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Indian Panorama 2017

IFFI 2017 -  48th International Film Festival of India

Indian Panorama 2017 announces its final selection of Feature & Non-Feature films to be screened in Goa at 48th International Film Festival of India, 2017.

The Jury for Feature Films was headed by acclaimed film director, actor and screenwriter, Shri Sujoy Ghosh. The Jury previewed 153 eligible entries. The Jury was comprised of the following Members:

  1. Shri Suresh Heblikar, Filmmaker, Director & Actor
  2. Shri Rahul Rawail, Film Director
  3. Satarupa Sanyal, Film Director, Producer, Actress, Poet &Social Activist
  4. Ms Gopi Desai, Film Director & Actress
  5. Shri Nishikant Kamat, Filmmaker
  6. Shri Gyan Correa, Film Director
  7. Shri Merlvin Mukhim, Actor & Producer
  8. Shri Nikkhil Advani, Film Producer, Director & Screenwriter
  9. ShriApurva Asrani, Film Maker, Film Editor & Screenwriter
  10. Shri HariViswanath, Film Director, Screenwriter & Producer
  11. Shri Sachin Chatte, Film Critic
  12. Ruchi Narain, Film Director & Screenwriter

As per Clause 8.6 of the India Panorama 2017 Regulations the Best Feature Film of 64th National Film Awards 2016, titled “Kaasav” directed by Sumitra Bhave & Sunil Sukthankar is included in Indian Panorama 2017 by virtue of direct entry.

The Opening film of the feature film section of Indian Panorama is Pihu directed by Vinod Kapri. In addition to this, five Mainstream films are also selected under Indian Panorama Section of 48th International Film Festival of India, 2017.

26 Feature films selected for the Indian Panorama 2017 is as follows:



The Non – Feature Film Jury was chaired by well-known film director and screen writer Shri Sudhir Mishra. The Jury previewed 154 eligible entries. The Jury comprised of the following Members:

  1. Shri Tuhinabha Majumdar, Film Director and Film Writer
  2. Shri Shankhajeet De, Film Maker
  3. Shri Mithuchandra Chaudhari, Film Director
  4. Shiny Jacob Benjamin, Film Producer, Film Director and Writer
  5. Tinni Mitra, Film Editor
  6. Shri K.G Suresh, Journalist & Columnist
Indian Panorama Section, 2017 at  48th International Film Festival of India

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As per Clause 8.6 of the India Panorama 2017 Regulations the Best Non-Feature Film of 64th National Film Awards 2016, titled “Fireflies in the Abyss” directed by Chandrasekhar Reddy is included in Indian Panorama 2017, by virtue of direct entry.

The Opening film of the non-feature film section of Indian Panorama 2017 is Pushkar Puran directed by Kamal Swaroop.

16 Non – Feature films selected for the Indian Panorama 2017 is as follows:


Source: IFFI Goa Blog


Pablo César’s film on Rabindranath Tagore to close IFFI 2017

IFFI 2017 -  48th International Film Festival of India

The Indo- Argentine film by Filmmaker Pablo César’s set to be the closing movie of IFFI 2017. The film Thinking of Him, which revolves around the relationship of legendary poet and intellectual Rabindranath Tagore, played by Victor Banerjee, will be screened at IFFI on the 28th of November.The film captures the magic of Rabindranath Tagore’s relationship with Argentine feminist, writer and activist Victoria Ocampo in a brilliant manner.


The movie has scenes in both B&W and Colour. The black and white scenes portray the life of Tagore and his time spent with Ocampa who is played by the talented Eleonora Wexler. The color portions of the movie follows Felix, a geography teacher who becomes fascinated by Tagore’s work and travels to Shantiniketan to learn more about him.

Hector Bordoni plays Felix while Raima Sen plays Kamali, a young woman whom Felix meets on his journey.

“This film is not about what you and I think of Tagore. It is about what she [Ocampo] thought of Tagore and what Argentine people think of him,” Victor Banerjee had said in an interview in 2016. Pablo César conceived the idea of making the film back in 2008.


This is not director Pablo César’s first time at IFFI. In 1994, he was invited to screen his 3rd feature film ‘Grey Fire’. For this years edition of IFFI, he is coming back with his 11th film that is close to the heart of every Indian. The film will be screened after the red carpet closing ceremony on the 28th of November.

1 Intro Collage.jpg

Source: IFFI Goa Blog


‘Beyond the clouds’ by Majid Majidi to open IFFI 2017 on 20th November

IFFI 2017 -  48th International Film Festival of India

The film by legendary Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi is set to be the curtain raiser at the 48th International Film Festival of India in Goa on the 20th of November, 2017. The two hour Indian Masterpiece was also Nominated for the Best Film Award at the London Film Festival 2017. Apart from marking the official debut of the young talent Ishaan Khattar into the world of cinema, this film is also the first Indian film by Majid Majidi. Beyond the Clouds also features the South Indian actress, Malavika Mohanan in one of the lead roles.

This might perhaps be the first time that an international film maker of repute and acclaim, has shot and produced his entire film in India with an Indian producer and a complete Indian cast & crew.


Beyond The Clouds revolves around the adoration of love, life and human relationships between a brother and sister  which takes place  the ever bustling city of Mumbai. This particular film, is a trilingual one, i.e. it will have dialogues in three languages which are English, Tamil and Hindi. Bollywood veteran and seven time National Film Award winner Vishal Bhardwaj handled the scripting for the hindi dialogues. He is known for working on scripts for some acclaimed films like Talvar, Kaminey and Haider in the past. He applauded Mr Majid’s understanding of cinema and respect to the language.

Majid Majidi is a prominent Iranian film director who has an illustrious career with a long list of awards and nominations like the 1998 Oscar nomination for the best film and the Grand Prix Des Ameriques award at the 25th Montreal Film Festival, 2001. His movie, The Song of Sparrows won the Special Award for Best Foreign Language Film National Board of Review, New York 2008. Other than these, he is best known for films like Children of Heaven & Children of Paradise which are loved by crowds all over.

Oscar winner A.R Rahman was roped in to compose the music for the film. Rahman and Majid have worked together previously on the film ‘Muhammad: The Messenger of God’, which won the Cinematographer-Director Duo Award at the The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography Camerimage 2015.

The film will be have its India premiere post the Inaugural ceremony on the 20th of November. Majidi, along with the lead actors, Oscar winning music director A.R. Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj is expected to attend the premiere on November 20th .

Celebrate Films, Celebrate Goa, Celebrate IFFI 2017

Courtesy: IFFI Goa Blog

A Year After Demonetisation

Arun Jaitley arun1

November 8, 2016 would be remembered as a watershed moment in the history of Indian economy. This day signifies the resolve of this Government to cure the country from “dreaded disease of black money”. We, the Indians, were forced to live with this attitude of “chalta hai” with respect to corruption and black money and the brunt of this attitude was faced particularly by the middle class and lower strata of society. It was a hidden urge of the larger section of our society for a long period to root out the curse of corruption and black money; and it was this urge which manifested in the verdict of people in May 2014.


 Immediately after taking up responsibility in May 2014, this Government decided to fulfil the wish of the people in tackling the menace of black money by constituting SIT on black money. Our country is aware that how even a direction from the Supreme Court on this issue was ignored by the then Government for number of years. Another example of lack of will to fight against black money was the delay of 28 years in implementation of Benami Property Act.

