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World Bank commits $25-30 bn for India’s transition to high middle-income country

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New Delhi, Sep 21: The World Bank Group (WBG) on Friday approved its largest country program for India with a likely assistance of $25-30 billion by fiscal 2021-22 to help India’s transition to a higher middle-income country.

“With a fast growing economy, global stature, and its unique experience of lifting the highest number of poor out of poverty in the past decades, India is well-positioned to become a high middle-income country by 2030,” World Bank South Asia Vice President Hartwig Schafer said.

The WBG Board endorsed a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for India aimed at supporting India’s transition by addressing its key development priorities — resource efficient and inclusive growth, job creation and building its human capital.

“The Group expects to deliver $25-30 billion during this CPF period, ending in FY 2022,” the multilateral lending agency said in a statement.

India, which has strong collaboration with Group’s institutions, is the largest client of International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). As of mid-September 2018, total World Bank assistance stood at $27.2 billion representing 104 projects.

At the end of July 2018, International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) India portfolio contained 281 projects, amounting to a committed exposure of $6.4 billion.

“This CPF charts a path for how the World Bank, IFC and MIGA (Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency), will leverage their relative strengths to deliver stronger development outcomes for this dynamic country, half of whose population is under the age of 25,” Schafer said.

India’s Economic Affairs Secretary S.C. Garg complemented the bank for aligning the CPF with India’s development and investment objectives, the statement said.

The WBG will focus on promoting a resource efficient growth path, mainly in the use of land and water, to remain sustainable; enhancing competitiveness and job creation; and investing in health, education and skills to improve human capital.

It will also address the challenge of air pollution, jobs for women, raising the resilience of financial sector and investing in early years of children’s development. It will harness new technology in all spheres.

The CPF highlights the shift from a “lending” to a “leveraging bank”, emphasizing the growing potential and need to draw in capital markets in the financing of development priorities, the World Bank statement said.

Complementing transformational national programs, the bank will also develop strategic state partnerships to address state-specific development priorities.

“The future of India lies in the states of India. The country’s transition to high middle-income status will be determined in large part by the effectiveness of India’s federal compact,” said Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India.

The CPF also emphasises on India’s global leadership role in promoting renewable energy and disaster resilient infrastructure development through its “Lighthouse India” initiative. India’s experience will help countries in Africa and Central Asia, it said.

India

President Kovind unveils statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Paramatta

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Sydney, Nov 22: President Ram Nath Kovind and First Lady Savita Kovind on Thursday unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Parramatta in Sydney.

Prime Minister of Australia, Scott John Morrison, was also present.

WeForNews 

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America

Trump grants new authority to troops to protect border personnel

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(Photo Credit- CNN)

Washington, Nov 22: US President Donald Trump has approved a memorandum that grants new authority to US troops on the Southwest border to protect Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel from migrants if they engage in violence, according to the Pentagon.

Department of Defence spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza told CNN on Wednesday that the Pentagon had received the memorandum.

The White House memo authorises the troops to conduct activities such as “crowd control, temporary detention and cursory search”, according to the memorandum.

It allows troops to use “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary)” in order to perform these protective activities.

While some have questioned whether active duty troops detaining and searching people on US soil constitutes law enforcement, the memo, which is signed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, said that US troops “shall not, without further direction from the President, conduct traditional civilian law enforcement activities, such as arrest, search, and seizure”.

“On detention we do not have arrest authority, detention — I would put it in terms of minutes, in other words if someone’s beating on a border patrolman and if we were in a position to have to do something about it we could stop them from beating on them and take them over and deliver them to a border patrolman who would then arrest them for it,” Secretary of Defence James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

The decision comes as a large group of migrants is arriving at the US-Mexico border.

More than 2,000 Central American migrants arrived in the border city of Tijuana in recent days, and about 3,000 more migrants were estimated to be in Mexicali, Mexico, another border city about 100 miles away.

Until this new authority was granted, troops were not allowed to intervene if CBP personnel came under attack unless they needed to act in their own self-defence.

The Pentagon has been working for the last several days on options for how troops can protect CBP. There are 5,800 to 5,900 troops assigned to the border mission, CNN said.

Trump has said he will deploy as many as 15,000 troops if needed to push back against the group of migrants who are planning on asking for asylum.

On Tuesday, Trump told reporters that the troops “are proud to be on the border. They are proud to be defending our nation. And we are not letting people in”.

IANS

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Entertainment

Good news for Bollywood as Sweden government to cut tax for film shooting

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Panaji, Nov 21 :The Swedish government is examining a proposal on tax cuts for foreign film production houses shooting in Sweden, which once approved could open the doors for Bollywood films to be shot in the Nordic country in a big way, Swedish Consul General in Mumbai Ulrika Sundberg said on Wednesday.

Sundberg was in Goa to participate in a special programme, as part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman on the sidelines of the ongoing International Film Festival of India.

“There are a lot of opportunities around this… One of the issues is that my tax authorities have not been willing to give them tax cuts for production, but now we have a proposal on the table. I need the new government to take a decision on changing the rules, in which case we will be willing to give tax cuts. That will put us on par with other countries,” Sundberg told IANS.

She said that there is a lot of scope to host Indian film production houses in Sweden, known for its stunning locales, and that the synergy is not being tapped currently to the possible extent.

Sundberg further said that there has been a spike in the interest of Indian tourists in Sweden.

“I see the interest is there. I have seen major increase in the years that I have been here. We have seen 30 per cent increase in Indian tourists travelling to Sweden. They are all fascinated by the Northern Lights. They all want to go to the Ice Hotel, they want to see our indigenous people with their reindeers. So the interest is there. Now how you get the Ice Hotel into a Bollywood film, I leave it to Bollywood to decide,” she said.

The diplomat also described Bergman as one of the major ambassadors of her country to the world, a man who not only put Sweden on the international film map with his vision but also created a lot of jobs in that country.

“Bergman opened the doors and subsequent producers have capitalised on the platform that he gave them. I think…he gave us the key to understanding that some of the existential questions which he was raising were also relevant for a Japanese person or someone living in the US. That humanity is struggling with the same questions one way or the other…at different times in life,” she said.

The film industry, whose leading star was Bergman at that time, was responsible for employment of around 100,000 people in Sweden, she added.

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