Text of PM’s address at the Parliament of Afghanistan

Your Excellency President Ghani
Your Excellency, Chief Executive Dr. Abdulla
Honorable Speaker of Wolesi Jirga and the Chairman of Meshraon Jirga,
Distinguished Members of both HousesEight centuries ago, a famous son of Balkh Province, one of the greatest poets in human history, Jalaluddin Rumi, wrote, “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that gives flowers, not thunder”.This is the wisdom of this magnificent land and a great nation.
A land where legends are born – of poetry and beauty, of valour and honour, of pride and generosity, of the warmest embrace of friendship and the strongest resistance for freedom.
And, in this century, the great Afghan people have waged an epic struggle of courage and resolve to shape their future with vote and debate, not gun and violence.
A country with an abiding faith in the tradition of Jirga has chosen the path of democracy. And, it has done it against challenges that would have defeated a lesser people.
It is a tribute to the countless, nameless Afghans who laid down their lives and sacrificed their future.
To the leadership of former President Hamid Karzai Saheb,
who led the nation with wisdom and determination from the dark days of despair to a future of hope.
To President Ghani and CEO Dr. Abdullah for their vision and statesmanship that can only come from great patriots.
To you, Members of Parliament, for braving violence to take your seat in this House in trust of your people.
Honourable Members,
So, I stand here, on behalf of 1.25 billion friends in India, in admiration for your achievements, in gratitude for your friendship and in solidarity for your future.
And, today, I am humbled and honoured to join President Ghani and all the Members of the Afghan Parliament to dedicate this new abode of democracy to the Afghan nation.
We could not have chosen a more special day than the birthday of one of the tallest leaders of our time, former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. Eleven years ago, he dreamt of this project in partnership with Karzai Saheb.
And, we are deeply touched that you have chosen to name one of the wings in this building the Atal Block.
This Parliament House brings together our two nations through the vision of our leaders, the labour of our people and the stones of our lands.
And, the Atal Block unites us in spirit, because Atal means hero in Pashto and in Hindi it means to be firm. It captures the spirit of Afghanistan and of our friendship.
This Parliament Complex is a small tribute to your progress as a nation and a democracy. And, it will stand as an enduring symbol of the ties of emotions and values, of affection and aspirations that bind us in a special relationship.
Honourable Members,
Our ties are as ancient as history.
Over the mighty Hindu Kush and through the forbidding Khyber Pass, monks, merchants and monarchs have linked us through knowledge, culture, religion,commerce and kingdoms.
In the shifting contours of history, there were times we have been one. There were times we saw wars. But, through the ages, we have always enriched one another.
In the timeless Buddhist symbols of Aynak and Bamian and in the majestic monuments of Delhi, in our culture and art, in language and literature, food and festivals, we see the imprint of our timeless relations.
We owe to ancient Afghanistan the gift of one of the great characters of Mahabharata, Gandhari.
In the achievements of Mauryan Empire or Shershah Suri, we see connectivity that we now aspire to rebuild.
The words of poet Ahmed Shah Durrani may have expressed the longing of an Afghan King in Delhi, I forget the throne of Delhi, when I remember the mountain tops of my Afghan land.
But, in the heart of every Indian and Afghan, there is boundless love for each other. We love each other’s culture and cinema, music and poetry, food and festivals. And, now we admire each other’s cricket.
We are delighted that the Afghan National Cricket Team has found its home ground near Delhi and is practicing for next year’s World Cup. And, i congratulatethe Afghan Under 19 team that just beat Zimbabwe in its first home series.
We are just as proud that Afghans see India as a natural destination for education, health or a family home.
Indians remember the support of Afghans for our freedom struggle; the contribution of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, revered as Frontier Gandhi; and, the important footnote of that history, when, exactly hundred years ago, the first Indian Government-in-Exile was formed in Kabul by Maharaja Mahendra Pratap and Maulana Barkatullah.
King Amanullah once told the Maharaja that so long as India was not free, Afghanistan was not free in the right sense.
Honourable Members,
This is the spirit of brotherhood between us.
And, when you began a new journey in a new century,we were proud to stand with you and walk with you.
Our partnership has helped rural communities get schools, minor irrigation, health centres, welfare for children and opportunities for women.
Together, we have built roads that have brought regions closer;
power transmission lines and power stations that light up Afghan homes;
satellite links that bring education, medical advice and communication to Afghan people.
And, we are helping the security forces become more mobile.
The institutions we are establishing together are helping rebuild agriculture and mining in Afghanistan, and make advanced medical care available in Kabul.
Nothing is more important for a nation than its human resources. So, we are pleased that our scholarships and training programmes are empowering Afghan youth with modern education and professional skills; Afghan government with resources to develop their country; and, the Afghan Security Forces with the capacity to secure their nation.
Power and water will flow out of Salma Dam soon. The Stor Palace will again stand as a symbol of your priceless heritage. Our scheme of 1000 scholarships every year for Afghan students in India will continue. We are pleased with the response to our special scholarship scheme in agriculture science.
Today, I announce 500 scholarships for the children of the martyrs of Afghan security forces.
As we have stood with you in our efforts to rebuild your country, you have guarded and protected our people as your own. We have faced daily threats, but we feel secure in your midst.
To every Afghan, who has risked or lost his life so that his Indian guest is safe, I convey the eternal gratefulness of India.
To Indian diplomats, officers, engineers and doctors, who serve here with pride, to the families of our Indian martyrs, I express the gratitude of Indians and Afghans.
