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Bangladesh, Nepal ahead of India as growth in South Asia slows down: World Bank

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GDP means for you and me

India has been relatively hit hard by the recent global slowdown resulting in its projected growth dropping to 6.0 per cent in 2019, but it’s still a fast-growing economy with a lot of potential, a top World Bank economist said on Sunday.

“It’s still a fast-growing economy. So even with the recent slowdown, it has growth numbers that are higher than in most countries of the world. It’s still a fast-growing economy with a lot of potential,” World Bank’s Chief Economist for South Asia Hans Timmer told PTI.

In its latest edition of the South Asia Economic Focus, the World Bank said that India’s growth rate is projected to fall to 6 per cent this fiscal. However, it said the country was expected to gradually recover to 6.9 per cent in 2021 and 7.2 per cent in 2022.

Bangladesh, Nepal to grow faster

However, Bangladesh and Nepal are estimated to grow faster than India in 2019, according to the World Bank, which said that overall growth in South Asia is projected to slow down this fiscal in line with a global downward trend.

Pakistan’s growth rate is projected to deteriorate further to a mere 2.4 per cent this fiscal year, as monetary policy remains tight, and the planned fiscal consolidation will compress domestic demand, it said.

Growth in South Asia is projected to fall to 5.9 per cent in 2019, down 1.1 percentage points from April 2019 estimates, casting uncertainty about a rebound in the short term, the World Bank said in its latest report.

Demand, Consumption imbalance

In India, domestic demand has slipped, with private consumption growing 3.1 per cent in the last quarter from 7.3 per cent a year ago, while manufacturing growth plummeted to below 1 per cent in the second quarter of 2019 compared to over 10 per cent a year ago.

“It has been hit relatively hard by the recent global slowdown in their investments in durable consumption. And so that means that they have to deal with severe problems,” Timmer said in response to a question on India’s economy, whose growth rate in 2016 was 8.2 per cent and in the next two years it dropped by 2.2 percentage points.

“No, it’s not the biggest (drop), but it is comparable to what we saw in 2012 where there was also a slowdown. It’s somewhat less than what we saw in 2009. But it’s a serious slowdown. That is true,” Timmer said.

There are many signs of a sharp slowing of the Indian economy, recently, he noted. “We saw that with the last numbers on quarterly GDP, but it’s even stronger when you look at the components of GDP. If you look at the investment then the annual growth now is 9 per cent below what it was a year ago. There was a sharp decline in consumption. And so that’s mainly durable consumption,” he said.

“If you look at the growth of domestic demands that’s slowing much faster than the growth of GDP because imports are slowing fast also. It’s a typical case where investors both in companies and in households are cautious to invest.

“In our view, that is very much in line with what is happening in the world, because everywhere in the world you see that investments very quickly are coming down and debt is driven by a sentiment that spreads across the world driven by uncertainty in global markets,” he said.

Cities

JNU protest leads to massive traffic snarls in central Delhi

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JNU students protest outside campus

New Delhi, Nov 18 : Massive traffic snarls were reported in central Delhi on Monday as hundreds of protesting students of JNU were stopped from marching towards Parliament which also led to them scuffling with the police.

The authorities also shut the entry and exit gates at three Delhi Metro stations near Parliament to prevent the students from approaching parliament.

Earlier, the police put up barricades near Safdarjung Tomb to stop the students from marching towards Parliament, which began its winter session on Monday.

The students, protesting against the hostel fee hike, gathered near Safdarjung Tomb to continue their protest. They shouted slogans demanding a fee hike roll back.

The Delhi Metro said in a statement it would not have trains at Udyog Bhawan and Patel Chowk, while the Exit/Entry Gates for Udyog Bhawan, Patel Chowk and Central Secretariat have been closed temporarily.

Massive traffic jams were reported in the areas near Safdarjung Hospital, Arabindo Marg, AIIMS and Safdarjung Tomb.

Earlier, with posters in hand and chanting anti-fee hike slogans, hundreds of students marched on the streets of Delhi. The students defied the imposition of Section 144 that prevents gathering of more than four persons in one place, to continue with their protest march to parliament.

