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Despite deceleration, India projected to remain fastest-growing economy: FM

Nov 19, 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said in the Lok Sabha that growth has decelerated, but there is no slump and India is still projected to be the fastest growing economy in FY20 among the G-20 nations.
 
She said the government has been taking several measures to address moderate levels of fixed investment rate in the economy, plateauing of private consumption rate and a modest export performance, with a view to increasing the GDP growth.
 
In a written reply, Sitharaman said India's economic growth decelerated but its economy is still the fastest growing among G-20 nations and that the goal of $5 trillion economy will be achieved by 2025.
 
In a written reply to a question from N.K. Premachandran, MP from Kerala, that despite some recent deceleration in growth, India's economy was still projected by the World Economic Outlook to grow at the fastest rate among G-20 countries in 2019-20.
 
During the last five years, the government has implemented major reforms to build the investment climate in the country for becoming a $5 trillion-dollar economy, the minister said.
 
The World Economic Outlook (WEO) of October 2019 projects a significant slowdown in world output and trade in 2019. Yet India, despite some recent deceleration of GDP growth, is still projected by WEO to grow at the fastest rate in 2019-20 among G-20 countries, she said.
 
On a question whether the government has analysed the impact of implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on economic slowdown, Sitharaman said the GST reform stands out as the most important measure for improving ease of doing business in the country.
 
Further, in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business 2020 Report, India's ranking improved by 14 positions to 63 in 2019 from 77 in 2018 after GST was implemented in 2017, Sitharaman said.
    
Source: Business Standard



Jaishankar, Bhutan FM hold talks; vow to strengthen economic, defence ties

Nov 19, 2019

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday met his Bhutanese counterpart Lyonpo Tandi Dorji and discussed ways to strengthen ties in key areas such as trade, investment, defence and security.
 
 
It is learnt that the two leaders reviewed the entire gamut of India-Bhutan relations, including the security situation in strategic areas.
 
They also held in-depth discussions while having dinner.
 
 
Warmly welcomed, as always @FMBhutan Dr. Tandi Dorji. A very good conversation on our unique bilateral ties, Jaishankar tweeted after their meeting.
 
Dorji, who arrived on Sunday on a week-long visit, will also pay a visit to Bodh Gaya and Rajgir in Bihar on November 19-20, and Kolkata on November 21-22.
 
India and Bhutan share a unique and time-tested bilateral relationship, characterized by mutual trust, goodwill and understanding, the MEA had said ahead of his visit.
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Exotic vegetables being grown in apple belt of Shimla

Nov 19, 2019

 For the past three years, the scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Shimla, which functions under the management of Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, have worked on introduction and promotion of the cultivation of various exotic vegetables in the Shimla districtExotic vegetables like snowpeas, lettuce, pok choi, kale, courgettes, cherry tomatoes and seedless cucumbers have been introduced and trials at farmer’s fields are ongoing. In recent times, there has been a shift in consumer demand which has also affected the horticulture sector. 
 
One such shift is the increasing demand for exotic vegetables in metropolitan cities and tourist hotspots of the country. The agricultural scientists have duly recognized the corresponding shift in the horticultural cropping pattern that needs to diversify and efforts have been ongoing in this direction. 
 
Dr Ashok Thakur, vegetable scientist at KVK, Rohru, is conducting trials at different elevations in various seasons for selection of suitable production area and planting season of these vegetables. He said that among the several diversification initiatives, the off-season cultivation of snow peas has been successfully demonstrated at one farmer’s field and the results have been highly encouraging. 
 
The trials conducted in the field of Rakesh Dulta, an innovative farmer of Sheel village in Rohru has obtained productivity of about seven quintals per bigha for snowpeas cultivar Mithi Phali. The market returns of this high quality produce fetched between Rs 200-300 per kg at Azadpur Vegetable Market, New Delhi. Happy with the results of the trials, Dulta encourages fellow farmers to adopt commercial cultivation of snow peas and other exotic vegetables in the region. 
    
Source: Times of india



India, Oman identify new sectors for deeper relations, says Envoy

Nov 19, 2019

To further strengthen the already strong trade ties, both India and Oman have identified new sectors for expanding bilateral relations in sectors like cybersecurity, outer space, food security, renewable energy, and pharmaceuticals.
 
Oman is in the midst of pushing `Tanfeedh’ programme for economic expansion in which India is playing a very important role. Since Economic expansion is also one of the key objectives of Oman’s Vision 2040 programme, there are huge opportunities for the Indian companies to participate in the new areas which have been identified for the expansion of ties.
 
