Ministry Of Tourism Inaugurates PATA Travel Mart 2023 In New Delhi
The Ministry of Tourism, India, took center stage as it organized the inaugural ceremony for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart 2023 in the vibrant city of New Delhi. The 46th edition of this prestigious event is being held at the magnificent International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) within Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Running from October 4th to 6th, 2023, this event serves as a global gathering of tourism professionals and business stakeholders. Importantly, this physical edition marks the return of the Travel Mart after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
A Momentous Occasion Acknowledged by Chairman PATA, Peter Semone
Chairman PATA, Peter Semone, extended his gratitude to the Ministry of Tourism for hosting this significant event. He emphasized that the PATA Travel Mart represents an invaluable opportunity to spotlight unique destinations and facilitate networking, learning, and socializing among delegates from across the world. Additionally, he commended the “Travel for Life” initiative, highlighting its potential for global replication.
Secretary of Tourism, Ms. V. Vidyavati, Speaks on PATA’s Catalytic Role
Ms. V. Vidyavati, Secretary of Tourism, spoke about the catalytic role that PATA Travel Mart has played in the Asia Pacific region’s tourism landscape. She underlined the unifying power of tourism and emphasized that PATA recognizes the importance of mutual learning among its members. Furthermore, she stressed the alignment of “Travel for Life” with the LiFE Mission, focusing on sustainable and harmonious development for all tourist destinations.
‘Travel for LiFE’: India’s Commitment to Sustainable Tourism
The Ministry of Tourism unveiled the ‘Travel for LiFE‘ initiative on World Tourism Day 2023. This sector-specific initiative falls under the broader Mission LiFE, underscoring the unwavering dedication to foster sustainable tourism. The ‘Travel for LiFE’ program is designed to actively advance sustainable economic growth, advocate for responsible consumption and production practices, and consequently, make substantial contributions to a wide array of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both directly and indirectly.
Exciting Activities at PATA Travel Mart 2023
This year’s event boasts a diverse range of activities, including the prestigious PATA Gold Award, the PATA Youth Symposium, and the PATA Forum on Sustainability. In addition to these enriching experiences, the event remains a vital platform for business-to-business (B2B) interactions.
India’s Significant Presence at PATA Travel Mart
India’s participation at the PATA Travel Mart is substantial and immersive. A dedicated pavilion showcases the myriad destinations within India, from the well-known to the lesser-known gems. Several state governments, including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Madhya Pradesh, as well as other ministries such as the Handlooms Development Commissioner, are actively participating in the event. Despite its B2B focus, the Mart serves as a bridge to introduce the global audience to the thematic products and offerings of different states, spanning wellness, adventure, heritage, culinary experiences, and art and craft.
PATA: A Catalyst for Responsible Tourism Development
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has its headquarters in Bangkok and is renowned globally as a not-for-profit association dedicated to fostering responsible travel and tourism development in the Asia Pacific region. The PATA Travel Mart stands as a cornerstone of international trade exhibitions within the tourism sector. It serves as a vital platform for trade interactions between global buyers and sellers, primarily from the Asia Pacific region. The event brings together exhibitors and attendees from diverse sectors, offering an unparalleled opportunity for networking, learning, and collaboration on a global scale, with a particular focus on the dynamic Asia Pacific region.
“India’s Services PMI Soars to 61 in September, Output Hits 13-Year Peak, Job Growth Steady”
In September, the services sector in India experienced a significant boost in both domestic and international demand, reaching a 13-year high, according to a survey-based index by S&P Global Market Intelligence. This index, known as the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), climbed to 61, up from 60.1 in August. Despite this growth, job creation was moderate.
Positive News for Service Economy
Business activity and new work intakes in the services sector surged to levels not seen in over 13 years.
Both domestic and international sales to Asia, Europe, and North America contributed to this growth.
The services sector accounts for 54% of Gross Value Added (GVA) in India’s economy.
Job Creation and Optimism
Job creation in the sector was moderate but sustained.