This Government took decisions and implemented the earlier provisions of law in a well-considered and planned manner over three years to meet the objective of fight against black money. These decisions span from setting up of SIT to passing of necessary laws for foreign assets to demonetisation and to implementation of GST.

Corruption Image

 When the country is participating in “Anti-Black Money Day”, a debate was started that whether the entire exercise of demonetisation has served any intended purpose. This narrative attempts to bring out positive outcomes of demonetization in short-term and medium-term with respect to stated objectives.


RBI has reported in their Annual Accounts that Specified Bank Notes (SBNs) of estimated value of Rs.15.28 lakh crore have been deposited back as on 30.6.2017. The outstanding SBNs as on 8th November, 2016 were of Rs.15.44 lakh crore value. The total currency in circulation of all denominations as on 8th November, 2016 was 17.77 lakh crore.

One of the important objective of demonetisation was to make India a less cash economy and thereby reduce the flow of black money in the system. The reduction in currency in circulation from the base scenario reflects that this intended objective has been met. The published figure of “currency in circulation” for half year ending September, 2017 is Rs.15.89 lakh crore. This shows year on year variation of (-) Rs.1.39 lakh crore; whereas year on year variation for the same period during last year was (+) Rs.2.50 lakh crore. This means that reduction in currency in circulation is of the order of Rs.3.89 lakh crore.

Why should we remove excess currency from the system? Why should we curtail cash transactions? It is common knowledge that cash is anonymous. When demonetization was implemented, one of the intended objectives was to put identity on the cash holdings in the economy. With the return of Rs.15.28 lakh crore in the formal banking system, almost entire cash holding of the economy now has an address. It is no more anonymous. From this inflow, the amount involving suspicious transactions based on various estimates ranges from Rs.1.6 lakh crore to Rs.1.7 lakh crore. Now it is with the tax administration and other enforcement agencies to use big data analytics and crack down on suspicious transactions.


 Steps in this direction have already started. Number of Suspicious Transaction Reports filed by banks during 2016-17 has gone up from 61,361 in 2015-16 to 3,61,214; the increase during the same period for Financial Institutions is from 40,333 to 94,836 and for intermediaries registered with SEBI the increase is from 4,579 to 16,953.

Based on big data analytics, cash seizure by Income Tax Department has more than doubled in 2016-17 when compared to 2015-16; during search and seizure by the Department Rs.15,497 crore of undisclosed income has been admitted which is 38% higher than the undisclosed amount admitted during 2015-16; and undisclosed income detected during surveys in 2016-17 is Rs.13,716 crore which is 41% higher than the detection made in 2015-16.


Undisclosed income admitted and undisclosed income detected taken together amounts to Rs.29,213 crore; which is close to 18% of the amount involved in suspicious transactions. This process will gain momentum under “Operation Clean Money” launched on January 31, 2017.

 The exercise to remove the anonymity with currency has further yielded results in the form of

  • 56 lakh new individual tax payers filing their returns till August 5, 2017 which was the last date for filing return for this category; last year this number was about 22 lakh;
  • Self-Assessment Tax (voluntary payment by tax payers at the time of filing return) paid by non-corporate tax payers increasing by 34.25% during April 1 to August 5 in 2017 when compared to the same period in 2016.

With increase in tax base and bringing back undisclosed income into the formal economy, the amount of Advance Tax paid by non-corporate tax payers during the current year has also increased by about 42% during 1st April to 5th August.


The leads gathered due to data collected during demonetisation period have led to identification of 2.97 lakh suspect shell companies. After issuance of statutory notices to these companies and following due process under the law, 2.24 lakh companies have been de-registered from the books of Registrar of Companies.

 Further actions were taken under the law to stop operation of bank accounts of these struck off companies. Actions are also being taken for freezing their bank accounts and debarring their directors from being on board of any company. In the initial analysis of bank accounts of such companies following information has come out which are worth mentioning:

  • Of 2.97 lakh struck off companies, information pertaining to 28,088 companies involving 49,910 bank accounts show that these companies have deposited and withdrawn Rs.10,200 crore from 9th November 2016 till the date of strike off from RoC;
  • Many of these companies are found to have more than 100 bank accounts – one company even reaching a figure of 2,134 accounts;

Simultaneously, Income Tax Department has taken action against more than 1150 shell companies which were used as conduits by over 22,000 beneficiaries to launder more than Rs.13,300 crore.


Post demonetization, SEBI has introduced a Graded Surveillance Measure in stock exchanges. This measure has been introduced in over 800 securities by the exchanges. Inactive and suspended companies many a time are used as harbours of manipulative minds. In order to ensure that such suspicious companies do not languish in the exchanges, over 450 such companies have been delisted and demat accounts of their promoters have been frozen; they have also been barred to be directors of listed companies. Around 800 companies listed on erstwhile regional exchanges are not traceable and a process has been initiated to declare them as vanishing companies. Demonetization appears to have led to an acceleration in the financialisation of savings.

In parallel, there is a shift towards greater formalisation of the economy in the near term aided by the introduction of Good and Services Tax (GST). Some of the parameters indicating such shift are given below:

  • Corporate bond market has started reaping the benefits of additional financial savings and transmission of interest rate reduction. The corporate Bond market issuance grew to Rs. 1.78 lakh crore in 2016-17, the year on year increase was Rs.78,000 crore. With other sources of issuance in capital market the incremental variation is almost Rs.2 lakh crore in 2016-17 while that was Rs.1 lakh crore in 2015-16.
  • This trend is further substantiated by the surge in primary market raising through public and rights issues. There were 87 issues of public and rights for raising equity involving amount of Rs.24,054 crore during FY 2015-16; in the first six months of 2017-18 itself there are 99 such issues amounting to Rs.28,319 crore.
  • Net inflow into Mutual Funds during 2016-17 increased by 155% during 2016-17 over 2015-16 reaching 3.43 lakh crore; Net inflows in mutual funds during November 2016 to June 2017 was about Rs.1.7 lakh crore as against Rs.9,160 crore during the same period in the year before;
  • Premia collected by life insurance companies more than doubled in November 2016; the cumulative collections during November 2016 to January 2017 increased by 46 per cent over the same period of the previous year. The premium collections witnessed 21% growth for year ending September 2017 over the corresponding period of previous year.

With a shift to less cash economy, India has taken a big leap in digital payment during 2016-17. Some of the trends are given below:

  • 110 crore transactions, valued at around Rs.3.3 lakh crore and another 240 crore transactions, valued at Rs.3.3 lakh crore were carried out through credit cards and debit cards, respectively. The value of transaction for debit and credit card was Rs.1.6 lakh crore and Rs.2.4 lakh crore respectively during 2015-16.
  • Total value of transaction with Pre-Paid instruments (PPIs) have increased from Rs.48,800 crore in 2015-16 to Rs.83,800 crore in 2016-17. Total volume of transactions through PPIs have increased from about 75 crore to 196 crore.
  • During 2016-17, National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) handled 160 crore transactions valued at Rs.120 lakh crore, up from around 130 crore transactions for Rs.83 lakh crore in the previous year.

