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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Indian Cricketers to score 600+ Runs in a Test Series

Most Dismissals For A Wicket Keeper in a Calendar Year

Most Runs Scored in a day of a Test Match

Why 2016 will last a second longer?

For welcoming the New Year, you will have to wait a little longer than usual as timekeepers will add a "leap second" to the final minute of 2016. 

Here is why they will do it.

Former Australian Cricket Captain Ricky Ponting appointed as an assistant coach to the Australia Twenty20 international squad against Sri Lanka Sunday Jan 01,2017

Former Test skipper Ricky Ponting has been appointed as an assistant coach to the Australia Twenty20 international squad for next month`s series against Sri Lanka, Cricket Australia said Sunday.Jan 01,2017

Ricky Ponting, one of Australia`s greatest batsmen, will work alongside the interim head coach Justin Langer and interim assistant coach Jason Gillespie during the three T20 internationals.
The matches will be played in Melbourne (February 17), the Victorian provincial city of Geelong (February 20) and Adelaide (February 22).
The trio have been brought in with the core of the existing Australia support team in India ahead of a four-Test series at the same time as the T20 home series with Sri Lanka.
Ricky Ponting led his country in the first-ever T20 international against New Zealand in 2005 before leading the national side in the first two editions of the ICC World T20 in 2007 and 2009.
Ricky Ponting also coached the Mumbai Indians to the Indian Premier League title.
"I always said when I retired that I wanted to get back involved and what better way to do it than alongside a couple of my best mates in cricket, Justin Langer and Jason Gillespie," Ponting said.
"We have some incredible Twenty20 talent in this country and I can`t wait to work with JL, Dizzy and those selected to have a real crack at doing special for Australia`s Twenty20 international ambitions."

Ricky Ponting scored more than 27,000 international runs during a decorated international career that included playing in three ICC Cricket World Cup-winning sides in 1999, 2003 and 2007, the last two as captain in unbeaten campaigns.

United Nations Security Council(UNSC) "welcomes and supports" efforts by Russia and Turkey to end the crisis in Syria.

The UN Security Council has voted to back efforts by Russia and Turkey to end fighting in Syria and plans for fresh peace talks next month.
The resolution, drafted by Russia, also calls for rapid access for humanitarian aid to be delivered across the country.
Turkey and Russia led a ceasefire deal that has mostly held since Thursday Dec 29,2016

The resolution helps pave the way for talks in Kazakhstan between the Syrian government and opposition, which have the backing of Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Earlier Syria's main rebel alliance threatened to abandon the truce by 18:00 GMT if the government continued to attack areas under its control
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) issued the ultimatum to Russia - Syria's key ally - amid reports of intense bombardment by government forces on the rebel-held Wadi Barada area of Damascus.
But shelling on the area concerned ceased just minutes before the deadline, the group's legal adviser, Osama Abu Zeid, said.
The new ceasefire deal applies across Syria but excludes the jihadists of so-called Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), and the Kurdish YPG militia.
A final text of the UN resolution dropped the word "endorsed", stating, instead, that the Security Council "welcomes and supports" efforts by Russia and Turkey to end the crisis in Syria.
It said it had taken note of the documents issued by the two countries, but the French Ambassador to the UN later said the council had not seen any documents signed by the rebel groups and the Syrian government.

"In these conditions, the level of commitment of the parties to this truce remains somewhat uncertain and its implementation rather fragile," Alexis Lamek said.
Some of the rebel signatories have alleged that they were made to sign a version that may differ from that of the Syrian government.
The resolution comes against a backdrop of deadlock among the veto-wielding members of the council, with Russia supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the US, UK and France insisting he must step down as part of any deal to end the war.
Russia and Turkey also back opposite sides in the conflict, with Turkey supporting the rebellion against Mr Assad.
Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, appealed to council members to give the latest ceasefire efforts a chance, saying: "Don't just keep repeating outdated cliches."
"Let us work very seriously on this and ensure that in 2017 we achieve a political settlement of the Syria crisis," he added.

Who is included in the truce agreement?

On the one side, Syrian government forces, allied militias and the Russian military.
On the other, the FSA plus several other groups.
The Russian defence ministry named seven "moderate opposition formations" included in the truce as Faylaq al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, Thuwwar Ahl al-Sham, Jaysh al-Mujahidin, Jaysh Idlib and Jabhah al-Shamiya.
Ahrar al-Sham, which said it had "reservations" about the deal, and Jaysh al-Islam are Islamist groups that Russia has previously described as terrorist organisations.

