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India ranks low on inclusive growth and development: WEF

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

Geneva: India has been globally ranked low on the most of the parameters indicating inclusive growth and development. The rankings released on Monday by the World Econmic Forum (WEF) although places India at better position in scale business and political ethics category.

In the first such global rankings issued by the Switzerland-based think tank, India has mostly been placed in the bottom half of the 38 countries that make up our lower middle income bracket. Areas where India ranks low include fiscal transfers, where it ranks 37 out of 38, tax code where it is placed at 32, and social protection where India is given 36th rank.

The World Economic Forum noticed that most countries are missing major opportunities to reduce income inequality while ranking countries in terms of their per capita income levels. The same is the case with India for being low on ranks.

Otherwise India stands at 12th place in business and political ethics, while it ranks 11th on the “Financial intermediation of real economy investment pillar”, which is an indicator of the fact that money invested in the economy generally gets directed towards productive uses.

WEF said another area where policy-makers in India need to prioritise improvement would be “Asset building and entrepreneurship“, especially in the sphere of “Small business ownership“, where India ranks at the bottom at 38th place.

However, India demonstrates leadership in other areas like corruption and rents, where it comes 8th in the ranking.

WEF said the Inclusive Growth and Development Report covering 112 economies presents a new framework for assessing countries’ efforts to foster economic growth that raises the living standards of entire societies.

Releasing the report, WEF officials stated, “We appeal that leaders must pursue economic strategies that are pro-growth and pro-labour”

Also the organiser of the famous economic conclave, WEF further told that the new study conducted over the last two years, seeks to identify the various ways through which policy-makers can drive economic growth and equity at the same time. It also assesses them on their relative success.

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India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

Several female journalists welcomed the minister's resignation on television channels. "This is a moment to celebrate," said journalist Saba Naqvi

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#MeToo, women, sexual harassment
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician M.J. Akbar takes the oath during the swearing-in ceremony of new ministers, July 5, 2017, at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi. The Indian minister and veteran newspaper editor announced his resignation, Oct. 17, 2018, while still insisting that the accusations of sexual harassment are false. VOA

India’s junior foreign minister has resigned following allegations by more than a dozen female journalists of sexual harassment when he was the editor of prominent newspapers. He has dismissed the allegations as “baseless and fabricated.”

M.J. Akbar’s resignation is the highest profile since a #MeToo movement gathered momentum in India with women accusing prominent men in the media and entertainment industries of sexually inappropriate behavior.

Akbar stepped down two days after he filed a criminal defamation lawsuit against journalist Priya Ramani, the first to name him for sexual misconduct.

“Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations against me,” Akbar said in a statement.

sexual harassment
M. J. Akbar flanked by Amb Syed Akbaruddin and Ambassador Tanmay Lal at an event at the Permanent Mission of India in NY City. Flickr

Ramani said she looks forward to getting justice in court, tweeting, “As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation.”

The women who have accused Akbar of inappropriate behavior include journalists who are now in prominent roles in the media industry.

Political fallout

Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has made no comment on the allegations against Akbar, pressure is growing to respond to the charges. Women’s groups, journalists’ associations and the opposition Congress Party had demanded Modi act against him.

Political analysts said Akbar’s continuation would have hurt the government as it gears up for general elections next year, laying it open to charges of being insensitive to women. Modi has projected a pro-women image and launched several initiatives to prevent female foeticide and to educate girls.

Modi will be the chief guest for the inaugural session of the programme on Friday which is being held at Vigyan Bhawan by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Wikimedia Commons
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“I am surprised the government did not ask him to quit earlier,” said Ajoy Bose, an independent political analyst in New Delhi, adding that it was difficult to ignore the accusations. “Too many women had come forward, there was a floodgate of allegations.”

Flood of accusations

Twenty female journalists who had worked under Akbar have rallied behind Ramani following Akbar’s defamation suit by writing a letter to the court asking it to consider their testimonies.

Ramani had written an article a year ago for Vogue India titled, “To the Harvey Weinsteins of the World,” without naming Akbar. After women began recounting their sexual harassment experiences, she retweeted the article earlier this month, saying it was about him and called him a “predator.”

Akbar was “an expert on obscene phone calls, texts, inappropriate compliments and not taking no for an answer,” Ramani had said. She had worked with him in the 1990s.

#MeToo, women, sexual harassment
Bollywood actress Tanushree Datta presents a creation by designer Sanjeet Anand at the Bangalore Fashion Week in Bangalore, India. VOA

The spark for India’s #MeToo movement was lit by Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta, who named actor Nana Patekar for sexually harassing her during a film shoot.

Also Read: #MeToo Movement Shows The Decaying Soul of India: Mahesh Bhatt

Minister Akbar is the latest to resign following the flood of accusations that have followed. Two editors of leading dailies have stepped down in recent days, a Bollywood production house has closed, and India’s biggest comedy group is in disarray.

Several female journalists welcomed the minister’s resignation on television channels. “This is a moment to celebrate,” said journalist Saba Naqvi, who has also accused him of sexual harassment. “Akbar’s case was so blatant.” (VOA)