With higher level of formalisation, it has brought out related benefits to workers who were denied of social security benefits in the form of EPF contribution, subscription to ESIC facilities and payments of wages in their bank accounts. Large increase in opening of bank accounts for workers, enrolment in EPF and ESIC are added benefits of demonetisation. More than 1 crore workers were added to EPF and ESIC system post-demonetisation which was almost 30% of existing beneficiaries. Bank accounts were opened for about 50 lakh workers to get their wages credited in their accounts. Necessary amendment in Payment of Wages Act was done to facilitate this.

The reduction in incidences of stone pelting, protests in J&K and naxal activities in LWE affected districts are also attributed to the impact of demonetisation as these miscreants have run out of cash. Their access to Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) was also restricted. During 2016-17, the detection of FICN for Rs.1000 denomination increased from 1.43 lakh pieces to 2.56 lakh pieces. At the Reserve Bank’s currency verification and processing system, during 2015-16, there were 2.4 pieces of FICNs of Rs.500 denomination and 5.8 pieces of FICNs of Rs.1000 denomination for every million pieces notes processed; which rose to 5.5 pieces and 12.4 pieces, respectively, during the post-demonetisation period. This shows almost doubling of such detection.


In an overall analysis, it would not be wrong to say that country has moved on to a much cleaner, transparent and honest financial system. Benefits of these may not yet be visible to some people. The next generation will view post November, 2016 national economic development with a great sense of pride as it has provided them a fair and honest system to live in.


Shri Arun Jaitley is the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Government of India

Sardar Patel: The Man who United India

i2017103013 *Aaditya Tiwari

Sir  John  Strachey, a British Indian civil servant used to address his civil servants-in-training by saying, “The first and most important thing to learn about India is that there is not and never was an India.” Historian David Ludden in his book 1186.jpgContesting the Nation: Religion, Community, and the Politics of Democracy in India writes ‘the territory that we use to describe the landscape of Indian civilization was defined politically by the British Empire. India was never what it is today in a geographical, demographic, or cultural sense, before 1947.’ Many like Winston Churchill had predicted that post independence, India would disintegrate and fall back into the Middle Ages.

India, after attaining independence faced massive challenges. One of the biggest tests the leaders of the time faced was to have a defined boundary of the land whose geographical sense had flowed among the masses through ages. Diana L Eck in her book, India-A Sacred Geography describes this land of Bharata to have been “enacted ritually in the footsteps of pilgrims for many hundreds of years.'” Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru writes about this sense of unity of India as an emotional experience. In Discovery of India, he explains the experience of instilling sense of oneness among the peasants of India, “I tried to make them think of India as a whole…the task was not easy; yet it was not so difficult as I had imagined, for our ancient epics and myths and legends, which they knew so well, had made them familiar with the conception of their country.”

The task of reconstructing India – territorially and emotionally – was immense. Entire nation was going through a period of mayhem. There were forces at play which wanted a divided nation. The big question for leaders like Mahatma Gandhi at the time of partition was whether there will be two nations once British are gone or 565 different nations. At such a time, responsibility of reconstruction of India fell in the able hands of Iron Man – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.


Sardar Patel, despite his falling health and age, never lost sight of the larger purpose of creating a United India. VP Menon who ably assisted Sardar Patel in this enormous task writes in The Story of the Integration of the Indian Sates, “India is one geographical entity. Yet, throughout her long and chequered history, she never achieved political homogeneity….Today, for the first time in the country’s history, the writ of a single central Government runs from Kailas to Kanyakumari, from Kathiawar to Kamarupa (the old name of Assam).” Sardar Patel played an instrumental role in creating this India.

Congress had given its assent to the June 3 Plan which was about partitioning India into two territories – India and Pakistan. India was then a mosaic of British occupied territory and 565 princely states. The princely states had to choose between joining either of the two nations or remain independent. A few princely states like Travancore, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Bhopal and Kashmir were averse to joining the state of India while others like Gwalior, Bikaner, Baroda, Patiala and others proactively joined India.

Sardar Patel was aware that “you will not have a united India if you do not have a good all-India Service;” therefore before embarking on reorganization of States, he build confidence in the ‘Steel Frame’ or the Indian Civil Services. Sardar Patel worked tirelessly to build a consensus with the princely states but did not hesitate in employing methods of Sama, Dama, Dand and Bhed wherever necessary. Sardar Patel along with his aide VP Menon designed ‘Standstill Agreements and Instrument of Accession’ accommodating requests and demands from various rulers.


Approach of Sardar Patel and VP Menon was more conciliatory as compared to the approach of Pandit Nehru, who in May 1947, had declared that any Princely State that refuses to join the Constituent Assembly would be treated as an enemy state. The official policy statement of the Government of India made by Sardar Patel on July 5, 1947 made no such threats. It reassured the princely states about the Congress’ intentions, and invited them to join independent India “to make laws sitting together as friends than to make treaties as aliens.” He stitched the princely states along with British Indian territory, and prevented the balkanization of India.

Somnath-current.jpgSardar Patel was also conscious of the fact that mere political reorganization of this land was not enough. He was aware that the wounded civilization of India needed to be stirred to its core and woken up from the past slavery and misery. There was an urgent need to rekindle among the people of India the bond they shared with their diverse cultures. On November 13, 1947, Sardar Patel, the then deputy Prime Minister of India, vowed to rebuild Somnath Temple. Somnath had been destroyed and built several times in the past and the story of its resurrection from ruins this time would be symbolic of the story of the resurgence of India. The then President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad speaking at the inaugural ceremony at the temple said, “It is my view that the reconstruction of the Somnath Temple will be complete on that day when not only a magnificent edifice will arise on this foundation, but the mansion of India’s prosperity will be really that prosperity of which the ancient temple of Somnath was a symbol.” He added, “The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction.”

Sardar Patel played a heroic role in the reconstruction of the Indian civilization, and at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a call for ‘New India’, Patel’s words in a letter to Princely rulers are more relevant than ever, “We are at a momentous stage in the history of India. By common endeavour, we can raise the country to new greatness, while lack of unity will expose us to unexpected calamities. I hope the Indian States will realise fully that if we do not cooperate and work together in the general interest, anarchy and chaos will overwhelm us all great and small, and lead us to total ruin….let it be our proud privilege to leave a legacy of mutually beneficial relationship which would raise this sacred land to its proper place amongst the nations of the world and turn it into an abode of peace and prosperity.”


*The author is currently a Senior Research Fellow at India Foundation.

Views expressed in the article are author’s personal.

