The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, delivered a lecture at Havana University in Cuba yesterday (June 22, 2018) on the subject - “India and the Global South”.  


The President said that the subject - “India and the Global South” - he has chosen to speak on happens to be central to both Cuban and Indian foreign policy. And it is an area of multilateral engagement, where we have seen real and robust impact of India-Cuba close cooperation, with both countries playing a stellar role in powering South-South Cooperation and standing up for a stronger voice for the Global South or Developing Countries. The solidarity of the Global South lay at the heart of the international vision of great leader and statesman of Cuba, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. He said, his talk was a tribute to Fidel Castro’s contribution and vision to make the world a better place for the citizens of the developing world.


The President said that the values of South-South Cooperation have stood us in good stead. Mutual respect and solidarity among developing countries form the core of it. The success of South-South Cooperation must encourage our developed country partners to see how best these modalities can be utilized by them as well. The decision of the United Nations for hosting the second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation in Buenos Aires in 2019 is a welcome move.     


The President said that development partnership secures the interests of the Global South, but only partially. We have to work together to push for greater space for developing countries in global governance structures. In this context, we must give a greater push for reform of the United Nations including the Security Council. Similarly, the Bretton Woods Institutions must factor in the growing weight of the countries of the South in their decision making. Alongside our reform agenda, we must counter any move to weaken multilateralism. Preserving a rules-based global trading order remains critical to promote the interests of developing countries. At the World Trade Organization Doha Round of Negotiations, it is essential that issues of food security and livelihoods are given utmost sanctity.


The President said that globalization may have lifted millions out of poverty but the unmet needs in developing countries still remain. The growth agenda centered on poverty eradication, therefore, must be at the heart of the global development discourse. We must also push for greater availability of finance and technology to help developing countries combat Climate Change and meet their development needs.


The President said that the Global South has come a long way in its journey since the 1960’s. Today, the Group stands stronger and taller. It is a diverse Group with countries at various levels of development. But it is important that the unity of the Group be preserved. That’s how we can strengthen multilateralism and promote Right to Development for all.


Earlier in the day (22.06.2018), the President was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Revolution Palace. Subsequently, he led the delegation level talks with the Cuban side led by President Diaz-Canel. Both sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and exchanged views on global issues of mutual concern. 


Both countries agreed to enhance cooperation in the fields of Biotechnology, Renewable Energy, Traditional Medicine and Trade and Investment.  Two MOUs were signed in the areas of Biotechnology and Traditional Medicine and Homeopathy. President Kovind was accompanied by 9 Indian biotechnology companies on this visit and these companies had engaging discussions with their Cuban counterparts. Both countries thus set the stage for making significant progress in biotechnology cooperation.


President Kovind thanked President Diaz-Canel for Cuba’s becoming a founding member of the International Solar Alliance and sought his support to help the Alliance combat Climate Change. India offered a Line of Credit of US Dollars 75 million to support a 100 Mega Watt solar power project in Cuba. India also offered additional 10 slots to Cuba under the ITEC programme, taking the total annual scholarships given to Cuba to 70.


Both Leaders also conveyed their continued commitment to the reform of the UN Security Council. Cuba reiterated support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the Security Council. 


On the issue of terrorism, both sides conveyed their deepest concern on terrorism and the grave threat it poses to humanity.   They agreed to work closely to develop a strong global response to fighting terrorism. In this context, both sides called for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations. 


The President will leave for New Delhi after a successful conclusion of his state visit to three countries- Greece, Suriname and Cuba. He is expected to reach New Delhi on 24.06.2018.

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Power Minister Shri RK Singh launches campaign to promote energy efficiency in the area of air-conditioning. It will save energy and reduce greenhouse gases

“Normal human body temperature is 36-37 degree Celsius, but many establishments/offices maintain temperature at around 18-21 degree Celsius” says the Minister So, AC manufacturers advised to keep default setting at 24 degree Celsius. Power Ministry may consider making this mandatory at a later stage

Shri R.K Singh, Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable launched a campaign to promote energy efficiency in the area of air-conditioning here, today. Speaking on the occasion, he said "Every one degree increase in the air-conditioner temperature setting results in saving of 6 per cent of electricity consumed.  Normal human body temperature is approximately 36-37 degree Celsius, but large number of commercial establishments, hotels and offices maintain temperature around 18-21 degree Celsius. This is not only uncomfortable but is actually unhealthy. Setting the temperature in the range of 18-21 degree Celsius compels people to wear warm clothing or use blankets; therefore, this is actually wastage of energy.  Some countries like Japan have put in place regulation to keep the temperature at 28 degree Celsius".

Therefore, under the guidance of Ministry of Power, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has carried out a study and has recommended that the default setting in the air-conditioning should be at 24 degree Celsius. The new campaign will result in substantial energy savings and also reduce greenhouse gas emission.