There are some who did not want us to be here. There were those who saw sinister designs in our presence here. There are others who were uneasy at the strength of our partnership. Some even tried to discourage us.
But, we are here because you have faith in us. You never doubted the sincerity of our commitment and the strength of our friendship. And, you have seen the fruits of our partnership.
You have judged us by what you see, not what others tell you, including about the mysterious Indian consulates.
You know that India is here to contribute not to compete; to lay the foundations of future, not light the flame of conflict; to rebuild lives, not destroy a nation.
You know, as we do, that Indians and Afghans have always stood for each other, never against another.
You have been at the crossroads of history. And, your history tells us that you will never let yourself become a theatre of competition; or serve the designs of others.
For you live by the creed extolled by poet Kushal Khan Khattak that Nation’s honor and nation’s fame on life they have a prior claim.
So, with your faith and at your pace, India will continue to build Afghan capacity for governance, security and development, so that you can build a future that Afghans so richly deserve.
We will do this from the responsibility that comes from our friendship. But, we also do this with a commitment to peace and stability in our region.
We know that Afghanistan’s success will require the cooperation and support of each of its neighbours. And, all of us in the region – India, Pakistan, Iran and others – must unite, in trust and cooperation, behind this common purpose and in recognition of our common destiny.
When Afghanistan becomes a haven of peace and a hub for the flow of ideas, commerce, energy and investments in the region, we will all prosper together.
That is why we are working to improve your connectivity by land and sea, including through Chahbahar in Iran.
That is why I hope that Pakistan will become a bridge between South Asia and Afghanistan and beyond.
I hope that the day will come soon when energy from Central Asia will power prosperity in our region; when a Kabuliwala can once again come across easily to win Indian hearts; when we in India can relish the wonderful fruits of Afghanistan; when Afghans do not have to pay an enormous price to buy their favourite products from India.
For this has always been the course of this region’s history. And, it must be the path to its future.
But, brave and tireless as the Afghans are in defending their nations, Afghanistan will succeed only when terrorism no longer flows across the border; when nurseries and sanctuaries of terrorism are shut; and, their patrons are no longer in business.
Terror and violence cannot be the instrument to shape Afghanistan’s future or dictate the choices Afghans make..
For, the fire that is lit in Afghanistan, can never be contained, within these boundaries.
Afghans have the wisdom to seek peace with neighbours, but also the courage to defend their freedom.
And, Afghans of all persuasions must have the right to seek peace among themselves.
Too much blood has flown down Kabul River. Too many tragedies have darkened the mountain slopes. Too many dreams have burnt in the fire of a senseless conflict.
You can be Pushtoons, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras. You can be Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.
But, you are proud Afghans who can come together as one nation and one people.
You may have fought in the name of religion; or in the cause of identity.
But, it is now time for Afghans to come together in peace.
As a wise Afghan said, A tree with a bitter seed, Fed with butter and sugar, Will still bear a bitter fruit.
You have a glorious tradition of pluralism and respect for diversity and beliefs.
Those waging war from outside must seek a path to this building and this hall. Those seeking territory through gun must seek power through ballot. Those who have destroyed homes must now rebuild their nation. For, this is your land and these are your people.
And, it must be on your terms, on your genius, through your own process and your own spirit of brotherhood.
Not driven by the calculations or ambitions of others.
And, the future you build in peace and through dialogue must preserve the hard-won progress of the last decade and half. It must have a place for every Afghan. It must have space for everyone’s aspiration. And, it must be a nation, where every citizen is secure of her rights and confident about her future.
And, as Afghans take responsibility for their future, the world must stand with them in solidarity and support.
We must do that for the soldier from a foreign land who laid down his life in an Afghan village that he had never heard of and for a people he had never known; and, for the enormous sacrifices that Afghans have made for a life that others take for granted.
We must support Afghanistan without time lines because the new clouds of extremism and terrorism are rising, even as the old ones continue to darken our skies; and, because Afghans are not only fighting for their future, but are standing up for all of us and a safer world.
The world will be a better place when we can experience the real wealth of Afghan people in their diversity and rich heritage.
It is time for all Afghans, everyone in the region and the rest of the world to come together.
The sacrifices must not go in vain.
The flame of hope should not die.
No girl that steps into the world should slip into darkness of denied opportunities.
No son should face the choice of gun or refuge in a distant land.
No mother should fear bringing a child into this world.
No leader should lose a brother because he spoke for Afghan freedom to choose friends.
No one kneeling in prayer in a mosque should be killed in the name of religion.
No elder should look back on his youth wasted in conflict, and see the same future for his grandchild.
Every youth in Afghanistan should see a future in which IT stands for information technology, not international terrorism.
For, the promise and the opportunities of the 21st century belong to Afghan youth as much as anyone else in the world.
For India, this is a deeply held commitment.
Your suffering is our pain.
Your dreams are our duty.
Your strength is our belief.
Your courage is our inspiration. Above all, your friendship is our honour.
And, as Hindi cinema’s most famous Pathan character, Sher Khan in Zanjeer sang,
Yaari hai iman mera, Yaar meri zindangi. Friendship is my faith, the friend is my life.
This is the creed of Afghans and Indians.
I am confident that Hope will return to your homes, Laughter in your schools, Life in your streets, Prosperity in your cities, unity in your society and peace in your nation.
And, at every step of your journey, India will be with you.
Thank you. Thank you again for this great honour and privilege.

