News - Government

National Voters' Day In India To Usher a Sense of Pride and Participation among Indian Youth

New Delhi, Jan 24, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) The 25th of January every year, will be observed as the “National Voters’ Day”, throughout the country, starting from this year, which is the Election Commission’s foundation day. In this launch year, the day coincides with the conclusion of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Commission. The Election Commission of India ( ECI) was set up on 25th January, 1950 while the Constitution came into force a day after, i.e 26th January, 1950.

The Election Commission’s objective behind National Voters’ Day is to increase enrolment of voters, especially of the newly eligible ones, by using this occasion so as to make universal adult suffrage a complete reality and thereby enhance the quality of Indian democracy. The day will also be utilized to spread awareness among voters regarding effective participation in the electoral process.

During the last 60 years, the Election Commission of India has conducted 15 General Elections to the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and 326 general elections to State Legislative Assemblies, thus facilitating peaceful, orderly and democratic transfer of power. From the Himalayan heights to the deserts, from isolated islands to dense forests and other extremely difficult areas, the Election Commission endeavours to reach out with the firm conviction that the vote of every eligible Indian counts. In its delivery of free, fair and transparent polls, the Commission considers it sacred to stay uncompromising and to fiercely guard its credibility.

The Commission’s journey has also witnessed a change in both quality and scale of its operations.  In 1962, the voting process moved from the balloting system to marking system and then, from 2004 onwards, to the present system based on Electronic Voting Machines. Multi-member constituencies have given way to single member constituencies. Printed electoral rolls have now been substituted by computerized photo-electoral rolls. The Elector’s Photo Identity Cards (EPICs), by now a cherished possession of all citizens, were issued to over 582 million voters in time for General Election 2009. Elections to the 15th Lok Sabha held in April-May 2009 have been described as the biggest management event in the world. It involved 714 million voters, 835,000 polling stations, 1.2 million Electronic Voting Machines and 11 million polling personnel. The management of elections in India has continually evolved, and still does, matching with the colossal proportions and ever-increasing complexity of the task.

Re-Structured Accelerated Power Development & Reforms Programme in India

New Delhi, Jan 24, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) One of the major concerns of the power sector is the reduction of losses in the distribution. Though the Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses at the all India level have declined from 38.86 per cent in the year 2001-02 to 28.44 per cent in 2008-09, these losses continue to be high in many States.

The various issues involved in the management of distribution losses can be classified under the categories of governance, commercial and technical issues. For effective control of AT&C losses, the States and state power utilities will be required to initiate action on all the three fronts simultaneously.

The Ministry of Power initiated Power Sector reforms with focus on distribution. IT enabling has been recognized as essential component in improving customer satisfaction, business management through transparency, accountability and responsibility.

E-Governance Initiatives-Changing Lives for the better in India

New Delhi, Jan 24, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) Growing demand for services and information are pushing Governments across the globe to provide services at a faster pace and with increased capacity so as to cover all regions irrespective of geography, language or literacy levels. Continuous innovation in ICTs and rapid advancement of technology are bringing forth novel and easier mechanisms in providing seamless access to critical public services and are making Government interaction with citizens trouble-free and easy.

Services provided through the various e-Government initiatives assist Governments in reaching the yet ‘unreached’ and thereby contribute to poverty reduction in rural and far-flung areas by increasing access to critical information and opportunities. At the same time, this process also enables involvement and empowerment of marginalized groups through their participation in the government process.

The National e-Governance Plan was approved by the Cabinet in May 2006 with a vision to provide Public services to the common man in his locality at affordable costs.  The NeGP is a multi-stakeholder programme which primarily focuses on making critical public services available and promoting rural entrepreneurship.

Science & Technology in Pursuit of Excellence & Social Development In India

Editor's Note: Ines Zamur has posted a Haitian Creole translation of this article: Syans ak Teknoloji nan Pousuiv Ekselans & devlopman sosyal Nan End .

New Delhi, Jan 24, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) Advancing science and technology and scientific knowledge is one of our loftiest pursuits.  Established in May, 1971, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) bears the primary mandate to strengthen the foundation of science and technology (S&T) and research and development (R&D) in India. The Department has now redefined its own role and has coordinated more with other ministries as well as countries in the process.

The Department of Science & Technology is mandated to play a critical role in formulation of S&T policy statements and guidelines.  The promotion of research in frontier and new areas as well as in networking the institutions, coordinating multi-institutional projects and establishing S&T specific infrastructure are the country wide  S&T lead roles that come naturally to DST.  DST aids a number of autonomous scientific research institutions in specialized areas. The Extra Mural Research Funding role has dominated the functions of DST for many years and Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) is its flagship agency. There are several landmark developments with potentials for directional changes within the Department & across entire S&T spectrum of the country under its established and unfolding programmes.

