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Everything About ‘Agra Metro Project’ – Eco-Friendly Solution To City’s Traffic Woes



Everything About 'Agra Metro Project' - Eco-Friendly Solution To Traffic Woes

The Agra metro project is scheduled to be virtually inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 1. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adithyanath will also attend the online inauguration function.

The Agra Metro project which is under-construction is a step towards creating a rapid transit network in Agra, the fourth largest city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. In 2016, the feasibility study for the project was conducted, and the government approved it in early 2019. The Agra metro project consists of two metro lines, having a total length of about 30 kilometres.

The construction of the metro line will begin by the end of this year and will be functional by December 2022.

Details of Agra Metro Project:

The Agra metro is an urban Mass Rapid Transit System, covering a total distance of 29.40 km with two lines and 29 stations. In 2016, the Rail India Technical and Economic Services Limited (RITES) made a Detailed Project Report (DPR) and submitted it to the Uttar Pradesh government.

On February 28 2019, the Union Cabinet approved the metro project in Agra. After the submission of DPR for approval, the Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRCL) was assigned as the coordinator to bring together all the stakeholders and get the project started. The project received the Central Government’s cabinet approval in 2019 and was given clearance for construction in July 2020, by the Supreme Court, with a list of 11 conditions that the UPMRCL must adhere to.

The project is to be financed partly by the Indian government and also by the government of Uttar Pradesh on an equal equity basis. Apart from this, a soft loan from Bilateral/ Multilateral international funding agencies to partly fund the Agra metro project.

The system specifications suggest that the top speed of the metro would be 80 kmph and the average speed would 34 kmph. The track gauge would be a standard measure of 1435 mm and the electrification will be 25 Kv, 50Hz AC OHE, with Communications- Based Tran Control (CBTC) used for signalling. The estimated cost for the project is 8,379.62 crore (approx.) The metros would have 87 coaches with an estimate of 7.36 lakh passengers travelling every day by 2031.

In the first phase, Agra metro is from Sikandra to Taj East Gate –three metro stations — Taj East Gate, Basai and Fatehabad road, covering a distance of 14.25 km, with an elevated four-km-long track and the rest 7.68 km would be underground will be constructed within 26 months and at an expected cost of Rs 273 crore. The line 1 metro line would be covering 14 stations in total.

Phase 2 of the metro line will be from Agra Cantonment to Kalindi Vihar, covering a total distance of 15.40 km with completely elevated metro line. In this phase of the project, fifteen stations will be covered.

The ticket prices, fare structure, rules and regulations have not been announced yet and will be finalized as the time for commercial operations approach. The UPMRCL has plans to use the latest technology for an automatic fare collection system, with QR codes.

Construction land for project:

The UP government made it clear that 95 per cent will be government land, thus putting rest to the fear of large-scale land acquisition for the construction. Apart from this, land belonging to private enterprises, railways and defence of nearly 89 hectares of will also be used in the construction of the metro tracks.

The anticipated cost of the entire acquisition is approximately Rs 420 crore, out of which UP-Metro Rail Corporation is expected to spend Ra 245 crore on the first line and Rs 175 crore on the second line of the metro construction project.

In the first DPR for the project, stated that it would require 130 hectares of land at Rs 680 crores. However, after making changes in the DPR and the alignment of the corridors, the cost came down to Rs 260 crores, and the land requirement also cut short to 89 hectares. The maximum expense will be on the first line from Sikandra to Taj East Gate, with nearly fifty-four hectares of land will be purchased at Rs 245 crores.

The Agra Cantonment to Kalindi Vihar corridor will require 35 hectares of land at Rs 175 crores. Almost Rs 672 crores are spent on purchasing a total of 84 coaches. UPMRC officials mentioned that they are planning to run 16 trains of 46 coaches along Agra Cantonment to Kalindi Vihar stretch, while 12 trains of 36 coaches will run on the primary hall from Sikandra to Taj Mahal East Gate.

Bombardier Company has gained the tender to beat the Chinese firm and make coaches for the Agra and Kanpur Metro. Coach Bombardier Company can be being shaped for Delhi Metro.

Rs 288 crore will be spent on coach-building for the primary hall and Rs 384 crore for the second hall coach. Four metro trains will be required for these. By December 2022, after the development of seven km of monitor and six stations, the corporate will have to provide coaches.

In October, the contract awarding for the construction of three metro stations took place.

Agra Metro Project – Solution to Traffic Problems

The Supreme court approved the construction of the Agra metro project on the condition that 18,230 trees should be planted as a part of this execution. The approval of the project is bringing in a ‘Go-Green’ solution in return.

While on the one hand this network is expected to provide a faster and hassle-free transportation facility to the city’s 20 lakh population, on the other hand, the trees planted as part of the project, could make Agra a greener city in future.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone in March 2019, but the construction was put on hold because of environmental concerns raised by the apex court.