Firms hired additional staff to handle current workloads and prepare for future growth.
Business optimism about the future was high, driven by robust demand conditions.
Input cost inflation in September was relatively low, close to its long-run average.
Some expenses increased for items like chicken, rice, vegetables, and transportation.
Companies either raised selling prices or kept them unchanged to manage cost increases.
Overall charge inflation was solid but the softest in six months.
Companies are optimistic about the future, with survey participants foreseeing strong market dynamics and continued high demand in the coming year.
Confidence in the outlook reached its highest level in over nine years.
Madhya Pradesh To Provide 35% Reservation For Women In Govt. Jobs
In an important development towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Madhya Pradesh government has announced a groundbreaking policy to reserve 35% of all state government job positions for women, excluding the Forest Department. This progressive amendment to the Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (Special Provision for Appointment of Women) Rules, 1997, comes just ahead of the upcoming state assembly elections.
Breaking Down the Policy
The notification states, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any service rules, there shall be reserved 35% of all posts in the service under the state (except Forest Department) in favor of women at the stage of direct recruitment, and the said reservation shall be horizontal and compartment-wise.” This announcement is significant not only for its commitment to gender equality but also for introducing the concepts of “horizontal” and “compartment-wise” reservations.
Understanding Horizontal Reservation
Horizontal reservation is a concept aimed at providing equal opportunities to various categories of beneficiaries, such as women, veterans, the transgender community, and individuals with disabilities, across different segments or compartments of government job positions. It ensures that these categories have a fair and equitable chance to secure employment, cutting through the vertical categories. This approach aligns with the constitutional principle of equal opportunity and is exemplified by Article 15(3) of the Constitution.
The Significance of “Compartment-Wise” Reservation
“Compartment-wise” refers to a strategy that divides or categorizes different aspects or components of the program into separate compartments or segments. Each compartment may have its own set of rules, objectives, or criteria. In the case of Madhya Pradesh’s new policy, “compartment-wise” reservation means that the 35% quota for women will be applied in a manner that considers different departments or sectors separately, ensuring that women have access to a diverse range of government job opportunities.
Chief Minister’s Announcement
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan unveiled this historic decision, announcing that 35% of job vacancies in the police force and other government positions will be exclusively reserved for women. Additionally, an impressive 50% of teaching positions will be reserved for women, emphasizing the government’s commitment to gender balance and women’s empowerment in the education sector.
Empowering Women Beyond Employment
In a parallel effort, Chief Minister Chouhan accelerated the transfer of financial assistance to beneficiaries under the “Ladli Bahna Yojana,” a flagship welfare program for women. Under this scheme, eligible beneficiaries receive ₹1,250 per month from the state government.
This decision also closely follows the passage of the ‘Women’s Reservation Bill’ in Parliament, which received the assent of President Droupadi Murmu. The ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhniyam,’ mandating 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies, was unanimously passed, marking it as the first bill enacted in the new Parliament building.
Setting a Precedent for Gender Equality
As Madhya Pradesh prepares to elect legislators from its 230 assembly constituencies, these progressive measures serve as a testament to the state’s commitment to ensuring equal opportunities and representation for women in government employment, setting a significant precedent for gender equality in India.
Burevestnik Missile: Russia’s nuclear missiles can now reach targets in US
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently announced the successful testing of a new nuclear-powered missile called “Burevestnik” during a speech that covered various topics, including nuclear weapons and international relations. This missile, known as “Storm Petrel,” has raised concerns and questions about its capabilities and reliability.
Burevestnik Missile Details
NATO refers to the Burevestnik missile as “Skyfall,” and it has been met with skepticism by Western experts.
President Putin first mentioned this missile in 2018, highlighting its significance in Russia’s military arsenal.
The Burevestnik is a ground-launched, low-flying cruise missile with the capability to carry a nuclear warhead.
What sets it apart is its nuclear propulsion, which allows it to remain airborne for an extended period and cover vast distances.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies suggested in 2021 that the Burevestnik missile could have a theoretical range of up to 20,000 kilometers, making it capable of striking targets in the United States from various locations in Russia.
