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#Noteban: Sales fall, anger rises; why the fishing industry can’t go cashless




Siolim/Mapusa/Panaji/Margao (Goa), December 20: Gangu Kundaikar is a small-framed, sari-clad woman who rises at 3 a.m. every day, wraps a cloth around her waist so fish do not soil her sari, and takes a rented vehicle to the Malim jetty in Panaji, North Goa, 8 km from her village in one of Indias most prosperous and literate states.

Kundaikar, 50, brings her day’s supply of fish back home to her village, Chimbel, to sell. Kundaikar, who studied up to class 10, has no bank account and a phone without an Internet connection. She is the only earner in her family of three, which includes her ageing mother and unemployed son.

Kundaikar bought fish worth Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 every day and kept the unsold catch in her refrigerator – her only asset. She worked through most of the day and barely made enough to keep her family fed.

That was before midnight on November 8, 2016, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government scrapped 86 per cent of India’s bank notes, by value. Since then, Kundaikar has struggled to balance her family’s budget: Demand for fish has fallen and sales have dropped by 30 per cent. “We are poor, hard-working people,” she told IndiaSpend. “Because of this move by the government, it has become hard for us.”

After China, India is the world’s second-largest producer of fish, but it is a perishable commodity, and less than 19 per cent of fishing centres nationwide have infrastructure that allows fish to be processed or stored: Less than 23 per cent of fishing villages have Internet access, and the fishing economy depends on cash. Profit margins vary according to the species sold, varying from 3.5 per cent (medium-priced fish) to about 10 per cent (high-priced fish) to 20 per cent (low-priced fish), according to a 2012 research paper.

So merchant charges by banks – of 2-2.5 per cent (on credit cards), 0.75-1 per cent (on debit cards) – and even the 1 per cent fee charged by Paytm, a digital wallet – is largely unaffordable, even if fishing villages had good internet access, which they do usually do not.

With notebandi – as the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes is colloquially called – stories like Kundaikar’s have become common in fishing communities nationwide. Distress sales, market closures and anchoring of fishing fleets have been reported from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. A particular hammer blow appears to have been dealt by the new Rs 2,000 note because there is no change to return.

The crisis of 14.5 million Indians – more than the population of Greece or Portugal – dependent on fishing has crippled an industry that generates almost 1.1 per cent to India’s gross domestic product (GDP). A quarter of these people work along 8,118 km of India’s coastline and 10 million along 197,024 km of inland waterways.

Most of these 14.5 million are part of India’s informal sector, unorganised workers, who constitute 82 per cent of India’s 500-million-strong workforce – more than the combined populations of the USA, Germany and South Africa – and generate half of national GDP. Their world, as we found, changed almost overnight.

Ground reality: Over 50 per cent loss in business, anger at government

Of the 20 fish sellers that IndiaSpend surveyed at a government-run market in Margao, south Goa, more than 80 per cent reported buying less fish from wholesalers because demand was low, while 75 per cent reported income-losses of half or more over the past month.

Our survey also showed that 30 per cent of women did not have a bank account and that 55 per cent did not use phones. Of the ones that did, only 33 per cent had internet on their phone, which they did not use for banking.

Small-scale fish retailers earn between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000 every day, IndiaSpend found. If they were to use Paytm for transactions, they would be paying 1 per cent charge to withdraw their money, which is Rs 30-40. For a daily profit of Rs 350-400, they said, this is unaffordable.

Cashless transactions are not an immediate option, so the losses will continue. In any case, most have no internet on their phone and hardly use their bank accounts, said Shashikala Govekar, president of the Fish Vendors Association at the Mapusa market.

We found a cascading effect of such losses. Before November 8, 2016, fish sellers got Rs 280 to Rs 300 per kg of mackerel (bangda), which is now down by about 35 per cent to Rs 180 to Rs 200 per kg, according to members of the All Goa Wholesale Fish Market Association. The Margao Wholesale market is the only wholesale market in Goa where catch from the neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka is also sold. Vehicles carrying fish from outside the state have fallen by a third.

Unless frozen, fresh fish must be thrown away, if not sold within two days: 67 per cent of fish consumed in India is fresh; no more than 23 per cent is processed (dried, frozen or canned).

Neither fish markets nor landing centres (harbours where fishermen land their craft) have cold storages. Post-harvest fishing losses due to lack of infrastructure (for landing and berthing vessels) and domestic marketing are estimated to be as high as 20 per cent, according to a 2011 report of the erstwhile Planning Commission. These losses are exacerbated by the current market slump.

Can Goa really go cashless? Even the Chief Minister does not think so

On November 25, 2016, 16 days after the demonetisation announcement, the Indian Express reported Defence Minister and erstwhile Goa Chief Minister (CM) Manohar Parrikar saying that Goa would become India’s first cashless state by December 30, 2016.

