The Fourth Year of Presidency
"RACING PAST MILESTONES”
THE FOURTH YEAR OF SHRI PRANAB
The fourth year of President Pranab Mukherjee’s Presidency was marked by several novel initiatives. The period also witnessed renewed focus on key areas and themes, particularly education, innovation, welfare, wellness and e-initiatives. Programmes and projects initiated in the last four years achieved higher levels of success.
The highlights of the year included conversion of the President’s Estate into a Humane, Hi-tech, Heritage and Happy Township;adoption of five villages of Haryana by Rashtrapati Bhavan with a view to making them model "Smart Grams”; thePresident assuming the role of a teacher on the eve of Teachers’ Day; the first ever Visitors Conference bringing together at Rashtrapati Bhavan 113 heads of institutions of higher learning from across India and the first ever Conference of Indologists from all over the world.
The President inaugurated an Intelligent Operations Centre in Rashtrapati Bhavan and launched a Mobile App ‘Monitor’ to complete the transformation ofPresident’s Estate into a smart township. With the aim of establishing a value-oriented governance model, ‘4H’ (which stands for Humane, Hi-tech, Heritage and Happy Township) was declared as the motto of the President’s Secretariat. This Smart Township model provides smart solutions to challenges in critical domains of energy, water, security, PNG, horticulture and waste through cross departmental collaboration.
To test the smart township model of Rashtrapati Bhavan for replication in other parts of the country, the President adopted five villages in Haryana under a "Smart Gram” initiative. The Rashtrapati Bhavan aims to apply and transfer knowledge and expertise to these villages for converting them into "Smart Grams” following a convergence model.
The first ‘Visitor’s Conference’ held at Rashtrapati Bhavan witnessed exchange of 42 MoUs between Industry and Academia and focussed discussions on how industry-academia interface can be strengthened. Eminent persons such as Nobel Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi, Bharat Ratna Prof. C.N.R. Rao and India's foremost agriculture scientist Prof. M.S. Swaminathan delivered lectures at the Conference.
The first ever Indologists Conference was organised by Indian Council for Cultural Relations at Rashtrapati Bhavan. It was attended by representatives of China, Germany, Argentina, Russia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Sri Lanka, Romania, Italy, Turkey, Mauritius, Denmark, Indonesia, Norway, Poland, Brazil, Chile and Spain. The first Distinguished Indologist Awardwas conferred by the President of India on Prof. Heinrich Freiherr Von Stieten Cron of Germany.
The second Festival of Innovations (FOIN-2016), a week long event, was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in collaboration with National Innovation Foundation. FOIN-2016 included an Exhibition of Innovations, Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards, Global Roundtables and meeting of National Innovation Clubs. On March 17, 2016, a roundtable discussion on funding for innovations was organized in association with NABARD, SIDBI and National Innovation Foundation. The President also launched a national portal for start-up entrepreneurs called "SIDBI STARTUP MITRA” developed by SIDBI on the occasion. On the concluding day of theFestival, a 12 hour long coding competition to develop web and mobile applications in hackathon style (non-stop rapid development) was held. The hackathon aimed at creating a digital system to take forward the mission of large scale change through social innovations. The agenda and the themes of the Festival of Innovations attempted to build inter-linkages amongst various stakeholders essential for an inclusive society based on innovation and technology.
The Garwood Award for ‘Outstanding Global Leader in Open Innovation’ was presented to President Pranab Mukherjee by the University of California, Berkeley-Haas School of Business. The award recognized the President’s role in promoting open innovation, gathering together global innovators, promoting the spirit of innovation as well as supporting grassroots innovation activities.
The President continued his focus on higher education and visited 15 educational institutions of higher learning within India, bringing the total number of institutions visited by him in four years to 137. The Second Visitor’s Awards for Central Universities in the categories of ‘Best University’, ‘Best Innovation’ and ‘Best Research’, were presented during the Festival of Innovation, 2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Tezpur University won the Visitor’s Award for the Best Central University. Prof. Rakesh Bhatnagar and the Molecular Parasitology Group of JNU won the Visitor’s Awards for ‘Research’ and ‘Innovation’ respectively.
President Mukherjee inaugurated the ‘Be A Teacher’ programme launched by Delhi Government on the eve of Teachers’ Day by taking a class on political history of India for students of classes XI and XII at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in the President’s Estate.
In-Residence Programmes envisaged to encourage the creative and innovative potential of people and open up Rashtrapati Bhavan for greater participation and involvement of citizens in its activities gathered further momentum in the fourth year. Eminent writers Shri Amitav Ghosh and his wife, Deborah Baker stayed at Rashtrapati Bhavan as part of theprogramme. In-Residence programmes for upcoming artists, writers and grassroots innovators were extended to students and teachers of Central Universities, NITs, Award-winning School Teachers from different States and scholars of IITs, NITs, IISERs & IISc-B. The total number of people who have participated in such programmes so far comes to around 145.
Comprehensive documentation of various aspects of Rashtrapati Bhavan continued during the fourth year.Five new books were published bringing the total number of publications brought out in the last four years to thirteen including three volumes of the selected speeches of the President. The new books were - "A Work of Beauty:The Architecture and Landscape of Rashtrapati Bhavan”,"First Garden of the Republic -Nature in the President’s Estate”, "Around India’s First Table:Dining and Entertaining at Rashtrapati Bhavan”,"The Arts and Interiors of Rashtrapati Bhavan: Lutyens and Beyond” and abook for children titled"Discover the Magnificent World of Rashtrapati Bhavan”. Three more books are expected to be published by the end of 2016 as part of the series.
Three portfolios of paintings in Rashtrapati Bhavan titled "Paintings in the Ashoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan”, "Select Paintings of Rashtrapati Bhavan” and "Company paintingsin Rashtrapati Bhavan” were brought out by the Lalit Kala Akademi.
Marking yet another step in the opening up of Rashtrapati Bhavan to the public, a Children’s Section of the website of the President of India was launched on December 11, 2015 for young children of age 7-15 years. In order to maximize the reach and engagement of the President and the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Twitter and Facebook were used for live streaming of events. The Rashtrapati Bhavan was projected as a premier tourist destination in India and three tourist circuits were opened. A dedicated micro site for tourism purposes has also been added to the President’s website.
An initiative called ‘Sanskriti’was initiated at the Pranab Mukherjee Public Library in the President’s Estate under which classes of yoga, painting, clay modeling, music, story telling and indoor games are organised regularly for children in the 7-15 years age group along with healthy snacks. Other welfare programmes in the President’s Estate such as ‘Samagam’for senior citizens, ‘Sparsh’ a respite centre for special children and‘Sanskar’,a play school for children which also takes care of their nutritional requirements continued to gather popularity amongst the residents of the President’s Estate. These programmes are based on core values of compassion and service to humanity.
The President of India received President Francois Hollande of France as Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations of 2016. Other Heads of State/Government who visited Rashtrapati Bhavan during the year included President of the Republic of Mozambique, President of the Republic of Seychelles, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, King of Swaziland, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, President of the Republic of Mauritius, Prime Minister of Japan, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Chairman of the Council of the Republic of National Assembly of Belarus as well as former President of Bangladesh. Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli of Nepal stayed in the Guest Wing of Rashtrapati Bhavan during his visit to India.
The President made State visits to nine countries, namely Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, China, Ghana, Namibia and Cote d’Ivoire. He was accompanied by Union Ministers and Members of Parliament belonging to different parties on these visits. He also continued to take high level academic delegations comprising Vice-Chancellors and other heads of educational institutes on these visits in order to boost international cooperation in the field of higher education. A large number of MoUs were concluded between Indian institutions of higher learning and their counterparts during these visits. The President delivered lectures at eight foreign universities during his state visits, bringing the total number of foreign universities visited by him to 14 during the entire Presidency. Further, the President received honorary doctorates from the Hebrew University of Israel, Al-Quds University of Palestine and the University of Jordan during the last year. President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire conferred on the President the highest national honour of their country, the Grande Croix Commandeur in the National Merit Order during his state visit. He was also presented a symbolic key to the city of Abidjan, conferred honorary citizenship and made an Advisor to the traditional chiefs, with the name ‘Assito’ which means ‘The Example’.
The President made 30 visits to various states within the country during the year. He has in the last four years, made 135 domestic visits, an average of over three per month.
During the fourth year of the Presidency, a total of over 7.99 lakhpeople visited the Rashtrapati Bhavan. A record number of more than 6.70 lakh people toured the Mughal Gardens during "Udyanotsav” 2016 (February 12, 2016 to March 20, 2016). Over 1,08,566 persons visited the Rashtrapati Bhavan and more than 10,986 persons visited the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum using the online booking system during the fourth year of the Presidency. Besides, over 10,000 visitors witnessed the weekly Change of Guard ceremony during the year.
Residents of Rashtrapati Bhavan marked the ‘International Yoga Day’ celebrations in Rashtrapati Bhavan with the President inaugurating a mass yoga demonstration of around 1000 people.
A detailed overview of all the activities undertaken in the fourth year of President Pranab Mukherjee’s Presidency is contained in the following pages.
1. Constitutional Functions
(i) Conference of Governors
President Pranab Mukherjee hosted the 47th Conference of Governors on 9-10 February 2016. The Conference was attended by the Vice President of India, Prime Minister, Union Ministers of Home Affairs, External Affairs, Finance, Urban Development, Defence, Human Resource Development, Minister of State (I/C) Ministry of Labour and Employment, Minister of State (I/C) Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Minister of State (I/C) Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Minister of State (I/C) Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog and National Security Adviser apart from twenty-three Governors and two Lt. Governors.
