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Mango Diplomacy through National Fruit of India

Both India and Pakistan recognize Mangoes as the national fruit. It is also a diplomatic approach for the two countries

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Mangoes: National Fruit of India is Mango
It is common to see bright mangoes stocked up during season in India. Wikimedia
  • Mango is the national fruit of India as well as Pakistan
  • Both countries have also used mango diplomacy, often in the form of gifts to their leaders
  • The two countries compete for the export market of the world

June 12, 2017: Despite political upheaval between the two countries, India and Pakistan love their mangoes. The mangoes from these two nations are popular and thus in demand all over the world. In the early start of the year (February-March) and monsoons, the mangoes are popular and an essential fruit in every home. But it is really about Mango diplomacy.

India grows 1,200 varieties of mangoes while Pakistan grows one-third of that. India is the world’s largest mango producer (13 million tons a year) while Pakistan stands at 5th spot (1.6 million tons).

Historically, the fruit has been given prime importance even by the ‘outsiders’. The plantation of mangoes was encouraged by the Mughals who also used the fruit as a gift to the nobles of the court.

[bctt tweet=”India grows 1,200 varieties of mangoes.” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

Mangoes were also being exported out of the country by air as well as sea. Bombay was sending crates of mangoes as a gift to Sweden and Holland in an effort to develop mango markets.

As early as 1935, crates of mangoes (along with pearls and nuts) were part of consignments in JRD Tata’s air cargo after the launch of Tata Aviation. The Alfonso mango was selected as the ideal gift by the government to be sent to London by shipment for the crowning of George VI. This may have led to a global demand for mangoes.

The fruit has also carried a diplomatic tradition. It was particularly a favorite for Dr. Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru may have been biased to guavas personally (hailing from Allahabad) but he understood the diplomatic importance of mangoes. Any visit by a foreign leader to India was greeted by gifting mangoes. Nehru also took mangoes when it was his turn to make the visit abroad. In some instances (when it must not have been mango season) Nehru has carried mango saplings to be gifted abroad.

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Particularly different is how mangoes are to be eaten. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev adopted the Indian method of squeezing and then sucking on the fruit. Unlike most leaders who would use spoon and fork, Nikita loved the Indian way.

It has become a cross-border gift for India and Pakistan since the 1980s when Zia ul-Haq exchanged crates of mangoes with the former Indian Prime Minster Indira Gandhi.

On Eid 2015, PM Nawaz Sharif sent 10 kgs of mangoes to Indian PM Narendra Modi. Further, 15 kgs to President Pranab Mukherjee and 10 kgs each to former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Atal Behari Vajpayee was also sent.

It seems Pakistan wants to take its mango diplomacy with India seriously irrespective of the insecurity between the two nations. Every year, India receives Mangoes from Pakistani leaders, but India does not always respond by an exchange.

With security tensions mounting in South Asia, some suggest returning to Mango diplomacy (especially with China) may benefit India.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

 

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Uber India Rolls Out Driver Reward Programme “Uber Plus”

Uber India has planned free doctor access and micro loans for drivers

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Uber
Uber has rolled out a reward programme for drivers in India. Wikimedia Commons

Global ride-hailing major Uber on Wednesday rolled out a driver rewards programme called “Uber Plus” in India that will let drivers earn points for rides so that they can win free doctor consultations, concessions on education modules, access to micro loans, faster airport pick ups and savings on vehicle maintenance costs.

These points will be earned by the driver partners in 13 cities over a fixed period of every three months and can be then accumulated to unlock higher rating tiers such as blue, gold, platinum and diamond which, in turn, will let them access better rewards, informed the company.

“Under the programme, the Uber drivers get access to four tiers. To unlock these awards, they need to maintain a certain threshold rating and keep a low cancellation rate to unlock access to these benefits,” Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia, told IANS.

Uber Plus
Under this programme, Uber drivers get access to four tiers. Pixabay

“We have always worked towards prioritising their welfare and making them feel valued, respected and appreciated. ‘Uber Plus’ is an effort in that direction and will enable our driver partners to access greater benefits during their everyday journeys,” he added.

The rewards and offers are only available to drivers who use the Uber driver app, are participating in Uber Plus and meet applicable criteria.

Asked if this initiative will help in bringing down the number of cancellations, Singh replied: “We encourage ri ders to flag such cases if the driver cancels because the mode of payment is not cash, etc. That will help us take strict action against such drivers.

“We want to encourage behaviour which helps improve the marketplace reliability. Less the cancellation, the chances of the trip getting completed goes up and, overall, the network efficiency increases.”

An initial pilot phase was carried out in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh and Mumbai and now, Uber Plus is being rolled out across 10 new cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi, Guwahati and Jaipur.

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“We also want to reward drivers who have lower cancellations,” said Uber.

Under the driver programme, Uber has partnered with “Ayushman Bharat” to provide access to free healthcare to its drivers, wherein they have access to free healthcare of up to Rs 500,000 in empanelled hospitals. (IANS)