India joins Earth Hour

earthhourNEW DELHI: Seeking to spread the message of energy conservation, Delhiites on Saturday joined a billion people in over 6,000 cities across the globe to observe the Earth Hour by switching off their electrical appliances between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm.

A candlelight vigil at Connaught Place was organised as part of the global Earth hour initiative here on Saturday. Lights also went off at many prominent buildings in the national capital, including Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate etc during the period.

Power discoms in the city had also geared up for 9th edition of the event by sending mobile text messages and memos to individual households, RWAs, business houses and communities urging them to switch off all lights for an hour to conserve energy.

“We had sent SMSes to over 10 lakh customers to participate in the Earth Hour,” a BSES official said.

Earth Hour is an annual international event created by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), that urges households and business establishments to save power. – From Asian Age


Use cheques, credit cards instead

creditcardsNEW DELHI: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said India needs to increase the use of cheques and “plastic currency” to clamp down the menace of black money.

The government is also taking several steps to reduce incidence of high-value cash transactions, he said at the foundation day celebrations of Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd (SPMCIL). “Some steps have also been announced which make use of cash little difficult.”

He also said the government is trying to create a conducive environment, both in terms of taxation and ease of doing business, as investments won’t come just by opening doors.

At another event, he urged India to take immediate advantage of rising wage costs in China, to emerge as an alternate manufacturing hub.

“Wages in China have gone up. That part of the world is now becoming costlier,” he said while addressing the annual day celebrations at Shri Ram College of Commerce.

“Can the cost of our capital not be reasonable… all these issues of efficiency, quality improvement, that’s where the opportunity awaits us in creating mass jobs and that is the best possibility of India (in) removing poverty.” – From Hindustan Times



Lee ‘a towering figure in Asian history’

leekyNEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday condoled the death of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew whom he described as a lion among leaders.

“A far-sighted statesman and a lion among leaders, Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s life teaches valuable lessons to everyone. News of his demise is saddening,” he said in a statement.

“In this hour of bereavement, our prayers are with Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s family and the people of Singapore. May his soul rest in peace,” the Prime Minister said.

Lee, who was Singapore’s first Prime Minister, died of severe pneumonia Monday.

President Pranab Mukherjee also condoled the passing away of Lee.

He said Asia mourns the loss of a towering leader. “Heartfelt condolences on sad demise of former PM Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Asia will mourn the loss of a towering leader,” Mukherjee said in a tweet.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi described him as a “towering figure in Asian history” and an “esteemed and valued friend of India”.

In a letter to Singapore’s present Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, she also referred to the “warm personal memories” of her meetings with Kuan Yew in 2005 and 2007 when he had visited Delhi.

“I am deeply grieved to learn of the passing away of your beloved father. Lee Kuan Yew was a towering figure in Asian history, an abiding source of inspiration and influence throughout our continent.

“In his three decades as Prime Minister of Singapore, he gave his country a sense of proud nationhood and national identity based on a richly multi-cultural and meritocratic society,” she said.

Hsien Loong and Lee Kuan Yew’s son. – From Press Trust India