Kaziranga loses another rhino

Five poachers were arrested for killing a rhino and chopping off its horn on the outskirts of Kaziranga National Park on Friday .
After poachers killed the rhino, which had strayed into a village in Sonitpur district, locals sliced off its flesh.
The latest killing took place as Assam forest minister Etuwa Munda was holding a meeting with forest, police and district officials at the national park. Munda said he has ordered a probe and sought the suspension of the range officer.

Delhi Dialogue Commission

Days after taking over the reins of Delhi, the AAP government has announced constitution of Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC), a thinktank that is expected to implement the party's 70-point agenda of governance.
The state government's official website listed the focus areas of this new body on Friday. The commission is expected to “come up with new and big ideas, identify best practices and policies from around the world and translate them into concrete recommendations to the government...for transformative change“. It will have a well-oiled public feedback mechanism. The chief minister will lead this commission as its chairperson.
Announcing the cabinet decision to set up the panel, deputy CM Manish Sisodia said it would help bridge the gaps in governance and policy matters.
The government has decided to appoint AAP's incharge of the Delhi Dialogue initiative, Ashish Khetan, the vice-chairman of the panel. It will be based in the CM's office at the Delhi secretariat. However, the commission will initiate dialogues with task forces and the general public at other places as well. The commission can be reached at: ddc.delhi@gov.in A statement issued by the CM's office said, “As observed in Delhi in the past two decades, the vested interests of successive governments and their remoteness from their constituents ensured that the most fundamental needs of the people of Delhi have remained unaddressed--from issues such as clean drinking water, electricity and affordable housing to sanitation and employment, among others. An honest, accountable and responsive government seeks out people's participation, tapping into their immense potential to contribute to issues of governance.“
The commission will constitute task forces and committees on various subjects comprising experts, which will advise the government.Explaining the process, Khetan said the task forces will talk to stakeholders and prepare plans based on best practices from around the world. “For instance, we have assured Wi-Fi connectivity and CCTV cameras but through DDC we will look at the best possible way of executing it,“ Khetan added.

States' statz

Somewhere in Gujarat....

A Double Digit Fairytale?!

Every Economic Survey has something innovative and this year is no exception. The graphic on the covers of both the volumes celebrates India overtaking China in economic growth. Chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian has flagged ten issues in volume 1, while volume 2 is the conventional survey with all the graphs and numbers.
After nearly two years, talk of double-digit growth returns to the policymakers' lexicon. “ A political mandate for reform and a benign external environment have created a historic moment of opportunity to propel India onto double-digit growth trajectory ,“ say the opening lines of the first chapter.
Subramanian, a prolific author, uses his skills effectively , quoting Keynes, Nehru, Kautilya, US economist and political theorist W W Rostow, former Singapore PM Lee Kwan Yew, PM Narendra Modi and others to drive home his point on various issues. On economic outlook, prospects and policy challenges, Subramanian has strongly backed empowering women and unleashing `naari shakti', a tribute to women power. Asked why he decided to split the survey, Subramanian said, “We all have our own quirks and idiosyncrasies.“
The Survey kicks off the chapter on banking sector with a quote from Kautilya: “The nature of the transactions between creditors and debtors on which the welfare of the kingdom depends, shall always be scrutinized,“ Kautilya in Arthashastra around 3rd century BC.
Subramanian's imprint is clear in small details as the American spelling of “labor“ and “center“. He was a senior fellow at Peterson Institute of International Economics.

