Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Keynote address by Prime Minister at Singapore FinTech Festival

Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a voice of influence in the world of finance,Mr. Ravi Menon, Managing Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore, a leading institution in fintech,Tens of thousands of participants from over one hundred countries, 

Namaskar! 

It is a great honour to be the first Head of Government to deliver the keynote address at Singapore Fintech Festival.

This is a tribute to the youth of India with its eyes firmly fixed to the future.

It is an acknowledgement of the financial revolution sweeping through India and transforming the lives of 1.3 billion people.

This is an event of finance and technology and, it is also a festival. 

This is the season of the Indian Festival of Lights – Deepawali. It is celebrated all over the world as a victory of virtue, hope, knowledge and prosperity. The Diwali lights are still on in Singapore.

The Fintech Festival is also a celebration of belief. 

Belief in the spirit of innovation and the power of imagination. 

Belief in the energy of youth and their passion for change. 

Belief in making the world a better place. 

And, it is no surprise that in just its third year, this Festival is already the world’s largest.

Singapore has been a global hub for finance and, it is now taking a leap into the digital future of finance.

It was here, in June this year, that I launched India’s RuPay card and the first international remittance mobile app using India’s world class Unified Payment Interface or UPI.

Today, I will have the honour to launch a global platform to connect fintech firms and financial institutions, beginning with ASEAN and Indian banks and fintech companies.

India and Singapore are also working to connect Indian and ASEAN small and medium enterprises, anchored on an Indian platform, and expand it globally.

Friends, 

I have heard of an advice going around in start-up circles. 

● To increase your Venture Capital or VC funding by 10 percent, tell the investors you run a "platform”, not a regular business.

● If you want to increase your VC funding by 20 percent, tell the investors that you are operating in the "fintech space”.

● But, if you really want the investors to empty their pockets, tell them that you are using "blockchain” .

It tells you of the excitement and promise of emerging technologies to transform the world of finance.

Indeed, history has shown that finance is often the first to embrace new technology and connectivity.

Friends, 

We are in an age of a historic transition brought about by technology. 

From desktop to cloud, from internet to social media, from IT Services to Internet of Things,we have come a long way in a short time. There is daily disruption in businesses.

The character of the global economy is changing. 

Technology is defining competitiveness and power in the new world. 

And, it is creating boundless opportunities to transform lives. 

I had said at the United Nations in 2014 that we have to believe that development and empowerment can spread with the same speed at which Facebook, Twitter or mobile phones have spread.

Across the world, that vision is rapidly changing into reality. 

In India, it has transformed governance and delivery of public services.It has unleashed innovation, hope and opportunities.It has empowered the weak and brought into mainstream those who were on the margins .It has made economic access more democratic.

My government came to office in 2014 with a mission of inclusive development that would touch the lives of every citizen – the weakest in the remotest village.

That mission needed a solid foundation of financial inclusion for all – a task that was not easy in a country of India’s size.

Yet, we wanted to achieve this in months, not years that conventional wisdom suggested.

With the power of fintech and the reach of digital connectivity, we have started a revolution of unprecedented speed and scale.

To begin with financial inclusion has become a reality for 1.3 billion Indians. We have generated more than 1.2 billion biometric identities – called Aadhaar or foundation - in just a few years.

With our Jan DhanYojana, we aimed to give a bank account to every Indian. In three years, we have opened 330 million new bank accounts.These are 330 million sources of identity, dignity and opportunities.

Less than 50 percent of Indians had bank accounts in 2014; now, it is nearly universal.

So today, more than a billion biometric identities, more than a billion bank accounts and more than a billion cell phones give India by far the biggest public infrastructure in the world.

More than Rupees 3.6 lakh crore, or 50 billion dollars of benefits from government have reached the people directly.

No longer must a poor citizen in a remote village travel long distances or pay off middle-men to get her rights.

No longer can fake and duplicate accounts bleed government finances. We have saved over Rupees 80,000 crore, or 12 billion dollars in prevented leakages.

Now, millions who lived on the edge of uncertainty receive insurance in their accounts; and, have access to the security of pension in old age.

A student can get her scholarship directly into her account. No longer will she be lost in end-less paper chase.

Banking has come to doorsteps even in remote villages through 400,000 micro ATMs based on Aadhaar.

