Railway safety — listen to the voices from below
Nothing focuses the nation’s collective attention on the Indian Railways as a major accident. The triple train collision at Bahanaga Bazar railway station, near Balasore in Odisha on June 2, which led to the tragic loss of over 280 lives, has evoked all the expected responses from various quarters: calls for the resignation of the Minister in charge of the Railways; collective breast beating and despair over where the Railways are headed; the sudden sprouting of ‘railway experts’ offering explanations as to how the accident occurred and remedial measures to prevent accidents in the future, and comparisons with Railway systems abroad. In short, there is an overwhelming sense of déjà vu.
A multiplicity of inquiries
There are, however, a few unique features about this accident. For the first time ever a Railway Minister not only visited the site of the accident but also chose to remain at the site to oversee relief and restoration work till the lines were restored for traffic. Even more exceptional was the visit of the Prime Minister himself to the site of the accident, perhaps a historical first for the Indian Railways. However, his statement that “instructions have been given to ensure proper and speedy investigation of tragedy and to take prompt and stringent action against those found guilty”, even as a statutory inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety was to begin, gave the impression that it had already been determined that the accident was caused by human agency. The subsequent handing over of the inquiry to the Central Bureau of Investigation is also unprecedented, the reason for which is not readily apparent unless criminal intent is suspected. A “preliminary enquiry” by a committee of senior supervisors even as a statutory inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety was yet to begin is also rather unusual.
A collateral casualty of any major accident is cool and objective analysis of the situation. Emotions and hype tend to take over. While it may seem invidious to take refuge in numbers and statistics in the immediate aftermath of a major accident with a large-scale loss of lives of passengers, there is a need to view the situation objectively if any meaningful corrective steps are to be taken.
Statistics show that over the last two decades, the number of derailments which constitute the majority of accidents has drastically declined from around 350 per year around the turn of the millennium, to 22 in 2021-22. This is a commendable achievement by any standards. The fact that this has been achieved in the context of a nearly threefold increase in freight loading and more than a doubling of passenger traffic lends credence to the conclusion that the overall safety performance of the Railways has improved significantly over the years. The problem with an index such as safety is that all that is required to sully the record is a single major accident. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the beast. Everything about railway safety has been discussed threadbare in a number of committees in the past. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. In all the reports of the various committees, there is perhaps one aspect that has not received sufficient attention. It does not cost much but is perhaps one of the most difficult things to implement.
Safety and the information flow
This concerns the flow of information regarding unsafe practices or situations on a real-time basis. Unlike many other organisations or industries, where the activities or operations are concentrated more or less in a limited area physically (for example, nuclear power plants, steel and chemical plants), the activities of the Railways are spread geographically over a wide area, involving a multiplicity of disciplines (departments) that need to work in close coordination on a real-time basis to ensure the smooth and safe running of trains. In order to ensure uniformity in the compliance of rules and regulations and safety in operations, a large number of codes and manuals have been evolved for different departments over the decades to standardise the procedures as far as possible.
Ever since the inception of the railways in this country, periodic field inspections by authorities at various levels have been one of the main tools for the management to ensure compliance with laid-down procedures and standards of workmanship. Accordingly, every department has evolved a set of schedules for the inspection of various work centres and operational procedures — for every level of the management, from the lowest to the highest. While this system has, by and large, stood the test of time over the decades, it suffers from a few drawbacks, particularly in the context of railway safety.
By its very nature, the “top-down” approach places the onus of detecting deviations from the norm on the higher authorities. It becomes a veritable “cops and robbers” scenario, in which the higher authority looks down on the staff at the cutting-edge level with suspicion and distrust; and, conversely, the staff at the lower levels adopt an attitude of “catch me if you can”. It encourages window dressing and sweeping of problems under the carpet. Transparency and frankness are usually the casualties in such a situation.
This can be counterproductive, particularly in matters that concern railway safety. As is well known, many accidents are the culmination of “near miss” situations, unsafe practices or deviations from the norm over a period of time. Detection and rectification of such deviations at the earliest opportunity can prevent many unsafe situations from developing into serious accidents. While in every case a remedy may not be available, even becoming aware of the shortcomings on a real-time basis can often help the management in avoiding a major disaster.
