Indian Cuisine reflects the culture and tradition of the Country;

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated two Swadesh Darshan  Scheme projects of the Ministry of Tourism – “Development of Kakinada – Hope Island – Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary – Passarlapudi – Aduru – S Yanam – Kotipally and, Development of Nellore- Pulikat Lake – Ubblamadugu Water Falls – Nelapattu -Kothakoduru- Mypadu – Ramateertham – Iskapalli”

About ICI:

The main objective of setting up of the Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) is to institutionalize a mechanism to support efforts intended to preserve, document, promote and disseminate Indian Cuisine, meet the sectoral requirement of specialists specific to Indian Cuisine, as also of promoting Cuisine as a Niche Tourism product.

The ICIs will be Centres of Excellence which will offer structured regular programmes of study specific to culinary arts and culinary management leading to graduate and postgraduate level degrees, promote research and innovation, organize demand driven certificate and diploma courses, document and create database specific to Indian cuisine and commission studies and survey on cuisine.

The need for ICI was felt as the formal education specific to Indian cuisine, a culinary art, with pan India sweep is conspicuous by its absence. There is no regular credible institutional source at apex level for the supply of cuisine specialists to the Sector. Also, there was no institutional mechanism to document and disseminate knowledge related to cuisine and gastronomy.

In India, at present, there is a dearth of state-of-the-art training ground to groom top-of-the-line chefs of international standards. To fill this void, the Indian Culinary Institute would provide the appropriate training platform at par with the elite “Chef Schools” functioning in different parts of the developed world.

This effort will facilitate building a super-specialty food production work-force to assure positions of culinary experts in the hospitality industry. The ICIs will also help the local youth to get trained in these streams as well as create entrepreneurs and make them self-sufficient.

The hotel and tourism industry in the proximity of these institutes will also get benefitted by getting the trained and skilled manpower which in turn will enhance their business.

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Atal Pension Yojana indefinitely extended, scope broadened

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to indefinitely extend the Atal Pension Scheme, which lapsed in August while doubling the accident insurance and relaxing the age criteria by five years to further incentivize the scheme.

Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is a social security scheme launched by the government in 2015 to provide a defined pension between Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.

The Atal Pension Yojana became operational from June 1, 2015, and is available to all the citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years.


Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, depending upon his contribution, from the age of 60 years.

The same pension would be paid to the spouse of the subscriber and on the demise of both the subscriber and the spouse, the accumulated pension wealth is returned to the nominee.

The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber account, for a period of 5 years, that is, from 2015-16 to 2019-20, to those who join the NPS before 31st December 2015 and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme and who are not Income Taxpayers.

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Tourism Ministry sanctions Rs 80.37 cr for cruise projects in Kerala

Ministry of Tourism on sanctioned Malanad Malabar Cruise Tourism Project under Swadesh Darshan Scheme for development of a rural circuit in Kerala. Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons announced that under this project, the ministry will be developing three cruises with a budget of Rs 80.37 crores.

The three thematic cruises developed under the project are as follows:

Malabari Cuisine and Culinary Cruise in Valapattanam River (Muthappan Cruise) – Cruise starts from Valapattanam to Munambu Kadavu in Valapattanam River with an effective Cruise Length of 40 km.

Valapattanam River- Theyyam Cruise- Cruise starts from Valapattanam to Pazhayangadi in Valapattanam River with an effective length of 16 km.

Mangrove Cruise in Kuppam River – Cruise starts from Pazhayangadi to Kuppam in Kuppam River with an effective Cruise length of 16 km.

Waterways have been an important mode of transport in Kerala from the time immemorial with its 44 Rivers and 7 Backwater regions. The total length of the navigation route in Kerala is 1900 km. This is a tune with the water-based tourism which is getting prominence all over the world.

About Swadesh Darshan Scheme:

The Tourism Ministry had launched ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme with an objective to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.

Features of Swadesh Darshan Scheme:

The scheme is 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.

To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and the corporate sector.

Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalized on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).

A National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.

A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stakeholders.

PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.

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First project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme the ‘North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom’ in Manipur will be inaugurated

Dr. Najma A. Heptulla, Hon’ble Governor of Manipur will be inaugurated the project “Development of North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom” implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in the presence of Shri N Biren Singh, Chief Minister Manipur, Shri K.J. Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism and Smt. Rashmi Verma, Union Tourism Secretary in Imphal tomorrow. The above project is the first project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme being inaugurated in the country.

Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of Ministry of tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritized manner. The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date, the Ministry has sanctioned 70 projects for Rs.5708.88 Crore to 29 States and UTs under the Scheme. 30 projects / major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year.

The project under inauguration was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in September 2015 for Rs.72.30 Crores. The project covers two sites i.e. Kangla Fort and Khongjom. Kangla Fort is one of the most important historic and archaeological sites of Manipur located in the heart of the Imphal city.  It served as the seat of Manipur’s power till 1891.  Kangla has a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of Manipur. The old Govindajee Temple, outer and inner moat and other relics are perfect reflections of the rich art and architectural heritage of Manipur.  Under this project Ministry has carried out works like Restoration & Improvement of Outer & Inner Moat and Rejuvenation of Sacred Ponds; Reconstruction of Old Rampart; Sound and Light Show, Construction of Rock Garden, Utility Block; Audio Guide, Eco Friendly Conveyance, Development of Crafts Houses and Parking on Naga Nullah; Polo Gallery; Reception and Ticket Counter.  The above work has been carried out at a cost of Rs. 63.90 Crore. Khongjom is the place where the last war of resistance of Anglo Manipur War of 1891 was fought.  Under the project, a Pedestrian bridge and rejuvenation of Kombirei Lake have been carried out for Rs.4.89 Crore.