And now, this digital infrastructure has helped launch the world's largest healthcare scheme this year. 'Ayushman' will provide affordable health insurance to 500 million Indians.

It has also helped us extend 145 million loans for small entrepreneurs through Mudra scheme. In four years, they amount to Rupees 6.5 lakh crore, or 90 billion dollars. Nearly 75 percent of these loans have gone to women.

Just a few weeks ago, we launched the India Post Payments Bank. Over 150 thousand post offices across India and 300,000 postal service employees are using technology to provide house to house banking.

Of course financial inclusion also needs digital connectivity. 

More than 120,000 village councils in India have already been connected by nearly 300,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables.

Over 300,000 Common Service Centres have brought digital access to villages. They give our farmers better access to land records, credit, insurance, market and the best price. They deliver health services and hygiene products to women.

None of this would have been as effective without the other big change brought about by fintech – the digitisation of payments and transactions in India.

India is a nation of diverse circumstances and challenges.Our solutions must also be diverse.Our digitization is a success because our payment products cater to everyone.

For those with mobile and internet, the BHIM-UPI is the world’s most sophisticated, simpleand seamless platform for payments between accounts, using a virtual payment address.

For those who have a mobile, but no internet, there is U.S.S.D. system in 12 languages.

And, for those who have neither mobile nor internet, there is Aadhar Enabled Payment System, which uses biometrics. And, it has already registered a billion transactions and grown six-fold in two years.

RuPay is bringing payment cards within the reach of all.Over 250 million of these are with those who did not have a bank account 4 years ago.

From cards to QRs and wallets, digital transactions in India are growing rapidly. Today, 128 banks in India are connected to UPI.

Transactions on UPI grew 1500 times in the last 24 months. Every month, the value of transaction is growing by over 30 percent.

But, more than the pace, I am inspired by the opportunities, efficiency, transparency and convenience that digital payment is generating.

A shopkeeper can go online to reduce his inventory and speed up collections. 

For a fruit grower, a farmer or a rural artisan , the markets are direct and closer, earnings are higher,and payments are faster.

A worker collects wages or remits money home quickly without giving up a day’s work.

Every digital payment saves time. It adds to a huge national saving. It is increasing productivity of individuals and our economy.

It also helps improve tax collection and inject fairness in the economy. 

Even more, digital payments are a gateway to a world of possibilities. 

Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence are helping us build a whole range of value added services for people.This includes credit to those with little or no credit history.

Financial inclusion also extends to micro, small and medium enterprises. 

They are all coming on the nation-wide Goods and Services Tax digital network, launched just over a year ago.

Banks are reaching out to them with credit. Alternative lending platforms are offering innovative financing models. They no longer have to look at informal markets for credit at high interest rates.

And, just this month, we committed to approve loans up to Rupees 1 crore, or one 150,000 dollars for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises within 59 minutes - without even visiting a bank. This is driven by an algorithm that uses GST returns, Income Tax returns and bank statements to make credit decisions. In just a few days, 150,000 such enterprises have come on board for loans.

This is the power of fintech to drive enterprise, employment and prosperity. 

Digital technology is introducing transparency and eliminating corruption through innovations such as the Government e-Marketor GEM. It is an integrated platform for purchases by government agencies.

It provides everything – search and comparison, tender, online ordering, contract generation and payment.

It already has 600,000 products.Nearly 30,000 buyer organisations and more than 150,000 sellers and service providers are registered on the platform.

Friends

There is an explosion of fintech innovation and enterprise in India. It has turned India into a leading fintech and Startup nation in the world. The future of fintech and Industry 4.0 is emerging in India.

Our youth are developing apps that are making the dream of paperless, cashless, presence-less, and yet safe and secure, transactions possible for all. That is the wonder of India Stack– simply the largest set of Application Programming Interface in the world.

They are using Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and machine learning to create solutions for banks, regulators and consumers.

And, they are also embracing our nation’s social missions – from health and education to micro credit and insurance.

This enormous talent pool in India benefits from the ecosystem created by initiatives such as Digital India and Startup India, and by supportive policies, incentives and funding programmes.

It also helps that India has the largest data consumption in the world and the cheapest rates for data.And one of the top nations in fintech adoption. So, I say this to all the fintech companies and startups – India is your best destination.

