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Ranchi: The capital city will host a global agriculture and food summit in November.

 

Chief minister Raghubar Das made the announcement on Friday while directing officials to start the groundwork for the event at a meeting with the industry and agriculture department officials.

 

Final dates of the event are yet to be finalised.

 

"It will be held either at the mega sports complex or Dhurwa stadium," an official of state agriculture department said, adding that the event will project Jharkhand as an ideal destination for agricultural and food-related investments.

 

"The event is aimed at promoting agriculture and food processing sector in the state, exploring tie-ups for business cooperation and exports to double farmers' income. The focus will be on giving impetus to organic farming, which has a great potential but remains untapped due to the paucity of resources, know-how and other shortcomings. Farmers from different states and countries will be invited for the event," an official said.

 

Das also held a meeting with representatives of London's DM Capital and International Traceability System where he discussed the possibilities of setting up of vegetable-based industry clusters in the state.

 

The London-based firms are keen to invest around $100 million for the purpose.

 

"According to the preliminary plan, state-of-the-art vegetable clusters will be developed by roping in local farmers with the know-how and resources for better production," an agri department official said, adding that such clusters will initially come up in Hazaribagh, Ramgarh, Ranchi and Lohardaga on five lakh hectares each.

 

According to an IPRD release, "It should be fully organic farming so that women and tribal farmers can contribute more in production and get easy market linkage. The company will directly buy produce from them and profits made by selling the items in open markets will be shared among farmers as equity."

 

Source:- The Telegraph

The increasing global demand for traditional health care practices has been a key driver of growth in India’s tourism sector, according to Manas Pattanaik, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, India. The value of medical tourism in India is expected to hit $9 billion by 2020, with the country already ranking among the top 5 wellness destinations in the world.

 

“With a greater emphasis being laid on preventive health care methods such as Ayurveda and yoga, India has become a medical hub for visitors. The combination of traditional and modern health care against the backdrop of rich cultural heritage make it a growing tourist attraction”, said Pattanaik. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, India jumped up 12 places in an index measuring competitive performance recording a growth rate of about 4.02 per cent in the travel and tourism sector. Figures for the Foreign Tourist Arrivals in India were at a 11.3 per cent in 2016 higher than the global average.

 

The modern health care sector in India has also contributed its share to inbound tourism, he said. Advancements in technology, state of the art facilities, well trained professionals combined with the relatively lower cost of treatment attracts those seeking medical aid to the country. Healthcare in India reportedly saves patients between 65 per cent to 90 per cent of money compared to similar services in the US and other countries.

 

Packages

 

With a larger number of hospitals receiving accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NBAH), health care packages are being provided to foreign patients. Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and NCR top the list for the most favourite medical tourism destinations.

 

“Tourists come from all over the world to India with the Middle East recording significant inflows. We’ve seen a 1.31 per cent increase in travellers from the UAE over the past year,” Pattanaik said, who added that E-visas to India is believed to make travelling to the country much easier.

 

The wellness industry in the country also attracts significant amounts of domestic and international investments with foreign investors capitalising on the product and service diversification. Multiple retreat centres have been set up across states that bring in large number of visitors every year. The sector also provides for a 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment and high expectations on returns have boosted investor confidence. he said.

 

Source:-Gulf News

More than three million workers joined India’s state-run social security fund in six months through February, giving Prime Minister Narendra Modi some ammunition to defend his record on creating jobs ahead of a general election due next year.

 

A new data series on payrolls released by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for the first time on Wednesday, however, gives an incomplete picture of how many new jobs are being created in the non-farm sector. The provisional data showed 472,075 employees were added to the state-run social security fund in February, and 604,557 joined in January, bringing the six-month total to 3.11 million.

 

“The data shows there was a good increase in jobs every month in the last six months, which will now help fill the missing link for policy-making,” said Soumya Kanti Ghosh, chief economist at the country’s largest lender, the State Bank of India.

 

As nearly 15 million join the workforce every year, India still has a long way to go before the world’s fastest-growing major economy can cope with the country’s demographic bulge.

 

“Unemployment is a serious issue in India, and we must be worried over the implications,” N.R. Bhanumurthy, an economist at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, a Delhi-based think-tank, said.

 

Modi won the 2014 election promising to revitalise the economy and create strong jobs growth, but some critics have accused his government of making exaggerated claims over just how well the economy is doing.

 

India’s growth stuttered after the government’s decision to take high denomination bank notes out of circulation overnight in late 2016 in a bid to make the country less reliant on cash transactions and flush out money that was being kept out the taxman’s sight.

