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China hopeful of better ties with India in 2017, says committed to dissolve outstanding differences

Beijing: China hopes for better ties with India in 2017 by resolving differences over India’s admission into elite Nuclear Suppliers Group and listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar as terrorist by the UN as the two nations signed off their most engaging year bogged down by the twin issues.

“This year has seen a steady development of China-India relations, with the two countries marching towards the goal of building a more closely-knit partnership for development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told PTI summing up Beijing’s perception of the outgoing year and its vision of Sino-Indian ties for the next year.

“The leadership of the two countries have maintained frequent contacts” despite the differences, she said, referring to a number of meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at multilateral foras like G-20 and BRICS summit.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

She said that the dialogues and consultations have been going on in an orderly fashion at all levels and practical cooperation in various fields has been carried out steadily.

“As close neighbours, it is natural for our two big countries to have differences, and we have been exploring ways to resolve them through diplomatic channels. The main theme of China-India relations remains friendship and cooperation,” she said, holding out hope for a more fruitful year for bilateral ties next year with the resolution of the two major issues.

“For the year 2017, China would like to work with India for better implementation of the important consensus reached between the leadership, greater political mutual trust, wider mutually beneficial cooperation and properly management of differences so as to ensure a sustained and steady development of China-India relations,” she said.

The strength of the deep diplomatic engagement between the two sides virtually begins with the New Year as China’s second “technical hold” on India’s application for listing Azhar as terrorist under UN’s 1267 Committee will expire on 31 December, opening a new window for both the countries to address the issue which cast a shadow on Beijing’s claim to fight terrorism in all forms as the Pakistan-based

Jaish-e-Muhammad is already listed by the UN as terror group. With the end of the second technical hold by China, India is expected to submit a fresh application backed by a charge sheet filed recently by the National Investigation Agency against Azhar for his involvement in the Pathankot terror attack.

The charge sheet was expected to further reinforce India’s case for a UN ban against Azhar. Other members of the Committee including UNSC permanent members, US, Russia, France and UK had backed it earlier.

Indian officials hope that the charge sheet provides strong basis for the case for China to take a relook as Beijing in the past argued that sufficient evidence has not been provided.

“Listing in the 1267 Committee must be in line with the relevant resolutions of the UNSC and the rules of procedure of the Committee,” Hua had said, replying to question on Azhar’s issue days after NIA filed charge sheet.

On India’s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group too Indian and Chinese officials hope for a way out next year as China, after blocking India’s bid, began an exercise to work out a “non-discriminatory formula” to admit new members.

It is unclear yet whether a formula can be worked out where the other members of the NSG will agree for admission of China’s close ally Pakistan, whose record in nuclear proliferation during the time of its disgraced nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan will be a stumbling block.

China is advocating a two step approach for admission of countries who have not signed nuclear-Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the NSG. As per the new stand announced by Beijing last month, it first wants to find a solution that is applicable to the admission of all non-NPT members followed by discussions to admit specific non-NPT member.

Indian officials say it will make it another engaging year in Sino-Indian diplomacy on both Azhar and NSG fronts and hope that it would not be a futile exercise as happened this year.

However, even after the resolution of the two issues, the larger issues like the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor remain. Modi himself raised this issue with Xi during their meeting at the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September.

Significantly, as the year draws to a close, Lt Gen Amir Riaz, Commander of the Pakistan’s Southern Command which is based in Quetta, asked India to “shun enmity” with Pakistan and “join the USD 46-billion CPEC along with Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries and enjoy its benefits”.

Chinese officials say Riaz’s comments are significant as they point to the backing of the Pakistan army.

Hua said China is open for such a proposal and wondered “what is India’s take on this whether this is a good sign from Pakistan”.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 14:50 IST

India among world’s top five defence spenders overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia: Report

London: India is among the world’s top five defence spenders with its military budget at USD 50.7 billion, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to a new report released on Monday.

The US, China and the UK remain the top three defence spenders while India has the fourth largest military budget, followed by Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to the ‘2016 Jane’s Defence Budgets Report’, released by research firm IHS Markit.

India spent USD 50.7 billion this year on defence, up from USD 46.6 billion last year.

The report said that India is set to overtake Britain with the third-largest defence budget by 2018 as a result of its modernisation drive.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The US remained way ahead of the world with a budget of USD 622 billion, followed by China at USD 191.7 billion while the UK spent USD 53.8 billion on defence this year, Saudi Arabia USD 48.68 billion and Russia USD 48.44 billion.

After three years of budgetary constraints, the definitive UK-based defence magazine forecasts that Indian spending will rise from USD 38 billion in 2010 to USD 64 billion in 2020.

“Procurement spending has been constrained in India over the last three years as personnel costs have increased. However, what we expect to see from 2017 onwards is a military focused on modernisation. India needs new equipment to fulfill its modernisation drive. Over the next three years, India will re-emerge as a key growth market for defence suppliers,” said Craig Caffrey, principal analyst for Asia-Pacific at ‘IHS Janes’.

The worldwide outlook shows that global defence spending rose by 1 per cent to USD 1.6 trillion this year, against 0.6 per cent in 2015.

This rise has been attributed largely to strategic threats posed by Russia and the Islamic State terror group in
the Middle East.

“Defence spending returned to a healthy rate of growth in 2016, kicking off what we expect to be a decade of stronger global defence spending,” said Fenella McGerty, principal analyst at ‘IHS Janes’.

By 2020, China is forecast to be spending more than the whole of western Europe on defence and by 2025, more than all the states in the Asia-Pacific region combined.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 19:16 IST

Demonetization: Pakistan complains after diplomats unable to withdraw salaries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has lodged a strong protest with India over its diplomats in the High Commission here allegedly not being allowed to withdraw their salaries, which is paid in US dollars, by the bank.Asserting that not allowing its officials to withdraw their salaries was in breach of Vienna Protocol, Pakistan has also threatened that in case the matter is not resolved soon, it may consider retaliatory action against salary disbursal for Indian diplomats there. RBL Bank, an Indian private bank, holds the salary account of the Pakistan High Commission staff. “We are not allowed to withdraw our own salary. It is not a demonetization issue. It appears that it is done more at the instructions of the Indian government,” a senior Pakistan High Commission said. While there was no official reaction to Pakistan’s protest from Indian side, officials here maintained that the matter is between the bank and the depositor and government has no role to play.Diplomats can draw their tax free salaries in dollars and only have to give reason for the withdrawal beyond USD 5,000.According to Pakistan High Commission officials, they are not being allowed to withdraw their salaries and have been asked for ‘letters of purpose’ for withdrawal of any dollar amount.Incidentally, demonetization has led to a sharp spike in demand for dollars and other foreign currency, making it scarce.

US charges 61 people in Indian call center scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 60 individuals and entities, an overwhelming number of them Indians, were Thursday charged by the Justice Department for allegedly participating in a multi-million dollar scam involving call centres based in India which conned thousands of American citizens. Twenty of these individuals were arrested in the US on Thursday, while 31 of these individuals and five call centres have been charged for their alleged involvement in the scam.An additional US-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities. Many of these, who were arrested in India recently, face deportation to the US.The indictment alleges that the defendants were involved in a “sophisticated fraudulent scheme organised by conspirators in India, including a network of call centres in Ahmedabad”, the Department of Justice said.Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call-centre operators allegedly called potential victims while impersonating officials from the Internal Revenue Service or US Citizenship and Immigration Services.According to the indictment, the call-centre operators then threatened potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government. If the victims agreed to pay, the call-centres would then immediately turn to a network of US-based co-conspirators to liquidate and launder the extorted funds as quickly as possible by purchasing prepaid debit cards or through wire transfers, federal prosecutors alleged.The prepaid debit cards were often registered using misappropriated personal identifying information of thousands of identity theft victims, and the wire transfers were directed by the criminal associates using fake names and fraudulent identifications, the indictment said.According to the indictment, the co-conspirators allegedly used “hawalas” to direct the extorted funds to accounts belonging to US-based individuals. These individuals were expecting the hawala transfers but were not aware of the illicit nature of the funds. The co-conspirators also allegedly kept a percentage of the proceeds for themselves.Mumbai Police unearthed the scam, involving more than Rs 500 crore, after raiding seven call centres on Mira Road. The con job had been going on for a few months, police have said. The daily transactions of the call centres stood at around Rs 1.5 crore.”This is a transnational problem, and demonstrates that modern criminals target Americans both from inside our borders and from abroad. Only by working tirelessly to gather evidence, build cases and working closely with foreign law enforcement partners to ensure there are no safe havens can we effectively address these threats,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R Caldwell told reporters at a news conference.One of the call-centres extorted USD 12,300 from an 85-year-old victim from San Diego, California, after threatening her with arrest if she did not pay fictitious tax violations. On the same day that she was extorted, one of the US-based defendants allegedly used a reloadable debit card funded with the victim’s money to purchase money orders in Frisco, Texas, the Justice Department said. Some of the victim’s money ended up on cards which were activated using stolen personal identifying information from US-based victims, it said.The probe, which began in 2013, has revealed a trans- national criminal organisation was operating both in the US and overseas in India, making hundreds of millions of dollars. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Exemption, Russell George said since 2013, have received over two million contacts from individuals who said they have received solicitations.”Of that number, approximately 10,000 people have acknowledged they have fallen victim to this scam in the amount of USD 50 million,” he said. Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, John Roth, said the case was massive. “Over USD 250 million in stolen money,” he said.”These fraudsters exploited the immigrants fears of deportation and the insecurity of the elderly with this deceitful assertion of power. In many instances, the scammers portrayed themselves as immigration agents who called to collect fines resulting from faulty immigration paperwork. Fines not paid would result in the immediate deportation,” he said.”These calls were from numbers that reflected that the call came from the national call center from the immigration services call center,” he added.

