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India will be the fastest growing big economy in the world in 2016: UN report

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INDIA-ECONOMY

New Delhi: India will be the fastest-growing big economy in the world in 2016, a United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2016 report said on Friday.

“India’s economy, which accounts for over 70 percent of South Asia’s GDP, is projected to grow by 7.3 percent in 2016 and 7.5 percent in 2017, slightly up from an estimated 7.2 percent in 2015,” the UN report released here said.

“As in other countries of the region, the macroeconomic environment in India has improved, helped by the sharp decline in the prices of oil, metals and food,” it said.

“Consumer and investor confidence has risen even as India’s government faces difficulties in implementing its wide-ranging reform agenda and some economic indicators, such as industrial production, remain volatile,” it added.

South Asia is expected to be the world’s fastest growing region in 2016 and 2017 despite challenging global conditions, the report said.

“India is an exception in the global scene with improved macro economic foundations and economic reforms,” said Nagesh Kumar, head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (ESCAP) south and south-west Asia office here.

“Spending on infrastructure, health and education is very low compared to other nations such as China in the region. The decline in oil prices of course provides some room to offset the burden of fuel bill,” he said.

“So this is the time for India to recheck fiscal efforts and raise revenues and do more spending on some of the social sectors,” he added. (IANS)

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Assam’s Citizen Register Raises Concern of U.N. Human Rights Expert

Assam, a state of 33 million people known for its lush tea estates, has for decades been racked by violence between indigenous tribes and settlers.

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Assam
A woman, whose name is left out in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft, stands in a a line to collect forms to file appeals at a NRC Sewa Kendra (NSK) in Guwahati, Aug. 11, 2018. VOA

Three United Nations human rights experts expressed “deep concern” Thursday over a controversial citizens register in India’s Assam state, warning it could inflame ethnic tensions in an already fractious region.

A new draft Register of Citizens (NRC) in the northeastern state announced in July left off four million people, leaving them potentially stateless and facing an uncertain future.

Critics say it is the latest move by the right-wing party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bolster India’s Hindu majority at the expense of minorities. India will hold a national election next year.

assam
Bakrapara, Assam

The policy was introduced by the state government, which is controlled by the same BJP party in power nationally.

“We are… seriously concerned about the lack of clarity regarding what will happen to those left out of the finalized NRC,” said a joint statement from the UN special rapporteur on religious freedoms, Ahmed Shaheed, the rapporteur for minority rights, Fernand de Varennes and an expert on arbitrary detentions, Seong-Phil Hong.

“There is a risk that persons not part of the NRC could become stateless, be at risk of deportation, or be subject to large-scale migration detention,” they said.

The deadline to provide the necessary documents to be included on the register has been set for December 31.

Assam
Indian Muslim men shout slogans during a protest against tensions in India’s northeastern state of Assam, in New Delhi, India, Aug. 8, 2012.
Source:VOA

The current register includes only those who were able to prove they were in the state before 1971, when millions fled Bangladesh’s war of independence into the state, and their descendants.

Also Read: Firefighters of India Battle Air Pollution In The Country’s Capital

Assam, a state of 33 million people known for its lush tea estates, has for decades been racked by violence between indigenous tribes and settlers.

“It is feared that this entire process is increasing inter-ethnic tensions in a region that has already experienced a tumultuous history of identity-based conflicts,” de Varennes said. (VOA)