Friday, 20 July 2018

Emergency talk back system and other various security measures for women in Railways

On trial basis, Emergency Talk Back System has been provided in 06 ladies coaches of two Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) rakes (03 coaches each) in Mumbai Suburban. One air conditioned EMU rake running in Mumbai Suburban has also been fitted with this system. Provision of Emergency Talk Back System is also being envisaged in all newly manufactured EMU rakes under Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)-III project.

The year 2018 has been declared by the Ministry of Railways as the year of women security. For ensuring round the clock security of women passengers, various measures planned to be introduced in Indian Railways include provision of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in ladies coaches of suburban trains, provision of CCTV cameras on platform to cover ladies coaches during halt, initiation of proposal for amendment in the Railways Act, 1989, deployment of women police personnel in suburban trains during night hours, escorting of all ladies special trains, running in metropolitan cities, by lady Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel, escorting of ladies compartments in local trains by RPF and Government Railway Police (GRP) during peak/non-peak hours, staff deployment during late night and early morning in local trains to ensure proper security to lady passengers, prosecution of offenders travelling in ladies coaches by conducting intensive drives under section 162 of the Railways Act, recruitment of women in RPF, special drives under the Railways Act against offenders, training/sensitization of Railway staff, posters and signages and media campaign on women security, regular announcements to create awareness regarding Helpline at stations and trains and in society, constitution of a 3-member women officers’ Committee and formation a three member committee at Railway Board level to supervise and monitor implementation of Action Plan and constitution of similar committees at Zonal and Divisional levels etc.

All India Security Helpline 182 is being upgraded at a cost of `5.59 crore. It is also being integrated with an APP to make it further passenger friendly and effective. With a view to have wider publicity of Security Helplines and other measures initiated by Railways to strengthen security of passengers, publicity campaigns are being launched by zonal railways. Passengers are being made aware by way of posters, stickers, distribution of pamphlets, etc. Besides, emphasis has also been laid down on audio/visual publicity, nukkad nataks, public campaigns, regular announcements, etc. 

This information was given by the Minister of State of Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

Status of Development of Inland Waterways in the Country

The Government is working to develop inland waterways as an alternative mode of transport in the country, which is cleaner and cheaper than both road and rail transport. There are 111 National Waterways in the country today, after 106 waterways were declared as National Waterways, adding to the list of 5 existing NW, in 2016. 

Some of the National Waterways in the country are already operational/ navigable and are being used for transportation. These are detailed in the following table:

Sl. No.
National Waterway No.
Length (km)
Location (S)
National Waterway-1: Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System (Haldia - Allahabad)
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal
National Waterway 2:Brahmaputra River (Dhubri - Sadiya)

National Waterway 3:West Coast Canal (Kottapuram - Kollam), Champakara and Udyogmandal Canals

National Waterway 4
(Phase-I : Vijaywada to Muktyala)
Andhra Pradesh
National Waterways in Maharashtra
i)National Waterway 10 (AMBA RIVER)



National Waterways in Goa

i) NW-27-Cumberjua – confluence with Zuari to confluence with Mandovi river (17 km)

ii)  NW 68 – Mandovi– Usgaon Bridge to Arabian Sea (41 km)
iii) NW 111 – Zuari– Sanvordem Bridge to Marmugao Port (50 km).

NW – 9: Alappuzha – Kottayam – Athirampuzha Canal Boat Jetty, Alappuzha to Athirampuzha (38 km) in Kerala.
 NW-97: Sunderbans Waterways
West Bengal
(through Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route)

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is working on developing the new National Waterways and enhancing their navigational potential. The development work is preceded by a feasibility study which inter-alia covers the potential of navigability, cargo availability, cost of development etc.of the NW concerned. Work is then initiated on waterways that are found feasible for development. As per the feasibility reports completed so far, 36 NWs have been found to be technically viable. Out of these 36 NWs, developmental activities have been initiated on the following 8 NWs in 2017-18.

National Waterway
  1. River Barak (NW-16):
Under Phase -1, the stretch between Silchar to Bhanga (71 km) has been taken up for development.  Waterway is operational with limited infrastructure facility.   

  1. River Gandak (NW-37): Bhaisalotan Barrage near TriveniGhat to confluence with Ganga river at Hajipur (296 km)in Bihar and UP.
Development works commenced from Ganga confluence to Bagaha Bridge (250 km approx.) under Phase-1.
National Waterways in Goa

  1. NW-27-Cumberjua – confluence with Zuari to confluence with Mandovi river (17 km)
  2. NW 68 – Mandovi– Usgaon Bridge to Arabian Sea (41 km)
5.   NW 111 – Zuari– Sanvordem Bridge to Marmugao Port (50 km).
Development works for expansion / setting up of floating jetties and upgradation/ installation of navigational aids is underway.  NWs of Goa are operational.