The Agenda of the Conference included:
a)Security –Internal and External with special focus on terrorism, insurgency activities;
b) Creating jobs for youth: Special focus on skill development for school dropouts;
c)Implementation of Flagship programmes of the Government – Swachh Bharat Abhiyan,
d) Housing for all by 2022,
f)Improving quality of Higher Education;
g)Giving impetus to "Make in India” programme
h) Employability and Act East Policy and
i)Development of North Eastern Region.
Addressing the Conference, the President said "all Governors have been charged with an onerous responsibility - to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. It is, therefore, imperative that all their actions are within the framework of the Constitution and conform to the highest ideals enshrined in this living document. He said as holders of high offices they must not only be fair but also be seen to be fair. The fact that our nation has grown from strength to strength since independence is primarily due to our steadfast adherence to the principles enshrined in our Constitution. The Constitution is an enduring document that reflects our aspirations and the avenues to achieve them, in an inclusive manner. It is incumbent on us all who hold constitutional positions to maintain the sanctity of this sacred text.”
The President also said close partnership with state governments is essential for successful implementation of Government schemes likeMake-in-India,Start-up India, Smart City MissionandSwachh Bharat Mission. As constitutional heads of their respective states, Governors can play an inspirational role to ensure the active cooperation of States.
(ii) Interaction with Governors through Video Conference
President Pranab Mukherjee continued his interaction with Governors and Lieutenant Governors through video conference this year. In a video conference on 8 January 2016, the President said "there are several important initiatives that have been taken by the Government of India to accelerate the progress of the nation and for enhancing the standard of living of the people. Prominent among them are Swachh Bharat Mission, Smart City Mission, Digital India, Make in India, Skilling India, and the Start-up India initiatives. Each of these programmes has a specific role in the making of a new India where there would be greater opportunities for its citizens especially the youth. Though these flagship policies and programmes are to be primarily implemented by the executive under the leadership of the Chief Ministers, astute leadership and power of persuasion of Governors can help in this transformative process.”
(iii) Swearing-in and appointments of Constitutional functionaries
a) Shri Justice T.S. Thakur was sworn in as Chief Justice of India on 3 December, 2015 in the Durbar Hall.
b)Shri R.K. Mathur was sworn in as Chief Information Commissioner of India on 4 January, 2016.
c)Members of the Council of Ministers (19 new Ministers of State and 1 Cabinet Minister) were administered the oath of office and secrecy by the President in Rashtrapati Bhavan on July 5, 2016.
d)273 proposals for appointment of Chief Justices, Permanent Judges and Additional Judges of High Courts of the States and 4 proposals for appointment of Judges of Supreme Court of India were approved by the President.
(iv) Addresses to the Nation
In an address to the Nation on the eve of India’s 69th Independence Day on August 14, 2015, the President said"We have been blessed by a Constitution that launched India’s march towards greatness.The most precious gift of this document was democracy, which reshaped our ancient values into a modern context and institutionalized multiple freedoms. It turned liberty into a living opportunity for the oppressed and impoverished, offered equality and positive discrimination to the many millions, who had suffered social injustice, and instituted a gender revolution that has made our country an example of progress. We abolished archaic customs and laws, and ensured change for women through education and jobs. Our institutions are the infrastructure of this idealism.Our country's rise will be measured by the strength of our values, but it will equally be determined by economic growth and equitable distribution of the nation's resources.
We are an inclusive democracy, and an inclusive economy; there is place for everyone in the hierarchy of wealth. But the first call goes to those who suffer on the brink of deprivation. Our policies must be geared to meet the ‘Zero Hunger’ challenge in a foreseeable future.A nation which forgets the idealism of its past loses something vital from its future.
India is a complex country of 1.3 billion people, 122 languages, 1600 dialects and 7 religions. Its strength lies in its unique capacity to blend apparent contradictions into positive affirmations. On the fertile ground laid by our Constitution, India has blossomed into a vibrant democracy. The roots are deep but the leaves are beginning to wilt. It is time for renewal.”
b) Republic Day
In an address to the nation on the eve of the 67th Republic Day 2016, the President said "India today is a rising power, a country fast emerging as a global leader in science, technology, innovation and start-ups, and whose economic success is the envy of the world.This year, with an estimated growth rate of 7.3 percent, India is poised to become the fastest growing large economy. For revitalizing the forces of growth, we need reforms and progressive legislation. It is the bounden duty of the law makers to ensure that such legislation is enacted after due discussion and debate. A spirit of accommodation, cooperation and consensus-building should be the preferred mode of decision-making. Delays in decision-making and implementation can only harm the process of development.
Education, with its enlightening effect, leads to human progress and prosperity. It helps us develop forces of spirit which can revive lost hopes and ignored values. An eco-system that fosters critical thinking and makes teaching intellectually stimulating is necessary. It must inspire scholarship and encourage unfettered respect for knowledge and teachers. It must instill a spirit of reverence towards women that will guide social conduct of an individual throughout his life. It must breed a culture of deep thought and create an environment of contemplation and inner peace. Through an open-minded approach to the wider spectrum of ideas emanating from within, our academic institutions must become world-class.”
(v) Interaction with Judiciary
a) Fourth Judges Retreat at Bhopal
The President inaugurated the Fourth Judges Retreat on April 16, 2016 in Bhopal. Speaking on the occasion,he said "Judiciary, which is one of the three important pillars of our democracy, is the final interpreter of the Constitution and laws. It helps in maintaining the social order by swiftly and effectively dealing with those on the wrong side of law. As an upholder of the Rule of Law and enforcer of the right to liberty, the role of the Judiciary is sacrosanct. The faith and confidence people have reposed in the Judiciary must always be maintained. For justice to have meaning to the people, it must be accessible, affordable and quick.
We have a written Constitution in India, which is a living document, not a relic cast in stone. It is a Magna Carta of socio-economic transformation.The Apex Court of India has continuously been interpreting the mandate for good governance enshrined in the Constitution on the altar of contemporary situations and challenges facing the country, whether due to global winds of change or from within. This has not been merely an exercise in interpretation of laws or legal order, much less an exercise in edifying jurisprudence; it has captured the ethos of our developing society as it has evolved from the colonial shackles to a social order replete with the essence of human dignity, of aspirations of a populace maturing into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic as mandated by the makers of our Constitution.”
b) Inauguration of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of High Court of Delhi
The President inaugurated the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of High Court of Delhi on October 31, 2015. The President said "Access to justice for the poorest of the poor would ensure ‘Justice for all’. An affordable judicial system is a must for a country having many citizens at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. Delay in administering justice is as good as denial. Technology solutions can fasten the process of justice and make it easier for the litigants as well. Judicial activism should not lead to the dilution of separation of powers. Each organ of our democracy must function within its own sphere and must not take over what is assigned to the others. In the exercise of powers by the legislature and executive, it is subject to judicial review. However in the exercise of powers by the judiciary, the only check possible is self-imposed discipline and self-restraint by the judiciary. The balance of power between the three organs of the state is enshrined in our Constitution. The Constitution is supreme. The equilibrium in the exercise of authority must be maintained at all times.”
c) Inauguration of the Centenary year celebrations of High Court of Judicature at Allahabad
The President inaugurated the Sesquicentennial Celebrations of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad on March 13, 2016. He expressed confidence that the High Court will continue to uphold the basic values of equality, liberty and justice enshrined in our Constitution and safeguard the freedom and fundamental rights of our people so that they realize their full potential as worthy citizens of this great nation. Speaking on the occasion, the President said "Increasing the number of courts and judges and judicial officers at all levels is the first step towards achieving the objective of timely delivery of justice. It is imperative that we speed up adoption of information and communication technology in the judicial system.”
2. Visiting the States
During the course of the year, the President made 30 visits to various states within the country. These included Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra, Chandigarh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur and Himachal Pradesh. Over the last four years, the President has made 135 visits within India, an average of nearly three visits every month.
3. The President’s Role in Diplomacy
(i)Visits by Foreign Dignitaries
The President received in the Rashtrapati Bhavan 17foreign dignitaries in the fourth year of his Presidency. These included:Mr. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique on August 5, 2015, Smt. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh on August 19, 2015, Mr. James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles on August 26, 2015, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, on September 16, 2015, Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany on October 5, 2015; HisMajesty King Mswati III, King of Swaziland on October 27, 2015; Mr. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt on October 28, 2015; Mr. Li Yuanchao, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China on November 6, 2015; Dr. Milan Brglez, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia on November 26, 2015; Dr (Mrs) Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius on December 7, 2015; Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan on December 12, 2015; Mr. Francois Hollande, President of the French Republic on January 25, 2016; H.E. Mr. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi on February 11, 2016; Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal on February 20, 2016; Smt. Bidya Devi Bhandari, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal on May 10, 2016; Dr. Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Council of the Republic of National Assembly of Belarus on May 11, 2016 and Mr. Hussain Muhamad Ershad, Former President and Prime Minister of Bangladesh on June 21, 2016.
(ii) Second Summit of Forum for India-Pacific Island Countries (FIPIC)
The President received 14 Heads of State/Government participating in 2ndSummit of the Forum for India-Pacific Island Countries (FIPIC) at Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 20, 2015. The participating countries were Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Addressing the leaders, the President said "even though India is separated from the Pacific Island Countries by oceans and continents, it is proud to have a long tradition of close friendship with them. Government of India attaches great importance to its relations with friends in the Pacific Island Countries. India believes economic linkages and co-operation with Pacific Island countries are a key factor in it’s extended "Act East” Policy.”
(iii) Third India Africa Forum Summit
For the first time in the history of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President received 54 Heads of State/Government or Heads of Delegations attending the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit at Rashtrapati Bhavan on October 29, 2015 and hosted in the Mughal Gardens a banquet in their honour. An extraordinary cultural programme, comprising a fusion of the music and dance of India and Africa, was presented on the occasion. Addressing the leaders, the President said this engagement at the Summit level is certain to have an impact on the future of sustainable development of the world, given that India and Africa are home to a third of the world's population.
