Evening digest: Tier II cities get major share in the list of 20 smart cities

GN Bureau | January 28, 2016

The Union government on Thursday announced the names of the first 20 urban areas that will be developed as smart cities. "Implementation of smart cities plan will showcase integrated planning. The investment of Rs 50,802 crores has been proposed in selected smart cities and towns during the five-year period," said minister of urban development Venkaiah Naidu, while announcing the list. "There are five capital cities among the 20 smart cities chosen," Naidu said. "A consortium of only Indian companies was chosen for plans of nine cities from the 20 cities chosen," he added. The urban development ministry received proposals for 97 cities from state governments. The selected cities will be equipped with basic infrastructure, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity and e-governance mechanisms.

In the future, the government plans to announce 40 cities each to be developed asa Smart City.

Following are 20 smart cities:
1. Bhubaneswar
2. Pune
3. Jaipur
4. Surat
5. Kochi
6. Ahmedabad
7. Jabalpur
8. Vishakapatnam
9. Sholapur
10. Davangere
11. Indore
12. NDMC
13. Coimbatore
14. Kakinada
15. Belagavi
16. Udaipur
17. Guwahati
18. Chennai
19. Ludhiana
20. Bhopal

Anti-terrorism exercise by India and China
Indian and Chinese armies today kicked off their fifth annual anti-terrorism exercise in China's Kunming city as both the sides seek to share their successful experiences in counter-terrorism operations during the 10-day drill. India for the first time fielded troops from Naga Regiment to take part in the exercises. A contingent of 175 troops from 2nd Battalion of Naga Regiment from Eastern Command reached Kunming by IAF IL-76 aircraft yesterday to take part in the exercise. Both sides are fielding the same number of troops for the joint exercises, which will culminate on October 22, a press release from the Indian Embassy in Beijing said today. Troops from 14 Corps of China's Chengdu Military Region which focuses on borders with India are taking in the exercise. Troops of both sides will undergo intensive joint training, which will include displays, demonstrations, and a comprehensive joint exercise. The purpose of the exercise is to develop joint operating capability, share useful experience in counter-terrorism operations and to promote friendly exchanges between the armies of India and China, the press release said. Observer groups of both armies witnessed an impressive opening ceremony at Dabanqiao Training Base of 14 Group Army at Kunming today.

Court orders registration of FIR against Kerala CM, minister
A Vigilance court on Thursday ordered registration of an FIR against chief minister Oommen Chandy and power minister Arayadan Mohammed in connection with the solar scam. Inquiry commissioner and special judge, Thrissur, SS Vassan, on a private complaint by one PD Joseph, issued the direction in this regard. The vigilance director has been asked to file the FIR and complete the probe as early as possible. Joseph said he had based his complaint on the statements made by Saritha S Nair, prime accused in the solar scam, yesterday before the Justice Sivarajan commission probing the scam. He also said he had produced a CD and newspaper clippings on Saritha's deposition before the commission as part of evidence. Targeting Chandy and Mohammed, Saritha had alleged that she had paid bribes totalling Rs 1.90 crore to a close aide of the chief minister while Rs 40 lakh had been given to the power minister. Both had denied the allegations. On Thursday, the Kerala chief minister called the accusation against him "a deep-rooted conspiracy".

SC tell Teesta Setalvad to cooperate or face arrest
The Supreme Court on Thursday extended interim protection for Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand from arrest till March 18 in cases of alleged misuse of funds. However, the Supreme Court also issued a warning to the husband-wife couple, asking them to cooperate in the probe otherwise be ready for arrest. Teesta and Anand are facing a case registered by the Gujarat police for allegedly embezzlement of funds for a museum in memory of the destruction of Ahmedabad's Gulbarg Society by a mob in the 2002 riots and also for violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.

Complainant alleges Pachauri pressurised witness to dilute case
The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notices to Delhi Police and RK Pachauri on fresh application of the woman who has filed a case of sexual harassment against the TERI chief. The complainant's application says that a certain colleague was pressurised to allegedly dilute case against Pachauri. Reacting to the development, Pachauri termed the new application as a ruse to delay orders of HC on one pretext or the other as complainant herself has relocated to London. The Delhi Police, on Jan 13, had sought cancellation of Pachauri's liberty claiming he was influencing witnesses and misusing the bail conditions. Pachauri denied the police's claim stating there was "nothing on record to suggest that he had influenced witnesses or any other person related to the present case or interfered in the investigation".

Business leaders participate in Make in India road show in China
Business leaders of over 80 Chinese companies and enterprises today participated in a road show organised in the southwestern Sichuan province, highlighting the opportunity for entrepreneurs to invest in India under the government's 'Make in India' initiative. Speaking on the occasion, Consul General of India in Guangzhou, Sailas Thangal said that 'Make in India' campaign offers great opportunities for Chinese business and entrepreneurs to invest in India and take advantage of India's large potentials for growth. He invited all Chinese business leaders present at the road show at Chengdu to attend the 'Make in India' week to be held in Mumbai from February 13-18. The week-long event to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would offer unprecedented access, insights and opportunities to connect and collaborate with India and global industry leaders, academicians, central and state administrations, Thangal said in a statement.

Suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad to petition Delhi HC for SIT against DDCA
Former India cricketer and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad has decided to file a writ petition in the Delhi High Court, demanding the appointment of an independent administrator and a time-bound SIT probe against the alleged financial impropriety in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Azad said his petition will also be against the Central and state government, CBI and the BCCI besides all current and former officials of the DDCA including finance minister Arun Jaitley, who headed the body for a long time. "Once Justice Mukul Mudgal's second report on DDCA is submitted, we will attach it with our writ petition demanding appointment of an administrator. We would also demand a time bound SIT probe on mismanagement that has been going on in the state association," Azad told reporters.

Deal with ADB for infrastructure development in Agartala, Aizwal
India has inked an $80 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank to improve infrastructure in two Northeastern state capital cities. The loan is the third tranche of a $200 million financing facility under the North Eastern Region Capital cities Development Investment Programme and will be used for investments in water supply, solid waste management and sanitation in Agartala and Aizwal, a finance ministry statement said on January 28. It will also support urban reforms, benefiting nearly a million people in the two cities. Previous tranches have provided assistance to five other cities in the Northeast—Shillong (Meghalaya), Aizawl (Mizoram), Kohima ( Nagaland), Gangtok ( Sikkim) and Agartala (Tripura), reaports Economic Times.



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