Friday, July 14, 2017

Achal Kumar Joti takes over as new Chief Election Commissioner of India

Achal Kumar Joti has assumed charge as the 21st Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, succeeding DrNasim Zaidi here todayDrZaidi demitted office yesterday after completing his tenure.

After the assumption of charge, Shri Joti spoke about the priorities of the Commission and said that the Commission shall pursue vigorously its commitment to hold free, fair, inclusive and credible elections throughout the country. Secondly, the Commission will also pursue its mission to ensure that No Voter to be Left Behind”. Thirdly, the Commission shall actively promote e-Governance for holding of elections to the State Assemblies and Parliamentary Elections in the country, Shri Joti added. 

 Joti has served as Election Commissioner since 13th May, 2015During his tenure as Election Commissioner, State Assembly elections in the States of Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakand, Manipur and Goa were successfully conductedSome of the initiatives undertaken during these elections are IT initiatives including the one for service voters through Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS), along with National Voter Service Portal (NVSP) –an e-portal for easy registration of eligible voters, voter awareness and educational initiatives and stringent expenditure monitoring mechanism etc.

Before joining the Election Commission of India, Shri Joti has served the Nation as a longtime Civil Servant of Indian Administrative Service (1975 Batch). He brings with him a rich experience of Public Administration of 42 years. During his distinguished career, he served as DM and Collector of Districts Surendranagar, Godhra and KhedaHe held various significant assignments as Secretary (Water Supply), Secretary (Industries), Principal Secretary (Finance), along with serving as the Chairman of the Kandla Port Trust, on Central Government deputation with Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, between 1999 and 2004, as the Managing Director of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) and Additional Chief Secretary (General Administration Department). Shri Joti superannuated as Chief Secretary to the Government of Gujarat in January 2013 after completing a three-year tenure.

Declaration of Historic City of Ahmadabad as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Property

It is under the dynamic and visionary leadership of the Prime Minister of India that India has been successful in securing the nomination of the “Historic City of Ahmadabad” on UNESCO’s World Heritage list on 8th July, 2017 during the 41st Session of World Heritage Committee. This makes the walled city of Ahmedabad the first city in India and the third in Asia to be inscribed to the World Heritage List. In the past 3 years alone, India has managed to put five built heritage sites on the world heritage list of UNESCO. 

India now has overall 36 World Heritage Inscriptions with 28 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed site. While India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of world heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall seventh in the world. 

Founded in 15th century, the walled city of Ahmadabad, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river, presents a rich architectural heritage. Within this complex are 28 ASI Centrally Protected Monuments. The urban structures of the historic city of Ahmedabad are distinctive due to their puras (neighbourhoods), pols (residential streets), and khadki (inner entrances to pols) largely made of timber. The historic architecture reflects symbols and myths connected with its inhabitants. The urban fabric is made up of densely-packed traditional houses (pols) in gated traditional streets (puras) with characteristic features such as bird feeders, public wells and religious institutions. It is a unique example of multi-religious and multicultural coexistence. 

The inscription has been done under Criteria (ii) and (v) as defined in the UNESCO's Operational Guidelines, 2016. Criterion (ii) refers to the important interchange of human values, over a span of time on development of architecture, monumental arts, town planning and landscape while Criterion (v) refers to being an outstanding example of human settlement and land use. Thus, the acceptance of the proposal highlights historic city of Ahmedabad's exemplary settlement architecture and town planning. This achievement is especially remarkable in the view of the fact that the proposal had earlier been deferred. The Culture Minister Dr. Mahesh Sharma has congratulated the residents of Ahmedabad and indeed the entire country on this landmark achievement. 

The international recognition to the city is a matter of pride. It will boost the local economy in a number of ways. It is expected to give a tremendous fillip to domestic and international tourism leading to increased employment generation, creation of world-class infrastructure and augmentation of sale of local handicrafts, handlooms and heritage memorabilia.