) will put forth their views in the inaugural session. On this occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Green Highways Project will be signed with the World Bank, ITC, INBAR, Yes Bank and TERI.

The purpose of the convention is to create a knowledge centre known as ‘Centre for Innovations in Green Pathways’, which will work under the supervision of NGHM, and serve as a platform to undertake research, innovations, trainings, capacity building programs and advocacy in the field of green highways and pathways. Various technical sessions have been kept with this purpose in mind, so that experts from various fields may express their observations.

Outlook magazine has taken up the responsibility of executing the event, informed S. Ramesh working as GM.

Emerging Sikkim – Pathways to a green future

Sikkim is on course to unearthing new horizons of progress. Most remarkable achievement of the State is its green initiative. Here’s a look at the CM who turned into reality the efforts to make Sikkim an Organic State.

Pawan Kumar Chamling - Chief Minister Sikkim - the man at the helm of affairs

Pawan Kumar Chamling – Chief Minister Sikkim – the man at the helm of affairs

Sikkim, generally known as a small Himalayan state of India with just 7096 sq kms geographical area and 6 lakhs plus population, is one of the most beautiful states of India in the lap of Mount Kanchenjunga with mountains, hills, valleys, rivers, forests and lush green fields everywhere. This mystic land, which was once blessed by Guru Padma Sambhava, is bestowed with abundant natural resources and rich biodiversity with thousands of varieties of flora and fauna. The varied agro climatic condition of the state gives scope for cultivation of crops suitable in subtropical to temperate climate. The farming system adopted since ages is an integrated farming system with mixed cropping which is successful in the hills. Farming is done under rainfed condition due to lack of assured irrigation facility. Therefore, emphasis is given to high value low volume crops which gives good economic return. Since the climate is humid with good vegetation the soil is rich in organic carbon leading to good nitrogen availability. Traditionally farmers practiced organic system of farming and the fertiliser consumption was as low as 7 kgs per hectare when organic farming policy was introduced as a novel initiative by the dynamic Chief Minister of Sikkim – Pawan Chamling. The policy for adoption of organic farming was brought in the state when no other state of India had thought about it. In a little more than a decade, Sikkim got on course to become the first total organic farming state of India. This endeavour has been helped by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi who played the role of Brand Ambassador of Organic Sikkim and applauded the initiative taken up by Government of Sikkim in his speeches within and outside the country. Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan too gave a great boost to the organic farming initiative of the Government of Sikkim by telecasting it in his Satyamewa Jayate series.


sikIt was a historic moment for Sikkim when Hon’ble Chief Minister of Sikkim brought a much-needed policy initiative in the State Assembly in the year 2003 for transforming the state into a “Total Organic State” by adopting certain policy interventions. This meant that the use of chemical fertilizers was to be gradually done away with. Aim eventually was to protect and enrich biodiversity and to pass on the land inherited from our forefathers to our future generations in its pristine and pure state. In due course of time, Sikkim Organic Mission has become a flagship programme of the State Government with the aim to protect the soil, environment and the ecology from bad effects of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, thereby resulting in healthy living of the people.

In keeping with his Government’s concern for preservation of sensitive ecology and environment, Pawan Chamling launched and implemented several programmes and policies in a mission mode which included adoption of bio village, subsidization of rural and vermi organic manures, converting State Government’s farms into “Organic Centres of Excellence” for conducting organic farming demonstration and trials. In course, Sikkim Organic Mission was launched to implement the programmes of organic farming and to introduce, promote and adopt appropriate technologies for organic crop production, protection, processing, branding and marketing of organic products of the state.

There is no doubt that Sikkim’s Organic Mission has been a story of one of India’s great successes. This great public policy success story has been led by the dynamic Chief Minister of the State – Pawan Chamling – who despite stiff initial opposition and without any fiscal support from the Union Government, moved ahead relentlessly.

sikkiSikkim is the first state of India to officially announce adoption of Organic Farming and the only State of India to convert entire state into organic. A total of about 74.000 hectares of agricultural land covering the whole state has been certified as organic and anything grown in Sikkim will be certified as organic produce.

In view of long term sustenance of soil fertility, protection of environment and ecology, healthy living and decreasing the risk of health ailments and many other indirect benefits the decision for adoption of Organic Farming has been welcomed by all. Today, Sikkim is well known as an Organic state not only in the country but at international level also. His efforts have now been lauded and recognized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as something that the rest of India must emulate.