Children Born to US Citizens In India - New Consular Report of Birth Abroad Form

Calcutta, Dec 23, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio / American Citizens Services Kolkata) The Department of State is pleased to announce the introduction of a redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240).  The redesigned CRBA, which is an official record confirming that a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and serves as proof of citizenship, has been updated with a variety of state-of-the-art security features to help prevent fraud and identity theft.

India Postal Service releases stamps commemorating Carnatic Musicians

Madurai, India, Dec 10, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) The month of Margazhi (roughly December – January) is a period where the climate is relatively very cool and comfortable in Tamil Nadu. The Classical treatise Thiruvempavai in Tamil, that praises Lord Shiva, whose celestial dance is supposed to be the movement from which the whole universe itself came into being, says in exquisitely chaste Tamil that “the Crescent Moon of the Margazhi month appears on the auspicious night when art, intelligence and expertise in all fields fill the very atmosphere itself” – “Margazhi thingal, mathi nirainda nannal”!

Margazhi is a period of “mellow music”, sprightly dance and all forms of colorful arts. The various music societies of Chennai, including the famous Music Academy hold their annual Carnatic Music and Dance festivals during this month. These exhibitions of the best in Classical Carnatic Music and Dance have attained international acclaim and the period is now treated as a tourism season in Chennai and its environs.

India’s Food Processing Revolution through Education Empowered By NIFTEM

By Vijay Laxmi Kasotia
Deputy Director ( M & C), Press Information Bureau, New Delhi.

New Delhi, Nov 30, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB India) Keeping human resource development as a key area of intervention, the Ministry of Food Processing Industry has taken the strategic initiative of setting up the National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship & Management (NIFTEM). The institution envisions evolving as a top notch world-class institute, catering to the ever-evolving needs of various stakeholders like exporters, industry, entrepreneurs and policy makers. The institute envisages playing a key role in order to provide a major impetus to the Food Processing Industry in India.

Bangladesh Gets $615 Million To Build Bridge From ADB

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, Nov 25, 2010 (Washington Bagla Radio / ADB) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will extend financial assistance of $615 million  for a major bridge project in Bangladesh which will help accelerate growth and poverty reduction in the country's poor and underdeveloped southwest.

ADB's Board of Directors today approved the loan funds for the construction of a multipurpose bridge across the Padma River - the first fixed river crossing for road traffic, linking the southwest of the country, to northern and eastern regions.

ADB is providing over 21% of the total investment cost of nearly $2.92 billion for the bridge project. In addition to ADB, the World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Islamic Development Bank are also contributing as cofinanciers.

Abdul Kalam: 150 billion dollar opportunity for enterprise in integrated villages through PURA Corporation

New Delhi, Nov 19, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio / pressreleasepoint) Former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam today presented to captains of Indian industry a programme for their involvement in transforming villages by volunteering to be equity investors, exploring and facilitating market linkages and providing technological platform for PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) that would be a 150 billion dollar business opportunity for them.

Stating this at the ASSOCHAM “8th Knowledge Millennium summit-2010-2020: Decade of Innovations”  here today, Dr. Kalam introduced when he was President of India in the early years of this first decade of the 21st century for providing urban amenities for rural areas.  It is now part of the Government’s development programme for 6,00,000 villages.  The former President has now proposed an enterprise network for this programme.

Comptroller & Auditor General of Independent India Celebrates 150 Years Of Rich History

New Delhi, Nov 17, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB India) One of the most important day in the history of India was when 150 years ago, the first Accountant General was appointed on 16th November, 1860. He was Sir Edmund Drummond. Releasing a commemorative postage stamp at the beginning of the year long celebrations the President of India, Shrimati Pratibha Devisingh Patil said, “in a democratic set up, auditing of public accounts was viewed with such great significance that the makers of our Constitution, notably Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, created an Independent constitutional authority for this purpose. The institution of the C&AG had not only a distinguished history in India, but it was also matched with distinguished performance. The Indian Audit and Accounts Department and the Auditors General heading it successively, have sought to build an institution on the foundations of an accountability-centric philosophy. However, in a fast changing socio-economic scenario, it would be useful, from time to time, to revisit the practices, and procedures being followed. With growing awareness of citizens, their interest in how efficiently and effectively public money is spent, has been increasing. Public auditors have a major challenge to respond competently to this growing expectation of the stakeholders”. She also emphasized that public financial accountability and probity are essential for rooting out corruption.

Over the ensuing years, the responsibilities, status and Independence of the Auditor General evolved and were enhanced. Shri V Narahari Rao took over as the first Comptroller & Auditor General of Independent India in August 1948. The Constitution of India in 1950 underlying the hopes and aspirations of our Founding Fathers accorded a position of utmost eminence to the C&AG. The late Dr B R Ambedkar called the C&AG “as the most important officer in the Constitution of India. He is the One man who is going to see that the expenses voted by the Parliament are not exceeded or varies from what has been laid down by the Parliament.” And this duty entrusted to the C&AG by the Constitution is still being carried out with the same dedication and sincerity, if not more, since the last 150 years.   

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