To begin with this will be an advisory to be issued to all establishments and manufacturers.  A meeting with major air-conditioner manufacturers was held today under the Chairmanship of Shri RK Singh, where the manufacturers were advised to keep the default setting of air conditioners at 24 degree Celsius and also to carry out labelling indicating the optimum temperature setting for the benefits of consumers both from financial and their health points of view. These temperatures setting will be in the range of 24-26 degree Celsius.


After an awareness campaign of 4-6 months, followed by a survey to gather public feedback, the Ministry of Power would consider making this mandatory.  If all the consumers adopt, this will result in savings of 20 billion units of electricity in one year alone.


 All the manufacturers and associations of air-conditioner manufacturers present in the meeting have agreed on this and appreciated it as a step in the right direction.  Accordingly, they have agreed to support this campaign.


The Bureau of Energy Efficiency informed that, considering the current market trend, total connected load in India due to air conditioning will be 200 GW by 2030 and this may further increase as today only about 6 per cent of households are using air conditioners.  As per our current estimate total installed air conditioner capacity is 80 million TR (ton of refrigerator) in the country, which will increase to about 250 million TR by 2030.  Considering this huge demand, we can save about 40 million units of electricity usage every day.


The targeted commercial buildings will include Airports, Hotels, Shopping Malls, Officers and Government Buildings (Ministries & attached offices, State Government and Public Sector Undertakings).  This initiative is launched on voluntary basis to increase awareness and encourage consumers to adopt the guidelines.







Read more: Power Minister Shri RK Singh launches campaign...

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, reached Suriname yesterday evening (June 19, 2018) on the second leg of his State Visit to three countries – Greece, Suriname and Cuba. This is the first ever visit of an Indian President to Suriname. The President was received at the Johan Adolf Pengel International airport, Paramaribo by Mr Desire Delano Bouterse, the President of the Republic of Suriname, along with other dignitaries and accorded a ceremonial welcome. Subsequently, the President paid his tributes at the Gandhi statue in the city


Today (June 20, 2018), the President addressed the National Assembly of Suriname. He became the first foreign Head of State to address the National Assembly of Suriname.


Speaking on the occasion, the President said thatSuriname is an obvious partner for India as we seek to build on our already considerable trade, investment and cultural relations with Latin America and the Caribbean region.


The President stated that climate change is an international concern and a foreign policy issue. He commended Suriname for its enlightened approach on climate change. He said that India is proud to have Suriname as a co-partner in the International Solar Alliance. He thanked Suriname for ratifying its entry into the ISA. He stated that this will allow us to collaborate on solar energy projects that will be of benefit to Surinamese people and our planet.


The President said that it is not just in the field of renewable energy that India would want to partner Suriname. India is happy to share its developmental experiences with Suriname, as per Suriname’s needs, desires and priorities.


The President was happy to note that young people in Suriname are making increasing use of facilities available under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme. He stated that we have also signed an agreement on the formal linkage of the Suriname Diplomatic Institute and the Foreign Service Institute of India. This will facilitate the training of Surinamese diplomats in Information and Communication Technology, in e-diplomacy and in diaspora diplomacy.


The President said that tomorrow (June 21), along with President Bouterse and other dignitaries and friends in Suriname, he will be participating in the International Day of Yoga events that begin at 7.00 am. He invited members of National Assembly and other dignitaries to join and share the joy of yoga. He also invited them to visit India– and to share and deepen Suriname-India friendship.


Earlier in the morning, the President held one-to-one discussion with his counterpart as well as led the delegation level talks. The two sides agreed to expand the bilateral agenda especially in the areas of economic relations, cultural cooperation and development partnership.


The President announced that India will extend concessional financing of US Dollars 20 million for setting up a solar project to provide clean energy to a cluster of 49 villages in Suriname.  In addition, India will extend a Line of Credit of US Dollars 27.5 million to support a power transmission project in PikinSaronarea and another Line of Credit of US Dollars 3.5 million for maintenance of Chetak helicopters. Further, India will assist Suriname to establish a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology. An MoU to take forward this project was signed.  Besides, the two sides also concluded four MoUs in the fields of elections, diplomatic academies partnership, employment for spouse of diplomats of the two countries and archives.

Suriname also invited Indian investment in areas such as Agriculture, Mining, Energy and Timber. During the talks, Suriname accepted India’s invitation to attend the XIth World Hindi Conference to be held in Mauritius in August 2018 as well as the Business Conclave to be held between India and CARICOM in Trinidad and Tobago in the near future.