This is not some idealistic concept. A system called Confidential Incident Reporting and Analysis System (CIRAS) was developed by one of the British universities nearly three decades ago for application on the British Railways in the mid-1990s. The underlying philosophy is to encourage the lower staff to point out deviations on a real-time basis, maintaining the confidentiality of the reporter, and encouraging the expression of frank views. The system, in effect, turns the conventional top down inspection on its head. This is in fact an example of real empowerment of staff.
With the rapid advances in communications and information technology since CIRAS was developed nearly three decades ago, the introduction of a similar reporting system on the Indian Railways should not be difficult.
However, there is a need to sound a note of caution. The success and effectiveness of a CIRAS-like reporting system depends not only on putting in place the physical infrastructure (which is the easier part), but also a total change in the mindset of the management, from the highest to the lower levels, vis-à-vis the staff at the field level. There has to be an attitudinal change from the conventional approach of fault-finding and punishment to a more enlightened ethos of a shared commitment to ensure safety at all levels. The aim should be to correct, not punish. Listen to the voices from below and act. Effecting this change is not easy.
Improving safety and sustaining that improvement involves unremitting drudgery and hard work 24X7, 365 days, year after year — an unglamorous endeavour, all for achieving a non event. It is not spectacular or attention grabbing like the introduction of shiny trains or the commissioning of impressive station buildings. Therein lays the real challenge of sustaining safety on the Railways.
A couple of thoughts in conclusion. Perhaps it is time to have a serious rethink on the recently introduced Indian Railways Management Service (IRMS) scheme, which is bound to destroy whatever loyalty and sense of “ownership” that exists towards a particular discipline (department) amongst the management cadre. That bodes ill for safety management on the Railways. It is perhaps also time to revert to the earlier system of having a full-time Cabinet Minister for the Railways. Unprecedented levels of investments at a time when the organisation is going through a challenging phase of transformation amidst many external challenges requires undivided attention at the highest policy-making level.
In matters of railway safety, there has to be an attitudinal change — from the conventional approach of fault-finding and punishment to one of shared commitment to ensure complete safety at all levels.
Facts about the News
Commission of Railway Safety (CRS)
- CRS is a government body that acts as the railway safety authority in the country.
- It deals with matters related to safety of rail travel and operations, among some other statutory functions – inspectorial, investigatory, and advisory – as laid down in the Railways Act, 1989.
- It is Headquartered in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) instead of the Ministry of Railways.
- The reason behind this is to keep the CRS insulated from the influence of the country’s railway establishment and prevent conflicts of interest.
Note- In May 1941, the Railway Inspectorate was separated from the Railway Board and placed under the control of the Department of Posts and Air at that time.
Later in 1961, the Inspectorate was renamed as CRS (Commissioner of Railway Safety), and it has been under the authority of the central ministry responsible for civil aviation in India ever since.
A.H.L. Mount committee
- In 1939, a committee was appointed by the Government of India to review the railway safety situation in India and suggest improvements. The committee was headed by A.H.L. Mount, who was the chief inspecting officer of the British Railways and had extensive experience in railway safety matters.
- The committee submitted its report in 1940, in which it strongly recommended that the Railway Inspectorate should be separated from the Railway Board and made an independent authority. The committee argued that this would eliminate the anomaly and conflict of interest of the Railway Board being both the inspecting as well as the executive authority for railway operations in India.
Rakesh Mohan Committee (National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTPDC)), 2010
The Government of India set up the NTDPC in the year 2010, under the chairmanship of Dr. Rakesh Mohan. NTDPC aimed to provide a long-term transport policy for the country up to the year 2029-30.
1. Railway management and operations should be separated from the government. In the future, the Ministry of Railways should be limited to policymaking.
2. A new Railways Regulatory Authority should be established to oversee comprehensive regulation, including tariff setting.
3. The Indian Railway Corporation (IRC) (to be established as a statutory corporation) should be in charge of management and operations.
4. The accounting system will be redesigned to conform to Indian GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).
5.Indian Railways should take initiatives to gain a large proportion of the fast-growing FMCG, Consumer durable and Information Technology, containerized goods, and other areas where its presence is nil, such as autos.
6. passenger service strategy should involve increasing supply, shifting attention to long-distance and inter-city transportation, increasing speed, and developing select High-Speed Rail corridors.