The economies of scale achieved in India by the LED bulb industry allowed this energy efficient technology to become more affordable globally. Likewise, India’s vast market can enable fintech products to achieve scale, reduce risks and costs, and go global.

Friends. 

In short, the Indian story shows six great benefits of fintech: Access ,inclusion; connectivity; ease of living; opportunity; and, accountability.

Across the world, from the Indo-Pacific to Africa to Latin America, we see inspiring stories of extraordinary innovation changing ordinary lives .

But, there is much to be done. 

Our focus should be development of all, through , that is, development of the most marginalised.

We must bring the unbanked 1.7 billion people in the world into the formal financial market.

We must extend the security of insurance and pension to more than a billion workers in the informal sectors worldwide, who still do not have it.

We can use fintech to ensure that no dream remains unfulfilled, and no enterprise remains still born, because of lack of access to finance.

We must make banks and financial institutions more resilient in managing risks,fighting frauds and dealing with disruption of traditional models.

We have to use technology to improve compliance,regulation and supervision, so that innovation flourishes and risks are contained.

We must use fintech tools to combat money laundering and other financial crimes. 

The emerging world of finance will succeed in our inter-connected world when our data and systems are trusted and secure.

We have to make our globally wired system safe from cyber threats. 

We must also ensure that the pace and the push of Fintech work to the advantage of the people, not to their disadvantage; that technology in finance ensures improvement of the human condition through direct contact with the most marginalized.

We also need to enhance awareness of the masses and educate them about the opportunities which inclusive policies and use of technology open up for them.

For this,fintech will need to be not merely a mechanism but a movement. 

And, we have to address the inevitable questions of data ownership and flow, privacy and consent; private and public good; law and ethics.

Finally, we must invest in creating skills for the future. And, be prepared to back ideas and invest for the long term.

Friends. 

Each era is defined by its opportunities and challenges.Each generation has its responsibility to shape future.

This generation will shape the futurein the palm of every hand in the world. 

At no time in history were we blessed with so many possibilities: 

to make opportunities and prosperity a reality in a lifetime, for billions. 

to make the world more humane and equal –between rich and poor, between cities and villages, between hopes and achievements.

Just as India will learn from others, we will share our experience and expertise with the world.

Because,what drives India also holds hope for others. And,what we dream for India is what we also wish for the world.

This is a common journey for all. 

Like the festival of light that calls us to spread light over darkness,hope and happiness over despair,this festival calls us to come together in pursuit of a better future for humanity.

Thank you.

*****
Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Israeli filmmaker Dan Wolman known for Hide and Seek, Tied Hands and An Israeli Love Story, to be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award

Rambo III, Munich and The Dark Knight Rises actor Alon Aboutboul to be the special guest as part of Israeli delegation

Israel to be the Country Focus at IFFI 2018

Ten Israeli films to be screened at IFFI 2018 under the Country Focus section

The Indo-Israeli Co-production Seminar is slated to be held on 22nd November,2018 

Every year IFFI features a Country of Focus that brings out the cinematic excellence and contributions of that particular Country. In the 49th edition of IFFI, the Country of Focus will be Israel. Ten films in collaboration with the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai, have been selected for the country focus package.

The Opening film for the Country Focus Section is ‘The Other Story’ by Avi Nesher. Other films in the section include Footnote, The Other Story, The Bubble, Working Woman, The Unorthodox, Longing, Para Aduma, Redemption, Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema and Waltz with Bashir. 

Popular Israeli actor Alon Aboutboul to be the special guest as part of Israeli delegation

The famous Israeli Actor, Alon Aboutboul, known for his stellar work in Hollywood films including, Rambo III, Munich by Steven Spielberg, Body of Lies by Ridley Scott, London Has Fallen and The Dark Knight Rises, will be the special guest as part of Israel delegation. The veteran actor known for his deep chesty voice, has over the years played many theatre shows, mostly in the Habima Theatre, which included among others: Hamlet, Caviar and Lentils, Blood Brothers, Closer, and Forgiveness.

Some of the popular works of Aboutboul include the Israeli film Shiva (2008), and the American film Body of Liesdirected by Ridley Scott in which he played alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. Aboutboul then went on to star in Yigal Burstein's film Hand of God alongside Moshe Ivgy and Dorit Bar-Or. His performance with Moshe Ivgy earned both of them the Best Actor Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

In addition to this, Aboutboul was awarded the IFFI Best Actor award at the 44th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held in Goa.

