Average airfares fell by 18% in 2017, says civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu


Average airfares fell by 18% in 2017, says civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu

Mumbai: Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday said that average airfares dropped by 18 per cent in 2017, while the number of passengers flown by the domestic carriers recorded a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19 per cent in FY18 over FY14.

In a series of tweets, with hashtag #SaafNiyatSahiVikas (Clean intent, right development), Prabhu also said that his ministry is working on a blueprint for the domestic production of aircrafts under the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme. “Average airfares fell by 18% in 2017 over average airfare in 2015, making air travel more affordable for everyone,” he said in a tweet.

“Indian scheduled airlines carried more than 12 cr domestic passengers during FY18 as against 6.1 cr in FY14, recording growth of 19% CAGR. Strategic policies resulting in enabling more Indians to fly than ever before,” another tweet said. The Modi government had launched the slogan ‘Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas’ on its fourth anniversary on May 26, listing out its various achievements in a range of areas. Significantly, the country registered a double-digit growth in air passenger traffic for the 44th consecutive month at 26.05 per cent in April, on the back of low airfares and capacity addition by domestic airlines.


Over the last two years, airfares have remained flat, while fuel prices have doubled, Jet Airways chief executive officer Vinay Dube had recently said. The civil aviation minister in another tweet said that, “Comprehensive aviation capacity expansion program NABH NIRMAN has been envisaged to cater to one billion air passengers over the next decade.” Under NABH (NextGen Airports for Bharat) Nirman initiative, announced in the 2018-19 Union budget, the government plans to expand airport capacity by more than five times to handle a billion trips a year.

Suresh Prabhu asks Airbus to ‘Make in India’

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu has asked aerospace major Airbus to manufacture aircraft in India. According to the minister, who also holds the charge of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, a “roadmap” for the same will be worked out. “Visited the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France. Growing Indian aviation sector, stress on regional connectivity leading to more demand for aircrafts. It is also an opportunity for global aircraft manufacturers,” the minister tweeted. “Linking this opportunity with Make In India will lead to more job creation in India while creating win-win for both sides. Impressed upon them to Make In India. We will work on a roadmap.”




Indian Railways join hands with road Ministry to construct elevated rail line along Mumbai-Nagpur expressway


Indian Railways join hands with road Ministry to construct elevated rail line along Mumbai-Nagpur expressway

New Delhi: Indian Railways has joined hands with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to lay a rail line along the proposed expressway between Mumbai and Nagpur — a first such coordinated move.

According to a study, travel time will be drastically reduced for both road and train travellers if the two projects are integrated. The expressway will be fully access-controlled while the elevated rail track will ensure an uninterrupted high-speed train journey. The elevated rail line could be built in the middle or along the proposed 800 km expressway depending on the ground situation, according to a feasibility report.

The official said that twin tunnels and bridges can also be constructed for navigating rivers and hilly areas in a coordinated manner. Both arms of the government will work together to put the project on the fast track. The Spanish consultant Ineco conducted the feasibility study on constructing the high-speed rail line along the proposed Expressway and the reports were positive, a senior Railway Ministry official told IANS.


Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, which is already acquiring land for the proposed expressway, will keep the rail project in mind, he added. Land acquisition is a serious problem and many rail projects, including the ambitious Dedicated Freight Corridor, have been delayed due to land-related issues. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor is also facing a similar problem.

Incidentally, the improved road network in the country has taken a toll on the Railways’ business on shorter routes and the national transporter is making a concerted effort to wean away goods and passenger traffic from roads and increase its share. “It’s a new way of executing the project faster, as the combined efforts to acquire land will ease a major burden on both ministries and pave the way for speedy execution,” the official said. The Mumbai-Nagpur section is part of the proposed high speed rail corridor between Howrah and Mumbai, the diamond quadrilateral rail project.




Restrictions imposed in parts of Srinagar to maintain law and order


Restrictions imposed in parts of Srinagar to maintain law and order

Srinagar: Authorities today imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in the wake of the death of a youth who was allegedly hit by a security forces vehicle during clashes between protestors and forces.

Curfew and restrictions have been imposed in seven police station areas of the city, a police official said. He said curfew has been imposed in the Nowhatta area of the city, while restrictions under Section 144 CrPc were in force in Rainawari, Safakadal, Khanyar, MR Gunj, Maisuma and Kralkhud police station areas of Srinagar.

The curbs have been imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order. The separatists had called a strike across Kashmir today to protest against the recent civilian killings.


Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments in Srinagar were shut, while public transport was off the roads, the official said. However, he said private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying in the areas where there were no restrictions.

Private schools were shut in the city, the official said. He said similar reports of strike being observed were received from other district headquarters of the Valley. The authorities have also suspended mobile internet services in Srinagar and Budgam districts while the network speed has been reduced in four districts of south Kashmir. Train services in the Valley have also been suspended for the day.