Text of President’s address at the National Assembly of Suriname



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  1. I am happy to  address the India-Greece Business Forum.  First of all, I would like to thank Entreprise Greece for bringing us together this morning. I am  happy that  30 companies from India, led by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture and the Trade Promotion Council of India are participating in this business engagement.
  1. India and Greece are two ancient civilizations. Our economic, trade and cultural engagement go back over 2500 years. There was flourishing trade network between Greece and India as early as the 3rd century  BC.  With such rich history of engagement to inspire and build on, one cannot, perhaps, be more optimistic of the future of India-Greece trade and investment relations.  
  1. Yesterday, I had meaningful discussions with President Pavlopoulus on the way forward for India-Greece relations.  Both of us were convinced that there is immense potential to take India-Greece economic ties to a higher level. Similar sentiments were echoed in my interaction with Prime Minister Tsipras There are ample opportunities for our businesses to grow in the areas of trade, technology and investment.  
  1. Our bilateral trade at US Dollars 530 million is way below what had been achieved in the past, and what possibly could be a reasonable target for the future. As per market survey, with some efforts this can easily be made to cross US Dollars 1 billion in the next few years. My Government is keen to take lead in this effort. We have accepted the Greek Government’s invitation to be the “Honoured Country” at the ThessalonikiInternational Fair, Greece’s flagship business event, to be held in September 2019.  I hope this will   give a major boost to our bilateral trade. And while the two Governments are taking lead, we would expect Chambers of Commerce, Export Promotion Councils and Industry Groups to participate in the Thessaloniki fair in large numbers and make our partcipation a grand success. 


Ladies and Gentlemen,  

  1. There are clear complementarities  between the Indian and Greek economies. Both have their strong points. India happens to be the fastest growing major economy in the world with a growth rate of 7.7%.  We have undertaken  an ambitous plan to build next-generation infrastructure including 100 Smart Cities, airports, high-speed trains, highways and cyber connectivity. Last year, we built nearly 10,000 kilometers of national highways – that is 27 kilometers daily, almost double the speed few years  ago.  Our Sagarmala project proposes to develop a string of new ports including  5 major ports along our vast coastline. It has initiated a robust programme for portled industrialisation and connectivity. We have  also designated 111 rivers as National Waterways. In addition, we have opened coastal shipping  to international players. These measures will change the way we harness our maritime and inland river transport corridors in India.


  1. To boost our manufacturing sector and Make In India programme, we have undertaken pathbreaking reforms. The most transformative of them has been the introduction of Goods and Services Tax which makes India into a single unified tax market  for the first time in its modern history.  We have repealed over   1400   outdated laws. Both the Central and State Governments have undertaken over 10,000 measures to make it easier for business to establish and grow in India.  Due to these reforms, we have jumped 42 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index in the last four years. As a result, Foreign Direct Investment flows into India have risen from US dollars 36 billion in 2013-14 to US dollars 60 billion in 2016-17.  All in all, India is set to be a 5 trillion dollar  economy by 2025 with the 3rd largest consumer market in the world. This sort of growth and demand opens up immense business  opportunities.


  1. The Greek economy has global reputation in several  fields including shipping, tourism and agriculture. I would encourage greek shipping, agriculture, food processing, tourism, infrastructure, technology, defence and Start-up companies to look at investment and technology tie-up openings in India. There are lucrative opportunities for the Greek Shipping Industry in the Indian growth story. Greece is also a frontrunner in agriculture and food processing sectors. We have a target to double farm incomes by 2022 in India.  This represents major prospects for Greek agro-based companies. There are opportunities for us to collaborate in defence manufacturing, pharma, tourism, real-estate, entertainment, infrastructure and technology sectors as well. Both our countries have a strong renewable energy programme, especially in the solar energy sector. India’s target is to produce 175 Gigawatt of renewable power by 2022.  We should explore how we can leverage each other’s strength in the field. On the Start-up side, India has the third largest network in the world. I undertand that Greece also has a niche start-up sector in place.  We should explore opportunities in this sector as well.


Ladies and Gentlemen,  

  1. Indian companies have a  global standing in the fields of IT, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, automobiles, energy, technology,  entertainment and hospitality sectors. We have our business representatives from these sectors present here. There are still others here from agriculture, electronics, real-estate, footwear, mining and skill development  sectors.  I am hopeful they  would all  have an engaging day ahead with their greek counterparts. On skills side, I must highlight that we have an ambitious Skill India programme to train 150 million youth by 2022. Greece with its proven capacity in the tourism sector could be a potential partner for developing skills for the hospitality sector in India.


Ladies and Gentlemen,  

  1. Opportunities before us are manifold. It is for us  to  see how we convert them into real business prospects. I wish the participants in this business engagement a fruitful day of deliberations and discussions.  


Thank you.