18thFemale Senior National Wrestling Championships

Pre-event Press Conference
 EVENT Ministry of Railways (Railway Sport Promotion Board)(RSPB) is organizing 60th Senior Men Style, Greco Roman Style and 18thFemale Senior National Wrestling Championships at Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, New Delhi from 29-12-2015 to 31-12-2015.  In this regard a pre event Press Conference is being organised by the Member Staff, Railway Board on26thDecember, 2015at Rail Bhawan. It will be addressed by Member Staff Railway Board and President RSPB Shri Pradeep Kumar (assisted by Ms. Rekha Yadav, Secretary RSPB).
TIME02:50 PM
VENUEConference Hall, 2nd Floor, Rail Bhawan, New Delhi.


Dear Sir/Madam,
            You are invited to cover the following event.

Event  Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. HarshVardhan will announce the NATIONAL BIOTECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 2015-2020 in a Press Conference
 Date30th December, 2015 (Wednesday)
Venue   Silver Oak, India Habitat Center, New Delhi
Time12.00 Noon

MARTEDÌ 5 Gennaio 2016, 18.30
TUESDAY 5th January 2016, 6.30 PM
D. Scarlatti : Sonata K1, K197, K492
L. Berio: Cinque Variazioni
J. Brahms: Sonata op. 5
40 Max Mueller Marg
New Delhi
Nato a Torino nel 1985 Gabriele ha iniziato a studiare il piano all’età di 7 anni e a 17 si è diplomato con il massimo dei voti e la lode al Consevatorio Giuseppe Verdi di Torino. Ha continuato gli studi con Andrea Lucchesini all’Accademia di Musica di Pinerolo e con Aldo Ciccolini a Parigi, Nicholas Angelich e Marie Françoise Bucquet al Conservatoire National Superior de Musique. Ha suonato con Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Robert McDonald e Mitsuko Uchida.
Born in Turin in 1985, Gabriele began studying the piano at the age of seven and graduated from the Conservatory Giuseppe Verdi in Turin at the age of seventeen with the highest grades and honors. He continued his studies with Andrea Lucchesini at the Accademia di Musica in Pinerolo and with Aldo Ciccolini in Paris, followed by Nicholas Angelich at the Conservatoire National Superior de Musique as well as with Marie Françoise Bucquet. He has also worked with Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Robert McDonald and Mitsuko Uchida.
Free Entry – First come first seated
Italian Embassy Cultural Centre
50- E, Chandragupta Marg (Entry from Nyaya Marg)
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi – 110 021
Phone: 0091-11-26871901/03/04
Email: iicnewdelhi@esteri.it

FM Repealed FERA for Weak PCA Soft On Economic Offenders

 December25, 2015 (C) Ravinder Singh progressindia2015@gmail.com

Going through the entire lecture of FM Arun Jaitley ‘Economic Offences: Definition & Genesis’ I was STUNNED to Find there was weakening of PCA, 1988 –
– Total Absence of Concern For COLOSSAL Economic Losses to GOI in TAX EVASION, MONEY LAUNDERING, Corruption in Projects and Banking Frauds etc Which Are Directly Under FM Control.

His was Soft On Corporate Frauds forget ‘Doubling Sentencing’ – did mention about Rajat Gupta in the lecture, quoted none from India like Harshad Mehta.
He ended the lecture with Caution which actually meant Slow Down On Corruption to Weaken It in Law at some stage
“I end with a note of caution. The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 was a pre-liberalisation law. It fails to distinguish between the corrupt decisions and an erroneous decision. Erroneous decisions which cause loss to the Government, are with the wisdom of hindsight, brought within the purview of the Act. This dissuades civil servants from taking correct and bold decisions in the interest of the economy.”  Finance Minister

Princeton University Paper Concluded That Post Liberalization Some States Persisted With PRO-WORKERS Policies and Others PRO-EMPLOYER Policies and Industry Followed PRO-EMPLOYER states – PU advised in conclusion “This may require complementary institutional reforms as well as redistributive policies that ease the costs of adjustment associated with liberalization.”

Arun Jaitley totally MISLED on this Report.
Shantanam Committee Report (1964) Flagged following ECONOMIC OFFENCES  

“Tax-evasion and avoidance, share-pushing, mal-practices in the share market and administration of companies, monopolistic control, usury, under-invoicing or over-invoicing, hoarding, profiteering, sub-standard performance of contracts of construction and supply, evasion of economic laws, bribery and corruption, election offences and mal-practices are some examples of white collar crime.” ALL ARE COLOSSAL ECONOMIC OFFENCES UPTO 50% OF GDP

He again Misquotes another US Study On Sentencing ‘Economic Offenders’
Arun Jaitley Forgot to mention that after ENRON Scam – Securities & Exchange Board, United States Sentencing Commission and Regulators Prescribed –

“essentially double the [imprisonment] penalties imposed on defendants who commit large-scale securities fraud.”

He Neither See Black Money In India, Nor Hoarded in Tax Heavens

Ravinder Singh, Inventor & Consultant, INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND PROJECTS
Y-77, Hauz Khas, New Delhi-110016, India. Ph; 091- 9871056471, 9718280435, 9650421857
Ravinder Singh* is a WIPO awarded inventor specializing in Power, Transportation,
Smart Cities, Water, Energy Saving, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Technologies and Projects.