India, Russia to hold talks on closer military ties on Wednesday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Russia will on Wednesday hold detailed discussions on deeper military cooperation, especially on joint production of fifth generation fighter aircraft, upgradation of Su-30 MKI planes and firming up the contract for the S400 Triumf air defence system.Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu will be arriving in New Delhi on Tuesday night and will co-chair a meeting of the Indo-Russian Inter Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGCMTC) here tomorrow with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar. The two will have restricted meeting followed by delegation-level talks, defence sources said. It was during a meeting of the commission in Moscow last year that both sides had firmed up plans to acquire the air defence system and other deals which were recently signed on the sidelines of the BRICS meet in Goa.Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec State Corporation, a Russian umbrella organisation of 700 hi-tech civilian and military firms, had told PTI that they expect the agreement on fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) to be finalise by this year end. After a hiatus of nearly a year, India and Russia had in February revived talks on the much delayed FGFA project after a clearance from Parrikar. Since then, a lot of issues related to work share, IPR and technology transfer among others have been sorted out between the two sides along with the monetary commitments.Under the new offer, India will have to pay about USD 3.7 billion, instead of USD 6 billion, for technological know-how and three prototypes of the fighters, the sources said. In 2010, India had agreed to pay USD 295 million towards the preliminary design of the fighter, called in India as Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF). The two sides are also expected to discuss the upgrade of SU-30 MKI, India”s front line fighter aircraft.Russia is also eyeing the multi-billion dollar deal for P75-I project of India under which six conventional submarines are to be built with Air Independent Propulsion systems.With deals over USD 12 billion in kitty this month, including leasing of a second nuclear submarine, Russia hopes to bag more projects as it termed itself as not just a business partner but an “ally” who stood by India in its “darkest hours”.

India, Brazil ink four MoUs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India and Brazil on Monday signed four Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) during a bilateral meeting held in Goa’s Salcete city. The four MoUs that have been signed are on genetic resources, agriculture, animal husbandry, natural resources and fisheries, on pharmaceutical products regulation, on cattle genomics and assisted reproductive technologies, and on investment cooperation and facilitation treaty. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Michel Temer witnessed the signing of the MoUs. India and Brazil share a very close and multifaceted relationship at bilateral as well as multilateral fora such as IBSA, BRICS, BASIC, G-20, G-4 or the larger multilateral arena such as the UN, WTO, UNESCO, WIPO, etc. Bilateral relations between India and Brazil have acquired the dimension of a strategic partnership in the last decade. Brazil is one of the most important trading partners of India in the entire LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) region. India-Brazil bilateral trade has increased substantially in the last two decades. However, the global drop in commodity prices and the economic recession in Brazil in 2015 affected Brazil?s overall trade. Evidently, some negative impact was felt in the India- Brazil bilateral trade as well. Indian exports to Brazil stood at USD 4.29 billion in 2015 as compared to USD 6.63 billion in 2014 and USD 6.36 billion in 2013. Indian imports from Brazil stood at $3.62 billion compared to $4.789 billion in 2014 and $3.13 billion in 2013. Thus the overall bilateral trade was at $7.9 billion, decreasing 30.7 percent from $11.424 billion in 2014. About 39 percent of Indian exports were value added petroleum products such as diesel. The other prominent export items from India were organic chemicals and pharmaceutical products valued at USD 730 Million. Boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances were other major items in India?s export basket. The other important export items included textile products (cotton, apparels, accessories etc.) which amounted to USD 150 million. (ANI)Ends KR/ADNNNNani

Make in India to boost defence deals: Contracts worth Rs 50,000 crore on the anvil, says Manohar Parrikar

Mumbai: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Wednesday he expects another Rs 50,000-60,000 crore worth of defence contracts to be signed during the remaining quarters
of the financial year, taking the total orders to Rs three trillion since he took charge two years ago.

“During the past 23 months that I have been in charge, we have signed contracts worth Rs 2.2 trillion. Recently, we signed a letter of intent with a government-run shipyard for about Rs 32,000 crore, taking the total orders to Rs 2.5 trillion.”

File image of Union Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIFile image of Union Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File image of Union Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“Over the next six months, I hope to sign another Rs 50,000-60,000 crore worth of contracts, taking the total 3 trillion,” the minister told reporters on the sidelines of an industry exhibition on technology and material sciences in Navi Mumbai near Mumbai.

The Cabinet Committee on Security had in August cleared a proposal to get Goa Shipyard build mine counter measure vessels for the Navy at an estimated cost of over Rs 32,000 crore.

Answering a question on the impact of the manufacturing push with private participation in the defence space, he said exports have jumped over six-times to Rs 3,000 crore from Rs 500 crore in the past two years alone.

“The Make in India initiative has seen defence exports from Rs 500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore, though the ministry figures will show only Rs 2,100 crore. One reason for this is that export of aviation sector items are not included in this as it has been delicensed.”

Parrikar explained that the Defence Ministry tabulates only those goods that are in the licensed segments. As many 65 percent of defence sub-segments are de-licensed now and are, therefore, not in the information list of the defence ministry.

“If we include the gains from the offset clause, our defence-related exports should be about USD 1 billion, out of which defence items alone are worth Rs 3,000 crore, which I hope to increase it to Rs 10,000 crore soon,” he said.

When asked about the inflows through the FDI route after foreign director investment cap was hiked to 49 per cent, he said so far it has been about USD 100 million but will go up as foreign capital flows in at stages.

Parrikar also said the ministry is finalising a new strategic materials policy so that we can promote production as well as storage of defence-related strategic materials.

“We have set up a study team to draft a new strategic materials policy to promote the sector, which involves production and storage of these materials,” he said.

$5.5 million paid to middleman in Embraer deal: CBI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>USD 5.5 million was allegedly paid as commission to a middleman based abroad in the Embraer deal, the CBI has found in what it considers as a major breakthrough in its probe into allegations of kickbacks in the USD 208-million aircraft contract. Without naming the middleman or location where the agent could be based, CBI sources said the agency is in touch with the law enforcement agencies of that country for further details in the matter. The sources said the agency through its sources has found that USD 5.5 million (approx Rs 36 crore as per present exchange rate) was allegedly paid as commission to influence the deal in favour of Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer.They said the agency, which has registered only a preliminary enquiry in the matter, will soon be converting it into a regular FIR as enough prima facie material has been found by it to proceed in the case. The deal of three aircraft which were to be used by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for air-borne radar systems was inked in 2008 with Embraer. A Brazilian newspaper recently alleged that that the company had taken the services of middlemen to clinch deals in Saudi Arabia and India. According to defence procurement rules of India, middlemen are strictly barred in such deals.Leading Brazilian newspaper ‘Folha de Sao Paulo’ had reported that the company allegedly paid commissions to a UK-based defence agent to finalize the deal with India.DRDO had purchased three aircraft from the company in 2008 and customized them for serving are air-borne radar system known as airborne early-warning and control systems or AWACS for the Indian Air Force.The company has been under investigation by the US Justice Department since 2010 when a contract with the Dominican Republic raised the Americans’ suspicions, the report said.Since then, the investigation has widened to examine business dealings with eight more countries.

India responsible with its nuclear technology while Pak has a tense history: Carter

Washington: India has generally shown responsible behavior with nuclear technology while Pakistan’s history of nuclear weapons is entangled in tensions, a top US official has said.

“The landscape of nuclear weapons have changed in the last 25 years,” US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said yesterday in his remarks on “Sustaining Nuclear Deterrence” at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Carter said while the US has not done much to boost its nuclear arsenal, other countries have added to it both in terms of the number of weapons and delivery options.

He also praised India for showing responsible behaviour with its nuclear technology.

“China also conducts itself professionally in the nuclear arena, despite growing its arsenal in both quality and quantity,” Carter said.

Expressing concern over nuclear technology in North Korea, he said, “It is essential that the US maintains its nuclear deterrence.”

“America’s nuclear deterrence is the bedrock of our security and the highest priority mission of the Department of Defence,” he said.