भारत के एकीकरण में सरदार पटेल के अतुलनीय योगदान को चिन्हित करने के लिए जन अभियान

                               राष्ट्रीय एकता दिवस (31 अक्टूबर) सरदार पटेल की जयंती

55*दीपक राज़दान

     भारतीय स्वतंत्रता संग्राम के लौह पुरुष सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल ने स्वतंत्रता के पश्चात् भारत की एकजुटता के लिए पुरजोर तरीके से पूरी मज़बूती के साथ काम किया। जिससे एक नए राष्ट्र का उदय हुआ। देश की एकता की

रक्षा करने के समक्ष कई चुनौतियां स्पष्ट रूप से विद्यमान थीं। सरदार पटेल ने लाजवाब कौशल के साथ इन चुनौतियों का सामना करते हुए देश को एकता के सूत्र में बांधने के कार्य को पूरा किया और एकीकृत भारत के शिल्पकार के

19रूप में पहचान हासिल की। ऐसे में 31 अक्टूबर के दिन उनकी बहुमूल्य विरासत का जश्न मनाने के लिए देश उनकी जयंती को राष्ट्रीय एकता दिवस के रूप में मनाता है।  

    हाल के वर्षों में इस जश्न को आगे बढ़ाते हुए, इस वर्ष राष्ट्रीय एकता दिवस और अधिक व्यापक में आयोजित होने जा रहा है। इस दिन को भारत के इतिहास में सरदार पटेल की महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका को उजागर करने के लिए देश की एकता की शपथ लेने, जन अभियान चलाने, अर्द्धसैनिक मार्च पास्ट, रन फॉर यूनिटी, पोस्टर और प्रश्नोत्तरी प्रतियोगिता और प्रदर्शनियों के रूप में चिन्हित किया जाएगा।

   इस अवसर पर राष्ट्रीय स्तर के साथ-साथ देशभर में समारोह आयोजित किए जाएंगे। केन्द्रीय गृह मंत्री श्री राजनाथ सिंह ने इस अवसर पर कार्यक्रम आयोजित करने के संबंध में उपयुक्त व्यवस्था करने के लिए राज्यों के मुख्यमंत्रियों को पत्र लिखा है। यह अवसर वाकई काफी पवित्र है, क्योंकि देश को न सिर्फ भारतीय स्वतंत्रता संग्राम के साहसी व्यक्ति के प्रति सम्मान व्यक्त करना है, बल्कि इसी समय पर नई पीढ़ी को उनके बारे में शिक्षित एवं जागरूक भी करना है।

   सरदार भारत के राजनीतिक एकीकरण के पिता रूपी नायक का नाम था। उन्होंने भारतीय संघ में कई छोटे राज्यों के विलय की व्यवस्था की। उनके मार्गदर्शन और सशक्त निश्चय के अंतर्गत कई राज्य संयुक्त रूप से बड़ी संस्थाओं में तब्दील होने के बाद भारतीय संघ में शामिल हुए। क्षेत्रवाद ने राष्ट्रवाद का मार्ग प्रशस्त किया, क्योंकि उन्होंने लोगों से बड़ा सोचने और मज़बूत बनने का आह्वान किया। आज भारत का प्रत्येक हिस्सा आज़ादी के बाद के शुरुआती दिनों में सरदार पटेल द्वारा किए गए कार्य का महोत्सव मनाता है।

   राष्ट्रीय राजधानी में राष्ट्रीय एकता दिवस का शुभारंभ संसद मार्ग स्थित सरदार पटेल चौक पर स्थित सरदार पटेल की प्रतिमा पर प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी द्वारा पुष्पांजलि अर्पित कर होगा। इसके बाद प्रधानमंत्री मेजर ध्यानचंद नेशनल स्टेडियम में रन फॉर यूनिटी को हरी झंडी दिखाकर रवाना करेंगे, जिसमें करीब 15,000 छात्र और पूर्व सैनिक, सुप्रसिद्ध एथलीट एवं एनएसएस स्वयंसेवकों सहित विभिन्न क्षेत्रों के लोग हिस्सा लेंगे। रन फॉर यूनिटी को हरी झंडी दिखाने के दौरान सुश्री पीवी सिंधु (बैडमिंटन), सुश्री मिताली राज (क्रिकेट) और सरदार सिंह (हॉकी) सहित खेल के क्षेत्र की विभिन्न जानी-मानी हस्तियां मौजूद रहेंगी।

     रन फॉर यूनिटी दौड़ नेशनल स्टेडियम से शुरू होकर सी-हेक्सागन मार्ग, इंडिया गेट – शाहजहां रोड रेडियल – इंडिया गेट से गुजरेगी और कुल 1.5 किलोमीटर की दूरी तय करेगी। भारतीय खेल प्राधिकरण के अनुभवी प्रशिक्षक इस दौड़ की निगरानी करेंगे।

रेलवे, संस्कृति, पर्यटन, सूचना एवं प्रसारण और आवास एवं शहरी कार्य मंत्रालय के साथ-साथ केन्द्र सरकार के कई अन्य मंत्रालय एवं विभाग एकता का संदेश लोगों तक पहुंचाने के लिए विभिन्न कार्यक्रम आयोजित करने के कार्य में संलग्न हैं। राजधानी के दिल यानी कनॉट प्लेस स्थित सेंट्रल पार्क और चाणक्यपुरी के शांति पथ पर रोज़ गार्डन में सरदार पटेल पर प्रदर्शनी आयोजित की जाएगी। सरदार पटेल को अपने संकल्प की शक्ति के लिए जाना जाता है। कार्यक्रम को महोत्सव का रंग देने के लिए इस अवसर पर शहनाइयां बजाई जाएंगी।

     इस दिन को चिन्हित करने के लिए आकाशवाणी और दूरदर्शन पर विशेष कार्यक्रम आयोजित किए जाएंगे और दूरदर्शन पर सरदार नामक एक विशेष फिल्म दिखाई जाएगी। सरदार पटेल पर लिखी छह पुस्तकों के नवीन संस्करणों का विमोचन भी किया जाएगा और ये पुस्तकें ई-पुस्तक के रूप में उपलब्ध होंगी।

     सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल की जयंती मनाने के लिए सरकार राष्ट्र की एकताअखंडता और सुरक्षा को संरक्षित और मज़बूत करने के प्रति सरकार के समर्पण को दर्शाने के क्रम में 31 अक्टूबर को देशभर में एक विशेष अवसर के तौर पर राष्ट्रीय एकता दिवस (नेशनल यूनिटी डे) के रूप में मनाती है। सरदार पटेल गणतंत्र भारत के संस्थापकों में से एक हैं, जिन्होंने अपने जीवनकाल में भारत के उप प्रधानमंत्री और गृहमंत्री जैसी अहम जिम्मेदारियों का निर्वहन किया है।

      पिछले वर्ष 31 अक्टूबर 2016 को रन फॉर यूनिटी के अवसर पर प्रधानमंत्री ने कहा था कि आज हम कश्मीर से कन्याकुमारी, अटक से कटक और हिमालय से महासागर तक हर तरफ तिरंगा देख रहे हैं। आज हम देश के हर एक हिस्से में तिरंगा देख सकते हैं और इसका पूरा श्रेय सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल को जाता है। इसी दिन श्री मोदी ने नई दिल्ली में प्रगति मैदान के पास सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल के जीवन पर बने एक स्थायी डिजिटल संग्रहालय का उद्घाटन भी किया। प्रत्येक भारतीय को एकता की शिक्षा देने के लिए उन्होंने भारत के विभिन्न राज्यों के लोगों के बीच घनिष्ठ एवं मज़बूत संबंध स्थापित करने के अंतर्गत एक भारत, श्रेष्ठ भारत पहल का शुभारंभ किया। प्रधानमंत्री ने सरदार पटेल की जयंती के उपलक्ष्य में एक डाक टिकट भी जारी की थी। सरदार के असाधारण दृष्टिकोण और सामरिक कुशाग्रता का जश्न मनाते हुए, एक वर्ष पूर्व रन फॉर यूनिटी 2015 के दौरान प्रधानमंत्री ने कहा था कि चाणक्य के बाद, केवल सरदार पटेल ही वह व्यक्ति थे, जो देश को एकता के सूत्र में बांध सके।

