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Sunday,23-January-2022

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India, Italy join hands on strategic partnership in Energy Transition

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi on Saturday expressed their resolve to strengthen cooperation in the strategic sectors, including the cross-cutting issue of accelerating the clean energy transition to fight climate change, central to both the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Rome and the COP26 in Glasgow.

At a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit at Rome, hosted by Italy in Rome on October 30-31, 2021, Modi and Draghi acknowledged the significant progress in bilateral relations since the adoption of the Action Plan for an enhanced Partnership between India and Italy (2020 -2024) on November 6, 2020.

They also recalled the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting held in Porto on May 8, 2021, where the European Union and India highlighted the urgency of addressing the interdependent challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and agreed to deepen cooperation for accelerating the deployment of renewable energy, including deployment of innovative renewable technologies such as offshore wind energy and exploiting the potential of green hydrogen, promoting energy efficiency, developing smart grids and storage technologies, modernizing the electricity market.

In addition, both sides agreed on the utmost importance of cost-effective integration of a growing amount of renewable energy into their respective power systems, as a key asset for an effective clean transition that generates jobs, GDP growth, reinforces universal energy access while eradicating energy poverty, a release from the Prime Minister’s Office said in New Delhi.

In this perspective, the two Prime Ministers appreciated India’s resolve to deploy 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030 as well as Italy’s prompt ratification and active support to the International Solar Alliance. They agreed to launch a bilateral strategic partnership in the domain of energy transition, the statement said.

Such a partnership could build on existing bilateral mechanisms, including by giving new impetus to the cooperation on renewable energy and sustainable development between the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition and its Indian counterparts, namely the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

The joint Statement read as follows: In order to promote their partnership in energy transition, Italy and India will

*Task the “Joint Working Group” established by the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Energy, signed in Delhi on October 30, 2017, to explore cooperation in areas such as: Smart Cities; mobility; smart-grids, electricity distribution and storage solutions; gas transportation and promoting natural gas as a bridge fuel; integrated waste management (“waste-to-wealth”); and green energies (green hydrogen; CNG & LNG; bio-methane; bio-refinery; second-generation bio-ethanol; castor oil; bio-oil-waste to fuel), the statement said.

*Initiate a dialogue to support the development and deployment of green hydrogen and related technologies in India.

*Consider working together to support a large size green corridor project in India to capitalize on India’s target to produce and integrate 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

*Encourage joint investments of Indian and Italian companies in energy transition-related fields.

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Trinamool to go for organisational polls in next 2 months

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At a time when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is going for her overzealous plan to reach beyond the boundaries of the state, Trinamool Congress for the first time since its inception in 1998 has decided to go for an organisational election – a move indicative enough that the party is trying to put up democratic face.

Recently the party general secretary Partha Chatterjee said that the party’s organisational polls will be conducted soon. This will be for the first time that the party would be selecting the members of the National Working Committee selected by the members of the party. The party sources indicated that there will be a huge reshuffle in the party hierarchy in the next three months.

“The delegates and voters’ list will be finalised by the end of January and the name of the poll observer will be announced. The entire process of the election and the formation of the new committee will be completed by March 31. A notification on the organisational polls will be issued soon,” a senior party leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Political experts are of the opinion that Trinamool Congress established by Mamata Banerjee who owned her political lineage from Congress prior to the forming had its ideological roots on her genetic acceptability. “She was successful in creating an image that has been wholeheartedly accepted by the people of West Bengal but when she is trying to reach out to the people of the nation – the party image will become more important than her personal charisma and this is perhaps why Trinamool Congress is trying to give the party a democratic face,” a senior political expert said.

In the last few months Trinamool Congress after coming to power for the third time has tried to use the political vacuum created by Congress. The party has worked extensively not only to expand its base in the North-Eastern states but also in the Western tip of the country like Goa.

She has already roped in Sushmita Dev, the former Congress MP and ironically a close aide of Rahul, to enlarge TMC’s footprints in Assam and other northeastern states. So far Goa is concerned TMC is likely to use it as a launching pad in national politics and brand itself as a vibrant opposition against the BJP, expediting induction-spree across the country.

In Goa, where the TMC is eyeing to take a frog jump in national politics, it has inducted many influential faces including former CM Luizinho Fuleiro, tennis player Leander Peas, actor Nafisa Ali and Mirinalini Deshprabhu.

The Mamata Banerjee-led party also plans to traverse through all the prominent states of north India. “The TMC has a brain behind it to make it a national party with national and secular outlook and acts,” said a TMC leader.