6. Alappuzha – Kottayam – Athirampuzha Canal (NW-9) :Boat Jetty, Alappuzha to Athirampuzha (38 km) in Kerala.
Development work in the Alappuzha – Kottayam stretchhas commenced under Phase-1 for cargo movement. Waterway is  already operational for ferry services. 
7. River Rupnarayan (NW-86): Confluence of Dwarkeshwar and Silai rivers (Pratappur) to confluence with Hooghly river (Geonkhali) (72 km) in West Bengal.
Approximately 34 kms between Geonkhali to Kolaghat stretch has been taken up for development under Phase-I.
8. Sunderbans Waterways    (NW-97): Namkhana to AtharaBanki Khal & 13 connected rivers (654 km) in West Bengal.
Phase-I development work of this NW from Namkhana to Athara Banki Khal (172 km)has been taken up.  NW is already operational under Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route. 

IWAI has set up a mechanism to monitor the waterway through regular surveys and channel inspection. Regular fortnightly hydrographic surveys are conducted to determine the available depth and possible shoal formations in the channel and to notify the obstructions, clearances available at cross structures. A constant vigil is kept on the river behavior and plans accordingly to ensure fairway for safe movement of vessels. Based on the observation during channel inspection, River Notices are issued and placed on the IWAI website with details on Least Available Depth (LAD), clearances at bridge structures etc. along with any specific information to be conveyed to shippers.

New ticket confirmation process in Railways

A tool has been developed to predict the probability of waitlisted ticket getting confirmed at the time of booking as well as during Passenger Name Record (PNR) enquiry of waitlisted ticket. The tool has been developed using the algorithm of Machine learning. The machine learning model has been developed using the waitlisted PNR data of past 2 years. This model creates the pattern for the various waitlist scenarios and predicts the probability for the future date journey. Currently this feature is integrated with Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website only. In IRCTC website this feature is operational w.e.f. 13 June, 2018 as under:-
When the user is doing the booking transaction, and if the status of accommodation availability of the inputted journey is waitlisted, then the user can check the probability of confirmation.
At the time of PNR enquiry of waitlisted ticket, the user can check the probability of confirmation.

As far as trends of confirmation chances and cancellation chances probability is concerned, it is informed that it varies depending upon peak and lean periods, type of trains like short distance trains, long journey trains, trains with limited stoppage, etc. 

In the computerised Passenger Reservation System (PRS), confirmed berths/seats are allotted on first come first served basis till the availability and thereafter Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC)/Waiting List tickets are issued. The status of RAC/Waiting List tickets get automatically updated against the cancellation of confirmed berths/seats and also against release of unutilised reservation quotas.

To facilitate those passengers who have to undertake journey at short notice and to save such passengers from the clutches of unscrupulous elements/touts, Tatkal scheme of reservation is available where the accommodation becomes available for booking on the previous day of journey from train originating station. Further, with a view to providing confirmed accommodation to waiting list passengers and to ensure optimal utilisation of available accommodation, a scheme known as Alternate Train Accommodation (ATAS) known as “VIKALP” was introduced as a pilot project in November, 2015. This scheme has been expanded to cover all type of train on all sectors from 01.04.2017. For this facility, waiting list passenger has to give an option at the time of booking of ticket & passengers with waiting list status at the time of preparation of first reservation charts are shifted to other trains, subject to availability of vacant accommodation.

In the computerized PRS there is already a provision to permit cancer patients and their attendants travelling on concessional tickets issued in exchange of concession certificate, to directly access Emergency Quota at the time of booking itself. Maximum number of berths/seats out of the Emergency Quota in a train, which can be accessed by Cancer patients and their attendants in Sleeper, is 4 and 2 each in AC Chair Car, AC 3 tier, AC 2 tier and First Classes. In addition, separate Cancer Patient Quota has also been defined in some identified trains. Moreover, instructions are also there that in case requests are received for confirmation of berths out of emergency quota from patients who have to undertake journey for checkup like cancer treatment and dangerous ailments which cannot be postponed due to compelling circumstances, the same should be considered by quota controlling authority as per extant norms so as to accommodate to the extent feasible after satisfying themselves of the genuineness of travel. 

