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SKUAST-K bags EU project for urban green infrastructure  

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SKUAST-K bags EU project

 Srinagar, April 19: Adding another feather to its cap, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Kashmir has bagged a prestigious European Union (EU) Project, ‘URGENT’, for the promotion of urban green infrastructure and climate-friendly liveable cities.

The project has been granted to the SKUAST-K’s Faculty of Forestry under the European Union’s Erasmus education programme on ‘Urban Resilience and Adaptation through Nature-based Solutions’ as a project partner.

‘URGENT’ is yet another such prestigious project received by the university. Earlier in 2019, the university got a Rs 30-crore grant under National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) jointly funded by the World Bank and Indian Council of Agricultural Research for the institutional development of the SKUAST-K.

University after signing the agreement with the University of Bremen, Germany entered into a collaboration with four European Universities, three universities and two institutes in Mongolia, besides three universities and two institutes in India with a consortium outlay of one million Euros (€). The grant agreement pre-signed by Director of Finance and Administration, University of Bremen, Frauke Meyer, was signed by V-C SKUAST-K, Prof JP Sharma in presence of Director Planning and Monitoring Prof NA Ganai, Dean Faculty of Forestry Prof TH Masoodi, and Principal Investigator of the project Dr Akhlaq Amin Wani.

The V-C at the moment lauded the Dean Forestry for encouraging the scientists of the faculty for achieving such a historic feat. He congratulated PI of the project Dr Akhlaq Amin Wani for bringing laurels to the university.

Prof NA Ganai in his remarks congratulated the project and said that bagging such projects will make the presence of SKUAST-K felt at the global level.

Theproject is the first of its kind for SKUAST-K in receiving a direct grant fromthe European Union and provides an opportunity to enter into collaboration withsome of the finest universities in Europe including the University of BremenGermany, University of Catania Italy, Estonian University of Life Sciences andMartin Luther University Germany besides some of the leading universities andinstitutes in Mongolia and India.

The project aim is to promote green & blue infrastructure and nature-based solutions (GBI&NBS) for resilient, climate-friendly and liveable cities through ICT-enhanced tertiary education linked to labour markets & wider stakeholder circles.

It is joint research in managing urban forest, resilience and adaptation, revising existing curricula with European standards, capacity building and creation of learning platforms for enhancing green and blue infrastructure in the respective regions.

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Srinagar worst city to live in according to country’s Ease of Living Index-2020

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Srinagar worst city to live

Ranked 49th at EoLI and Municipal Performance Index’ for 2020

Srinagar, March 4: Srinagar city has figured at the bottom of ‘Ease of Living Index (EoLI)-2020’ released by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry on Thursday. The poor performance on the index has made it the worst big city to live in the country with more than one million population.

Union MoS Urban and Housing Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri announced the release of the final rankings of Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2020 and the Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020 in New Delhi on Thursday in an online event in presence of Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA and senior officials of the ministry.

The Srinagar city has got the bottom rank, 49th, among the cities with a population of more than 1 million or 10 lakh people. It has scored 42.95 points out of 100 on the Ease of Living performance indicators, conducted by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs since 2018 under its smart city project along with the Municipal Performance Index. Srinagar’s score is way behind the all-India aggregate 53.51 score of 111 cites. Srinagar has performed five points below Dhanbad, the second-worst city at the 48th rank with 46.96 score.

Similarly, Srinagar city has also figured on the bottom of the ‘Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020’ leaving behind only Kota and Guwahati among the cities with a million-plus population. Srinagar’s score for Municipal Performance Index is even poorer than that of its Ease of Living Index score with only 25.93 points out of 100.

In fact, Srinagar figures at the bottom of both indices (EoLI and MPI) when all the 111 cities, including 49 with a million-plus population and 62 with less than 1 million population are combined together. Jammu, which figures in the list of cities with less than 1 million population has performed a few points better than Srinagar with an overall score of 52.49 points.

The Ease of Living (EOL) Index has been formed to measure the outcomes of the various programmes and schemes launched by the centre to verify whether these interventions were effective in ushering development in urban areas.

The Ease of Living Index is an assessment tool that evaluates the quality of life and the impact of various initiatives for urban development. The EoLI evaluates the well- being of citizens in 111 cities, which comprises cities identified under the Smart Cities Mission, capital cities and cities with a population of over 1 million. As a data-driven evaluation tool that quantifies the performance of cities across several parameters, the index also serves to empower cities to use evidence-based planning and implementation, write the authors of the EoLI report in its preface.

It provides a comprehensive understanding of participating cities across the country based on the quality of life, economic-ability of a city, and its sustainability and resilience. The assessment also incorporates the residents’ view on the services provided by city administration through a Citizen Perception Survey, as per the authors.

Srinagar has performed terribly in almost all indicators of EoLI, except for the Peoples’ Perception Survey. There is not a single Indicator or Pillar, where it has shown better performance than any other city among the 111 indexed. In the Quality of Life’ indicator, Srinagar has got 26.06 points. In the ‘Economic Ability’ indicator, it has got only 3.09 points, which indicates the lack of business opportunities and poor economic scenario of the city. In ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Ease of Living’, the score is 57.61 and 21.11 respectively. Citizen Perception is the only indicator, where Srinagar has shown better performance with a 72.80 score.

The MPI examines the sectoral performance of 111 municipalities of the country across five verticals which comprise of 20 sectors and 100 indicators. The five verticals under MPI are Services, Finance, Policy, Technology and Governance.