 

The implementation of the introduction of a national goods and services tax last year also knocked growth, and caused some companies to shed jobs.

 

Since then an upturn in global and domestic demand, along with some deregulation, has helped the economy regather momentum, and it is expected to grow 7 percent in the fiscal year to March next year.

 

OVERESTIMATESTo bring more of the vast workforce into the organised sector, Modi this year announced the state would partially cover employers’ contributions to the EPF for three years. The government says it will cover an amount up to 12 percent of employees’ salaries.

 

As a result of those incentives, critics say the new data series overestimates job creation in the organised sector as many workers who were previously working on contract have been taken on as staff by the same employers and added to the fund.

 

The unemployment rate in India nearly doubled in the nine months through March, to hit 6.23 percent, and is like to rise to 6.75 percent, according to estimates from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a private consultancy.

 

CMIE reckoned the number of jobs actually fell to 406 million in fiscal year just ended, down from 406.7 million in the previous year.

 

In a bid to boost employment, the government has relaxed labour laws to let companies hire workers on a fixed term basis, while raising social security benefits for them.

 

Earlier it was mandatory for employers and employees of companies with 20 or more workers to contribute to the EPF, but the government plans to amend the rules so that companies with 10 or more employees have to open an account with the fund for their workers. 

 

Source:-DNA

NEW DELHI: India's global trade increased by 16.32 per cent to USD 767.9 billion in 2017-18, according to the Commerce Department data.

 

In 2016-17, the trade stood at USD 660.2 billion.

 

"While India's global trade grew by 16.32 per cent between 2016-17 and 2017-18, India's total trade with LAC (Latin American countries) grew by 19.63 per cent," the department said in a series of tweets.

 

It said that bilateral trade with LAC including Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Brazil has recorded healthy growth in 2017-18 as per the provisional numbers.

 

"Bolivia has emerged as a major trade partner of India in LAC region with bilateral trade registering a growth of 205 per cent from USD 253 million in 2016-17 to USD 772.44 million in 2017-18," it said.

 

Similarly, two-way commerce with Brazil has increased to USD 8.56 billion in the last fiscal from USD 6.51 billion in 2016-17.

 

Bilateral trade with Chile grew to USD 2.85 billion in 2017-18 from USD 1.90 billion in the previous fiscal.

 

"India's trade with LAC increased from USD 24.52 billion in 2016-17 to USD 29.33 billion in 2017-18," it added. RR MR MR

 

Source:- Economic Times

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UK last week (April 17-20) to participate in a multilateral Commonwealth summit and hold bilateral talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May. This was Modi’s second visit to the UK in 2.5 years and the first time in nearly a decade that an Indian prime minister had attended the biennial Commonwealth summit.

 

Although Modi’s participation in the Commonwealth summit was partly due to the UK’s invitation as host, India’s aim to ‘step up’ its role in the Commonwealth could serve to enhance India-UK relations post-Brexit.

 

Bilateral

 

Right from the start it was clear that the UK intended to accord a special status to Modi, among the other 52 leaders attending the Commonwealth summit. British foreign secretary Boris Johnson welcomed him on arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport; Modi was one of only three heads of government to be granted an individual private audience with the Queen and he had two meetings with May.

 

The main agreement between the two countries was an India-UK Tech Partnership for the creation of high-value jobs and the promotion of trade and investment. A significant, though less-noticed, development was the use of the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ in the bilateral joint statement. This highlighted that “a free and open Indo-Pacific area is in the interests of the UK, India and the international community”.

 

This term has gained currency in India and ‘like-minded’ countries like Japan, the US and Australia concerned in varying degrees over China’s expanding influence in the region. This indicates growing bilateral consensus on the importance of this region as well as the freedom of navigation and overflight and adherence to the rules of law. This takes place soon after May’s decision to refuse to officially endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative during her visit to China last January, a project which India is staunchly opposed to.

 

Surprisingly, an MoU on the return of illegal immigrants was not signed; reportedly due to a failure to agree upon the number of returnees and the speed at which they would be required to be returned.

 

This visit was in marked contrast to Modi’s previous visit in November 2015. The reasons for this were clear. There was then no sign or sight of Brexit; the referendum for Britain to exit the EU (Brexit) took place seven months later – in June 2016, disrupting the UK’s energy and enthusiasm for boosting relations with India. In November 2015, Modi had been in office for just 18 months; it was the first bilateral visit of an Indian prime minister to the UK in nearly a decade; and there lay ahead an exciting domestic developmental agenda. This time round, India’s domestic political agenda held sway with five state elections and the next general elections less than 12 months away, about the same time as Brexit takes place. 