Israeli filmmaker Dan Wolman, best known for Hide and Seek, Tied Hands, to be awarded the Lifetime achievement Award

Veteran Israeli filmmaker Dan Wolman is a director and writer, known for his works like Hide and Seek (1980), Tied Hands (2006) and Ben's Biography (2003). Wolman’s films have been presented in Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Shanghai, Goa, Moscow, to name a few and have won awards and prizes the world over. Dan received a ‘Lifetime achievement award’ at Jerusalem International film festival and ‘The Silver Hugo’ award at the Chicago International Film Festival for his unique vision and innovative work. In January 2015 he was awarded the ‘Arik Einstein prize’ for his achievements and contribution to Israeli cinema and culture. In 2016 Dan won ‘The Ophir Life Time Achievement Award’ by the Israeli Film Academy.

Wolman was in Goa earlier in March this year as a part of an art festival held in Panjim where his film, An Israeli Love Story was screened. The 2017 film is a love story set in 1947 - around the time of the formation of Israel.

Dan Wolman was also a part of the jury at the 42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held in Goa in 2011.

In addition to screening the ten chosen films, the Indo-Israeli Co-production Seminar is slated to be held on 22nd November 2018 at the 49th IFFI.

Synopsis of the films selected for the Country Focus package.
Footnote:

Director: Joseph Cedar

The film is a 2011 Israeli drama film written and directed by Joseph Cedar, starring Shlomo Bar'aba and Lior Ashkenazi. The plot revolves around the troubled relationship between a father and son who teach at the Talmud department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The film won the Best Screenplay Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Footnote won nine prizes at the 2011 Ophir Awards, becoming Israel's entry for the 84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. On 18 January 2012, the film was named as one of the nine shortlisted entries for the Oscars.
The Other Story:

Written, Produced and Directed by Avi Nesher

The 2018 film portrays, with a sensitive and loving touch, characters coping with the pain of being in a dysfunctional family, and how this family handles the religious repentance of its daughter. It is a moving, human drama that mirrors the complex Israeli social reality in its darkest corners.

The Other Story will be the opening film of the Country Focus section. The film was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, in addition to being the Opening Film at the Haifa Film Festival earlier this year.
Longing:

Director: Savi Gabizon

Longing is a 2017 Israeli comedy-drama film that takes place primarily in Acre, Israel. It narrates the story of a middle-aged Israeli bachelor who is forced to evaluate his life choices when he discovers an ex-girlfriend had given birth to his son 20 years before.

The film was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. At the 2017 Ophir Awards, Longing had 13 nominations and won for Best Screenplay.
Para Aduma

Director: Tsivia Barkai Yacov

Set in an East Jerusalem neighborhood that's a stone’s throw away from the Old City, Red Cow focuses on the relationship between 16-year-old Benny (Avigayil Koevary) and her devout dad, Yehoshua (Gal Toren). The latter leads a group of Israeli extremists who, as per the film's title, are raising a sacred red heifer they believe will herald the dawn of a new age for Jews, allowing them to return to the Temple Mount, which they have been banned from for so long.

Red Cow is a coming-of-age film that takes place in the days leading up to the assassination of Rabin and depicts the life of Benny, orphaned from mother at birth and the only child of Joshua - a religious, right-wing extremist, in those critical junctures when she is forming her sexual, religious and political awareness.
Redemption

Director: Joseph Madmony, Boaz Yehonatan Yaakov

This 2018 film is the story of Menachem, a former frontman for a rock band, who is now religious, and a father to a six-year-old. When his daughter is diagnosed with cancer, he must find a creative solution to fund the expensive treatments. He reunites his band for one last tour. The journey to save his daughter exposes old wounds and allows him to reconnect with his secular past. Menachem understands that only a new connection to his past and to his music can pave the road to his own redemption.
Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema

Director: Danny Ben-Moshe

Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema is a feature length documentary celebrating the all singing, all dancing history of the world’s largest film industry. It reveals the unlikely story of the 2000 year old Indian Jewish community and its formative place in shaping the world’s largest film industry. 