Today, Sikkim is known all over India and abroad as an organic farming state. Chief Minister Pawan Chamling’s efforts are being disseminated to the rest of Indian states. His untiring efforts have even held the attention of the world which is grappling with the problems of Climate Change. Now the immediate need is to produce commodities to match the demand, establish processing units for different commodities, brand the commodities and export them to earn foreign exchange. A good marketing strategy needs to be developed and infrastructure built to suit the market requirements.

Stage is set to implement the post mission target which would be to market these quality products well and fetch a premium price for them. It has to be taken up in an organized and aggressive way by including all stakeholders and ensuring that the produce sold should be ultimately benefitting the producers, rural and industrious farmers.  Impact of the certified organic status will be felt on the ground level when the farmers will see the encashment of the status achieved and generating income of farmers by organised marketing of produces to national and international markets. The state also plans to have its own accredited certification agency for long term continuity and sustenance for which the process is already underway.

CM Pawan Chamling’s efforts were highlighted in the national conference on sustainable agriculture, wherein all state agriculture ministers, central and state agriculture officials and other technical experts were present to discuss various challenges posed to the farm sector. The conference identified initiatives to transform agriculture based on sustainable and efficient use of resources like soil and water, higher per unit yields, remunerative prices on produce, risk coverage and mitigation of potential negative impact of climate change. Sustainability through organic farming and soil health management, national agriculture market and APMC reforms, crop insurance and credit flow to farm sector, convergence of schemes like MGNREGA, Pradhan Mantril Krishi Sichai Yojana and other state plan scheme, ways and means to enhance investment in agriculture and land lease, were discussed in detail amidst examples from the Sikkim model, which was talked about in detail.

As a major fillip to organic farming in Sikkim, top Indian agro-based companies have announced to undertake a slew of agro-ventures in the State. Various companies have announced to bring in major inbound investments and expertise in the field of produces namely spices, fruits, vegetables, cereals-pulses and flowers. During one such buyer-seller meet, organized recently, representatives of the export companies participating in the meet showed great interest in the organic produce of the State.

sikkimfMoreover, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare has released two new mobile applications aimed at providing relevant and timely information to farmers. “Crop Insurance” app helps the farmers discover complete details of insurance cover available in their area and also calculate the insurance premium for notified crops, coverage amount and loan amount in case of a loaned farmer. The other app – “AgriMarket Mobile” can be used by the farmers to get the market prices of crops in the mandi within 50 km radius of the device and other mandis in the country. These apps have been developed on the mKisan portal as part of the National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGP-A).

The time has come for us to reap the fruits of labour. The state is now ready to reap the rewards of years of toil and hard work by producing commodities as per requirements of the market and sell them as pure, branded organic produce of Sikkim. Sikkim is now being projected as the place where quality and genuine organic commodities are available. The State is on road to capture the market for commodities like cardamom, ginger, turmeric, buckwheat, urd, soybean, cymbidium orchids and medicinal plants. The stage is also set to focus attention on capturing markets beyond the State’s territorial limits and look at the global market as the ultimate destination in the days to come.

Honours and glories

Sikkim bagged top five honours in a prestigious award function held in Delhi recently, viz. the annual State of the States (SoS) awards, which were based on various findings of the 2015 SoS survey done by Nielsen’s Indicus Analytics. Initiated in 2003, this SoS survey is an occasion for States to compare their performance across the board with that of other States. As the biggest gainer among small States, Sikkim jumped seven spots to the No. 1 spot and improved in governance, investment and macro economy.

Several other initiatives are being rolled by the State under the dynamic leadership of Pawan Chamling. One such initiative is the establishment of livelihood schools, wherein educated unemployed youth are trained and employed with various service providers as field supervisors. These trained youth are further helping in uninterrupted moving ahead of organic conversion and certification programmes.

sikkkAlso, the Rural Management & Development Department, Government of Sikkim was conferred two prestigious national awards for Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) namely “Skoch Order of Merit” for qualifying amongst India’s Best – 2015 in Smart Technology and the prestigious “Skoch Award” conferred as India’s highest independent Honor by Skoch Group, New Delhi. The award was conferred after a rigorous selection procedure where more than thousand entries from different parts of the country and various state governments participated in the first selection round.