In its south India move, the TMC’s first focus is on Karnataka and efforts are on to induct some Congress leaders. “There is also a plan to take the TMC into the next Assembly polls due in 2023 in the state. So, the party is zeroing on an influential face,” reliable source said.

Now some questions automatically arise. The first is what is going to be new in the organisational polls that will make Trinamool Congress more acceptable at the national level.

“Previously Trinamool Congress made some experiments to move beyond the state but that was not successful but now they are making serious attempts to take advantage of the political situation. In that case if the leaders from outside the state are not allowed to enter into the decision-making body and responsible posts, then the party is sure to lose its steam on the national platform. So, the party is bringing in major changes in the constitution to include the national leaders into the party-fold,” a senior political scientist said.

“The relevance of Mamata Banerjee or her family will never lose its relevance in the family but the party is now going for a makeover to get a democratic look so that it becomes acceptable to the people of the country,” he added.

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TN announces compensation to owners of fishing boats in SL custody

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MK-Stalin

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the owners of mechanised boats and Rs 1.5 lakh each to the owners of country boats that are presently in the custody of Sri Lankan authorities.

At least 128 mechanised boats and 17 country boats are in the custody of Sri Lankans at present.

The Chief Minister’s office made the announcement on Friday evening.

Stalin also announced a package of Rs 5.66 crore compensation for the 105 fishing boats and equipment that were damaged during the Northeast monsoon that lashed the state.

Fishermen association leader S. Bharathi said that the state government’s announcement is a major support to the beleaguered fishermen of the state who are being hunted down by the Sri Lankan Navy and police on trivial charges.

In 2021, five fishermen lost their lives during an attack by Sri Lankan authorities, including Naval personnel.

Sixty-eight fishermen were arrested and 15 were released from prison recently. The remaining 55 fishermen are still languishing in Sri Lankan jails.

The Union Ministry of External Affairs, has already entered a diplomatic discussion with the Sri Lankan authorities on the arrest of Indian fishermen and the complaints being lodged by the fishermen of Rameswaram, Mandapam, and other areas of Tamil Nadu who were facing tough times in the sea near the Katchatheevu island as well as the International Marine Boundary Line (IMBL).

Krishnaswami Rajendran, who is the owner of a fishing boat at Rameswaram, while speaking to IANS said: “The Sri Lankan Navy is creating problems with our fishermen and it is high time that the government of India takes stringent action against the perpetrators who are attacking Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu regularly.

“There has to be an end to this. The real situation in the sea is really tough and we are being attacked regularly for no fault of ours.”

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Late Cong MP Rajiv Satav’s name cleared in complaint demanding his disqualification

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More than six months after his death, President Ram Nath Kovind has said that late Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Satav had not incurred any disqualification from being a Rajya Sabha member “on the ground of holding subsisting contract with a Government company.”

“Satav has not incurred disqualification for being a Member of Parliament under article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” said the notification signed by the President on January 6 and published on Friday.

Satav had passed away due to post Covid complications during the pendency of the Petition on May 16, 2021.

The case pertained to September 2020, when Pawan Jagadish Bora and Dattatray Pandurang Anantwar jointly petitioned the President seeking Satav’s disqualification on the ground of holding subsisting contract with a Government company (Satav had a distributorship of Indian Oil Corporation. Incidentally, there is no mention anywhere as to who Bora and Anantwar are, what they do and where do they belong to.

The President had referred to their petition to the Election Commission of India in October 2020 seeking its opinion under relevant provision.

The Election Commission sent a letter in February 2021 seeking a reply from Satav, that is when he clarified in his reply in March 2021 that the details of said contract were declared while filing his nomination papers and the present reference case pertained to pre-election disqualification, which was outside the purview of articles 102 & 103 of the Constitution of India.

He had further claimed that the Indian Oil Corporation is not an “appropriate government” and the distributorship agreement with Indian Oil Corporation is not “works” within the meaning of section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The Election Commission, in the light of the observations made by the Supreme Court in the relevant judicial precedents, had rejected his claim but the Commission did opine that Indian Oil Corporation is not an “appropriate government” within the meaning of section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

It had concluded that Satav had no subsisting contract with the appropriate government, which would attract disqualification under section 9A of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

Considering the opinion of the Election Commission, the President, under article 103 of the Constitution of India, held that Satav had not incurred disqualification for being a Member of Parliament under article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

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