The film tells its tale through the lives of nice Jewish girls who became icons at the heart of Indian cinema from the turn of the 20th century to the present day. From the 1920s silent era we meet Sulochana (aka Ruby Myers), arguably the greatest ever female superstar of Indian cinema. In the 1930s there was Miss Rose (aka Rose Ezra) the Queen of the Bollywood’s racy party scene, and in the 1940s Pramila (aka Esther Abraham) who became the country’s first Miss India. Then, in the 1950s and 1960s golden era of Indian cinema, the quintessential Bollywood vamp Nadira (aka Farhat Ezekiel).

The film had its world premiere at the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in 2017 and has been the hit of the Jewish, Indian and South East Asian film festival circuit in 2018.

The film also stars present day senior Bollywood figures, including acting legend Rishi Kapoor, who discuss the film industry in general and the impact of the Jewish stars in particular.
The Bubble

Director: Eytan Fox

The movie follows a group of young friends in the city of Tel Aviv and is as much a love song to the city as it is an exploration of the claim that people in Tel Aviv are isolated from the rest of the country and the turmoil it's going through. The movie looks at young people's lives in Tel Aviv through the POVs of gays and straights, Jews and Arabs, men and women. It all begins when Noam, a young Israeli soldier, serves in the reserve forces and meets at a check point a Palestinian young man called Ashraf. Following an incident during which Noam misplaces his ID card at the check point, Ashraf shows up on the doorstep of the apartment that Noam shares with a gay man and a straight woman.
The Unorthodox

Director: Eliran Malka

The film set in 1983 revolves around Yaakov Cohen, the owner of a Jerusalem printing press, whose daughter is expelled from school for ethnic reasons. Yaakov decides to fight back. He has no knowledge, no money, no connections and no political experience. But he does have the will and the passion to take action, and a belief that he and and other Sephardic Jews should be able to hold their heads up high. Yakov brings two friends along and together they start the first ethnic political group in Jerusalem, with an operation characteristic of the people they represent: not the suit-wearing types, but rather the people working their way up from the bottom. Their operation is informal, full of love for their fellow man, animated by a great sense of humor and a whole lot of rage.
Waltz with Bashir

Director: Ari Folman

Waltz with Bashir is a 2008 Israeli animated war documentary film that depicts Folman in search of his lost memories of his experience as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon War. One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. Every night, the same number of beasts. The two men conclude that there's a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. Ari is surprised that he can't remember a thing anymore about that period of his life. Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world. He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images.

Waltz with Bashir premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival where it entered the competition for the Palme d'Or, and since then has won and been nominated for many additional important awards while receiving wide acclaim from critics. It won a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, an NSFC Award for Best Film, a C├ęsar Award for Best Foreign Film and an IDA Award for Feature Documentary, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, a BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language and an Annie Award for Best Animated Feature.
Working Woman

Director: Michal Aviad

This Israeli film focuses on workplace harassment and features a quietly powerful lead performance by Liron Ben Shlush. Life at work becomes unbearable for Orna as her boss appreciates and promotes her, while making inappropriate advances. Her husband struggles to keep his new restaurant afloat, and Orna becomes the main breadwinner for their three children. When her world is finally shattered, she must pull herself together to fight, in her own way, for her job and a sense of self-worth.

The film was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. The film received a bow at the Toronto International Film Festival and then the Busan International Film Festival.

Courtesy: pib.gov.in

Six Indian Sports Biopics - Gold, Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, 1983, MSD: The Untold Story and Soorma will be screened at the 49th IFFI as an extension of the Khelo India initiative

Chitrangada Singh, Reema Kagti and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, along with other filmmakers, to represent their films at the Open Air Screenings of Sports Biopics at IFFI 2018

The sports biopics will be screened at Open Air Screenings open for public at Jogger’s Park in Altinho, Panjim

The 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) aims to celebrate sports and recognise the contribution of Indian sportspersons, as an extension of Khelo India initiative.

The international film extravaganza will see Open Air Screenings as a part of the festival where films of the sports genre will be played on a large screen put up in a vast open area.

This section features six Indian films that are based on the genre of sports biopics - Gold, Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, 1983, MSD: The untold story and Soorma.

