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5G : Gati Shakti for Telecom Infrastructure

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In an event organised by the Department of Telecommunications, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister of Communications, Electronics & IT and Railways released amendment in the Indian Telegraph Right of Way (RoW) Rules, 2016 to facilitate faster and easier deployment of Telecom Infrastructure and launched a new 5G RoW application ‘form’ on GatiShakti Sanchar Portal to enable faster 5G roll-out in India. Shri K Rajaraman, Chairman DCC & Secretary (T), senior officials of Department of Telecommunications and representatives of industry were present.

In his address, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw mentioned about the 4 basic ingredients for ensuring faster rollout of 5G services across the country, mainly allocation of spectrum, reforms in the processing of RoW permission, co-operative federalism and rollout of services. Spectrum allocation and harmonization has been completed successfully. GatiSakti Sanchar Portal was launched by DoT in May, 2022 in line with Hon’ble PM’s vision of development of infrastructure services in an integrated manner. The IT systems of all States/UTs and major infrastructure central ministries such as Railway, Highways have been integrated with the portal to make India ready for 5G launch. Hon’ble Minister also commended State Governments & UTs for their work on RoW policy alignment. He also mentioned that 13 States/UTs have also implemented deemed approval clause in their RoW Policies ensuring speedy approvals. These measures have resulted in major reduction in average time for approval of RoW applications, from 435 days in 2019 to 16 days in July, 2022.

He further mentioned that in the amended Right of Way Rules, charges for RoW permissions have been made reasonable and a ceiling for RoW charges for installation of 5G small cells and optical fibre cable on street furniture has been fixed. These amendments will pave the way for deployment of 5G small cells on existing street infrastructure. With these series of reforms, the country is now ready for launch of 5G services by October, 2022.

The salient features of the amendments are as follows:

Expansion of telecom infrastructure: 

• To facilitate faster 5G roll-out, RoW application procedures for small cell has now been simplified.  Telecom licensees will be able to use street infrastructure to deploy telecom equipment at a nominal cost of Rs. 150/annum in rural areas and Rs. 300/annum in urban areas. 

• To facilitate faster fiberisation, street infrastructure may be utilized at a nominal cost of Rs. 100/annum to install overground optical fibre.

• The amendments create distinction between ‘poles’ and ‘mobile towers’. Overground infrastructure of height up to 8 meters shall be treated as poles and will need minimal regulatory permissions for deployment.

IMPROVING EASE OF DOING BUSINESS: 

• Telecom licensees had to submit RoW applications on different platforms of State/UTs. The amendments provide for a single window clearance system for RoW applications. Gati Shakti Sanchar Portal of Ministry of Communications will be the single window portal for all telecom related RoW applications.

• Single window clearance will reduce multiplicity of compliance and facilitate easier approvals.

RATIONALIZATION OF FEES/CHARGES:

• Rationalization of administrative fees:  Telecom licensees are required to pay administrative fees for the RoW permissions. As technology improves, significant telecom equipment will be deployed on poles. To reduce the cost of compliance, the administrative fees have been rationalized as follows:

o No administrative fee shall be charged by Central Government or its agencies for establishment of poles on the land owned/controlled by them.

o For State/UTs, the administrative fee for establishment of poles shall be limited to Rs. 1,000 per pole.

o Administrative Fee for laying overground optical fiber shall be limited to Rs. 1,000/ Km.

• Uniformity in calculation of area: Telecom licensees have to pay charges proportionate to the area occupied by telecom infrastructure. At present, different agencies use different methodology to calculate the area. The amendments now prescribe a methodology to calculate the area occupied by telecom infrastructure. This will bring uniformity in computation of area and associated charges for the telecom infrastructure across the country.

• Rationalizing cost of restoration: In case of restoration, Telecom licensees either have to undertake the restoration themselves or pay the concerned authority for restoration work. To ease this process, two major reforms have been introduced.

o If the Telecom licensee undertakes the restoration work, a Bank Guarantee amounting to 100% of restoration cost needs to be submitted to the concerned agency. This amount has now been rationalized. Telecom Licensee shall be required to submit a BG for an amount of 20% of the restoration cost only.

o If the Telecom Licensee wishes to pay the concerned agencies, the cost of restoration shall be calculated at the rates prescribed by Central Public Works Department (CPWD) or Public Works Department (PWD) of the State/UTs.

• No compensation for establishment of poles: Telecom licensees shall not be required to pay compensation for land for establishment of poles.

• Incentivizing use of technology: Technology is now available for laying Optical Fiber without digging a full trench. Therefore, in case of fiber laid using horizontal directional digging technology, Telecom Licensee shall have to pay restoration charges only for the pits, and not for the entire route.

• These reform measures are aimed at bringing down the time and cost of deployment of telecom infrastructure.