Jammu-Kashmir gets a government at last

A warm hug and handshake between Narendra Modi and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at the Prime Minister's residence on Friday morning set the stage for a grand swearing-in ceremony on Sunday to usher in a PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.
The ceremony to be held in Jammu in the presence of the PM will mark a new chapter in the history of New Delhi-Srinagar ties with BJP sharing power in the Muslim-majority state for the first time.
PDP patron Sayeed, 79, will take oath as chief minister along with 12 ministers each from PDP and BJP .Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and BJP chief Amit Shah will be present along with BJP general secretaries Ram Madhav and Ramlal.
Ever since the assembly polls threw up a hung House in December, the two parties, earlier seen as “unnatural allies“, held marathon negotiations to reach common ground. The Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the alliance will be released on Sunday and cover all controversial issues like Article 370, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and resettlement of West Pakistan Refugees.
After Friday's meeting with the PM that lasted over an hour over breakfast, Sayeed reflected the difficulties the two sides faced during the intense negotiations, saying it was like “bringing together North Pole and South Pole“. He made it clear that the coalition was first a political alliance and then an alliance for governance.“It (the alliance) is both for political and governance -first political and then governance. Only when the political atmosphere is right can governance take place,“ the PDP veteran said.
Lauding the way polls were held in the border state, Sayeed said one of the reasons for which free and fair elections could be held in the state is that “there were no external disturbances“, clearly implying that crossborder terror activities did not come in the way of polling. Crediting Modi for the huge mandate for BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, Sayeed said, “It (mandate) gives him a golden opportunity to create an aura of peace in the region.“
He later met former PM Manmohan Singh and visited the residence of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Sayeed recalled Vajpayee's visit to the Kashmir valley in 2003, which broke through the chill in ties with Pakistan that had set in after the Kargil conflict in 1999.
“He (Vajpayee) extended a hand of friendship towards Pakistan, saying we can change friends but not neighbours. So Musharraf also responded. It is the dream of the Prime Minister (Modi) and mine to develop Kashmir as an `island of peace'.So, in that process, it is necessary to engage Pakistan,“ the PDP patron said.
Sayeed brushed aside contentious issues like Article 370 and AFSPA. “Leave these issues. These are not issues. We have to do all this (hame karna padta hai)... All this will come in the CMP which will be announced after the swearing-in,“ he said.

BKC-Eastern Express link gets green go-ahead

In a boost to east-west connectivity in Mumbai , the state environment authority has given a final clearance to the 1.6 km link project between Bandra-Kurla Complex and Eastern Express Highway . The link will cut travel time between the two locations by 30 minutes and improve accessibility to the business hub. It will also help decongest Dharavi-Sion Link Road, L B S Marg and Sion Circle, say authorities. Currently , commuters from the eastern suburbs as well as Thane and Navi Mumbai have to take a circuitous route through these areas to reach BKC.
“This is the final environmental clearance. Construction can now go ahead,“ said state environment secretary Ajoy Mehta. MMRDA is overseeing the Rs.156 crore project. It will be the fifth major project to link the east and the west.
The link will begin at the G Block market in BKC and culminate near Somaiya Trust Ground along Eastern Express Highway . It will cross Mithi River, L B S Marg, Central Railway tracks, Duncan Causeway Road, Chunabhatti Bus Terminus and Harbour rail line.
The link envisages construction of five piers in Mithi river and a 260-metre bridge across the river.
However, clearance by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority is subject to several conditions.Construction has to be carried out in accordance with Coastal Regulation Zone provisions of 2011. Also, the piers erected in Mithi river should not obstruct its natural flow and debris should not be thrown into the river, said the state authority. Prior clearance of the high court will have to be sought if construction falls in the mangrove area or is within the 50 metre buffer zone.
The project will also have to abide by the environment management plan chalked out by NEERI, said the state authority .
The plan says if trees are to be removed in the project area, then an afforestation plan will have to be submitted in advance to the tree authority. Also, those displaced by the project will have to be resettled before work begins.The project area will have to be monitored for air and water quality, too.
Transport analysts say while east-west links are needed, in several cases, such projects have added to the traffic.