    गुजरात के आणंद के पास स्थित करमसाद गांव के एक साधारण भूस्वामी के यहां 31 अक्टूबर 1875 को जन्मे सरदार का नाम वल्लभभाई ज़वेरभाई पटेल रखा गया था। एक युवा वकील के रूप में अपनी कड़ी मेहनत के ज़रिए उन्होंने पर्याप्त पैसा बचाया ताकि वह इंग्लैंड में उच्च शिक्षा प्राप्त कर सकें। आगामी समय में वह एक निडर वकील के तौर पर बड़े हुए, जिसे जनहित के मुद्दों पर कड़े एवं निडर अधिवक्ता के रूप में जाना जाता था।


    राजस्व दरों को लेकर 1928 में प्रधान कमांडर के रूप में बारदोली किसान आंदोलन के आयोजन के दौरान उन्होंने किसानों को कहा कि वे लंबे समय तक परेशानियां सहने के लिए तैयार रहें। अंततः सरदार के नेतृत्व में चल रहा यह आंदोलन सरकार पर दबाव बनाने और परिवर्तित दरों को वापस कराने में सफल रहा। एक ग्राम सभा में एक किसान ने सरदार पटेल को संबोधित करते हुए कहा कि आप हमारे सरदार हैं। बारदोली आंदोलन ने सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल को राष्ट्रीय परिदृश्य पर पहचान दिलाई।


   img2014102902 भारत की एकता के निर्माता को सच्ची श्रद्धांजलि देने के लिए गुजरात के वडोदरा के नज़दीक साधु बेट नामक द्वीप पर 3.2 किमी की दूरी पर नर्मदा बांध की ओर सरदार पटेल का 182 मीटर ऊंचा (597 फीट) स्टैच्यु ऑफ यूनिटी निर्माणाधीन है। सुप्रसिद्ध मूर्तिकार राम वी. सुतार द्वारा डिज़ाइन की गई इस प्रतिमा को करीब 20,000 वर्ग मीटर क्षेत्र में फैलाने की योजना है और इसके आसपास करीब 12 किलोमीटर के क्षेत्र में एक कृत्रिम झील होगी। इस प्रतिमा के निर्माण कार्य का शुभारंभ 31 अक्टूबर 2014 को किया गया था। निर्माण कार्य शुरू होने से करीब एक वर्ष पूर्व इस परियोजना की औपचारिक रूप से घोषणा की गई थी। निर्माण कार्य संपन्न होने के बाद, यह दुनिया की सबसे ऊंची प्रतिमा होगी।


*दीपक राज़दान वरिष्ठ पत्रकार हैं और वर्तमान में नई दिल्ली स्थित द स्टैट्समैन के संपादकीय सलाहकार हैं।

लेख में व्यक्त विचार लेखक के अपने हैं।


रो-रो फेरी सेवा और परिवहन एवं लॉजिस्टिक्सय पर उसका प्रभाव

i2017102301अमिताभ कांत*

प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी ने द्वारा दक्षिण एशिया की सबसे बड़ी एवं अत्याधुनिक रो-रो परियोजना का उद्घाटन सौराष्ट्र के भावनगर जिले में घोगा से दक्षिण गुजरात में भरूच जिले के दहेज को जोड़ने की दिशा में महत्वपूर्ण अध्याय का शुभारंभ हुआ है। हजीरा परियोजना के दूसरे चरण की शुरूआत भारत के परिवहन क्षेत्र में उल्लेखनीय बदलाव का सूचक है। इस जलमार्ग की पूरी क्षमता का दोहन करने से लोगों, वस्तुओं और वाहनों की आवाजाही को एक बड़ी रफ्तार मिलेगी। माल ढुलाई के लिए समय और लागत की बचत का भारत के विनिर्माण एवं निर्यात क्षेत्र पर लाभकारी असर पड़ेगा। अब तक सौराष्ट्र के घोगा से दक्षिण गुजरात के दहेज तक जाने के लिए 360 किलोमीटर की सड़क यात्रा करनी पड़ती थी। इसे तय करने में लगभग 8 घंटे का समय लगता था। समुद्री मार्ग से यह दूरी अब मात्र 31 किलोमीटर रह गई है।

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भारत में लगभग 14,500 किलोमीटर नौगम्य अंतर्देशीय जलमार्ग और करीब 7,517 किलोमीटर समुद्र तट है जिन्‍हें परिवहन को सुगम बनाने के उद्देश्‍य से प्रभावी तौर पर विकसित किया जा रहा है। इससे सड़क एवं रेल नेटवर्क पर भीड़भार कम करने में मदद मिलेगी और क्षेत्रों के समग्र आर्थिक विकास को कई गुना बढ़ाया जा सकेगा। समुद्र तटीय नौवहन और अंतर्देशीय जल परिवहन के ईंधन कुशल, पर्यावरण के अनुकूल एवं कम लागत वाले साधन हैं, विशेष रूप से थोक वस्तुओं के लिए। मालवाहक जहाजों से उत्‍सर्जन 32-36 ग्राम कार्बन डाईऑक्‍साइड प्रति टन-किलोमीटर तक होता है जबकि सड़क परिवहन के भारी वाहनों के मामले में यह 51-91 ग्राम कार्बन डाइऑक्‍साइड प्रति टन-किलोमीटर के दायरे में होता है। इसके अलावा सड़क परिवहन की औसत लागत 1.5 रुपये प्रति टन-किलोमीटर और रेलवे के लिए यह 1.0 रुपये प्रति टन-किलोमीटर है जबकि जलमार्ग के लिए यह महज 25 से 30 पैसे प्रति टन-किलोमीटर होगी। एक लीटर ईंधन से सड़क परिवहन के जरिये 24 टन-किलोमीटर और रेल परिवहन के जरिये 85 टन-किलोमीटर माल की ढुलाई हो सकती है जबकि जलमार्ग के जरिये इससे अधिकतम 105 टन-किलोमीटर तक माल की ढुलाई की जा सकती है। इन आंकड़ों से इस बात को बल मिलता है कि भूतल परिवहन के मुकाबले जलमार्ग परिवहन का कहीं अधिक किफायती एवं पर्यावरण के अनुकूल माध्‍यम है। यदि लॉजिस्टिक्‍स लागत को जीडीपी के 14 प्रतिशत से घटाकर 9 प्रतिशत तक घटा दी गई तो देश को प्रति वर्ष 50 बिलियन डॉलर की बचत हो सकती है। माल ढुलाई की लागत कम होने पर उत्‍पादों के मूल्‍य में भी गिरावट आएगी।