Who is not included?

IS and JFS and the groups affiliated to them", are not part of the agreement, according to the Syrian army.
JFS said on Friday it would continue to fight President Assad, with a spokesman saying the political solution under the truce would "reproduce the criminal regime".
Members of the group are currently operating as part of a rebel alliance that controls Idlib province.
The FSA also said the deal did not include the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG).
The militia, which has captured large swathes of north-eastern Syria from IS with US support, is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey.
The truce is nominally nationwide, although that really only covers the areas where the sides who have signed up have a presence - western Syria.

Democratic Republic of Congo Deal Agreed to end Joseph Kabila's 15-year rule

A deal has been signed to end Joseph Kabila's 15-year rule in the Democratic Republic of Congo - but the president himself has yet to add his signature.
Senior ministers backed the deal, which would see Mr Kabila stay on until elections are held by the end of 2017.
The country has faced a crisis since Mr Kabila failed to step down earlier in December, when his mandate expired.
Elections should have been held in November, and dozens of people have died in protests since then.
After the electoral commission cancelled the scheduled vote, citing logistical and financial difficulties in organising them, Mr Kabila formed a 74-member transitional government and said elections would be held in 2018.
Representatives of Mr Kabila and his long standing rival Etienne Tshisekedi have been locked in negotiations brokered by Catholic Church leaders since 8 December.
Neither man has yet signed the final deal, but representatives of both sides said the two men would put their names to the transition agreement later.
In the meantime, members of the government and the opposition signed it in the final minutes of 2016.
"Today, we are happy to head up a political compromise," said Archbishop Marcel Utembi, who heads the church body which mediated the talks.
Under the deal, Mr Kabila is to lead a transitional government until elections which must be held by the end of 2017.
During that period, an opposition politician will serve as prime minister.
The document states that Mr Kabila will not seek a third term. The constitution bars him from doing this, but the opposition had feared he might try to amend it to enable him to do.
Archbishop Marcel Utembi sees further challenges ahead.
"It's one thing to have a political compromise but putting it into place is another," he said, after the signing ceremony on Saturday.
DR Congo has not had a smooth transfer of power between any leaders since independence from Belgium in 1960.
Mr Kabila took over in 2001 following the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila.

Prime Mibister Narendra Modi greets nation on New Year Sunday Jan 01,2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday Jan 01,2017 took to Twitter to greet the nation on New Year.

Prime Minister Narendra  Modi hoped the New Year brings good health and prosperity in everyone's lives.
"Greetings on the start of 2017. May this year bring good health, happiness and prosperity in everyone's lives," he said in a tweet.

Greetings on the start of 2017. May this year bring good health, happiness and prosperity in everyone's lives.

HealthifyMe Fitness App Crosses 1 Million Downloads On PlayStore

Mobile-based health and fitness app HealthifyMe has announced that it has crossed one million downloads on Google PlayStore.
The app, which is ahead of all the other apps in health and fitness category, has also received $1 million (Rs 6.7 crore) in funding from Dubai-based investor Neelesh Bhatnagar from NB Ventures.
"Hitting one million users is a great validation since most of the growth has happened organically. Our 4.3 rating matters a lot more as it speaks of how much our customers believe in us," Tushar Vashisht, Co-founder and CEO, HealthifyMe, said in a statement.
The app had earlier received $6 million from IDG, Inventus and Blume Ventures. The fresh funding will be used to hire top leadership and invest in product and technology innovation.
Earlier in the week, HealthifyMe was rated as a "Top of 2016" mobile app by Google and also featured multiple times in the health/fitness category by both Apple and Android.
"I hope we sustain this momentum by crossing 10 million downloads in the next 18 months," Vashisht said.
HealthifyMe helps its users to incorporate healthy habits in their routine by providing them with customised daily tasks, healthy suggestions for a balanced diet and daily workout plans with videos.

5 Women Safety Apps You Should Know

In the event of an emergency, the user can use the Nirbhaya app that lets them send an SMS alert or call with a single touch.
This free app is made for women by the Delhi Police. The user has to register themselves at the Delhi Police website before using the app. The user can alert using the app and their location and video-audio will be transmitted to Delhi Police control room.
This is designed for personal safety and has features such as emergency contact details, GSP tracking and so on.
Secure Her
This app works by sending out a distress signal as soon as its user double-taps on the app's icon on the mobile phone.
The Raksha app comes equipped with a button that sends alerts to your loved ones with your location when the user is in distress. Also, in case the app is off, the user can send alerts by simply pressing the volume key for three seconds.

