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India to contribute Rs 4,500 crore for Bhutan’s 12th Five-Year Plan



New Delhi, Dec 28: India on Friday announced that it will contribute Rs 4,500 crore to Bhutan’s 12th Five-Year Plan following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering here as the two sides also reviewed the progress of various hydro-power projects in the Himalayan kingdom.

“I have assured the Prime Minister that India will continue to play the role of a trusted friend and partner in Bhutan’s development,” Modi said in a joint address to the media with Tshering following the meeting.

“India will make a contribution of Rs 4,500 crore for Bhutan’s 12th Five-Year Plan,” he said.

“This contribution will be made according to Bhutan’s needs and priorities.”

Bhutan’s 12th Five-Year Plan runs from 2018 to 2023.

Stating that Tshering described his “Narrowing the Gap” vision in detail during their, Modi said that this matched his “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” (Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth) vision.

He said that development of hydro-power projects is an important part of the long history of India’s aid to Bhutan.

“Today we reviewed our aid for all related projects in this important sector,” Modi said.

Stating that that work on the 720-MW Mangdechhu hydro-power project in Bhutan will be completed soon, he said that both sides have also agreed on the electricity tariff rates from this project.

India is a leading development aid partner for Bhutan. There are a number of institutional mechanisms between India and Bhutan in areas like security, border management, trade, economy, hydroelectricity, development cooperation and water resources.

New Delhi has already set up three hydro-power projects in Bhutan with a total capacity of 1,416 MW, which are operational. About three-fourth of the power generated is exported to India and the rest is used for domestic consumption.

“Work on other (hydro-power) projects are also progressing satisfactorily,” Modi said, adding that both sides sought to add momentum to all such projects.

Stating that space science is a new area of cooperation between the two countries, he said that a ground station will be soon be developed in Bhutan by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to reap the benefits of the South Asian Satellite.

“Once completed, this will help in weather information, tele-medicine and disaster relief work in remote areas of Bhutan,” he stated.

Expressing his gratitude at Bhutan’s decision to introduce the India-launched RuPay cards soon, the Indian Prime Minister said that this will greatly boost people-to-people ties between the two countries.

On his part, Tshering said that the main aim of his visit, taking place on the golden-jubilee year of India-Bhutan diplomatic ties, is to take the bilateral relationship to much greater heights.

“We are very happy that Prime Minister Modi is personally committed to be with us, to support us and in that light we all heard that the government of India has again extended full support for our 12th Five-Year Plan,” he said.

He said that this will also help traders in Bhutan who have been affected by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that has been introduced in India.

Pointing out that hydro-power is the main source of revenue for Bhutan, Tshering appreciated India’s support during the negotiations for tariff of the Mangdechhu project and expressed the hope that work on the 2,560-MW Sunkosh project will start soon.

He also invited Modi to visit Bhutan and inaugurate the Mangdechhu project that will be completed in a few months.

Earlier in the day, Tshering was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also called on the visiting dignitary.

Tshering arrived here on Friday on a three-day visit to India, his first official trip abroad after assuming office in October.

Tshering’s Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) party, formed in 2013, won 30 of the 47 National Assembly seats in the elections in the Himalayan kingdom held in October.

The country of 800,000 people, located between India and China, has chosen a different party to rule at each election since the end of absolute monarchy in 2008.



AAP will Support Congress if Next PM is From Grand Old Party: Amanatullah Khan



Amanatullah Khan

New Delhi, Jan 23: Openly announcing support for Rahul Gandhi in 2019, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan on Wednesday said that the party would extend support to the grand old party as there is much likelihood that the next Prime Minister would be from the Congress .

“Abhi bahar mujhse koi keh raha tha ki log keh rahe hain ki Congress ko vote isliye denge kyunki Pradhanmantri unka banega, hum ye keh rahe hain ki agar Pradhanmantri unka hi bana toh hum bhi usey support kar denge,” Khan said indicating that 2019 is Modi vs Rahul Gandhi.

The major statement by AAP’s Amanatullah Khan was made in the presence of Chief Arvind Kejriwal at the Delhi Waqf Board meeting.

The chairman of the board, urged the Imams of the city mosques to support the AAP and said, “People are saying they will vote for the Congress because the next prime minister will be from that party.

Muslim voters should elect AAP in Delhi and if Congress wins at the Centre, “it will draw our support”, he said.

Kejriwal also said that his party will support anyone except Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

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INA veterans to march in Republic day parade



New Delhi: The Indian Air Force Marching Contingent on Rajpath during Republic Day Parade 2018

New Delhi, Jan 23 : For the first time, four veterans from the Indian National Army (INA) of Netaji Subhash Chadra Bose will take part in the Republic Day parade on Rajpath.

The move is considered as an unprecedented honor for freedom fighters and the acknowlegmentof the contribution of INA in the Indian independence

According to the report, the veterans- Parmanand, Lalit Ram, Hira Singh and Bhagmal. The four are aged 95 plus.
The four veterans, who fought World War II, will be seated in jeeps that will march past Rajpath during the Republic Day parade.

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Piyush Goyal given temporary charge of Finance



Piyush Goyal

New Delhi, Jan 23 : Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was on Wednesday given charge of Finance Ministry in the absence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who is in the US for medical treatment, apparently ruling out his recuperation in time for the interim budget to be presented on February 1.

Goyal will hold the portfolios of Finance and Corporate Affairs on a temporary basis till the resumption of duties by Jaitley, who has now been made a Minister without portfolio, a Rashtrapati Bhawan communique said.

Jaitley (66) had a kidney transplant in May last year and then too Goyal was put in charge of Finance and Corporate Affairs.

“The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, hereby directed that during the period of indisposition of Arun Jaitley, the portfolios of Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs held by him, be temporarily assigned to Piyush Goyal, in addition to his existing portfolios.

“Further, as advised by the Prime Minister, Arun Jaitley be designated as Minister without portfolio during the period of his indisposition or till such time he is able to resume his work as Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs,” the communique said.

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