PM Modi has elucidated about the three ‘S’s viz. Skill, Speed and Scale, which are being put to action in Gangtok. Sikkim is developing fast to partner with the rest of the country in expediting growth. This significant transition and the success of CM’s vision and mission has been possible due to full-hearted support of Sikkim’s young farmers and entrepreneurs. It is they who are giving the much needed speed and scale to the mission so that the passion and determination with which the Chief Minister conceptualized this mission can be carried forward for future generations to benefit. The farmers, the panchayats, the grass-root SDF political leaders, the administrators and managers – all are playing the tune in harmony for symphony to emerge.

Gram Panchayat

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling’s path-breaking initiative of covering 74,190 hectares of land under holding of 64,726 farming families under organic farming would not have fructified without full-fledged participation of farmers and rural public. It was difficult to move forward without holding meetings of the farmers. Farmers were to be made aware of what organic farming meant, what were the benefits and why was the State going into organic. Without this, farmers may not have supported the move so wholeheartedly.

For this, the CM strengthened the Panchayati system extensively. Presence of area public representatives – gram panchayat or zilla panchayat – gave strong support to the move. Village meetings and orientation were organised and awareness programmes initiated in presence of field officials, officers and public representatives. These activities went a long way in bring farmers into confidence to go for organic system of farming.

Text by Aziz Haider (RNI News Agency) []

Indian embassies abroad opening new frontiers in promoting bovine meat export

AbattoirHelp of the Indian embassies located in various meat consuming countries is being sought to promote bovine meat export from India. Owing to their tireless efforts, some embassies have been instrumental in giving a big leap forward in promoting Indian bovine meat export.

As per available reports, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association (AIMLEA) are working with various Indian embassies abroad to promote meat export in a big way. Efforts include organizing Roadshows on Indian Bovine Meat and inviting deputations from foreign countries to inspect slaughter houses and abattoirs and their meat processing and quarantine control mechanisms.

In one such development, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of Indonesia sent an audit team to India “to inspect abattoirs and research institutions, which confirmed that India has excellent mechanism of meat processing and quarantine control. The team was informed that India has more than 50 slaughter houses which are above international standards.

As per information available, based on the report submitted by the inspection team, H.E. Mr. Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia has signed a decree allowing ‘zone-based’ meat imports in which would allow the Indonesian government to open its market for Indian bovine meat from the month of Ramadan, which has already begun.

The Ambassador of India to Indonesia H.E. Ms. Nengcha Lhouvum

The Ambassador of India to Indonesia H.E. Ms. Nengcha Lhouvum

The Indian Embassy in Jakarta is seeing this as ‘a big leap forward in promoting bovine meat’. In April this year, Indian Embassy had organized a ‘Roadshow on Indian Bovine Meat’ in Jakarta, in collaboration with APEDA and AIMLEA, which was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Indonesian meat producers/importer associations (NAMPA, APMISO, ASPIDI, APFINDO, PPSKI, GKSI, GPMT), Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), State Procurement/Logistics Agencies, private import houses and retailers, apart from the local media.

During the event, the Ambassador of India H.E. Ms. Nengcha Lhouvum, in her opening address had said that bovine meat is one of the prominent sectors which could help diversifying the exports from India that would ultimately benefit the Government and the people of Indonesia.

RoadshowOnIndianBovineMeatIt was also informed that India had been trying for market access for Indian bovine meat in Indonesia since 1999 and the recent decree signed by President of Indonesia in allowing ‘zone-based’ meat imports will go a long way in giving India a significant share in Indonesian meat market.

The Roadshow included a presentation projecting the strength of India as a consistent and quality supplier of bovine meat to Indonesia. India has a track record of 46 years in the export of de-boned and de-glanded frozen Buffalo meat to 64 countries worldwide. 100% of the meat exported from India is prepared strictly in compliance with Islamic requirements and is genuinely Halal.

APEDA and AIMLEA are committed to promote Indian meat export and assistance of other embassies of India too has been sought.


No place for lotus in PM Modi’s official program at Gurgaon!