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  1. I am delighted to be in Suriname. I am honoured to be paying the first ever State Visit from India to your beautiful country. That my visit to South America happens to begin from Surinameis no coincidence. The warmth and closeness of our special bonds have drawn me to you first and foremost. 
  1. I am thankful to you for your love and affection showered on me since I arrived in this tropical paradise, the “beating heart of the Amazon.
  2. Ladies and Gentlemen, Nations are built by brave men and women. But those who built Suriname were made of sterner   stuff, of higher determination and steely courage. These are no random thoughts but steady feelings that clouded me as I walked to the sacred Mama Sranan and Baba and Mai    monuments this morning. The story of JaneyTetary and the sacrifice of your Fallen Heroes reminded me of our own struggle for freedom - freedom from oppression, servitude and slavery. 
  1. And the one who led us to it was Mahatma Gandhi, our Father of the Nation. He belongs not just to us but to the entire humanity. We feel honoured that you have preserved his legacy in your surroundings. I had the opportunity to seek his blessings as I began my visit to Suriname. Later this year, we will begin worldwide celebrations of his 150th birth anniversary, including in Suriname. We would seek your support to revisit his life and his legacy.
  2. Ladies and Gentlemen, since my arrival in your beautiful country, I have been struck by your biodiversity but even more by the diversity of your people, your rich history and culture. You are many people, but One Nation. 
  1. The Creoles, Javanese, Chinese, Hindustanis, Maroons and Amerindians have all added their beauty to your rainbow. The Mama Srananholds all her children lovingly in her arm, giving equally care and respect to each. Your national spirit resonates perfectly with what Mahatma Gandhi said, and I quote - “I do not want my house to be walled-in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any” Unquote.   
  1. The Hindustani community is a colourful part of the Surinamese fabric.  I see them in large numbers here. They carry the stories of the arduous journey of their forefathers, undertaken from Kolkata to Paramaribo, close to their hearts.  In the steps of Baba and Mai, they follow their past, their pride and their history. These inspire millions in India as well. The Baba and Mai monument in Kolkata, an exact replica of the one in Paramaribo, is testimony to our umbilical connect.
  2. I am happy that the Hindustani community has beautifully assimilated in the Surinamese society and yet, has preserved and kept their traditions and culture alive. The best of India, be it music, art or language has a place of pride here.  And the best of Indian cinema is enjoyed by all.
  3. Tomorrow, we will be laying the foundation stone of an Indian Cultural Centre. This would be dedicated to the promotion of Hindustani music and culture. I hope other communities would also join in its journey and success.
  4. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted that you are celebrating the 145th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in this country.  But what is deeply inspiring for me is that each and every member of the Surinamese society is sharing the festivities.And you are not just living in harmony with your communities, but also in harmony with nature. I am told you are the greenest country in the world.  Deep in your forests and river valleys, exist centuries old wisdom and traditional knowledge. We should bring them back into our modern lives. I am happy that you celebrate National Ayurveda Day in Suriname. Today, we have agreed to collaborate in the fields of traditional medicine and plants. I hope we will succeed in bringing the best of Surinameand India together.
  1. Ladies and Gentlemen, as two developing countries with similar political trajectories, we have grown hand-in-hand. This morning we agreed to enhance and accelerate our partnership. We are committed to sharing our expertise with Suriname for your growth and development. It is in that spirit that we are keen to assist you in developing solar energy projects. We hope these would soon glow, both in day and night, as shining examples of our partnership under the International Solar Alliance. 
  1. Mr. President, India has many bright stories to tell. We are the fastest growing major economy in the world. The face of India is changing rapidly. From Smart Cities to Digital Highways, from Artificial Intelligence to Big Data, from clean energy pathways to electric-mobility, a lot is happening in India. Let us create new networks of collaboration amongst our youth, our universities and our research communities. Technology and innovation have limitless power to provide solutions for Climate Change, for sustainable agriculture and for managing our forests. Let us work together for progress and prosperity of our peoples.
  2. India is taking lead to provide choices for a sustainable, secure and healthy world. Our efforts led to the United Nationsadopting a resolution with unanimous voice to celebrate the International Day of Yoga each year. Tomorrow, 21 June, is International Day of Yoga. I am happy that President Bouterse will be joining me in these celebrations. This will be for the first time since 2015 when the UN declared this special Day that two Heads of State would be celebrating yoga together. This will, indeed, be historic. Yoga is an ancient practice that promotes physical and spiritual wellbeing. It is about bringing a balance between your mind and body, between your thought and action. Come join us in our journey, a journey that as much belongs to you and, indeed, to the whole humanity I look forward to your participation at the Yoga Day activities in Paramaribo tomorrow.
  3. Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am amazed at your lingual diversity.  We Indians appreciate it more as we ourselves speak hundreds of languages and dialects. I have been informed that apart from Dutch and Sranan-tongo, you speak 20 different languages.  I must try my hand at some. In honour of the Hindustanis preserving Hindi in this country, I would like to say a few words in Hindi:

भाइयों और बहनों, आप सब से मिलकरमुझे सचमुच बहुत खुशी हो रही है।  यह बड़े ही सम्मान की बात है कि आपने यहां हिन्दी को जीवित रखा है। मैं गर्व से कह सकता हूं किइस नाते आप सब सूरीनाम में भारत की भाषा और संस्कृति को यहां के विभिन्न समुदायों के बीच फैलाने का काम बखूबी कर रहे हैं। इस प्रकार आपने अपने पूर्वजों के स्मृति को भी जीवित बनाए रखा है।इस के लिए आप सब बधाई के पात्र हैं। मैं आप सबसे आग्रह करता हूं कि इस कार्य को इसी तरह जारी रखिए। मैं कामना करता हूं कि यह उत्साहपूर्ण वातावरण सदैव कायम रहे।

  1. And now a few words in Sranan-Tongo :ब्रादाआंगासीसामेंटैगउनुग्रानतांगी,मेंविंसउनवानस्वीटनेतिगोमोरोफारा।


            Thank you.