10 Netflix Originals You Just Can't Miss

Netflix will soon complete its first anniversary in India. It is all set to launch over 1,000 hours of original content in 2017. The most popular content that Indians binge watched on Netflix this year was Narcos,House of Cards,Marvel’s Daredevil,Brahman Naman,Marvel’s Luke Cage,The Crown,Stranger Things and Master of None.
With over 86 million members in over 190 countries, Netflix is eyeing big going forward. Here are 10 Netflix originals to look forward to in 2017.
Marvel’s Iron Fist
Based on the Marvel’s comic character Iron Fist, this show starring Jessica Henwick and Finn Jones will be another treat for all the Marvel fans. The story is about a young man bestowed with incredible martial arts skills.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
A story of three children who face trials and tribulations while attempting to uncover their dark family secrets, this show is based on  the best selling children’s novels, A Series of Unfortunate Events, written by Lemony Snicket.The lead roles will be played by Neil Patrick Harris, Usman Ally and Matty Cardarople.
Sense8 Season 2
This sci-fi show was launched last year in June and has grown to have a substantial fan base. After a long and agonizing wait, season two of Sense8 is all set to launch next year.
Master of None Season 2
A comedy about the professional and personal life of a 30 year old actor in New York, Aziz Ansari’s Master of None will air its second season in 2017.
Stranger Things Season 2
Stranger Things is dramatic fantasy about a young boy who gets lost. After its massive hit in the first season, the wait is over for the fans as Netflix has confirmed a season 2 in 2017.
War Machine
War Machine is an upcoming comedy film about America’s infamous war with Afghanistan. This satire will be released in 2017 with Brad Pitt and Emory Cohen, sharing the screen.
Dear Zindagi 
For the first time online, Dear Zindagi will be released on Netflix next year, after a partnership between Netflix and Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chilies Entertainment. This movie starring Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt was released in Indian cinemas on November 25th.
The Discovery
A love story directed by Charlie McDowell, it revolves around the discovery of the existence of ‘the afterlife’. This sci-fi romance film starring Riley Keough and Rooney Mara will also release in 2017.
First They Killed My Father
Based on the biography of the Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung , this movie directed by Angelina Jolie recounts the horrors Loung Ung suffered under the brutal Cambodian ruler, Khmer Rouge.
The Defenders
Another series to add to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel’s The Defenders will showcase four heroes- Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist with one common goal, to defend New York City. This mini-series will also air in 2017.

Grutas Park(Unofficially known as Stalin World)80 miles southwest of Lithuania's capital, Vilnius

Unofficially known as Stalin World, in Grutas Park in the south of Lithuania monuments of Lenin, Marx and Stalin scatter the land, set amid beautiful wooded countryside.

Grutas Park was established to preserve the history of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic era, and as well as the sculpture garden's collection of 86 statues there are darker touches, such as guard towers and fragments of concentration camps.  

Stalin World features statues and other relics of the Russian occupation of the country that, according to the park, lays bare 'the naked Soviet ideology which suppressed and hurt the spirit of our nation for many decades'.

After Lithuania regained its independence in 1990, dozens of Soviet statues were torn down from their plinths in towns and cities across the country, and dumped out of sight. 

Local entrepreneur Viliumas Malinauskas petitioned the Lithuanian authorities to grant him possession of these sculptures so that he could build a privately-financed museum. 

His aim was a controversial one but, despite fierce opposition from some, Park Grutas opened near the small town of Druskininkai in 2001.

An original idea of transporting tourists around the 20 hectare park on Gulag-style trains was later dropped, but the open-air museum is still eerily reminiscent of Siberian labour camps.

Grutas Park even holds an annual event on May 1 – a 'Soviet' celebration, when actors dress up in official communist ceremonial garments, and take on the role of political leaders from the time, including Lenin and Stalin. 

And there is more to the park than just the 2km-long sculpture trail - there is also a kids' playground - Luna Park, a mini zoo, a gift shop, and a cafe, all based on the Soviet era, with the cafe even serving traditional food from the time. 

