Russia-India Business Forum targets expansion of IT sector

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The 'Russia-India Business Forum: Strategic Partnership for Development and Growth', as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, targeted the most prominent sector of India - the IT sector and plans to push bilateral trade to USD 50 billion this year.

Rajiv Singh Thakur, additional secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said at the Forum, "Current state of the Indian economy is performing well achieving 6-7 per cent. Indian economy is robust because of measures taken by the govt. In terms of investment, the latest data shows 85 billion FDI goes into the country. India has been a digital leader since millions of IT professionals are serving. This IT boom can be taken higher by Russia and India. Collaboration and cooperation between India and Russia are much needed, especially in the technical part given mobile payment success. We can learn from each other and take it forward."

The forum discussion started on March 29 and will continue till March 30, Thursday. The purpose of the meeting is to strengthen Indian-Russian business ties and support the entry of Russian companies into the Indian market.

The main focus of the forum is IT, cybersecurity, technological sovereignty, smart cities, transport and logistics, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, with the focal point of the forum on 'Technological Alliances in the Greater Eurasia'.

"We consider India not as a market, but strategic partner...If we combine your human potential, your economy is growing and our potential in making tech sovereignty and creating new technologies -- together we may be leaders in new tech setup," said Valentin Makarov, Russoft Association.
The trade target for 2025 was earlier fixed at USD 30 billion. But the figure was surpassed in 2022 due to India's oil imports from Russia, and there are expectations that the figure will touch USD 50 billion in 2023.

Sergey Cheryomin, Russian minister, head of the department for External Economic and International Relations of Moscow and chairman of the Board, Business Council for Cooperation with India, said, "We have a huge platform for cooperation. We have the same appreciation and understanding of political as well as economic bilateral relationships. A few years ago, we imagined a turnover of USD 25 billion with India. I am happy USD 30 billion turnovers and this year will have USD 50 billion turnovers. Banks are happy. We have a huge reserve in Indian local currency, which can be used. Indian investment is USD 5-6 billion in oil and gas."

Cheryomin further stated that Indian companies can have access to Russian banks.

The minister also stressed that banks in both countries should promote more trade in Rupee and Ruble.

"Our banks should be more active in establishing a relationship with each other and we've to promote trades in rupees and rubles as it creates a more stable platform for our companies," he said.

The RBI had last year put in place an additional arrangement for invoicing, payment, and settlement of exports/imports in Indian currency. This mechanism will help in internationalising the Indian currency in the long run. A currency can be termed "international" if it is widely accepted worldwide as a medium of exchange.

At a time when Russia is facing sanctions, its tech companies can offer solutions to India and Indian companies. Together the two countries can chart an independent path unaffected by external factors, participants at the opening session of the Russia India Business Forum said here on Wednesday.

"Today, it all depends on financial systems. They (the West) find it convenient to trade in Euro or Dollars, these trade rules were written by the West. We have to rewrite such rules. We can talk of Digital Rouble, Digital Rupee and we should have collaborations on our terms," said Aleksandr Babakov, deputy chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

"We are close in the financial system field. India, Russia and China are forming multipolar systems. Some people may say it is convenient to trade in Dollars and Euro, but it was written by West countries. Now Russia, India and China will rewrite the financial system. We will have more active collaboration on our terms. In this multipolar system, micro-regionalism is developed. This model can develop a secure and safe partnership," he added.

Meanwhile, Tigran Sargsyan, deputy chairman of the Board, of Eurasian Development Bank, rued the fact that there has not been "satisfactory progress" during the last five years over the international North-South Corridor that Russia and India should have pursued faster. "We started parallel trade discussions with China and India. With China, we have an agreement. With India, the process started 20 years ago but there is no agreement and the question is still being discussed," he said.

Inna Svyatenko, chairman of the Committee on Social Policy, Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, said: "Moscow has developed its own platform that is not dependent on any foreign collaboration. It would be great to share digital solutions as we have in Moscow, with India."

Skannd Tyagi, Founder, chief executive officer, of Starshot Ventures, spoke about how Indian IT companies can benefit from Russia's expertise in cyber securities, while Sergey Cheryomin said, "When Russia is under severe sanctions by the USA and EU, we have to find out how to deliver good and one of the solutions is the North-South Corridor. India and Russia work on building better ties in this sector." (ANI)

'Naya J-K' defeats terror, moves on to become vibrant region

International Desk,
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Naya Jammu and Kashmir has defeated terror and has transformed from an underdeveloped and terrorism-hit region into one of the most vibrant places in the country.
After the abrogation of Article 370, a temporary provision in the Constitution, the government has taken numerous reformative and youth-centric steps to open endless opportunities for the socio-economic empowerment of the J-K people and the results are evident.

According to the official data, during the past year, more than 82,000 business units have been established in J-K. These ventures have provided direct employment opportunities to around 2.85 lakh youth.
Under 'Mission Youth' the government has extended handholding to 70,000 young boys and girls to become self-reliant.
Nearly 15000 development projects which were in limbo for the past 10 to 20 years have been completed during the past three years.
Summer and winter capitals of J-K i.e. Srinagar and Jammu which were rated poorly in the national and international surveys till 2019 have transformed into smart cities.

