Jul 9, 2015

President of India’s message on the eve of National Day of Bahamas

Press Information Bureau 
Government of India
President's Secretariat
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has extended his greetings and felicitations to the Government and people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas on the eve of their National Day (July 10, 2015). 

In his message to Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the President has said, “On behalf of the Government, the people of India and on my own behalf, it gives me great pleasure to extend warm greetings and felicitations on the occasion of your National Day. 

India and the Bahamas enjoy warm and friendly bilateral relations. Our convergence of views on many international issues of common interest, being developed further through the common platform of CARICOM, brings our two nations even closer. I am confident that our multi-faceted bilateral relations will grow rapidly in the years to come, to the mutual benefit of our two peoples. 

I avail this opportunity to convey to Your Excellency, my best wishes for your personal well-being and good health, as well as for the continued progress of the friendly people of the Bahamas.” 

Press Information Bureau 
Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
Text of PM's remarks at BRICS Business Council

Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin, 

Your Excellency President Dilma Rousseff, 

Your Excellency President Xi Jinping, 

Your Excellency President Jacob Zuma, 

Members of the BRICS Business Council 

मैं BRICS Summit की मेजबानी के लिए President Putin के प्रति हार्दिक आभार व्यक्त करता हूं। 

मैं BRICS Business Council के साथ उनकी इस बैठक के लिए भी उन्हें धन्यवाद देता हूं। 

यह BRICS Summit के सबसे महत्वपूर्ण additions में से एक रहा है। 

BRICS business leaders के एक स्थान पर मिलने से BRICS राष्ट्रों के बीच आर्थिक सहयोग बढ़ेगा। 

मैं BRICS Business Council के सदस्यों को उनके अत्यंत उपयोगी कार्य के लिए धन्यवाद देता हूं और इसकी सिफारिशों की उत्सुकता से प्रतीक्षा करूंगा, और हम सब मिलकर के कोई कार्य योजना बना करके आगे बढ़ेंगे। 

BRICS की स्थापना के vision के पीछे आर्थिक सहयोग एक मुख्य वजह थी। 

हम विश्व की जनसंख्या का लगभग 44% हैं; purchasing power parity के हिसाब से global GDP में हमारा हिस्सा लगभग 40% है; तथा world trade में हमारा हिस्सा 18% है। 

हममें बहुत सी समानताएं हैं। साथ ही, हमारे पास ढेर सारे और एक-दूसरे के पूरक संसाधन हैं। हममें से प्रत्येक के पास agriculture, manufacturing, technology, services, human resources और sustainable development में अनूठी विशेषज्ञता है। 

वैश्विक अर्थव्यवस्था अभी भी मज़बूत नहीं है। यूरोप जैसे प्रमुख विकसित बाजार संकट के दौर से गुजर रहे हैं। वित्तीय बाजार अस्थिर हैं। एक पक्षीय प्रतिबंध वैश्विक अर्थव्यवस्था को चोट पहुंचा रहे हैं। 

अतः BRICS economies के बीच सहयोग को घनिष्ठ करना बहुत महत्वपूर्ण हो जाता है। हमें विश्व के अहम विकसित क्षेत्रों के साथ BRICS business engagement को भी मज़बूत करना चाहिए। 

मेरी राय में infrastructure, urban renewal, agriculture supply chains, waste management, clean energy, affordable housing, और पूरे BRICS में manufacturing supply chains से हमें कारोबार के अवसर मिलेंगे और आर्थिक विकास का भी लाभ मिलेगा। 

हमारी अपनी-अपनी मज़बूतियों को देखते हुए हम skill development में बहुत अच्छा तालमेल बना सकते हैं। 

BRICS कंपनियों को आसपास के क्षेत्रों को सेवाएं मुहैया कराने के लिए प्रत्येक BRICS देश का प्रयोग करना चाहिए। 

अधिक घनिष्ठ आर्थिक सहयोग के लिए BRICS

Press Information Bureau 
Government of India
Ministry of Commerce & Industry
DGFT Launches online payment facility for application fees through Credit/ Debit Cards 
In keeping with the Digital India vision of Hon'ble Prime Minister, and  taking yet another small but crucial step towards paperless, online functioning in 24x7 environment, Directorate General of Foreign Trade(DGFT) today launched the facility of online payment of application fees through Credit/Debit cards and electronic fund transfer from 53 Banks (List annexed). The facility of online payment was launched by Commerce Secretary Ms. Rita A.Teaotia.

