- Prime Minister says, India is encouraging domestic and global companies to explore potentially hydrocarbon-rich areas in stable policy regime.
- Government is considering increase in number of subsidised LPG cylinders to 12, says Petroleum Minister.
- Cold wave intensifies in North India; Fog affects normal life in most parts.
- Iran and six world powers agree to implement interim nuclear deal from 20th of this month.
- The first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, begins in Melbourne.
The Prime Minister has said that India is encouraging domestic and global companies to explore potentially hydrocarbon-rich areas in a stable policy regime, and has made a number of changes in its energy policy regime to achieve the goal. He said this while inaugurating the Petrotech Conference-2014 in Greater Noida yesterday.
Referring to the adverse consequences of unclean energy consumption, the Prime Minister reiterated India's commitment to reduce its carbon footprint.
India is committed to reducing its carbon footprint as a responsible member of the global community. The challenge of achieving high economic growth and yet reducing emissions is a formidable one indeed. But we are determined to meet this challenge fully.
Dr. Singh also said, adequate supply of energy at affordable prices is critical for the economic growth of the country. He stressed on bridging the gap between demand and supply of energy.
Talking to reporters at the sidelines of the Conference, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M. Veerappa Moily said that the government is considering an increase in the number of subsidised LPG cylinders to 12 per household. He said, the final decision will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs. Moily said, 89.2 per cent of the 15 crore LPG consumers use up to nine cylinders in a year and only 10 per cent have to buy the additional requirement at the market price. Moily said, increasing the limit to 12 will result in an additional fuel subsidy burden of 3,300 crore to 5,800 crore rupees for the government.
The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has accused the Congress and the Central government of vote bank politics and corruption. Addressing a rally in Goa last evening, Modi said the BJP is determined to rid the country of these ills. He made a veiled reference to the removal of Jayanti Natarajan as Environment Minister and accused her of corruption. Natarajan has, however, denied the allegations. She said, the Gujarat Chief Minister is trying to target her as she has been very vocal against him in the past and had blocked two of his projects.
Against the backdrop of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, Aam Admi Party leader Kumar Vishwas addressed the party's first rally in Uttar Pradesh yesterday, at Amethi, the constituency represented by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. Vishwas took on Rahul Gandhi and said that he had not asked a single question in Parliament about his constituency since the last ten years.
Reacting to Kumar Vishwas' remarks, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said that the Gandhi family had the blessings of the people of Amethi and nobody stood a chance against them in Amethi.
Earlier in the day, Congress supporters and some others protested on the Lucknow-Amethi highway and raised slogans against AAP as Kumar Vishwas travelled in a convoy to Amethi. The AAP leader was also shown black flags by a group of people while he was passing through Jagdishpur area.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will be provided with 'Z' category security from today, despite his refusal. The Delhi Chief Minister presently resides with his family in the Kaushambi area of Ghaziabad. Ghaziabad SSP Dharmendra Singh said, 30 personnel will be deployed round-the-clock to provide security to Kejriwal. The SSP said, Kejriwal will now have two escort vehicles accompanying him when he is on the move in Ghaziabad.
Iran and six world powers have agreed on concrete steps to implement the interim nuclear deal aimed at placing curbs on Teheran’s nuclear programme. The agreement reached in last November will come into effect from January 20th.
To begin with Iran will limit its uranium enrichment to 5 per cent which is commonly used in power reactors. It would stop producing 20 per cent enriched uranium which is only a technical step away from the weapons-grade material and neutralize its existing stockpile of 20 per cent enriched uranium. Iran will also grant IAEA access to its nuclear facilities and its centrifuge production line. In exchange, economic sanctions would be partially eased for a period of six months. No fresh sanctions would be imposed on Iran during this period. The six month time frame would be utilized to work on a comprehensive nuclear deal. Atul Tiwary, AIR News.
The Minister of State in the PMO V. Narayanasamy has urged the Sri Lankan authorities to immediately release Tamil fishermen lodged in Lankan jails. Narayanasamy told AIR that the statement of Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister Rejitha Senaratne that Tamil fishermen will be released only after talks is unacceptable. The Minister said that the talks and release of fishermen should not be linked.
The Cold wave has further intensified in North India. While temperatures plummeted further in the hilly areas of the region, fog affected normal life at several places in the plains.
Delhiites woke up to a shallow fog cover this morning.
A thick blanket of fog disrupted normal life at many places across Punjab and Haryana where there was no let up in the biting cold.
Light to moderate rain or thundershowers occurred at a few places in eastern Uttar Pradesh yesterday. More from our correspondent:
Mild sunshine in some parts of the state gave partial relief but fog prevailed this morning which affected road and rail traffic. Schools up to intermediate are closed in Gorakhpur and other districts up to Wednesday. Though the met office has predicted no major change in the weather, but the people believe that the weather condition will start improving after Makar Sankranti tomorrow. Salman Haider, AIR News, Gorakhpur.
