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The Qatar experience and lessons for India

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Qatar

The world is changing. Sport is a strong vehicle of change. And one of the best examples of this phenomenon is Qatar, which is on the fast track of modernisation and transformation ever since it clinched the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This is the first time that a mega sporting event of this proportion is being hosted in this part of the world.

Qatar has been at it for a long time. Finally, its protracted struggle bore fruit. Any sportsperson would vouch for this; nothing succeeds like success. Qatar has suddenly catapulted itself in the world of sports as a shining star. All the reservations like the regressive labour laws, poor human rights record, curbs on free speech and lack of integrated sports culture — all of these factors, individually and collectively — were sufficient to defeat Qatar’s claim to host the World Cup.

There’s also a raging controversy about how Qatar secured the bid. But Qatar won the bid in spite of all these hurdles. That Qatar won the bid, in my view, is simply historic.

The whole country is in a transformation mode, like a snake that sheds its old skin and emerges with a new one. I was in Qatar earlier this year and the change — and the pace of that change — is both bewildering and inspiring.

It’s estimated that more than $250 billion will be spent to prepare for the World Cup. New stadia and arenas are coming up, civic infrastructure is being upgraded manifold; hotels, railways, airports and freeways are fast transforming the country. One cannot escape the feeling that these changes are symbolic of the ambitions of a small country to make it big in the comity of nations.

Development and social justice via sports is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well. India has much to learn from the Qatar experience. Just to give you an idea, there will be seven host cities — Al-Daayen, Al-Khor, Al-Rayyan, Al-Shamal, Al-Wakrah, Doha and Umm Slal — where 12 new state-of-art stadia will come up with capacities of at least 43,000 each. And the unique aspect is that part of these stadia could be dismantled after the event and transported to other less-developed countries to help set up the infrastructure for sports and encourage people at large to play.

Qatar, while creating a real estate marvel, will remain conscious of environmental consequences. Most of the sporting infrastructure being built is zero-carbon emitting and climate controlled.

Qatar’s success is not confined to just winning the bid to host the World Cup, but its commitment to modernising and upgrading its economy. An event of this magnitude is not just about creating the necessary sporting infrastructure in a stipulated time frame, but the emphasis is also on developing and internalising an enduring sporting culture in the two-and-a-half-million Qataris. To be able to do that, Qatar is already hosting almost 100 events every year in various sporting disciplines. The World Cup is not the end, but a means to an end.

Last month, Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Chief Executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, speaking in London, elucidated the National Vision 2030 where the investment in sports would be an integral part of a multi-faceted strategy to ensure that economic development is diverse and sustainable. There have been wide-ranging labour reforms to make Qatar an enviable destination for foreign investment. There’s a move to end the Kafala system that falls foul of international labour laws by binding an employee to an employer in an almost “slave-like” manner. The Qatari government has also expressed its willingness to introduce a law on minimum wages.

Under the young and dynamic leadership of Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy of Qatar, sports is the catalyst in the region’s social and economic development. In a recent address to the UN, Thawadi said: “Events of this stature (the World Cup) can bring billions of people together from every corner of the world. They can serve to accelerate and inspire…in a manner and at a pace that few other initiatives can match. Sport is uniquely equipped to play a significant role in attaining these goals. We are aiming for the stars, our feet are firmly on the ground.”

India should not just be committed to ensuring “ease of doing business” in the country, but also “ease of all segments of society to play”. Qatar’s experience has an encouraging message for India.

(Siddhartha Upadhyay is member of the Governing Body of the Sports Authority of India and Founder of STAIRS, an organisation dedicated to the uplift of sports. The views expressed at personal. He can be contacted at [email protected])

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Key Indian equity indices open flat

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SENSEX-

Mumbai, June 18: The key Indian equity indices on Monday opened on a flat note.

The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), was trading 17.56 points or 0.05 per cent lower soon after opening.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was also trading 7.60 points or 0.07 per cent lower at 10,810.10 points.

The Sensex of the BSE, which opened atA35,698.43 points, was trading at 35,604.58 points (at 9.19 a.m.), lower 17.56 points or 0.05 per cent from the previous day’s close at 35,622.14 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 35,721.55 points and a low of 35,585.73 points in the trade so far.