भारत में कुल नौगम्‍य अंतर्देशीय जलमार्गों में से करीब 5,200 किलोमीटर (36%) प्रमुख नदियां और करीब 485 किलोमीटर (3%) नहरें हैं जो यांत्रिक जहाजों की आवाजाही के लिए अनुकूल हैं। अंतर्देशीय जलमार्ग अपनी परिचालन लागत कुशलता (60-80% प्रति टन किलोमीटर कम), कम पर्यावरणीय प्रभाव, सुविधाजनक अंतरसंक्रियता और भूमि अधिग्रहण एवं बुनियादी ढांचे के विकास से संबंधित कुछ मुद्दों के कारण रेल एवं सड़क परिवहन के मुकाबले कहीं अधिक फायदेमंद है। वर्तमान में केवल 4,500 किलोमीटर अंतर्देशीय जलमार्ग का व्यावसायिक रूप से उपयोग किया जा रहा है और भारत में 1% से भी कम घरेलू कार्गो की ढुलाई जलमार्ग के जरिये होता है।

अंतर्देशीय जलमार्ग परिवहन के विकास एवं परिचालन के लिए नोडल एजेंसी के रूप में भारतीय अंतर्देशीय जलमार्ग प्राधिकरण (आईडब्ल्यूएआई) राष्ट्रीय जलमार्ग अधिनियम 2016 के तहत इस क्षमता के दोहन के लिए काम काम कर रहा है। भारत के तटवर्ती क्षेत्रों के समग्र विकास के लिए सरकार ने मार्च 2015 में ‘सागरमाला कार्यक्रम’ शुरू किया था और भारत के तटवर्ती क्षेत्रों के व्‍यापक विकास के लिए इसके तहत राष्‍ट्रीय परिप्रेक्ष्‍य योजना (एनपीपी) तैयार की जा रही है।

रोल-ऑन व रोल-ऑफ (‘आरओ-आरओ’) जलमार्ग परियोजनाओं में रो-रो जहाज/नौकाएं शामिल होती हैं जिन्‍हें कारों, ट्रकों, सेमी-ट्रेलर ट्रकों, ट्रेलरों और रेलरोड कारों जैसे पहिये वाले कार्गो की ढुलाई के लिए डिजाइन किया जाता है जिन्‍हें उनके पहियों पर चलाते हुए अथवा किसी प्‍लेटफॉर्म वाहन के जरिये जहाजों पर चढ़ाया अथवा उतारा जाता है। इसमें संबंधित पोर्ट टर्मिनल और संबंधित कनेक्टिविटी बुनियादी ढांचे के साथ जेट्टीज (घाट या सेतु) भी शामिल होते हैं। यात्री जेट्टीज का इस्‍तेमाल पूरी तरह से यात्रियों के नौकायन के लिए किया जाता है लेकिन रो-रो जेट्टीज इस तरीके से निर्मित होते हैं अथवा उनमें किनारा आधारित रैंप होते हैं ताकि बंदरगाह पर जहाजों में माल की लदान एवं उठाव कुशलता से किया जा सके। गुजरात में रो-रो परियोजना दो टर्मिनल के बीच 100 तक वाहनों (कार, बस और ट्रक) और 250 यात्रियों को ले जाने में समर्थ होगी। ऐतिहासिक तौर पर सीमित विकल्‍प उपलब्‍ध होने के कारण इस क्षेत्र में सड़क परिवहन में अक्‍सर काफी भीड़ और जाम का सामना करना पड़ता है। साथ ही रो-रो फेरी ऑपरेटर ने जो किराये का प्रस्‍ताव दिया है वह प्रचलित बस किराये के बराबर है। इसलिए इस सुविधा से इस क्षेत्र के यात्रियों को बहुप्रतीक्षित राहत मिल जाएगी।

भारत में असम, गुजरात, कर्नाटक महाराष्‍ट्र और केरल में विभिन्‍न रो-रो परियोजनाओं में भौगोलिक दृष्टि से प्रतिकूल भारत के आंतरिक इलाकों में आवाजाही के लिए अपार संभावनाएं मौजूद हैं। उन्‍हें जलमार्ग से जोड़कर इस विषमता को व्‍यापक फायदे में बदला जा सकता है।

भारत में इस प्रकार की अधिकतर रो-रो परियोजनाओं को राज्‍य सरकार द्वारा परिचालन एवं रखरखाव के साथ ईपीसी मोड अथवा निजी कंसेस्‍नायर द्वारा निर्माण और परिचालन एवं रखरखाव के साथ सार्वजनिक निजी भागीदारी (डीबीएफओटी) मोड के तहत लागू की गई हैं। हाल में ऐसी एक परियोजना महाराष्‍ट्र में शुरू की गई है।

वस्तुओं के मूल्य निर्धारण में वैश्विक प्रतिस्‍पर्धा और विभिन क्षेत्रों में सामाजिक एवं आर्थिक समृद्धि लाने की आवश्यकता को ध्यान में रखते हुए यह जरूरी है कि सरकार कई स्तर वाली परिवहन की एकीकृत एवं कुशल व्‍यवस्‍था विकसित करे जिनमें से प्रत्येक स्‍तर को जीवंत एवं कुशल तरीके से विकसित करने की आवश्‍यकता है। परिवहन का ऐसा ही एक स्‍तर जलमार्ग है।

जल आधारित परिवहन में निवेश की एक प्रमुख विशेषता यह है कि कई भूमि आधारित परिवहन व्‍यवस्‍था, जिसमें जटिल भूमि अधिग्रहण, मार्ग के अधिकार, पुनर्वास एवं अन्‍य मुद्दों से निपटने की आवश्‍यकता होती है, के विपतरीत जल अधारित परिवहन परियोजना प्रस्‍ताव अपेक्षाकृत सरल कदम है। यह कई कानूनी, नियामकीय, सामाजिक और पर्यावरणीय मुद्दों से भी मुक्‍त है जो आमतौर पर अन्य परिवहन परियोजनाओं को प्रभावित करते हैं। इसके अलावा एक सार्वजनिक-निजी भागीदारी-डीबीएफओटी मॉडल के तहत फेरी ऑपरेटरों से बर्थिंग शुल्क और टर्मिनल पर पार्किंग राजस्व भी प्राप्त होगा। भारत में बुनियादी ढांचे का अभाव और समग्र आबादी एवं आर्थिक विकास में कमी के कारण रो-रो परियोजना से 10% से अधिक की एक परियोजना आईआरआर सृजित होती है और इसलिए यह एकल स्तर पर आर्थिक रूप से व्यवहार्य है। हालांकि इन परियोजनाओं में व्‍यापक गुणक प्रभाव मौजूद होते हैं और इसलिए इसे आर्थिक एवं सामाजिक विकास दर के संदर्भ में देखा जाना चाहिए। यही कारण है कि राज्‍य सरकारों ने पीपीपी-डीबीएफओटी मॉडल के तहत निजी भागीदारों को नई रो-रो परियोजनाएं आबंटित करने पर विचार कर सकती हैं जबकि मौजूदा चालू परियोजनाओं को पीपीपी-रिवर्स-बीओटी मॉडल के तहत आवंटित किया जा सकता है। उपयुक्‍त पीपीपी मॉडल के तहत सरकार स्‍वामित्‍व और अहम राष्‍ट्रीय बुनियादी ढांचे पर नियंत्रण बरकरार रख सकती हैं जबकि दूसरी ओर इससे सरकार पर वित्तीय बोझ को भी हल्‍का किया जा सकता है और परिसंपत्ति की परिचालन कुशलता में भी सुधार लाया जा सकता है। नई परियोजनाओं में टर्मिनल का निर्माण सरकार द्वारा करने की आवश्‍यकता है ताकि परिचालन को निजी क्षेत्र के लिए वाणिज्यिक रूप से व्‍यवहार्य बनाया जा सके।

