Budget Session: President focuses on financial inclusion, empowerment of poor

Budget Session: President focuses on financial inclusion, empowerment of poor


India’s President Pranab Mukherjee kicked off the Budget session with his speech to a joint session of both houses of the parliament, in which he underscored the BJP-led NDA government’s vision of inclusive economy and governance by highlighting a slew of schemes directed at empowering the poor, the underprivileged and women. Mr Mukherjee described the move to merge the Railway and Union Budgets this year as “historic.”

India’s GDP growth to dip to 6.5%, but will rebound in 2017-18


India’s GDP growth will dip to 6.5 per cent in 2016-2017 from 7.6 per cent in the previous financial year, but rebound to between 6.75⋅⋅⋅

India’s R-Day celebrations: President optimistic about economy, bats for pluralism, electoral reforms


India is celebrating its 68th Republic Day with President Pranab Mukherjee setting the tone by toasting the pluralistic culture of this exquisitely diverse country and⋅⋅⋅

India-UAE ties turn strategic-plus, poised for take-off


The relations between India and the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf’s economic powerhouse and home to 2.6 million Indians, are poised for a take-off with the two countries signing a transformative comprehensive strategic partnership agreement and a clutch of pacts straddling diverse areas, ranging from defence, maritime transport and energy to trade, logistics and cyber security.
Underlining the increasing salience of the Gulf region in India’s diplomatic calculus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the chief guest for the country’s 68th Republic Day celebrations. Sheikh Al Nahyan is only the third leader from the energy-rich region India has hosted for the Republic Day, and signals a marked acceleration in ongoing efforts by New Delhi to shape a greater West Asia policy.
The talks in New Delhi on January 25 were all-encompassing and promises to pack more strategic heft and economic ballast in the burgeoning relationship between India and UAE.
The showpiece outcome was the elevation of India-UAE ties to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), which firmly positions the Gulf’s second largest economy as India’s preeminent partner in the region in both strategic and economic arenas.
On the strategic side, the agreement on defence industry cooperation is significant as it envisages joint manufacturing of high-end weapons systems and transfer of technology.
Taking a long-range view, another key outcome emanating from the talks in New Delhi was to impart a fresh push to the ongoing economic transformation of the India-UAE relationship, with PM Modi identifying the UAE as “an important partner in India’s growth story.”
In a move that will be closely watched in Pakistan, India and the UAE have also renewed their strategic resolve to intensify their cooperation in counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation. Read more…

Manmohan Singh was accidental finance minister, Narasimha Rao led 1991 reforms and foreign policy reset: Sanjaya Baru


Who was the architect of India’s path-breaking economic reforms of 1991? No prize for guessing it? Think again, it’s time to get it right! In this wide-ranging conversation with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network, Dr Baru, a former media advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a veteran journalist, speaks about defining events of 1991, the pivotal year in not just India’s economic journey, but also in the country’s politics and foreign policy, and the crucial role of Narasimha Rao in shaping outcomes conducive to India’s national interests. In the realm of foreign policy, Dr Baru outlines defining steps taken by Narasimha Rao in response to emerging global power shifts, including the launch of Look East policy, resetting relations with the US and China and the outreach to Israel. Commenting on the ongoing political churn in India, the author says that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2004 election victory has brought a quarter century of accidental prime ministers in the country to an end, but he needs a second term to leave a lasting legacy. Excerpts from the interview) – Read more….

India & LAC: A Narrative of Opportunity


It’s time for Latin America in India and India in Latin America. Away from the noise of screaming headlines and geopolitical games, there will be quiet celebrations to toast the blossoming India-Latin America & the Caribbean relations in the Mexican city of Guadalajara, famed for tequila, peppy mariachi music and Indian IT companies. For two days (November 28-29), ministers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, policy-makers and analysts of India and over 25 LAC countries will gather in the bustling economic hub of Mexico to flesh out a robust vision of upscaling this crucial partnership that is bound by convergent interests and mutual goodwill.
Defying downbeat trends in an uncertain global economic landscape, India, the world’s fastest growing economy, is betting big on Latin America, an emerging growth pole of the world, and vice-versa. Together, both sides, fired by a can-do optimism, are determined to shape a narrative of opportunity and bring it to fruition.
This emerging alchemy of economic and strategic interests between the two far-off but increasingly connected regions will be showcased and dissected at the first India-Latin America & Caribbean Conclave to be held in the LAC region.
Blending diplomacy with business and culture with connectivity, the India-LAC relations are set to move onto a higher stratosphere. In the region in which myths intersect with reality effortlessly, generating magical moments, some focused pragmatic steps combined with inspired diplomacy can widen the arc of the India-LAC partnership and help fructify new dreams and new possibilities inherent in this burgeoning relationship. It’s time to tango, and match steps, as they say out there.

Welcome to ‘new normal’ India: Modi says no rollback, it’s the beginning of the war on black money


“People are queuing up for a better India.” This is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to the critics of his controversial de-monetization move of scrapping the existing high denomination notes of Rs 1,000 and 500 to weed out black money in the country.

Modi trumpets ‘Incredible India of credible policies’ in Tokyo


Kindling the India growth story anew on a wet and rainy day in the Japanese capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined the centrality of India-Japan relations in Asia’s emergence and pitched for more enhanced investments from Asia’s second largest economy.

The conference hall at Keidanren, the seat of Japan’s all-powerful corporate body, was buzzing with energy and enthusiasm as Mr Modi addressed a galaxy of top Japanese leaders and highlighted a set of steps taken by his government which have made India the world’s most attractive investment destination.

“Today, India is on the path of several major transformations. We have taken decisive steps and built a governance system that will help India realize its potential. The results are already visible,” Mr Modi said.“Today, India is on the path of several major transformations. We have taken decisive steps and built a governance system that will help India realize its potential. The results are already visible,” Mr Modi said.

“Even against a weak international economic scenario, the news from India is of strong growth and abundant opportunities. It is of Incredible opportunities, and about India’s Credible Policies.”

India, UK reboot ties: Focus on enhancing defence and anti-terror cooperation


In the first meeting between their leaders after Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, India and the United Kingdom unveiled a decadal vision to reboot their multi-faceted relationship, with Britain offering its support for the Make in India project of joint defence manufacturing and encouraging the rise of India as a major global player.
The two countries also decided to scale up their counter-terror cooperation, with Britain supporting India’s stand on collective global action against states that sponsor terrorism and provide sanctuaries to terrorists.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and her British counterpart Theresa May held wide-ranging talks at the stately Hyderabad House in New Delhi on November 7, their first full-spectrum meeting since May became the prime minister of the UK in July. The outcomes that emanated from the talks indicated a deepening of economic and strategic partnership between the two countries, which was crystallised in the joint statement entitled “India-UK Strategic Partnership looking forward to a renewed engagement: Vision for the decade ahead.”
The broad narrative that emerged from the talks between PM Modi and Theresa May was the political resolve of the two sides to reinvigorate this crucial bilateral relationship, with Britain supporting India’s greater international role, and its global aspirations for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Visa barrier: Will May’s visit bring good news for India?


As British Prime Minister Theresa May began her three-day trip to India – the country May has described as UK’s “most important and closest friend”⋅⋅⋅