NaMo on the Land Bill

With the early enactment of the land acquisition bill looking uncertain, PM Narendra Modi reached out to his opponents for support with the promise that his government was ready to drop any provision in the bill that was considered to be anti-farmer. Modi also emphasized that passage of the land bill would be particularly beneficial for eastern UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, eastern Andhra Pradesh and the north-east--an assertion which was interpreted as a pitch aimed at regional parties like SP, JD(U), BJD, BSP and TRS who can help the government overcome its number handicap in Rajya Sabha. However, even as the PM struck a conciliatory note and argued that parties should rise above partisan considerations to take a stand, he was not apologetic about seeking to discard the law enacted under UPA. Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Lok Sabha that the land acquisition bill enacted by the UPA was flawed and needed to be changed. Citing protests by chief ministers of states ruled by different parties and the armed forces, he said the UPA law was hindering development and had held up defence facilities. Modi also said nobody should have the arrogance that what they had done was perfect and could not be bettered, in what was seen as a dig at Congress for passionately holding on to the law framed under UPA.
The PM said the land acquisition law was made with an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. “Land was being acquired under the 1894 law for 120 years and so it is not accidental that Congress woke up to the need to change it in 2013,“ he said. Modi further said while BJP had cooperated with the UPA government on the acquisition law despite knowing full well that it was motivated by electoral considerations, it became convinced of the need to change it in the light of the experience of states which complained that they could not find land for creating irrigation facilities and rural infrastructure.
On MGNREGA, Modi's tone oscillated between condescending and confrontational. He rebutted the allegation that his government wanted to dilute the rural jobs scheme, saying he had enough political intelligence to understand that he should keep the project going if only as a “monument of Congress's failure on the development front“. “Whatever else you may charge me with, you cannot accuse me of lacking political intelligence. And my political sense is that I should keep this project going just as evidence of your failure. That 60 years after independence people are having to dig ditches in order to subsist speaks a lot about you and I should keep this going with great fanfare,“ he said.

India First

Faced with criticism he was soft on Hindutva hardliners, PM Narendra Modi stressed that as head of the government, he was obligated to ensure the primacy of the Constitution and rein in those making communal statements. “This country can only be run in accordance with the Constitution. It is the expression of the ethos the country has followed for thousands of years, and reflects hopes and aspirations of the common man. The country cannot be governed by disregarding its tenets. No one can take law into his hands and nobody can discriminate against anyone on grounds of faith.Those making irresponsible statements should remember that being the head of the government, it's my responsibility to determine how it functions,“ Modi said, rejecting the “soft-on-communalism“ charge against the Centre as “imaginary“.
Replying to a debate on the motion of thanks on the President's address in Lok Sabha, the PM said, “I have repeatedly said my government has only one religion, the one which puts India above everything else. It treats the Constitution as its sole scripture and its devotion is only to the country . It worships only the cause of the welfare of all the 1.25 billion citizens. It's geared to achieve the objective of `sabka saath, sabka vikas'.“ PM Modi also said he was opposed to the imposition of unity, saying this country was defined by diversity . “We have been defined by unity in diversity . This has been our strength and it is only in India that diverse faiths can flourish,“ he said.
Although just a reiteration, the comments take on significance because it came against the backdrop of a flurry of statements from Hindutva hardliners and the resultant perception that the Modi government was being indulgent.The PM had spoken in a similar vein while addressing a gathering of Christians on February 17.
His speech on Friday stood out because it was the first time he had addressed the concern about his government's stance on communalism in Parliament.
During the winter session of Parliament, the government had rejected the opposition's demand that the PM spell out his stance on the VHP's reconversion campaign, resulting in quite a few sittings of Rajya Sabha being washed out.
However, even as he dealt with the issue at some length on Friday , the PM resented the charge that his government had failed to leash Hindutva hardliners, calling it a “figment of imagination“. He said while the poison of communalism, which has caused havoc, was allowed to spread for political reasons for a long time, it was his government which was being sought to be put in the dock over it. He also told a member of the opposition who had challenged his statement that he could effectively rebut him but was not doing so because he did not wish to waste time. Modi also recalled the speech he gave in Patna on October 27, 2013, minutes after terrorists had bombed a rally killing half-a-dozen people and injuring several others.
“Blood was flowing amid gun shots and bomb explosions. Innocents had been killed at a gathering of lakhs. The atmosphere was filled with hate. In such moments, you speak what you honestly believe in. And on that day , I appealed to Hindus and Muslims that they had fought long enough without gaining anything. I told them that they should fight their poverty instead of each other,“ the PM said.


