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China’s import expo opens, Xi urges building open world economy

More than 3,600 companies from different countries will hold discussions and seek common development with over 400,000 purchasers from China and overseas.

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Beijing, Nov 5 : Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the opening of the world’s first import-themed national-level expo here on Monday, calling it a “trail-blazing” move in the history of international trade development.

A total of 172 countries, regions and international organisations from five continents will showcase their development achievements and international image at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE), reports Xinhua news agency.

More than 3,600 companies from different countries will hold discussions and seek common development with over 400,000 purchasers from China and overseas.

The CIIE is “a major policy for China to push for a new round of high-level opening-up and a major measure for China to take the initiative to open its market to the world”, Xi said when delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony.

He underscored the role of economic globalization, saying that it is “an irreversible historical trend” and provides strong momentum for world economic development.

“All countries should be committed to opening up and oppose protectionism and unilateralism in a clear-cut stand,” Xi said, calling for joint efforts to build an open world economy.

The fair will feature various quality exhibits ranging from German machine tools, Japanese robots and US medical equipment to Australian wine, Brazilian farm produce and South Sudanese handicrafts.

With the slogan “New Era, Shared Future”, the expo is the brainchild of Xi and is set to become a platform for win-win economic cooperation and a landmark project in the country’s higher-level opening up.

China will stimulate the potential for increased imports, continue to broaden market access, foster a world-class business environment, explore new horizons of opening up, and promote international cooperation at multilateral and bilateral levels, Xi said.

The expo comes at an inflection point as China transitions to high-quality development and shifts from the world’s workshop to the world’s market, with the world’s biggest middle-income population demanding higher-quality consumer products.

Xi announced that China’s imported goods and services were estimated to exceed $30 trillion and $10 trillion, respectively, in the next 15 years.

China has been the world’s second largest merchandise importer for nine consecutive years.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up, and has seen a flurry of concrete measures taken by the country to open its doors wider.

“China will not close its door to the world and will only become more and more open,” Xi added.

IANS

Business

Tata Group’s total investment in Odisha to cross Rs 1 lakh cr soon

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 12: Tata Group’s total investment in Odisha will soon cross Rs one lakh crore, said its Chairman N. Chandrasekaran here on Monday.

For the Tata Group, the association with Odisha is “very long, more than 100 years old”, he said.

Chandrasekaran also said Tata Steel was given its first iron ore lease by the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj in the early part of 20th century. Since then, the group has significantly expanded in the state.

“Already, we have made investments worth Rs 75,000 crore and with the announcement of expansion of (Tata Steel’s) Kalinganagar plant, another Rs 25,000 crore would be invested. Total investments will soon cross Rs 100,000 crore in the state,” he said at the Make in Odisha Conclave here.

Not only Tata Steel has a large capacity, Tata Motors has a significant presence with its 30 service stations and dealers network and Tata Power has four generation units here, he said, adding that the TCS is the largest IT company in the state with about 5,000 professionals and the second phase would take it to a total of 12,000 professionals.

The group’s companies in retail and services sectors have engagements in the state, Chandrasekaran said.

He said the group’s experience in the state has been extremely “satisfying”.

The state is blessed with a lot of resources with stable government, proactive bureaucracy, ready infrastructure, strong mineral reserve, large pool of skilled manpower and secured social environment, he said.

The state produces 1.8 lakh technical graduates from over 950 institutions, who are excellent resources for development of any part of the country.

IANS

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India

Cabinet extends ITI Ltd’s quota for procurement by BSNL, MTNL

Provision of procurement quota from BSNL, MTNL and BBNL will provide further boost to-the order book of ITI and help in improving its financial health

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New Delhi, Nov 8 : The Union Cabinet on Thursday extended the procurement quota of government-owned telephone equipment maker ITI Ltd for procurements made by the public sector companies of BSNL, MTNL and Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) for three years.

“BSNL, MTNL and BBNL would be requested to extend the benefit of procurement quota to ITI for a period of three years,” the Communications Ministry statement said.

According to the statement, the cabinet decided “to continue the Reservation Quota policy for ITI Ltd by reserving 30 per cent of the procurement orders placed by BSNL, MTNL and BBNL for ITI for the products manufactured by it”.