Read more: Address by the President of India, Mr Ram Nath...

“India is making rapid strides in the field of renewable energy and we will overshoot the target of 175 GW renewable energy by 2022.” said Shri R.K Singh, Minister of State(IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy here today. He was speaking as the Chief Guest at the inauguration of 1500 kWP capacity solar plant developed by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) at the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib.

Lauding this noble initiative by DSGMC, Shri Singh said that this would inspire other institutions to go green and become environment conscious. He said that 20 cities in India are ranked among the most polluted in the world and there is an urgent need to reduce fossil fuel use so that we leave a better world for our children. The Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to bring electricity to every household by 31st December, 2018.

The solar plant was inaugurated by Sant Balbir Singh Ji Seechewal and Baba Sewa Singh Ji. Shri Hardeep Puri,Minister of State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs and Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change were among the dignitaries present at the occasion.



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The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, addressed a gathering of diplomats, policymakers and academics in Athens today (June 19, 2018) on the subject “India and Europe in a Changing World”. The event was organised by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) – a leading foreign policy think tank in Greece and in Europe.

The President said that India is committed to world peace. He said that India sees peace not just as the absence of conflict but as a reflection of sustainable development and indeed of any effort that anticipates and prevents strife and suffering. When we work for combating climate change, we contribute to world peace. When we assist other developing countries, as per their priorities, and strive for a less unequal world we contribute to world peace. When we rescue and evacuate not just our own citizens from troubled regions, but those of 40 other countries – as we did during the Yemen crisis of 2015 – we contribute to world peace. When we put considerable troops and resources at the disposal of United Nations peacekeeping operations, we contribute to world peace.

President said that radicalisation and terrorism are pressing global concerns. Pockets of instability and extremism can be found in the region to Europe’s east and India’s west. They are a worry for both Europe and India. Promotion of terrorism by state and non-state actors; extremism in a variety of forms and rooted in senseless hate; the proliferation of sensitive weapons; the use of regular communication and financial channels by terror groups – these pose a challenge to not one nation or the other but to all humanity.

The President said that India and the EU must persuade the world to not distinguish between so-called “good” and “bad” terrorists, to shame and sanction state sponsors of terrorism, and to strengthen multilateral platforms such as the Financial Action Task Force and the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum. He expressed India’s willingness to share its domestic experiences and success stories in a manner that may be useful to EU.

On clean energy and climate change, the President said that India and the EU are united in their commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement. India is scaling up the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix. This will go up from the current 31 per cent to 53 per cent by 2027. We are targeting 175 gigawatts of renewable energy, of which 100 gigawatts will be solar energy, he said. The President invited Greece to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA). He also expressed happiness at the European Investment Bank’s willingness to mobilise finance for affordable solar energy projects in ISA member countries.

The EU is among India’s largest trading partners. President said that EU is a critical source of investment and technology, especially for sustainability programmes. Indian companies are significant investors in the EU, in industries as far apart as pharmaceuticals and automobile components. President Kovind said that India remains committed to an India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), to be achieved in a generous spirit of mutual accommodation and of pragmatism.

Earlier in the day, the President addressed the India – Greek Business Forum meeting in Athens.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that India-Greek bilateral trade at US Dollars 530 million is way below its potential. With some efforts this can easily be made to cross US Dollars 1 billion in the next few years and India is keen to take lead in this effort.

The President said that there are clear complementarities between the Indian and Greek economies. He urged Greek shipping, agriculture, food processing, tourism, infrastructure, technology, defence and Start-up companies to look at investment and technology tie-up openings in India. He stated that there are lucrative opportunities for the Greek Shipping Industry in India's ambitious Sagarmala project. He also touched upon the opportunities to collaborate in defence manufacturing, pharma, tourism, real-estate, entertainment, infrastructure and technology sectors as well.

Yesterday evening (June 18, 2018), the President attended a banquet hosted in his honour by the President of Greece. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that both India and Greece have a common stake in promoting multilateralism and global peace and security. He thanked the Government of Greece for its consistent support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. He also highlighted the possibility of collaborating in areas of renewable energy and climate change.

Later in the day (June 19, 2018), the President departed for Suriname – the second leg of his visit to three countries – Greece, Suriname and Cuba.