Spectrum Sale snippets

The Supreme Court cleared the way for next month's spectrum auctions to go ahead as scheduled, but said the results can't be finalised without its nod, throwing the telecom department and operators into a tizzy. A bench, comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Adarsh Kumar Goel, added a further rider -that no winner in the sale scheduled to start on March 4 can claim any “equity“ just because it had won a bid ­ creating further uncertainty among operators.
The top court's interim order will hold till March 26, when it hears the central government's plea against any court interference in the auction process. A ruling could come well after the auction process is over.Harried officials of the department of telecommunications were struggling to figure out the importance of the ruling and were likely to consult legal experts.
Another senior telecom department official, though, put up a brave face, saying the judgment was very clear that the auctions would continue as per schedule.
The government had consciously decided to move the Supreme Court on the matter to ensure that a “deliberate, calibrated and selective attempt on the part of some operators to frustrate the auctions is not allowed to succeed and we are very happy and assured with the court's order.“
The government had sought the top court's intervention to stop interference by high courts in the auction conditions, a policy issue which it said fell in the executive's domain and should not be altered.
At least five cases had been filed by telecom operators such as Reliance Communications, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular in the high courts in Delhi, Karnataka, Allahabad and Tripura, challenging various aspects of the government's auction conditions.
The Tripura High Court had directed the government to allot 4.4 MHz in the Northeast circle, instead of the minimum 5 MHz mandated by the auction rules.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had urged the court to transfer all these cases to the top court and decide them once and for all for the sake of clarity. The bench, acting on the transfer petition, Thursday refused a plea to put off the auction process for a few days to allow for more clarity in the process. There may be some inconsistencies in the government policy , but that was no ground to stay the process, Justice Misra observed.

Suresh Prabhu @work

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu kept fares unchanged and eschewed populist gestures such as new trains and stations in his maiden Railway Budget, preferring instead to bring a technocrat's focus to try and improve amenities for customers, set the organisation's trajectory for the next five years and put its derailed finances back on tracks.
Prabhu, whose appointment as railway minister last November had raised hopes of fresh thinking in a ministry long used by politicians to dispense favours to their constituencies, also announced hefty spending increases for building more capacity and track electrification, and unveiled plans to introduce faster trains on existing tracks and sweat railways' assets better by roping in the private sector. The cash-strapped railways will create new special purpose vehicles to secure investments, he said, as he sketched out plans to tap low cost money from long-term investors such as insurance and pension funds, and multilateral agencies.Prabhu, who has secured support worth Rs.40,000 crore from the Union Budget which signals the government's intent to spend more to revive investments, plans to tap a wide range of non-railway sources to augment investments, including setting up JVs with states, PSUs with large investible resources and multilateral and bilateral agencies. Other measures include monetising rail assets, particularly railway stations that can be expanded and refashioned as business hubs, and leveraging earnings to raise capital from the market. The budget drew plaudits from experts, many of whom saw it as a credible start to try and reform a sinking organisation, but it received a thumbs down from the markets where the feeling was it wasn't bold enough because it steered clear of privatisation and did not have bold moves for organisational change vital to realize some of Prabhu's plans.  Political rivals of BJP slammed the budget, while its partner Shiv Sena wasn't enthused either, saying the budget had little for Mumbai or Maharashtra.
The minister did not raise passenger fares, to the disappointment of some reform pundits. Freight charges were, however, increased by up to 10%, portending higher costs for companies in sectors such as steel, coal and fertilisers.
Prabhu said prices had already been increased last June and there had been no major concomitant improvement in passenger amenities. adding that it would be difficult to explain fare increases when diesel prices had fallen.
In the next five years, the railway minister has promised a major improvements in customer experience in a host of areas such as cleanliness, comfort, service quality and train speeds.From a 24-hour helpline to mobile charging facilities on all trains to a choice of cuisine to WiFi in stations, Prabhu said railway consumers would get access to all these services.
He also announced plans to launch services called `Train Sets' in the next two years on some routes, saying these modern trains similar to Japan's Bullet trains in design would provide vastly better customer experience and a 20% saving in journey time as these imported trains travelled at higher speeds on existing tracks. Prabhu said the speeds in nine railway corridors would be increased to 160-200 km per hour from 110-130 kmph now. Prabhu is targeting an operating ratio -a key gauge of operational efficiency -of 88.5% for the next financial year to end-March 2015, the best in nine years and compared with 91.8% expected this year. A lower operating ratio means that the railways will save more on every rupee it earns, allowing it to invest more to grow its operations and provide better facilities. He also announced an investment plan of Rs.8.5 lakh crore for the next five years.