A file photo of Ashton Carter. APA file photo of Ashton Carter. AP

A file photo of Ashton Carter. AP

Observing the Russia has long been a nuclear power, Carter said the country’s recent saber-rattling and building of new nuclear weapons systems raises serious questions about its leader’s commitment to strategic stability and their regard for long-established abhorrence of using nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations underscore that a diverse and dynamic spectrum of nuclear threat still exists, Carter said.

“Deterrence must be credible, and extended to our allies in the region,” he said, adding that Russia and North Korea are just two countries, though very different ones, that stand out in evolving nuclear landscape.

“In Iran, their nuclear aspirations have been constrained and transparency over their activities increased by last year’s nuclear accord, which, as long as it continues to be implemented, will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” he said.

The defence secretary said “Pakistan nuclear weapons are entangled in a history of tension, and while they are not a threat to the United States directly, we work with Pakistan to ensure stability.”

“We didn’t build anything new for the last 25 years, but others did, including Russia, North Korea, China, India, Pakistan and for a period of time, Iran while our allies around the world, in Asia, the Middle East, and NATO, did not,” he said.

He said some nations are unfortunately creating new types of nuclear weapons.

“This is about maintaining deterrence in a world very different from the Cold War as older systems become less effective, we are making sure we continue to preserve strategic stability,” he said.

The US intends to invest USD 108 billion to sustain and recapitalise the nuclear force and associated strategic command, control communications and intelligence systems ranging from increased funding for manpower, equipment, vehicles, and maintenance to technological efforts that will help sustain our bomber fleet, Carter said.

“These investments reflect how we are continuing to implement recommendations from the 2014 Nuclear Enterprise Reviews, which recognise that our country had underinvested in an aging force.

“As a result, we have invested about USD 10 billion over the last two years to make improvements,” he said.

PM Modi obliges only 15-20 people: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul Gandhi, whose security cover was tightened in the wake of Monday’s shoe attack, continued his tirade against Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he works only for “15-20″ people and ignores the rest. Addressing the people during a roadshow in Lakhimpur, the Congress vice president said, though the common man elected Modi as the Prime Minister, after the elections he has forgotten the farmers, the dalits, the unemployed youths.”Modiji, if you want to oblige 15 people, you can. But you cannot forget the interests of other people of the country,” Rahul said during the roadshow, which is part of his 2,500-km Kisan Yatra in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. He said Congress will force Modi government to shed its “discriminatory approach” and work for each Indian.After the shoe-hurling incident in Sitapur on Monday, Rahul’s security cover was strengthened with deployment of additional personnel. “The motive behind the Kisan Yatra is to press the Modi government to waive loans of every farmer, slash electricity bills of every Indian and give adequate prices to farmers for their crop,” he said.Accompanied by former Union minister Jitin Prasada, former Kheri MP Zafar Ali Naqvi and district Congress president Raghvendra Bahadur Singh in his ‘Deoria to Delhi Kisan Yatra’, Rahul reached Sankata Devi temple where he offered prayers before starting the roadshow. He garlanded the statue of BR Ambedkar near Nasiruddin Mauji Bhawan during his roadshow. He addressed people at Sankata Devi and near Dr Ambedkar Park. He also addressed meetings in Mitauli and Mohammadi.”Why the Uttar Pradesh farmers who picked up a couple of cots during my ‘khat sabha’ were called thieves and Vijay Mallya who fled away with Rs 10,000 crore was called just a defaulter,” he asked. He accused the Prime Minister of making false promises and asked people if they had received Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts as “promised” by the BJP leader during the Lok Sabha poll campaigns.”During Congress regime, the petroleum prices were at USD 140 per barrel but in Modi regime they dropped to just USD 40 but benefits were not passed on to common man,” he said. Last evening, Rahul held a khat sabha in Oel town and interacted with the farmers. Seeking their support during UP polls, he assured them of adequate power supply and loan waiver.

Govt approves additional facilities for refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Keeping its promise to provide succour to refugees from neighbouring countries, the NDA government has approved additional facilities for members of minority communities living in India on long-term visa that include opening bank account and power to purchase properties.The Home Ministry in a statement on Saturday said that the central government has extended certain facilities in last two years to persons from minority community of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians staying on Long Term Visa (LTV) in India are allowed to submit affidavit in place of renunciation certificate, granted LTV for five years instead of two years and facilities for education and employment.In order to provide them fair opportunities for a more comfortable living and hassle-free movement and pursuit of economic activities within the territory of India, government has decided to extend additional facilities to this class of LTV holders.The additional facilities include permission to open bank account, permission for purchase of property for self occupation and suitable accommodation for carrying out self employment, permission to take self-employment, issuance of driving licence, PAN card and Aadhar number.Allowing free movement within the State/UT where they are staying, transfer of LTV papers from one state to other, reduction of penalty amount to Rs 100, Rs 200 and Rs 500 instead of existing amount of USD 30, USD 130, USD 230 on non extension of short-term Visa/LTV.The refugees are also allowed to apply for LTV from the place of present residence when the applicants have changed place without permission.Ever since the Narendra Modi government came to power, several concessions have been offered to the persecuted Hindus and Sikhs of the neighbouring countries.Besides, the Home Ministry also organised special camps at district level in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and NCT of Delhi for granting LTV and citizenships.Children of refugees on LTV are allowed to take admission in schools/ colleges/ universities/ technical and professional institutions under foreigner quota without permission from the state government/UT administration.State governments/ UT administration are empowered to grant permission to such people to engage themselves in employment of purely private nature.Modi had, during the Lok Sabha poll campaigning in 2014, made a distinction between Hindu and Muslim refugees from Bangladesh arguing that the former should be accommodated.”We have a responsibility towards Hindus who are harassed and suffer in other countries. India is the only place for them. We will have to accommodate them here,” he had said.

Tourism can support 46 mn jobs in India by 2025, says US ambassador Richard Verma

New Delhi: Travel and tourism sector in India has the potential to grow much faster and support 46 million jobs by 2025, provided the right investments and policies continue to be implemented, US Ambassador Richard Verma said on Wednesday.


Goa tourism. Reuters

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel and tourism sector contributed USD 120 billion or 6.3 per cent to the country’s GDP, which supported approximately 37 million jobs in 2015.

“If the right investments are made, tourism has the potential to support 46 million jobs in India by 2025,” Verma said. His remarks came while delivering the keynote address at a conference organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) on the theme ‘Travel and Tourism as a means to achieve USD 500 billion trade between India and USA’.

“… India’s tourism industry is growing, but it has the potential to grow even faster if the right investments and policies continue to be implemented,” Verma said. One of the areas that will help increase this potential is “timely and efficient” air connectivity, which is vital to any strong tourism relationship, he added.

Highlighting the close ties between the two countries, Verma said, “In 2015, the US was India’s largest source of foreign tourists. Over 1.2 million American visitors came to India, accounting for 15 per cent of the total foreign travelers.”

On the other hand, the US last year welcomed more than one million Indian visitors, who contributed nearly USD 11 billion to the American economy, he added.

Verma also welcomed the recently announced National Civil Aviation Policy and the 100 per cent FDI in the civil aviation sector. “We look forward to increasing passenger traffic between our countries as India takes steps to facilitate greater regional connectivity and implement growth enabling measures,” he said.

In 2015, for the first time in history, the US Mission in India processed more than 1 million non-immigrant visa applications in a single year, Verma noted.

Highlighting the role of tourism in economic development, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, “Tourism is very, very critical for India because India needs to create more jobs and there is no other sector which has multiplier effect of creating jobs.”

The tourism and travel sector has huge potential to grow if the country further opens up the civil aviation sector, improves civic governance, enhances communication strategy and focusses on consistency of policies, capacity building and community participation, he added.

India needs USD 1.5 trillion to fill up the infrastructure gap: Jaitley

Beijing: India needs over USD 1.5 trillion in investment in the next 10 years to bridge infrastructure gap as the government intends to connect seven hundred thousand villages with roads by 2019 as part of a massive modernisation plan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday.

“We have been able to sustain growth in the phase of global slowdown essentially on the strength of the infrastructure creation in India where the gap is huge,” Jaitley, who is in China to attend the Board of Governors of AIIB, said.

“Over the next decade, we require over USD 1.5 trillion in India alone to fill up the infrastructure gap. We also use the additional resource which is available with us as a result of falling prices because that regime helps us.

“In investing large public finance into infrastructure, for instance, we have seven hundred thousand villages in India. We intend to connect each of them by 2019,” he said while addressing a seminar on “Infrastructure and Global Economic Growth” organised by China sponsored Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) along with Finance Ministers of many countries.

He also spoke of massive rural sanitation programme as part of India’s current infrastructure programme.

A file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTIA file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

A file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

“In terms of highway construction this year alone our target is 10,000 kms. Our railway system is over 100 years old. We are going in for a massive modernisation,” he said.

Jaitley said the government is seeking private sector participation in converting railway stations into commercial hubs.