This information was given by the Minister of State of Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

CPWD planting 50,000 trees in Delhi- Installing Rain Water Harvesting System and Waste Water Recycling Plant in all its Major Projects as a Part of Water Conservation Measure

   Solar Plants of 13.3 MWP Capacity, Have Been Installed in Central Government Buildings Across      the Country by CPWD

       Under ‘Sugamya Bharat’ Mission, CPWD Making Public Buildings Completely Accessible

This is with reference to a news report published in a local daily dated 14.7.2018 based on a Press Conference addressed by DG, CPWD during the celebration of 164th day of the organisation. The news report has attributed a statement to the DG as regards felling trees in Delhi. It is clarified that at no stage it was mentioned that the ongoing projects under the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs will be delayed. The report published in the newspaper is not only factually incorrect but also conveys the impression as if all projects are being delayed. It was only stated that the number of proposed flats may come down slightly due to redesigning of the plan to avoid felling of trees. 

CPWD is in the fore-front in sustainable development of built environment. All new constructions in CPWD are being undertaken with minimum three star GRIHA rating. CPWD has constructed Jawahar Bhawan, Parayavaran Bhawan, PNB HQ, New Delhi and STPI Mohali as green buildings with highest five star / LEED rating. Parayavaran Bhawan is a net zero building, which produces as much power on site from renewable sources as it consumes.

Towards greening of Delhi, as a special drive, CPWDis planting 50,000 trees at various residential colonies and office complexes maintained by it during ongoing rainy season. The locations have been identified, wherein the plantation drive will be undertaken soon. 

CPWD has taken firm initiatives for generation of renewable energy in government buildings. Solar plants of capacity 13.3 MWp, have been installed in central government buildings across the country. The installed solar plants have generated renewable energy of 25 lakhs Units appx, which resulted in 23281 tons reduction of carbon dioxide emission and overall saving of Rs. 29 crores.

CPWD exhibited its deep commitment and dedication on energy efficiency measures in Central Government Buildings maintained by it. As Energy Efficiency Measures, existing fittings in 88 General Pool Office Buildings across the country have been replaced with LED fittings. Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi maintained by CPWD, has been selected for National Energy Conservation Awards and awarded 1st prize in the year 2017.

CPWD has made it mandatory to install Rain Water Harvesting system and Waste Water Recycling plant in all its major projects as a part of water conservation measures. Under the ‘Sugamya Bharat’ Mission, CPWD has undertaken the massive task of making public buildings under its maintenance in the country, completely accessible.

CPWD Engineers and Architects are back on plans of redeveloping all four colonies after instructions of Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Sh. Hardeep Singh Puri to save every single tree from cutting and yet completing the projects within the prescribed time.The plans for Mohammadpur and Thyagraj Nagar are being modified to save trees to ensure no tree felling. The planning of Sriniwaspuri& Kasturba Nagar is under way with similar aim. New proposals may emerge in favour of saving trees by sacrificing few elements of projects such as basement parking and few dwelling units etc. if required.

Union Home Minister to launch Student Police Cadet Programme tomorrow

     The programme seeks to build bridge between Police and the larger community

The Student Police Cadet (SPC) Programme is scheduled to be launched nationally on the 21st July, 2018 by the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh in the presence of the Union Human Resources Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar, the Chief Minister of Haryana Shri Manohar Lal, the Minister of State for Planning (IC) and Chemicals & Fertilizers Rao Inderjit Singh, the Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir and the Minister in Haryana Government Rao Narbir Singh.

The programme seeks to build a bridge between the Police and the larger community through school students by inculcating values and ethics in them through classes in school and outside. The programme focuses on students of class 8 & 9 and special care has been taken to ensure that it does not lead to increase in the workload of the students. The programme does not have any prescribed text book nor is any exam envisaged. Only one class in a month is proposed. The programme seeks to cover broadly two kinds of topics:

Crime prevention and control; and

Values and ethics

Under the first part, the topics covered are – Community Policing, Road Safety, Fight against Social Evils, Safety of Women & Children, Fight against Corruption and Disaster Management. The topics covered under the second part are – Values & Ethics, Respect for Elders, Empathy & Sympathy, Tolerance, Patience, Attitude, Team Spirit and Discipline.

A Handbook has been prepared by BPR&D for imparting instructions with the support of NCERT. There is greater emphasis on field demonstrations and hands on learning of the functioning of the Police through visits to Women Police stations, Child Protection Homes including NGOs, Traffic Police and Fire Brigade Stations. There will also be learning through group discussions, audio-visual mediums etc.

The programme shall be steered by a State level committee to be headed by the Principal Secretary, Home Department with the Principal Secretary, Education and Director General of Police as members. There shall be a similar committee at the district level headed by the District Magistrate with the District Inspector of Schools and Superintendent of Police as members.

An amount of Rs.67 crores has been released to the States for implementation of the programme. An amount of Rs.50,000 shall be earmarked for each school to be spent on educational aids, training and contingency. The Programme shall be at first implemented in Government schools in both urban and rural areas.