GIFT City snippets

After the Bombay Stock Exchange, another leading bourse, National Stock Exchange (NSE), will set up an international exchange in GIFT SEZ in Gandhinagar, which is being developed as India's first international financial services centre (IFSC).
NSE on Thursday signed an MoU with GIFT SEZ to develop an exchange providing an electronic platform for trading, clearing and settlement of securities.
The exchange is expected to start operations within a year provided regulations concerning IFSC are announced. Chitra Ramkrishna, MD & CEO, NSE, said, “Through this exchange, NSE will move in the international arena.“
Over the past few months, many big players have announced their projects in GIFT City , a brain child of former chief minister and now PM, Narendra Modi.
The GIFT SEZ has initiated talks with New York, London, Dubai and Singapore stock exchangees for establishing operations. “They are very keen to come to GIFT but are awaiting regulations with regard to IFSC in India,“ said Ramakant Jha, MD & CEO, GIFT City Ltd.

Of Information on Mantris' Assets....

In a blow to transparency, the PMO has decided to block public access to the wealth declarations made by ministers. The details of assets and liabilities of the Union council of ministers has been available online since 2010. However, the details are now password protected and can only be accessed by the authorized personnel. In fact, information on assets and liabilities of the present council of ministers was available till recently.
According to the website pmindia.gov.in, the information was last updated on February 11, 2015, when the username and password protection might have been introduced.


Online happeningz

Zee set to launch another Hindi GEC


AAP delivers on Bijli-Paani promises

The AAP government has fulfilled two major campaign promises, halving power tariffs for consumption up to 400 units a month and announcing that 20,000 litres (20 kilolitres) of water would be supplied free to every household in Delhi. Identical measures had been taken by AAP during its previous 49-day tenure.
Making both announcements at a press conference, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the power subsidy would cover some 36 lakh households in Delhi, amounting to some 90% of electricity consumers in the capital. Those who consume over 400 units a month will not receive any subsidy .
The water scheme is expected to benefit around 13 lakh out of 15 lakh families with meters. It will cost the government Rs.20 crore in March and another Rs.250 crore in the next fiscal. Many people with power supply do not have metered water connections in Delhi. Like last year, if consumption exceeds 20 kl by even one litre, the entire amount of 20,001 litre would be billed. So, a single litre will send the bill soaring from zero to Rs.884 a month.
The power subsidy will be effective from next month and is expected to cost the state Rs.70 crore in March and Rs.1,427 crore in the next fiscal year (April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016).
Sisodia reiterated the assurance given by the previous AAP government that the power subsidy would be provided only till CAG shares the results of its audit of discoms. Tariffs would be reviewed after that.

Mumbai DP 2014-2034 snippets

The state government will endeavour to publish the Development Plan (DP) 2014-2034 for Mumbai by the year-end, said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday. He further said it would be his endeavour to ensure that the final DP is published by the year-end.
Speaking to reporters at Mantralaya, Fadnavis said he had directed BMC to work with the Union ministry of environment and forests to ensure that the Development Control Rules (DCR) for implementing the DP are uniform. Currently, the 1967 DCR as well as the 1991 DCR are applicable. This often creates conflicts, and several matters, especially over the Coastal Regulation Zone, have gone to court.

National mobile number portability from May 3

With the government finally clearing the blocks in rolling out the national Mobile Number Portability, from May 3 you can retain your mobile number even if you shift cities. Trai has okayed amendments to the MNP Regulations, 2009, giving the much-awaited measure the go-ahead.
The telecom department had on November 3 issued amendments to the MNP licence agreement, stating it must be implemented nationwide within six months from the date of amendment of the licences. Currently, users pay roaming charges to use their number outside their home city .