The government plans to build more airports, sea ports and generate more power, particularly renewable energy which is ecologically also better from all points view, he said.

“These are all the emphasis areas we have under taken,” he said.

About arranging funding for the massive development, he said “we realise that starting point is public finances. It is only when the public finances are put into it, you start attracting and the activity begins a lot of private funds”.

At the same time there are large number of developmental institutions like World Bank, ADB which put in lot of money because infrastructure funding also brings in long time returns on a sustainable basis, Jaitley said.

Jaitley said infrastructure development is key to halt the slowdown of the global economic slowdown.

Infrastructure is where inequalities exist and the requirement of large number of economies world over is to fill up this infrastructure gap, he said.

“Over the next decade the world needs trillions of dollars to fill up this gap. I think it is extremely important if the world is to pulled from the present slowdown phase, infrastructure development holds the key,” he sad.

“We have been able sustain growth in the phase of global slowdown essentially on the strength of the infrastructure creation in India where the gap is huge,” he said.

Projects succeeds when risks for investment in projects reduced and eliminated, Jaitley told the seminar.

He said “the risk element (for investments) has to be minimised  and virtually eliminated. It is only then the infrastructure creation can take place at a faster pace,” he said.

“The projects have to be bankable, there has to social acceptability of the fact that users must pay for infrastructure. Infrastructure does not come for free,” he said.

“So if it is a road, those who use it have to pay for. If it is an airport or sea port users must pay for it,” Jaitley said.

“Those who use power must pay the actual tariff. Concessional tariffs do not work beyond a particular point,” he said.

“They make infrastructure creation itself difficult. Therefore reduction and finally elimination of risk element will involve the social acceptability, where the society accepts the principle that the funding of infrastructure, eventually has to come from users themselves. That is how the projects becomes bankable,” he said.

“Otherwise the risk element will remain and projects will stop halfway, be incomplete,” he said.

Defence ministry clears mega purchase, howitzers, Dhanush artillery guns on buy list

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry on Saturday paved the way for purchase of 145 Ultra Light Howitzers, worth about USD 750 million, from the US and also approved bulk production of 18 Dhanush artillery guns, the first acquisition of such weapon systems by the Army in three decades since the Bofors scandal.

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, took up 18 proposals including new schemes worth Rs 28,000 crore for discussion.

Another key project that got an Acceptance of Necessity (AON), which will now allow the Navy to issue tenders, was the proposal to build six next generation missile vessels under ‘Buy Indian’ category for Rs 13,600 crore.

“DAC has approved progressing of ongoing case of procurement of 145 Ultra Light Howitzers through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route from US. DAC directed independent progressing of offset. The delivery of these guns will be in India which will help in substantial saving of transportation cost,” a senior Defence Ministry official said.

File photo. AFPFile photo. AFP

File photo. AFP

The DAC has also shortened the supply period of the guns, with a strike range of 25 kms. Sources said though the exact period could not be known.

Explaining the process, the officer said that India had sent a letter of request to the US government showing interest in buying the guns which will be deployed in high altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bordering China.

The US had responded with a Letter of Acceptance and today’s DAC looked into the terms and conditions and approved it. This letter will now be sent back to the US and the process for the payment of first installment will begin.

The offsets, under which BAE Systems, manufacturer of the gun, will invest about USD 200 million, will be pursued independently.

While 25 guns will come to India in a fly away condition, the rest will be assembled at the proposed Assembly Integration and Test facility for the weapon system in India in partnership with Mahindra.

The DAC also noted the “satisfactory progress” in manufacture of indigenous Dhanush guns, also known as Desi Bofors.

“While three guns would be delivered for user exploitation by 30 June, three more will be handed over by September end. DAC also cleared bulk production of 18 guns to enable better exploitation and setting up of indigenous production,” the officer said.

The gun, a towed howitzer with a strike range of 38-km, has been developed by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Kolkata, after going through the design and voluminous documents running into more than 12,000 pages which were delivered to India under the first phase of Transfer of Technology as part of the Bofors gun deal in late 80s.

From Twitter interactions to India’s NSG membership: Watch Sushma Swaraj answer all the questions

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday insisted that China is not blocking India’s entry to the Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG) but is talking about the criteria and procedures. She also spoke on a host of topics including Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, ISIS, Donald Trump, FDI under NDA. The 39 Indians, kidnapped by the dreaded ISIS in Iraq in June 2014, are still alive, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, dismissing reports about their killing and insisting that efforts to trace them are on.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In her annual press conference, Swaraj said the government was trying its best to ensure safe release of Judith D’Souza, an aid worker and resident of Kolkata, who was abducted by suspected militants in Kabul on June 9.India has received USD 55 billion in FDI in the last two years, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said , noting enhanced economic engagement with countries across the world has been a major priority area of the government’s foreign policy. The External Affairs Minister said government had touched base with 140 countries in the past year and listed India’s growing ties with nations in the African continent, countries of the Gulf region and Pacific islands as major achievements. India will reach out to 65 countries to which it will send its ministers. There have not been any ministerial visits to these countries, Swaraj said.Swaraj said she and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited six SAARC countries, with the government strongly pursuing its “neighbourhood first” policy. She said because of the sustained efforts, India has received USD 55 billion (Rs 3.69 lakh crore) in foreign direct investment in the last two years.Watch the full presser below: With agency inputs

Ghana seeks civil nuclear cooperation with India

Accra: Ghana on Monday sought India’s cooperation in civil nuclear energy in an attempt to harness clean and sustainable energy to shift its energy mix which is at present focused on traditional energy sources.

The issue came up for discussion during the talks between President Pranab Mukherjee and his Ghanaian counterpart John Dramani Mahama.

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTIPresident Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

After the talks, the two sides signed three MoUs including the waiver of visa for diplomatic and official
passports, establishment of a joint commission to periodically monitor various aspects of multidimensional relationship, and helping in training of Ghanaian Foreign services.

“In the new areas, it came for the first time…Ghanian President specifically mentioned that since India is leader in nuclear energy they want to look at having a civil nuclear cooperation with India,” Secretary (Economic Relations) Amar Sinha said.

The two sides discussed new model of doing business on how to go beyond government to government and lines of credit modes of investment.

“They said they would want to cooperate with India to see if they can also use the nuclear energy route. They will examine what are the possibilities, what human and national resources are required,” Sinha said.

They said it will be evaluated, discussed and then anything can be said on how to move ahead on the issue.

“They are signatory to COP 21 (Paris Climate deal) and want to move towards clean energy as present energy mix is based on fossil fuels,” Press Secretary to President Venu Rajamony said.

India’s High Commissioner K Jeeva Sagar said Ghana wants to use nuclear energy because they are heavily dependent on traditional energy which is getting expensive and also unreliable.

Ghana’s gas supply passes through Nigeria which gets disrupted sometimes as it comes through a pipeline so they are expanding their energy base, he said.

“In the last five years, we have offered at least half a billion dollars of Lines of Credit USD 430 million to be specific. More than USD 200 million have been utilised and some are yet to be utilised.

“There is a also a buyer’s credit (USD 400 million) which is for a railway line. Exim bank has already offered it and they are yet to utilise it,” he said.

During the talks, Mahama discussed establishing 85-km of rail link between Tema, a port, and Akasombo in north which is crucial for the economic development of the country, he said.

Giving details of lines of credit extended by India, he said two specific LoCs including the Komenda Sugar Plant which has been commissioned and Elmina fish processing plant aimed at increasing the incomes of farmers and fishermen respectively.

After US study, OECD warns of air pollution causing premature deaths in India

New Delhi: Air pollution could cause 6-9 million premature deaths by 2060, with India and China facing threat of maximum number of such mortalities, according to an OECD report.

The menace is also likely to cost 1 per cent of the global GDP, around USD 2.6 trillion annually, in terms of sick days, medical bills and reduced agricultural output, says the report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

‘The Economic Consequences of Air Pollution’ report said the outdoor air pollution caused more than 3 million premature deaths in 2010. “Outdoor air pollution could cause 6 to 9 million premature deaths a year by 2060 and cost 1 percent of global GDP – around USD 2.6 trillion annually – as a result of sick days, medical bills and reduced agricultural output, unless action is taken,” the report said.

The projections imply a doubling, or even tripling, of premature deaths from dirty air – or one premature death every four or five seconds – by 2060, it added.

“The biggest rise in mortality rates from air pollution are forecast in India, China, Korea and Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan, where rising population and congested cities mean more people are exposed to power plant emissions and traffic exhaust,” it said.

Premature death rates are forecast to be up to three times higher in 2060 than in 2010 in China and up to four times higher in India, it said.

The report said a large number of deaths occur in densely populated regions with high concentrations of PM2.5 and ozone, especially China and India, and in regions with aging populations, such as China and Eastern Europe.

However, death rates are seen stabilising in the United States and falling in much of Western Europe due to efforts to move to cleaner energy and transport.