The Union Territory is at a cusp in its development trajectory. The helmsmen have broken fresh grounds to enable faster growth. From 2019 onwards J-K has witnessed accelerated progress and the region's potential has been explored fully.
Youth have emerged as the architects of 'Naya Jammu and Kashmir' as the region, which witnessed Pakistan-sponsored terrorism for three decades, is seeing a steady rise in young entrepreneurs. They are working with dedication to build a prosperous society.
The successful conduct of the 3-day G20 summit in Srinagar has opened up a new era of opportunities for Jammu and Kashmir.
The G20 participants applauded J-K's saga of development and promised to become the brand ambassadors of the Himalayan region.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir are cooperating with the government in every field and are contributing towards fulfilling the mission of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to build "Viksit Bharat" by 2047.

Recently J-K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurated the much-awaited tourist destination 'Jambu Zoo' at Nagrota. It was taken up under the 'Languishing Project.'
The 'Jambu Zoo' is the first full-fledged zoo in the Union Territory and has the potential to boost tourism in the region.
The zoo houses an impressive variety of wildlife species and is spread across 3,200 kanals of land. It's home to seventeen species, including leopards, deer, peacocks, and monkeys.
The 'Jambu Zoo' missed several deadlines, however, after August 5, 2019--when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J-K's special status and bifurcate it into two Union Territories--the work on the zoo was expedited.
The liberal funding provided by New Delhi led to J-K getting its first zoo. It has an open amusement theatre, a children's park, and a tranquil water body. Battery-operated cars and bicycles have been placed in the zoo to facilitate the movement of visitors.
'Jambu Zoo' being thrown open for people stands as a testament to the government's commitment to building 'Naya Jammu and Kashmir.'

As of date Jammu and Kashmir figures among the progressive regions of the country. It's no more infamous for grenade blasts, cross-firing and stone-pelting incidents.
Youngsters have become the torchbearers and are leading from the front. They have rejected Pakistan's propaganda by saying no to stone-pelting and guns.

The recruitment process in government departments has become transparent, and self-employment schemes have been thrown open for one and all. All the selections are based on merit. Young boys and girls who want to become entrepreneurs are being provided with financial assistance and other support.
Pertinently, till 2019 only such people could become entrepreneurs who inherited businesses from their families as setting up any venture was a privilege reserved for a selected class of people.
Loans were provided to only those entrepreneurs, who were recommended by politicians or other bigwigs. Common people were asked to complete a long list of formalities before any amount could be sanctioned in their favour.
Setting up any business unit in J-K till 2019 was a Herculean task and many youngsters used to give up their ideas and surrender.
The lack of avenues and resources led to J-K youth getting disillusioned. Pakistan and the separatists sponsored by it took full advantage of growing unemployment in the region. They lured the young boys by offering them petty amounts to pelt stones, enforcing shutdowns and finally taking up the guns.
After 2019 the scenario changed as the government provided a plethora of opportunities to youngsters. The process to set up any business unit was made simple. A single window clearance system was put in place to ensure that aspiring entrepreneurs could transform their ideas into reality.
The government encouraged start-up culture and acknowledged the ideas of the young innovators. During the past three years, the government has helped lakhs of J-K youth to stand on their own feet.
From a strife-torn region, J-K has turned into a business hub with local youth becoming the role models and inspiration for their successors.

Srinagar and Jammu cities which were ranked poorly in national and international surveys till 2019, during the past three years have transformed into beautiful and vibrant cities in the country.
During the past three years, the Centre has approved over 276 projects under the "Smart City Mission" in Jammu and Srinagar.
These projects have strengthened the urban infrastructure, and improved city services, and public aesthetics. Both cities have become more eco-friendly and clean.
The transformation of Jammu and Srinagar cities from highly congested and underdeveloped urban areas to 'Smart Cities' has brought these places to par with the developed cities in the country.
Both Jammu and Srinagar are heritage cities but the former rulers didn't pay much attention towards developing these cities.
The works that have taken place during the past three years have proven beyond doubt that both these cities were mismanaged.
In the past three years, urban governance has improved. The latent creativity and vitality of the historical cities have been unlocked.
Both the cities blessed with natural and cultural heritage have become socio-economically vibrant cities in a short span of time. Surveys don't rate these cities poorly anymore. (ANI)


J-K's Doda is emerging as potential destination for agri-tech start-ups: Jitendra Singh

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Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh on Saturday said that Doda, which is the lavender destination of the world, has emerged as a potential location for Agri-tech start-ups.

"Government is committed to doubling the farmers' income and lavender production is the testimony of it for giving rise to Agri-tech start-ups in J&K," Jitendra Singh said while chairing a review meeting to assess the developmental scenario of district Doda.

He said that the benefits of centrally sponsored schemes must reach the last man in the queue.

