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Modi in Singapore: India is now the bright hope for sustaining Asia’s prosperity

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Singapore: India is now the bright hope for sustaining Asia’s dynamism and prosperity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared on Monday while speaking at the 37th Singapore Lecture in Singapore.

Asia’s re-emergence is the greatest phenomenon of our era. From the darkness of the middle of the last century, Japan led Asia’s rise. It then extended to Southeast Asia, (South) Korea and China,

In his speech he mentioned India’s position as the bright hope for sustaining Asian prosperity.

And, India is now the bright hope for sustaining Asian dynamism and prosperity,

Talking about India’s relationship with city-state Singapore, Modi said: “Singapore teaches us many things. The size of a nation is no barrier to the scale of its achievements.”

And the lack of resources is no constraint for inspiration, imagination and innovation.

The Singapore Lecture has become one of the intellectual highlights of Singapore. It is designed to provide an opportunity for distinguished statesman and leaders of thought and knowledge to reach out to a wider audience in Singapore.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was present at the event.

Modi underlined that India and Singapore have been together at many crossroads of time.

Our relationship is written in the pages of history, the footprints of culture, the ties of kinship and the old connection of commerce.

He mentioned that Singapore’s success became an aspiration for Indians. “As India opened itself, Singapore became India’s springboard to the world and gateway to the East.”

Today, Singapore is one of our most important partners in the world. It is a relationship that is as strategic as it is wide-ranging.

Talking about one of his pet projects, the Swachh Bharat campaign, Modi said it is not just a program to clean our environment, but to transform the way we think, live and work.

For quality, efficiency, and productivity are not just technical measures, but also a state of mind and a way of life.

 

He said India was investing in its people through skills and education; special focus on the girl child; financial inclusion; sustainable habitats; clean rivers and smart cities; and, access to basic needs of all our citizens – from water and sanitation to power and housing.

We will nurture and defend an environment in which every citizen belongs and participates, secure of her rights and confident about her opportunities.

He also spoke about government’s continuous attempts to create various opportunities in different fields all over the country.

And, we are creating opportunities by reforming our laws, regulations, policies, processes and institutions; by the way we govern ourselves; and the way we work with state governments.

Modi said that together with this software of change, it was also building the hardware of progress like next generation infrastructure, revived manufacturing, improved agriculture, easier trade and smarter services.

Modi paid homage to the architect of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew.

(Inputs from IANS)

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After Donald Trump’s Anti-immigrant policies, Singapore is next to shut down Indian Techies

Inter-racial couples are subject to constant inspection and Singaporean students of Indian descent have complained of being victims of racism.

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Singapore, Wikimedia

April 13, 2017: Not only Trump’s America vouches for Anti-immigrant policies, an Island nation has been clamping down on Indian tech workers as part of its efforts to make sure corporations give locals a fair chance and to address concerns about overpopulation. Singapore having a population of 5.4 million people and a manpower of which nearly 40% constitutes nonresidents,  has been ramping up measures to ensure that firms have a “Singapore core.”

Officials have remarked that immigrant workers tend to be more frequent in certain industries, including food-and-beverage and technology. Although Singapore hasn’t made any declarations singling out Indian workers or firms, India’s IT trade industry body says it’s seen a definite change in the visa regime.

Officials have remarked that immigrant workers tend to be more frequent in certain industries, including food-and-beverage and technology. Although Singapore hasn’t made any declarations singling out Indian workers or firms, India’s IT trade industry body says it’s seen a definite change in the visa regime.

“They realized that the total number of people they have… far exceed the optimal level [the country can accommodate],” Gagan Sabharwal, director of global trade development at Nasscom, told Quartz.

“That’s when they started shutting the tap down by making it more expensive, making it more cumbersome for companies.”

Nasscom, the National Association of Software and Services Companies, has noted a decline in visas over many years but says things have become individually tough since last year.

In the beginning, Sabharwal states, Singapore started raising salaries required for foreign workers every six months or so by more than 10%. However, promptly, he said, local workers began whining that they weren’t getting paid as generously as their foreign counterparts.

The previous month, Singapore raised the minimum salary that a firm has to pay a local worker in order to count them as a full-time local employee while estimating how many foreign workers it is allowed to hire.

Singaporean officials are also reportedly asking for information in relation to work-permit applications for Indian tech workers that the firms believe is contradictory to a 2005 economic cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Quartz reached out to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) with interrogations and will update if they counter.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower also necessitates that the companies must provide it with the relevant information on the number of applications submitted by Singaporeans, such as, whether the Singaporeans were interviewed for a vacancy, and the firm’s existing share of Singaporeans in professional, managerial, and executive positions.

In 2016, there were more than 300 applications pending for foreign employment passes after 100 firms came under extra scrutiny for not giving Singaporeans a fair chance.