Talking about projected GDP losses, the report said it will be biggest in China, Russia, India, Korea and countries in Eastern Europe and the Caspian region, as health costs and lower labour productivity hit output.

“Poor air quality will hit China’s economy harder than India’s because differences in household savings rates and demographics mean the knock-on effects of lower productivity and increased health spending on the rest of the Chinese economy will be much larger,” OECD said.

One key difference between the two countries is the age structure of the population: India has a much younger population, while aging is projected to become a more severe problem in China, as per the report.

President Mukherjee to visit Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Namibia

President Pranab Mukherjee will undertake a three-nation visit to Africa from June 12 to 17. He will be undertaking visits to Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Namibia. During his state visit to Ghana from June 12 to 14, where he is going at the invitation of the President of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, the president will be accompanied by a Minister of State, four Members of the Parliament, senior officials, business and a media delegation. President Mukherjee will be received on his arrival in Ghana capital Accra by Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur and will be given a traditional Ghanian welcome. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thereafter, the President will have a one-to-one meeting with President Mahama followed by delegation-level talks. A number of agreements are under process for signing, including the setting up of a Joint Commission between India and Ghana and a renewal of an existing cultural exchange programme. President Mukherjee would be delivering an address at the Joint Business Forum and at the University of Ghana, and would also interact with the Indian community at a reception organized by the Indian High Commissioner in his honour. President Mukherjee will unveil a statue of Mahatma Gandhi gifted by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and also plant a sapling at the Flag Staff House (Ghanaian Presidential Complex), an iconic building built with the Indian assistance through a Line of Credit. President will also visit the India-Ghana Kofi Annan Centre of ICT Excellence in Accra, set up with modest Indian assistance of USD 2.86 million. Bilateral trade and investments have been steadily growing. India’s cumulative investments in Ghana till date have exceeded USD 1 billion and bilateral trade crossed USD 3 billion mark in 2015-16. President Mahama will also host a state banquet in honour of President Mukherjee and the accompanying delegation. After completing his two-day visit to Ghana, President Mukherjee will pay an official visit to the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire from June 14 to 15 at the invitation of President Alassane Ouattara. This will be the first ever high-level visit from India to the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. India and Cote d’Ivoire enjoy warm and friendly relations sharing common values of democracy, development and secularism. Bilateral relations are marked by mutual respect and understanding. India and Cote d’Ivoire bilateral trade grew from USD 344.99 million in 2010-11 to USD 841.85 million in 2014-15. India, with in the rubric of South-South Cooperation, has extended lines of credit amounting to USD 156.3 million to the Government of Cote d’Ivoire for developmental projects in diverse fields such as public transportation, rural electrification, rice self-sufficiency, cashew nut processing, vegetable oil processing, coconut fibre processing, fisheries processing etc. and Mahatma Gandhi IT and Bio-technology Park. During his stay in Cote d’Ivoire, the president will have a one-to-one meeting with President Ouattara followed by delegation level talks. President Mukherjee would be conferred the National Order of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, the highest Order of the country and would also be handed over the Key to the city of Abidjan. The agreement regarding opening of EXIM Bank Representative/Regional in Abidjan would be handed over in presence of both presidents. President Mukherjee would also address a Joint Business Forum and also interact with the Indian community before emplaning for Namibia on June 15.

End protectionism to remove hurdles in Indo-US trade, Rajnath Singh says ahead of PM Modi’s US visit

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit, starting on June 7, India on Friday said “protectionism” was creating hurdles and called for a shift from the conservative mindset to boost the Indo-American trade relations.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said this while addressing a programme organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce here. “There should not be protectionism. Protectionism is one the biggest hurdles between India and US trade relations.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is a need to keep away from it, because the whole world has now become a global village. In order to keep the free flow of trade globally, we should give up our conservative mindset and have an open mindset,” Singh said. “On outsourcing policy, I expect USA’s approach to be more rational,” he said after releasing a report titled ‘India-US trade- a formidable economic force’ by KPMG. Singh also said that as a part of ease of doing business, the Home Ministry is thinking of replacing the existing 10-year security clearance for foreign investors with one-time clearance.The minister hoped bilateral trade between India and the US to touch $500 billion in future as both nations have huge potential.Of late, the industry has been accusing the US and other developed nations of implementing some rules that have become an impediment for Indian traders. The industry has alleged that some of the recent rules by the US including hike in VISA fee and restriction on job visas are part of the “protectionism” being observed by the North American country. Singh said the US can take the advantage of Indian pharma industry’s success in reducing its health-care bills.”USA is one the biggest markets for Indian generic medicines. If US allows Indian generic drugs without much restrictions in their market, then definitely the cost of health-care will go down in that country,” he felt.He said there has been a lot of upsurge in Indo-US relations during the past 14 years. The bilateral trade was USD 90 billion in 2009, which has now crossed USD 100 billion. “It is a fact the China-US bilateral trade crossed USD 500 billion in 2013 itself. We also hope that the Indo-US trade would reach $500 billion. Now India is considered as one of the fastest growing economies due to its strong leadership with a vision,” he said.

US hopeful of concluding defence pact with India ahead of PM Modi’s visit

Washington: The US is hopeful of concluding a key military logistics agreement with India and making progress on other foundational pacts in the defence sector ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to Washington next month, a top American official has said.

Representational image. News18

Representational image. News18

“We are hopeful that progress would be made on some of the foundational agreements including the logistics agreement that might be concluded prior to the (US) visit (of Prime Minister) and we are looking to see if there are other things that we can take on board,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on India.

Biswal made the remarks while responding to questions on possibility of signing any security agreements between India and the US during the Prime Minister’s visit.

Biswal said after Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s recent visit to India, the two countries are moving toward concluding a logistics exchange memorandum of understanding, which would allow the armed forces of the two countries to use each other’s bases for resupply and repair.

“We are hopeful that the successful conclusion of this agreement will lead to progress on the remaining foundational agreements and allow greater interoperability in our militaries, so that we can go from joint exercises to coordinated operations in the Indian Ocean,” she said on Tuesday.

Modi is coming to the US on the invitation of US President Barack Obama for a meeting at the White House on 7 June. He has also been invited by House Speaker Paul Ryan to address a joint session of the Congress.

“We have already strengthened our security cooperation in a number of key fronts and certainly (Defense) Secretary Carter’s visit earlier this year was key in advancing many of those things,” Biswal said in response to a question from Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“We are looking at what additional areas we can engage in to deepen that cooperation. We just launched the maritime security dialogue. We have undertaken a great a deal of activities in terms of co-production and co-development of various next generation technologies. We are looking to see if there are additional things that we can conclude during the Prime Minister’s visit,” Biswal said.

In recent years, the United States has become one of India’s largest defence suppliers, totalling nearly USD 14 billion and up from less than USD 300 million eight years ago.

These sales include C-130 and C-17 transport planes, Poseidon (P-8) maritime reconnaissance aircraft and Apache attack and Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.

The deal for those helicopters was just finalised last September and will support thousands of American jobs, Biswal said.

“These deals not only increase interoperability between our armed forces, they also help buttress the growing economic ties through partnership and cooperation between our nations,” Biswal said.

In her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the transformation in defence and strategic ties with India stands as one of the great changes of the past fifteen years.

“India went from seeing Russia as its primary defence partner to diversifying its suppliers, and from a limited defence relationship with the United States to one in which it exercises more with US forces than with any other country,” Ayres said.

“India recently participated in this year’s Red Flag held in Alaska, took part in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) last year, and will do so again this year,” she said.

Sadanand Dhume of American Enterprise Institute said despite occasional hiccups, US-India ties have witnessed a steady upward trajectory since the late 1990s.

India conducts more military exercises with the US than with any other country.

Over the past 10 years, total US defence sales to India have grown from USD 300 million to approximately USD 14 billion.

India now has 10 heavy lift C-17s, the largest fleet outside the US, he said.

“Military exercises are also growing in complexity. Last year, Japan joined the US-India Malabar naval exercises as a permanent member. Since 2012, India has also participated in PACOM’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise,” Dhume said.

“Thanks in large part to the efforts of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, the Defence Technology and Trade initiative also shows promise as the two countries move toward co-production and co-development on six projects spanning protective clothing for soldiers to aircraft carriers,” Dhume said.

