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Northeast India can be ‘central actor’ in water co-operation

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Kolkata: India’s northeast could be the “central actor” in water and energy co-operation in the sub-regional grouping of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) given its rich resources and connectivity to the neighbouring countries, experts said here on Thursday.

“Northeast connects the east, rest of India to neighbouring countries and it is resource rich in every respect – borders, natural resources, plantation.

“If you are able to grow tea in the northeast like we do in the tea gardens of north West Bengal, we will be the highest producer of tea in the world,” said Mahendra P. Lama, an expert on south Asian co-operation.

“I see the Indian government giving huge emphasis on linking northeast in politics of growth and integrating and inter-linking rivers,” said Lama, chairperson of Centre for South, Central, Southeast Asian and Southwest Pacific Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Echoing Lama, Madhukar Upadhyay, the former poverty-environment initiative adviser at the National Planning Commission, Nepal, said BBIN framework will help address issue of depleting water resources and trans-boundary water sharing.

“What we are seeing is more water in the monsoons and you have less water in the dry season so you don’t know what to do with the water in the wet season. The need of the BBIN initiative would be to understand the water science in mountains and in the plains.

“Bhutan and Nepal have similar problems which will affect countries like India and Bangladesh downstream,” he said at the ‘Advancing the BBIN Agenda: Exploring possibilities in Trade, Transit, Energy and Water Cooperation’ organised by the Observer Research Foundation and The Asian Foundation here.

However, Upadhyay, a climate change consultant, warned India’s ambitious river inter-linking project could be a “blunder” since it would create ‘negative floods’ instead of ‘positive floods’ that ensure nutrient flow.

Deliberating on Nepal’s contribution to BBIN in terms of water co-operation, Hari Pandit, an expert in water resource engineering, said 80 billion cubic metres of water stored in Nepal’s reservoirs during monsoons could be mobilised for the region during the water-deficient months.

(IANS)

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Big reforms made India fastest growing major economies globally: Garg

It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries

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The RBI building in Mumbai. Photo credit: AFP/Sajjad Hussain

The major reforms undertaken by the Indian government for raising economic growth and maintaining macroeconomic stability have made the country one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, said Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).

Garg was addressing the Special Event hosted by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum on ‘Indian Economy: Prospect and Challenges’ in Washington D.C on Friday.

Indian economy needs big reform.

He said the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) represented an “historic economic and political achievement, unprecedented in Indian tax and economic reforms, which has rekindled optimism on structural reforms.” He further emphasized that India carried-out such major reforms when the global economy was slow.

“With the cyclical recovery in global growth amid supportive monetary conditions and the transient impact of the major structural reforms over, India will continue to perform robustly,” Garg said.

During his meetings, Garg highlighted that the digital age technologies have profound implications for policies concerning every aspects of the economy. It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries.

Also Read: Biggest Bank Frauds Which Shook The Indian Economy

He expressed that the response to such a transformation will have to shift from ‘catch up’ growth to adoption/adaption of digital technologies for development and growth.

Garg also informed that India has started adopting policies and programmes for transforming systems of delivery of services using digital technologies and connecting every Indian with digital technologies and access through Aadhaar and other such means.

Indian economy should be on rise. www.mapsofindia.com

While citing the example of expanding mobile data access, he mentioned that India is now the largest consumer of mobile data in the world with 11 gigabytes mobile data consumption per month. He informed that India is investing in digital technologies, encouraging private sector to adapt these technologies and also addressing the taxation related issues by introducing equalisation levy.

Garg is currently on an official tour to Washington D.C. to attend the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and other associated meetings. He is accompanied by Urjit Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India and other senior officials. IANS