"Doda is the lavender destination of the world as the area has emerged as a potential destination for Agri-tech start-ups in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

Singh complimented the district administration and farmer's community for bringing up the area as the birthplace of Lavender in India, a release said.

DC Doda Vishesh Mahajan while briefing about the developmental activities informed that the work on much-needed Multi Storey Car Parking at New Bus Stand Doda has been started and is expected to complete by the end of 2024, an official statement informed.

"The execution of alternate National Highway 244 is going on day and night, and more than 80% of work has been completed by NHIDCL," the official added.

About the unique initiative ADHBUT Doda, DC informed that the district administration has put all the government services, schemes, and attendance of government employees on the ADHBUT Doda portal. Online Classes, Study material for all classes, monitoring of developmental works, grievances redressal programmes, and interaction with officials, all is taken care of through the ADHBUT Doda platform, the statement informed.

Singh maintained that the District Administration and District Development Council must showcase these positive stories so that the people can come forward, feel confident, and be part of progress in new India with the potential to lead the world, informed the statement.

The meeting also reviewed the progress made in the district on mega development projects being executed under NHIDCL, PWD, JJM, District Capex and other schemes.
Jitendra Singh said it is the endeavour of the present government led by PM, to trickle down the benefits of all the centrally sponsored schemes to the deserved lot and to the last person in the queue. (ANI)


Indian American Ajay Banga takes over as World Bank President

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Indian American Ajay Banga on Friday took over as the President of the World Bank, making him the first person of colour to head either of the two global financial institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. On May 3, the Executive Directors of the World Bank selected Banga, 63, as the 14th President of the World Bank for a five-year term.

In February, President Joe Biden announced that the US would nominate Banga to lead the World Bank.

"Join us in welcoming Ajay Banga as the new President of the World Bank Group. We are committed to creating a world free from poverty on a livable planet," the World Bank said in a tweet with a picture of Banga entering the bank headquarters here on Friday.

"I wish Ajay Banga all the best as he takes up his new role as President of the World Bank today. I look forward to continuing the deep partnership between our institutions to do good and help those most in need," IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said in a tweet.

Banga has become the first-ever Indian-American to head the World Bank. He replaces David Malpass, who announced his decision to step down in February.

Banga most recently served as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic. Previously, he was President and CEO of Mastercard, a global organization with nearly 24,000 employees.

Under his leadership, MasterCard launched the Center for Inclusive Growth, which advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. He was the Honorary Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chairman from 2020-2022.

He became an advisor to General Atlantic's climate-focused fund, BeyondNetZero, at its inception in 2021. Banga served as Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America, a coalition of private organizations that works to advance economic opportunity across underserved populations in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

He was previously on the Boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods, and Dow Inc.

Banga is a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute and was Vice Chair of the Economic Club of New York. He was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012, the Padma Shri Award by the President of India in 2016, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Business Council for International Understanding's Global Leadership Award in 2019, and the Distinguished Friends of Singapore Public Service Star in 2021.

On Thursday, Treasury Yellen met with Banga at the Treasury Department. During their engagement, Yellen warmly welcomed Banga's upcoming presidency and conveyed her strong desire for the Treasury to continue close collaboration with him in building on the strong progress made so far on evolving multilateral development banks (MDBs), a media release said.

That includes continuing implementation of the recommendations of the G20 Capital Adequacy Framework review to get the most out of the Bank's balance sheet, and improving and increasing the amount of private capital mobilised for our shared global development objectives and refining the operating model to increase the responsiveness and agility of the bank, it said.

Yellen also reiterated the importance of the World Bank working more closely with its sister development banks.

Yellen stressed the need to support the poorest of the Bank's member countries as they continue to face multiple crises, including continuing global macroeconomic headwinds exacerbated by Russia's war in Ukraine.

Yellen underscored that she looks forward to having Banga's experienced leadership and proven management skills at the helm of this critical multilateral institution during a period of significant global challenge and opportunity, the statement said.

Source: Economic Times


India positive on Brics expansion, but seeks wider consultations

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India sought wider consultations among all the stakeholders and expressed positive support for China’s proposal to expand Brics, said officials aware of the matter. The two agendas at the Brics summit in South Africa included plans to expand the membership of Brics, and a common currency.

The Brics grouping is not only an expression of multipolarity but of the many ways of meeting international challenges, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday, asserting that the five-nation bloc is an “established feature” of the global landscape. Addressing the Friends of BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting, Jaishankar stated that the message of reform that Brics embodies must permeate the world of multilateralism.

“Brics is no longer an ‘alternative’, it is an established feature of the global landscape,” he tweeted-.He said the five-nation grouping comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is not only an expression of multipolarity but of the many and diverse ways of meeting international challenges.

“Its focus is on building a fairer, inclusive and open international architecture with sustainable development at its core. “Creating resilient and reliable supply chains is central to ensuring that no one is left behind,” he tweeted. Jaishankar said the ‘Friends of BRICS’ strongly support the reform of the United Nations Security Council.

Source: Economic Times