Citizens' Issues
Kanchanjunga Express starts plying from Assam
Agartala : The Silchar-Sealdah Kanchanjunga Express began operations on Monday, meeting a long-standing demand of the people to link southern Assam with adjoining states including Tripura.
 
North Frontier Railway spokesman Jyoti Sharma said in a statement that the tri-weekly train will also pass through Guwahati, Assam's main city.
 
On the first day, the 19-coach train left Silchar in southern Assam at 9 a.m.
 
It will halt at 34 stations including Guwahati, New Bongaigaon, New Coochbehar, New Jalpaiguri, Malda Town, Bolpur Shantiniketan and New Alipurduar. It will cover 1,345 km in 32 hours.
 
Southern Assam, comprising four important districts, was brought on the broad gauge rail map on November 21 last year when Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the inaugural passenger train.
 
The 437-km Lumding-Silchar and Badarpur-Agartala gauge conversion work was sanctioned in 1996. It was declared a national project in 2004, thereby ensuring uninterrupted funding from the general budget.
 
In the first phase, the 210-km Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion project was completed early last year, and in the second the 227-km Badarpur-Agartala gauge conversion was undertaken. It was to be completed in March but was completed three months earlier.
 
The Tripura capital is now connected with the country's broad gauge railway network through Guwahati -- a distance of around 600 km.
 
This railway connectivity is the lifeline for millions in Tripura, western Manipur and eastern Mizoram besides southern Assam.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Toyota to halt production in Japan for one week
Tokyo : Japanese automobile giant Toyota on Monday announced it will suspend production in all its domestic assembly plants in the country for one week, after an explosion at a steel factory created a shortage of car parts.
 
The company said it will stop operations from February 8 to 13 in 12 plants nationwide, also affecting the production lines of subsidiary brands including Hino, Daihatsu and Lexus, a company spokesperson told EFE news agency.
 
The Japanese car manufacturer revealed that an explosion had occurred on January 8 at its subsidiary plant, Aichi Steel, affecting the production of steel parts and forcing the automative manufacturer to temporarily shut operations.
 
Meanwhile, "operations are scheduled to recommence on February 15, and vehicle production on lines outside Japan will not be suspended," the world's leading car-maker, which on an average produces between 13,000 to 14,000 cars a day in Japan, said in a statement.
 
"Toyota will continue to take any measures necessary to minimise the impact of this incident on vehicle production. Such measures may include production on alternate lines operated by Aichi Steel and procurement from other steelmakers," the statement added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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'Mostly unfree' India improves its economic freedom score
Washington, With an improvement of 1.6 points in its overall score, India was ranked 123rd in 2016 Index of Economic Freedom released by conservative US think tank Heritage Foundation here Monday.
 
Though still rated as "mostly unfree", India with a score of 56.2 out of 100 was among 32 countries which achieved their highest economic freedom scores ever in the 2016 Index.
 
India scored its best scores on government spending (78.1), fiscal freedom (77.1), monetary freedom (72.8) and trade freedom (71.0).
 
But on freedom from corruption India scored 38, while it was rated 40 on financial freedom, 35 on investment freedom and 55 on property rights.
 
With the exception of India, progress among the other BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - has stalled, according to the index which analyzes economic policy developments related to economic freedom in 186 economies.
 
Russia plunged 10 places in the rankings to 153rd, with its score deteriorating by 1.5 points. The rankings of South Africa, Brazil, and China declined to 80th, 122nd, and 144th, respectively.
 
According to the Index which rates countries as "free" (scores above 80), "mostly free" (70-80), "moderately free" (60-70), "mostly unfree" (50-60) and "repressed" (below 50), global economic freedom has advanced for the fourth year in a row.
 
The US continues to be mired in the ranks of the "mostly free," the second-tier economic freedom category into which the US dropped in 2010.
 
Worse, with scores in labour freedom, business freedom, and fiscal freedom notably declining, the economic freedom of the US plunged 0.8 point to 75.4, matching its lowest score ever
 
As many as 97 countries, the majority of which are less developed, gained greater economic freedom over the past year.
 
The global average economic freedom score of 60.7 is the highest recorded in the 22-year history of the Index.
 
Of the 178 economies ranked in the 2016 Index, only five (Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Australia) earned the designation of "free" with scores above 80.
 
Others in the top ten but rated "mostly free" were Canada, Chile, Ireland, Estonia and United Kingdom.
 
As many as 97 countries, the majority of which are less developed, gained greater economic freedom over the past year.
 
Declining economic freedom was reported in 74 countries, including 19 advanced economies such as the United States, Japan, and Sweden.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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