Kumar Keshav, the managing director of UPMRC, said that “We will leave no stone unturned in delivering a world-class Metro Network for Agra in the shortest possible time, fully complying with the directives of the Supreme Court.”

He also adds that just like how they received Green Initiative Awards in the Lucknow Metro Project, they are aiming to replicate the same initiatives in the Agra project. The UP government has set a deadline of March 2024 for the Agra metro project, that everyone is looking forward to.

The implementation of the metro rail system will result in less vehicular traffic and better movement on the roads leading to a reduction in congestions, travel time, cost of journeys, accidents and pollution.

Ahead of the programme, barricading for the construction of the first corridor is being done on Fatehabad road. Besides, the foundation of the first metro rail station will be laid opposite to TDI Mall on Fatehabad road.

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All You Need To Know About National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021



National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021

On July 26, 2021, Lok Sabha passed a bill under the ministry of Food Processing Industry. The bill is titled as National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021. The main motive of this bill is to address issues with the Food Processing Industry, Entrepreneurship and one Institution for National Importance. With the passing of this bill, the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) is now merged as Institutions of National Importance, and it aims at providing various research and advancement in learning about the Food Industry and its associated branches. The bill was first introduced in the house in February 2019 but was pending due to protest by the opposition.

Significance of Institutions of National Importance (INI)

With the passing of this bill, the institutions enjoy greater autonomy through which they can carry out various courses, research attracting skilled faculties and students from all over the country and overseas. Good standards in education will be adopted to improve the present and future of education in this branch and sector, overcoming the technological gap in the country. This law aims to improve and introduce new changes in food, bio-nanotechnology, cold chain technology etc. The desired efforts will be taken in terms of human resources and infrastructure developments, labs for research etc. Liberty to open centres anywhere in India is also granted to INI and include courses regarding food technology certification and improving the workforce of the country.

Some other important features of this act are the Institution has been authorized with the Board of Government, Senate and other acting Authorities. The Council of Board will include 16 members from different branches from the same field. The Head will be Chairperson, who will be a skilled person from the Food Industry, the Director, Dean and Registrar. Members appointed from Centre and State Governments, Members from FSSAI and Council of Agriculture Research, as mentioned in the bill. The 16 members of the board will carry out work of taking administrative decisions, creating annual budgets and paths for institution progress as an organization, establishing departments, their appointment terms of services, faculties etc. The Board of Council also holds power to grant Honorary Degrees and Diplomas. The Senate shall be the principal academic body of the Institute, consisting of the people such as Director as the Chairperson; Registrar; Full-time skilled level Professor; and Three academically skilled Individuals nominated by the board from the field.

The Union Minister of Food Processing Industry, Mr Pashupati Kumar Paras, expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for this landmark step in this industry from his Twitter handle, indicating new opportunities in Food Technology Industries. Therefore, this Act looks promising on paper with new opportunities and in Educational Development. Amidst the Pegasus Spyware and repeal of the farm laws, this looks positive from the Modi Government.

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Curious Case Of Pegasus: Explained



Pegasus II News Aur Chai

Pegasus is a spyware that can hack the victims’ mobile phones and read their SMS messages and emails. The Pegasus spyware is owned by an Israeli software company named NSO Group. According to the various reports, this company has targeted more than 50,000 phone numbers at the Global level, of which 300 are in India for surveillance.

The news broke out after the 17 media partners investigated. This investigation brought into the picture information about a leaked database of mobile telephone numbers of Indian Ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, business people, government officials, scientists, activists and many influential personalities of the nation.

Pegasus Spyware and India

According to the report by the agency, the Israeli company which sells Pegasus around the world says that its clients are confined to ‘vetted governments”, believed to number 36. The NSO Group also says that ‘the target list in India is not ours, never was.’ Their refusal of the leaked database has created a loophole in understanding this case.

This whole case has violated the integrity of democratic institutions. According to the report by the agencies, after the mobile phones of the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and various other leaders were hacked under the Pegasus spyware surveillance. Multiple tweets were made against the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government in India. This whole case has become one of the major threats in the political arena and the Indian Democracy.

Though at the start, it was used for national security purposes. The explosive expansion of surveillance technology vendors has become a vast human rights and a global security issue. If such surveillance technologies increase, it might cause a lot of problems to countries around the globe. Hence, as a precaution, all these countries need to work on regulating this technology.

According to the reports by the agency, one of the targeted phones by the Pegasus spyware was of the former election commissioner of India, Ashok Lavasa. Various such people and such opposition leaders were somehow against the BJP government having their phones hacked with the NSO-owned spyware. All these instances and the names in the leaked list have pointed figures towards the Modi Government.

The Modi government’s stand on this case was put forward in Lok Sabha by two serving ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel. These two leaders were also featured in the leaked database. The recent Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw defended the BJP government in the parliament by saying, “the expose was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.” She even said, ‘any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions.’

This case has adjourned the parliament proceedings due to the protests inside and outside the house of parliament by the opposition party.

Pegasus Spyware and World.