(iv) Receiving of Credentials
Ambassadors/High Commissioners from 34 countries presented credentials to the President in formal ceremonies held at the Ashoka Hall during the year. After presenting credentials, each individual envoy called on Hon’ble President along with their aides.
(v) Honorary Rank of General
The President conferred the Honorary Rank of General of the Indian Army on Prakhyata Trisahkati-Patta General Rajendra Chhetri, Chief of the Army Staff, Nepalese Army, for his commendable military prowess and immeasurable contribution to fostering Nepal’s long and friendly association with India, at a special Investiture Ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on February 3, 2016.
(vi)State visits to foreign countries
The President made State visits to nine countries during the last year. These included visits to Jordan, Palestine and Israel from October 10 to 15, 2015; Papua New Guinea and New Zealand from April 27 to May 2, 2016; China from May 24 to 27, 2016; and Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Namibia from June 12 to 18, 2016. The State Visits to Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire were first ever visits by an Indian President. The visit to Namibia was the second by an Indian President and after a gap of 21 years. Though President Mukherjee has been associated with the development of India-China relations for over three decades of his political life and has visited China on many occasions in various capacities, the visit to China was his first visit as President.
State visits to these countries reflected the importance that India places on enhancing its partnership with them. The visits to Jordan, Palestine and Israel reflected the importance that India places on enchancing cooperation with these countries which are part of India’s extended neighbourhood. The visits to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand sought to take forward the Government’s‘Act East’ policy. The visit to Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Namibia reflected the importance that India attaches to enhancing our bilateral relations with these important countries of Africa and our determination to provide fresh momentum to India’s engagement with Africa in follow up to the successful organisation of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III) in New Delhi in October, 2015.
The highlights of the President’s visits to each of the above countries were : -
Ø Naming of a major avenue in Amman after Mahatma Gandhi
Ø Support by Jordan of India’s candidature to permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council.
Ø Inauguration of a US $ 860 million project of Jordan-India Fertilizer Co., (a joint venture between IFFCO and the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company) by the President and King Abdullah II of Jordan,The project will produce phosphoric acid for export to India.
Ø Exploration of possibilities of opening up new synergies in different areas of mutual interest, including counter terrorism, defence, IT, and energy.
Ø Conclusion of 16 MoUs and Agreements, including between academic institutions.
Ø Inauguration along with President Mahmoud Abbas of a roundabout named ‘Maidan Al Hind’ in Ramallah
Ø Inauguration of the India-Palestine Center for Excellence in ICT in the Al Quds University and announcement of India’s decision to build one more India-Palestine Center for Excellence in ICT in Gaza with similar aims and objectives at an estimated cost of US$ 1 million.
Ø Announcement of Government of India’s decision to set up an IT park in Ramallah at an estimated cost of US$ 12 million and a Palestinian Institute of Diplomacy at an estimated cost of US $ 4.5 million.
Ø Establishment of an Indian Chair in Al Quds University.
Ø Signing of six MoUs and Agreements.
Ø Address by the President to the Knesset ( the Parliament of Israel). In the address, the President said India and Israel are separated by two seas but joined by their common belief in the power of diversity and democracy. The President invited members of Knesset to visit India to further engage with their parliamentary counterparts and contribute to the enrichment of the bilateral discourse. The President said "Indian people have always appreciated Israeli innovations in the field of agriculture, thekibbutzsystem and the remarkable achievements of their scientists and engineers.To stimulate India’s domestic manufacturing sector, Government of India has launched "Make in India” campaign. Israeli innovation and technology can combine with Indian engineering and scale to manufacture in India. Such a partnership, particularly in the defence sector, has the potential of creating new markets and generating more jobs - both in India and Israel.”
Ø Two agreements were signed between the Governments. Eight MoUs were also exchanged between educational institutions of India and Israel with the aim of promoting cooperation in the field of higher education between the two countries and providing for joint research, exchange of scholars etc.
Papua New Guinea
Ø Three MoUs on cooperation in the Health Sector, Agriculture and for setting up of a Center for Excellence in IT were signed by the Governments of the two countries.
Ø An agreement for US $ 100 million Line of Credit for infrastructure development in Papua New Guinea was signed between EXIM Bank and its counterpart.
Ø Papua New Guinea reiterated its support for India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council. It also expressed support for India’s Membership of APEC.
Ø The Government of Papua New Guinea, in a special gesture, announced Visa on Arrival for Indians travelling to Papua New Guinea
Ø New Zealand extended support for India's candidature for permanent membership of the expanded UN Security Council. India and New Zealand agreed on the need for urgent reform of the UN and other international organisations.
Ø An Air Services Agreement was signed to address connectivity issues between the two countries.
Ø An ICCR Chair of Indian Studies in the University of Victoria was established.
Ø The President addressed students and faculty of the Auckland University of Technology and invited academicians from the Universities of New Zealand to participate in the next Festival of Innovation to be held in March 2017 at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Ø The President addressed the India-China Business Forum in which a large number of Indian and Chinese business representatives participated. In his address, he urged the business sectors of the two sides to take advantage of abundant opportunities available in India and China, which are today the engines driving global economic growth.
Ø The President addressed a large assembly of the Indian community in Guangzhou who had gathered from different parts of China and Hong Kong. He urged them to serve as unofficial ambassadors of India and do their utmost to strengthen our Closer Development Partnership as well as promote people to people understanding.
Ø The President delivered a keynote address at the historic and prestigious Peking University on the topic "India-China Relations: 8 steps to a people-centric partnership”.
Outlining the steps for people-centric India-China relations, the President said "Both India and China are ‘young’ societies. Our youth share common aspirations and perceptions. Their annual exchanges have been fruitful but both sides need to synergize their potential. He stated that in a digital age, joint film productions could be useful instruments for creating positive perceptions among our peoples. Greater exchanges between institutions of higher learning, more cultural festivals and joint research and scholarship programmes can help dispel the notion that we need to look to the West and not to each other to make progress in education, science & technology. Travel can also be a very important binding factor between the two countries. Indians would like to have more opportunities to travel to their holy sites in China and, in turn, welcome more Chinese visits to Buddhist pilgrimage centres in India. By pursuing sustainable solutions and sharing experiences, civil societies on both sides can collaborate – duly respecting the parameters in which they are required to operate in our respective countries. We can use multilateral fora including the G-20, BRICS, EAS, AIIB, SCO and the United Nations to enhance public awareness of the desire of both our countries for a shared future shaped by us together. Trade and commerce can also be the most powerful agents in reinforcing our complementarities. He called upon India-China entrepreneurs to jointly innovate to create a new model for business.
Ø He said "at a time of global economic uncertainty, India and China, despite the pressure of having 40 per cent of the world’s human population, have managed to maintain unity and growth. The joint contribution of the two countries to world economy as well as regional and global stability, cannot be underestimated. India and China are poised to join the ranks of leading global powers. It is incumbent on the two countries, as emerging economic powers to remain equally focused on nurturing regional and global prosperity. Both countries are at the threshold of an opportunity to join hands and create a resurgence, a positive energy, an "Asian Century”. This will not be an easy task. Obstacles need to be resolved with fortitude. The two countries must persevere to realise this dream. They must join hands in a durable friendship.”
Ø Ten MoUs providing for enhanced faculty and student exchanges as well as collaboration in research and innovation were concluded between higher education institutions of the two countries.
Ø Three agreements/ MOUs were signed on exemption from visa requirement for holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports, the establishment of a Joint Commission and between the Foreign Service Institutes of the two countries.
Ø The President addressed a Joint Business Forum where he highlighted the fact that ‘Brand India’ is a trusted name across countries as it adds value to local resources while rejuvenating and invigorating local companies. It brings appropriate technologies and has the adaptability to absorb local talent.
Ø The President addressed students and faculty of the University of Ghana where he pointed out that the quest for innovation and yearning for positive change of young minds are the critical mass around which a nation’s hopes and aspirations are built. He called for a brighter, innovative and updated narrative of India-Ghana relations.
Ø India and Ghana decided that current level of trade does not reflect the potential of bilateral trade and should be increased to at least US $ 5 billion by 2020.
Ø President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire conferred on the President the highest national honour, the Grande Croix Commandeur in the National Merit Order.
Ø The President was accorded a civic reception by the Governor of Abidjan in the presence of distinguished citizens and traditional chiefs of the city. They presented him a symbolic key to the city of Abidjan, conferred honorary citizenship and made him an Advisor to the traditional chiefs, with the name ‘Assito’ which means ‘The Example’.
Ø The President addressed a Joint Business Forum where agreements were signed between the CII and CEPICI as well as between Tata Motors and SUTRA for supply of 500 buses. A Headquarters agreement for opening of a regional office of EXIM Bank of India in Abidjan was also signed during the visit.
Ø India and Cote d’Ivoire agreed to work to double current bilateral trade by 2020, taking it to around US $ 2 billion.
Ø The President addressed a Joint Session of the Namibian Parliament. In his speech, he pointed out that the India-Namibia relationship has been built on the firm foundation of mutual trust and understanding. He called for increased parliamentary exchanges between the two countries.
Ø The President raised the issue of supply of uranium to India and was assured by President Geingob that Namibia would explore ways to supply the same.
Ø The President also addressed the Namibia University of Science & Technology where he highlighted India’s achievements in the field of education, economy, agriculture and science & technology. He called on students to create a vibrant new landscape of innovation and technological development in Namibia.
Ø Two MOUs were signed during the visit on cooperation between the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM) and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) and on the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology in Namibia.
4. President as Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces
Ø The President awarded Standards to 18 Squadron, 22 Squadron and 119 HU as well as Colours to 28 ED of Indian Air Force. Addressing the Indian Air Force personnel at Hasimara Air Force Station, West Bengal on November 28, 2015, the President said India’s increasing eminence in the comity of nations draws its strength from the capabilities of our Armed Forces. Though we remain firmly committed to peace, we will use all our might to protect the sovereignty of our Nation.