“Goans are using cards (ATM/credit) in a big way,” Parrikar was quoted as saying at a public meeting near Panjim. “Goa will soon be the first state with cashless society fulfilling a dream of the Prime Minister.”

On December 7, 2016, after his party and the opposition reflected the resentment across Goa, CM Laxmikant Parsekar said that there would be no deadline for Goa to go cashless. “There cannot be a deadline to go cashless,” said Parsekar. “I have always said that it is not cashless, but could be less cash to start with. Goa can do it.”

A major reason that India is unprepared for a cashless economy is a lack of connectivity. At least 73 per cent of Indians (912 million people) do not have access to the internet, IndiaSpend reported on December 3, 2016.

Within 3,237 marine fishing villages in nine of India’s coastal states, 91 per cent villages had mobile phone coverage, but barely 23 per cent had access to the internet.



Key challenges, political will top agenda as Crans Montana Forum begins



Crans Montana Forum 2018

Dakhla (Morocco), March 16 : With focus on key international challenges like urban global management, ocean economy, food and public health issues and the growing potential of Africa-Asia cooperation, the Crans Montana Forum began on Friday in this western town of Morocco.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Reverend Jesse Jackson, President and Founder of Rainbow Push Coalition, and leaders from several countries joined Jean-Paul Carteron, Honorary Chairman and Founder of the Crans Montana Forum, at the opening ceremony here.

The major focus of the Forum this year is on the Africa and South-South Cooperation.

In his address, Jesse Jackson, one of America’s foremost civil rights figures, stressed on the need to develop and mobilize political will to “end poverty, hunger, illiteracy and killer diseases in the world”.

“Humans have limited but genuine freedom through our individual decisions and our collective politics to make a positive difference in the world. If we can develop and mobilize political will, we will find constructive ways for South-South Cooperation and end the divisions of North and South, rich and poor, powerful and disenfranchised,” Jackson said.

Organized under the patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, a royal message from the King was read at the Forum’s opening ceremony by Yanja El Khattat, President of the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab Region, of which Dakhla is a part.

Various speakers at the opening ceremony highlighted the crucial role being played by Morocco to be a platform of gateway to Africa and to highlight the kep challenges being faced by African and other countries.

The conference is being attended by over 3,500 delegates and leaders from various countries and 43 international organizations.

The Forum will discuss the crucial issue of urban global management in view of the increasing rural exodus and the urban planning challenges.

The Forum will also discuss extending the Silk Road to Africa and fostering Asia-Africa partnerships. It will also have sessions on women empowerment and youth empowerment and integration.

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Israel PM recreates ‘Oscar’ Moment, poses with Bollywood Celebs



benjamin Netanyahu bollywood stars

Mumbai, Jan 19: Recreating the viral ‘Oscar selfie’, which featured several Hollywood stars in one picture, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Thursday night, posed with Bollywood actors as a sign of the “great friendship” between India and Israel.

Netanyahu was at the ‘Shalom Bollywood’ event in Mumbai, where top stars from the industry were present, including Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, and filmmaker Karan Johar.

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu met 26/11 survivor Moshe Holtzberg at Nariman House. He also laid wreath at the memorial to 26/11 terror attack victims at Taj Hotel in Mumbai on Thursday morning.


Baby Moshe is currently in India, for his first visit back since the 26/11 attacks.

Netanyahu Addressed the India-Israel Business Summit and spoke about how two nations that are as focused on innovation as India and Israel , should come together to “define the future” at the India-Israel Summit he was addressing in Mumbai on Thursday, reports ANI.

Israeli Prime Minister had a packed schedule for the last leg of his India visit. Israel PM met with several Indian CEOs in Mumbai on Thursday morning, where he said that the “future belongs to those who innovate”.

Later in the day he will pay tributes to the 2008 Mumbai terror attack victims. There will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, following which he will visit Nariman House and the Chabad Centre.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara, reached Mumbai on Wednesday evening as per schedule, after being received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ahmedabad in the morning.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Netanyahu along with wife Sara on Wednesday inaugurated ‘iCreate’, an autonomous centre for budding entrepreneurs and start-ups, in Deo Dholera Village, Ahmedabad .

The visit assumes significance given Israel’s reputation as being the global hub for start-ups. The Israeli prime minister also presented Modi a special gift — the Gal-Mobile water desalinisation and purification jeep the two leaders rode at Israel’s Olga beach last year.

