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President's Address on the eve of 68th Republic Day of India

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Persons With Disabilities(Equal Opportunities,Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act,1995



1400 HRS

22nd February, 2017


  • No plan to introduce 1,000 rupee notes, says government; Focus on production and supply of 500 and lower denomination notes.
  • Cabinet approves capacity hike for solar parks and projects for long term energy security of the country.
  • Shurhozelie Liezitsu sworn-in as Nagaland Chief Minister.
  • Elaborate arrangements in place for tomorrow's fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
  • DMK stages statewide fast against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswami's Trust vote; Ruling AIADMK faction says, no one can intervene in Assembly Speaker's decision.
  • India and China hold first strategic dialogue in Beijing; Foreign Secretary says, relations between the two countries have great global and regional significance.


Government today said, there is no plan to introduce 1,000 rupee notes. In a tweet, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said, the focus is on production and supply of 500 rupees and lower denomination notes. He said, complaints of cash-out in ATMs are being addressed. Mr Das also requested people to draw the amount of cash that they actually require. He said, the over withdrawal by some people deprives others.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had, last week, said that the remonetisation situation with regard to replenishing the scrapped currency is almost normal now and the Reserve Bank is monitoring the supply on a daily basis.

The government had announced withdrawal of old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in November last year, with an aim to check black money, counterfeit notes and terror financing.


The Union Cabinet today decided to enhance solar power capacity from 20,000 Mega Watt to 40,000 Mega Watt for development of solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects. Briefing media in New Delhi after the Cabinet meeting, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said, the enhanced capacity will ensure setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500 Mega Watt and above in various parts of country. He said, solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects will be set up by 2019-2020 with government's support of 8,100 crore rupees. This will lead to abatement of around 55 million tonnes of CO2 per year over its life cycle.
Mr Goyal
said, the decision will contribute to long-term energy security of the country and generate large direct and indirect employment.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved investment proposal for generation component of Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project in Nepal by SJVN Limited. Mr Goyal said, the decision demonstrates government's commitment to promote clean and green energy in India and the sub continent. This project will generate 900 Megawatt of hydro power at an estimated cost of more than 5,700 crore rupees. The project is expected to achieve financial closure by September this year and be implemented in five years thereafter.

The Cabinet also approved an MoU between India and Australia for cooperation in civil aviation security. Government also approved signing of an Agreement between India and Poland on cooperation in agriculture and allied sectors. Signing of the Air Services Agreement between India and Greece was also given the nod today.


Shurhozelie Liezitsu has been sworn-in as the 17th Chief Minister of Nagaland. The 81-year old Naga People's Front party President was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor PB Acharya at a ceremony in Kohima today. He succeeded TR Zeliang, who resigned as the Chief Minister following widespread protests over reservation to women in local body elections.

10 other members of the Council also took oath.

Mr Liezitsu was invited by the Governor to form a new government on Monday after he emerged as the unanimous choice for the post and formally staked his claim.

Following the resignation of Mr Zeliang, the agitating groups, including Nagaland Tribes Action Committee, called off its statewide bandh.


Elaborate arrangements have been put in place for tomorrow's fourth phase of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. 53 constituencies, spread over 12 districts in Bundelkhand and the eastern part of the state, will go to polls in this phase. The districts include Allahabad, Raebareli, Amethi, Chitrakoot, Fatehpur, Jhansi, Lalitpur and Pratapgarh. A total of 680 candidates, including 61 women, are in the fray in this phase. Over one crore 84 lakh electorates are eligible to exercise their franchise. More from our correspondent:

"Political fate of Akhilesh Yadav government ministers including Manoj Pandey, Shiva Kant Ojha and Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya will be decided in this phase of polling. Prestige of Samajwadi Party is also on stake as party has won maximum 24 seats from this region during previous assembly elections but failed to win even single seat from Kaushambi, Hamirpur, Mahoba and Lalitpur districts. BJP has won all Lok sabha seats except Raebareli in last parliamentary elections and party has not left any stone unturned to repeat the previous performance. Central Para Military forces have conducted flag march in sensitive areas. Most of the polling centres are manned by the Central Para Military forces. All major political parties have intensified their campaigning for the remaining phases of elections. Sunil Shukla, AIR News, Lucknow."

In Jhansi district, over 1,500 poll booths have been set up. Our correspondent gives an overview of the election scenario in Jhansi.

"All the seats are facing multi-cornered fight but main contest on most seats is between BJP, BPS and SP-Congress coalition. SP had bagged two seats while BJP and Congress one each in the last assembly elections. Development, lack of irrigation facilities, migration of labourers, and law and order are major issues. More than 14 lakh 50 thousands voters are eligible to decide the political fate of 53 candidates on Jhansi, Babina, Mauranipur and Garotha segments. The district administration said that strict vigil will be maintained on sensitive polling booths. Border with Madhya Pradesh has also been sealed. SHARIQ NOOR AIR NEWS,JHANSI."


In Manipur, electioneering is in full swing and the Election Commission is making all efforts for the smooth conduct of ensuing Assembly elections. The full team of the Commission is in Imphal reviewing preparedness of the polls with officials. Our correspondent reports that the first phase of polls in the state will be held on the 4th of next month, while the second phase is scheduled for the 8th.