7.Improved connectivity to industry clusters and major ports based on present and expected traffic levels.
8.Construction of 15-20 logistics parks in major network centres such as Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi NCR
9.Priority is given to the construction of six Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs).
10.Creation of the National Board for Rail Safety and the Railway Research and Development Council.
11.Establishing a National Railway Construction Authority, partially autonomous of the Ministry of Railways, to hasten project delivery.
12.Multiple railway services and management cadres must be rationalized and consolidated into fewer services.
Sam Pitroda Advisory Committee (2012)
1.The committee emphasised the implementation of advanced technologies to modernise Indian Railways. This involved deploying advanced safety technology such as train protection and warning systems, as well as modern signalling and train control systems such as the European Train Control System (ETCS).
2.To improve the efficiency of freight transportation, the committee advocated the creation of dedicated freight corridors. These corridors would provide goods trains with private tracks, easing congestion on existing lines and allowing for speedier transportation of commodities.
3.To provide faster and more comfortable passenger transit, the committee advocated the building of high-speed rail networks in specific routes. It suggested researching the potential of introducing high-speed trains capable of speeds exceeding 250 km/h.
Kakodkar Committee (2012)
1.To improve safety, the committee suggested that tracks and signalling systems be modernised. This includes replacing obsolete signalling equipment with contemporary, computer-based systems, deploying automated track inspection systems, and applying advanced track maintenance and renewal technologies.
2.The committee emphasised the significance of safety training for railway personnel, such as train drivers, station personnel, and maintenance workers. It advocated for the construction of specific training institutes as well as the inclusion of safety training programmes in the curriculum.
3.The committee recommended that maintenance practices be improved by implementing preventive maintenance measures, performing regular inspections, and addressing maintenance-related concerns as soon as possible. It also advocated for the use of technology for asset condition monitoring and predictive maintenance.
4.The committee advocated the establishment of an independent safety regulatory authority to provide effective oversight and regulation of safety measures. This authority would be in charge of establishing safety standards, performing audits, and enforcing compliance.
High-Level Safety Review Committee of Anil Kakodkar (2012)
This committee was formed to examine Indian Railways’ safety practices. Its recommendations were targeted at improving safety measures and preventing accidents. Some key proposals included:
1.Adoption of sophisticated signalling and train protection systems to ensure train safety.
2.Improving track infrastructure, particularly frequent track inspection and maintenance, can reduce derailments.
3.Implementing train collision avoidance technologies to prevent collision-related accidents.
4.Strengthening railway safety training programmes, with a focus on hazard detection, emergency response, and best practices.
5.Improving the organization’s safety culture and fostering a proactive approach to safety management.
Dinesh Trivedi Committee (2012)
This committee was entrusted with investigating the impact of the fuel price hike on the financial position of Indian Railways. The recommendations are as follows:
1.The committee recommended a fare increase to generate additional money for the railways. It suggested a small rise in passenger rates across all classes and categories. The fare change aims to lower the railways’ subsidy load and bring charges closer to cost recovery levels.
2.The committee proposed rationalising freight charges to make them more competitive and appealing to freight customers. It advocated a thorough examination of freight prices, taking into account factors such as distance, commodity type, and market demand. The goal was to maximise freight earnings while also attracting greater freight traffic to the railways.
Bibek Debroy Committee (2015)
1.The committee proposed that Indian Railways unbundle several services such as infrastructure management, train operations, and station management. This would enable specialisation and increased efficiency.
2.The committee advocated the establishment of an independent regulator to oversee the railway sector. The regulator would be in charge of determining fares, maintaining competition, controlling access to railway assets, and assessing service quality.
3.The committee recommended that commercial accounting practices be implemented to increase openness in financial reporting and decision-making. This would aid in analysing project financial viability, determining cost structures, and supporting efficient resource allocation.
4.The committee stressed the need of using technology to improve operations and customer service. Implementing online ticketing systems, introducing e-ticketing and mobile ticketing choices, and utilising information technology for real-time train tracking and passenger information systems are all part of this.