Turkish PM charges

Turkish PM accuses pro-Kurdish party head of treason over Russia comments 0  0
ISTANBUL: Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu accused the head of Turkey´s pro-Kurdish opposition party of treason on Thursday for using a trip to Moscow to condemn Ankara´s shooting down of a Russian warplane over Syria.
Selahattin Demirtas, co-head of the Peoples´ Democratic Party (HDP), met foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday and criticised Ankara for shooting down the warplane near the border with Syria last month.
Moscow denies it had entered Turkish airspace.
“They take sides with whoever Turkey is facing a crisis with. Demirtas saying in Moscow that Turkey´s downing of Russian jet was wrong is a total disgrace and treason,” Davutoglu told a meeting of businessmen in Ankara.
“Our main duty is to raise our voice against Russian cruelty. Supporting Russia while it kills civilians in Syria is treason not only against this country, but also against humanity.”
Kurdish politicans have accused Ankara of focusing military efforts on Kurdish militia in Iraq and Syria and failing to take up the fight with Islamic State.
Russia, which imposed economic sanctions on Turkey after the Nov 24 incident, has sharply criticised President Tayyip Erdogan.
It would be keenly aware of the sensitivity of Ankara to any contacts between Moscow and Kurdish politicians.
Erdogan has accused the HDP, the second-largest opposition party in Turkey´s parliament, of connections with armed Kurdish rebels fighting in Turkey´s southeast.
Lavrov told Demirtas Russia was ready to cooperate closely with ethnic Kurds fighting against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Pope, on Christmas, urges for basic values

Pope, on Christmas, urges return to essential values

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis led the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics into Christmas on Thursday, urging those “intoxicated” by possessions and superficial appearances to return to the essential values of life.
Celebrating a Christmas eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis, whose nearly three-year-old papacy has been marked by calls for sobriety and compassion for the less fortunate, said Christmas was the time to “once more discover who we are”.
He said everyone should allow the simplicity of the child Jesus, born into poverty in a manger despite his divinity, to infuse their spirit and inspire their lives.
“In a society so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism, this Child calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential,” he said in his homily.
The service for about 10,000 people in St. Peter’s Basilica started with a long chant in Latin, known as the Kalenda, the traditional proclamation of the birth of Jesus.
The great bells of St. Peter’s then rang out and the pope, dressed in white vestments, kissed a statue of the infant Jesus to start the solemn Mass.
Security was tighter than normal for Christmas, with many police carrying out spot checks in the Vatican area. Everyone who entered the basilica, the largest church in Christendom, went through metal detectors.
The 79-year-old Argentine pope encapsulated in his homily some of the key themes of his papacy: mercy, compassion, empathy and justice.
“In a world which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice, to discern and to do God’s will,” he said.
Francis, who said earlier this week he had a slight flu, seemed tired and spoke with a slightly hoarse voice at times.