The ambassador of Oman to India, Hamed Saif Al Rawahi has said, These sectors are of major importance for bilateral relations between the two countries. For safeguarding energy security, and to deal with fuel shortage in the future, we have both agreed to deepen our cooperation in the area of strategic reserves. There is also a need to have collaboration in the field of cybersecurity.
    
Source: Financial Express



State has huge export potential

Nov 19, 2019

 Even as merchandise exports from Bihar, valued at 1.35 billion US $ in 2017-18 fiscal, shows a remarkable improvement in the last five financial years, there still remained an untapped potential of nearly 900 million US $, Exim Bank chief manager (research and analysis) Jahanwi Singh said at an interactive meet with stakeholders here on Monday. 
 
The growth in exports from the state has stood at 0.4 billion US $ since 2012-13, she said, adding, However, exports from the state, if properly planned and carried out, could be jacked up to 2 billion US $ over the short term. For the medium term growth, the state needed to adopt appropriate strategy. 
 
She was presenting the Exim Bank report and recommendations – ‘Promoting Exports from Bihar: Insights and Policy Perspectives’ – at an interactive session with stakeholders for export promotion in the state. Singh said export of oil and petroleum products from Barauni to Nepal accounted for two-thirds of the total exports from Bihar, and only one-third of the exports concerned with non-oil merchandise. 
 
Accordingly, Singh referred to six essential dimensions of the export strategy that was needed to boost non-oil exports from the state, like diversification of products and markets, infrastructure leverage and strengthening, capacity building, fiscal incentives, export promotion campaign even abroad and institutional streamlining. 
 
The study has recommended setting up of inland container depots (ICDs) in Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur, as they have strong road and rail network, besides establishing a custom clearance office in the existing ICD at Patna, increasing the warehousing and cold chain infrastructure, setting up of special economic zones (SEZs) in Patna, Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur districts and providing freight equalization support to exporters to reduce the cost of exports. 
 
The Exim Bank report has also dwelt at length on product diversification and destination expansion, as during 2017-18, Nepal accounted for 78% of exports, Vietnam 4%, Bangladesh 3% and Thailand and UAE 2% each. 
 
For the diversified export market, the product diversification involves paying attention to the addition of high value to existing export items, like processing of cereals (maize, rice, wheat) into snacks and ready to cook/eat products and bakery items; promotion of dairy meat, leather and leather goods, and even ‘litti-chokha,’ jute-based products and ‘ahimsa silk’, implying preparation of silk without killing the silk worms. Overall, she has categorized items for exports, like 81 products as ‘product champions’, among other categories, which could win export market. 
    
Source: Times of india



Kazakh seeks Bengal investors to boost its economy

Nov 19, 2019

 Business giants in Kazakhstan are eyeing opportunities in Bengal to shore up the economy of the world’s largest landlocked country that rakes in around 60% of Central Asia’s GDP. Industrialists have mooted a plan to make Kolkata one of their trading hubs with their targeted business sectors like agriculture, tourism, mining and steel booming in the state. 
 
 
Yerlan Alimbayev, who was appointed as the ambassador of Kazakhstan in India about two months ago, has come to the city on Monday to explore business opportunities and rope in investors from the state as part of their bilateral relation with India in trade and commerce. 
 
The ambassador, during an interview with TOI, said that he would call on the governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday with a proposal for business collaborations with Bengal. However, he has reached out to the members of Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in the city on Monday evening with the same proposal. 
 
Twenty-eight years have elapsed since we got independence, but Kazakhstan still remains a young country in terms of business. There are ample opportunities in Bengal which we are keen to explore. As per our plan, Kolkata has the potential to serve as our main trading centre in India via Chinese sea ports. The business, if things work out according to our plan, would thrive through sea and riverine transportation. I shall also check the existing infrastructure at Kolkata port, said Alimbayev, who will fly off to the capital on Tuesday. 
    
Source: Times of india



Need to adopt AI, new tech for collecting more scientific agri-data: Chief Statistician

Nov 19, 2019

Collecting agricultural data in a decentralised economy is a big challenge and there is a need to adopt new technologies like big data and artificial intelligence to get more scientific information for policy making, Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava said on Monday. 
 
To produce quality data, there is a need to look at how data is collected, he noted. 
 
Addressing the global conference on agricultural statistics here, Srivastava said: Even though agriculture contributes about 17 per cent to the country's GDP, almost 50 per cent of the workforce is dependent on agriculture. ...We have huge informal economy and measuring an informal economy is a big challenge that the statistical system faces. 
 
The country's decentralised economy and statistical set up pose a challenge in developing and collecting data. The machinery in the state and central government is facing these challenges on a day-to-day basis, he said. 
 