In the Municipal Performance Index, Srinagar’s score is even worst with 25.93 points out of 100 among the big cities with a million-plus population. In the ‘Governance’ indicator of MPI, Srinagar has scored 20.83 points. In Technology, it has scored 9.03. In services and finance, it has scored 27.02 and 33.45 respectively. For ‘Planning’ , the score is a little better with 37.40 points.

The MPI, according to the MHUA, was launched as an accompaniment to the EoLI. It seeks to examine local government practice in municipalities across areas of services, finance, policy, technology and governance. It seeks to simplify and evaluate the complexities in local governance practice and promote the ethos of transparency and accountability.

The EoLI encapsulates the outcome indicators while the MPI captures the enabling input parameters. These indices provide a holistic assessment of cities based on their efforts to cultivate better quality of life, create infrastructure, and address challenges of urbanization.

Infact, MPI provides a granular understanding of a municipalities’ functionalities and the extent of their development and capabilities. Through the index, citizens can better understand their local government administration, which in turn builds transparency and generates trust among key stakeholders.

The framework covers 20 varied sectors vis. Education, Health, Water & Wastewater, SWM & Sanitation, Registration & Permits, Infrastructure, Revenue Management, Expenditure Management, Fiscal Responsibility, Fiscal Decentralisation, Digital Governance, Digital Access, Digital Literacy, Plan Preparation, Plan Implementation, Plan Enforcement, Transparency & Accountability, Human Resource, Participation and Effectiveness.

Bangalore and Shimla have figured on top among big and small cities, respectively.

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Online registration fee collection portal JKGRAS rolled out

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Registration JKGRAS roll out collection

Pawan Kotwal holds meeting-cum-training of registrars, sub registrars

BK News

Jammu, Jan 28: Inspector General Registration, Dr Pawan Kotwal, Thursday rolled out J&K Government Receipt Accounting System (JKGRAS) portal in Registration Department for easy payment of registration fee by the citizens for getting registration of documents done at the Sub Registrar offices from anywhere without visiting the treasuries or banks.

Dr Pawan Kotwal, later, convened a meeting cum training session of all the Registration Officers to acquaint them with JKGRAS module.

Additional Inspector General Registration, Jammu, Leena Padha, Tehsildar Headquarter, Rafiq Ahmad Jaral and all the Registrars, Sub Registrars of J&K participated through video conferencing.

Technical Director NIC, J&K, Rajesh Kumar gave a detailed presentation on the GRAS module.

The government has recently launched the Government Receipt Accounting System (GRAS) portal in the Union Territory.

Dr Kotwal asked the developers to incorporate the features as per the requirement of the registration department and ought to be linked with the NGDRS portal so that the Sub Registrars can lock the e-registration challan smoothly. He also asked the scientists to use all the protection techniques, so that the e-Challan of payment once used, may not be used again by anyone.

While rolling out GRAS for collection of the registration fee, Dr Kotwal directed all the Sub Registrars to adopt the new mode of payment of registration fee mandatorily.

Responding to the queries of registration officers, Dr Kotwal said that the GRAS is at the evolutionary stage and lot of changes will be made as per the requirement of departments. He asked the registration officers to provide all the requirements through email at the earliest so that necessary customization can be made in the system.

The Department of Registration has adopted the online registration system by using the NGDRS system developed by Software Development Unit of NIC, Pune, since September 18 last year, in five districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Srinagar and with effect from November 9 in rest of the 15 districts.  Till date, 9695 documents have been registered online in five districts and 1114 documents in the remaining 15 districts. Further, the department has successfully adopted e-stamping in whole of the Union Territory of J&K in collaboration with Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), which is the Central Record Keeping Agency.

Also, the SHCIL has set up about 400 Authorized Collection Centers (ACCs) including banks and stamp vendors, where the applicants deposit the stamp duty electronically. Till date, Rs, 97.87crore have been collected through e-stamping since 18th September 2020. By adopting e-stamping, the government has saved a huge amount of about Rs. 35 crore, which was earlier spent on printing of stamp papers besides plugging the leakage and ensuring efficiency and transparency in the stamp duty collection.

Now, with the introduction of e-Registration fee collection, the revenue collected on account of stamp duty and registration fee would be foolproof, transparent and easily monitorable besides being citizen-friendly reform. This would be one of the major reforms of e-governance in the UT of J&K.

The GRAS portal is accessible by logging onto www.jkgrastreasury.gov.in  A user can generate e-Challan through this portal and deposit the registration fee either through internet banking service available 24X7 or over the counter in any branch of the J&K Bank in J&K as well as rest of the country.

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DC reviews land acquisition for NH-444 in Kulgam

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Land acquisition for NH-444 in Kulgam

BK News

Kulgam, Jan 8: District Collector, Kulgam, Showkat Aijaz Bhat Friday convened a meeting of concerned officers to review progress and status of land acquisition for NH-444 here.

The National Highway 444 is a branch of Srinagar Jammu National Highway 44, running parallel to it from Qazigund to Nowgam.

The 105km under-construction highway stretch goes through Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama, Budgam and Srinagar districts.

The District Collector during the meeting enjoined upon the teams, that the re-measurement of the NH-444 project be prepared within days.

The meeting among others was attended by Collector (NH-444) ADC, Executive Engineer 1st PC Division Srinagar, CASTA team, Revenue, R&B and other officials.

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