Ø The President hosted a tea for the veterans of 1965 war at Rashtrapati Bhavan on September 22, 2015. He felicitated four veterans of the 1965 war i.e. Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC; CQMH Abdul Hamid, PVC (Posthumous); Lt Col AB Tarapore, PVC (Posthumous) and Chaman Lal, Ashoka Chakra (Posthumous). Smt. Rasoonan Bibi, Mrs. Zarine Mahir and Smt. Asha Rani received the honour in behalf of Late CQMH Abdul Hamid, Late Lt Col A. B. Tarapore and Late Shri Chaman Lal respectively.
Ø The President witnessed the International Fleet Review-2016 at Visakhapatnam on February 6, 2016. He said "the International Fleet Review (IFR) 2016 while showcasing the prowess of the Indian Navy, has brought together navies from across the globe here on Indian shores, signifying our common desire to use the seas to promote peace, cooperation and friendship, as also to develop partnerships for a secure maritime future. The navies of the world have a unique role in promoting goodwill, nurturing peace and tranquility of the oceans. Ships and personnel participating at the momentous fleet review are ambassadors of great nations that they represent. The message of friendship and goodwill of their people strengthens our belief in promoting peace, prosperity and stability for mutual co-existence and ensuring secure seas.”
Ø The President of India witnessed ‘Exercise Iron Fist 2016’ at Air Force Firing Range, Pokhran on March 18, 2016. Exercise Iron Fist is a biennial event that showcases the firepower capacity of the Indian Air Force. The exercise included combat manoeuvres and live firing of Air-to-Ground and Air-to-Air precision weapons by fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters.
Ø The President received the Veer Naris (War Widows) of 8 JAK LI (Siachen) on June 26, 2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
5. Investiture Ceremonies
Civil Investiture ceremonies to present Padma Awards and Defence Investiture ceremonies to present Gallantry Awards and Distinguished Service Decorations were organized at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Padma Awards were conferred on 112 people on March 28, 2016 and April 12, 2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Gallantry Awards and Distinguished Service Decorations were presented to 114 people on March 22, 2016 and May 7, 2016.
6. ‘At Home’ Receptions
(i)‘At Home’ Receptions were organized on Independence Day-2015 and Republic Day-2016 which were attended by 1490 and 2347 guests respectively. H.E. Francois Hollande, the President of France was the Chief Guest of the Republic Day Celebrations-2016,
(ii)The President hosted an ‘At Home’ reception for freedom fighters on the occasion of the 73rdanniversary of the Quit India Movement on August 9, 2015 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. 90 freedom fighters from across the country were honoured and felicitated on the occasion by the President.
7. Making the Rashtrapati Bhavan accessible to the public
(i) Visits to Rashtrapati Bhavan and its Museum by the public
Over 7.99 lakhpeople visited the Rashtrapati Bhavan during the fourth year of the Presidency. A record number of more than 6.70 lakh people visited the Mughal Gardens during"Udyanotsav”2016 (February 12, 2016 to March 20, 2016). Over 1,08,566 persons visited the Rashtrapati Bhavan and more than 10,986 persons visited the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum using the online booking system during the fourth year of the Presidency. Besides, over 10,000 visitors witnessed the weekly Change of Guard ceremony during the year.
8. Conference of Indologists
Ø As a gesture of support of the President for Indology studies across the world, an International Indologists Conference was organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in Rashtrapati Bhavan from November 21-23, 2015. The idea for the conference originated from the President’s visit to Moscow in May, 2015 when he met Russian Indologists.
Ø At the inaugural ceremony on November 21, 2015, the ‘Distinguished Indologists Award’was conferred on Prof. Heinrich Freiherr Von Stieten Cron of Germany. Besides scholars from India, Indologists from different parts of the world- including Germany, Argentina, Russia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Sri Lanka, Romania, Italy, Turkey, Mauritius, Denmark, Indonesia, Norway, Poland, Brazil, Chile and Spain participated in the Conference.
Ø The themes of the conference included Indological Studies in historical perspective, Sanskrit literature – past and present, Sanskrit Drama – Theory and Practice, Indian Philosophical Thought and Indian Art and Architecture. A special lecture was given by Dr. Karan Singh on the message of the Upanishads.
9. Smart Township project in the President’s Estate
A pilot project for Smart Township was initiated in the President’s Estate in collaboration with IBM India in July, 2015. The objective of the project was to provide smarter solutions to the challenges in critical domains of energy, water, security, PNG, horticulture and waste, through cross-department collaboration and integration of multiple domains to strengthen the overall system functionality, enhanced sustainability and operational efficiency through digital operations.
Its two important components are an Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) and Mobile App ‘Monitor’ that facilitate data capturing, reporting, information sharing, planning, analysis, monitoring and management on a centralized and real-time collaborative platform.
The IOC is a software solution designed to monitor, manage and respond effectively to events and incidents in the township. It offers integrated data visualization, real-time collaboration and deep analytics that help the agencies prepare for problems, coordinate and manage response efforts and enhance the ongoing efficiency of operations. The interactive interface of IOC helps stakeholders leverage information with near real-time visibility to critical data, helping them make informed decisions for effective and smart management of township.
"Monitor” is an android based mobile application which is a part of Intelligent Operation Center’s Resident’s collaboration tool. This mobile application helps residents of the President’s Estate and supervisors in the domains of Energy, Water, Horticulture, Waste, IGL, and Security to collaborate in a smarter way for their observations. It allows residents to report issues using their mobile devices on real time basis. This way, the service departments are able to get more accurate and timely information about the incident to resolve them in a quicker way and post completion they can also update the status using the same mobile application.
10. "Smart Gram” Initiative
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a pilot project for smart model villages on July 2, 2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The project aims to utilise the knowledge and experience gained by the Rashtrapati Bhavan for extending support to village level initiatives in areas of NCR. Five villages selected by the Haryana Government namely Daulha, Harchandpur, Alipur and Taj Nagar in Gurgaon district and Rojka Meo in Mewat district. Workshops for transferring knowledge, sharing experience, mentoring, and facilitating the establishment of linkages between state/district administrative agencies and relevant central governmental and other organizations (stakeholders) for leveraging their expertise have been organised by Rashtrapati Bhavan and more will be held in future.
(i)Visitor’s Conference, 2015
The conferences of Heads of Central Universities, NITs, IITs and other Central Institutes of higher learning were merged into a single conference named as ‘Visitor’s Conference’ to create synergy amongst the central institutes of higher learning.
The agenda items included –
(1) Improving the quality of higher education to bring them at par with top institutions of the world through - creation of inter-linkages of industry-academia, interfacing with ranking agencies, establishing international networks, by providing impetus to research and innovation in educational eco-system and enhanced involvement of alumni.
(2) Capacity development of faculty to provide quality education through – Teachers’ Education Programmes, alumni participation, resource mobilization, workforce sustainability and improving technology-enabled training
(3) Engagement of institutions of higher learning with community and society for sustainable and inclusive development and
(4) Promotion of gender equity and cultural inclusion through higher education.
Heads of 113 institutions participated in the three day conference which was held from November 4-6, 2015. The conference included panel discussions, talks by persons of eminence (Prof. C.N. R. Rao, Prof. M.S. Swaminathan and Shri Kailash Satyarthi), exchange of MoUs between industry and academia, group work, presentations by leading international organizations etc.
The interactive session with international experts from organizations like Times Higher Education (THE) and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) provided exposure to participants on the current state of affairs in the field of higher learning at global level with a view to enabling India create world-class universities.
42 MoUs were exchanged between industry and academia for developing educational and industrial eco-systems through mapping of institutions and industry, based on location and reach.
(ii)Visit to Educational Institutions
In his capacity as ‘Visitor’, the President visited 15 educational institutions of higher learning in the fourth year bringing the total number of institutions visited by him in four years to 137. He also delivered lectures at the University of Jordan, Al-Quds University in Palestine, Hebrew University in Israel, University of Papua New Guinea, Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, Peking University in China, University of Ghana and Namibia University of Science & Technology bringing the total number of foreign Universities visited in the four years of Presidency to 14. The President further received honorary doctorates from the Hebrew University of Israel, Al-Quds University of Palestine and the University of Jordan during the last year.
(iii)Visitor’s Awards for Central Universities
Visitor’s Awards for Central Universities were instituted by the President to promote healthy competition amongst Central Universities and motivate them to adopt best practices from around the world. The Second Visitor’s Awards for Central Universities in the categories of ‘Best University’, ‘Best Innovation’ and ‘Best Research’, were presented on 14 March, 2016.
The Visitor’s Award for the Best Central University for the year 2016 was given to the Tezpur University. Prof. Rakesh Bhatnagar of Jawaharlal Nehru University won the Visitor’s Award for Innovation 2016 for development of a genetically engineered vaccine and a therapeutic antibody against anthrax. Prof. Alok Bhattacharya and 8 others of Jawaharlal Nehru University received the Visitor’s Award for Research, 2016 for pioneering work in the area of molecular parasitology, especially anti-malaria and two other diseases.
(iv)Video Conferencing using National Knowledge Network by the President
The President addressed students and faculty members of Central Universities, IITs, NITs, IISERs and other central Institutes through Video-Conferencing using the National Knowledge Network (NKN) on August 10, 2015 at the beginning of the new academic session and on January 19, 2016 on the occasion of New Year. The topics of the address were – ‘Energizing the higher educational institutes in India’ and ‘Youth and National Building’ respectively. The President is scheduled to interact with the institutes of higher learning on August 10, 2016 on the topic "Innovation : A Way of Life”.