It also approved reservation for those outsourced items in which there is a minimum 12 per cent value addition by ITI during 2018-19 and 16 per cent value addition in 2019-20 and 20 per cent value addition in 2020-21, the statement said.

“Provision of procurement quota from BSNL, MTNL and BBNL will provide further boost to-the order book of ITI and help in improving its financial health,” it said.

The cabinet also approved reservation of 20 per cent of the orders for the turnkey projects like GSM network roll-out, WiFi and others of BSNL, MTNL and the BharatNet project of BBNL.

The validity of reservation benefit extended to ITI expired on May 31, 2018.

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Analysis

Demonetisation was an ‘unmitigated disaster’, says ex-banker Meera Sanyal

The PM’s promise that Demonetization would eradicate corruption was undoubtedly one of the main reasons for the initial goodwill towards Demonetization from the very poor, despite the hardships it inflicted on them. Sadly, however, this promise too was belied.

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ew Delhi, Nov 8 (IANS) Exactly two years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government commenced the exercise to ban over 85 per cent of high-value currency notes, former banking industry honcho Meera H. Sanyal says in her upcoming book that in its implementation, the 2016 demonetisation was an “unmitigated disaster”.

Sanyal, former CEO and Chairperson of Royal Bank of Scotland in India is currently a member of the National Executive Committee of the Aam Aadmi Party. In the chapter titled The Surgical Strike, she says that as financial and human costs of demonetisation began to add up, it became “painfully clear that what had been intended as a surgical strike on black money had regrettably turned out to be a carpet-bombing of the Indian people and our economy. It was a classic case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.”

The Big Reverse: How Demonetization Knocked India Out — brought out by Haper Collins India — will be available in stores from November 8, 2018.

Following is an extract from the book:

There is no doubt that the PM touched a deep chord in the heart of India, when he talked of the menace of corruption. Who among us has not felt “Some people have misused their office for personal gain… that corruption and black money tend to be accepted as part of life… that it has afflicted our politics, our administration and our society like an infestation of termites…”

According to the 2017 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report, 73 per cent of the bribes paid in India were by “the low economy groups, who had to pay money due to unavailability of other options, or had less influence to avoid paying bribes… high bribes were demanded for accessing public education and healthcare facilities… approximately 58 per cent and 59 per cent bribery rates were seen in education and healthcare sectors in India, respectively. The times when people paid a bribe was also seen to be almost equally high for police, identification documents, and basic amenities.”

The PM’s promise that Demonetization would eradicate corruption was undoubtedly one of the main reasons for the initial goodwill towards Demonetization from the very poor, despite the hardships it inflicted on them. Sadly, however, this promise too was belied.

In February 2018, Transparency International reported that India continued to be among the most corrupt countries in the world. In the 2017 Global Corruption Perception Index report, India with a score of 40 points, was ranked 81, down two places from its ranking of 79 in 2016.

Worse still, the report named India as the most corrupt country in the Asia-Pacific region, with 69 per cent bribery rates, which means that almost seven out of ten people had to pay a bribe to access public services. Vietnam was the second-most corrupt country with 65 per cent bribery rates, whereas Pakistan with only 40 per cent bribery rates, ranked much better than India. Japan came out as the least corrupt nation, with a 0.2 per cent bribery rate.

This demolishes one of the main arguments presented in favour of Demonetization. The Economic Survey for 2016-2017 had stated, “Across the globe there is a link between cash and nefarious activities: the higher the amount of cash in circulation, the greater the amount of corruption… In this sense, attempts to reduce the cash in an economy could have important long-term benefits in terms of reducing levels of corruption.”

As it happens, data does not support this argument. Japan is a case in point. Japan’s Currency to GDP ratio in 2015 was 18.61 per cent, much higher than India’s at 12.51 per cent. In the same year (2015) Japan was ranked as the 18th least corrupt nation in the world while India was ranked 76th, i.e. Japan, which has a much higher currency to GDP ratio than India, has far less corruption.

Clearly, therefore, Demonetization failed in its second big goal — eradication of corruption. If anything, the new 2,000 notes made it simpler for corrupt officials to take and stash away larger bribes, compounding the problem for ordinary Indians.

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