Pranab Mukherjee in China: President talks up Indo-China cooperation

The cardinal principle of India’s relationship with China is expanding areas of agreement and reducing divergence, President Pranab Mukherjee said ahead of his talks with top Chinese leaders during which he is likely to raise issues like India’s membership in the NSG. “We have never indulged in expanding divergence but reducing divergence and expanding areas of agreement. This is the cardinal principle of Indian diplomacy,” Mukherjee said, starting his four-day visit to China from this southern Chinese industrial hub. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing the Indian community at a reception hosted by India’s Ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale, he cited examples of growing cooperation between India and China in various multilateral fora like the UN, World Bank, IMF and BRICS and said the two countries have worked in close cooperation with each other in these institutions.During his first state visit to China, the President will be meeting his counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday besides holding delegation-level talks with him. He will also meet Premier Li Keqiang and other top leaders.He is likely to raise the issue of China blocking India’s bid to get a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and its insistence on India signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to get membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).Mukherjee, who is making his first visit as head of state but has made a number of trips to China in various capacities during his long political career, is expected to convey India’s concerns on these issues and present India’s views on how it felt strongly on them, sources said.Issues of mutual interest like the festering border dispute and ongoing mechanism to resolve the problem will figure in his discussions with the Chinese leadership. India’s stand on the nuclear issue assumes significance in the context of the scheduled meeting of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in South Korea next month when it is expected to make its bid strongly for membership of the nuclear club. The sources rejected Beijing’s new insistence on India signing the NPT for gaining membership of the NSG or its dismissal of New Delhi’s stand that France had not signed the NPT when it became a member of the NSG. Officials pointed out the NSG is a consensus-based regime and not a treaty.In his speech,the President recalled that as Commerce Minister a couple of decades ago he had wondered how the WTO could function without China. “You can’t have WTO without China…the presence of China must be there. We work in close cooperation with each other,” he said. Mukherjee said Prime Minister Narendra Nodi and Chinese President Xi Jinping Would be meeting soon on the margins of G-20 summit scheduled to be held in China later this year.Referring to the global economic meltdown in the wake of the US financial crisis in 2008, he said India and China greatly contributed to stabilising global economic with their economies. Mukherjee said the Indian economy has been growing steadily in the last decade and was growing at 7.6 per cent now. “We have the potential if 2.5 billion plus people of the two countries can work together and cooperate and diversify their activities,” he said.The President said the sharing of best practices and developmental experiences have great opportunities for stabilising prosperity and pushing the forward march. Touching on the phenomenal expansion of relationship between India and China, Mukherjee said the bilateral trade which was just USD 2.9 billion in 2000 has gone upto USD 71 billion now. “We believe there is immense potentiality if trade and investment and mutual expansion of cooperation takes place between the two countries,” he said.

India taking up visa fee issue with US authorities: Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: India has been constantly taking up the US visa fee hike matter with the American authorities and the country has also raised the matter in the WTO’s dispute settlement body, Parliament was informed on Monday.

The increase in H-1B and L-1 visa fee issue has been raised with the US at various levels including by the Prime Minister with the US President and recently by the Finance Minister with the US Trade Representative, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

She said that the ministry has raised the issue on several occasions “highlighting the negative impact of the hike in visa fee, particularly on Indian IT companies”.

Nirmala Sitharaman. File photo. AFPNirmala Sitharaman. File photo. AFP

Nirmala Sitharaman. File photo. AFP

In a letter to US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Deputy National Security Advisor Caroline Atkinson, “it was requested not to incorporate such discriminatory and punitive measures into legislations without due process of notice and comment, as it would seriously impede the on going efforts to take the India-US bilateral trade and investment relationship forward”.

“India has also taken up the matter on US visa fee hike in the dispute settlement body of the WTO,” she said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The US has informed that the visa fee hike has been done through a legislative action and the role of administration is
quite limited, she said.

On December 18, 2015, the US President signed into law, which doubled the supplemental visa fee for H-1B and L-1 visas for a period of 10 years for companies employing 50 or more employees in the US, 50 per cent of which are on these visas.

With this legislation in place, 50:50 companies would now need to pay an enhanced fee of USD 4500 for each L-1 visa and USD 4000 for each H-1B visa as compared to USD 2250 and USD 2000 previously.

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services data, she said the USCIS has received 124,000 H-1B visa application for 2013-14, 175,500 H-1B for 2014-15, 233,000 for 2015-16 and 236,000 for 2016-17.

Nooyi, Nadella, Bhavesh Patel among highest paid CEOs in world

New Delhi: As many as three Indian origin persons have been named among 100 highest-paid CEOs globally with PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi and LyondellBasell’s Bhavesh Patel making it to the top ten list compiled by Equilar.

Chemicals company LyondellBasell Industries’ top executive Bhavesh V Patel was ranked sixth on the list with a total compensation of USD 24.5 million, while Nooyi, the Chief Executive of PepsiCo was ranked eighth on the list with a total pay of USD 22.2 million.

Indra Nooyi. ReutersIndra Nooyi. Reuters

Indra Nooyi. Reuters

Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft was ranked 26th on the list of 100 highest-paid CEOs with a total compensation of USD 18.3 million.

The overall list was topped by Mark V Hurd and Safra A Catz of Oracle Corp with both boasting a total compensation of USD 53.2 million.

Others on the top 10 include, Robert A Iger of Walt Disney (USD 43.5 million), David M Cote of Honeywell International (USD 33.1 million), General Electric’s Jeffrey R Immelt (USD 26.4 million), Randall L Stephenson of AT&T (USD 22.4 million), Rupert Murdoch of Twenty-First Century Fox (USD 22.2 million) and James P Gorman of Morgan Stanley (USD 22 million).

This list is a snapshot of companies that file annual proxy statements before April 1 and aims to provide an early look at CEO pay trends for 2015.

The report further noted that the median pay for Equilar 100 CEOs was USD 14.5 million in fiscal year 2015, up 3 per cent from the previous year.

Interestingly, eight CEOs on the list are female, and they far outpace the median pay for the Equilar 100 as a whole. “Median compensation for these eight women was USD 20.0 million in 2015, while average pay was USD 22.7 million,” Equilar said.

Catz tied with her colleague Hurd as the highest paid individual CEO in the Equilar 100, was the highest paid female with USD 53.2 million.

Apple is the largest company by revenue on the list, totalling USD 233.7 billion in 2015, followed by Berkshire Hathaway with USD 210.8 billion.

“Notably, Tim Cook of Apple was paid below the median (USD 10.3 million) and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway was by far the lowest-paid CEO in the Equilar 100, earning USD 470,244 in total compensation last year,” it added.

Nita Ambani most powerful businesswoman in Asia: Forbes

New York: Reliance Foundation Chairperson Nita Ambani has been named the most powerful businesswoman in Asia
by Forbes, leading a list of 50 women leaders from the region that includes eight from India.

Reliance Foundation Chairperson Nita AmbaniReliance Foundation Chairperson Nita Ambani

Reliance Foundation Chairperson Nita Ambani

SBI Chairman and Managing Director Arundhati Bhattacharya has been ranked second on the 2016 ‘Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen’ list that features trailblazing women from China, Indonesia, Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines and New Zealand.

Apart from Ambani and Bhattacharya, six women from India have made to the list, including Mu Sigma CEO Ambiga Dhiraj (14), Welspun India CEO Dipali Goenka (16), Lupin CEO Vinita Gupta (18), ICICI Bank Managing Director & CEO Chanda Kochhar (22), VLCC Health Care Founder and vice chairman Vandana Luthra (26) and Biocon Founder, Chairman & Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (28).

The list acknowledges the “inroads women are making in the business world but gender inequality persists. Women are best
positioned to know what it will take to get more of them into commanding roles in the workforce and keep them there,” Forbes

Describing her as the “first lady of Indian business”, Forbes said Ambani, 52, is a “power near the throne” and makes her debut on the list because of her rising profile in Reliance Industries, led by her husband and India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.

“In a country where billionaire wives tend to remain in the shadow of their husbands, Nita’s rising profile in the Reliance empire is unusual and earns her a debut spot,” on the power businesswomen ranking this year, Forbes said of Ambani, who is also Director of Reliance Industries.

On Bhattacharya, 60, Forbes said she is facing her “most challenging test” yet with the State Bank of India as it grapples with mounting bad loans, which stood at USD 11 billion in December and caused net profit to plunge more than 60 per cent to USD 190 million in a recent quarter.

Dhiraj, 40, became the first female boss of an Indian-owned tech unicorn when she took over as CEO of Mu Sigma, a provider of data-analytics services, from husband Dhiraj Rajaram, who founded the firm in 2004.

Goenka, 46, took charge of home textiles maker Welspun India (part of her family’s USD 3 billion in revenue Welspun Group) five years ago.

Goenka said when she assumed her role, the buzz in the male-dominated industry was: “Welspun has lost its mind.”

“Goenka has doubled down to disprove that. Revenue and earnings are up severalfold, with net profit of USD 81 million on revenue of USD 790 million in the year ended March 2015,” Forbes said.

Gupta, 48, runs India’s third-largest pharmaceutical company, with USD 2 billion in revenue. In the past year she has spearheaded USD 1.2 billion in acquisitions, the biggest of which was the USD 880 million purchase of Gavis Pharma, giving Lupin its first manufacturing facility in the US, a market that contributes nearly half its total revenue, Forbes said.

Kochhar, 54, a regular on power lists, launched the ‘[email protected]’ programme that allows employees to work from home for a year, part of her plan to retain female staff.

However “as boss of the country’s largest private-sector lender, Kochhar has to contend with the current bane of India’s banking system: bad loans,” Forbes said.