In these interactions, the President of India reached out to more than 180 institutions through the video conferencing mode and to over 1,100 locations through the webcast mode.
(v) Books on the President’s role in higher education
Two books titled, "The President of India and the Governance of Higher Education Institutions” and "The Education President”were published by O.P. Jindal Global University. The books have been authored by the Vice-Chancellor and other scholars of the University.
The book "The President of India and the Governance of Higher Education Institutions” provides an overview of higher education in India and includes chapters on the role of the Visitor; historical and legal analysis of the position of the Visitor in India; President Mukherjee’s initiatives for promoting excellence in higher education and reimagining Indian Universities as world class Universities by taking rankings seriously. It also gives an insight on the way forward towards institution building for nation building.
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee received first copy of the bookfrom the Founding Chancellor Mr. Naveen Jindal and Founding Vice-Chancellor, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar of O.P. Jindal Global University on November 2, 2015 at a function held in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The President also received the first copy of a book titled "The Education President” on June 8, 2016 at a function held in Rashtrapati Bhavan from Vice President, Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari who formally released it.
The President while receiving the books underlined the need to focus on improving the quality of teaching, faculty and research in our Universities. The President said that in his capacity as Visitor of Central Institutions of higher learning he has been repeatedly stressing on the need to have world class universities in India.
12. Focus on Innovation
(i) Festival of Innovation, 2016
The second Festival of Innovation (FOIN-2016) was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in collaboration with National Innovation Foundationfrom 12th to 19th March, 2016. FOIN-2016 included an Exhibition of Innovations, Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards, Global Roundtables; Meeting of National Innovation Clubs and Hackathon on Social Innovations.
The Global Roundtables discussed themes such as incubation and acceleration models for innovative start-ups; innovation and skill development; incentives for innovation in public policy and programmes, social innovations for large scale change, macro-level initiatives for innovations in Public Service Delivery and Grassroots Action for Inclusion and Financing of Innovations. The global invitees included Nobel Laureates, eminent personalities, innovators, scientists, technologists, policy makers, senior officers from different government departments, technocrats, start-up experts, leaders from financial and banking sector, industry and academia.
The roundtable on financing of innovations was organized in association with SIDBI and National Innovation Foundation. The speakers who addressed the roundtable included Shri Kalraj Mishra, Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping; Shri Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railways and Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance. The President also launched a national portal for start-up entrepreneurs called "SIDBI STARTUP MITRA” a one-stop solution to meet the financing and other needs of early stage and start-up enterprises, developed by SIDBI.
The Hackathon conducted on the concluding day was a unique event wherein over 100 software developers and programmers participated and developed Apps for societal cause. The topics on which applications were developed were 1) teachers taking attendance after every class 2) examination authentication for students, 3) monitoring entry into public monuments and 4) monitoring of public toilets. The winners in each of these four categories were felicitated by the President of India.
The Hackathon aimed at creating a digital system to take forward the mission of large scale change through social innovations. The agenda and the themes of the Festival of Innovation attempted to build inter-linkages amongst various stakeholders essential for an inclusive society based on innovations and technologies.
(ii)Presentation of the Garwood Award
The University of California Berkeley – Haas School of Business presented Garwood Award for ‘Outstanding Global Leader in Open Innovation’ to the President of India on 17 December, 2015. The award was presented to the President for promoting open innovation; for taking initiative of hosting and gathering global innovators at the first-ever Global Roundtable on Inclusive Innovations at Rashtrapati Bhavan; organizing first Festival of Innovation at the Rashtrapati Bhavan to link together global leaders from technological, financial and educational sectors for the promotion of increased scalability in national and international grassroots innovation; for launching the first Innovations Scholars' 'In-Residence' programme to promote the spirit of innovation and provide a thriving creative atmosphere for grassroots innovation activities that will have the potential to transform the global landscape; for urging higher education leaders to establish Innovation Clubs to catalyze the collaboration between institutions of higher learning and grassroots innovations; for being a primary supporter of Micro-Venture Innovation Finance which empowers grassroots innovators with the fundamental resources to provide their products and services to global markets; for being an initiator for innovative solutions towards financial inclusion via national programs that will promote worldwide economic success and for spearheading the establishment of an Innovation promotion platform involving academics, entrepreneurs, and researchers to foster an intercontinental medium of innovation, R&D and scientific research.
(iii) Round-Table Discussions on ‘Technology, Innovation and Education’
Shri Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google Inc. was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion on ‘Technology, Innovation and Education’ on 17 December, 2015 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Others who participated in the discussions included Shri T V Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Global Education Services; Shri BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman, NASSCOM and Exe. Chairman, Cyient Ltd.; Shri Amitabh Kant, Secretary-DIPP, Ministry of Commerce; Shri Sharad Sharma, Co-Founder, iSPIRT; Shri Krishna Kumar, Founder & CEO, Simplilearn; Shri Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, PayTm; Shri Rahul Narayan, Tech Lead, Team Indus; Shri Shashank ND, Founder and CEO, Practo and Shri Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises.
(iv) Interaction of Leading Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs,
Technologists and Venture Capitalists
An interaction of leading Silicon Valley CEOs, Entrepreneurs, Technologists and Venture Capitalists with the President was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 15 January, 2016 on the eve of the launch of "Start-Up India” initiative.
The purpose of the interactive session with the President was to bolster the Start-up initiative of Government of India and further motivate entrepreneurs in their efforts to make India the hub of innovation, design and start-ups.
Among the entrepreneurs who participated in the interaction were Mr. Venktesh Shukla, President, TIE; Mr. Suhas Patil, CEO, Cradle Technologies; Mr. Krishna Yarlagadda, President, Imagination Technologies; Mr. Adil Adi, CEO, World Link; Mr. Sarvajana Dwivedi, Co- founder & CEO, Pearl Therapeutics; Mr. Kanwal Rekhi, General Partner, Founder and CEO, Practo and Shri Rakesh Bharti Mittal Vice-Chairman, Bharti Enterprises.
13. Library and Media Outreach
Sustained efforts for extensive outreach to media continued in the fourth year of the Presidency. More than 2200press releases / curtain raisers/ press communiqués have been issued to the media in the four years of the Presidency. The number of media persons/organisations to whom press releases are sent stands at around 800.
(i) Interaction with media
Formal and informal media interactions with the President were organised from time to time including during the President’s tours within India and outside. In the last three years, 872 media persons accompanied the President on domestic tours and 198 on foreign tours. On August 3, 2015, around 90 media persons were invited for tea with the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan. On March 21, 2016, the President hosted an informal lunch for around 30 Editors/columnists.
(ii)Interviews to foreign media organizations/agencies
Interviews to foreign media organisations/agencies were organised prior to the President’s visit to various countries. These included interviews to Jordan Times, Al Ghad of Jordan, New Zealand Herald, EMTV; Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television, Daily Graphic of Ghana, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Freternite Martin, RTI of Cote d’Ivoire, New Era and Namibia Broadcasting Corporation.
The total number of followers of the official Twitter account of the President of India crossed the million mark on October 21, 2015 within fifteen and a half months of its launch on July 1, 2014. The Rashtrapati Bhavan Twitter handle, with over 17,83,443 followers as in July, 2016 overtook most other official Government Twitter Accounts in popularity. More than 4904 tweets were issued and 1479 photos/ videos have been uploaded on this handle so far.
The official website of the President has received over 40.58 crore hits since its launch. The YouTube site of Rashtrapati Bhavan has around 17.60 lakh views and over 9401 subscribers. In order to maximize the reach and engagement of the President and the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Twitter and Facebook were used for live streaming of events. The total number of likes on the Facebook page of the President was over 3.5 million and the cumulative reach of the posts in 2016 was 15.20 crore.
As per a study carried out on ‘World Leaders on Facebook’ by a PR firm, Burson-Marsteller in January, 2016 which analyzed 512 pages that represented 169 Governments and had a combined total of over 23 crore likes; - (1) Amongst the category of most visited institutions in 2015, the President of India page has been rated second in the world. (2) the President of India is amongst the
4th / 5th most liked Asian Leaders (3) In the category of public reviews, ratings and posts, the Facebook page of the President of India has been rated as No.1.
(iv)Children’s Section of the website of President of India
The President of India inaugurated a Children’s Section of the website of the President of India on December 11, 2015. The Children’s Section has been created for young children of age 7 to 15 years. It educates them through stories, photos, videos, puzzles and games on various aspects of Rashtrapati Bhavan and the President. It includes the story of building of Rashtrapati Bhavan, role of President, highlights of President Pranab Mukherjee’s Presidency, information on Presidents since Independence, Banquets and Kitchen of Rashtrapati Bhavan, President’s Bodyguard, Garden Trail, Life in Rashtrapati Bhavan and Museums of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
(v) Audio-Visual Section of the Rashtrapati Bhavan Library
The Audio-Visual Section of the Rashtrapati Bhavan Library was enriched with the addition of CDs on the International Fleet Review 2016 and 100thbirthday celebrations of Giani Zail Singh.
(vi)Activities at Pranab Mukherjee Public Library
An initiative called ‘Sanskriti’ was initiated in the Pranab Mukherjee Public Library in the President’s Estate. For the wholesome development of children in the age group of 7-15years classes of yoga, painting, clay modeling, music and story telling are held. Indoor games are also organised and the children are given healthy snacks at the Library.
(vii) Brochure on Rashtrapati Bhavan
A brochure titled ‘”Forging Ahead with Energy” was published highlighting the achievements of the third year of the Presidency.
14. Improvements in the President’s Estate
(i)Improved version of street signages
The Pranab Mukherjee Veethi was inaugurated on 11thDec, 2015 by Secretary to the President with a new improved version of signages. These were made as per recommendations of INTACH in its report on the CCMP PHASE -I.