A youth – Kasier Bhat – who was injured after he was allegedly hit by a security forces vehicle during clashes between protestors and forces in the Nowhatta area of the city yesterday, died at a hospital today, police said.




Orchid named after PM Narendra Modi in Singapore


Orchid named after PM Narendra Modi in Singapore

Singapore: An orchid was named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mark his visit to the National Orchid Garden of Singapore today. Modi is here on a three-day visit. “Dendrobrium Narendra Modi – an orchid named after PM @narendramodi on the occasion of his visit to the National Orchid Garden in Singapore,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

“A strong and robust tropical orchid which produces upright inflorences up to 38 cm long with 14-20 well-arranged flowers,” he said. The distinguished and well twisted petals of the orchid are mahogany, while sepals are reddish brown and lined with a fine margin. They are beautifully complimented with an attractive dark purple lip.

Later, the prime minister visited  Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple Sri Mariamman and participated in prayers. “Reinforcing our strong cultural connect, PM @narendramodi visited the Mariamman Temple,” Kumar said. Built in 1827, the temple was constructed for worship by immigrants from the Nagapatnam and Cuddalore districts of South India. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, known for her power in curing epidemic illnesses and diseases. The temple is located in the heart of Chinatown.




Congress-JD(S) alliance to fight 2019 general elections together


Congress-JD(S) alliance to fight 2019 general elections together

Bangalore (Karnataka): Congress leader KC Venugopal on Friday confirmed that Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) will be fighting the 2019 general elections together as a pre-poll alliance.

Venugopal, who was addressing a press conference along with Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on cabinet expansion and portfolio allocation in Karnataka said, “Congress and JDS will fight the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as part of the alliance.” Speaking about the cabinet expansion and portfolio allocation, he said, “We(Congress-JDS) have come to a conclusion regarding cabinet expansion and portfolio allocation.” He further informed that JD(S) will hold the finance ministry, while the home department and the Bengaluru city development department went to the Congress.

The Congress got the portfolios of 22 ministries including Home, Irrigation, Health, Agriculture and Women Child Welfare, while 12 ministries, including Finance & Excise, PWD, Education, Tourism and Transport went to JD(S). Venugopal further said the rest of the departments would be decided by the Chief Minister in consultation with Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara.


Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Minister said that cabinet expansion will take place on June 6. “Today we (Congress-JDS) have decided the portfolios and henceforth on June 6 there is a Cabinet expansion after which we will definitely have good governance,”: Parameshwara told media. The Congress and JD(S) had been at the loggerheads over portfolio allocation ever since Kumaraswamy passed floor test on May 25, two days after his swearing-in on May 23.




Himachal Pradesh: Japanese woman raped by taxi driver in Kullu


Himachal Pradesh: Japanese woman raped by taxi driver in Kullu

Kullu (Himachal Pradesh): A Japanese lady was allegedly raped by a taxi driver in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu, police said on Friday. Meanwhile, the police has registered a case and arrested a person in the connection. “Case has been registered and one person also arrested. Victim has been sent for the medical test,” said Superintendent of Police, Kullu, Shalini Agnihotri. “As per the victim the accused is a taxi driver. Further investigation underway,” she added.




PM Narendra Modi accorded ceremonial welcome at Singapore


PM Narendra Modi accorded ceremonial welcome at Singapore

Singapore City: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was accorded ceremonial welcome at Istana, the official residence of the President of the Republic of Singapore on Friday. Prime Minister Modi called on Singapore President Halimah Yacob.

Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong was also present during the event. Prime Minister Modi and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong will be inking and exchange of MoUs and joint press statements. After the joint presser, Prime Minister Lee will host an official lunch in honour of Prime Minister Modi.

Prime Minister Modi will next visit the Nanyang Technical University, which is ranked the best technological university and is considered a leading centre for research in Artificial Intelligence (AI). He will interact with the president and the board members of the university.


Following this, Prime Minister Modi will deliver the keynote address of the Shangri-La Dialogue, which will be the first address by an Indian Prime Minister. Prime Minister Modi landed in Singapore on Thursday, where he received a rousing welcome from the crowd, most of them Indian, as he reached Hotel Fullerton on arriving in Singapore.

A range of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Singapore in the presence of the heads of various conglomerates during the event at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre in Singapore. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the business-cum-community event named ‘Anushasanam’, where various heads of both Indian and Indonesian companies were present.

A total of 14 Business to Business and Business to Government were signed in the event. B & B2G documents were announced in the event. A project between Tata Education and Development Trust and ITE Education Services Singapore was introduced in the event as part of a number of Indian institutes of skills will be set up.