Click here for President’s speech




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A Team of scientists and engineers led by Prof. Abhijit Chakraborty of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, discovered a sub-Saturn or super-neputune size planet (mass of about 27 Earth Mass and size of 6 Earth Radii) around a Sun-like star. The planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b.

The Research work has appeared online in Astronomical Journal of the American Astronomical Society and published by IOP publishing (the DOI of the article is 10.3847/1538-3881 /aac436).

The discovery was made by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed “PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search” (PARAS) spectrograph integrated with 1.2m Telescope at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India. Only 23 such planetary systems (including this discovery) are known to this date with masses between 10 and 70 Earth mass and size of 4 to 8 Earth radii with such precise measurement of mass This discovery is very important for understanding the formation mechanism of such super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets, that are too close to the host star and as well as planet formations around Sun-like stars.

With this discovery, India has joined a handful of countries, which have discovered planets around stars beyond our solar system. Further, PARAS is the first of its kind spectrograph in Asia, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star. Very few spectrographs exist around the world that can do such precise measurements.




Read more: Discovery of a Sub-Saturn like Planet around a...



Fellow panelists, Excellencies and distinguished guests,

It is indeed a pleasure to meet you all here at this OPEC forum. I have earlier attended this forum in 2015.  This year is probably more critical to present a major buying country’s point of view than ever before in the recent past.

The energy vision of Prime Minister Modi has 4 pillars - Energy Access, Energy Efficiency, Energy Sustainability and Energy Security.  Energy sustainability has to be seen in tandem with the other three pillars for a stable energy future. India has demonstrated very strong commitment to the Paris Agreement and has taken the lead in promoting the International Solar Alliance. In the oil and gas sector we have migrated to Euro IV norms, we have introduced Euro 6 norms in National capital Delhi and now we are preparing to migrate to Euro 6 by April 2020 in whole of India. Promoting biofuels, energy efficiency and moving to a gas based economy are also our priorities. 

Since this forum has Ministers of producing and consuming countries and captains of industry, it is the right forum to discuss sustainable pricing. Oil and Gas are commodities of trade but also of basic necessity. Whether it is the kitchen of a common man or an aircraft, energy is essential. The world has for too long seen prices on a roller coaster and interventions which are detached from market fundamentals. It is high time to move to responsible pricing, one that balances the interests of both the producer and consumer. We also need to move to transparent and flexible markets for both oil and gas.

We often see global trade practices in the field of oil and gas which are not contributing to Energy Access and Affordability and become a hindrance to sustainability. Price of oil and gas have become subject to vagaries of geo-politics. Political conditions, sometimes internal and sometimes external, result in reduced output of some countries. We expect from OPEC and its members a commitment to step in more than fill the gap to ensure sustainable prices.

 Globally crude prices have gone beyond the threshold which can be sustained by the world, particularly countries like India which is a key driver of world economy. These prices are creating stress throughout global economy, as it is giving pain to us in India. The global economic outlook already has threats from trade wars, geo political events and threat of instability coming back to the Euro Zone. The already fragile world economic growth will be at threat if oil prices persist at these levels. My fear is – this will lead to energy poverty in many parts of the World.

While we are not in favour of prices as low as $30 per barrel we also do not support the prevailing high price which dent our fiscal balance and undermine our development process. They also cause undue hardships, particularly to those at the bottom of the pyramid in developing and least developed countries.

If the world has to grow as a whole, there has to be a mutually supportive relationship between producers and consumers. It is in the interests of producers that other economies keep growing steadily and rapidly so as to ensure growing energy markets for themselves. This is the key to energy sustainability. OPEC as the predominant supplier has the responsibility to maintain supply equilibrium.

I will end by quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Father of our Great Nation who said that earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed.

Thank you friends!




Read more: Speech of Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan...

            The Union Minister for Railways, Coal, Finance & Company Affairs, Shri Piyush Goyal today inaugurated Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Limited (NLCIL)’s three 100 MW Solar Power Projects for commercial operation and dedicated these projects to the Nation .

The Solar Power projects situated at Thoppalaakkarai and Sethupuram in Virudhunagar District and Sellaiya Sezhiyanallur in Tirunelveli District, with an installed capacity of 100 MW each, were erected at a cost of Rs.1300 Crores, which includes Operation & Maintenance cost for 15 Years. The power produced from these units will be given to Tamilnadu Power Generation and Distribution Company (TANGEDCO) at a cost of Rs.4.41/- per unit.

Shri  Piyush Goyal  in his inaugural address  lauded the efforts of  NLCIL Management, Employees and trade unions  for their unstinting efforts for the growth of organization with a  new vision. He appealed to all employees to strive for the growth of the company with new vision to realize the New India to take care of future generations.