रो-रो सेवाओं को रेलवे में भी भारतीय रेल द्वारा लागू करने की योजना बनाई गई है। भारतीय रेल ने कार्गो वाहनों के लिए बिहार में और पेट्रो उत्‍पादों के लिए त्रिपुरा में रो-रो सेवाएं शुरू की है। कुल मिलाकर सरकार इन सभी रो-रो परियोजनाओं के लिए एक साथ योजना बना रही है और इस निवेश के लिए उचित मात्रा में यातायात होने के बाद एक मजबूत पुल अवसंरचना के प्रावधान के लिए भी खुद को तैयार कर रही है।

लॉजिस्टिक परफॉर्मेंस इंडेक्स (एलपीआई) पर नवीनतम वर्ल्‍ड बैंक रिपोर्ट 2016 में भारत अब 35वें स्‍थान पर पहुंच चुका है जो 2014 के आरंभ में प्रकाशित पिछली रिपोर्ट में 54वें स्‍थान पर रहा था। इसके एलपीआई रैंकिंग में सुधार के लिए विभिन्‍न माध्यमों के तहत एकीकृत गतिशीलता के प्रावधानों को प्राथमिकता दी जा रही है। साथ ही बेहतर मानक के साथ इंजीनियरिंग परामर्श सेवाएं लेने और परियोजना के कार्यान्‍वयन के लिए उपयुक्‍त मॉडल चुनने का भी प्रस्‍ताव है ताकि हितधारकों के बीच जोखिम और लाभ को बांटा जा सके। इसके साथ ही सरकार देश भर में परिवहन परियोजनाओं के कार्यान्‍वयन कुशलता में सुधार लाने में समर्थ होगी। प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी ने इस योजना के शुभारंभ के अवसर पर कहा भी है कि इससे बंदरगाह समृद्धि के प्रवेश द्वार बनेंगे और पेट्रोल व डीजल के आयात पर भारत की निर्भरता घटेगी और भारत को विकास की एक नई राह पर अग्रसर होगा। इससे एक करोड़ से अधिक रोजगार के अवसर मुहैया कराए जा सकेंगे और पर्यटन एवं परिवहन क्षेत्र में नये आयाम खुलेंगे।


* लेखक नीति आयोग के सीईओ हैं। लेख में व्यक्त विचार उनके निजी हैं।


Dedicated soul: Sister Nivedita, an inspiration to today’s India

150th Birth Anniversary of Sister Nivedita (28th October)

*Archana Datta Mukhopadhyay 

“I doubt whether any Indian loved India the way Nivedita loved her”, said Bipin ChandraSister_Nivedita_image.jpg Pal, the great freedom fighter. Tagore called her the “Lok Mata’, for her self-sacrificing services to India. Miss Margaret Elizabeth Noble, was rechristened as Nivedita, “the dedicated” by Swami Vivekananda.

Inspired by Swamiji’s fervent call for upliftment of Indian women, Nivedita reached the shores of India, her “Karmabhumi” on January 28, 1898, and thus began her pursuit of knowing the real India.

Nivedita discovered the intrinsic Indian values as a nation and the great virtues of Indianness. Her book “The web of Indian life”, numerous essays, articles, letters and her lectures abroad between 1899-1901 and in 1908, all of them bear testimony to the depth of her knowledge about India.


Nivedita, a great upholder of Indian values and tradition, espoused the causes of “true education”….”national education”, and aspired to turn Indians into “sons and daughters of Bharatvarsha” and “not poor copies of Europe”. She wanted Indian women never to discard the “old-time grace and sweetness, the gentleness and piety”, ….. “in favour of ……. Western information and social aggressiveness”. She believed education should bestow on the people of India an “Indian mind” to solve an “Indian problem”.

Nivedita opened her experimental school in an orthodox locality in the Northern part of Kolkata, not in the European-inhabited Central part of the city, in 1898. She had to literally move from door to door to beg for students from the neighbourhood. She had the grand vision of her school producing modern day “Maitreyis”and “Gàrgis”, and creating it as the nucleus of a ‘grand educational movement’.

Sister Nivedita (Margaret Elizabeth Noble) Her First School – Kolkata, India

The school activities were seeped in true nationalistic fervour. When singing of ‘Vande Mataram’ was banned in the country, it was the opening prayer song in her school. The release of freedom fighters from the jails used to be an occasion for celebration.

A memorial plaque in the house of Bagbazar where Sister Nivedita started her school

Nivedita used to take her senior students out to listen to the speeches of great leaders of freedom movement to imbibe in them the values of freedom struggle.

Nivedita, way back in 1904, designed a prototype of the first Indian national flag with the Vajra at the centre, on the ideals of self-sacrificing great sage Dadhichi. Her students embroidered the words “Bonde Matoram” in Bengali, The flag was displayed in the exhibition organised by the Indian Congress in 1906.

Sister Nivedita’s flag, prepared by the students of her Girls’ School at Calcutta 

Education to her was an empowering tool. Nivedita introduced handicrafts and vocational training along with conventional learning, to make her students capable of earning a livelihood from their homes. She brought the adult and young widows to the fold of education and skill development. Timing was made flexible for them in the afternoons. Skills and handi-works were chosen according to their suitability in the Indian condition. Nivedita had in her mind the larger picture of revival of the old Indian industries and to establish an Industry and Education linkage.

Nivedita played a great role in igniting the flames nationalism in Indian minds. Swamiji’s idea of ‘man-making’, amounted to her ’nation-making’ as well. She called upon men and women of India to foster a love for their motherland as a “bounden duty”, “to protect her interests as a “responsibility” and respond to the call of “Mother India” for any sacrifice.

Swami Vivekanada With Sister Nivedita ( Margaret Elizabeth Noble Of Ireland (Right )

Integration of India was uppermost in her mind, she urged upon the people of India to cherish the “Mantra” of unity that “India is one, and she is one  and shall be one“, in the heart and mind and commit themselves to be nationalists “with a note of joy and strength”.

Nivedita whole-heartedly hailed the Swadeshi Movement in 1905, and considered it not a sheer movement for boycott of foreign goods or a matter of politics or economics only, but a ‘Tapasya’ for Indians, having a deep spiritual and national significance.


Nivedita, was a prolific writer on varied subjects. Her writings in prominent Indian dailies and journals on the burning topics, were catalytic to rouse the patriotic feelings of the people and inspire them into action, be it freedom movement, be it for the revival of art and culture or the pursuit in the world of modern sciences or education.

Nivedita pursued the causes for building of institutions for scientific research and development in colonial India. The Bose Institute in Kolkata is a living testimony of her such a desire and persistence.

Nivedita’s services to the poor and needy, be it during the Plague epidemic in Calcutta or floods in Bengal, speak volume about her selfless work.