While promoting the Make In India initiative Singapore and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) and Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

Further another project between National Skill Development Center of India (NSDC) and National University of Singapore was launched to focus on developing skills in future. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between NSDC, Singapore Polytechnic, and Temasek Foundation International to establish trainer and assessor academies in India.

Another MoU was signed between SynchroServe Global Solutions and Skills SG venture for skill training. Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) signed a MoU for wastewater management and recycling in the presence of CII Director -General Chandrajeet Banerjee and SCE’s CEO Kong Wy Mun. CII signed another MoU with Singapore Business Federation on creating family business networks and training family businesses.

Further, a statement of Intent was signed between NITI Aayog and Pan IIM Alumni Association (PIIMA), IIT Alumni Association of Singapore (IITAAS), The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE), Data Security Council of India (DSCI) , and The Indian School of Business Alumni Association – Singapore Chapter (ISBAA) to support India’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem on supporting India’s innovation and entrepreneurship and promoting India’s efforts towards innovation abroad.

A MoU was signed between Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Food Industry Asia (FIA) for cooperation in food processing, safety, and capacity-building. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and, Singapore Space Technology Association, (SSTA) signed a MoU for commercial collaboration in the space sector and the development of the Singapore space industry.

The Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) and Asian Competitiveness Institute (ACI), LKY of Public Policy signed a MoU for joint research on competitiveness assessments and public policy. Further, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Enterprise Singapore Board (ES) signed a MoU to support investments by Singapore skills training providers in India.

A MoU was signed between Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Singapore Business Federation (SBF) on business exposure in India and Singapore. Finally, CII signed a MoU with WateROAM on rural water solutions in India (providing young Singapore start-ups opportunities in India.) Before Singapore, Prime Minister visited Indonesia and Malaysia in a bid to enhance India’s relations and engagements with the three countries, who are members of the ASEAN. In Indonesia, 15 MoUs between the two countries were signed and in Kuala Lampur, he met with the newly appointed Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Bin Mohamad.




Pravin Togadia’s associate offers Rs 5 lakh reward to thrash Salman Khan


Pravin Togadia’s associate offers Rs 5 lakh reward to thrash Salman Khan

Agra (Uttar Pradesh): Govind Parashar, the Agra unit chief of ‘Hindu Hi Aage’ outfit, has declared a reward of Rs five lakh for anyone who thrases Bollywood actor Salman Khan. Parashar, who is also a close associate of former international working president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad Pravin Togadia, has accused the actor of hurting the ‘Hindu sentiments’ by naming a movie relapsed under the banner of his production house as ‘Loveratri’, which will be released during Navaratri.

‘Loveratri’ features Salman’s brother-in-law Aayush Sharma in the lead role. “Whoever will thrash Salman, he will be rewarded with Rs five lakhs and a person who will vandalise the set of the movie will get Rs two lakhs,” Parashar said. He also threatened to vandalise the theater that releases the movie. “The owner will be responsible for the destruction of the movie hall,” Prasar said. The workers of the organisation also staged a protest against the movie and burnt the picture of the actor on the streets of Agra.




Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll: Security being stepped up for bypoll


Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll: Security being stepped up for bypoll

Muzaffarnagar: Ahead of the May 28 Lok Sabha bypoll in Kairana, authorities have tightened security and are taking other steps to ensure a fair election, a police official has said. The district authorities have divided the Uttar Pradesh constituency into 14 zones and 143 sectors, the official said.

He said 51 companies of central paramilitary forces would be deployed for the poll. Out of these, 26 would be stationed in Shamli district and 25 in Saharanpur district, the official said. The Kairana Lok Sabha seat comprises five assembly segments: Nakur, Gangoh, Kairana, Thana Bhawan and Shamli.

The official said state boundaries touching Kairana would also be sealed ahead of the poll. The Lok Sabha constituency fell vacant after the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh, whose daughter Mriganka Singh is now the party’s candidate. She is fighting Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Tabassum Hasan, who is supported by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. A bypoll will also be held for the Noorpur assembly constituency in the state on the same day.




Jammu and Kashmir: Massive forest fire breaks out in Rajouri


Jammu and Kashmir: Massive forest fire breaks out in Rajouri

Rajouri (Jammu & Kashmir): A massive fire broke out in a forest in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri on Friday. Locals said that the situation was out of control as the fire was spreading rapidly, adding that even the officials were finding it difficult to contain the fire.

“Officials are working to control the fire, but it is difficult to do so as no fire tenders can reach here,” locals said. This comes merely two days after Indian Air Force helicopters doused a forest fire that broke out in Trikuta Hills of Katra district, using under-slung Bambi buckets. According to forest department officials, the soaring temperature and the lack of rainfall are the main reason behind the rise in the incidents of forest fire.




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