Additionally, the missile operates at a low altitude (50-100 meters), making it challenging for air-defense radar systems to detect.
The United States Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center in 2020 recognized the missile’s potential, stating that if deployed, it would provide Russia with a “unique weapon with intercontinental-range capability.”
The development of the Burevestnik missile has been a challenging endeavor for Russian nuclear scientists.
There have been reported failures during tests, with a notable incident in 2019 involving an explosion and radiation leak during an experiment in the White Sea, resulting in the loss of five Russian nuclear specialists.
Experts have raised questions about the missile’s reliability and its timeline for deployment. Some estimates suggest it could be a decade before it becomes operational.
Centre Extends SBI Chairman Dinesh Khara’s Tenure Until August 2024
In a significant development, Centre has decided to extend the tenure of Mr. Dinesh Khara as the Chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI), the nation’s largest lender, until August of the following year. This decision was confirmed by two government sources who preferred to remain anonymous as they are not authorized to speak to the media. Mr. Khara’s tenure, which began on October 7, 2020, for a three-year term, is now set to continue until he reaches the age of 63.
A Prolific Career
Dinesh Khara, the man at the helm of India’s largest commercial bank, has a remarkable career trajectory within the State Bank of India. He embarked on his journey with the bank as a probationary officer in 1984, marking the beginning of a distinguished service record spanning almost four decades.
Khara’s qualifications underscore his expertise in the field of finance. He holds a postgraduate degree in commerce and an MBA in Finance from Delhi University’s Faculty of Management Studies. These academic achievements provided him with a solid foundation for his career in the world of banking.
A Transformational Leader
Mr. Khara’s leadership has been characterized by transformative initiatives and strategic vision. He played a pivotal role in overseeing the merger of five associates and the Bhartiya Mahila Bank with SBI, a mammoth task that reshaped the landscape of the Indian banking sector. This amalgamation of entities not only bolstered the bank’s position but also paved the way for increased operational efficiency.
Stint at SBI Mutual Fund
Mr. Khara’s tenure at the State Bank of India is punctuated by a significant milestone – his role as the Managing Director and CEO of SBI Mutual Fund from November 2013 to August 2016. During this period, he exhibited a keen understanding of the mutual fund industry, navigating it with prudence and diligence.
Elevation to the Post of Managing Director
In August 2016, Mr. Khara’s dedication and leadership qualities were recognized as he was appointed as the Managing Director (MD) of the State Bank of India. This marked a crucial phase in his career, where he continued to shape the bank’s strategy and direction. His elevation to the MD’s role was a testament to his exceptional contributions to the institution.
Certified Associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers
Beyond his academic qualifications, Mr. Khara is also a Certified Associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB). This certification underscores his commitment to professional development and his deep-rooted understanding of the banking industry’s intricacies.
Guiding the State Bank of India with Strategic Vision and Steadfast Leadership
Dinesh Khara’s illustrious career, marked by strategic acumen and a profound understanding of the financial industry, has had a lasting impact on SBI’s growth and stability. Under Khara’s continued leadership, India’s largest commercial bank is poised to navigate the evolving financial landscape and face emerging challenges with resilience. His extended tenure serves as a vote of confidence in his abilities and the vital role he plays in shaping the future of the State Bank of India.
Russia Delivers Uranium for Bangladesh’s Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant
Bangladesh recently received its first shipment of uranium from Russia, which will be used to fuel the country’s Rooppur nuclear power plant. The plant, financed and constructed by Russia’s Rosatom, is a significant project aimed at enhancing Bangladesh’s electrical grid and supporting its growing economy.
The Rooppur Power Plant
The Rooppur power plant, located in Ishwardi, Bangladesh, will generate 2,400 megawatts of electricity when both units are fully operational.
This capacity will provide electricity to approximately 15 million households in Bangladesh, making a substantial contribution to the nation’s energy needs.