As the demand for traditional data continues to increase, there is a need to look at the respondent burden in terms of how data is collected, Srivastava said, adding that quality data is required as decisions are taken based on that information. 
 
Srivastava, secretary in the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MoSPI), further said, If you want to look at climate change and its impact on agriculture and farmers, we really need to look at getting data from non-inclusive methods using big data, artificial intelligence, and whatever new contemporary techniques coming. Adopt that and we can get more scientific information for policy making. 
 
Echoing views, Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand said India has produced some globally reputed statisticians and consequently could set up a set of statistical system. 
 
However, that is now a thing of the past, I feel we could not keep pace with the agriculture statistics in developed countries, he noted. 
 
During the last couple of decades, a big gap has risen between developed and developing countries in terms of availability of statistical data, indicators, quality and statistical application in almost all fields, he said. 
    
Source: Times of india



India SME Forum to showcase export prospects for SMEs

Nov 19, 2019

India SME Forum, with the support of MSME Ministry, has launched a programme to showcase export opportunities for MSMEs across the country.
 
At present, the number of SMEs participating in exports is 1.27 lakh and the government proposes to increase the number to five lakh and double their export output, said Vinod Kumar, president, India SME Forum.
 
In spite of the government’s focus on SMEs and exports, less than 0.01 per cent of 65 million SMEs in the country currently participate in global trade, Kumar said. India SME Forum has decided to train around four lakh SMEs for exports in the next four years, he added.
 
Speaking at Accelerating Business Xpo, the first of its kind initiative in Kochi, Kumar said SMEs contribute 11 per cent of the GDP, 45 per cent of total manufacturing output and more than 100 million jobs. They also play a crucial role in supporting large enterprises as ancillary units and even help in promoting industry in rural and backward areas. A vibrant and financially inclusive India needs a vibrant SME sector, he added.
 
However, the barriers are many such as lack of reliable data on overseas markets, inability to contact potential overseas customers, unfamiliarity with export rules, procedures and documentation, lack of trained export staff for trade facilitation, difficulty in identifying foreign business opportunities, insufficient access to export finance etc. Some of the barriers are about perception, and some related to lack of knowledge and information. Holistic and end-to-end global trade solution for SMEs is also lacking, he added.
    
Source: The Hindu Businessline



Haryana to have Department of Global Cooperation

Nov 19, 2019

The Haryana government on Monday decided to create the Department of Global Cooperation and Engagement to streamline and focus on initiatives for the promotion of investment, employment for youth and welfare of the non-resident Indians (NRIs) or persons of Indian origin.
 
A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar here.
 
The department will work to enhance international cooperation with provinces of foreign countries and engagement with cities under the sister provinces and twin cities programmes of the Ministry of External Affairs.
 
The new department will deal in formulation of country-wise strategies for promotion of investment, employment, education and skill development and promotion of state culture and welfare of diaspora.
 
The department will also deal in participation in bilateral working groups with a view to promote state's interest in foreign countries in the area of trade and investment both in-bound and out-bound in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs, a government statement said.
 
The department will also maintain liaison with Indian missions abroad on matters pertaining to Haryana with regard to investment, employment, education, skill development and culture and issues relating to the NRIs and persons of Indian origin.
    
Source: outlookindia.com



Govt launches repository of diverse crops across 128 agro-climatic zones

Nov 19, 2019

A repository of diverse crops across 128 agro-climatic zones in India was launched on Monday by the Women and Child Development Ministry to provide insights on traditional crop varieties and promote dietary diversity.
 
Union WCD minister Smriti Zubin Irani along with Bill Gates, co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the Bharatiya Poshan Krishi Kosh (BPKK) here.
 
Gates said that if there was one thing that the Foundation would like to solve in India, it is the problem of malnutrition among women, expectant mothers and children.
 
Solving this problem will bring about a dramatic change in the development of India and help the country to attain the SDGs, he said.
 
Irani said the Poshan Bharat Kosh will be vital in giving thrust to efforts towards tackling the challenge of protein and micro-nutrient hunger.
 
The BPKK will be the repository of diverse crops across 128 agro-climatic zones in India for better nutritional outcomes. It will provide insights on traditional crop varieties and encourage people in a particular region to promote dietary diversity, Irani said.
 
She said that for India to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is now time to bring together the science of implementation with the science of communication so that nutrition is on the political and administrative agenda along with hygiene and clean drinking water.
 
At the launch, WCD Secretary Rabindra Panwar handed over the letter of intent to Hari Menon, Director, India Country Office, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
    
Source: outlookindia.com



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