Jharkhand’s Mining Secretary commits contempt of Supreme Court on sand mining
Principal Secretary adopts unscientific and environmentally
destructive stance on sand mining
Legal regime should define what sustainable sand mining is
December 25, 2015: If what has been reported in the media on 24th
December 2015 about the averments of Jharkhand’s Principal Secretary,
Department of Mining is true then rivers and ecosystem of the State
must feel threatened. It is quite apparent that he does not consider
unlawful sand mining along the course of the Kharkai and Subarnarekha
rivers reported as recently as late September 2015 to be a serious
issue although this has led to depletion of water tables and made bore
wells unusable.
But in his official wisdom Principal Secretary will have people
believe that rivers do not have inalienable customary right of their
own sand. He was reportedly speaking at a workshop on “environmental
clearance for mining projects” co-organised by Institute of Engineers
and one NGO. Instead of speaking like a regulator of natural resources
like sand, he spoke as if procedural requirements under Water
(Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Air (Prevention
and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, Environmental Protection Act,
1986 (created after industrial disaster of Bhopal) and environment
clearance under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification,
2006 are unnecessary.  It is apparent that his views are in contempt
of Supreme Court’s order in Deepak Kumar v. State of Haryana, (2012) 4
SCC 629 of February 2012 which required mining of minor minerals like
sand in less than 5 hectares lease area to seek “environment
As per Principal Secretary the role of state level environment impact
assessment authority (SEIAA) and other agencies like Pollution Control
Board is irrelevant.
He will have people believe that even the Environment Impact
Assessment (EIA) report which is prepared by the project proponent
under the current law is a joke. SEIAA for instance, provides that
sand mining companies will have to maintain a distance of 15 metres
from the river point and the same should be a minimum of 500 metres
from a bridge or intake pit. A distance of 500 metres is required from
the breeding centre of aquatic life. It is quite bizarre that a senior
bureaucrat of the state is expressing views contrary to the objectives
of environmental protection laws.
It is evident from Principal Secretary’s reported remarks that he is
unaware of Guidelines for Sustainable Sand Mining issued in September
2015 by Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
which admits that sand and gravel are “being extracted at a rate far
greater than their renewal” to meet the need of the real estate and
building sector.
It is noteworthy that Jharkhand government had announced a ban on sand
mining from 654 riverbeds till they get environmental clearance on
27th January, 2015.  The state government had also cancelled the
mining lease of three companies which were allotted 153 riverbeds by
the previous government. State government has given permission for
sand lifting operation to the gram panchayats on February 5, 2015. The
National Green Tribal (NGT) banned sand lifting without environment
clearance March 5, 2015.  An examination of these steps by different
government agencies appear quite conservative because they failed to
undertake an environmental audit based on cumulative impact assessment
of the sand mining which has happened so far with reference to the
carrying capacity of the river basin and sub-basins in question.
Instead of seeking greater sensitivity in the face of myopic and
indiscriminate mining activities, the Principal Secretary appears busy
deprecating even whatever little (which is far from enough) is being
done. Given the admitted fact that state expert appraisal committee
(SEAC) has issued environmental clearances to 1500 projects, there is
a compelling logic for the Chief Minister to order an environmental
audit of their cumulative environmental impact because each of these
projects got conditional environmental clearance on the basis of a
project-to-project environmental impact assessment.
More than legal and illegal mining of sand, the issue which stares
people in the face is sustainable sand mining and the carrying
capacity of the local ecosystem.
The core question which the state government and regulatory agencies
have to deal with is whether compliance with National Green Tribunal’s
order restraining sand mining without any licence or environmental
clearance will make it sustainable.
NGT’s order of 5th August 2013 cited the Supreme Court’s judgment
restrained removal of minerals from riverbeds across the country until
requisite approvals by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and
Climate Change and the concerned SEIAA.
Given the past record of the compliance with such orders, the order is
a step in the right direction but it does not inspire hope given views
of officials like the Jharkhand’s Principal Secretary.  Such orders
are hardly sufficient. Unless mechanised sand mining is not stopped
river ecosystems are bound to be suffer an irreparable damage. The
Supreme Court had made environmental clearance mandatory for all
mining sites that included sand mining. There are several high courts
which have issued similar orders.
Is sand an inexhaustible minor mineral? Construction industry and some
gullible officials seem to think so. All rivers have sand, a minor
mineral for which the construction industry is hungry. According to
research from Transparency International, it remains one of the most
corrupt sectors according to the Bribe Payers Index. Sand mining is
impossible without political patronage anywhere in the country because
sand mining or sand dredging makes the engine of ‘sustainable
development’ run. Construction industry can come to a grinding halt
without it. But sand mining is happening at a rate faster than nature
can replenish it.
India has the world’s largest construction business that accounts for
9 per cent of its 2 trillion USD economy. China and the USA have a
bigger business.
The million dollar question is how much sand does Indian construction
and real estate industry need and what will be its environmental cost?
The country produces about 250 million tonnes of cement every year but
there is no official figure on the total quantity of sand required or
produced. The cement consumption pattern alone can provide an estimate
for sand requirement. Under the 12th Five Year Plan road
infrastructure was supposed to use about 150 million tonnes of sand
and power infrastructure about 90 million tones. This is derived from
the fact that the concrete has per capita annual consumption of 1.5
tonnes in India. The Union Ministry of Urban Development had projected
a sand shortage of 91,666.7 million tonnes by the end of 2011 for
building 42 million units of housing. There is no estimate of sand
requirement in non-housing sector either. It is estimated that it
could be twice that of the housing sector.
Road infrastructure for instance, would require 75 million tonnes of
cement and power infrastructure about 45 million tones under the 12th
Five Year Plan. The National Highway Development Programme has plans
to construct 45,000 km of roads. The National Highway Authority of
India was awarded construction contracts for about 6,500 km for
2011-12. Road infrastructure needs about 150 million tonnes of sand
and the power infrastructure about 90 million tonnes of sand.
The 12th five year plan had projected an investment of 10 per cent of
the national gross domestic product or Rs 45 trillion in
infrastructure. Production of silica sand was 2.28 million tonnes in
2009 -10, as per the Minerals Resource Book prepared by the Indian
Bureau of Mines, Union Ministry of Mines in 2010. This figure is based
on the information provided by the state-allotted quarries and mines.
There are no estimates of sand mined illegally. Sand contributes only
9.4 per cent to the total minor minerals mined in the country valued
at Rs 18,734 crore. In 2009 and 2010, India was ranked 12th in sand
and gravel production.
The leading producers of sand are Andhra Pradesh, which is responsible
for 39 per cent, Gujarat for 17 per cent, Rajasthan for 14 per cent,
Maharashtra for 13 per cent and Uttar Pradesh for 7 per cent. Rivers
in the Indo-Gangetic belt have good quality fine sand but coarse
aggregate is scarce. Coastal areas also are a source of sand. There is
a need for a national sand mining policy. Illegal sand mining has been
documented in at least 15 states of the country, ruled by parties of
all hues.
Now sand mines have to undergo the Environmental Impact Assessment
process under the Environment Protection Act of 1986.  Earlier, minor
minerals were mined in more than 5 hectare but given the fact that
extraction of alluvial material within or near a riverbed impacts the
river’s physical characteristics like stability, flood risk,
environmental degradation, loss of habitat and biodiversity extraction
in blocks of less than five hectares and separated by a kilometre is
not enough because its cumulative impact is bound to be quite
If sand mining continues to follow the current trend more wells and
aquifers in the floodplains will start drying up because sand mining
lowers the riverbed. It must be noted that sand in the riparian areas
recharges groundwater through percolation of water from different
layers of sand. But indiscriminate sand mining adversely affects the
vertical and lateral movement of water and the groundwater recharge.
The Supreme Court, high courts and the tribunal should define what is
sustainable and environment friendly sand mining. Sand from
desiltation of major reservoirs can meet the requirement of the
construction industry for the next 10 years. Wastage of sand must be
prevented like any other precious natural resource.
It is high time policy makers and concerned officials refrained from
allowing sand mining to happen in a business as usual manner. The
mindset that thinks routine sand mining activity is legal activity is
a threat to our ecosystem. Government should support research for
alternatives of sand as a building material in due course. Even
construction industry should be encouraged to shift to alternative
building materials.
The legal regime to regulate sand mining is not yet robust. In the
face of imminent environmental crisis and threat to the very existence
of rivers which will not survive without sand due to construction
sector very soon, legal system will have to make the right of rivers
over their own sand quite explicit.
Regulatory agencies cannot feign blindness to the geological fact that
sand mining adversely impacts both the quantity and quality of river
water and ground water besides negatively affecting underground wells,
and the water table.
Sanity demands that environmental and physical carrying capacity
limits be determined before allowing any sand mining other than by
manual excavation that too of accumulated sand.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb:
08227816731, 09818089660, E-mail-1715krishna@gmail.com, Web:

How India failed at Paris Climate Conference

India failed to do even what a small country like Nicaragua did in the
Paris Climate Conference by raising its flag questioning the
autocratic change introduced in the final draft at the last moment
(from ‘shall’ to ‘should’ ) while adopting the 12 page long Paris
Agreement dated 12th December, 2015. The Agreement being a legal text
required application of basic legal knowledge by India. In law schools
across the globe students are taught that “shall” is “mandatory”. The
drafters of legal documents are trained into the use of “shall” as it
conveys “a duty to” be performed. It conveys obligation. Had “shall”
been not important 76 pages of Words and Phrases, a multi volume work
of legal definitions would not have been devoted to case laws around
it. The word “should” does not express a legal obligation, the word
“shall” expresses a legal requirement.
Initially, Article 4.4 of the Draft Agreement read: “Developed country
Parties shall continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide
absolute emission reduction targets. Developing country Parties should
continue enhancing their mitigation efforts…” This formulation aptly
captured the historic responsibilities of rich countries and
differentiated responsibilities of poorer countries. But disregarding
the voice of a Central American country like Nicaragua which is a
member of Group of 77, succumbing to the USA’s demand shall was
substituted with should. India’s decision to maintain a deafening
silence when the voice of a fellow member from G77 was disregarded is
contrary to its stature.
The Agreement adopted by the countries that are Parties to United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which was
adopted on 9th May, 1992, is an articulation of how
‘climate-inequality’ shapes the text of an international treaty
supposedly aimed at climate justice and for the protection of Mother
Earth. Had India done what Nicaragua did Paris Conference would have
found it difficult to ignore.
Like other world governments India too adopted an Ostrich policy with
regard to climate crisis under the influence of undemocratic economic
organizations and autocratic dictates of a supposedly democratic
What Indian environment minister, Prakash Javadekar did not disclose
to the Parliament has already been admitted by Nozipho Joyce
Mxakato-Diseko, chairperson of the Group of 134 developing countries
(G77 and China Group). India is a member of this Group. Diseko has
revealed that Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for
mitigating climate change is “a perversion of the principle of common
but differentiated responsibilities” because it undermines the “legal
obligation in accordance with historical responsibilities for finance”
accepted under the bullying influence of USA and its allies. It is
quite outrageous that INDCs are not legally enforceable.
The paragraph 52 of the Decision of CoP 21 makes a categorical
declaration that Article 8 of the Paris Agreement which deals with the
issue of addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse
effects of climate change “does not involve or provide a basis for any
liability or compensation.”Although such announcement sets a
regressive precedent in international negotiations, given the fact
Paris Agreement is not legally binding by implication, this attempt to
escape liability for loss and damage appears unsuccessful. These
provisions and INDCs of top polluters of “High Ambitions Group” show
that they are unwilling to pay the “ecological debt” that global North
owes to the global South.
As per Article 2 of the Agreement, it aims to hold the increase in the
global temperature to well below 2 degree Celsius (C) and to pursue
efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree C above
pre-industrial levels to “significantly reduce the risks and impacts
of climate change.”
What is charitably referred to as “dangerous anthropogenic
interference with the climate system” in the text of the UNFCCC is in
reality an act of industrial warfare against climate and its allied
ecosystem whose impact has become glaring. It is quite surprising that
green house gas emissions from the war industry which is reaping
unprecedented profits amidst conflicts around natural resources has
not been included as one of the key sources of climate crisis.
It may be recalled that the false solution of carbon trade and off
setting was introduced in the Kyoto Protocol at the behest of USA
which had made it a pre-condition to sign the Protocol. Notably, after
diluting the Protocol USA unsigned the Protocol. Unmindful of the
fraud and corruption ridden carbon trade projects, instead of
discarding this fake remedy the Paris Agreement makes way for global
carbon market through Article 6 of the Agreement. It makes space for
“voluntary contribution” among countries in the implementation of
their emission reduction targets and “to allow for higher ambition in
their mitigation and adaptation actions”. It creates a new class of
carbon assets namely, “internationally transferred mitigation
outcomes” (ITMOs) for trading and “support for results-based payments
to implement policy approaches”. This new mechanism of UNFCCC has been
incarnated as Sustainable Development Mechanism (SDM) as main
mitigation tool in place of pre-existing Clean Development Mechanism
(CDM) and Joint Implementation post-2020.
Richer countries became prosperous and dominant due to carbon emission
since 1750. Between 1850 and 2011, USA, European Union, Russian
Federation, Japan and others contributed over 2/3rd of total global
emissions. Both USA and EU both emitted 10 times more CO2 each than
India. It is the stock of this emission in the atmosphere which has
caused the climate crisis. Paris Agreement fails to address the issue
of past emissions and remains focused on current and future flow of
carbon in the atmosphere.
Over 160 countries have submitted their INDCs to UNFCCC taking into
account both their historical responsibility as well as their current
capability to act. It is evident from the “synthesis report” that the
ambition of all major developed countries fall well short of their
fair shares unlike majority of developing countries. The contribution
of USA and EU each represents about a 5th of their fair shares, and
Japan a mere 10th of its fair share. Notably, developed countries have
been outsourcing their carbon-intensive industries to developing
countries like India. If these ‘consumption-based’ or ‘imported’
emissions are taken into account, emissions of developed countries are
in reality as much as a fourth higher than reported.
Admittedly, the estimated aggregate greenhouse gas emission levels in
2025 and 2030 resulting from INDCs do not fall within least –cost 2