As a measure of Trade Facilitation and Ease of Doing Business, DGFT has already operationalised the facility of Online filing of various applications by the exporters/importers under the Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20). Early this year, DGFT also operationalised the facility of online submission of applications for issue of online Importer Exporter Code in digital format or e-IEC for entrepreneurs/exporters/importers. Now with the online payment facility being available from 53 banks as well as Credit and Debit cards, it would be possible to not only apply online for benefits under various schemes under Foreign Trade Policy but also make payment of the required application fee online, thus totally obviating the need to visit the offices of DGFT or banks for submission of applications. With the launch of this new facility applicants can now pay fees online to DGFT through their Credit /Debit Cards or through net banking in a 24x7 environment, from the comfort of their homes/offices or IT kiosks. This facility would also make the field offices of DGFT paperless to a large extent and enable them to function in 24*7 environment, while saving extra expenditure on storage space. It would also ensure transfer of the fee amount into government account on T+1 working day, avoiding undue delay in deposit of bank drafts etc.

            DGFT has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Central Bank of India, that will provide payment gateway services to the online portal of DGFT to enable applicants/ exporters/ importers to pay their application fees through Credit/Debit Cards or through net banking. The Central Bank of India will thus:

 (i)  Provide facility for collection of fee through online portal of DGFT from banks through internet banking, debit cards and credit cards;
(ii)  Provide e-challans, banks scrolls, transaction IDs for all successful transactions
(iii) Refund amount to the applicant within 3 days, in case of failed transactions;
(iv) Provide all relevant details for seamless integration with the PAO and subsequent reconciliation with banks and RBI; and
(v)  Transfer the funds as per remittance norms of T+1 working day.

            The charges applicable for using internet banking, debit /credit cards will be as follows:
Transaction Processing Charges
Visa / Master Card Credit card transaction:
1.45% of payment amount per transaction.

Visa / Master Card/Rupay Debit Card transactions:
   For transaction amount upto Rs.2000/- -: 0.75% of payment amount per transaction.
   For transaction amount above Rs.2000/- -: 1.00% of payment amount per transaction.

Net Banking Transactions:
For transaction amount upto Rs.10,000/- -: Nil
  For transaction amount above Rs.10,000/- -:Rs. 14/- per transaction / across all banks

  Service tax would be extra


Press Information Bureau 
Government of India
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Shri Nadda seeks participation of NGOs in “Kayakalp” and other initiatives of Health Ministry 
Shri J P Nadda, Minister for Health and Family Welfare met representatives from some prominent NGOs in the health sector to seek their participation in ‘Kayakalp’, an initiative of the Health Ministry to encourage public health facilities in the country to work towards standards of excellence to help the facilities stay clean and hygienic. Addressing the representatives, the Health Minister stated that public health facilities will be awarded under the initiative on various parameters of sanitation, hygiene and cleanliness. The scheme also includes development and instating of systems and procedures for activities such as bio-waste management, quality assurance of services etc. The initiative towards total “Swacchta” in public health facilities is aimed towards building confidence of the users in public health facilities, provide quality service and encourage team work, he said. Adding that he views the NGOs as ‘active partners of the Ministry’, Shri Nadda stated that he looks forward to their participation to also provide feedback on the schemes being implemented by the Ministry to enable course correction and value addition in the services. 

The Health Minister invited the NGOs to adopt any ward, area section or premise or any part of the activities within the three hospitals under the Central Government, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Dr. RML Hospital and Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, to begin with. The NGOs can innovate in terms of improving cleanliness in the wards, premises and toilets; provisioning of amenities such as water cooler, fans, etc.; livening up children’s wards with wall paintings; landscaping etc. The three hospitals have been taken for the first phase, and are expected to serve as models for the states to replicate. He added that he also seeks their participation in creating awareness about promotive and preventive health and in inculcating health seeking behaviour through communication at the grassroots, the level where the NGOs work. 

The NGO representatives welcomed the initiative of the Ministry and volunteered to partner not only on Kayakalp, but also on issues such as management of hospitals and PHCs in the states, advising the Ministry on better designing of health facility spaces and more effective management and services to improve client care, in addition to suggesting ways to improve the overall health sector in the country. The Minister requested them to forward concept notes and suggestions for the Ministry to go forward on to improve health services in the country. 