This statue of Lenin is one of 86 former Soviet relics in the sculpture collection at Grutas Park, in Druskininkai, Lithuania

These busts of Engels, Marx, Lenin, and Stalin stand in front of some of the beautiful green fir trees that populate Grutas Park

As well as the sculpture garden's collection of statues there are darker touches, such as guard towers and fragments of concentration camps

Grutas Park also holds an annual event on May 1 – a 'Soviet' celebration, when actors dress up in Soviet official ceremonial garments, and take on the role of political leaders from the time

People play roles such as pioneers, partisans, secretaries of the central committee, and actors even impersonate Lenin, Stalin, and other characters of the Soviet period

The park also contains a kids' playground, a mini zoo, and a cafe, all based on the Soviet era, with the cafe even serving traditional food from the time

Tourists are regularly seen touring the statues in Park Grutas - known colloquially as 'Stalin World' - in the south of Lithuania

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Address to the nation Saturday Dec 31,2016

In his new year eve address to the nation on Saturday Dec 31,2016 - at the end of the 50 day demonetisation period-- Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced new home loan interest concession for those aspiring to own homes in urban areas under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)

Two new schemes under PMAY have been announced--Those availing loans upto Rs. 9 lakh for buying homes in 2017 will get interest concession (subventions) of 4 percent. In the case of loans up to Rs. 12 lakhs, interest concession (subventions) of 3 percent will be provided.
Number of houses to be built in rural areas under PMAY is to be increased by 33 percent. Also, a concessional loan of up to Rs. 2 lakhs for making home improvements and expansion in rural areas will be provided.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that in the next three months as many as three crore Kisan credit cards will be converted into RUPAY credit cards. This will enable the farmer to use these RUPAY credit cards everywhere and not only in banks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced the inclusion of non banking finance companies (NBFCs) under the credit guarantee scheme (CGTSME) for lending to small and medium enterprises.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the priority of the government is to protect the common man, help the honest and isolate the dishonest.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that he has directed government officials to quickly resolve the farmers' problems in rural and far-flung areas.
Appeal to banks
Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to banks in the country to work for the benefit of the poor and low income households and not let this opportunity (huge deposit flow into banks due to demonetisation) go.
For small entrepreneurs, Modi announced that credit guarantee will be raised from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2 crore.
For small businesses, cash credit limit has been raised to 25 per cent from 20 percent.
Also, senior citizens will be assured 8 percent interest on their deposits up to Rs. 7.5 lakhs.

Highlights of the Speech

1) Senior citizens will get 8 percent interest on deposits of upto Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years and deposit of Rs 6000 into accounts of pregnant and lactating women in rural areas to meet medical expenses.
2) Banks will not charge interest for 60 days on loans taken from district cooperative central bank and primary societies for rabi crop.3)
3) In 3 months, 3 crore Kisan Credit Cards will be transformed to RuPay credit cards for farmers.
4) For construction or expansion of a rural house, 3 percent interest will be waived on loan of upto Rs 2 lakh.
5) Announcing two new schemes under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, he said 4 percent interest subvention on loans upto Rs 9 lakh and 3 percent on loan upto Rs 12 lakh.
6) He also said that government will take stand to guarantee for loans upto Rs 2 crore from current Rs 1 crore, to small businesses. Banks have been asked to raise cash credit limit to small business to 25 percent from 20 percent, said Modi.
7) Kisan Credit Cards to be changed to Rupay cards for ease of use.
8) Eight percent interest rate will be guaranteed on deposits of upto Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years for senior citizens and interest will be paid monthly, said Modi.
9) Rs 6,000 to be put into accounts of pregnant women in 650 districts for vaccination and other medical use, announced the prime minister.
10) Government to bear 60 days interest on farm loans taken from District Cooperative Central Bank and primary society

Key Sectors that figured in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech.
- For urban poor: 4% subsidy on interest for 9 lakh rupee loan; 3% subsidy on 12 lakh loan
- Rural poor: housing quota under PM Awas increased by 33%; 3% off on 2 lakh rupee loan
- Rabi sowing area increased by 6%; fertilizer offtake increased by 9%
- Govt will transfer some money into accounts of farmers; dist coop banks asked to give rebate for rabi loans
- 20,000 cr more for NABARD to give subsidized loans, govt will compensate NABARD
- 3 crore kisan credit cards to be converted to RuPAy cards in next 3 months
- Small industries credit guarantee increased from 1 cr to 2 crore. Govt will provide guarantee when banks lend to small industries. NBFCs also included in this scheme
- Cash credit limit raised for small industries from 20% to 30%
- Working capital limit for small industries raised from 20% to 30%
- For small industries with turnover of 2 crore, interest rate rebate to 6% from 8%
- Maternity benefit for rural pregnant women to be 6000 rs deposited in their accounts (for registration, immunization, nutrition)
- For money of upto 7.7 lakh a lock in of interest rate for 10 years @ 8%, payable monthly