Luthra, 56 pioneered the concept of a beauty and wellness chain in India, the publication said.

Mazumdar-Shaw, 63, a “self-made” leader, has positioned Biocon as a large player in insulin, it added.

Petrol price hiked by Rs. 2.19/litre, diesel by 98 paise

New Delhi: State-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) hiked transport fuel rates from Tuesday, increasing petrol by Rs.2.19 a litre and diesel by 98 paise — both at Delhi, with corresponding increase in other states, on the back of a further hardening of global crude oil rates.

Representational image.Representational image.

Representational image.

“The current level of international product prices of petrol and diesel and the INR-USD exchange rate warrant increase in prices of petrol and diesel, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price revision,” IOC said in a statement here.

Petrol per litre now costs Rs.61.87 in Delhi, Rs.65.48 in Kolkata, Rs.67.96 in Mumbai and Rs.61.32 in Chennai

The price of diesel per litre is Rs.49.31 in Delhi, Rs.51.58 in Kolkata, Rs.56.09 in Mumbai and Rs.50.09 in Chennai.

The latest increase follows a stiffer hike of Rs.3.07 a litre on petrol and Rs.1.90 a litre in diesel rates effected on March 17.

The Indian basket of crude oils, composed of 73 percent sour grade Dubai and Oman crudes and the rest by sweet grade UK Brent, closed trade on Friday at $36.58 a barrel of 159 litres as per official data, after having fallen to around $25 earlier in the year.

PM Narendra Modi to visit Brussels as part of 3 nation tour from March 30

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Brussels on March 30 for the long-pending India-EU summit, notwithstanding the string of explosions in the Belgian capital today killing at least 15 people and injuring over 55.India announced Modi’s visit to Brussels which is part of a three-nation tour including to the US and Saudi Arabia as it strongly condemned the attack on the city’s airport and metro system in which two Indians were injured. “We condemned the attack with strongest possible terms. We stand in solidarity with people and government of Belgium. We offfer our condolences to families of the victims. Terrorism is a global scourge and the attack in Belgium underscores once again the need to counter it unitedly,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister is visiting Brussels to attend the 13th India-EU which had last taken place in 2012. The India-EU ties witnessed some strain after the 28-member bloc had not responded to New Delhi’s proposal for a brief visit by Modi to Brussels, the EU headquarters during his trip to France, Germany and Canada in April last year. Brussels will be Modi’s first stop from where he will travel to Washington to attend the Nuclear Security Summit and then pay a bilateral trip to Saudi Arabia, a key partner of India in the strategically important Gulf region.The EU has been India’s largest trading partner and two-way commerce stood at USD 101.5 billion in 2013-14. The FDI equity inflows from EU to India from April 2012 to May 2015 was USD 24,913 million. In 2014-15, the amount was USD 8,207 million while in 2013-14, it was 9,069 million. India and EU are also strategic partners since 2004 and the two sides have been eyeing to seal a free trade agreement talks for which was launched in June 2007.The India-EU Summit aims to deepen the India-EU Strategic Partnership and advance collaboration in priority areas for India’s growth and development, Swarup said. Modi will also hold a bilateral Summit meeting with his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel. Belgium is India’s second largest trade partner within the EU. “The bilateral meeting between the two Prime Ministers will focus on further enhancing the economic partnership,” said Swarup.From Brussels, Modi will leave for Washington to attend the 4th Nuclear Security Summit on March 31 and April 1.

Commitment to sustainable development full and final, says Union minister Javadekar

Mumbai: Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said the government’s commitment to sustainable development is full and final.

Climate change is a reality with one degree rise in temperature caused by 150 years of uncontrolled carbon emission by the developed world, Javadekar said at the 11th National Convention on Sustainable Development Goals in Mumbai.

While 30 per cent of cumulative contribution was that of the United States, Europe, Canada and other developed
countries accounted for 50 per cent and China 10 per cent, whereas India was responsible for only 3 per cent carbon
emission, he said.

File photo of  Prakash Javadeka. PTIFile photo of  Prakash Javadeka. PTI

File photo of Prakash Javadekar. PTI

“The developed world went ahead with business as usual without bothering about environmental impact. Now it has happened, and we are suffering,” he said.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s vision on climate change, Javadekar said “though India is not part of the problem, it wants to be part of the solution.”

India being well-aware of its responsibilities was committed to UN Goals on sustainable development, he said.

“Our commitment is reflected in every programme being pursued by the government,” he said.

He listed out Government’s ambitious 175 Giga Watt renewable energy programme, covering solar, wind, hydro-power and nuclear energy as a major step in promoting environment friendly development.

India had taken pro-active measures to discourage use of fossil fuels in a bid to reduce carbon foot print, he said. “The Union Budget 2016-17 has levied a green cess of USD 6 (Rs 400) per tonne of coal. This is perhaps the highest levy in the world, as even the United States taxes coal at around USD 1. If the developed world followed India’s example and levied higher taxes on coal, billions of dollars would accrue to pursue clean energy programmes,” Javadekar said.


When investigators seized 1000-year-old stolen Indian statues from Christie’s

Two stolen Indian statutes dating back to as early as the 8th Century and valued at over USD 4,50,000 were seized in the US from premier auction house Christie’s, just days before an auction next week.The artifacts made from sandstone were recovered from the auction house following an international investigation with assistance from the Indian government and the Interpol.Special agents with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) along with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office seized the statues here yesterday, believed to be from the 8th and 10th centuries AD.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The seizure comes just days before the March 15 ‘New York’ Asia Week’ festivities as part of which Christie’s had included the two artifacts in the auction entitled ‘The Lahiri Collection: Indian and Himalayan Art, Ancient and Modern’.The artifacts are a Buff Sandstone Stele of Rishabhanata, believed to be from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh belonging to the 10th century AD. It depicts a stele carved with the first Jain Tirthankara and is valued at approximately USD 1,50,000. (Pic below)Pic Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs EnforcementThe second artifact is a Buff Sandstone Panel depicting Revanta and His Entourage from India in the 8th Century AD, in a very rare representation of the equestrian deity and valued at approximately USD 300,000.According to the ongoing investigation, the Sandstone of Rishbhanata appears to have been sold to London-based Brandon Lynch Ltd between 2006-2007. The Panel of Revanta, according to images provided by the source dealer, appeared to have contained an “orphan fragment” – a piece perfectly broken off to be sold by the smugglers after the sale of the main part of the sculpture.Pic Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement”This seizure at the beginning of an international event as well recognised as Asia Week New York sends two important messages: First and foremost, it demonstrates that we are committed to protecting cultural heritage around the world and second, it demonstrates that we are monitoring the market to protect prospective buyers as well,” said Angel M Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York.HSI special agents were able to determine that both of these artifacts had come from a specific smuggler and supplier of illicit cultural property in India.Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance, Jr. said that “with high demand from all corners of the globe, collectors must be certain of provenance before purchasing. I urge dealers and auction houses to take every necessary precaution to avoid facilitating the sale of cultural heritage stolen from other civilisations”.Christie’s said that it would never knowingly offer a stolen work of art and it was cooperating with authorities.”Christie’s devotes considerable resources to investigating the provenance of all objects we offer for sale.This is one of the difficulties the art market faces in vetting antiquities, which is why Christie’s very much values building strong relationships with and between countries of origin, law enforcement, archaeologists, and the collecting community,” it said in a statement.

Indian-American businessman faces charges of bribing Los Angeles council member

Los Angeles: A 39-year-old Indian-American businessman has been charged here with paying a bribe to a city council member in Los Angeles to obtain support for a proposed fee increase for towing and vehicle storage.

Sukhbir Singh and his company H P Automotive and Tow have been charged in a two-count indictment that accuses Singh and his company of paying a bribe “to influence and reward” the city council member in relation to official action related to a proposed contract to increase rates to tow and store vehicles in Los Angeles.


Representational image. IBNLive

The indictment states that the city council person was a “cooperating witness,” meaning s/he was working with the FBI when Singh allegedly paid the bribe.

Singh is also charged with making false statements to the FBI in October when he falsely stated that he had never discussed the proposed tow fee increase with the city council member and when he falsely stated that he had not discussed how payments could made so as to disguise the source of the money.

Singh and his company will be summoned to appear for an arraigned on the indictment next month.

The bribery count in the indictment carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for Singh. If convicted, the company could be ordered to pay a fine as high as USD 250,000.

According to a criminal complaint previously filed in this case, Singh gave a total of USD 2,650 in cheques to the city council member between August 2013 and March 2015.

“By seeking to influence a city council vote through bribes, this defendant perverted the democratic process,” said United States Attorney Eileen Decker.

The bribery scheme followed an August 2013 meeting in which the City Council voted 3-2 to deny a request by HP Tow to increase towing and vehicle storage fees.

Ten days later, Singh met with the FBI cooperating witness in the first of a series of meetings that included discussions of Singh and HP Tow making campaign contributions to the city council member, according to the affidavit, which alleges that Singh offered to make the bribe payments through
third-party checks to a campaign account.