Call it lotus or coloured flower, such installations were removed from the premises

Call it lotus or coloured flower, such installations were removed from the premises

Lotus might well be the official emblem of the party in power, but when it comes to having lotus installations in PM Narendra Modi’s official programs, there is no place for it. Though officers in the Haryana Government discount this claim and cite other reasons for removal of lotus-resembling installations from PM Narendra Modi’s official program, there is a large number of art-lovers, including socialites and members of civil society who are displeased over art being sacrificed at the cost of politics.

Sun and lotus was apparently the theme created by Seerat Narendra as décor for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande’s visit to the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) on Gurgaon-Faridabad Expressway when the later came on an official visit to India. The same installations were also supposed to adorn the Devilal Stadium in Gurgaon at the time of Republic Day celebrations. However, if accounts of those present at NISE are to be believed, the installations of lotus were ordered to be removed from the premises by officials present there, ostensibly to remove the political touch from the PM’s official program. But this act has left the art-lovers fuming!

RNI talked to Seerat Narendra who confirmed that certain officials asked her to remove the installations that resembled lotus a shade prior to the visit of the dignitaries. Seerat removed the lotus-resembling flowers which were later used to give colour to the ambience at Devilal Stadium.

Seerat Narenda standing next to her lotuses, seen by others as coloured flowers

Seerat Narenda standing next to her lotuses, seen by others as coloured flowers

Says Seerat: “Lotus is our national flower. The artistic installations had to be removed because some narrow minded official linked it to a political party. This is very sad. Will they stop respecting or using the Tri-Colour of our respected national flag (something which we all treasure) because the same colours are also depicted on the flag of another political party?” Seerat is emphatic that politics should be kept out of art. “Please keep politics out of art and learn to appreciate the hard work of artisans and artists who slogged to create a beautiful installation,” she says with a degree of annoyance.

Meenu Gaddi who attended the Republic Day celebrations at Devilal Stadium liked the décor put up there by Seerat extensively. She is disappointed at the manner in which the installations were asked to be removed from NISE premises and wish people have a broader view, when it comes to appreciating art and craft. “Would we stop using our hands for whatever… just because we didn’t vote for the Congress,” she says.

Seerat Narendra removing the lotuses from NISE premises a shade prior to the commencement of the event

Seerat Narendra removing the lotuses from NISE premises a shade prior to the commencement of the event

A journalist working for a mainline English daily too felt it was silly and disappointing to remove the lotus-similar installations. “Lotus is one of the most beautiful flowers and comes with a very strong message that your surroundings can never dim your inner light. It’s very juvenile of the official to connect lotus with a certain political party or its ideology,” says she vehemently.

Madhuri Bhatia, a freelance actor, singer and dancer and a great connoisseur of art rues that such beautiful installations went unappreciated and wasted. “If a connection has to be drawn to a particular party, anything and everything can be attached,” tells Madhuri.

An intellectual of repute, Ramaa Shanker agrees that politics have reached such levels that it cannot be changed. An art lover and an artist herself, Madhura Phatak too is of view that art and artists should not suffer because of the myopic view of some people. Madhura feels sorry the way things are shaping up in our country.

T.L. Satyaprakash, IAS & Dy Commissioner - Gurgaon

T.L. Satyaprakash, IAS & Dy Commissioner – Gurgaon

While the artists and art-lovers have been expressing their disappointment because art had to give way to politics, the district administration has an altogether different take on this. T.L. Satyaprakash, IAS and presently serving as Deputy Commissioner Gurgaon is of view that the art installations were not removed because of their resemblance to the symbol of a political party. RNI talked to the Deputy Commissioner who said the flowers were not resembling lotus, instead they were coloured flowers. Lot many flowers were made for the Republic Day program at Devi Lal Stadium, he told RNI. Initially it was felt that some of the flowers could be used to beautify the NISE premises but then a decision was taken to keep the ambiance plain. “We were told French people don’t like colours, etc.” said the Deputy Commissioner. When asked who took the decision to remove the artistic installations, he said possibly it was the Director of NISE. However, one thing that is clear is that floral designs were installed and then removed at the behest of certain officer.

Seerat, on the contrary, maintains French would have taken pride in showing the work of their artists. “Think of the artisans and artists who worked hard only to portray a beautiful image of the country,” says Seerat. All that she, along with other art lovers, want is to keep art out of politics!

