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‘H.O.P.E’ describes India’s success, says PM Narendra Modi to Durban

There are around 1.2 million people of Indian origin in South Africa, most of whose ancestors were brought here as indentured labour

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  • ‘Hope’, where H stands for harmony, O for optimism, P for potential and E for energy; describes India’s success story, said Modi
  • There are around 1.2 million people of Indian origin in South Africa, most of whose ancestors were brought here as indentured labour
  • India registered a healthy growth rate of 7.4 percent this year, 2016, he said it was the bright spot in the global economy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday, July 8, called South Africa the birthplace of satyagraha and said it was in South Africa that Mahatma Gandhi conceptualized his politics.

“India’s rise is a story of rare resilience, renewed resurgence, superb speed and spectacular scale,” Modi said in his trademark Indian diaspora rally at the Ticketpro Dome, the entertainment hub of Johannesburg.

“Today, India’s success story can be defined in just four letters, ‘hope’, where H stands for harmony, O for optimism, P for potential and E for energy,” he said to the cheers of over 11,000 people.

“The credit for this does not go to Modi but to the 1.25 billion people of India.”

Modi started his speech with a mixture of English and Hindi.

“When I see all of you, I am reminded of your ancestors and their struggles and bravery,” he said.

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“Under decades of apartheid isolation, they not only preserved culture, tradition, and language, they also gave them new wings to flourish,” he stated.

“The beauty of Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Urdu and Telugu continues to enrich the fabric of South African society.”

There are around 1.2 million people of Indian origin in South Africa, most of whose ancestors were brought here as indentured labour.

This apart, there are also estimates of 15,000 to 20,000 Indian nationals and professionals who are new immigrants.

“The colours of Holi, the sparkle of Diwali, tastes of Pongal, and festivities of Eid are not just the rainbow of Indian traditional cultural resources,” Modi said wearing a Madiba shirt, an Indonesian batik shirt that was a favourite with late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

He reminded the crowd that after international sanctions were lifted on cricket in South Africa on July 10, 1991, India was the first country that the South African team toured.

Modi urged the people to join in India’s growth story.

“India is a land of opportunity for those who want to innovate and create, trade and invest,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Image Source: vpaksh.com
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Image Source: vpaksh.com

“Come, see the transformation that is taking place in India.”

Stating that India registered a healthy growth rate of 7.4 percent this year, 2016, he said it was the bright spot in the global economy.

The Prime Minister said India and South Africa have similar aspirations and challenges.

“India and South Africa are strategic partners. We should build a partnership that spans the entirety of human endeavour,” he said.

According to Modi, this partnership can scale new heights in diverse fields “from agriculture to health care, from culture to commerce, from industry to institution building, from investment to information technology, from mining to manufacturing from sports to science and technology, and from defence to development”.

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“As South Africa works for economic prosperity, safety and security, it will find in India a trusted and reliable partner,” he stated.

The Prime Minister concluded by saying that the Indian community in South Africa was a window to India’s heritage.

“Your achievements, your contributions, and your success make us all proud,” he said.

India and South Africa signed four agreements on Friday following bilateral discussions led by Modi and South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria.

Following the diaspora rally, the Prime Minister left for Durban where his engagements were scheduled for Saturday, July 9.

Modi arrived in South Africa from Mozambique on Thursday night, July 7, on the second leg of his four-nation tour of Africa.

This is his first visit to mainland Africa and is also the first prime ministerial visit from India to South Africa since then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in 2013 for the G20 summit in Durban.

Prime Minister Modi is set to visit Tanzania and Kenya after the South African visit. (IANS)

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Richard Thaler Supported Demonetisation, there is More to the Story

Demonetisation is what Richard Thaler had long supported. However, he remarked "Really? Damn," when he was informed about the introduction of Rs. 2,000 notes in place of the discontinued Rs. 500 and 1,000 notes thereby highlighting how his joy of seeing a step towards a cashless economy and reduction of corruption was momentary.

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Richard Thaler
Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences on 9th October.Wikimedia

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to scrape Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes last November, Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler supported demonetization describing it as a policy that he had long supported.

Dr. Richard Thaler, a Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at the University of Chicago won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences on 9th October.

Did Richard Thaler really support demonetization in the way BJP took it? There is more to the story than what meets the eye.

As soon as Thaler was declared the Nobel Prize winner, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started sharing Thaler’s tweet regarding demonetization on social media affirming that the move which was severely criticised by the members of the opposition was actually supported by a Nobel Prize winner. The BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya retweeted the old tweet within a fraction of a second.

However, Richard Thaler remarked “Really? Damn,” when he was informed about the introduction of Rs. 2,000 notes in place of the discontinued Rs. 500 and 1,000 note thereby highlighting how his joy of seeing a step towards a cashless economy and reduction of corruption was momentary.

It was not only the BJP supporters but also a large number of BJP leaders who were flowed away with incomplete picture depicted by Malviya and tweeted about it.‬ This included Union Minister Giriraj Singh, former BJP IT Cell Head Arvind Gupta, and many others.

Soon after, twitterati realized that the full picture of Thaler’s statement on demonetization was rather hidden.

Prime Minister Modi declared that the motivation behind scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was to promote cashless economy and reduce corruption. This decision was severely criticised by different sections of the society putting on Modi the ultimate responsibility for heralding economic deceleration. Demonetisation pulled down India’s GDP growth rate to a mere 6.1% in 2016-17.

Some highlighted that the introduction of Rs 2000 note was an ephemeral panacea for remonetization and that its printing has been terminated.

-Prepared by Mohima Haque of NewsGram, Twitter: mohimahaque26

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India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

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United nations
India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)

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Prime Minister Greets Nation on Valmiki Jayanti

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PM Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modii. IANS

New Delhi, Oct 5: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday greeted the nation on the occasion of Valmiki Jayanti.

“Greetings on Valmiki Jayanti. A great sage and master litterateur, his rich ideals and works guide generations…,” Modi tweeted on the birth anniversary of Sanskrit poet Maharishi Valmiki.

Valmiki is the author of the epic Ramayana. The original texts written by the sage consists of 24,000 shlokas and seven cantos (kandas) including Uttara Kanda. (IANS)