 In the statement given to the agency, Access Now, an organisation defending the digital rights of global users, said it was outraged that products sold by NSO were allegedly “used to hack and invade the private communications” of thousands of people across the globe.

At a global level, France’s Emmanuel Macron was targeted in the Pegasus spyware case. As the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron was hacked, the investigation was carried out and later on was published which was directed by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden.  After this case came in front of the whole world, the Pegasus spyware surveillance came into the picture.

If this continues for some more time, it will ruin India’s Democratic values at a global level. As well as this might become a huge technological threat between the different nations around the globe.

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Modi Cabinet 2.0: Young and Dynamic Leadership or Otherwise



Cabinet II News Aur Chai

On the 7th of July, the union government announced the biggest cabinet expansion in the 7 years of NDA rule. The recent expansion increased the size of the Council of Ministers from 53 to 77. About 43 new ministers were sworn in, 15 of which were Cabinet Ministers and 28 Ministers of State (MoS). This is the first cabinet overhaul in the second term of NDA governance.

Experts however claim that the new cabinet expansion is a pre-emptive measure to balance electoral formulae in different states ahead of the 2022 State Assembly elections. It is also conjectured that the reshuffle comes as rectification of prolonged criticism about BJP’s governance in the past 2 years, including the Healthcare management during the Pandemic.

The Performance Paradox

This recent cabinet expansion is a report card of the BJP government’s performance in the last 2 years. Major ministerial changes, such as the resignation and replacement of Dr. Harshvardhan as the Health Minister indicate a confession of their mismanagement of the pandemic.

He has been replaced by Mansukh Mandaviya, a 2 time Rajya Sabha MP who has also been awarded by the UN for initiatives in Women’s healthcare in the past. His appointment as the Health Minister is one of hope for BJP, to change and streamline (a.) the COVID-19 Pandemic response and (b.) BJP’s image in the name of healthcare management.

On the contrary, Anurag Thakur’s promotion from MoS Finance to a Cabinet Minister defies all logical explanations for awarding performance. Not only has India’s economic condition worsened under his management, his controversial statements like “Desh ke Gadaaro ko…” do not present a strong case for him. His appointment is a political investment by BJP in Himachal Pradesh’s state elections next year which happens to be Thakur’s home state.

Similarly, Sitharaman’s finance ministry has remained untouched, after historical mismanagement of our Finance capabilities. All of this reflects a selective approach adopted by BJP, which is one of political hesitation and hyperopic ignorance.

BJP’s Political Calculator

Apart from the ‘punishment’ narrative, the new cabinet expansion has also given an insight into BJP’s political planning.  This expansion has incorporated key leaders from several states that go to elections next year. Moreover, it has also been carefully planned to cover the losses BJP has incurred in the past two years.

As a reward for dismantling the elected Madhya Pradesh government and tipping scales in BJP’s favor, Jyotiraditya Scindia was appointed as the Cabinet Minister for Civil Aviation (a post held by his father as well in ’91) almost after 3 years.

On the contrary, Pashupati Kumar Paras got an early reward for breaking down Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) representation in Lok Sabha. He was appointed as the Union Minister for Food Processing, after the attempted coup on Chirag Paswan’s leadership.

Sarbananda Sonowal, who was replaced by Himanta Biswa Sharma as the Chief Minister of Assam after the fresh elections, was also awarded a berth in the Cabinet. It is conjectured that this development was in talks ever since Himanta Biswa Sharma was chosen as the CM.

As the Uttar Pradesh elections near, BJP also made sure to improve representation from the state. Major appointments such as Niranjan Jyoti (MoS Food Processing), Anupriya Patel (Mos Commerce and Industry), and Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma (MoS MSME) were made majorly because of their heavy support base in UP.

Following the same lead, Ajay Bhatt from Uttarakhand was appointed as MoS Defence and Tourism. As seen earlier, BJP has made major organizational changes in Uttarakhand which goes to elections next year.

Some Positives

In the mirage of calculated placements and image reconstruction, BJP has hit a few rights with this organizational change. The new cabinet includes a maximum number of women to have ever served in a Union Cabinet, a first in a nation with largely patriarchal tendencies.

The cabinet has also tried to focus on bringing people with commendable background experience and education on board. Ashwini Vaishnav, former IAS and an alumnus of Wharton School have been given major ministries such as Railways, Communications, and IT. Similarly, Anupriya Patel who has been given the Commerce and Industry as an MoS has also served as an educator at Amity University.

Moreover, the diffused reliance on regional strength has become the overarching theme in this cabinet reshuffle. Even though the ruling party intends to balance the voter dynamics, this regional unity has become something to watch out for.

Yet, the big story remains the ouster of major politicians who have served loyally and faithfully to this government. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Jaavedkar, and Dr. Harshvardhan are major losers in this dynamic reshuffle. While the current government has tried to modernize the leaders of this nation, it has set a new precedent that loyalty is not the most critical virtue anymore; Election Commission’s schedule is.

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