Shri  Piyush Goyal  also appreciated the CSR initiatives of the organization. He urged the management to co-ordinate with the Railways and to start free WiFi for students, open Jan aushadhi Kendras and make sanitary napkins available on all eight railway stations near Neyveli. He also suggested to explore the possibility that the old age home and orphanage, run by the PSU, should be run from a single complex, so that the integrated home can enrich both the children and the elders.

 A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed by NLCIL and Anna University in the presence of Hon’ble Minister, Chairman and Managing Director and other functional Directors of NLCIL. This MOU was signed by Dr. V. Manoharan, General Manager/Centre for Applied Research & Development, NLCIL, Neyveli and Dr. S. Ganesan, Registrar, Anna University, Chennai. The MoU would help set up a pilot project on solar drying of lignite, in order to increase its Caloric Value from 2700 Kcal to 4350 Kcal. The cost of the pilot project is Rs.2 Crore 69 Lakhs.

NLCIL is a 'Navratna' profit making, Government of India Enterprise engaged in mining of lignite and generation of power through lignite based thermal power plants. NLCIL was established by GoI in 1956, following the discovery of lignite deposits in Neyveli, Tamil Nadu.





Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble  Minister for Railways, Coal, Finance & Company Affairs and Dr. S.K Acharya CMD,NLCIL  and Shri Rakesh Kumar  Director (Finance) dedicating NLCIL's Three 100 MW Solar Power Projects  to the Nation at Neyveli ,on 14.06.2018






Read more: Shri Piyush Goyal dedicates NLCIL's Three 100 MW...

Re-Development of the Seven Government Colonies to Increase Green Area Coverage by about 3 times the Existing Green Space

Compensatory Plantation of trees to be done in the Ratio Of 1:10 Resulting in Enhanced tree Coverage area Re-Development of all the Seven Government Colonies Done with Complete Adherence to Environmental Sustainability and Green Building Concepts

The redevelopment of the seven colonies viz. Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Mohammadpur, Sriniwaspuri, Kasturba Nagar and Thyagaraj Nagar     will lead to an increase the green area coverage by about 3 times from the existing green space area and the compensatory plantation of trees will be done in the ratio of 1:10 thereby resulting in enhanced tree coverage area. The re-development of the seven colonies is been done with complete adherence to environmental sustainability and green building concepts and special care and attention is being given towards retaining maximum number of existing trees and incorporating them in large cluster as an integral part of landscaping design scheme.


There have been misleading press reports in the media regarding felling of trees in the context of redevelopment of the above mentioned government colonies which are not only factually incorrect but also ignore the magnitude of compensatory efforts undertaken to not only increase the tree count but also efforts made for substantial increase in the green space area in the redeveloped colonies.


 As regards to felling of trees, the following facts are highlighted:

  • With the design of multi-storied residential/commercial blocks, the effective ground coverage has drastically reduced; enabling more space for the green area. Green area of 10,69,235 Sqm is being proposed in the conceptual plan of all the seven colonies against the existing Green Space of 3,83,101 Sqm.  in these colonies.   Thus about 3 times more green space shall be available. — Refer Annexure-I


  • All the trees are not being cut.   Only 14,031 nos. trees are to be cut out of the existing trees of 21,040 nos.   Moreover, against the 21,040 nos. of existing trees; 23,475 nos. of trees shall be available in these colonies during/after the Re-development (saving of 6,834 nos., transplantation of 1,213 nos. and new plantation of 15,428 nos.). — Refer Annexure-II.


  • Besides the above, compensatory plantation of trees is being carried out in a ratio of 1:10, i.e. ten trees are being planted against the loss of one tree.   Thus 1,35,460 (one lakh thirty-five thousand four hundred sixty) trees shall be planted which will create an "Urban Forest" thus generating oxygen and reducing the pollution level in the city. - Refer Annexure-II.

Apart from the special efforts for protection, preservation and replantation of  trees as given above, the upcoming complexes are being developed according to “Green Building Concepts”, zero waste discharge and environmental sustainability by the following measures:

  • Ground coverage restricted to 15-20% against the existing ground coverage of 50%.  The green area will be 50%.
  • Plantations/transplantation as green barrier along boundary to cover main roads.
  • Orientation of houses as per sun path to avoid heat gain in the building and green terraces to mitigate heat gain.
  • Solar panels used for renewable energy. The total solar power generation in the 7 GPRAs will be 5,654 KW.
  • Solid waste/Waste water will be collected, segregated and treated in-house and reused for horticulture purposes and flushing. Solid waste will also be used as manure for horticulture. 
  • Rainwater harvesting system for recharging the ground water.
  • Use of recycled material from construction and demolition waste to be used in construction of structures such as kerb stone, footpath tiles, etc.


The upcoming complexes are being developed by providing green spaces, with lush green trees around the constructed building.   An example of the same is the development of New Moti Bagh Complex and East Kidwai Nagar Project.