The path to a new and imminent U.S.-Iran nuclear deal
Hints of interactions between American and Iranian diplomats over the last few months finally became public on June 14 when the Foreign Minister of the Sultanate of Oman, Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, told the media that Iran and the United States were finalising a deal on the release of American prisoners in Iran, and that there was “seriousness” on the part of the two countries to come to a fresh deal on the nuclear issue. An Iranian spokesperson also confirmed that indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran had taken place in Muscat. U.S. interactions with Iran began last year when the U.S. Special Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, met the Iranian Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. After that, the White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Brett McGurk, visited Oman in February, March and May, where he met Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator on the nuclear issue, Ali Bagheri-Kani, in “proximity” talks.
What the nuclear arrangement entails
Following Mr. McGurk’s last visit in May, the Omani ruler, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, visited Tehran on May 28-29. He was perhaps carrying a message from the U.S. on a new agreement on the nuclear issue for Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This was in line with the earlier role played by Oman in the run-up to the nuclear agreement in 2015.
Ayatollah Khamenei then addressed this matter publicly on June 11. He did not call for the revival of the earlier agreement but sought a new one which would ensure that Iran’s nuclear infrastructure remained in place; he affirmed that Iran had no interest in a nuclear weapon and would cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.
According to media reports, the proposed agreement, expected to be finalised in a few weeks, will be informal and unwritten — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called it a “mini-agreement”, while Iranian officials see it as a “political ceasefire”. Under the arrangement, Iran will freeze its nuclear enrichment at 60%; it will not attack U.S. military contractors in Syria and Iraq, will improve cooperation with the IAEA’s inspectors, and will not provide ballistic missiles to Russia. Iran will also release the three U.S. citizens in its custody.
In return, the U.S. has pledged to avoid new harsh sanctions on Iran, not to seize oil tankers in the Gulf waters, and not pursue anti-Iran resolutions in the United Nations. The U.S. is also expected to defreeze Iran’s bank accounts of about $80 billion in various banks outside the country, and will immediately allow the release of $7 billion in South Korea and $2.7 billion in Iraq.
Since this is an unwritten agreement, the Joe Biden administration will not have to seek Congressional approval. And, since it does not call for easing of existing U.S. sanctions, the Republicans will find it difficult to attack the deal in the forthcoming presidential campaign.
The U.S. has long recognised that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal) in its original form could not be revived. In the U.S., there were now demands for a broader agreement that would address Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, its “malign” role in the region and support for terrorism, matters on which there would be no headway with Iran. U.S. officials had also recognised that sanctions were no longer effective in influencing Iran’s responses to American pressures.
Thus, what the proposed arrangement focuses on are widespread concerns relating to Iran’s uranium enrichment programme that had reached 84% and its stockpile of thousands of installed centrifuges. The U.S. military had estimated that Iran was just “several months” from a weapon, while Israeli sources thought it was one to two years away. Iran’s progress towards a weapon had led to real concerns about a region-wide conflagration as Israel, with or without the Americans, was expected to take pre-emptive military action.
Another positive implication from the U.S. and Israeli perspective is that the deal with Iran could end Saudi Arabia’s own nuclear aspirations.
What could happen on the ground
Mr. Netanyahu has said that Israel will not be bound by this arrangement. This could be posturing: with their anti-democratic initiatives, both the Prime Minister and his government have much reduced clout in Washington today and are unlikely to garner backing to overturn the deal.
Iran is entering into the arrangement with no illusion that it will have a long-term value; at best, it will survive the present Biden administration. But it will help to release billions of dollars that Iran could use to ameliorate the dire living conditions of millions of its citizens. It will also enable it to continue selling some of its oil in world markets; the U.S. has so far turned a blind eye to these sales to moderate oil prices to the extent possible.
Regionally, the arrangement will facilitate further improvement in Iran’s ties with Saudi Arabia, with the prospect of the kingdom’s normalisation of relations with Israel being placed firmly on the back burner. Iran also retains the option of continuing to expand its political and economic ties with Russia and China.
A piquant thought: if the “good faith” arrangement holds through this administration, it could prepare the ground for serious U.S.-Iran engagement on other matters of common concern in Mr. Biden’s second term — assuming, of course, that Donald Trump is not then residing in the White House.
Tehran is entering into the arrangement with no illusion that it will have a long-term value as, at best, it will survive the present Biden administration.
Facts about the News
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
- The deal is also known as 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.