Nivedita became a reckoning force in any progressive movement in India. Her small house in Baghbazar, in the northern part of Calcutta, veritably turned into a meeting point for all the contemporary leading public figures. It was no wonder that the great freedom fighter Rashbehari Ghosh, said in her memory , “….If we are conscious of a budding national life at the present day, it is in no measure due to the teaching of Sister Nivedita,”

Indeed, at this juncture of celebrating her 150th birth anniversary, the nation needs to re-evaluate the contribution of this multi-faceted personality. Her pragmatic view of India producing new types of “Sita, Savitri, Draupadi, Gandhari, Damayanti…”, according to the demands of modern age, has made her a great visionary in the history of India.

Nivedita defined “efficient education” and “true emancipation” for women in India as, “To work, to suffer, and to love, in the higher spheres; to transcend limits; to be sensitive to great causes; to stand transfigured by the national righteousness.” This is a great inspiration for women in today’s India, who are honing their skills in the the battlefield of life, fighting against social prejudices, taboos and cultural stereotypes?


*Archana Datta is a former civil servant. She was Director General (News), AIR and Doordarshan.

Ro-Ro Ferry Service & Its Impact on Transportation and Logistics

*Amitabh Kant  i2017102301

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s launch of the first of its kind, state of the art Ro-Ro Ghogha-Dahej and subsequently Hazira project (in phase-2) marks the beginning of a radical transformation of the transportation and logistics sector in India. The logistic costs in India are extremely high and tapping the full potential of waterways will provide a huge impetus to movement of people, goods, commodities and vehicles. By reducing cost and time this will have an immensely beneficial impact on India’s manufacturing and exports. For example, the highly challenging infrastructure project of Ro-Ro ferry plying the Gulf of Khambhat between peninsular Saurashtra and South Gujarat will reduce the time of travel from 8 hours to a mere 1 hour and the distance would be reduced to 31 km from the current distance of 360 km.

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India has nearly 14,500 Km of navigable Inland Waterways and around 7,517 Km of coastline, which on being developed effectively for transportation purpose, shall help decongest roads and rail networks and offer multiplier effect to the overall economic development of regions. Coastal shipping and inland water transport are fuel efficient, environment friendly and cost effective modes of transportation, especially for bulk goods. Emissions from container vessels range from 32-36 g CO2 per ton-km while from heavy duty road transport vehicles it ranges from 51-91g CO2 per ton-km. Also the road transportation on average costs Rs. 1.5 per ton-km, for railways it is Rs. 1.0 per ton-km, for waterways it would be 25 to 30 paisa per ton-km only. One litre of fuel can move 24 ton-km cargo through road transport and 85 ton-km through rail transport, while it can move as much as much as 105 ton-km through water transport. These figures strengthen the assertion that waterway offers a much more economical and environmentally friendly mode of transportation vis-à-vis surface transportation. Country can save $50 billion per year if logistics costs reduce from 14 per cent to 9 per cent of GDP. Reduced logistics costs would in return bring down prices of products.

Out of total stretch of navigable inland waterways in India, nearly 5,200 Km (36%) of major rivers and around 485 Km (3%) of canals are conducive to the movement of mechanized vessels. Inland waterways provide several advantages over rail and road transportation by virtue of their operational cost effectiveness (60-80% lower per ton-km), lower environmental impact, convenient interoperability and fewer issues in relation to land acquisition and infrastructure development. Currently only 4,500 Km of inland waterways is being commercially utilized and waterways carry less than 1% of domestic cargo in India.

Government’s objective has been to develop and operate inland waterways transportation by working towards harnessing this tremendous potential under National Waterways Act 2016.For the holistic development of India’s coastline, the Government has launched ‘Sagarmala’ program in March 2015 and a National Perspective Plan (NPP) for the comprehensive development of India’s coastline has been prepared under it.

Roll-on & Roll-off (“Ro-Ro”) waterways projects comprise of Ro-Ro ships/vessels which are designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers and railroad cars that are driven on and off the ship on their wheels or using a platform vehicle. It also comprises of jetties, with related port terminal and approach connectivity infrastructure. While passenger jetties are used solely to ferry passengers, Ro-Ro jetties have built-in or have shore-based ramps that allow the cargo to be efficiently rolled on and off the vessel when in port. The Ro-Ro project in Gujarat will be able to carry up to 100 vehicles (cars, buses and trucks) and 250 passengers between the two terminals. Historically with limited alternatives available road transport in the region has always been congested and packed. Also as the Ro-Ro ferry operator have proposed fares which are at par with prevalent bus fares, the facility shall provide the much needed respite to the passengers in the region.

In India, various Ro-Ro projects in Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala have the potential to fully open-up the vast potential of India’s interior areas which have been geographically disadvantaged. Linking up with waterways will transform this disadvantage into a massive advantage.

Most of these Ro-Ro projects in India are being implemented either on EPC mode, with operation and maintenance being undertaken by the State Government or, with more recent projects like the one in Maharashtra, on Public Private Partnership (DBFOT) mode with construction, along with operation and maintenance being undertaken by the private concessionaire. In view of the global competition for pricing of goods and the need to bring about social and economic prosperity to regions, it is imperative that the Government develops integrated and efficient modes of transportation system comprising of several layers, each of which needs to be developed in an vibrant and efficient manner. One such layer of transportation is waterways.

One of the key attributes of the investment in water based transportation is that, unlike many land-based transport systems which require complex land acquisition, rights-of-way, resettlement and other issues, the water based transportation project proposal is a relatively straightforward initiative. It also steers clear of many legal, regulatory, social and environmental issues which normally affect other transport projects. Further, under a PPP-DBFOT model the concessionaire receives berthing charges from ferry operators, and parking revenue at terminal. A Ro-Ro project in India, due to infrastructure constraints and overall population and economic growth, generates a project IRR in excess of 10% and is thereby financially viable on a standalone level.

However, these projects have huge multiplier impact and should therefore be looked at from the perspective of economic and social rate of return. The State Governments can therefore consider awarding of new Ro-Ro projects to private parties on PPP-DBFOT model, while the existing operational projects can be awarded under PPP-Reverse-BOT model. Under a suitable PPP model, the Government retains the ownership and control of critical national infrastructure, while at the same time it reduces the financing burden on the Government and improves the operational efficiency of the asset. In green field projects the terminals need to be constructed by the government so as to make operations commercially feasible for private sector.

Ro-Ro services are also planned to be implemented by Indian Railways on rails too. Indian Railways is launching Ro-Ro service in Bihar for cargo vehicles and in Tripura for petro product. In all these Ro-Ro projects the Government is simultaneously also planning and preparing itself for provision of concrete bridge infrastructure in due course as and when the traffic volume justifies the investment.

The latest, World Bank report 2016, on Logistic Performance Index (“LPI”), now ranks India at 35th position as against 54th rank it occupied in the previous report published in early 2014. In order to improve on its LPI ranking further, provisions of integrated mobility across different modes are being prioritized. It is also proposed to adopt superior standard engineering consultancy services and a suitable model for project implementation in order to optimally allocate risks and rewards among the stakeholders.

With this the government shall be able to increase the efficacy of transport project implementation across the nation. As the Prime Minister said this will reduce India’s dependence on import of diesel and petrol and take India to a new trajectory of growth. It will create over one crore job opportunities and give a boost to tourism and transport sector.


*The Author is CEO, NITI Aayog.

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