TELECOM INFRASTRUCTURE OVER PRIVATE PROPERTY:

• For installing telecom infrastructure on private property, Telecom licensees may enter into agreement with private property owners and they will not require any permission from any government authority.

• In such cases, Telecom licensees shall be required to give only prior intimation along with structural suitability certificate.

These measures are expected to facilitate rapid expansion and upgradation of telecom networks and therefore improvement in the quality of services.

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Policy & Politics

Media and Entertainment sector should grow to more than 100 billion dollars by year 2030: Apurva Chandra

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The Union Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Apurva Chandra has exhorted the media and entertainment industry to set a target of growing the industry to more than 100 billion dollars by the year 2030. “India will be a 10 trillion dollar economy in the next 10 years, we should target that the media and entertainment sector should grow to more than 100 billion dollars by 2030. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will do whatever it takes to support the M&E sector and help it grow.” The Secretary was addressing the inaugural session of FICCI Frames Fast Track 2022 in Mumbai today, September 27, 2022.
The Secretary announced that Invest India is going to be leveraged in order to bring in higher foreign investment into India in the film sector. “The Ministry has merged various film units under one; NFDC based in Mumbai is going to be the hub of the cinematic arm of the government. With this, we want to revamp the Film Facilitation Office. We are going to hand this over to Invest India, the main investment arm created by the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to attract industry to India. More than 100 billion dollars of FDI is coming to India this year. We want to leverage Invest India to bring in foreign investment, we will reach out to foreign filmmakers to come to India.”
The Secretary informed that the government will work with states to facilitate and promote film shooting in India. “Recently at Cannes Film Fesival, we announced Incentive Scheme for Audio-Visual Co-production and Incentive Scheme for Shooting of Foreign Films in India. With incentives given by states too, it becomes a viable and attractive package for filmmakers.”
The Secretary announced that the Government of India will work with the states and formulate a Model Theatre Policy. “Over the past 5-6 years, the number of theatres has been on a decline. We need to reverse this trend. We will assign the Film Facilitation Office to work with Invest India to come up with a single-window portal for opening theatres, so that more and more theatres can come up and the public gets more avenues to watch the magic of films in theatres. We will also work with the states to create a Model Theatre Policy, so that the states can adopt and work on the same.”
Please read concluding on thedailyguardian.com

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Conference on eco-alternatives to banned single use plastics and air quality management

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A Conference of startups and innovators working on eco-alternatives to banned single use plastics and air quality management was inaugurated on 27th September 2022 at Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai, by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Consumer Affairs, Government of India in the august presence of Siva V Meyyanathan, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Youth Welfare and Sports Development, Government of Tamil Nadu. The Startup Conference has been jointly organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, and Government of Tamil Nadu.
Startups and innovators have been involved in developing solutions for many pressing environmental challenges including in the development of eco-alternatives to banned single use plastics and air quality management.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Consumer Affairs highlighted that availability of alternatives to banned single use plastic items is extremely important. The Startups and innovators have taken up this challenge and developed eco-alternatives. One Startup has made packaging material from rice stubble. The innovation not only addressed plastic pollution but will also help in reducing the pollution caused by burning of rice stubble. Another startup has developed flexible packaging material from sea weeds. He highlighted that the startups and innovators are not only providing solutions to environmental problems but also assisting in economic development of the country. The Government of India is giving focus on supporting innovators and startups through various schemes of the Government such as Startup India Mission.
Many startups and innovators from across the country working in the area alternatives to banned single use plastic items and air quality management are participating in the Startup Conference. Representatives from concerned central Ministries involved in supporting innovation, startups, and MSMEs and banks who are key in mobilizing finances for startups and manufacturers are participating in the Expo. Representatives from State Governments, State Pollution Control Boards are participating in the Startup Conference.
The Conference of Startups will provide a platform for engagement and exchange views amongst innovators and institutions, Government Departments supporting startup ecosystems in the country and banks, on steps taken for scaling up innovations and supporting startups.
The Conference will have experience sharing sessions of startups working in the field of alternatives to banned single use plastics and startups working in the area of air quality management.
A separate session on role of financial institutions in scaling up startups has also been organized representatives of Startup India Mission, banks and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises has also been organized.
The Minister mentioned that the strategy adopted by the Government to tackle unmanaged and littered plastic waste has two pillars to ban single use plastic items which have high littering potential and low utility, and implementation of extended producer responsibility on plastic packaging. Promotion of innovation and startups for elimination of single use plastics will help us address the problem of littered and unmanaged plastic waste in the country.