RNI News

Taking cue from Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission, Indialogue Foundation organizes discussion on ‘Cleanliness in religions’

DSC08131 (1024x768)Indialogue Foundation organizes an annual iftar-dinner cum Interfaith Dialogue to enable followers of different faiths to talk, collaborate and live amicably, understand the views of different groups on various subjects, and share the common values and teachings, carried out in an atomospher of peace and openness, with love, respect and good intentions without any force or duress. Bilal Acikgoz, the suave dynamic president of Indialogue Foundation has, through his efforts, made this annual fixture an event to look out for. Foundation’s theme this year was ‘Cleanliness in Religions’, under inspiration form recently the most heavily highlighted campaign of ‘Swachh Bharat’. Needless to say, the luminaries and thinkers of religion and interfaith were present to express their views. Read on…

 By Aziz Haider

Distinguished gathering

Distinguished gathering

Cleanliness has become a buzz word today, courtesy Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Government through its various ministries is spending crores of rupees to achieve this task. Majority of people are hopeful we will be able to achieve our objective by the stipulated date of October 2nd, 2019. But the question that still lurks behind some of our minds is whether this task will indeed be achieved, considering the various impediments that rig the path.

Distinguished gathering

Distinguished gathering

Question is why we, a country with five centuries plus a great civilization and boasting of having followers of all the major religions of the world, have not moved ahead in this direction till now. Do our religions really focus on the subject of the cleanliness? If yes, where lies the focus? Discussion on this important subject was initiated at the behest of Indialogue Foundation in its Annual Interfaith Dialogue followed by Iftar Dinner, where scholars and experts of various religions spoke on the subject of ‘Cleanliness in Religions’, under inspiration from recently the most heavily highlighted campaign of ‘Swachh Bharat’. Indialogue Foundation seeks inspiration from US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is now having estranged relationships with present Turkish Government, which is seeking his extradition. The Foundation which works to facilitate interfaith understanding and communication has been organizing similar events since its inception in 2009.

Bilal Acikgoz

Bilal Acikgoz

Bilal Acikgoz, the President of Indialogue Foundation is of view that cleanliness is the major focus of most world religions and traditions. Quran highlights on purity of soul, heart and body. Islam has uniquely stressed on the subject of cleanliness when Prophet Mohammad said that purity and cleanliness is half of the faith. Islam gives great stress on both physical and spiritual cleanliness. From washing face, hands and feet five times a day as preparation for mandatory prayers, in the name of wudu, to various prescribed baths on various occasions, and keeping the surroundings clean, Islam also stresses on inner purification through seeking roohani or spiritual elevation and attaining purity through eradicating all evil thoughts and nature from mind in the name of Allah. It is the constant remembrance of the God in various acts that lead to spiritual elevation and thus spiritual purity. Roza or fasting is an example where the believer attempts to rid himself of all evils of body, mind and senses. Thus cleanliness has to take place in totality and not merely physically.

Cleanliness is very important facet that is highlighted in all religions. Being unclean is seen with contempt. Hinduism too has several prescribed ritual baths for various occasions. Hindus wash their feet before entering the temples. There are other rituals too that highlight cleanliness. Swachh Bharat campaign will really reach out to the masses when the campaign focusses through temples, mosques, madrasas, churches, synagogues and draws religious inspiration.

Swami Shantatmanand

Swami Shantatmanand

Swami Shantatmanand too is of view that the idea of cleanliness is centric to all religions. Swachhata or Cleanliness is one of the prerequisites of abhyasa yoga and a lot of stress has been put on it. Similarly the practice of taking bath before going to temple of before any important occasion or puja seeks to clean the physical body. Most religions talk of this journey from gross to subtle, so by way of observances, washing oneself, putting on clean clothes, similar rituals are followed by more and more inward journey towards attaining purity. Only the pure can really search God. Great emphasis is laid on internal purity. Similar to the practice of Karsewa, there is a similar practice among Hindus as well where devotees render service in temples. Physical purity like baths, putting on clean clothes, keeping the temples clean, etc. lead the adherent to inward journey towards purity.