- The JCPOA was the result of prolonged negotiations from 2013 and 2015 between Iran and P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States + Germany).
- Under the deal, Iran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.
- Iran also agreed to implement a protocol that would allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to access its nuclear sites to ensure Iran would not be able to develop nuclear weapons in secret.
- While the West agreed to lift sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear proliferation, other sanctions addressing alleged abuses of human rights and Iran’s ballistic missile programme remained in place.
- The US committed to lifting sanctions on oil exports, but continued to restrict financial transactions, which have deterred international trade with Iran.
- Nuclear restrictions- The accord limits the numbers and types of centrifuges, the level of enrichment, as well as the size of the stockpile of enriched uranium that Iran can hold on.
- Monitoring and verification- Iran agreed to allow inspectors from IAEA, access to its nuclear facilities and to undeclared sites.
- Sanctions relief- The EU, United Nations, and United States all committed to lifting their nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.
- Weapons embargo- The parties agreed to lift an existing UN ban on Iran’s transfer of conventional weapons and ballistic missiles after 5 years if IAEA certifies that Iran is only engaged in civilian nuclear activity.
- USA’s pullout- Later, Trump administration pulled out from the deal in May 2018 and exerted maximum pressure on Iran to renegotiate through its sanctions.
Warming oceans make it harder to forecast cyclones in Arabian Sea
People wade through a flooded area in Jakhau in Gujarat on Friday, a day after Cyclone Biparjoy made landfall. VIJAY SONEJI
Experts say cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, being far more frequent, were better understood; Arabian Sea has seen fewer cyclones historically because of relatively colder sea surface temperatures, but now it is heating up more than average
While the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has over the years been largely accurate in forecasting the direction and intensity of cyclones into the country, data suggest that it takes more time for the agency to accurately forecast the trajectory of storms that originate in the Arabian Sea, than those in the Bay of Bengal.
Historically, most cyclones around India tend to originate in the Bay of Bengal but global warming, as scientists have been pointing out for a while now, is causing the Arabian Sea to be heating up more than average and whetting greater — and increasingly stronger — cyclones like Biparjoy, which barrelled into Gujarat late Thursday.
On the evening of June 9, Biparjoy was situated about 700 km west of Goa. As per the IMD forecast, it was to move away from the Gujarat coast to dissipate into the sea without reaching land in either Kutch, Gujarat or Pakistan. Only on June 11, or four days before Biparjoy commenced landfall, did the IMD first suggest that the storm would strike India.
Contrast this with the most recent storm, Mocha, in the Bay of Bengal. On May 9, the IMD forecast that Mocha, then located in the South Andaman sea, would recurve (sharply change direction) towards the Bangladesh-Myanmar coasts. This was the trajectory that the cyclone largely adhered to when it made landfall on May 14 betweenCox’s Bazaar (Bangladesh) and Sittwe (Myanmar).
Cyclone Yaas in May 2021, Cyclone Mandous in December 2022 and Cyclone Gulab in September 2021 – all major storms in the Bay of Bengal in recent years that made landfall – followed paths predicted by the IMD at least four or more days in advance.
However, the last major cyclonic storm in the Arabian Sea before Biparjoy — Cyclone Tauktae — also threw a surprise. Its direction could be gauged only two days before landfall.
Experts told The Hindu that cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, being far more frequent, were better understood. The Arabian Sea cyclones, historically have been fewer because of relatively colder sea surface temperatures. Nearly 48% of cyclones here never reached land, as opposed to 13% in the Bay of Bengal.
Heat a key factor
“It is the winds in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, called steering winds, that influence the direction and recurving, whereas the heat within the ocean layers determine the strength and duration of cyclones. While the latter is better captured in our (prediction) models, the wind component is not always fully captured in our models,” said M. Ravichandran, Secretary, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the parent organisation of the IMD.
There are factors unique to the Arabian Sea that influence a cyclone’s intensity and movement. “The Arabian Sea has a much deeper — up to 40 metres – layer of warm water compared to the Bay of Bengal. Many times, these sub-surface values aren’t captured in the prediction models and that’s why the strength and speed of cyclones aren’t accurately captured in advance,” said Roxy Mathew Koll of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune.