Full text of PM Narendra Modi's speech on New Year's Eve, December 31,2016

My fellow citizens,

In a few hours, we will be ushering in the new year of 2017. 125 crore Indians  will join the rest of the world, in welcoming it  with new hope, new energy  and new dreams.

Since Diwali, our nation has been witness to  a historic  rite of purification. The patience, discipline, and resolve  displayed by 125 crore Indians, will play a critical role in shaping  the future of the nation  for years to come.
 In God's creation, humans are endowed with fundamental goodness.
With time, the distortions of badness  creep in. People feel suffocated in a bad environment, and struggle to come out of it. Corruption, black money, and counterfeit notes  had become so rampant in India's social fabric, that  even honest people  were brought to their knees.

People were forced by circumstances, in defiance of their inherent  goodness. It seemed at times, that the evils  and corruptions of society,
knowingly or un - knowingly,  intentionally or un- intentionally, had become a part  of our daily lives. Developments post-Diwali have shown, that crores of Indians  were looking for an escape from this suffocation.

We have, during the external aggressions, of 1962, 1965, 1971  and Kargil;  witnessed the intrinsic strength of our citizens. Such collective energy and patriotism is under- standable, in the face of external threats.However, when crores of Indians unite to fight a war against internal evils, it is unparalleled.

Indians have, with firm resolve  and infinite patience, faced difficulties with a smile, re-defining the concept of sacrifice.  We have  lived these ideals.  125 crore Indians have shown, in their fortitude, the importance we place  in truth  and goodness. This has been written  on the sands of time.

Indians have displayed  the strength of people power, utmost discipline, and the ability to discern the truth in a storm of disinformation. They have shown  that resolute honesty, can defeat dishonesty.

They have shown how much, even people trapped in poverty, are willing to do, to build a glorious India. The people, through persistence, sweat and toil, have demonstrated to the world, an unparalleled example of citizen sacrifice, for the brighter future of a nation.

Usually, when people's movements have arisen, the people and the government have been at loggerheads.

It is historic, that both the people and the government are on the same side in this battle against evil.  The Government is well aware, that in this period, you had to queue up, and face difficulty in withdrawing your own money.  I received letters from many people.  They have shared their pain and sorrow with me, but also emphasized their support. You have talked to me as one of your own. In this fight against corruption and black money, it is clear that you wish to walk shoulder to shoulder with us. For us in Government, this is a blessing.

 My effort is to take the banking system to normalcy as fast as possible in the new year. I have asked all concerned officers in the Government to focus their attention to this task. They have especially been told to proactively resolve the problems in rural and remote areas.


There is no precedent globally, to what India has done. Nations similar to us do not have the amount of currency that we had. Over the last ten to twelve years, 500 and 1000 rupee currency notes were used less for legitimate transactions, and more for a parallel economy. The excess of cash was fuelling inflation and black-marketing. It was denying the poor, their due.  Lack of cash causes difficulty, but excess of cash is even more troublesome. Our aim is to achieve a balance. Economists agree that when cash is outside the formal economy, it is a cause of worry.When it joins the mainstream, it is an opportunity for development.

I am sure, if great sons of India like Jayaprakash Narayan, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Ram Manohar Lohia, and Kamaraj had been present today, they would have applauded the patience, discipline and resolve of our countrymen.

In the past few weeks, there have been many gratifying instances - it would take weeks to list them.

It is a healthy trend for any nation, when the people wish to join the mainstream abiding by the law, and helping the Government in serving the poor.


How long will we overlook facts that stare us in the face?  I wish to share some information with you, which will either make you laugh, or make you angry. According to information with the Government, there are only 24 lakh people in India who accept that their annual income is more than 10 lakh rupees. Can we digest this? Look at the big bungalows and big cars around you.

If we look at any big city, it would have lakhs of people with annual income of more than 10 lakh. Do you not feel, that for the good of the country, this movement for honesty, needs to be further strengthened?