Work-permit processes have stiffened lately since Singapore affirmed the Fair Consideration Framework, a slew of rules in place since October 2015 to make sure employers really are considering Singaporeans for vacancies. It requires for the company with over 25 workforces to advertise an opening for two weeks before applying for an employment pass for an international worker to fill that space.

“All Indian companies have received communication on fair consideration, which basically means hiring local people,” Nasscom president R. Chandrasekhar told Times of India.

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The total population of Indian techies in Singapore has desiccated to under 10,000, NDTV reported.

“Since about last summer, the approval rates have actually fallen drastically. Most companies are only getting a trickle through,” tells Sabharwal of Nasscom.

Of course, it’s not just Singapore that’s shutting the door on Indian techies, Sabharwal says. The UK, Canada, and the US—the three countries that account for the mainstream of India’s software export revenue—all have made it harder for Indians to drift to each of those locations.

Each of these mentioned places poses a unique problem further than the legal woes: For instance, a resurrection of white supremacist organizations nationwide and xenophobic political rhetoric have fueled hate crimes in the US. While such acts of violence are unheard of in Singapore, nevertheless an unwelcoming sentiment toward Indians has been pervading the Asian country too.

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The city-state—where nearly 10% of the citizens are of Indian heritage and Tamil is an official language—has seen discrimination against prospective home renters of Indian-origin. Inter-racial couples are subject to constant inspection and Singaporean students of Indian descent have complained of being victims of racism. Meanwhile, a new political party, SingFirst, says the city-state needs to focus on “growing our own timber,” when it comes to the workforce, and be less reliant on foreign labor.

Local hiring is also easier said than done, according to Sabharwal, who says it is difficult to find inhabitants to fill positions. He added that companies need to make more of an effort on providing skills training—or be prepared to move operations out.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

Singapore’s home minister, himself of Indian origin, has notified that the city-state must be on guard against populism that could grind ethnic divisions.

The new effort to promote local hiring is also at odds with how Singapore has billed itself over the last half century, as an attractive destination for the globe-trotting highly skilled worker.

– Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94

 

 

 

 

 

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Modi in Singapore: India, Singapore signed pact for strategic partnership, 9 other deals

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Picture Courtesy:-www.freepressjournal.in

Singapore: India and Singapore signed a joint declaration on strategic partnership and nine bilateral accords on Tuesday, the concluding day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to this city state when he called Singapore as Asia’s lion.

He also pledged to make the Indian tax regime more transparent and predictable.

It was a packed schedule for Modi as he began the day with a breakfast meeting with Singaporean leaders, met President Tony Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, witnessed the signing of the accords, attended a lunch hosted by Hsien, laid a wreath at the INA marker, visited the Institute of Technical Education that is involved in skill development, addressed the India-Singapore Economic Convention, briefly met select CEOs and finally addressed the Indian diaspora, whom he praised for building up the country’s image.

Modi left for home late in the night. Singapore was the second leg of his visit that earlier took him to Malaysia for the ASEAN-India Summit and the East Asia Summit.

Modi and Hsien signed the joint declaration to elevate bilateral relations to a “strategic partnership to deepen and broaden engagement in existing areas of cooperation and catalyze new ones ranging from political, defense, and security cooperation to economic, cultural, and people to people contact”, an official statement said.

Besides this, two agreements on defense cooperation and loan of artifacts from India to Singapore, two executive program/operationalization documents on arts and culture, and white-shipping, and five memorandums of agreement (MoUs) on cyber security, civil aviation, knowledge exchange in the field of planning, urban planning, and combating drug trafficking were also signed.

The agreements were signed after talks between the two prime ministers here.

After the signing of the documents, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted that the two prime ministers noted the importance of culture between the two countries and encouraged more exhibitions, exchanges, and interactions.

Modi and after the signing of the documents, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted that the two prime ministers noted the importance of culture between the two countries and encouraged more exhibitions, exchanges and interactions.

Modi and Hsien noted their shared interest in furthering cooperation in the areas of science and technology, particularly in space, biomedicine and Ayurveda, the spokesperson added.

The two prime ministers also released two postage stamps showing Rashtrapati Bhavan and Istana, the Singaporean presidential palace, to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Speaking at the lunch hosted by his Singaporean counterpart, Modi described the city-state Singapore as Asia’s economic lion which has been a major partner in India’s transformation.

The Asiatic lion may now only be found in Gujarat. Asia’s economic lion is to be found here – in Singapore,

On his part, Hsien said the diverse Indian community in Singapore has played a large part in building the country.

Hsien said Singapore’s Indian pioneers include G. Sarangapany, who came here from Tamil Nadu in 1924. He founded the Tamil “Murasu” newspaper, and sold the paper at one cent a copy so that the poor could read it too, Channel News Asia reported.

“Because of leaders like him, Singapore has today a thriving community of Indians who are well-integrated into our society and form an essential part of our multi-racial, multi-religious mix,” Lee said.

