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Thursday,04-March-2021

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Bids called for Mumbai-Hyderabad high-speed rail corridor DPR

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train

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) has invited bids for the preparation of the detailed project report (DPR) for the 711-km-long Mumbai-Hyderabad high-speed rail corridor.

NHSRCL spokesperson Sushma Gaur said that it has invited the first tender for preparation of a DPR for Mumbai-Pune-Hyderabad High Speed Rail Corridor.

The NHSRCL said that a pre-bid meeting is scheduled on November 5, and the starting date for submissions of tender is November 11. The last date for submissions is November 17 and tenders are to be opened on November 18.

The development comes days after the NHSRCL invited DPRs for the 459-km-long Delhi-Amritsar-Chandigarh, 865-km-long Delhi-Varanasi, 753-km-long Mumbai-Nagpur, 886-km-long Delhi-Ahmedabad stretches as well as the 711-km-long Mumbai-Hyderabad bullet train corridor.

The NHSRCL is collecting data on these new proposed corridors for the preparation of the DPRs. It is currently constructing the 508 km Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project, popularly known as the Bullet Train Project.

The NHSRCL is yet to invite tenders for 435-km-long Chennai-Mysuru and 760-km-long Varanasi-Howrah high speed rail corridors.

Business

Flipkart enables voice search in Hindi, English

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Flipkart

E-commerce marketplace Flipkart on Thursday introduced voice search in Hindi, English as well as Hinglish on its platform to enable customers to search from a pool of over 150 million products across over 80 categories through speech.

Flipkart said that the introduction of the voice search feature will enable faster onboarding of customers from smaller towns and simplify their e-commerce journey.

More than 75 per cent of Internet users in India come from non-English speaking backgrounds.

According to a joint study conducted by Bain & Company and Flipkart in 2020, online shoppers in tier-2 cities makeup nearly half of all shoppers and contribute to three out of every five orders for leading e-retail platforms.

“Voice search, along with some of the other initiatives by Flipkart, will make the digital commerce experience more convenient, accessible and seamless for the new wave of online shoppers,” Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Flipkart, said in a statement.

The voice search is capable of helping users search through the product catalogue using colloquial commands.

To enable voice search in Hindi and English, Flipkart deployed a host of technical capabilities such as Automatic Speech Recognition, Natural Language Understanding, and Text-to-Speech for Indian languages, built by Flipkart’s in-house engineering and data sciences team.

Once a user gives a command, the automatic speech recognition recognises the voice and converts it into text.

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Dharmendra Pradhan reiterates request for OBC quota in Odisha

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Dharmendra-Pradhan

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday reiterated his request to the Odisha government to implement reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs and educational institutions, and for Socially Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) in educational institutions in the state.

“I had written letters to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seeking reservations for OBCs in government jobs and educational institutions and for SEBCs in educational institutions in Odisha. However, my request for 27 per cent reservation for socially and economically backward classes in government jobs and educational institutions in Odisha has remained unaddressed till date,” Pradhan told Odisha media in New Delhi.

Notably, the state government is set to begin a survey of backward classes based on the social and educational status.

“The current move for enumeration of SEBCs comes across as a dichotomous and dilatory step trying to mask the extant policies of the Odisha government denying reservations for OBCs and SEBCs categories,” he added.

He further said that the state government has access to its own SEBC list as well as OBC list of the Centre, which can be used for providing appropriate reservations in the field of education.

The Minister said backward classes constitute a considerable portion of the total population of Odisha.

“There are more than 210 communities identified as SEBCs in Odisha. Most of them are suffering from the twin curses of poverty and illiteracy. Even after 30 years of a provision for reservations under Article 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution for such communities, the state government is not providing any such reservations to OBCs in government jobs as well as in educational institutions,” said Pradhan.

“At the cost of reiteration, IAagain urge the Chief Minister to accede to my request of providing higher reservations to OBCs in public employment and educational institutions and for SEBCs in educational institutions on an immediate basis,” said Pradhan.

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Business

Government to procure over 427L ton wheat in 2021-22

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Farmer

The Union Food Ministry on Tuesday said that a total quantity of 427.363 lakh ton wheat has been estimated for procurement during the forthcoming RMS 2021-22 which is 9.56 per cent more than the 389.93 LMT procured during RMS 2020-21 which will be a fresh record.

Madhya Pradesh, where arrival of fresh crop has already begun and procurement is to start in the second fortnight of this month, is estimated to procure 135 lakh ton. As per the statement of the Ministry, 130 lakh ton of wheat is estimated to be procured in Punjab while 80 lakh ton in Haryana. “Uttar Pradesh is estimated to buy 55 lakh ton wheat directly from the farmers at Minimum Support Price (MSP) fixed by the Centre at Rs 1,975 per 100 kg for the upcoming season 2021-22,” the statement said.

Government agencies will procure 22 lakh ton of wheat in Rajasthan, 2.20 lakh ton in Uttrakhand, 1.50 lakh ton in Gujarat, one lakh ton in Bihar, 6,000 ton in Himachal Pradesh and 50,000 in Delhi.

Similarly, a total quantity of 119.72 lakh ton of rice (rabi crop) has been estimated for procurement during the forthcoming rabi crop of 2020-21 which is 24.43 per cent more than the 96.21 LMT procurement of rice during 2019-20.

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