Development of Tourism in North Eastern Region is a prime area of focus for the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry is carrying out an array of activities for development and promotion of tourism in the region.  The Ministry is developing the tourism infrastructure in the region under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD. Together under both the schemes Ministry has sanctioned 15 projects covering all North Eastern states for Rs.1301.47 Crores.

The Ministry is carrying out an array of activities for development and promotion of tourism in the region.  The efforts of Ministry have shown positive results and the Foreign tourist arrivals in the region have shown an upward trend over the years. The region received a total of 1.69 lakh foreign tourist visits during 2017 as against 1.45 lakh in 2016 registering a growth of 16.7% over 2016. The Domestic Tourist Visits reached to 95.47 lakhs in the year 2017 against 77.71 lakhs registering impressive double-digit growth of 22.8% over 2016. The increased number of tourists, in turn, has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region.

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Urban Affairs Ministry homes in on tech challenge to raise houses faster

At a time when construction of houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) is moving at a pace far slower than its rural counterpart, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is set to have a global technology challenge to provide more dynamism to the scheme.

In a bid to accelerate PMAY-U’s target of providing ‘housing for all’, the ministry will invite ideas for innovative technologies for mass housing projects that can help build houses faster, cheaper, and of better quality, with sustainable green materials.

The ministry is set to launch the Global Housing Construction Technology Challenge as part of the technology sub-mission of PMAY-U.

According to officials, the challenge will invite ideas from across the globe for alternative technologies that go beyond the brick-and-mortar building model used widely in Indian construction. The winning technologies would be used to build mass-houses, in a tie-up with the states, for the economically weaker sections and low-income groups under the affordable housing project vertical of PMAY-U.

Global Housing Construction Technology Challenge:

The challenge aims to provide more dynamism to the scheme.

It will invite ideas from across the globe for alternative technologies that go beyond the brick-and-mortar building model used widely in Indian construction.

The four parameters in the global challenge would be time, cost, quality, and sustainability. The technology will have to be better than the existing ones on all these four fronts.

It will be tested in geographically different urban areas across the country with varying terrains such as say hilly, plain, or earthquake-prone.

The winning technologies would be used to build mass-houses, in a tie-up with the states, for the economically weaker sections and low-income groups under the affordable housing project vertical of PMAY-U.

PMAY- Urban:

The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Programme launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), in Mission mode envisions provision of Housing for All by 2022.

Under the scheme, the government is providing an interest subsidy of 6.5% on housing loans which can be availed by beneficiaries for 15 years from the start of loan date.

The Mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers through following programme verticals:

Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with the participation of private developers using land as a resource.

Promotion of Affordable Housing for the weaker section through credit linked subsidy.

Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sectors.

Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction /enhancement.

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51 lakh houses approved under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) in 3 years of its implementation

Under PMAY (U) so far more than 51 Lakhs dwelling units have been sanctioned against the validated demand of 1 crore in last 3 years of implementation. This is a huge jump in comparison to erstwhile housing scheme wherein only 12.4 Lakh houses were approved in around 9 years of its implementation. Out of over 51 lakh sanctioned houses, over 28 lakhs have already been grounded and are in various stages of construction. Further, over 8 lakh houses have already been completed and nearly 8 lakh houses have been occupied by the beneficiaries.

Global Housing construction technology challenge has been proposed to use the opportunity of large-scale construction under PMAY-U to attract the best available global construction technologies which could ensure delivery of houses at a minimum cost, in minimum time while ensuring a maximum number of houses in a given area. This will help in technology transfer to our country so that ultimately these globally best available construction technologies and designs get adopted in the country benefiting the construction industry at large.

The Global Housing Construction Technology Challenge (GHTC-I) may help us adopt those technologies to suit our local conditions and requirements. It is a win-win situation for all stakeholders which would help in the fast transition of new global construction technologies in India giving a fillip to building affordable houses in India in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.

In fact, use of new and fast-track construction technology has already been adopted in a big way in the scheme. GoI has been insisting States/UTs issue technology-agnostic tenders for construction of large-scale housing. CPWD has approved the schedule of rates for 8 types of new technologies available in the country. So far, construction of nearly 8.6 lakh houses is being done using these new green technologies, which are fast and environmentally sensitive. The progress of the houses on the ground is being monitored through geo-tagging using space technology.

In terms of coverage, the Mission is a paradigm shift in the history of housing schemes being implemented in the past. The Government of India is committed to providing “Housing for All” by the end of the Mission period-2022. A National Urban Housing Fund for Rs. 60,000 crores have been set up for raising Extra Budgetary Resources (EBR) in phases, for the rapid implementation of PMAY (U). Keeping the ethos of cooperative federalism, the States/UTs are implementing the scheme with considerable zeal and initiatives.

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POSHAN Abhiyaan

The Centre has signed a loan agreement worth 200 million dollars with the World Bank for the National Nutrition Mission -POSHAN Abhiyaan.

Ministry of Women and Child Development in a press release said the loan will help in achieving its goal of reducing stunting in children up to 6 years of age from 38.4 percent to 25 percent by 2022.

The POSHAN scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March this year at Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. The POSHAN scheme aims to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers, and children.

It also targets to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth rate.

The Ministry said the loan approved on Monday will support the first phase of Abhiyan in 315 districts.

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