Addressing the diaspora, Modi said: “The entire world is reposing a lot of faith in India today and the reason behind this is not Modi, but the Indians settled abroad.”

Wherever you have gone, you have made that country your own, irrespective of circumstances,

Addressing the Singaporean business community at the India-Singapore Economic Convention, Modi admitted that there were still a number of regulatory and taxation issues in India and tried to hard sell the country’s business potential to Singapore’s corporate community, – and assured that he will do the hand-holding when they come to India.

In the past few months, the interest of foreign investors in India has gone up tremendously. However, there were a number of regulatory and taxation issues which were adversely impacting on their sentiments. We have taken very decisive steps to remove many of the long-pending concerns,

Modi was hopeful that the much-awaited goods and service tax regime will roll out from 2016.

He said India’s growth rate was 7.3 percent last year and the World Bank has projected even better growth this year.

Modi observed that Singapore has emerged as the second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in India. “Outward Indian FDI to Singapore has also increased in recent times. Singapore is now one of the top destinations for Indian investments.

We are working hard to make sure that our tax regime is transparent and predictable. We are also keen to see that genuine investors and the honest tax payers get quick and fair decisions on tax matters. With this objective, we have already made a number of corrections,

He also said that in the last 18 months of the National Democratic Alliance-run government, reforms were happening in a “big way” and were now reaching the last mile.

Modi also paid his respects at the Indian National Army (INA) memorial marker here.

“Remembering the valiant heroes of India’s independence struggle. PM pays homage at the INA memorial marker,” Swarup tweeted.

The prime minister bowed before the photograph of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose placed at the memorial. Netaji led the INA, which was dedicated to winning India’s independence from the British empire.

(Inputs from IANS)

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Modi in Singapore: My only task is development

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Picture Courtesy:-indiatoday.intoday.in

Singapore: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday sought a greater engagement of the diaspora in making the country strong, pointing to the large requirement of foreign direct investment and stating that his only task was to do development that wipes tears from the eyes of the poor.

Addressing a gathering of the Indian diaspora at the Singapore Expo here, Modi spoke of his government’s goals of providing round-the-clock power by 2022, generating 40 percent energy from non-fossil sources by 2030 and generating 175 GW of renewable energy.

The prime minister was greeted by slogans of “Modi, Modi” many times during his speech.

Wearing a kurta, churidar pyjama, and a light-blue half jacket, Modi spoke for over one hour in Hindi, drawing on the country’s culture but also emphasizing that it was important to script history and not rest on the laurels of the past.

Modi evoked smiles with some of his remarks.

India is a great country, but it has a lot to learn from Singapore. The diversity that is in India, it is in Singapore but everyone is a Singaporean and is working shoulder to shoulder to build the country. We have to learn a lot from Singapore,

 

Modi said he had started his journey with one task before him and needed the blessings of Indians in the country and outside.

I have to accomplish one task and that is development, a development which wipes the tears of the poor, provides employment for youth, prosperity to farmers and empowerment to women.

Referring to the positive image of the country in the world, Modi said the reason for it was “not Modi but you, my brothers and sisters living in foreign countries”.

He said Indians assimilated well with the country they went to.

They live by Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — the whole world is one family,

Indians number about 350,000 in Singapore’s population of about 5.5 million.

The prime minister said FDI has two meanings for him — foreign direct investment and first develop India.

“Today, India needs a large amount of FDI,” he said, noting that FDI flows have gone up by 40 percent over the past 18 months.

Modi said his government had allowed up to 100 percent FDI in the railways and the same would apply in approved high technology areas in defense.

For me railway is not transport only. It is an engine for India’s transformation,

Referring to his government’s steps towards making India clean, he said the people of the country had made up their mind to bring about change.

A country is not built by governments, but by the determination of its people. Today there is an atmosphere that we will take the country forward,

He referred to his humble origins and referred to 40 lakh people giving up subsidy on his call.

Modi said it is understandable that people acted voluntarily on a call by leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi but they had acted on “a call by an ordinary man like me, a tea seller”.

Referring to Swami Vivekananda, Modi said he sees the country reaching its old glory of being “Vishwa Guru” (world guru).

Modi said he had said during pre-election interviews that India will walk as an equal in the international arena.

“I have fulfilled that promise. India is full of self-confidence. The world has begun to recognize the power of 125 crore Indians,” he said, adding that the world no longer sees India as a market but is keen to forge partnerships.

My effort is that India has the best of what the world has to offer and it also adds to the best that we have,

Modi said the esteem for India’s currency should rise in global markets and the decision to float rupee bonds in the London Stock Exchange was a move in that direction.

This means invest in rupee, get back in rupee. Enter the world market in rupee,

Modi said the rupee bond was a sign of economic prosperity and should be seen with pride by every Indian.

Noting that 65 percent of the population was under 35, he said India was collaborating with countries like Singapore, the US, and Germany for imparting skills.

(Inputs from IANS)