13 January 2014


2100 HRS.
  • Prime Minister says, adequate supply of energy at affordable price is critical to the economic growth of the country; Stresses for bridging demand and supply gap in energy.
  • BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, Narender Modi attacks UPA government on corruption; AAP leader Kumar Vishwas criticizes Rahul Gandhi in Amethi.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee expresses concern over the dwindling number of some indigenous tribes; Calls for policies for their development in line with their way of life.
  • In Bangladesh, a new government led by Sheikh Hasina takes over.
  • US calls for an independent investigation into alleged human rights violations by Sri Lankan security forces during the last phase of civil war.
  • In Sports: Australian Open begins in Melbourne tomorrow.
The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has said,  adequate supply of energy at affordable prices is critical to the economic growth of the country. Inaugurating the Petrotech Conference- 2014 on the outskirts of Delhi in Greater Noida today, Dr Singh stressed on bridging the gap between demand and supply of energy, adding that India is encouraging domestic and global companies to explore potentially hydrocarbon-rich areas and has made a number of changes in its energy policy regime to achieve the goal.
An adequate supply of energy at affordable prices is critical to economic growth.  We need to increase our energy supply by 3 to 4 times over the next two decades.  We are encouraging domestic and global companies to explore potentially hydro-carbon rich areas in the framework of a stable and enabling policy environment.  We have made a number of changes in our energy policy regime in the last few months.
Referring to the adverse consequences of unclean energy consumption, the Prime Minister reiterated India's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.  Dr Singh said that India is fully determined to reduce carbon emissions alongside high economic growth.
Petrotech is a biennial International oil and gas conference. Companies
from more than 15 countries are participating in the event focussing on Vision 2030 : The Emerging Global Energy Basket. The conference will discuss the Planning, Politics, Partnership, Production and Policy of the exploration and production business in petroleum sector.
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, M Veerappa Moily has said, the government is considering increasing the quota of subsidised LPG cylinders to 12 per household.  He said, the final decision on the issue will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of Petrotech Conference-2014 today, Moily said, 89.2 per cent of the 15 crore LPG consumers use up to nine cylinders in a year and only 10 percent have to buy the additional requirement at the market price. He said, increasing the limit to 12, would result in an additional fuel subsidy burden of 3,300 crore to 5,800 crore rupee for the government.
Earlier, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh asked the people to fight religious fanaticism asserting that true religion cannot be the basis of hatred and division. He said, human society would have been far more advanced than it is now, had it not been for horrible demons of sectarianism and fanaticism. Dr Singh was addressing the closing ceremony of the commemoration of Swami Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary in New Delhi today.