Presence of stars for the Open Air screening

The occasion will also witness the presence of the cast and crew of the films. In addition to Akshay Kumar who will be present for the opening ceremony, stars like Chitrangada Singh and Shaad Ali, Producer and Director respectively, Soorma; Reema Kagti, Director, Gold; Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Director, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Abrid Shine, Director, 1983; will be present for the screening.  

The chosen venue for this will be Joggers’ Park in Altinho, Panjim; and will be open to cine lovers and general public of all ages. This will also be a non-ticketed event.

Courtesy: pib.gov.in

President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind addresses the commemoration of 10th anniversary of partnership between Department of Biotechnology and Wellcome Trust

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, graced and addressed the commemoration of the 10thanniversary of the partnership between the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and the Wellcome Trust today (November 12, 2018) in New Delhi.


Speaking on the occasion, the President that as the partnership between the Department of Biotechnology and the Wellcome Trust completes its first decade, this is an opportune moment for the India Alliance to draft its priorities for the next phase. Today, through science and technology, humans wield unimaginable power over the future of our planet. We therefore have a responsibility like never before. And scientists, particularly bio-scientists, are our soldiers and generals in the battle to safeguard our planet, our species and our future.

The President suggested four frontlines in this battle. He said that the first is the environment. Our air, water and soil must be cleaned. While we do so, we must mitigate the consequences on human and livestock health. The second frontline is that of lifestyle diseases. Diabetes, hypertension and cardiac diseases are on the rise. In the quarter-century since 1990, the number of Indians living with diabetes grew from 26 million to 65 million. In the same period, the incidence of all cancers increased by almost 30 per cent. The third frontline is infectious disease. While we take on known infectious diseases, lesser-known ones threaten to expand. Disease, like science, knows no boundaries. Pandemic influenza viruses don’t need passports and visas to spread. On the other hand, the shrinking of animal habitats is creating room for zoonotic diseases and diseases that jump species. The final frontline is diseases of the brain. Factors that include urban stress and a significant elderly population have left India facing a mental health epidemic. Preventive measures, relevant to our genetics and our lifestyle, are in the realm of theory, waiting to be discovered. We must discover these if our people are to age well, with full mental capacities.

The President urged defining the future of the India Alliance on these four frontlines. He said that we are at the edge of an era of great hope as well as of great uncertainty. Personalised and precision medicine; genomic medicine; lab-generated organs; rationalising data privacy with data use for clinical research and the larger public good – issues such as these offer scope for our well-being but could also pose bioethical dilemmas as well as legal questions. Separately, but perhaps relatedly, there is the subject of regulation and policy framing. In India, in various fields, we have sometimes found a gap between those who are practitioners and those who are regulators. As the biosciences grow and evolve, more practitioners should come into regulatory roles as well.

***

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Monday, 12 November 2018

NDMA conducts training programme for CBRN emergencies at Bengaluru airport

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is conducting a basic training programme at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. The six-day training programme, aimed at enhancing the preparedness of Airport Emergency Handlers (AEHs) to respond to CBRN emergencies at the airports, started today. CBRN emergencies pertain to threats emanating due to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear material.

The training programme is being conducted in collaboration with the Airport Authority of India (AAI), Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Handling CBRN emergencies need specialised skills and efforts. In fact, even a small CBRN related event can cause panic among people at the airports. This training programme will improve the CBRN safety at our airports by enabling the AEHs to handle any CBRN emergency.

The programme consists of lectures as well as field training, including live demonstrations of detection and decontamination including use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Besides equipping the AEHs to handle CBRN emergencies, the training programme will also enable them to provide medical first aid and initial psycho-social support.

Experts from stakeholder departments such as Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), INMAS, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) will train the participants.

A total of 50 participants representing various agencies responsible for operation and maintenance of the airport will be trained on various aspects of CBRN emergencies. Another 150 working level staff will be sensitized on the subject in a half day module.

This is the tenth in a series of such programmes being conducted at airports across the country to enable AEHs to respond suitably till the arrival of specialised response teams. Nine batches have already been trained - one each in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Varanasi, Patna, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Raipur.

*******

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Address by the Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion of call on by the faculty and course members of 58th NDC course

It gives me immense pleasure to welcome all of you to Rashtrapati Bhavan. I am sure that the 58thCourse of the NDC has been both fruitful and enriching for all of you. It is a unique Course indeed as it brings together officers from our Armed Forces and Civil Services. I am certain that you would have learnt as much from each other as from your faculty. I also note that there are 25 participating officers from 22 partner countries as well. I hope that you got ample opportunity to gain from your course as well as from your experience of India. I also welcome the spouses of all participants, faculty members and staff officers who are present here today.