degree C but rather lead to a projected level of 55 gigatons in 2030.
The Decision underlines that in order to hold the increase in global
average temperature to below 2 degree C above pre-industrial levels
there is a need for reduction of emissions to 40 gigatons.
It is quite bizarre that while almost all the countries have stated
their commitments to reduce emissions from 1990 levels, USA has
decided to count its reduction in emission using 2005 as the base
year. Thus, its commitment of reduction is only 14 % instead of 28 %
as has been claimed quite deceptively.
Such announcements by the top polluters are far from what was required
to be done based on scientific evidence to limit global temperature
rise by 2 î There was a need to cut emissions to the tune of 70 %
below 2010 levels by 2050 to be on the path of limiting 2 übr> temperature increase.
What is not being paid attention to is how China’s agreement with the
USA in November 2014 wherein it agreed to match its emissions with
that of the USA at 12 tonnes per capita per year in 2030, thus,
appropriating the carbon space between them had pre-determined the
outcome of Paris Conference. This happened in a situation wherein
corporations have emerged as the state and in the case of China, state
is the corporation. The state of affairs in the world trade regime and
most countries is moving in the same direction because of the
regulatory capture by the corporations.
Where does India stand?
It has been estimated that India’s current per capita income is close
US’s per capita income in the 1890s. Like most developed countries
where coal remains unavoidable, India continues to argue that it will
continue to use coal as its primary source in its energy mix.
What is not being talked about is the adverse health impact of
hazardous wastes like fly ash and bottom ash from coal based power
plants which is contributing to massive air pollution
crisis-‘airpocalyses’ and suffocating populations in India and China.
The heavy metal and radiation laden ash which is being used for making
bricks by construction industry is compromising public health in an
unprecedented manner.
Paris Agreement has a stark lesson for Indian Government and its INDC
which promoted
“Nuclear Power as a safe, environmentally benign and economically
viable source to meet the increasing electricity needs of the
country.” The word “nuclear” does not appear in the Agreement despite
efforts by countries like India and agencies like International Atomic
Energy Agency, World Nuclear Association, US Nuclear Energy Institute
and organizations like Nuclear for Climate (NfC) who misleadingly
claims to be grassroots environmental group. In a major goof up, NfC
claimed that radioactive waste is good for the climate. It is high
time India followed the path of those who have no nuclear power
reactors and remain opposed to nuclear power.
It is high time India followed the path of those who have no nuclear
power reactors and remain opposed to nuclear power. Countries like
Australia, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia,
Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Israel, Malaysia, New
Zealand Norway and Germany merit emulation in this regard.
India should join efforts to ensure that nuclear power is kept out of
the $ 100 billion/year Green Climate Fund (GCF), a very small player
in climate finance established five years ago in Cancun, Mexico. It
should struggle with other countries to ensure that GCF creates an
accountability mechanism and adopts an information disclosure policy.
India should do all it can to cut down its emissions through domestic
action through amendments in the Environment Protection Act and Rules
therein given the fact that despite India having the lowest per capita
emissions in the world. Its measures must be tangible as it is the
world’s third largest emitter.
The reality of average an Indian emitting 10 times less than an
American, 4 times less than a French national, one-third of Chinese
per capita emissions and less than half the global average should not
become a reason for any complacency given the fact that the carbon
footprint of 1 % of the wealthy class is being veiled by 823 million
poor class of the country and the emissions of top 10 % of urban
Indians is about 27 times the emissions of the bottom 10 % of rural
India. This creates a compelling logic for delinking economic
prosperity from carbon emissions which depletes the principal
amount-the natural capital, the Mother Earth.
Meanwhile, World Bank Group feigned surprise on 17th December “to see
the extent and detail on carbon markets” included in the Paris
Agreement that paves the way for “Carbon Markets 2.0”.
Paris Agreement panders to the whims and fancies of commercial czars
who are obstinately commodifying and monetizing nature and interfering
with climate and allied ecosystems. The natural resource dependent
communities are facing unprecedented deprivation. This has created an
episteme that blindly bulldozes technical and market solutions as
“real” solutions.
The outcome of CoP 21 reveals how the entire exercise suffers from
structural democracy deficit wherein “Mother Earth” and social and
public institutions have become subordinate to institutions of profit.
For several years, the formal initiatives to mitigate and adapt to
impacts of climate change has largely been unsuccessful because of an
embedded insincerity of the institutions involved. They fail to decode
the shared fate in the global village which is faced with climate
induced emergencies and disasters. The Agreement fails to make top
polluters liable for “dangerous anthropogenic interference” and for
endangering human ecosystem which is the substratum for the existence
of living beings.
A new, non-market, climate finance mechanism is needed to support the
formalization and expansion of mitigation and technology transfer as a
genuine solution to combat the propensity of promoting free trade in
carbon at the cost of climate system. Climate talks remain relevant
because fate of the communities and global order is linked to the
decision by the richest countries to undergo mandatory fossil fuel
In effect, despite the brave effort of a G77 country, Paris conference
failed to save climate and intra generational and inter-generational
equity from the banks and markets that threaten our planet by
integrating carbon pricing policies in all sectors of economy. India
should have taken ethical leadership by declaring carbon trading as a
fake solution and by choosing not “to pursue the reckless and
environmentally harmful path to development” that the developed
countries have taken so far.
For Details:
Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Mb: 08227816731, 09818089660
Web: www.toxicswatch.org