Present at the meeting were Shri B P Sharma, Secretary (HFW); senior officers from the Ministry along with representatives from Pariwar Sewa Sansthan, Voluntary Health Association of India, Ramakrishna Mission, HLL Lifecare Ltd., Sulabh International, Christian Medical Association of India, Mamta Health Institute for Mother & Child, Population Foundation of India, and Family Planning Association of India. 

Press Information Bureau 
Government of India
Ministry of Law & Justice 
Law Commission of India to hold One-Day Consultation on the Death Penalty 
The Law Commission of India is to hold  a one-day consultation on the death penalty on the coming Saturday i.e. 11thJuly, 2015 at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. Inaugurated by Shri Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the consultation will bring together a select group of leading figures in the judiciary, the bar, academia, media, and political and public life, to debate and discuss various aspects of the death penalty. In order to facilitate comprehensive deliberations, the consultation is organized as a roundtable and all participants will attend the event throughout the day. Each session will begin with short remarks by invited speakers. The floor will then be open for inputs from all participants. Besides leading figures from Indian society, the consultation will be attended by Professor Roger Hood, Professor Emeritus of Criminology and Research Associate, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford.

Four key themes will be discussed at the consultation, as follows:
1.      Arbitrariness and Discrimination: Is the death penalty applied arbitrarily? How can this be avoided or removed? Does the death penalty discriminate against marginalized and vulnerable people?
2.      State of the Criminal Justice System: What are the challenges faced by the criminal justice system, including the police, investigation processes, the judiciary and jail systems? How can the system be improved to allow for fair, impartial, and error-free application of the death penalty?
3.      The Penological Purpose(s) of the Death Penalty: What purpose does the death penalty serve? What alternatives can replace the death penalty to serve the same purpose?
4.      The Way Forward: Retention, Reform, Abolition: Should the death penalty be retained in its present or modified form, in view of India’s constitutional and international legal commitments?

The participants for the consultation will represent stakeholders from all walks of society. These include distinguished judges, Justice (retd.) Prabha Sridevan, Justice (retd.) SB Sinha, Justice (retd.) Hosbet Suresh, Justice (retd.) K Chandru and Justice (retd.) Rajinder Sachar. Political leaders such as Brinda Karat, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor, Majeed Memon, Kanimozhi, Varun Gandhi, and Aashish Khetan will be present. Former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah will also participate, as will social activist Usha Ramanathan. Sitting and former police officers such as Julio Ribeiro, DR Karthikeyan, Sankar Sen, PM Nair, Chaman Lal and Meeran C Borwankar will attend. Participating lawyers include KTS Tulsi, TR Andhyarujina, Yug Chaudhry, Sanjay Hegde, Colin Gonsalves and Dushyant Dave. NGOs working in the field will also be represented, such as ACHR, SAHRDC, and CHRI. Leading mediapersons will also be present, including Manoj Mitta, Siddharth Varadarajan, V Venkatesan, Praveen Swami, and Rajdeep Sardesai.

            A day before the consultation i.e. tomorrow  evening 10th July, 2015 , the Law Commission will host a lecture by Professor Roger Hood at the India International Centre, New Delhi. Professor Hood is presently Professor Emeritus of Criminology, University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford. He will speak on the “Universal Abolition of the Death Penalty: A Human Rights Imperative.” Professor Hood will also participate in the consultation.

It may be noted that the Supreme Court in Santosh Kumar Satishbhushan Bariyar v. Maharashtra and Shankar Kisanrao Khade v. Maharashtra, had suggested that the Law Commission should study the death penalty in India to “allow for an up-to-date and informed discussion and debate on the subject.” In May 2014, the Commission invited public comments on the subject by issuing a consultation paper. The one-day consultation is being held further to the comments received in response to that paper, and the views set forth during the consultation will aid the Commission in formulating its Report on the issue.

            The present law of the death penalty was laid down in Bachan Singh v. UOI (1980), when the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the penalty. However, the Court confined its application to the rarest of rare cases, to reduce the arbitrariness of the penalty. In arriving at its decision in that case, the Court had relied on the 35th Report of the Law Commission, previous decisions from India and elsewhere, and contemporary scholarship.

The 35th Report of the Law Commission, which the Court relied upon in Bachan Singh, also needs to be re-visited, especially since it was submitted in 1967, and thus did not account for the over-hauling of the death penalty framework in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, as well as other changes in India’s socio-political and legal landscape.