In this fight against corruption and black money, it is natural to debate the fate of the dishonest. What punishment will they get? The Law will take its own course, with its full force. But the priority of the Government now is how to help the honest, protect them, and ease their difficulty.How can honesty gain more prestige?

This Government is a friend of good people. And it aims to build an enabling environment for the dishonest to return to the path of goodness.

It is also a bitter truth, that people have complaints of bad experiences at the hands of Government machinery, and some government officers.
This reality cannot be wished away. No one can deny that Government officers have a greater responsibility than common citizens.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of all of us in Government, at central, state and local levels, to protect the common man, help the honest, and isolate the dishonest.

Friends, It is accepted the world over, that terrorism, Naxalism, Maoism, counterfeit currency trade, drug trade, human trafficking - all of these depend on black money.

These evils have become a festering sore on society and Governments.

Demonetistion has dealt a severe blow to these trades.

Today, youth who had turned to the wrong path, are returning to the mainstream in large numbers.  If we remain vigilant, we can now save our children from returning to those evil ways of violence and cruelty.  The fact that so much of the cash in circulation has been deposited in the banking system indicates the success of this mission.

Events of the last few days indicate that escape routes for the dishonest have all been sealed. Technology has played a big role. The habitual offenders will be forced to abandon their misdeeds and join the mainstream.

Friends, This also represents a golden opportunity for the country's banking system. During this period, bank employees have worked day and night.

Female employees too, worked till late hours as part of this mission.

Post office staff, banking correspondents- all did exceptional work.

Amid this herculean effort, some grave crimes by some officers in some banks have come to light. Some Government officers have also committed serious offences, and tried to take advantage of the situation. They will not be spared.

At this historic juncture, I wish to make an appeal to the banks.

History is witness that the Indian banking system has never received such a large amount of money, in such a short time.

While respecting the autonomy of the banks, I appeal to them to move beyond their traditional priorities, and keep the poor, the lower middle class, and the middle class at the focus of their activities.

India is celebrating the centenary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay as Garib Kalyan Varsh. Banks should also not let this opportunity slip. They should take appropriate decisions in public interest promptly.

When policies and programmes are made with clear objectives in mind, not only are beneficiaries empowered, but both short term, and long term benefits are achieved. Spending is carefully scrutinized, and chances of good results are maximized.

The more the villages, the poor, the farmers, the dalits, the tribals, the marginalized, the oppressed, the deprived and women are empowered, and financially enabled to stand on their own feet, the stronger the country will become, and the faster will be the pace of development.

Friends, to further the principle of Sabka Saath - Sabka Vikaas, on the eve of the new year, Government is bringing some new programmes for the people.

Even so many years after independence, millions of poor do not have their own home. When black money increased in our economy, houses became out of reach of even the middle class. The Government has taken some major decisions to ensure homes for the poor, the neo middle class and the middle class.

Two new middle income categories have been created under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in urban areas. Loans of up to 9 lakh rupees taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 4 per cent. Loans of up to 12 lakh rupees taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 3 per cent.

The number of houses being built for the poor, under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in rural areas, is being increased by 33 per cent.

In addition to this, another scheme is being put in place for the neo middle and middle class in rural areas. Loans of up to 2 lakh rupees taken in 2017, for new housing, or extension of housing in rural areas, will receive an interest subvention of 3 per cent.

Friends in the last few weeks, an impression was sought to be created that the agriculture sector has been destroyed. Farmers themselves have given a fitting reply to those who were doing so. Rabi sowing is up by 6 per cent compared to last year. Fertilizer offtake is up by 9 per cent. During this period, the Government has taken care to ensure that farmers do not suffer for want of access to seeds, fertilisers and credit. Now, we have taken some more decisions in the interest of farmers.

Farmers who have taken loans for the Rabi crop from District Cooperative Central Banks and Primary Societies, will not have to pay interest on such loans for a period of 60 days. Farmers who have paid interest during the last two months, will receive these amounts back, directly into their bank accounts.

Arrangements are being made to provide farmers even better access to loans from cooperative banks and societies. NABARD created a fund of 21,000 crore rupees last month. Now, Government is adding 20,000 crore rupees more to this. The loss that NABARD suffers by giving loans to cooperative banks and societies at low interest rates, shall be borne by the Government of India.