As police put up barricades, the JNU climbed over the barricades, leading to scuffles with the police.

“The students are struggling hard to clear the barricades installed by the Delhi police, but they admit that they might not reach parliament because of heavy police and CRPF deployment in the way,” a student said.

The protest march is against the hostel fee hike.

The protest was held even as the Education Secretary addressed their concern by a partial roll back and on Monday announced a new committee to open dialogue with the students.

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India

Congress slams Centre for disallowing MPs to visit Kashmir

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adhir ranjan chowdhury congress

New Delhi, Nov 18 : Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Centre for denying permission to members of Parliament to visit Jammu and Kashmir and giving access to members of the European Union in the region, making Kashmir an “international issue”.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Chowdhury demanded the release of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to attend the winter session of the Parliament which will culminate on December 13.

Abdullah has been in detention in Kashmir since August 5 when the Central government abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state.

The Congress leader also demanded the release of senior party leader P. Chidambaram, who is currently in Tihar jail in INX Media case.

The treasury bench raised objection when Chowdhury used a derogatory term for members of the European Union to which Speaker Om Birla assured to examine and expunge the remark.

“Our leader Rahul Gandhi was not allowed to visit the Valley, but European leaders were given permission. Kashmir is an internal issue, but this government has made it an international issue,” Chowdhury said.

Terming Centre’s move an “atrocity” not to allow Abdullah to attend Lok Sabha proceedings, the Congress leader accused Union Home Minister Amit Shah of lying on the whereabouts of Abdullah in monsoon session of Parliament.

“Four important leaders – Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Home Minister and External Affairs Minister – are not present in the House. Home Minister Amit Shah had assured us in August that Abdullah was not in detention, but 108 days later he is still not here. What is the reason?”, he asked.

Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla interrupted, saying “when Home Minister Amit Shah had informed the House in the previous session that Abdullah was not under detention, he was correct. The written information of his detention was received later by the Lok Sabha secretariat.”

The Congress along with National Conference, Nationalist Congress Party, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Dravida Munetra Kazhgam had raised the issue to release Abdullah during the Question Hour and also trooped near Speaker’s podium, sloganeering “stop dividing the country”.

Chowdhury also raised the issue of withdrawal of Special Protection Group cover of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Gandhi family and reminded how late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee remained under SPG protection during UPA rule.

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Executive must ensure greater respect for Rajya Sabha: Manmohan

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Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Nov 18 : The Rajya Sabha as the council of states should be given “greater respect by the executive”, and should have been consulted before the “drastic measures” were taken of converting a state into Union Territories and redrawing of its boundaries, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday, in direct criticism of the government’s move to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir.

Addressing the Rajya Sabha on the first day of the winter session, the senior Congress leader said that it is “a very important duty” of the Rajya Sabha to “ensure that no law is passed in a moment of heightened emotion”, — again a reference to the August 5 move by Parliament to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution that granted special status to Jammu & Kashmir, and convert it into two UTs of J&K and Ladakh.

Singh suggested several measures to make the Rajya Sabha more effective and give it more teeth, including that the Upper House be allowed to discuss and deliberate important measures in greater depth.

He also said that Parliament should follow the practice for all Bills to be brought before the Upper House. But Article 110 allows the Lok Sabha “precedence in money bills”, he said.

“We have seen misuse of money bills leading to bypassing of the Rajya Sabha without any deliberation,” he said, adding that Parliament should “ensure that such instances are avoided as this reduces the stature of the institution.”

He said the Upper House has a central role to play in the form of “checks and balances to a majority government” as it presents the interests of the states.

He said that the Rajya Sabha being half in size of the Lok Sabha the members do not get time to share their insights.

He suggested that the House be allowed to study issues in more depth, and those with expertise should be allowed more time with their speeches in the House.

He said the Rajya Sabha should be given more time to study centre-state relations as this is a council of states. He also suggested a discussion by the Upper House on the “state of the nation’s health and on the state of education”.

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