(ii) Reconstruction of Block No. 13
The existing Type-I residential units in Block Nos. 13, Schedule ‘B’ in President’s Estate are quite old and in a dilapidated condition, beyond economical repair. Under the re-development plan for the President’s Estate, it has been decided to construct new quarters (40 Type-II units) and (20 Type-III units) in Block No.13. The foundation stone for the same was laid on July 24, 2016.
(iii) Conversion of Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya into a model school
Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in the Estate has been converted into a model school through a multitude of initiatives like up-gradation of infrastructure including a renovated library, new furniture, graphics lab, electronic display board, beautification of building through posters, paintings, maps and inspirational quotes, Wi-Fi facility, and establishment of a Knowledge Floor with a Knowledge Hub and a Financial Centre.
The school has also been declared a solar-powered green school on December 11, 2015.
A Festival of Energy-‘Umang’, 2015 was organized at the school on 11 December, 2015 in collaboration with Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd. (TPDDL), Tata Power Solar and Tata Motors. The Festival was inaugurated by the President and its theme was "Nayi Zindagi ki Umang, Swachh Urja ke Sang”. A Smartphone App on Energy Education titled "Sajag” was also launched on the occasion to educate the young on various aspects and challenges relating to energy conservation and efficiency. Tata Power Solar installed a 10 KW Solar Rooftop Power Station at the rooftop of the school which will generate approximately 15000 units of electricityevery year.
(iv)Eco-friendly and non-polluting internal mobility
Battery-Operated vehicles (BOVs) have been introduced within the President’s Estate for internal use. With seven new BOVs being added to the existing fleet of four, a total of 11 BOVs are in position.
An effective management system for segregation of waste for its disposal and vermi-composting of bio-degradable matter is fully functional. A new equipment called green waste re-processor has been installed that cuts big pieces of green garbage into small pieces that are then taken for further compositing.
The civic agency in-charge of household waste disposal NDMC) has started deploying automatic road sweepers for effective cleaning and sweeping of roads in the Estate.A pyrolyses processing machine for disposal of plastics is likely to be installed by early October, 2016.
(vi)Use of Sprinkler and drip irrigation system
The entire campus of Rashtrapati Bhavan will be covered with sprinkler and drip irrigation system by July 2016. The new system will reduce the quantity of water required for horticulture purposes by 40 percent as compared to traditional methods.
(vii) Energy management
Ø A drive for energy efficiency has been undertaken with the installation of around 1,200 LED bulbs in different locations in the President’s Estate. A solarisation project with a capacity of 1.036 MW has been initiated to cover locations like Dr. RP Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre, President’s Garages, Stables Museum, Pranab Mukherjee Public Library, President’s Estate Clinic, Market and 48 residential quarters.
Ø The time for switching on and off the street lights is being carefully adjusted to save energy.
15. In-Residence Programmes
In-Residence Programmes envisaged to encourage the creative and innovative potential of people and open up Rashtrapati Bhavan for greater participation and involvement of citizens in its activities gathered further momentum in the fourth year. In-Residence programmes for upcoming artists, writers and grassroots innovators was extended to students and teachers of Central Universities, NITs, Award-winning School Teachers from different States and scholars of IITs, NITs, IISERs & IISc-B. The total number of people who have participated in such programmes so far comes to around 145.
(i) Writer and Artists In- Residence
Eminent writer, Shri Amitav Ghosh and his wife Mrs. Deborah Baker who is also a well-known author, stayed in Rashtrapati Bhavan as Writer In-Residence from July 10 to 14, 2016. Shri Amitav Ghoshis award-winning author and essayist whose books include:- The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide and The Ibis Trilogy: Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke and Flood of Fire.
Three upcoming writers and one artist stayed In-Residence from March 12-26, 2016, namely,
a. Shri Binod Ghosal, Writer from West Bengal
b. Smt. Jwishri Boro, Bodo Writer
c. Shri Dhwanil Ravindrabhai Parekh, a Gujarati Writer
d. Shri Shitanshu Gupta Maurya, artist fromLucknow
The following seven grassroots Innovators stayed In-Residence from March 12-25, 2016:-
a. Shri G.K. Ratnakar, Innovator from Karnataka who invented mini hydro turbines;
b. Shri Mushtaq Ahmed Dar, Innovator from Jammu and Kashmir who invented Walnut Cracker;
c. Shri Lal Biakzuala Ralte, Innovator from Mizoram, who invented Bamboo Splint Making Machine;
d. Shri Mallesham Laxminarayana Chinthakindi, Innovator from Andhra Pradesh who invented Laxmi Asu making machine
e. Shri Amrut Lal Bawandas Agrawat, Innovator from Gujarat who invented Aaruni Bullock Cart and Innovative Pulley
f. Ms. Anuradha Pal, Innovator from Telangana who invented Right biotic : The fastest Anti-biotic finder; and
g. Shri Swapnanil Debajit Talukdar, Innovator from Assam who invented Foot operated manual page-turning machine.
(iv)Inspired Teachers and Scholars from Central Institutions
13 Inspired teachers from Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs),National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs), School of Planning and Architecture (SPAs), Nalanda University, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology and 18 scholars from Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs), The Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc-B) participated in the In-Residence programme in two batches. The first batch of Inspired Teachers comprised of:
a. Dr. Pazhani G P, NIPER, Kolkata
b. Dr. Joydip Dhar, ABV- IIITM, Gwalior
c. Dr. B S Sanjeev, IIIT, Allahabad
d. Dr. Senthilkumaran K, IIITDM, Chennai
e. Dr. Mukesh Kumar Roy, PDPM-IIITDM, Jabalpur;
f. Dr. Banhi Jha, NIFT, Delhi;
g. Dr. Satish Kumar Sinha, RGIPT, Rae Bareli;
h. Dr. Poonam Prakash, SPA, New Delhi;
i. Prof. Rachna Khare, SPA, Bhopal;
j. Mr. S. Venkata Krishna Kumar, SPA, Vijayawada;
k. Prof. Aditya Malik, Nalanda University;
l. Dr. Manju Misra, NIPER, Ahmedabad;
m. Dr. Ranadeep Gogoi, NIPER, Guwahati;
The Second Batch of scholars comprised of:
a. Ms. Aayush, IISER Mohali;
b. Shri Anjishnu Bose, IISc Bangalore;
c. Shri Ankit Saxena, IIT Roorkee;
d. Shri Arvind Srivastav, IIT Kharagpur;
e. Shri Ballabh Inder Kishore, IIT Patna;
f. Shri Brahadeesh Sankarnarayanan, IISER Bhopal;
g. Shri Earnest Paul Ijjina, IIT Hyderabad;
h. Shri Gourav Modanwal, IIT BHU;
i. Ms. Gunjan Gupta, IIT Delhi;
j. Shri Kartikeya Umesh Upasani, IIT Indore;
k. Shri Manjot Singh, IIT Gandhinagar;
l. Shri Sourodip Sengupta, IISER Kolkata;
m. Ms. Nupur Rathore, IIT Jodhpur;
n. Ms. Nikita Trivedi, IIT Bhubaneshwar;
o. Shri Nirmal Punjabi, IIT Bombay;
p. Shri Pankaj Arora, IIT Madras;
q. Ms. S. Lalitha Vaishnavi, IISER Thiruvananthapuram;
r. Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj, IIT Guwahati
(v)Award Winning School Teachers from States/UTs
12 Award Winning School Teachers stayed at Rashtrapati Bhavan from May 21 to 27, 2016. These were:
a. Shri Asok V S, Kerala;
b. Shri Atma Prakash Dimiri, Uttarakhand;
c. Dr. S.Venkata Rama Raju, Telangana;
d. Dr.Varsha Bhupendrabhai Parekh, Gujarat;
e. Shri G. Sreenivasulu Reddy, Andhra Pradesh;
f. Shri Jagdish Prasad Deshmukh, Chhattisgarh;
g. Smt. Kiran Rajput, Jammu & Kashmir;
h. Shri Lalnunpuia Hrahsel, Mizoram;
i. Smt. Asha Dashora, Rajasthan;
j. Shri Ravi Kant Pandey, Delhi;
k. Smt. Gamchi Timre R. Marak, Meghalaya;
l. Smt. K. Sumati Devi, Manipur;
16. Rashtrapati Bhavan’s role as a witness to modern Indian history and its unique feature as a heritage building
(i)Inauguration of Phase-II of the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum
The inauguration of Phase-II of the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum on July 25, 2016 by the Prime Minister of India completed the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum Complex, which comprises the Stables Museum (Phase-I), the Garages Museum (Phase-II) and the Clock Tower will be home to the Visitors Reception Centre, Cafeteria and Souvenir shop.
The first phase of the new museum, known as the ‘The Stables’, was inaugurated on July 25, 2014, and opened to the public. The Clock Tower was inaugurated on July 25, 2015 after extensive restoration. The second phase of the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum is a world-class museum which has been completed at the site, which earlier housed ‘The Garages’. The new Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum is conceived in the form of a hi-tech story-telling museum of modern times.
The Phase-II Museum, spread over 10,000 square meters, will depict the story of the planning and construction of Rashtrapati Bhavan; the British Viceroys who occupied the building till 1947; their reaction towards the tumultuous freedom movement in the country; the transfer of power; the formation of the Republic; the life and work of 13 Presidents of India since 1950; life in Rashtrapati Bhavan; the beauty and environment of the campus, the people working here and important visitors, etc. The museum will also have an Art Gallery for holding temporary exhibitions. An exhibition of paintings by Smt. Pratiksha Apurv was the first exhibition to be held in the Gallery.
The museum has:
a)State-of-the art techniques for effective communication;
b)Dynamic Display with flexibility of continuous updating;
c)Visitors' participation for emotional involvement;
d)Animated Period Settings; and
e)Intelligent Illumination with LED lights, infra-red sensors, etc.