Distinguished gathering

Distinguished gathering

In religious utterances, for example puja, stress is on cleaning external and internal parts. There are elaborate practices in various pujas, where different limbs of body are associated with different gods and goddesses and appropriate mantras are chanted thereby the worshipper becomes completely pure. Just as in Islamic concept of fasting, various fasts have been prescribed among the Hindus too. Fasting is not only to abstain from but it is to restrain the sense organs from their outward journey by making them inward-seeking. On Shivratri, the entire night of fasting is prescribed. Fasting is accompanied by lot many practices like meditating, prayers, japa, etc. Idea is that our body, which is the greatest impediment in self-realization, need to be conditioned through voluntary abstaining from food and we try to gain greater control over senses. Islam too prescribes lot of prayers, reading of Holy Quran and other such practices during fasting. All these practices are actually meant to help us evolve spiritually and move ahead in our inward journey.

Cleanliness of body is essential for cleanliness of mind, thus making us evolve as a spiritual person. It gives us insight to understand other religions which are actually trying to reach the same goal through various different paths. Ultimate goal is to reach supreme peace, supreme tranquility and supreme contentment.

Dr. M.D. Thomas

Dr. M.D. Thomas

Dr. MD Thomas, Chairman and Director of Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies, is of view that fasting makes us evolve as a better human being. It is an occasion to clean ourselves in mind, body, heart and spirit and also in our thoughts, words, sentiments and attitudes.

When we talk of cleanliness, normally our mind goes to ritual cleanliness. Though ritual cleanliness is important, Jesus has stressed more on internal cleanliness. He said, blessed are those who are pure in heart for they shall see God. Thus, to see God, purity of heart is essential. Cleanliness of body and mind is surely needed but also the cleanliness of concepts and understanding; that is why Jesus said what you do to other human beings, you actually do that to God.

Distinguished gathering

Distinguished gathering

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is not just for government to achieve. Every human being has to contribute. Cleanliness will have to come out of the churches or places of worship like temples, gurudwarss, etc. and come to streets, parks, roads and our neighbourhood. Roughly half of our country is garbage. I wonder why religions, with their focus on cleanliness, have not inspired us to keep our surroundings clean. Religion will have to inspire and motivate us and come down to our ordinary lives otherwise it will only continue to talk of ritual purity whereas we will continue to live in filth and garbage.

Dr. MM Verma

Dr. MM Verma

Dr. MM Verma of Interfaith Foundation too opines cleanliness can be cleaning the physical body as well as the internal body. Roza or fasting is one means to achieve that. Clean mind and clean heart is absolute condition to achieve the desired goals. Kingdom of God is within us but God resides only in pure and clean hearts. So if we wish to see God, we will have to clean our heart.

Swami Nikhilanand

Swami Nikhilanand

Swami Nikhilanand of Chinmaya Mission is of view that one who has clean mind attain God. Cleanliness is next to godliness. It just does not mean outer environment but also cleanliness of our mind. If our mind is clean, it is easier for us to clean the outer world also. Cleanliness when it happens in the mind will lead to outer cleaning as well. We might talk of external dirt but real dirt is within our mind. If there is too much craving in the mind, it disturbs the outer environment also, resulting in pollution, and exploitation of nature. We want more and more, which is leading to severe societal problems. These impurities need to be cleaned. Fasting, not only prescribed among Muslims but in all other religions, is a beautiful means to clean body and mind. It helps us detach from various worldly lingering, and if truly practiced, may lead to cleanliness of heart as well as the surroundings.

Distinguished gathering

Distinguished gathering

Patanjali Yogshastra has talked of five niyams, one of which is ahimsa. Ahimsa could be being non-violent towards our environment and surroundings as well. The principle is that if we give something, it will return to us. Similarly, if we give uncleanliness, it will also return to us. Another basic principle is the thought that everything belongs to God. The air and water we take are not our creation. We should be grateful to God for these and one of the signs of being grateful is that we return it in the manner in which it was delivered to us. Hinduism talks of worshiping nature in the same sense. Worshiping means caring and being understanding. We remove the dirt from our homes and through it out because we feel it does not belong to us. But if we are grateful, we won’t do that. Another concept is aparigraha, not to won more than what is required. The fact that we are doing this is leading to imbalance of nature. One should try to possess as less as possible. If we develop this attitude, it will help environment as well. Worst thing that the humans have discovered is garbage. There is no garbage in nature. This creation of garbage too is consequence of our consumerist nature. Concept of Brahmcharya too means we must carry minimum in us, not only in outer possession but in the heart as well. If we do this, we will be able to see God and there will be happiness in our lives.