The global environment in which we live is challenging and dynamic. There was a time when security and defence were synonymous with the need to maintain a nation’s territorial integrity. That is no longer the case today.

Today, the idea of security incorporates economic and energy security, as well as concerns about cyber-security, health, food, emerging technologies and the environment. In an increasingly connected world, political, social and economic upheavals beyond our national borders impact our security more strongly than ever before.

A country’s ability to successfully master and negotiate the concerns in each of the above areas defines its national power. No doubt, each of these areas requires specialisation and analysis. However, they are also interlinked, calling for an integrated approach from those responsible for our security, as well as a process of constant learning and knowledge updating.

It is quite a complex task to bring different disciplines together to work in an integrated manner. In a democratic system like India’s, this requires different agencies and departments of the state – or frankly even the private sector – to work in coordination. And to understand the strengths and limits of each other’s functioning.

This means that the political executive and officers of the civil services must be conversant with the capabilities and thinking of the defence forces. Similarly, military officers need to be sensitised to the constitutional and administrative framework within which the executive operates. All of these are elements in the creation of a national security approach.

The success of any nation state in this regard depends on how effective it is in developing its concerned human resources. It is in this context that the NDC course is so important. All of you – civil and military officers – come together for a period of almost 11 months. This, I am sure, provides you ample opportunities to share your specialised expertise and related perspectives with your Coursemates. The Course must have enriched your understanding of each other’s strengths and constraints and the possible opportunities for collaboration. Ultimately, these 11 months are an investment for building a corpus of uniquely skilled set of officers who can understand, design and implement a holistic security approach. This course meets not just the individual country needs – but paves the way for an enlightened understanding of our shared security concerns.

I am told that six components or studies comprise the curriculum of the NDC course. The Socio-Political Study helps in comprehending the main features of Indian society and polity. The Economy Security Study introduces you to principles and practices that shape economic trends and their impact on comprehensive security.



The next three studies are on:
International Security Environment
Global Issues, including technology and the environment
India’s Strategic Neighbourhood



All of these focus on factors that shape the international security environment – and affect India’s foreign policy. 

The final study is on Strategies and Structures for National Security. It is the synthesis of everything you have learnt and experienced during the year. 

I am confident that this course and this exposure would have left you better informed and enhanced your abilities to contribute to your country’s security perspectives.

India and its neighbourhood – and the broader Asian continent – is faced with multiple security threats and risks that have assumed global significance. Terrorism and violent extremism are common challenges that are both state-based and asymmetrical. Also, as Asia emerges as the hotspot and the growth centre of the global economic order, security concerns will increasingly focus on securing our economic interests and growth objectives. Threats will come in all domains – from the maritime space to cyberspace. We have to be prepared.

We need to develop a ‘Strategic Culture’ with respect to security both in India and your respective countries. As graduates and alumni of the NDC, you are now part of the same family. And along with the faculty members of the NDC, I am sure you will contribute to strengthening our understanding of the multidimensional approach to security in the years to come.

I wish the NDC and all the participants in this course the very best. To our international participants, I hope this has also been a time to discover India and to make friends. Wherever you go, you will carry a bit of India with you.


Thank you

Jai Hind!



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Courtesy: pib.nic.in

PM Shri Narendra Modi expresses condolences on the passing away of Union Minister Shri Ananth Kumar

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has expressed condolences on the passing away of Union Minister Shri Ananth Kumar.

The Prime Minister said, "Extremely saddened by the passing away of my valued colleague and friend, Shri Ananth Kumar Ji. He was a remarkable leader, who entered public life at a young age and went on to serve society with utmost diligence and compassion. He will always be remembered for his good work.

I spoke to his wife, Dr. Tejaswini Ji and expressed condolences on the passing away of Shri Ananth Kumar Ji. My thoughts are with his entire family, friends and supporters in this hour of grief and sadness. Om Shanti."

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Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Keynote address by Prime Minister at Singapore FinTech Festival

Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a voice of influence in the world of finance,Mr. Ravi Menon, Managing Director ...