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

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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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UN Requests Trump Not to Quit Iran Deal

Under the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran is committed to slashing the number of its centrifuges, which are machines used to enrich uranium.

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Trump has been a strong critic of the accord, in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.
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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged Donald Trump not to walk away from an international deal designed to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

Speaking to the BBC, Guterres said there was a real risk of war if the 2015 agreement was not preserved.

Trump has been a strong critic of the accord, in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.

The US president has until May 12, to decide whether to stick with the deal.

Guterres told the BBC that the Iran agreement was an “important diplomatic victory” and should be maintained.

“We should not scrap it unless we have a good alternative,” he said, adding: “We face dangerous times.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged Donald Trump not to walk away from an international deal designed to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.
Donald Trump

It comes just days after Israel revealed “secret nuclear files” accusing Iran of having covertly pursued nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the files provided proof that the Obama-era nuclear deal was “built on lies”, the BBc report said.

European allies France, the UK and Germany meanwhile have agreed that pursuing the current nuclear deal with Iran is the best way to stop it developing nuclear weapons.

In 2015, Tehran signed a deal with the US, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain agreeing to limit its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

Under the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran is committed to slashing the number of its centrifuges, which are machines used to enrich uranium.

It is also meant to cut its stockpile of enriched uranium drastically and not enrich remaining uranium to the level needed to produce nuclear weapons.

Trump has frequently voiced his opposition to the “insane” deal, which he has described as the “worst ever”. Unless the European signatories to the deal and the US Congress addressed his concerns, he plans to withdraw on the next deadline for waiving sanctions.

Trump is unhappy that the deal only limited Iran’s nuclear activities for a fixed period (till 2025) and had failed to stop the development of ballistic missiles.

Also Read: Pompeo is Hopeful For the Change in the Course of History on the Korean Peninsula 

He also said it had handed Iran a $100bn windfall that it used “as a slush fund for weapons, terror, and oppression” across the Middle East.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has questioned the legitimacy of efforts by the US and France to change the nuclear deal with his country.

He has said that Iran “will not accept any restrictions beyond its commitments” to comply with international rules in the years ahead. (IANS)

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