India insists on a “balanced and collectively satisfactory” RCEP

Ahead of the special India-ASEAN commemorative summit, India has underlined the need for a fair and balanced outcome for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the largest free trade area which is currently under negotiation between 16 countries.In the run up to the summit on January 25 in New Delhi, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu stressed that that India would agree to this mega free trade agreement provided sensitivities and aspirations of all partner countries are adequately addressed.
Speaking at the ‘ASEAN-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo’ in New Delhi on January 22, Mr Prabhu said: “It is important to address the sensitivity of member countries and their aspirations as negotiations gather momentum. We would all aim to achieve an RCEP that results in the realization of the potential of the three key pillars of RCEP—goods, services, investment—in a manner that is balanced and collectively satisfactory. Keeping this in view, India will be working closely and constructively with all RCEP member countries, particularly Asean, towards early conclusion of negotiations”.

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India unveils 5-year plan for modernisation of railways, no fare hike

India’s Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has unveiled a multi-pronged plan for the transformation and modernisation of the Indian railways, the backbone of the nation’s economy.

“Over the next five years, the Railway has to go through a transformation,” Mr Prabbhu said. The chartered accountant-turned-politician underlined his key four goals as cleanliness, safety, modernization of infrastructure and making the railways financially self-sustainable. “We have to make Indian Railways a benchmark organisation in safety, security and infrastructure.”

“There will be no hike in railway passenger fares. We will focus on improving passenger amenities,” the minister said.

Here are some highlights of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s rail budget speech, the first rail budget presented by the BJP-led NDA government.

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With economy on rebound, Modi set for G20 summit debut

Eight summits and six years after it was born in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, the upcoming G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, could be a milestone in fructifying some key initiatives to restore global economic growth and create the much-needed equilibrium in the global economic order.
For India, there will be a lot riding on how some of the expected outcomes shape up in the G20 joint declaration on November 16. Growth and job creation will be the twin focus of India’s business-friendly Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for whom the Brisbane summit will be his first G20 experience as well as his first major global outing with leaders of the world’s most advanced and emerging economies.
At a time when the economic growth across the world remains uneven and show stark asymmetries, India is going to the Brisbane summit on a high note, with a clear message that India will contribute substantially to the global economic growth in the years to come, and hence it makes sense for the world to be on the side of the India story and global economic resurgence.

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