Russia has funded the construction of the Rooppur power plant with an $11.38 billion loan.
Bangladesh will begin repaying this loan over a period of two decades, starting in 2027.
Global Nuclear Presence
Once the Rooppur plant begins production, Bangladesh will join the ranks of over 30 countries with operational nuclear power reactors.
The uranium shipment arrived in Bangladesh last month and was officially handed over to authorities at a ceremony attended by Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
President Putin emphasized that the plant will cover approximately 10% of Bangladesh’s energy consumption upon launch.
Over 20,000 people were involved in the construction of the plant, with over 1,000 individuals trained to operate it.
Prime Minister Hasina reassured her nation that the Rooppur plant has been constructed with safety measures in place to withstand natural disasters.
Russia has also committed to taking back the spent nuclear fuel from the Rooppur plant.
Fuel Delivery Details
The fuel for the Rooppur plant was handed over by Aleksey Likhachev, the head of Rosatom, to Bangladesh’s Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman.
Specific details about the quantity of uranium shipped were not provided in the report.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, joined the ceremony via video conference.
The first unit of the Rooppur plant is expected to become operational in July 2024, with the second unit following in July 2025.
The delivered uranium fuel is anticipated to sustain the reactor for one year, after which additional fuel will be required.
Renewable Energy Plans
Bangladesh is diversifying its energy sources by reducing its reliance on natural gas, investing in coal-fired power plants, and aiming to source 40% of its electricity from renewable sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power by 2041.
Maintaining Bilateral Relations
Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Bangladesh and Russia continue to maintain strong bilateral relations, cooperating in various sectors, including nuclear power, trade, and finance.
Sarakka Central Tribal University approved for Telangana
On October 4th, the Union Cabinet approved the establishment of a tribal university in Telangana, named The Sarakka Central Tribal University. This university, with a budget of Rs 889 crore, will be located in Mulugu district.
The initiative was a commitment made by the Central government as a part of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, which aimed to support both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in establishing tribal universities.
The Telangana tribal university project faced significant challenges, primarily related to land allocation. Securing 500-600 acres of land for the university proved to be a time-consuming process.
Honoring Local Legends
During a recent visit to Telangana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the university would be named after Sammakka-Sarakka, a revered mother-daughter duo in the local tribal community.
The decision to name the university after them is significant, as it connects the institution with local traditions and legends.
The Legend of Sammakka-Sarakka
Sammakka-Sarakka, a mother-daughter duo, holds a special place in the local tribal folklore.
Sammakka, married to Pagididda Raju, a Kakatiya dynasty chief, played a pivotal role in protesting against oppressive taxes imposed by local rulers.
Sarakka, one of her daughters, lost her life in the battle, and Sammakka disappeared into the hills, believed to have transformed into a vermillion casket.
Sammakka Saralamma Jatara:
Mulugu hosts a biennial festival called the Sammakka Saralamma Jatara, one of the largest gatherings of tribal people globally.
This event commemorates the bravery of the 13th-century mother-daughter duo in their struggle against tax imposition on the Koya people.
The Jatara begins at Medaram and involves rituals conducted by Koya priests following their customs.
Over the years, the festival has grown in scale and is now considered one of the largest tribal festivals in the world.
Growth and Recognition
The Sammakka Sarakka Jathara has gained immense popularity, attracting around 1.5 crore devotees from various tribal and non-tribal communities, including regions like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Jharkhand. It is often likened to the Kumbh Mela of the tribals.
Both the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Telangana state government actively participate in the festival.
Financial support is extended to ensure the smooth organization of the event, including community shelters and infrastructure development in the Medaram area.
The Ministry of Tourism, as part of the Tribal Circuit under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, has sanctioned funds for the integrated development of a tribal circuit, encompassing Mulugu-Laknavaram-Medavaram-Tadvai-Damaravi-Mallur-Bogatha Waterfalls, where the Sammakka-Sarakka temple is located.
This investment aims to enhance the overall tourism potential of the region.