The legal landscape has also transformed in the 35 years since Bachan Singh. In 1980, when Bachan Singh was decided, only 18 countries had abolished the death penalty for all offences. Since then, about two-thirds of the world has abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. 98 countries have abolished the death penalty for all offences, seven have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes, and 35 others have imposed an effective moratorium against the death penalty. In international criminal law, the death penalty has been abolished for even the most grave and heinous offences, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. 

In recent cases, the Supreme Court has recognized that despite the “rarest of rare” doctrine, the death penalty continues to be applied arbitrarily. In Santosh Bariyar v. State of Maharashtra (2009), the Supreme Court recognized that the penalty was wrongly imposed on at least 15 persons. In Sangeet v. State of Maharashtra (2013), the Court admitted that the penalty was wrongly imposed in 5 other cases, adding that it was unable to decide whether the case was fit for imposing the death penalty due to uncertainties in India’s death penalty jurisprudence. Advances in empirical research, particularly in countries where the death penalty has been abolished, have also disputed the supposed deterrent effect of the death penalty.
            These changes in India and elsewhere make it an opportune moment to revisit questions of the constitutionality and desirability of the death penalty.


Press Information Bureau 
Government of India
Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas
Global crude oil price of Indian Basket was US$ 55.62 per bbl on 08.07.2015 
The international crude oil price of Indian Basket as computed/published today by Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was US$ 55.62 per barrel (bbl) on 08.07.2015. This was lower than the price of US$ 56.01 per bbl on previous publishing day of 07.07.2015.
In rupee terms, the price of Indian Basket decreased to Rs 3535.76 per bbl on 08.07.2015 as compared to Rs 3549.35 per bbl on 07.07.2015. Rupee closed weaker at Rs 63.57 per US$ on 08.07.2015 as against Rs 63.37 per US$ on 07.07.2015. The table below gives details in this regard:

Price on July 08, 2015(Previous trading day i.e. 07.07.2015)
Pricing Fortnight for 01.07.2015
(June 12 to June 26, 2015)
Crude Oil (Indian Basket)
55.62            (56.01)
3535.76        (3549.35)
Exchange Rate
63.57            (63.37)

Press Information Bureau 
Government of India
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways
Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurates National Conference on Highway Equipment 
The Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurated two-day National Conference on Highway Equipment here today. 

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Nitin Gadkari said that the Ministry’s target is to expedite the construction of National Highways in India. He said that all steps should be taken to develop new technologies and equipment so as to bring down the cost of construction and improving the quality of road infrastructure. He emphasized upon innovation, entrepreneurship and technology in order to develop modern infrastructure. 

The Minister also said that the use of bio-diesel, ethanol and bio-gas should be promoted in transportation sector so as to reduce the harmful effects on the environment. 

Shri Gadkari said that equipment should be manufactured in India itself so that the cost of construction can be reduced as well as the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India’ can also be fulfilled. The joint venture can also be taken up with the foreign partners wherever feasible, he added. He called upon the industrialists to impart skill development training to the local youth in their regions so that the local population can also participate in the socio-economic development of that area. Shri Gadkari also said that the inland waterways should be developed to reduce the cost of transportation which is about one fifth of the cost as compared to other modes of transportation. 

Shri S. N. Das, Director General of Road Development and Special Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Shri Amit Gosain, President of Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association and other senior officials of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways were also present on the occasion. 

Press Information Bureau 
Government of India
Ministry of Shipping
Ministry of Shipping Decides to Consolidate Pension of Retired Port Employees 
The Ministry of Shipping has decided to allow consolidation of pension in respect of retired Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees of Major Port Trusts. Now their pension fixation will be done notionally with effect from 1.1.2007 and actual arrears to accrue with effect from 1.1.2012 entailing a financial implication of Rs. 536.51 crore for three years. This decision will now be implemented by the respective Major Ports from their own resources. 

Earlier, the Labour Federation of the Major Port Trusts had sought the intervention of the Minister of Shipping and Road Transport & Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari for an early resolution of their long standing demand for consolidation of pension in respect of Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ Employees of Major Port Trusts who retired prior to 1.1.2012. 

Since the overall port performance and profitability has improved during the last one year, this measure of consolidation of pension is a step toward sharing the prosperity of the Major Ports with the port community. 

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