IANS

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Market Review: Higher industrial output, Kim-Trump meet lift equity indices

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Sensex Nifty Equity

Mumbai, June 16: Healthy industrial production data and an encouraging geo-political scenario aided the key Indian equity indices to rise for the fourth consecutive week.

The gains in the week ended Friday, however, were limited by a number of global factors including the interest rate hike in the US, and US President Donald Trump’s approval to tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese exports.

Additionally, domestic factors such as a rise in retail and wholesale inflation also arrested the gains.

Index-wise, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE rose by 178.47 points or 0.50 per cent to close at 35,622.14 points on a weekly basis.

The wider Nifty50 of the NSE closed the week’s trade at 10,817.70 points — up 50.05 points or 0.46 per cent — from its previous close.

According to analysts, market breadth was positive in only two of the five trading sessions.

“Markets ended the week with modest gains after a sharp bounce back from the lows of 10,755 points (Nifty50),” said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities.

Hem Securities’ Director Prateek Jain said: “Last week indices extended their winning streak to the fourth consecutive week. The upswing was seen despite retail inflation rising to 4.9 per cent for the month of May compared to the previous month.”

According to Rahul Sharma, Senior Research Analyst at Equity99, “It was an eventful week on the global front too, with US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signing a joint agreement for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”

“Further, the Fed (US Federal Reserve) has again done what it was expected to do as it raised benchmark interest rates hinting at a little more aggression in tightening monetary policy this year,” Sharma said.

“Another event, which kept investors sentiments on the toe was reports that President Donald Trump’s administration has cleared tariffs on tens of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods”

On the currency front, the rupee closed at 68.02 against the US dollar depreciating by 51 paise from its previous week’s close of 67.51 per greenback.

In terms of investments, provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrip worth Rs 5,294 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 4,014.25 crore during the week.

Figures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) revealed that foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) divested equities worth Rs 3,071.85 crore, or $455.4 million, in the week ended on June 15.

Sectorally, the top gainers were the pharma, IT, energy and PSU bank indices and the top losers were metal, infrastructure and realty indices, Jasani told IANS.

The top weekly Sensex gainers were Dr Reddy’s Lab (up 13.97 per cent at Rs 2,351.10); Sun Pharma (up 8.11 per cent at Rs 571.05); Tata Consultancy Services (up 5.33 per cent at Rs 1,841.45); IndusInd Bank (up 4.01 per cent at Rs 1,965.85); and Reliance Industries (up 3.10 per cent at Rs 1,013.85 per share).

The major losers were Tata Steel (down 5.60 per cent at Rs 565.95); ONGC (down 4.64 per cent at Rs 165.45); Coal India (down 3.74 per cent at Rs 279.05); NTPC (down 3.40 per cent at Rs 156.05); and Tata Motors (DVR) (down 3.30 per cent at Rs 180.05 per share).

IANS

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Despite overflowing godowns, Modi Govt allows pulses import

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Pulse price rise

New Delhi, June 16: Despite overflowing godowns, the central government has allotted quotas for import of pulses and is enforcing an additional import agreement with Mozambique.

The development comes at a time when domestic stocks are at their peak, domestic production is expected to be high and prices are reducing.

According to the Hindu report, Farmers and millers are unhappy with the situation, but the government says it is balancing the needs of Indian consumers and commitments to foreign trade partners on the one hand and the interests of Indian peasants on the other.

On the related note, the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) held a meeting on Monday, during which the final allocations of import quotas — totalling two lakh tonnes of tur or arhar dal, and 1.5 lakh tonnes each of moong and urad — were made.

Those amounts show a quantitative restriction that was imposed on pulses imports in August last year in response to a glut in domestic supply and decreasing prices, which continues this year.

“The government has stock, traders have stock, millers have stock, and farmers have stock, so there is a surplus. We don’t understand why the government is insisting on import…we may be able to meet only 40-50% of our quotas”. A senior official at the DGFT insisted that according to the terms of the allocation, import quotas must be met by August end.

As a good monsoon forecast is expected, the Agriculture Commissioner predicts domestic pulses production of 24 million tonnes in 2018-19.

However, earlier in May,  the DGFT issued a notice exempting pulses imports from Mozambique from the restrictions.

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