Mary Pat Fisher

Mary Pat Fisher

Mary Pat Fisher of Gobind Sadan, where people from different religions work, live and worship together, is of opinion that the aim of all activities prescribed by various religions is to clean our mind. The real temple of God is within us. The Noor or Light of God will shine and reflect in us only when we clean ourselves from within. As per the Sikh traditions, if the body is unclean it can be cleaned with soap but if the mind is dirty, it can only be cleaned with the colour of God i.e. the name of God. Cleaning with the colour of God is to be saturated with the love of God so much so that all external influences do not matter and the person’s starts showing the traits of godliness.

Prof. Akhtarul Wasey

Prof. Akhtarul Wasey

Prof. Akhtarul Wasey is of view that all religions in the world have come with only one express purpose, i.e. to clean. Cleanliness not only from outside, of roads and houses, but to clean the man of inferiority complex, satanic thoughts and bad behaviour. All religions are united on this. Islam stresses a lot on cleanliness. Prophet Mohammad even described it as half of the faith. Ramazan is an attempt to cleanse ourselves, to train ourselves not under the duress of Governmental pressure but to cleanse ourselves internally and externally for the sake of remembrance of God. Fasting in the month of the Ramazan is a training for acquiring righteous traits and good habits that help a man cleanse oneself of all things that create problems in the society.

Rabbi Malekar

Rabbi Malekar

Rabbi Malekar, the rabbi of Delhi synagogue talk of cleanliness by saying that when we get up early in the morning, before doing the prayers, we are commanded to wash our hands. Only then we seek blessings of God who has enjoined us with cleaning of heart. When Moss went on Mount Sina and God asked Moses to remove his sandals, it meant he had to go with clear heart removing all preconceived notions of mind and go to the heart with clean heart.

There is great stress on purity in Judaism. The bath during menstrual period and other ritual baths like when we visit the cremation or burial ground are examples. Judaism stresses on cleaning all food, even vegetarian food. Fasting too has been prescribed as a means to attain purity.

Government is talking of cleaning the Ganges. It is unfortunate that despite such a great stress on cleanliness, all the discharge from toilets and bathrooms of thousands of ashrams in Rishikesh and Haridwar end up going into the Ganges. As Gandhi ji said, if you want to see change in the world, you must bring the change.

Prof. J.S. Rajput

Prof. J.S. Rajput

Prof. J.S. Rajput avers of the need for attitudinal transformation, if success is to be attained in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. It is not possible to attain attitudinal transformation by putting up hoardings or advertisements or giving speeches. Long term attitudinal generational transformation can be achieved only through education. And religion is one of the tools to bring about attitudinal transformation. That is why I am of opinion that basics of all religions must be taught to a child in school. He will not only know about need to achieve internal and external purity and will result in his transformation into a wholesome individual.

To sum up, RNI talked to renowned scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan to know his views on the subject. Says the Maulana: Cleanliness is a law of nature. Every part of nature is perfectly clean, for example the flowing water, flowers and trees. Islam is din al-fitrah, that is, a religion of nature. Therefore, Islam attaches great importance to cleanliness. Islam requires every man and woman to become Mr Clean and Ms Clean. They should strive to maintain cleanliness in their homes and society.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

According to a verse in the Quran, “God loves those who keep themselves clean.” (2:222) Similarly, the Prophet of Islam has said: At-tuhur shatr al-iman (Sahih Muslim) That is, ‘Cleanliness is a part of faith.’ Another saying of the Prophet in this regard is: ‘Indeed God is pure and loves the pure. He is clean and loves cleanliness.’ (Tirmidhi)

In Islam cleanliness is a comprehensive concept—it involves purity of the heart, mind and speech and purity in dealing, in individual and social conduct. In other words, cleanliness includes everything from the body to the soul.

The culture of cleanliness first leads to a clean individual, then a clean family and society and finally, a clean nation. Thus, the entire human life becomes clean.

Cleanliness gives rise to clean ethics. Where there is cleanliness higher ethics automatically come into play—thus values such as good behaviour, honesty, and dutifulness find encouragement. The truth is that cleanliness is a comprehensive idea, one which covers all the activities of human life.

RNI (Real News Intl.) News Agency