Islamic State, Al-Qaeda using social media to buy weapons: Report

London: The terror groups active in Syria are using social media sites like Facebook to buy and sell heavy weapons, guns and ammunition, according to UK media reports.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Islamic State and Al-Qaeda terrorists could potentially also use Facebook to buy an anti-aircraft rocket launcher capable of blowing a passenger jet out of the sky, Daily Mirror reported on Wednesday.

One of the weapons for sale is a MANPADs, or man-portable air defence systems, a type of missile launcher capable of bringing down both civilian and military jets.

It is being sold for USD 67,000 on the page called ‘The First Weapons Market in Idlib (Syria) Countryside’.

Although the sellers are Syrian rebels, the nature of the conflict in the war zone means the weapon could easily fall into Islamic State hands, the newspaper said.

One post on the page shows an AGS-17 Soviet-Era grenade launcher available for USD 3,800.

One of the messages reads: “Quick friends, I need a gun with a silencer.”

The page also hosts an advert for a TOW missile launcher, which the seller claims comes from “The US Pentagon”.

TOW missiles have been controversially supplied by the CIA to selected rebel groups in Syria and Iraq since the civil war erupted in 2011.

Youssef Yassim, an Islamic State supporter from Idlib, is seen posing with an Islamic State flag in his profile and is using the Facebook page to buy a “thermal camera” – used for hunting at night.

The Mirror has reported this page to Facebook and contacted them for a comment.

The news emerged as hackers aligned with ISIS threatened Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a new video on Wednesday, railing against the social media companies war on its propaganda.

The 25-minute film, uncovered by deep web company Vocativ, displays images of Zuckerberg and Dorsey with bullet holes over their faces.


Drought-hit farmers await funds from Karnataka Government

Farmers in Gulbarga, Karnataka, are falling into debt as drought conditions prevail in the region while they await funds from the government.Karnataka has been facing major dry spell for the last two years, leading to drought and crop loss. This has in turn burdened the farmers with debt as they struggle to make both ends meet.The farmers said the federal government had released 227 million USD to the state but the government of Karnataka – run by Siddaramaiah-led Congress party – is yet to distribute the compensation to the farmers.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A farmer, Sharanu Patil, said they are suffering due to the blame game between the state and federal government of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”We are facing difficulties here as the state government of Congress party is saying the money has not been given while the federal government of BJP is saying that they have released the money but the government is not distributing. Due to this (blame game), we farmers are suffering,” said Patil.Patil also said some farmers have migrated to other states while others have sold their cattle for their livelihood.Meanwhile, Gulbarga’s District Collector Vipul Bansal said the local administration has received 29 million USD from the government and the first tranche will be released immediately.”Because the number of farmers will be in excess of 3,75,000, we have appointed nine banks to help us enable the RTGS (real time gross settlement) into the accounts of all the farmers,” said Bansal.For India’s nearly 200 million marginal farmers, many of whom borrow heavily to cultivate plots smaller than two acres, the fate of one crop can make the difference between life and death.The impact of unseasonal rains and two straight years of drought on agriculture that sustains over two-thirds of India’s 1.25 billion people have dented Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity in the countryside, contributing to a humiliating loss for the premier in elections last year in the largely rural state of Bihar.

Take lessons in entrepreneurship from Dharavi: Rahul Gandhi tells PM Modi

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday targeted the BJP-led Government at the Centre over the price rise issue, seeking to know why the rates of essential commodities were skyrocketing at a time when oil prices were at record low in international market.He said the Narendra Modi Government’s policies are benefiting only a few top industrialists of the country and took potshots at the NDA’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When UPA Government was in power, the petrol price (in global market) was USD 150 a barrel. Now this has come down to USD 29 per barrel. I want to know where have these lakhs of crores of money, which have been saved on account of lower oil prices, have gone? Why the prices of pulses have shot up to Rs 230 a kg?” he asked.”This is happening because the Modi Government’s polices are benefiting only top 2-3 industrialists of the country. When our Government was in power, we worked for the benefit of the common people,” the Amethi MP said.He took potshots over make Modi’s Make in India initiative and asked the Prime Minister to visit Dharavi, a sprawling slum locality in the heart of Mumbai, and see for himself how entrepreneurship works.”Modiji you should first come here in Dharavi (which houses hundreds of small-scale industries) and see the kind of entrepreneurial works that takes place here. First complete Make in Dharavi, then only Make in India would bear fruit,” the Congress Vice-President said.People of Dharavi are capable of doing wonders as far as manufacturing (the focus of Make in India campaign) is concerned, he said.Rahul was speaking at a gathering at the end of his padayatra (foot march) from suburban Bandra to Dharavi undertaken to highlight the issue of “high” electricity tariff in the metropolis.

New Defence Procurement Procedure to push ‘Make in India’ initiative

Over a year after the government promised a new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), a top body of the Defence Ministry on Monday, approved a new policy document in this regard which provides for increase in contract threshold from Rs 300 crore to Rs 2,000 crore for offsets, tweaking the L1 policy and pushing the ‘Make in India’ initiative.The new document – DPP 2016 – which will take at least another two months for it to be notified, allows government funds up to 90 per cent of development costs to private companies to push research and innovation, and aims to enhance private sector participation and speed up procurement process.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It has also brought down the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) validity to six months from earlier one year, which means that the forces will have to issue tenders faster.However, the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, deferred decisions on critical issues of blacklisting, agents and selection of sector-wise strategic partners.”We have finalised the DPP 2016. The major part of the changes have been approved today. What is now left is minor changes,” Parrikar said addressing reporters.The significant change in the DPP has been the decision to raise the contract threshold of Rs 300 to Rs 2,000 crore for offsets. This means that only those deals which are worth over Rs 2,000 crore will have an offset obligation.”We currently have signed offsets worth USD 5 billion and another USD 8 billion is in pipeline. We may not be able to absorb all of this. Moreover, offsets also increase the cost of the product by 14-18 per cent,” Parrikar said explaining why the threshold has been increased.The Defence Ministry has also approved changes its L1 policy of selecting lowest bidder. Under the new move, 10 per cent extra weightage will be given if a system displays better qualities than required.Another major change in the DPP is the policy to fund Indian private entities in Research and Development to encourage more local development.”Medium and small scale industries will get opportunities,” he said, adding that the Department of Defence Production will fund up to 90 per cent of the R&D. Remaining 10 per cent of the development cost would be reimbursed, if the RFP for the equipment developed is not issued within 24 months from the date of successful development of prototype,” he said.Under the new DPP, a new category called the ‘IDDM’ or ‘Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured’ platforms has been created. This category, with at least 40 per cent indigenous content, will get top priority and will be first to be chosen for tenders. Under the new DPP, Make (Indian) category has been divided into three parts. One is 90 per cent government funded while the second is industry funded and third reserved for medium and small enterprises.Parrikar also made it clear that in cases of single vendor, when the requirements are specific, it will go through. He said that the DPP will apply to only new projects and not to those which are already in process.Parrikar also said that the blacklisting policy will be different from the defence procurement policy and will be issued separately. He said that only those companies that have been cleared by CBI will be taken off the blacklist. Parrikar also took dig at former Defence Minister A K Antony saying he will will not keep companies on blacklist to protect “so called image”.The Minister said that only firms with majority stake and controlled by resident Indians will be eligible for projects under Make category.”Companies need to be registered for five years, three years in case of MSMEs. Companies need to have a minimum credit rating of B++, issued by recognised rating agencies.”For projects with development costs equal to or exceeding Rs 5,000 crore, a minimum ‘net worth’ of 5 per cent of the development cost, subject to maximum of Rs 1,000 crore, should be there. In all other cases, positive net worth is the minimum eligibility criteria,” Parrikar said.

Indian-American women earn more than white men in US: Report

Indian-American women earn more on average when compared to non-Hispanic white men in the US, according to a new report.However, compared to Asian American men, Asian American women only make 78 cents on the dollar, which is the largest gender gap among the racial and ethnic categories studied, the report by US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) said.The smallest gender gap was among African Americans black women earn nearly 90 cents on the dollar compared to black men. More than half of Asian Americans over 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to only 33 per cent of non-Hispanic whites.About 72 per cent of Indian Americans have four-year college degrees, and a whopping 40 per cent have some professional or graduate degree. This means that Indian Americans are more likely to have advanced degrees than white Americans are likely to have finished college, the ‘Washington Post’ reported.About 21.8 per cent of Asian Americans also have graduate or professional degrees, compared to 12.8 per cent of non-Hispanic whites. This could explain the apparent advantage that Asian women have over men, the report said.Economist Mark Perry wrote in his blog that Asian women working full-time earned only about 3 per cent less per week (USD 841) than the average full-time male worker (USD 871) in 2014, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Asian women working full-time in 2014 earned more per week on average than black (USD 680) and Hispanic men (USD 616). <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>