His  truly great message for us which is of great relevance to our country and our sub-continent, was that true religion and true religiosity cannot be the bases of hatred and division, but  of mutual respect and tolerance for the faiths and beliefs of all.
Highlighting one of the three central messages of Vivekananda's teachings, the Prime Minister said, India’s true liberation would come only when every citizen feels liberated from the scourge of poverty, ignorance and disease. He said, Swami Vivekananda stirred the minds of Indians and inspired them to seek freedom and a life of dignity.       
Speaking on the occasion, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said all must rise above politics and pay heed to Swami Vivekananda's teachings of wisdom and tolerance. Stating that religious fanaticism threatens peace in the region, Mrs. Gandhi hailed the relevance of Vivekananda's teachings especially for the youth.
Our Correspondent reports, the year-long celebrations began on 12th January last year by releasing postage stamps and coins to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
President Pranab Mukherjee has expressed concern over the dwindling numbers of some of India's indigenous tribes and called for policies for their development to be in line with their way of life. Inaugurating the Andaman and Nicobar Tribal Research Institute at Port Blair today, Mr. Mukherjee said, the overwhelming view as regards policies on tribal populations is that assimilation had failed, given that many important tribes have vanished. He said that such policies should not be static but have the flexibility as per the needs of time. The President hoped that the institute would undertake studies which will help in the formulation of policies for the welfare of the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Bharatiya Janata Party's Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi addressed a crowded rally on the outskirts of Panaji city in Goa today and criticised the Congress party and the government on various issues including welfare of the youth and corruption.
Mr. Modi also said that he appreciated Goa's demand for special status under  article 371 and the prevalence of common civil code in Goa while blaming Congress culture as corrupt and praising the BJP chief ministers for their integrity and dedication. Party president Rajnath Singh also addressed the rally.
In Uttar Pradesh, Aam Admi Party leader Kumar Vishwas, in the backdrop of forthcoming Loksabha elections, addressed party's first rally in the state at Amethi. Addresing the rally, Vishwas took on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and said that he had not asked a single question in Parliament about his constituency since last ten years.
Our Lucknow Correspondent reports that 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.
Congress today said that the Gandhi family had the blessings of the people of Amethi and nobody stood a chance against them in elections there. Congress leader and Union Minister Rajiv Shukla was reacting to AAP leader Kumar Vishwas' rally in the constituency which is represented in Lok Sabha by Rahul Gandhi.
In Chhattisgarh, security forces have arrested nine Maoists during a search operation from a village in Narayanpur district in tribal Bastar region. Additional S P said the arrested Maoists were wanted in connection with a number of criminal cases. Three of them were warrantees while two others  carried a reward of Rs 10,000 each on their head.
Meanwhile, a Maoist leader surrendered before the IGP, BSF  at Antagarh in Kanker district. He was wanted in connection with more than a dozen cases of Naxalite violence.
In Bangladesh, a new government led by Sheikh Hasina has taken over.  President Abdul Hamid administered the oath of office to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her new Council of Ministers at a glitterring ceremony in President's House, Bangababan, this evening. Over a 1000 guests including members of the diplomatic corps attended the ceremony. 
President's House Bangababan wore a festive look but had tight  security all round.  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took oath first, followed by Cabinet Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers. The new council of Ministers has 29 Cabinet Ministers, 17 Ministers of State and 2 Deputy Ministers.  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has retained some Ministers from her previous government who had performed well, while some new faces have also been  inducted.   Jatiya Party which has emerged as the main Opposition  has been given 3 ministerial berths,  while the Bangladesh Workers Party, Jatiya samaj tantrikdal, and  Jatiya  party (M) have  obtained one  berth each.  With representation from all major parties of parliament, Haina's government has  the look of a national consensus government.
Melinda Dias/AIR News, Dhaka.
Prime Minister  Dr Manmohan Singh today congratulated Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina on her assumption of the office of Prime Minister of Bangladesh after the recent elections. The spokesperson in External Affairs Ministry, Syed Akbaruddin said that  Dr Singh called her on the telephone this evening to convey his good wishes. Dr Singh wished her and the people of Bangladesh all success in the endeavour to strengthen democratic institutions in Bangladesh.
The United States today called for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations committed by Sri Lankan security forces during the last phase of civil war. In a press statement issued by the US Embassy in Colombo today, US said that a top State Department official, Stephen J Rapp, has listened to eyewitness accounts about serious human rights abuses during his five day long visit to the island nation.
Earlier this week, Rapp had told the Tamil National Alliance leaders in Jaffna that US intends to bring another resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva in March, pressing for accountability for the alleged excesses committed by the security forces. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has lodged an official protest at the allegations made by the US Embassy that hundreds of civilians were killed in Army shelling during the final stages of the civil war.
Back home, in Tamil Nadu, fishermen in Nagapattinam and Ramanathapuram have urged the government to take steps for the immediate release of Tamil fishermen lodged in Sri Lankan jails. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalaithaa’s statement that the Central government had informed that Sri Lanka will start releasing the 275 Tamil fishermen soon had given some hope. Our Correspondent from Tiruchi reports that the delay in their release, has sadened their families.
There is mixed feeling of hope and despair amongst the Tamil fishermen families in Nagapattinam and Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu. They were getting ready to celebrate Pongal Tamil festival on Tuesday with joy expecting that fellow fishermen will be released from Lankan jails. News about delay in release has made them sad and the fishermen insist that only if the fishing boats are released they can pursue their livelihood. The Tamil fishermen resorted to strike urging the release of Tamil fishermen and withdrew their strike after assurances from Central and state governments.  Now the local fishermen rest their hopes on the talks between fishermen representatives of India and Sri Lanka to be held at Chennai on 20th of this month.
K Devi Padmanabhan/AIR News/Tiruchirapalli.
India 360, an eight-minute programme on AIR FM Gold and additional frequencies, will be launched from January 26th by the News Services Division with inputs from the External Publicity Division of the Ministry of External Affairs. It will profile a country each week and its relations with India. It aims to give listeners an audio picture of the country in focus with information on the people, culture, cuisine, trade, sports and other aspects of the region. Indian ambassadors to these countries will talk about important aspects of bilateral relations like trade, people to people contact and the Indian diaspora there.
The programme will be launched with focus on Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the Chief Guest at this year's Republic Day Parade.
Secretary Road Transport and Highways, Vijay Chibber flagged off the Road Safety Walk in New Delhi today, urging people to inculcate the  spirit of ''Pehle Aap'' to avoid accidents and make roads safer.
The two-kilometre walk was organized as part of the ongoing 25th Road Safety Week which began yesterday. The theme of the week this year is 'When on road, always say Pehle Aap'.
In sports, season's first Grand Slam tennis tournament, the Australian Open, begins in Melbourne from tomorrow. Ace Indian player Somdevvraman will challenge his rivals in the men's singles events.  In men's doubles, Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Yuki Bhambri and Divvij Sharan will take on their rivals with their respective partners. In women's doubles, Sania Mirza will represent India. The mixed doubles draws are yet to be announced.

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