In order to project the Rashtrapati Bhavan as a premier tourist destination in India, three tourist circuits are being opened from 25th July, 2016 onwards. Besides, a dedicated micro site for tourism purposes has also been added to the website.
A Science and Innovation Museum called ‘Navachara Kaksh’ was inaugurated by the President on Aug 4, 2015 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Established with the assistance of M/s. Intel India, the Kaksh has a compelling mix of information, scientific know-how and innovation designed to encourage young people on the path to scientific discovery and learning. Its exhibits included a Robotic Dog, Virtual Tabla, Stringless Piano, 3D printer, Talking Wall and Planet Wall. Visitors can click selfies 3D-style with the Rashtrapati Bhavan as backdrop and email it. It is open for visitors every Friday toSunday.
Continuing the efforts to document various aspects of Rashtrapati Bhavan, a number of new books were published. These include:
a)"A Work of Beauty:The Architecture and Landscape of Rashtrapati Bhavan”,
b) "First Garden of the Republic -Nature in the President’s Estate”,
c)"Around India’s First Table:Dining and Entertaining at the Rashtrapati Bhavan”,
d) "The Arts and Interiors of Rashtrapati Bhavan: Lutyens and Beyond”, and
e)Abook for children titled "Discover the Magnificent World of Rashtrapati Bhavan”.
Three portfolios of paintings in Rashtrapati Bhavan namely"Paintings in the Ashoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan”, "Select Paintings of Rashtrapati Bhavan”and "Company paintings in Rashtrapati Bhavan”, have been also brought out by the Lalit Kala Akademi in collaboration with the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
A total of 13 books and an art electronic art catalogue have been brought out so far as part of the documentation efforts. These include: ‘Indradhanush, Volume I’, ‘ Right of the Line: The President’s Bodyguard’ and ‘The Presidential Retreats of India’, three volumes of the selected speeches of the President and‘Abode under the Dome’ relating to the stay of Visiting Heads of State.
(v) Curio Shop
A new range of souvenirs like jewellery, note pads,
T-shirts, mugs, mementos, brochures and books on Rashtrapati Bhavan have been added to the collection in the Curio shops for the benefit of visitors. Facilities have also been provided to enable visitors to use debit and credit cards for purchases in the two Curio Shops located at Rashtrapati Bhavan. A project is also underway to make the Rashtrapati Bhavan merchandise available for purchase through online payment on our website.
17. Ayush Wellness Clinic
The Ayush Wellness Clinic was inaugurated on 25 July, 2015.
(i) Workshop at AYUSH WellnessClinic (AWC)
A four day workshop for residents of the President’s Estate was conducted on the theme "AYUSH System in Day-to-Day Life” from November 28 to December 02, 2015 to spread awareness about the AYUSH system and its applications leading to a healthy lifestyle. The workshop covered (i) Healthy Kitchen through Ayurveda (ii) Naturopathic Diet and Way of Life (iii) Simple Cure at Home and (iv) Homeopathy for Child health.
Two batches of interns have been trained at the Ayush Wellness Clinic (AWC) and the third batch is undergoing the training at AWC. A panel of trained therapists has been set up and their services are being utilized on requirement basis.
(iii) Helping hand by Garden Section to Ayurvedic wing of AWC
Garden Section provides herbal leaves such as Erandi, Dhatura, Arka, Nirangundi and Sanjana to AYUSH Wellness Clinic on requirement basis to cater to the need of Ayurvedic wing for the beneficiaries availing the facilities at AWC.
(iv)Participation of AYUSH Wellness Clinic (AWC) at Festival of Innovations conducted by Rashtrapati Bhavan
A stall showcasing innovations at work in AYUSH Wellness Clinic in President’s Estate was set up as part of the exhibition held in connection with the Festival of Innovations. Consultants at AYUSH Wellness Clinic were present at the stall for providing free guidance and consultation to the visitors.
(v) Ayush Vatika
With the setting up of AYUSH Wellness Clinic in the Estate a ‘ AYUSH Vatika’ has been created in the campus. Herbs required for treatment of different ailments through specific therapies are being provided from the herbal gardens.
To enable Rashtrapati Bhavan to move towards good governance by adopting new technologies and solutions, several new projects were launched.
Using e-Granthalaya software relating to Automated Library of President’s Secretariat (ALPS) so far around 8308 e-books have been uploaded and over 33,000 books have been e-catalogued. These books are available under e-office platform. The E-Pustakalaya project for bar coding and cataloguing of books has been completed.
(ii)Online Visitors’ Request Information System
Since August, 2015, information about visitors of officers of President’s Secretariat is being sent to RB Security through Online Visitors’ Request Information System made available through the e-office portal.
(iii)Digital Photo Library
Phase II of the Digital Photo Library (DPL) has been implemented in August 2015 and approximately 3.62 Lakh negatives have been scanned till date. Approximately 85,000 digitized photographs from approximately July, 1997 till date have been uploaded onto the DPL server. The DPL provides access to rare and historical photographs and facilitates archiving through digitization of photographs
(iv)E-Management of Visitors System (E-MVS)
Online monitoring of the system is done on regular basis to ensure smooth and effective management of online requests in a time bound manner. Till now, around 3 lakh visitors have visited Rashtrapati Bhavan and RB Museum using the online system. This system has been adopted by other organizations as well. Implementation of this system has been facilitated in Raj Bhavan at Mumbai and Raj Bhavan at Dehradun.
(v)E-Invitations Management System (E-IMS)
The E-Invitations Management System is now being used extensively for different types of functions such as cultural programmes, State Banquets, At Home Receptions, Swearing-in Ceremonies, Civil Investiture ceremony, Defence Investiture ceremony, Visitor’s Awards, various events held during Festival of Innovation and In-Residence programmes. So far, around 86,000 e-invitations have been sent through this system for over 350 functions including At-Home, cultural and other. This bar-coded system has also been adopted by other organizations like Indian Council of World Affairs.
(vi)‘E-Way’ system for Communication between Rashtrapati Bhavan and Raj Bhavans
The "E-Way System” was devised for effective and faster communication between Rashtrapati Bhavan and Raj Bhavans through digital platform. Apart from facilitating online Booking of Rooms in Guest Wing of Rashtrapati Bhavan and Online requests for leave / tours by Hon’ble Governors, the scope for use of E-way system was further extended for - sharing of publications such as ‘Gyanodaya’ on smart initiatives implemented by Rashtrapati Bhavan in the Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, President’s Estate, and for inviting and managing online nominations for In-Residence Programme for Award-winning State Teachers held this year.
(vii)Wi-Fi facility in President’s Estate
The Wi-Fi facility in the President’s Estate was inaugurated on 22 May, 2015 by the President to enhance the efficiency and productivity of its employees and residents by providing them access to various services on internet. This scalable model of Wi-Fi Network also facilitated various e-enabled services such as smooth and real-time functioning of bar-code scanning of e-invitations, Smart RFID Cards as well as RB Smartchange Card meant to promote cashless transactions. A compliance policy for use of Wi-Fi in the President’s Estate was also prepared.
(x)GIS survey/mapping of various assets in President’s Estate
In order to provide a single and integrated view of information system across all domains and utilities inside President’s Estate, GIS mapping of various assets in President’s Estate has been initiated and the work is nearing completion. Scope of work of the project is as follows :
i.To collect data and information relevant to various public assets (Point feature, line feature and Polygon feature);
ii.Data cleaning, Importing collected Data in RB Geospatial System, Identification and Rectification of error and undertake re-survey if required;
iii.Scientific mapping of various assets in the President’s Estate;
iv.To create and develop vector map of various land base features for infrastructure like major and minor road information, Entry-exit gates, utilities stations, Residential quarters, Trees, electrical wiring, OFC Cabling, water and IGL pipelines etc within President’s Estate;
v.To undertake household survey to create detailed database of residential quarters, market, utilities stations (electrical and water sub-stations), electrical distribution and feeder panels within campus; and
vi.To capture Attribute Data of various assets in President’s Estate along with details such as name, address, schedule location, type/category, geo-tagged photograph (JPEG / Tiff format) of the assets etc.
The domains which have been covered under this project are : Electrical; Water; Horticulture; and Waste Collection and Disposal Assets.
19. Cultural Activities
(i) Programmes under "Indradhanush”
Under the aegis of "Indradhanush”, 11 cultural programmes were organised last year taking the total to more than 51 cultural programmes in four years. Artists/Groups who performed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan during the fourth year included Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar, Ustad Rashid Khan, Nizami Brothers, the ‘Ao Naga Choir’, Smt. Priyadarshini Govind, Shri Babul Supriyo, Ms. Aditi Mangal Das and Shri Madan Gopal Singh.
(ii) Screening of Films
Several movies during the year were screened under the aegis of the ‘Art Theatre Talkies’ and ‘Indradhanush’. These included the "Enlightened Soul: The Three Names of Umadevi”, ‘Maya Mridanga’, ‘Talvar’, ‘Wazir’, ‘Bridge of Spies’ and ‘Neerja’.
20. Reviving the Gardens
(i) Mughal Gardens
A record number of more than 6.70 lakhs people visited the Mughal Gardens during "Udyanotsav” 2016, which took place from February 12, 2016 to March 20, 2016. The main attraction of this year’s "Udyanotsav” was‘tulips’, calceolaria and primroses in magnificent colors, beside several varieties of seasonal flowers and exotic plants. About 12000 tulip bulbs were imported from Holland and planted in earthen pots and in several beds in the Rectangular and Circular Gardens. A large number of floweringbulbous plants, especially large dahalias , liliums including exotic species were planted and exhibited during the "Udyanotsav”.
(ii) Enhancement of Green cover
The greenery in the President’s Estate was enhanced by the planting of about 4500 saplings of different types of plants including indigenous fruit bearing trees. Landscaping and refurbishment of greenery in different residential pockets and common parks was also undertaken.
