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Jaitley pushes for more funding, reforms at IMF, World Bank

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has asked the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reassess the quantum of funds at their disposal to finance global growth and make an extra mobilisation effort if found inadequate.

“To be a reliable source of contingent financing, it is important to assess the sufficiency of Fund’s resources in accordance with the changing global realities, including levels of global growth, the size of trade and capital flows,” Jaitley told an IMF meeting.

“In the backdrop of constraints in mobilising additional concessional finance on one hand and increased demand for it on the other, the World Bank group will have to walk that extra mile for additional resources for this endeavour,” he said in another address here.

In fact, during a meeting with World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim, the Indian finance minister specifically said the institution collectively must step up its annual funding volumes to $100 billion.

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In fiscal 2015, the World Bank, International Finance Corp and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency collectively provided $59.8 billion in loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees to partner countries and private businesses.

Jaitley is here for the spring meetings of the World Bank and the IMF with Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, among other officials.

The Indian finance minister also welcomed the timeline of October 2017 for a shareholding review in IMF and said that the new quota formula should enhance the voice, role and voting shares of developing countries and their increased contribution to global output.

He also emphasised the need for a review of the World Bank’s shareholding to reflect the emergence of developing countries in the global economy and also ensure that they, along with poor nations, get their due share of funding for infrastructure investment.

Jaitley also said there was the need to increase the representation of Indians in the top management of the World Bank, given the “excellent” contribution made by experts from his country to the multilateral funding institution’s functioning.

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During his interactions, Jaitly also said what his government was doing to encourage growth and employment, listing such initiatives like “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Start-up India”, “Stand-up India”, “Skill India” and “Mudra bank”.

Also being put in place were a progressive and non-adversarial tax regime, a new bankruptcy law, major tax reforms such as the introduction of a pan-India goods and services tax and the simplification of procedures and the repeal obsolete laws, he said.

“Our present government is following the approach of ‘reform to transform India’ through far reaching structural reforms to foster strong and sustainable growth,” said Jaitley, concluding the first leg of his US visit.

The next halt is in New York. His itinerary there includes an address at the UN on “World Drug Problem”. He is also scheduled to address the Asia Society on “Make In India-The New Deal” and hold meetings with top funds to make a pitch to invest in India.

IANS

 

Disaster

ITAT resolves to donate one-day salary to PM’s relief fund

The tribunal also urged its other stakeholders to contribute generously to the PM CARES fund.

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New Delhi, March 30 : Officers and staff of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) have resolved to contribute one day’s salary to PM CARES Fund in order to help the Central government contain coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, a public charitable trust, has been set up to provide emergency relief.

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal President P.P. Bhatt said that the institution recognizes its social and national responsibilities.

“It has been decided in consultation with all the Vice Presidents of ITAT to contribute one day’s salary to the PM CARES Fund in respect of all officers and staff of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal,” he said.

President, Vice Presidents, Members, Registry Officers and other staff will help the nation in fighting the ongoing pandemic, he added.

The tribunal also urged its other stakeholders to contribute generously to the PM CARES fund.

“The donations to this fund have been made exempt from income tax under Section 80 (G) of the Income-tax Act, 1961,” the ITAT president clarified.

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Cities

Returning migrants pose huge challenge to Bihar govt

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Patna, March 30 : The migrant labourers returning to Bihar has posed a big challenge to the state government — to keep them in 14-day isolation to contain coronavirus spread.

Over 45,000 people had reached the UP towns bordering Bihar and more than 100,000 were expected by evening, said a Bihar Disaster Management Department official, here on Monday.

Pratyam Amrit, Principal Secretary of the Disaster Management Department, said, “Six camps have been set up along the Bihar-UP border. By Monday, we are expecting 1.30 lakh people to reach the borders. We are looking to provide them food and make arrangements for their stay during the quarantine period.”

The state government, he said was taking all precautionary measures even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 21-day lockdown on March 24. After emergence of Covid-19 cases in the state, the government had made arrangements even in the rural areas to provide food and shelter and screen villagers for infection, he added.

But the influx of workers from Delhi has created serious problem the state government. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed displeasure at the migrant workers being sent back to Bihar.

“People from other states are being registered at the disaster border relief camps. Their health is being checked. After food and rest, they are being provided buses by the Transport Department in the district headquarters. Arrangements have been made to send them, ” said another official.

The process could continue for two-three days, he added.

Principal Secretary Deepak Kumar said arrangements were being made to send Biharis coming from outside to their villages. “All the Block Development Officers, Head of panchayats and sarpanches have been asked to monitor the situation and follow quarantine and social distancing norms,” Kumar said.

Those who had returned from abroad after March 10 were being investigated. The government has a list of 1,790 such people.

The Chief Minister after high-level meetings have ordered one-month’s ration free to 1.68 crore cardholders and payment of three months’ pension to all pensioners.

A control room has also been set up at Bihar Bhawan in Delhi to help people.

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Cities

Two Tablighi Jammat participants die of suspected coronavirus

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New Delhi, March 30 : Two persons have died of suspected COVID-19 in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area from a group of people who had come from various parts of the country and abroad to take part in Tablighi Jammat, a religious gathering of the Muslim community.

Of the two elderly persons who died, one was from Tamil Nadu and the other belonged to Kashmir. All the participants aged over 60 had been admitted to various hospitals in Delhi. Out of them six people have been found to be coronavirus positive.

Shoaib Ali, the spokesman of Tablighi Jamaat, however, said, “We have no information of anybody testing positive for coronavirus.”

Admitting that two persons have died, Ali said that one of them Masgir, 63, complained of fever and cough and was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital on Saturday. He was from Tamil Nadu.

“But they have not given us any report whether he died of coronavirus or not,” he said.

Shoaib Ali also denied that the death of the second person was due to coronavirus.

“On March 6, an elderly person, 65, from Sopore, Kashmir, had come to participate in Tablighi Jamaat in the Nizamuddin area. He died of a heart attack in Kashmir last week,” Ali said. However, according to reports in the Kashmir media, he was coronavirus positive.

However, Ali confirmed that the entire area has been cordoned off and about 2000 people have been quarantined and are being tested for coronavirus in this thickly populated area of South Delhi.

This is the largest single group being tested for the highly contagious COVID-19, which is transmitted easily from person to person.

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