Various state units of AAP protested today against the DDCA scam of Arun Jaitley.
Aam Aadmi Party's photo.
Aam Aadmi Party's photo.
Aam Aadmi Party's photo.
Aam Aadmi Party's photo.
AAP protests across the nation demanding finance minister Arun jaitley’s resignation over DDCA scam.
Saturday 26th December 2015
Hundreds of Aam aadmi party volunteers took to the streets across Maharashtra as part of the nationwide protest organised by the party. Protests were organised in Pune, Solapur, Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli, and Mumbai. Across the MMRDA region, the protests were organised at Kurla, Mulund, Dadar, Satnacruz, Dombivili, Mira road and Borivili which saw huge participation from both AAP volunteers as well as supporters.
The DDCA scam is a shameful blot on sporting activities in India and is representative of the fact that corruption has continued unabated during UPA and NDA regimes. Gross financial misappropriations to the tune of hundreds of crores were recently brought to light after BJP’s own MP Kirit Azad and veteran cricketer Bishan Singh bedi exposed Arun Jaitley by bringing DDCA irregularities in public domain. The Aam Aadmi Party is committed to its goal of eliminating corruption in India. We weren’t cowed down by the Modi Government’s pressure tactics of using the CBI to conduct raids in which it found nothing and accessed files as regards the DDCA by giving some other flimsy pretext.
“AAP Demands that Arun Jaitley’s position as India’s Finance Minister is untenable and there must be an impartial probe into the DDCA scam for which Mr Jaitley must resign with immediate effect. AAP will continue to raise its voice against any form of corruption no matter how much the pressure or however big the stature of the perpetrator in the administration” said Ashutosh Sengar – In-charge, AAP Maharashtra.
AAP Maharashtra

:Press Invite : AAP Protests demanding Jaitley’s Resignation over DDCA Scam in MMR
From: AAPMaharashtra News <News@AAPMaharashtra.org> Sat, 26 Dec ’15 4:03p
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Show full Headers
Press Invite : AAP Protests demanding Jaitley’s Resignation over DDCA Scam in MMR .Please find details as under. Contact Person : Dhananjay :9867 693 588
1⃣Protest 1
👉🏻Date of Protest -: 26/12/15.
👉🏻Time of Protest -: 6.00pm to 9.00pm.
👉🏻Venue of Protest -: Kurla West,Near station opp Sansar Hotel.
2⃣Protest 2
👉🏻Date of Protest -: 26/12/15.
👉🏻Time of Protest -: 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
👉🏻Venue of Protest -: Opposite Mulund Station West,Near Bata Showroom.
3⃣Protest 3
👉🏻Date of Protest -: 26/12/15.
👉🏻Time of Protest -: 6.00pm to 9.00pm.
👉🏻Venue of Protest -: Dombivali (Dombivali Railway Station,Near Ramanagar Police Station End,Dombivali East.
4⃣ Protest 4
👉🏻Date of Protest -: 26/12/15.
👉🏻Time of Protest -: 6.00pm to 9.00pm.
👉🏻Venue of Protest -: Dadar East,Near station,Opposite Swaminarayan Mandir
5⃣ Protest 5
👉🏻Date of Protest -: 26/12/15.
👉🏻Time of Protest -: 6.00pm to 9.00pm.
👉🏻Venue of Protest -: Santacruz West ,near station,Opp Shiv Mahal hotel.
6⃣ Protest 6
👉🏻Date of Protest -: 26/12/15.
👉🏻Time of Protest -: 6.00pm to 9.00pm.
👉🏻Venue of Protest -: Mira Road station East,Towards Virar,Near Shanti Sagar Hotel.
7⃣ Protest 7
👉🏻Date of Protest -: 26/12/15.
👉🏻Time of Protest -: 5.00pm to 7.00pm.
👉🏻Venue of Protest -: Outside Mokshha Plaza,Near Indraprashta Shopping,S.V.Road,Borivali West.
AAP Maharashtra


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