The two leaders to a traditional reception at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad after an 8-km roadshow from the airport. Netanyahu, known as Bibi in Israel, and his wife Sara also tried their hand at the iconic Charkha as Modi looked on.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wife Sara visited the Taj Mahal on Tuesday afternoon after a brief meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. They stayed at the Taj Complex for a few hours, posed for photos and learnt about the 17th century monument.

The Israeli Prime Minister first dropped in at a five-star hotel in Agra from where he directly went to see the Taj. The couple are expected to return to Delhi to take part in the Raisina Dialogue, in which Netanyahu is scheduled to deliver an inaugural speech at 4:30 pm.

Tight security arrangements have been made for the VVIP visit and the Taj, the ivory white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna, will be closed for common visitors till the Israeli Prime Minister leaves.

No car or person was allowed to be in a periphery of 500 metres around the Taj since morning.

On Monday, India and Israel signed nine MoUs, including key bilateral agreements in cyber cooperation, film cooperation, science and technology. Speaking on Monday at the joint press conference, featuring the two leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “My good friend, Bibi welcome to India, your visit marks a special beginning to our New Year calendar.”

Reciprocating the gesture, Netanyahu called PM Narendra Modi a revolutionary leader and said:” With Modi, I feel like I am in a rock concert. The Israeli premier said the Jews of India never experienced anti-semitism in 2,000 years.

India-Israel MOUs

India and Israel sign MOU on – cooperation in oil and gas sector, a protocol on amendments to air transport agreement, agreement on film co-production, field research in homoeopathic medicine, cooperation in the field of space, letter of intent to invest in India, cooperation in metal battery and cooperation in solar thermal energy.

The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday Evening around 6 pm.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu  holded bilateral talks at Delhi’s Hyderabad House on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu has been given a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, after which Israel PM and wife Sara Paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

Netanyahu will be accompanied by his wife Sara as they will leave for Agra to see Taj Mahal on Tuesday. On the same day, he will visit Delhi and participate in the Raisina Dialogue, where he is scheduled to deliver an inaugural speech.

Netanyahu will leave for Ahmedabad on the fourth day of his tour and visit the Sabarmati Ashram. The minister will also attend an event at the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology. He will later visit the Centre of Excellence, Vadrad. After which, the minister will leave for Mumbai.

On Thursday, Netanyahu will have a power breakfast with Indian CEOs and attend a business seminar. He will also lay a wreath at Taj Hotel Mumbai and pay a visit to Nariman House – Chabad Centre.

He will also reach out to Bollywood personalities in an exclusive ‘Shalom Bollywood’ event, that aims at exploring business opportunities for Indian filmmakers in Israel.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set aside protocol to receive his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, who arrived in New Delhi for a historic six-day visit. Modi welcomed Netanyahu with a hug upon his arrival. According to Israeli officials, Netanyahu was pleasantly surprised by Modi welcoming him at the airport. “I very much appreciate the gesture,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by officials.

A smiling Modi embraced Netanyahu and then shook hands both with him and his wife as they stepped on the red carpet at the airport here.

They both then arrived at Teen Murti Chowk, received by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and Foreign Secy S Jaishankar on Sunday.


Delhi’s Teen Murti Chowk has been renamed Teen Murti Haifa Chowk by PM Modi and his Israeli counterpart Netanyahu. The renaming was done in memory of the supreme sacrifice by Indian soldiers to liberate Haifa in Israel in 1918.

Netanyahu who is accompanied by his wife had a brief conversation with Swaraj after renaming the Teen Murti Haifa Chowk in the capital.

This is the first visit to India by an Israeli Prime Minister since Ariel Sharon came in 2003


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India shouldn’t replicate China’s urbanisation models: NITI Aayog VC

Given India’s diversity, it cannot afford “inequitable and unbalanced urbanisation, said Niti Aayog VC Rajiv Kumar



Rajiv Kumar

Instead of replicating foreign models that may lead to inequitable and unbalanced urbanisation, India needs to create growth hubs across the country, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Thursday.

Given India’s diversity, it cannot afford “inequitable and unbalanced urbanisation”, he said.

“It’s unfortunate that we continuously look for foreign models…

We cannot let India replicate what China has done,” Rajiv Kumar said during the national workshop on “Municipal Finance and Effective & Accelerated Implementation of Smart Cities” here.

He said that development in China had happened only along the coastline whereas other areas had remained backward, forcing millions of people to move inward to their homelands during the Chinese New Year and India cannot have millions of people moving from one part of the nation to the other on festivals like Diwali or Holi.

“To minimise the presence of dualistic structure and to connect villages with all the urban facilities, we need to introduce the concept of ‘rurban’,” he said.

“In order to empower our cities, we need economic-political legitimacy, technologically smart solutions and intellectual legitimacy,” he added.

“Unless we make our cities generators of India, we won’t get intellectual legitimacy.”

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