Shri J P Nadda addresses 8th BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting at Durban; highlights the achievements of India in the health sector

         India affirms strong support for TB cooperation plan in every aspect: Shri J P Nadda

“India affirms strong support for TB cooperation plan in every aspect as agreed upon in the 6th BRICS Health Ministers’ meeting held in Delhi in 2016 and in the first High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on Ending Tuberculosis.”This was stated by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare during his address at the ‘8th BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting at Durban, South Africa, today. Shri J P Nadda further said that to improve healthcare, there is a need for increasing accessibility of affordable, quality, effective and safe drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for TB patients. “I would like to state that India is committed to eliminating TB by 2025,” the Union Health Minister further emphasized.

In his address, Shri Nadda said that India today is more firmly committed to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as articulated in its National Health Policy. “India has fast-tracked many initiatives aimed at achieving all the core tenets of Universal Health Coverage i.e, strengthening health systems, improving access to free medicines and diagnostics and reducing catastrophic healthcare spending,” he added. He stated that to translate the vision of UHC, Prime Minister of India,Shri Narendra Modi has recently launched an ambitious programme called 'Ayushman Bharat' i.e. Long Live India. “The programme rests on the twin pillars of Health and Wellness Centres for provision of comprehensive primary healthcare services and National Health Protection Mission for secondary and tertiary care that aims to cover around 100 million families,” Shri Nadda said.

Highlighting the accomplishments of India in the health sector, Shri Nadda stated that India’s achievement in reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 77%, from 556 per 100000 live births in 1990 to 130 per 100 000 live births in 2016 was commended by Regional Director, WHO SEARO. 

“This achievement puts the country on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of MMR below 70 by 2030. I would like to mention schemes like Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, allowing women access to antenatal check-ups, obstetric gynaecologists and to track high-risk pregnancies, etc., and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram,”Shri Nadda stated.

During his address, the Union Health Minister said that to reduce the burden of NCDs, India has already initiated universal screening for prevention and management of five common NCDs including hypertension, diabetes and three common cancers of oral cavity, breast and cervix at pan India level. “He further said that India has started a unique initiative called AMRIT Deendayal pharmacies, an acronym for 'Affordable Medicines & Reliable Implants for Treatment' - Centres that provide medicines for cancer & cardiovascular diseases and cardiac implants at significantly reduced prices. “We must, therefore, renew our resolve and commitment to fight NCDs together on the BRICS platform, through R &D and innovative strategies,” Shri Nadda said.

The Health Minister said that the spate of recent global public health emergencies like Ebola, Zika has highlighted the need for greater public health preparedness and coordinated response. Sharing India’s experience in containing Nipah outbreak in Kerala, Shri Nadda complimented the team for their untiring efforts and coordinated response for successful containment of the outbreak. “I would like to stress upon the importance of implementation of IHR (2005), strengthened surveillance, enhanced laboratory capacity and multi sectoral approach,” Shri Nadda stressed.

Shri Nadda further said that there is need to promote strategies for use of traditional or alternative forms of medicine, like Ayurveda in India and the Chinese traditional remedies.“It is important that within the framework of BRICS, we carry out not only an exchange of technologies and the development of joint ventures, but also the co-generation of knowledge because, only together can we solve the most significant health problems,” the Union Health Minister added while reiterating the need for enhanced cooperation.

Whatsapp told to find more effective solutions

On 3rd July 2018 MeitY had written to Whatsapp exhorting them to take immediate steps to tackle the menace of misuse of their platform wherein inflammatory messages were circulated that led to unfortunate incidents. On the same day Whatsapp responded indicating their initiative to mark forwarded messages and to step up efforts to detect fake news.

Subsequently, an unfortunate incident has occurred in Bidar where a 32 year old software engineer Mohammed Azam was killed and this was preceded by viral circulation of rumours on Whatsapp about child lifters. It is regretted that the enormity of the challenge and the rampant abuse happening in the country leading to repeated commissioning of crimes pursuant to rampant circulation of irresponsible messages in large volumes on their platform have not been addressed adequately by Whatsapp.

Reports in the media resonate the general sentiment that there is much more that needs to be done by Whatsapp.There is a need for bringing in traceability and accountability when a provocative / inflammatory message is detected and a request is made by law enforcement agencies. When rumours and fake news get propagated by mischief mongers, the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability. If they remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action.

In light of the above, Whatsapp has been requested today to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labeling forwards and identifying fake news. It has been conveyed to them in unmistakable terms that it is a very serious issue which deserves a more sensitive response.

Emergency talk back system and other various security measures for women in Railways

On trial basis, Emergency Talk Back System has been provided in 06 ladies coaches of two Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) rakes (03 coac...