 Ministry's endeavour has been to provide exemplary models of development for the future generations. Change is inevitable and so is the need of the hour for the city. With utmost care and respect towards our natural environment, all measures are being taken in the planning and designing of these colonies to construct a Green Project with "Griha Certification". As such green cover and sustainability of environment is adequate and appropriately ensured after the redevelopment of Seven Colonies.


Annexure – I    - Details of Green Areas



Plot Area (Sqm)

Original Ground Coverage

Ground Coverage after redevelopment

Existing green area

Green area after redevelopment



Area (Sqm)


Area (Sqm)


Area (Sqm)


Area (Sqm)

Nauroji Nagar










Netaji Nagar










Sarojini Nagar




















Kasturba Nagar




















Tyagraj Nagar





















Annexure – II  - Details of Trees



Plot Area in Acres

Trees originally available

Trees to be cut

Trees to be planted/remain in the same place

Compen -satory plantation


Trees saved

Trees Transplanted 

New Trees to be planted











 10= (8+9)

Nauroji Nagar










Netaji Nagar










Sarojini Nagar




















Kasturba Nagar




















Tyagraj Nagar
























Read more: Re-Development of the Seven Government Colonies...

To give confidence to wind industry, Government declares national targets for off-shore wind power

Medium target of 5 GW by 2022 and long term target of 30 GW by 2030 declared Offshore wind power to add a new element to the already existing basket of renewable energy for the country

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy recently invited Expressions of Interest (EoI) for the first 1 GW offshore wind project in India, which has evoked keen response from the industry both global and Indian. Now to give confidence to the wind industry, the Ministry has declared medium and long term target for off-shore wind power capacity additions, which are 5 GW by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030. While this may look moderate in comparison to India’s on-shore wind target of 60 GW and its achievement of 34 GW and solar target of 100 GW by 2022, this would still be challenging considering the difficulties in installing large wind power turbines in open seas. It may be mentioned that offshore wind turbines are of much larger dimensions and capacities than onshore turbines.

Offshore wind power would add a new element to the already existing basket of renewable energy for the country.

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy had notified National Off-Shore Wind Policy in October 2015 to realize the offshore wind power potential in the country.  Preliminary studies have indicated good wind potential for off-shore wind power both in southern tip of Indian peninsula and west coast.  Two regions where preliminary studies are conducted are off coast of Gujarat and that of Tamil Nadu.  For precise wind quality measurements one LiDAR has been installed near Gujarat coast which is generating data about quality of off-shore wind since November, 2017.  Encouraged by quality of off-shore wind, a private sector player has also installed LiDAR in Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat for offshore wind resource measurements. Plans are afoot to install more of such equipment in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. Surveys to understand the oceanographic and sea bed condition within identified zones off the coast of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have been planned.  Globally there has been installation of about 17 to 18 GW of off-shore wind power led by countries such as UK, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands & China.  Recent years have witnessed fall in off-shore wind tariff in some of these markets.           




Read more: To give confidence to wind industry, Government...

Swajal Launched in 115 Aspirational Districts of India

Centre to Spend Rs 1000 Crores to Provide Clean Drinking Water to 27,500 Quality-Affected Habitations

A National Consultation on the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) and Swajal was held in the Capital today to discuss the reforms needed in NRDWP and to outline a road map for the Swajal scheme. The consultation was chaired by the Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Sushri Uma Bharti. The Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Ramesh Jigajinagi, was also present. Ministers-in-charge of Drinking Water from 13 States, including Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, attended the consultation and gave their views on the reforms needed in the ongoing Centrally-sponsored drinking water schemes being implemented in the respective states.

Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation announced that Swajal schemes in 115 aspirational districts of the country will involve an outlay of Rs 700 crores through flexi-funds under the existing NRDWP budget. These schemes will aim to provide villages with piped water supply powered by solar energy. The scheme will train hundreds of rural technicians for operation and maintenance of Swajal units. The Minister spoke about the relevance of Swajal in remote rural areas in the aspirational districts of the country.

The Minister also announced the modernisation of 2000 water quality testing laboratories spread across the country. She urged the State Ministers to closely monitor the functioning of the water laboratories so as to ensure safe drinking water for rural Indians. She further said that Rs.1000 crores will be earmarked for addressing the drinking water needs of 27,544 arsenic and fluoride affected habitations of the country in this financial year under the National Water Quality Sub-Mission (NWQSM). She also highlighted the importance of rain water harvesting and water conservation, announcing that a special communication campaign will be taken up in the country to create awareness on the same. Further, she called upon the States to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goal ‘safe drinking water for all’ is achieved in India by 2030.

Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer, in the keynote address, outlined the reforms undertaken in NRDWP to make it outcome-based, sustainable and put a significant part of the programme on challenge mode to encourage healthy competition between States. Joint Secretary (Water), Smt. Radha V, gave a presentation on proposals to further strengthen the NRDWP and special features of Swajal scheme and its implementation plan.



Read more: Swajal Launched in 115 Aspirational Districts of...

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