"Briefing mediapersons at Imphal today, Chief Election Commission Dr. Nasim Zaidi said that 18 Assembly Constituencies have been identified as sensitive while 352 localities have been identified as vulnerable and 837 polling stations have been identified as critical. Dr. Zaidi further said that special security arrangements have been made in these areas to enable voters to cast their votes in a peaceful manner. That special arrangement have been made by the Commission for Persons with Disabilities such as providing wheel chair for effective participation in the electoral process. For the first time in Manipur, the Commission has introduced Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System for all service voters in two Assembly constituencies of Thangmeiband and Yaiskaul. With Ibomcha Sharma, Gin Gangte, AIR News, Imphal."


In Tamil Nadu, opposition DMK is staging a statewide fast against Chief Minister EK Palaniswami's Trust vote in the Assembly on Saturday. Party working president MK Stalin is participating in the demonstration in Trichy against the manner in which the trust vote was held.

DMK's alliance partner Congress is also lending its support to the protests. DMK has already given notice for a no-confidence motion against the Assembly Speaker Dhanapal.

The ruling AIADMK faction has said, no one can intervene in the decision of the Assembly Speaker. Talking to media in Chennai, party leader Pantrutti Ramachandran said, there is no provision in the House Rules for holding a secret ballot during trust vote. He said, the DMK is trying to topple the Government.

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court has asked DMK to submit video footage of the ruckus in the Assembly during the trust vote. More from our correspondent:

"The principal opposition DMK is the petitioner against the trust vote that seeks nullifying it. The First Bench headed by acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh has posted the case for further hearing on Monday. The trust vote proved the majority of chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy of the ruling AIADMK’s VK Sasikala faction by a slender margin, that was preceded by huge ruckus, eviction of the DMK members and walk out by the Congress. The DMK claims the House special session was held in contravention of rules and procedures. The party has launched its opposition to the Government both legally and politically. It has also planned to meet the President of India against the trust vote. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai."


Tension prevailed in Hyderabad today following the detention of Telangana Joint Action Committee (T-JAC) Chairman Prof M. Kodandaram in the wake of proposed rally of unemployed youth. The T-JAC has proposed the rally asking the state government to fulfill the poll promise of providing one lakh jobs.

Opposition parties, including Congress and Telugu Desam and several student organisations, have extended their support for the rally.

Police has imposed a ban on the conduct of the rally suspecting violence. It said, there was no permission to take out the rally in the midst of the city.

Police has also detained some other T-JAC leaders in Hyderabad and other districts.


The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to frame guidelines for rehabilitation of persons who have been cured of their mental illness. A bench, headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, observed that after mentally ill persons are cured, not even their family members are willing to take them back home. Saying that the issue is very sensitive, the court gave the Centre eight weeks time to frame the guidelines. A report:

"The apex court told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre, that the government cannot allow a person to be kept in a mental asylum or a nursing home after he or she is fully cured of the ailment. It said, they have to be brought back to civil society. The Solicitor General told the bench that they needed some time as two ministries -- Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Justice - were involved in this process. The court was hearing a PIL filed by an advocate who has raised the issue of release of about 300 persons from various mental hospitals in Uttar Pradesh. The PIL said, the persons were still languishing despite being cured of their ailments and most of them belonged to poorer sections. Vasundhra, News Desk."


India and China today held their first strategic dialogue in Beijing to shore up bilateral ties. In his opening remarks at the dialogue, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said, the relations between the two countries have really acquired a very steady momentum over many years. He said, India have truly transcended the bilateral dimension of relations and what happens between both the nations has great global and regional significance. Mr Jaishankar said, the leadership level meetings of India and China have been taking place regularly and economic engagement is growing. He said, border areas of both the countries have maintained peace and tranquility.


Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari is meeting prominent Ugandan leaders in Kampala today. Mr Ansari is in the East African country on the final leg of his 2-nation visit to the region. He had visited Rwanda in the first leg. Mr Ansari will first meet his Ugandan counterpart Edward Ssekandi in a short while from now and also attend a banquet hosted by him. Our correspondent, covering the Vice President's visit, reports that Mr Ansari's tour is part of the broadening of India's diplomatic footprint in the East African region.

"Mr Ansari will meet the President of Uganda and discuss various issues of mutual interest. The Vice President will also address the business forum meet. India’s engagement with Uganda is at three levels, including at the African Union, the Regional Economic communities and the bilateral level. Apart from a number of Indian investments in Uganda, the Indian community presents the strongest and most durable economic and cultural link with Uganda. Presently, there are around 30 thousand Indians living in Uganda and play a leading role in the Ugandan economy specially in the manufacturing, trade, and information technology. ‘India Day’, an annual event is also a vital link and serves to bring together the Indian and Ugandan community. With Sanjeev Sharma's report  from Kampala, Uganda, Pradeep Kumar, AIR News."


The 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu national highway was reopened for one-way traffic today after remaining closed for two days. The light snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area and heavy rains in Ramban sector during past around three days had triggered massive landslides forcing authorities to suspend traffic on the highway.


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