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497 Railway stations made Divyangjan friendly by providing either lifts or escalators

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s a part of ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’, to provide ease of movement for Divyangjans, aged and children on railway platforms, Indian Railways is installing lifts and escalators at railway stations across the country. So far, there are 497 stations where either lifts or escalators have been provided.
Escalators:- As per policy, normally Railways are providing escalators at State Capitals, Cities having population more than 10 Lakh or stations having footfall more than 25000 per day.
So far, 1090 Escalators at 339 stations have been provided upto Aug’2022. Yearwise position of provision of Escalators is as under:-
Lifts:- As per policy, GM/Zonal Railways are empowered to select stations/platforms for provision of Lift considering footfall, constraints of space etc.
So far, 981 Lifts at 400 stations have been provided upto Aug.’2022. Yearwise position of provision of Lifts is as under:-Indian Railways has been consistently trying to improve passenger amenities at various stations. Provision of escalators and Lifts at the railway platforms is a part of this and also a necessity in view of the ever increasing passenger volumes. Such facility would facilitate improvement at exit/entry of passengers and is a further step to improve passenger safety as well.

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Prime Minister attends State Funeral of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the State Funeral of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe at the Nippon Budokan, Tokyo. Representatives from over 100 countries, including more than 20 Heads of State / Government participated in the State Funeral.
Prime Minister honoured the memory of former PM Abe, who he considered a dear friend and a great champion of India-Japan partnership.
Following the State Funeral, Prime Minister had a private meeting with Mrs. Akie Abe, spouse of Late PM Abe, at the Akasaka Palace. Prime Minister Modi conveyed his heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Abe. He recalled his fond friendship and the significant contribution made by former PM Abe in taking India-Japan relationship to new heights. Prime Minister also had a brief interaction thereafter with Prime Minister Kishida to reiterate his condolences.

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Amit Shah lays foundation stone of 750 bedded hospital in Gujarat

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Amit Shah

The Union Home and Cooperation Minister, Amit Shah today inaugurated the 150-bedded ESIC Hospital and laid the foundation stone for the 750 bedded Adarsh Multi-specialty Hospital of Umiya Mata K.P Educational Trust in Kalol, Gujarat. Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendra Patel, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Labour and Employment, Shri Bhupendra Yadav and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Shri Rameshwar Teli were also present on the occasion.
In his address, Amit Shah said today the bhoomipujan is taking place for two big hospitals in Kalol. He said from these hospitals, Kalol tehsil and all the citizens of the city would receive good treatment facilities. Shri Shah said 35 percent poor patients would receive free health care in the hospital being built by Umiya Mataji Kadwa Patidar Trust. Shri Shah said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and under the guidance of Union Labour Minister Shri Bhupendra Yadav, the Employee State Insurance Scheme has been revived and workers across the country are receiving its benefits. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the Right to health to every person of the country, especially the poor. Under the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Yojana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has provided free health facilities up to Rs. 5 lakh to 60 crore poor persons.
The Union Home Minister said Ayushman Health Infrastructure Mission worth Rs. 64,000 crore is the first such big scheme for the poor. Under this scheme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has provided 35,000 new beds for critical care in more than 600 districts. The Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also started Integrated Public Health Laboratories in 730 districts and research centers with an allocation of Rs. 1,600 crore for different major diseases.
Amit Shah said there were only 387 medical colleges in the country in 2013-14 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased their number to 596 in 2021-22. The Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased the number of MBBS seats from 51,000 to 89,000. The Post Graduate seats have also been increased from 31,000 to 60,000. Apart from this, 10 new AIIMS have been started, 75 new medical colleges have been approved, and there are plans to set up 22 more AIIMS.
Amit Shah said Gujarat has also made great progress on parameters of maternal mortality, infant mortality and institutional delivery as compared to the figures of 2018. He said it is very difficult to improve the maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate and in institutional delivery, 96 out of 100 deliveries take place in the hospital today. Shri Shah said Gujarat has also made excellent progress in the sex ratio. He said a special campaign is being run for tuberculosis and cancer, under which these diseases can be diagnosed at an early stage. In two tehsils of Gandhinagar district, Gandhinagar and Kalol, cancer screening has been completed in about 80 percent of the rural areas.

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Amid Rajasthan crisis, Rahul Gandhi: ‘BJP-RSS wants people to fight…’

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WILL RAHUL GANDHI’S YATRA PAY OFF?

At the completion of the 19th day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the grand old party’s effort to connect with the people of the nation, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi yet again slammed the Modi government on Monday. His new comments, which were directed at the BJP, came even as his party was dealing with tensions in Rajasthan politics.

In a tweet, the 52-year-old Congress MP wrote in Hindi what he has often said before: “Today, loans worth billions of rupees are being waived off for big industrialists. But if a small trader or a farmer cannot repay even a small loan, he is declared a defaulter, and put in jail.”

Bharat Jodo Yatra is against every injustice. Raja ke yeh do Hindustan, Bharat sweekar nahi karega (These two versions of the country, India won’t accept),” he further added.

At a speech following the end of the 19th day of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, Gandhi said, “The BJP-RSS wants this river (people at this rally) to get divided, wants residents to fight with each other. They want a river where if somebody falls, nobody picks him up and where everybody is alone. They run the country by dividing it and spreading hatred”.

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