Leh in Ladakh experienced its coldest night of the season at minus 18.9 degrees celcius last night. The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was reopened for traffic yesterday, after having remained closed for two days due to snowfall.
The intense cold wave continued in most parts of Himachal Pradesh as well.
Almost all the areas continue to shiver as the temperature recorded several degrees below the normal after fresh snowfall on higher reaches. More than hundred bus routes have been affected in snow bound interior parts of districts. Several people including some patients are waiting for helicopter flight at different helipads in Lahaul Valley but bad weather condition since past few days become a hindrance in its way. In Kinnaur district people are facing frequent power cuts in this cold weather. Shishu Sharma Shantal, Shimla, AIR News.
The News Services Division of All India Radio, in its weekly Live Phone-in programme 'PUBLIC SPEAK', will bring you a discussion tonight on 'COLD WAVE CONDITIONS AND THE PROBLEMS OF HOMELESS PEOPLE'. This can be heard on the FM Gold Channel and additional frequencies from 9.30 to 10.05 pm. Listeners can ask questions to the experts sitting in our Studio on telephone number: 011: 2331-4444.
Veteran actress Suchitra Sen continues to be in a critical condition. She is admitted in a Kolkata hospital. Doctors said that the 82-year-old actress is surviving on oxygen support and intravenous feeding. They, however, said that her heart rate and blood pressure are stable.
Goa State Horticulture Development Corporation's scheme to develop infrastructure for the marketing of vegetables and flowers has boosted vegetable farming in the state. Our correspondent has filed this report:
Goa State Horticulture Development Corporation has recently started selling fruits from its outlets and receiving very good response from the consumers. The Corporation had started selling the various fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, watermelons, grapes , cheeku and sweet limes through their outlets. Now the corporation is also planning to supply the vegetables that do not grow in Goa. In addition, the Corporation is trying to train groups of farmers and will also depute agricultural experts to visit the farms regularly and provide guidance. Manoj Sonone, Panaji.
The festival of Lohri is being celebrated with traditional fervour and enthusiasm today.
People, especially in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, exchange gifts, sweets and enjoy a bonfire at night.
The first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open Tennis tournament, kicked off at Melbourne today. The Singles first round matches are underway. India's Somdev Devvarman is the only Indian in the Singles and will play his opening match later in the tournament. The Doubles section is featuring Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan, Yuki Bhambri and Sania Mirza with their respective team-mates.
Three time defending champion, Serbia's Novak Djokovic is facing a tough challenge this year. Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who dethroned the Serb from the World Number One spot last year, will leave no stone unturned to begin the season with a Grand Slam title. Besides, it is a perfect opportunity for Swiss Roger Federer to keep his last year's bitter memories at bay and start afresh. In the Women's Singles, Victoria Azarenka will be eyeing her third straight title, but it won't be a cake walk. World Number One Serena Williams, who had a fabulous 2013, is undoubtedly the favourite. But one cannot rule out Maria Sharapova, who is looking for a head start, after a modest last season. To sum it up, the Australian Open promises to be a nerve wrecking affair, anyway we slice it. Savvy Hasan Khan for AIR News.
- In a story related to the ongoing probe into the coal block allocation, the Tribune reports that the CBI has found no criminality in the allocation of about 60 coal blocks, and they are likely to be taken out of the purview of the probe, after taking the Supreme Court's permission.
- The Pioneer writes that as many as 16 road projects, collectively worth 20,000 crore rupees, are awaiting clearances from the Environment Ministry at various levels. This is in stark contradiction to the claims made by the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways in the Lok Sabha last December that only four projects were awaiting 'formal' Environment Ministry clearance.
- "Bad news in the pipeline: Your kitchen, auto fuel bills set to rise", says the Hindustan Times adding that the next 2 to 3 months are expected to bring a series of steep hikes in prices of kitchen & auto fuels, with the only comfort being that they will be spread out and not bunched.
- "Vishwas storms Rahul's Amethi", reads the Mail Today headline, referring to AAP leader Kumar Vishwas addressing a big gathering yesterday in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi's Lok Sabha constituency while the Asian Age writes, "AAP's Rally at Amethi turns out to be a flop".
- The Hindu writes that India has a reason to smile as on Monday, it completes three years without reporting any case of polio. Officially the World Health Organisation (WHO) will certify India as Polio-free on 11th February after the last of random samples picked up would be tested, reports the paper.
- And finally, under the heading "Self help groups: Udhampur is a land of woman power", the Pioneer reports on how the Gramin Pragati Sangathan, is helping village women across Udhamapur set up self help groups for economic self reliance. This, the paper says, has helped women start schools and small businesses too.