(iii) Addition of plant varieties to gardens
The Mughal Gardens and other gardens of the Rashtrapati Bhavan have been replenished with plant varieties from all over India, particularly with rare varieties of roses. The flora and fauna of Dalikhana was also rejuvenated with conservation of protected species and planting of indigenous grasses and herbaceous plants which provides a sustainable habitat for migratory birds and reptiles.
(iv) Development ofAquatic Ecosystem and Biodiversity Park
A sustainable aquatic ecosystem with recycled water of Sewage Treatment Plant has been developed in Dalikhana with inhabitants of large number of aquatic, amphibians and also dwelling terrestrial animals. It also comprises various kinds of marsh plants, phytoplankton and water lilies including varieties of lotus. A large number of birds like blue billed water ducks, red wetted lapwings, grey francolins, geese, ducks, peacocks and some migratory birds have made their shelters in the new habitat and can be seen nesting there.
(v) Efficient Irrigation system
In order to optimize the use of recycled water through STP an efficient water irrigation system has been commissioned and extended in major parks and landscape areas of the Estate to achieve Zero Wastage of resources .
(vi) Reduce- Recycle and Reuse of Garden Waste
With the concept of 3R management i.e. Reduce-Recycle and Reuse of waste products, a project has been commissioned in Dalikhana using latest technology to convert the green waste into valuable by products. It instantly reduces and transforms the waste into organic manure and fuel sticks.
(vii) Cultivation of organic vegetables and flowers
The Garden Waste Reprocess unit has enabled all byproducts to be used as organic manure for cultivation of organic vegetables and flowers in Dalikhana and other places.
(viii) Commissioning of Cold Storage room at Nursery
In order to preserve the germ plasm, seeds of exotic plants and garden produce a small cold storage room has been set up in the nursery area to facilitate and enhance the modern nursery techniques.
(ix)To restore the original flora and fauna of Aravalli range
Massive effort has been made to restore the original flora and fauna of Aravalli range through replacement planting of identified species. Trees such as Neem, Jamun and Mango, that attract lot of birds, have been planted.
21. Improving the finer aspects of Hospitality
i) Banquets / Lunches / Dinners
The Banquets held during 2015-2016 saw improvement in both service standards as well as introduction of new dishes. Some of the highlights were as follows:-
(a) A gala Dinner for approximately 350 guests was organized in the Central Lawns for the delegates of the Indo-Africa Summit on 29 October, 2015. This was the first time that a traditional menu in thalis was specially created for such a large gathering in the history of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Another highlight of the dinner was preparation of the entire food in the Rashtrapati Bhavan kitchen itself.
(b) Extensive catering arrangements were taken up during the Innovation Scholars-in-Residence Programme (12-26 March 2016) and Festival of Innovation (FOIN) from 12 to 18 March 2016.
(c) The facilities at Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre, 2 MTC etc. are now also being utilised for various functions hosted by the Prime Minister of India. These included a lunch during Conference of Governors (February 10, 2016), dinner for Judges of Supreme Court and Chief Justice of High Courts during Conference of Judges (April 23, 2016) and Inter-State Council Meeting (July 16, 2016).
(ii) New Dishes and Special Training
The cooks of the Rashtrapati Bhavan kitchen have been imparted special training on latest trends in food preparation and presentation, especially of starters and desserts, which are now more innovative, contemporary and visually appealing. New recipes and ideas have been introduced and special attention is being paid to regional cuisines to add to the existing variety.
(iii)Peacock Serviced Apartments
Since the inauguration of Peacock Serviced Apartments, they have been continuouslyutilized for hosting artists, writers, teachers, scholars and innovators during In-Residence programmes and various other delegations as well as officers on transfer and other guests of Rashtrapati Bhavan. These apartments have also been extensively used for the stay of Indologists (21 to 23 November 2015), Inspired Teachers (22 to 30 April 2016), Award Winning School Teachers (21 to 27 May 2016) and students from IITs, IISC, IISERs (18 to 24 June, 2016).
22. Interaction with Youth
(i) President assumed role of a teacher on eve of Teachers’ day
On the eve of Teachers’ Day, the President of India also inaugurated the ‘Be A Teacher’ programme of Delhi Government held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on September 4, 2015. He took a class for students of XI and XII on the subject of political history of India in Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in the President’s Estate.
(ii) Call-on by probationers of civil services
around 1595 probationers of various civil services called on the President during the last one year. In the past four years, around 3345 probationers from different Government services and batches have met the President.
(iii)Interaction with students and other groups under ‘Operation Sadhbhavna’ programme
The President interacted with children/students from various organizations/schools,law students from law college Durgapur and University of Burdwan, students of army goodwill school, Potha, Poonch District J&K as part of the ‘Operation Sadhbhavna’ programme organized by various units of the army and para-military forces. He also met with the students of International Policy from Stanford University, California, USA.
(iv) Interaction with children/students
The President interacted with around 1258 students of various schools/Institutes on Children’s Day (November 14, 2015) and 320 students on Raksha Bandhan (August 29, 2015) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
23. Welfare activities
(i)The ‘4S’ initiatives
A new initiative- ‘Sanskriti’ – was inaugurated on 18thMay, 2016. This is aimed at the children of the President’s Estate in the age group of 7-15 years and their wholesome development through organizing of painting, yoga, story- telling, clay modelling and singing classes at the Pranab Mukherjee Public Library. ‘Samagam’, a community initiative for Senior citizens residing in the President’s Estate was launched by the President on December 11, 2014. ‘Samagam’ offers an opportunity for all senior citizens to get together every afternoon from Monday to Friday. Facilities like yoga classes, community singing, counselling services, free health check-ups and board games have been made available. Under ‘Sparsh’, an initiative for Special children, a Respite Centre has been opened. Improved efforts to meet the nutritional requirements of children at ‘Sanskar’, the Rashtrapati Bhavan Play School are underway.
(ii)Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for creating quality workforce at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Recognition of prior learning (RPL) under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana is being implemented in RB under which more than 1500 contractual and regular employees in 20 skill categories have been trained, assessed and certified. The aim of the project is to ensure that all the semi-skilled and skilled employees in RB are certified of their skills.
(iii) President’s Estate Clinic
The services of the President’s Estate Clinic (PEC) have been augmented manifolds with addition of latest computerized equipments in Lab, Eye, Dental departments along with that computerization of the Clinic. Visit of experienced doctors of alternative systems of medicine like Homoeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani and "Holistic” method of treatment such as Neurotherapy, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Clinical Psychologist are also proving to be of great advantage to all.The PEC also organized a health awareness workshop for senior citizens at the time of inauguration of the ‘Samagam’ initiative . It also undertakes periodic health check- up for senior citizens and children of the President’s Estate. PEC has played a vital role in the campaign for prevention and control of Vector Born diseases and Intensified Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme which has been frequently organised. PEC also extends its full- fledged support in the form of providing various facilities like Lab Tests, X-Ray, Dental treatment, etc, to the AYUSH Wellness Clinic, President’s Estate. PEC being adjudged the Best Performer in the EMS of ISO 14001:2004 initiative of President’s Secretariat also acts as the nodal unit in respect of the Bio Medical Waste Disposal handling of all the Three units i.e. PEC, MI Room & 44 and Veterinary Hospital, President’s Estate.
(iv)New facilities in the Shopping Complex of the President’s Estate
New facilities in the Shopping Complex of the President’s Estate was inaugurated by the President on August 4, 2015. The Shakti Haat, a marketing outlet for Self Help Groups (SHGs) of Rashtrapati Bhavan, was shifted to a newly renovated shop in the Shopping Complex. A training centre to teach sewing to girls is also functional. These girls who get trained in the Centre offer their tailoring services to the residents of the Estate. "Arjunaa", a dedicated area was also inaugurated by the President for the residents of President's Estate to sell their produce such as vegetables, fruits, eatables, snacks, pickles, artefacts, garments etc.
The ‘President Bodyguard Polo Cup’ was played on December 6, 2015 at the PBG Parade Ground as a 10 goal exhibition match between two teams comprising top rated polo players of the country.
(ii) Rashtrapati Bhavan League - 2.0 T-10 Cricket Tournament
Second Rashtrapati Bhavan League - 2.0 T-10 Cricket Tournament was conducted from November to December, 2015. Six teams of the officials of different departments of the Rashtrapati Bhavan participated in the Tournament. The Tournament was won by JAKLI Daredevils comprising of officers and jawans of Army Guard in the final match with Household Royals on 5th December, 2015. The President of India distributed the Awards after the Final Match.
Children of Rashtrapati Bhavan employees were selected for the Sports Plus programme in 2013 for coaching in the disciplines of Tennis, Table Tennis and Squash. Three years down the line, Malvika Chauhan and Sulekha are ranked at 150 and 255 in the women’s category at the National Level. The process of continuous training is on for students of other disciplines who have been doing consistently well at various state and national sports meets and tournaments.
A ‘Tennis Carnival’ was held in President’s Estate in January, 2016 under the ‘Sports Plus’ programme. Trophies were given away to winners of the events in five categories which witnessed active participation by the employees of Rashtrapati Bhavan and their family members.
(v) International Yoga Day
International Yoga Day on June 21, 2016 was celebrated at President’s Estate where around 1000 people participated in a mass yoga demonstration. President of India inaugurated the programme.
25. Modernizing the Presidential Retreat at Dehradun
The Rashtrapati ‘Ashiana’ at Dehradun is a heritage building formerly known as Commandant’s Bungalow. It is an official Retreat of the President of India. Presently, various restoration works viz civil and electrical are being carried out by CPWD to upgrade and restore facilities at Ashiana. It has also been decided to construct 12 low cost, technology demonstrative units at Ashiana to accommodate the officers and staff of the President’s Estate during the Presidential visits to Ashiana.