Coffee Production statz

States to Get Higher Share of Central Taxes

The Narendra Modi government came good on its pledge to treat the states as partners in long term development in a spirit of cooperative federalism by accepting a key recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission.
The Centre will start transferring a much bigger share of central taxes to states -the 10 percentage point jump to 42% will translate into an additional, estimated Rs.1.78 lakh crore in the next fiscal year.
“We are moving away from rigid centralised planning, forcing a 'one-size fits-all' approach on states,“ Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a letter to state chief ministers in which he communicated the government's acceptance of the commission's recommendations. “States have always been voicing their opposition to this philosophy for years,“ he said. The changes that have been set in motion should ensure that states will now have greater control over their economic futures besides being able to tailor social welfare programmes to their own particular needs, among other things. The government presented the commission's report in Parliament on Tuesday along with the action-taken report in the first of a series of big-picture financial announcements this week. The Economic Survey for FY 15 will be presented on Thursday , the Railway Budget a day after that and the Budget on February 28.
As per the recommendation of the commission headed by former Reserve Bank of India governor YV Reddy, the total devolution to the states in FY16 will be Rs.5.26 lakh crore against Rs.3.48 lakh crore in FY 15.
The recommendations of the finance commission will have a substantial impact on budget-making for the Centre with a number of departments witnessing big reductions in their allocations.The Centre has decided to discontinue support to eight centrally sponsored schemes, albeit fewer than the commission's recommendation of 30. “This is the largest ever change in percentage of devolution. In the past, when finance commissions have recommended an increase, it has been in the range of 1-2%,“ Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at a press conference.
However, this is not likely to affect his budget as the total support to states was pegged at 63% of taxes, almost the same as earlier. “The finance commission has subsumed both plan and non-plan expenditure. Moreover, it has not given any sectoral grants, not even for environmental or healthcare. However, this implies that grants for centrally sponsored schemes will have to be curtailed. Else, they will have to raise revenue or cut expenditure,“ said M Govinda Rao, a member of the commission. The acceptance of the recommendations mark at least five major shifts from the past. First, the sizeable increase in tax devolution. Second, taking into account plan revenue expenditures while assessing revenue deficit grants. Third, discontinuing the distinction between special category and other states. Fourth, desisting from awarding sector state specific grants or to subject grants to conditionality. And, fifth, to suggest institutional mechanisms for better monitoring of fiscal rules and to achieve `cooperative federalism'.
The core of this last lies in both increasing the proportion of (virtually much the same) aggregate transfers that will be available as non-debt transfers and to get rid of a swathe of central conditions and restrictions on how to utilise these funds.
This will be a huge help to states in forging their own autonomously generated development scheme and keeping their fiscal deficit in check in the years to come.
“In our assessment, the share of grants and tax devolution to states in the gross revenue receipts has been projected to increase from 47.5% in 2014-15 (base year, as per the previous finance commission formula) to 49.4% in 2019-20,“ the report said.“Thus, the equivalent share as a percentage of divisible pool is set to increase from 61.9% to 63.9%.“ It also made additional provision for revenue deficit states.
To be sure, with these additional receipts in hand, states will see central support to state plans for the revenue part of the expenditure cease. State governments welcomed the higher devolution.“The decision to significantly increase the states' share will enable the states to utilise the enhanced resources according to the felt needs of the residents of the state,“ Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said. Compared with the devolution in FY 15, the total outgo to the states in FY 16 will see an increase of more than 45%, Jaitley said. Abhijit Sen, one of the four members of the commission, submitted a dissent note suggesting that devolution to the states should be pegged at 38% in the first year and maintained at that level unless there was an agreement to deal with fiscal problems.The commission suggested a fiscal deficit target of 3.6% for FY 16 and 3% in subsequent years during the award period that runs to FY 20.
By accepting the recommendations of the finance commission, the Centre also has implicitly endorsed the fiscal deficit target of 3.6% of GDP for FY 16 and 3% thereafter. By parting with a larger share of tax revenue, the Centre has to meet a larger share of its own expenditure via non-tax receipts including borrowings.However, it can significantly reduce the borrowing it currently undertakes to lend to states.
The commission has recommended creating a fund for compensating states for any loss arising from transition to the goods and services tax, suggesting that such compensation be made available for five years --100% of shortfall in the first three, 75% and 50% in the remaining two, respectively. GST is scheduled to be rolled out on April 1, 2016. The finance commission has made some grants to states to be passed on to panchayats and municipal bodies. It has made recommendations on how to collect funds for disaster management.