 

Commonwealth

 

Even though India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, played a key role in the creation of the modern Commonwealth, an international political and development organisation, in 1949, India has largely considered it as a relic of empire and steeped in colonial legacy. As a result, the interest taken in the Commonwealth by Indian governments has been sporadic and generally lukewarm.

 

For the past 8.5 years, Indian prime ministers have been absent from Commonwealth summits. But with the UK hosting the Commonwealth summit at Lancaster House and Windsor Palace, the British government made extraordinary efforts to seek Modi’s confirmation, including a letter from the Queen and a visit by Prince Charles to Delhi; largely as a result of which Modi provided an early confirmation.

 

India comprises over half the total Commonwealth of 2.4 billion people. More importantly, as the fastest-growing large economy in the world expecting to overtake the UK as the largest Commonwealth (and fifth largest global) economy later this year, India possesses a certain gravitas within the organisation. A recent report of the Commonwealth Secretariat recognised India’s key position in driving intra-Commonwealth trade and investment to over $1.5 trillion by 2020 and pointed out that intra-Commonwealth investment had seen a dramatic rise driven by India in recent years, as a leading recipient of greenfield Foreign Direct Investment, more than doubling the amount it received over the last ten years.

 

India now seeks to ‘step up’ its role in the Commonwealth for four reasons:

 

First, as a prospective leader

 

With the UK seeking to provide new momentum and a sense of purpose to the Commonwealth, which Australia and Canada are unable to lead, there is a natural focus towards India. During the summit, India made clear that it is willing to ‘step up’ its role in the Commonwealth. It has announced the doubling of its contribution to the Commonwealth fund for technical cooperation to $2 million; raised $2.5 of $5 million for the trade financing facility for small states; and doubled the country’s contribution to the Commonwealth offices of small states. India also aims to help build the capacity of the coastal nations through training programmes at the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa.

 

It is also unlikely that key political decisions, such as an attempt to bring back Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth fold, can now be made in the absence of India. Yet, India will shy away from any overt leadership role for the time being, instead focusing on trade and investment promotion; the small states; and, importantly, a key change in approach.

 

As India’s highly successful high commissioner to the UK, Yash Sinha, has pointedly written:

 

“While the advocacy agenda of the Commonwealth has focused for too long on a prescriptive approach, we need to find a way to assist most member states in meeting their developmental goals through an institution building or capacity building approach, rather than a rights-based approach.”

 

Second, to enhance its global role and maximise its bilateral relations

 

The Commonwealth, virtually spanning the entire globe, has a membership of 53 countries, making it the third largest organisation after the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Of these, 19 are located in Africa and 12 are littoral or island states of the Indian Ocean; a high proportion, 31 states, are small states with a population of 1.5 million or less.

 

In some of these states, India has no diplomatic presence; diplomatic contact usually takes place at the UN. As a rising great power seeking changes in international institutions, as made clear through India’s recent bruising but successful battle against the UK for the continued presence of an Indian judge at the International Court of Justice at the Hague, India seeks to reach out to these states to help it secure votes during key UN and other multilateral fora contests. It was notable that Modi had 12 bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit, nine of which were with leaders of small states.

 

Third, the absence of China

 

The fact that China is not and will never be a member of the Commonwealth is a huge plus for the Modi government. Despite its recent ‘reset’ in bilateral ties, China has risen dramatically as India’s principal foreign and security challenge. India has real concerns over its territorial dispute with China and China’s expanding influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean. Nonetheless, there is some concern that Pakistan may seek to curb any Indian leadership role in the Commonwealth at the behest of its close ally China.

 

Fourth, Commonwealth-wide presence of the Indian diaspora

 

For the Modi government, the Indian diaspora is an important cultural, and potentially political, priority for its foreign policy, in contrast to previous governments. The fact that there are diaspora Indian communities in virtually every Commonwealth country further underscores the importance of the Commonwealth.

 

As India ‘steps up’ its role in the Commonwealth, India-UK relations post-Brexit are expected to be enhanced. For the next two years, the UK will be the chair-in-office of the Commonwealth till the next summit in Rwanda in 2020. India is expected to work closely with the UK on Commonwealth reforms and governance.

 

The UK sees India as one of its leading economic partners in the world post-Brexit. The first visit of Theresa May as prime minister outside the EU was to India in early November 2016. This also signifies an important power shift between the two countries – whereas earlier the UK was more important to India than India was to the UK, today the reverse is true, namely, that India has become more important to the UK than the UK is to India.

 

Source:-The Wire