The Government has decided, that 3 crore farmers who have Kisan Credit Cards, will be given RuPay debit cards within three months. Kisan Credit Cards were launched in 1998, but so far, it was essential to go to a bank, to use them. Now, farmers will have RuPay Debit Cards, which they can use anywhere.

Just as agriculture is vital for the economy, so are the medium and small scale enterprises also called the MSME sector. Government has taken some decisions in the interest of small and medium businesses, which will also boost employment.

Government of India underwrites loans given by banks to small businesses through a trust. So far, loans were covered upto one crore rupees. This limit is now being enhanced to 2 crore rupees. Earlier the scheme only covered bank loans. Hereafter it will cover loans given by NBFCs as well. This decision will enable better access to credit for small shop-owners and small enterprises. Banks and NBFCs will not levy  high interest on these loans, as Government of India is bearing the cost of underwriting them.
 Government has also asked banks to raise the credit limit for small industry from 20 per cent of turnover to 25 per cent.

Banks have also been asked to increase working capital loans from 20 per cent of turnover to 30 per cent, for enterprises that transact digitally.
Many people connected with this sector have made cash deposits in the last few weeks. Banks have been asked to take this into account when deciding on working capital.

A few days back, Government announced a major tax relief for small businesses.  Income of businesses with turnover of up to Rs. 2 crores was calculated at 8% of the turnover. Now, for such businesses income from digital transactions will be calculated at 6%. This will effectively reduce their tax liability by 25%.


The progress of the MUDRA Yojana has been very encouraging. Last year, nearly 3 and a half crore people have benefited from this. The Government now aims to double this, giving priority to Dalits, Tribals, Backward Classes and Women.  A new scheme is being launched for pregnant women.
We are introducing a nation-wide scheme for financial assistance to pregnant women. 6000 rupees will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children. This scheme will help reduce the maternal mortality rate, in a big way. This will help ensure nutrition before and after delivery, and improve the health of mother and child. So far, pregnant women in 53 districts were being given financial assistance of 4000 rupees, under a pilot project.

We are initiating a scheme for senior citizens. Banks often reduce their deposit rates, when they receive a large volume of money. This should not adversely impact senior citizens. Under the scheme, senior citizens will receive a fixed interest rate of 8 per cent for a period of 10 years, on deposits upto 7.5 lakh rupees. The interest will be paid monthly.


Political parties, political leaders and electoral funding, figure prominently in any debate on corruption and black money.

The time has now come that all political leaders and parties respect the feelings of the nation's honest citizens, and understand the anger of the people.

It is true that from time to time, political parties have made constructive efforts to improve the system.

I urge all parties and leaders to move away from a "holier than thou approach," to come together in prioritising transparency, and take firm steps to free politics of black money and corruption.

In our country, people ranging from the common man to the President, have at some point or another, advocated simultaneous conduct of state and national elections.

This is to break the endless cycle of elections, reduce election expenditure, and minimize pressure on the administrative machinery.

The time has come for this to be seriously considered and debated.

Positive change has always found space in our country.

We can now see a positive momentum towards digital transactions in India.

More and more people are transacting digitally.

Yesterday, Government has launched a new, swadeshi platform for digital transactions - named BHIM after Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.

BHIM stands for Bharat Interface for Money. I call upon the youth, the trading community, and farmers to connect with BHIM as much as possible. Friends, the developments, decisions, and policies that were put in place after Diwali, will of course be evaluated by economists.

It will be good if social scientists also do the same.

As a nation, India's villages, poor, farmers, youth, educated and uneducated men and women, have all displayed infinite patience and people power.  In a short time, the new year of 2017 will begin. Exactly 100 years ago, in 1917, Mahatma Gandhi initiated a Satyagraha in Champaran. Now, a century later, we witness that the people of India continue to share that feeling towards truth and goodness.

Today, Mahatma Gandhi is not among us. But the path towards truth that he showed us, is still most appropriate. As we begin the centenary year of the Satyagraha, let us recall the Mahatma and resolve to follow his message of truth and goodness.

We cannot allow this fight against black money and corruption to stop or slow down. Firmness in truth is a guarantee for success. A country of 125 crore, with 65 per cent below the age of 35, having the means, the resources, and the capability, has no reason to stay behind.

The new dawn of the New Year, comes with the resolve of new success.

Let us all come together, to move ahead overcoming obstacles and constraints.

Happy New Year
Jai Hind !!!