Nehru library renamed, triggers war of words
The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) Society, an autonomous body under the Government of India, announced on Friday that the institution would be renamed the Prime Ministers Museum and Library Society, setting off a political controversy and a war of words between the Congress and the BJP.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge accused the BJP of trying to wipe out “the history of others as it had no history of its own”, while his counterpart in the BJP, J.P. Nadda, retaliated by saying that the Congress was suffering from “political indigestion, the inability to accept a simple fact that there are leaders from beyond one dynasty who have built our nation”.
‘Wiping out history’
The decision to rename the institution was taken at a meeting of the NMML Society on Thursday, presided over by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the Vice-President of the Society, a statement from the Ministry of Culture said on Friday.
Centre renames Nehru library, invites Cong. ire
It noted that the decision was taken as the NMML Executive Council felt the name should reflect the present activities of the institution which now also “include a ‘Sangrahalaya’ (museum) depicting the collective journey of democracy in Independent India and highlighting the contribution of each Prime Minister in nation-building”.
The meeting saw an acknowledgement of contributions of all Prime Ministers, past and present, and said that to reflect the mission of the Society, to preserve the ideas and legacy of India’s democratic journey, it was felt that renaming it would reflect this purpose.
The political war of words over renaming NMML comes as the BJP continues its attacks on what it terms “dynastic politics”, while the Congress and other Opposition parties accuse the BJP of “dynasticism” of its own. Mr. Kharge tweeted that “such efforts cannot reduce the role he [Nehru] played as the architect of modern India” and the fearless guardian of democracy. Earlier in the day, Congress general secretary (communication) Jairam Ramesh, in a jibe at Prime Minister Modi, said, “Pettiness & Vengeance, thy name is Modi.”
Mr. Nadda, too, posted a series of tweets, stating that the Congress’ criticism of the move was “ironical considering their party’s only contribution is to erase the legacies of all previous PMs to ensure that only the legacy of one family survives”.BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha Neeraj Shekhar, whose father — the late Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar — is also featured in the Museum of Prime Ministers, decried what he termed the “horrible attitude” of the Congress. He tweeted that his father “always worked for national interest” but that the Congress cannot see beyond one dynasty.
Facts about the News
- The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML) is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
- Background: It was established in 1964 in the memory of First Prime Minister (PM) of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964).
- Location: It is located in the Teen Murti House, Delhi (the official residence of the first PM).
- Administration: Prime Minister of India Is the President of the NMML.
- NMML Society: It is responsible for all the key decisions regarding the functioning of the memorial.
Units: It has four major constituents namely –
1.a Memorial Museum,
2.a Library on modern India,
3.a Centre for Contemporary Studies and
The new NMML society members are –
- Ram Bahadur Rai: Former journalist, He is also the chairman of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts,
- Jaishankar: Former Foreign Secretary
- Arnab Goswami:Journalist
- Vinay Sahasrabuddhe:Bharatiya Janata Party MP; also the president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
The term of the nominated members will be up to April 26, 2020, or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
The order comes days after the foundation stone for the “Museum for all Prime Ministers” was laid on the Teen Murti Estate premises despite objections from the Congress.
PM tunes into musical effort to promote use of millets
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning Indian-American singer Falguni Shah for a special song to promote the benefits of millets and their potential to alleviate world hunger.
The ‘Abundance in Millets’ song, performed by singer-songwriter Falguni Shah and her husband and singer Gaurav Shah, is set for release on June 16, across streaming platforms.
The year 2023 has been designated as the ‘International Year of Millets’ after a proposal was brought by India and endorsed by Members of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization governing bodies.
The song will be released in Hindi and English and translated into other regional languages, Ms. Shah said.
Facts about the News
Related Initiatives taken by the Government-
- National Millets Mission (NMM): NMM was launched in 2007 to promote the production and consumption of millets.
- Price Support Scheme (PSS): Provides financial assistance to farmers for the cultivation of millets.
- Development of Value-Added Products: Encourages the production of value-added millet-based products to increase the demand and consumption of millets.
- Promoting Millets in PDS: The government has introduced millets in the Public Distribution System to make it accessible and affordable to the masses.
- Promotion of Organic Farming: The government is promoting organic farming of millets to increase the production and consumption of organic millets.
SOURCE : THE HINDU