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Mukherjee visit: India extends $100 mn line of credit to Belarus

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Minsk/New Delhi: India on Thursday extended a new line of credit of $100 million to Belarus and also agreed to work together bilaterally. India would also address trade barriers in the context of Russia-driven Eurasian Economic Union, President Pranab Mukherjee said.

Addressing the India-Belarus Joint Business Council Meeting in Minsk, Mukherjee said India was emerging as one of the fastest growing markets in the world with more than 7 percent growth rate over the past decade.

“There are positive signals that suggest that we may be moving to an even higher growth path. My visit reflects India’s deep interest in strengthening our partnership with Belarus.” he said.

The president said India’s “consolidation measures have improved our fiscal position” and the steps taken have worked to kick-start the Indian economy.

He said the Roadmap on the India-Belarus partnership inked on Wednesday focuses on economic, trade, investment and technology partnerships.

The areas identified for cooperation include conventional and small-scale power generation, new and renewable energy, metallurgy and mining, defense, automotive and agricultural engineering, pharmaceuticals, textiles, agriculture and food processing.

The bilateral trade is modest and way below potential, the President said, adding that his interactions with President Lukashenko made him “hopeful that we can increase our trade to a level of $1 billion by the year 2020”.

“I am confident that this level is achievable if we expand the range of items in our trade basket, increase the share of high-technology and value-added products and enhance exchanges and cooperation in the services sector, such as healthcare, IT, financial services, transport and logistics,” Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee said the decision to grant ‘Market Economy Status’ to Belarus was a significant step towards enhancing bilateral trade and promoting greater integration of Belarus in international trade structures.

He called upon companies from India and Belarus to increase their engagement in trade fairs as well as national, international and regional exhibitions held in both countries.

Mukherjee said both sides were committed to take all possible measures to enhance FDI.

“As both Belarus and India are nations with a tradition of scientific and technological research, our bilateral partnership in these areas can benefit tremendously if the forces of innovation and entrepreneurship could combine with our existing strengths in research,” he said.

He urged companies to explore avenues for technical cooperation in areas such as new and renewable energy, space, the chemical industry, automotive industry including special vehicles, IT, telecommunications, transport, construction and industrial infrastructure.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Interesting facts to know about Pranab Da : Ex President Mukherjee turns 82 today

Happy Bday Pranab Da! Here are some facts about our Former President Pranab Mukherjee

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Pranab Mukherjee India Economic Summit 2009 (Wikipedia)

Ex-President Pranab Mukherjee turns 82 today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sends wishes

Today social media was flooded with good wishes for Mukherjee from all over the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also wished Pranab Mukherjee and said he prayed for his long and healthy life. Pranab Da was born this day in 1935 in Mirati, a village in the Bengal Presidency of British India (now in Birbhum district, West Bengal).

President Ram Nath Kovind also wished Pranab Da on Twitter. “Birthday greetings and best wishes for a long and happy life to former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, whom we affectionately call “Pranab Da”,” he tweeted. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also wished him long life and good health. He said he admired him for his statesmanship.

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President Mukherjee
Former President Pranab Mukherjee (Wikimedia Commons)

Here are few facts about Pranab Da to know on his birthday :

1.Before joining politics Pranab Da was a professor in Vidyasagar College in South 24 Paraganas in 1963.

2. It was year 1969 when Pranab Mukherjee got his break in politics under mentorship of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi also got him elected as a member of Rajya Sabha.

3. Pranab Mukherjee had also worked as a journalist with a local Bengali newspaper, named Desher Dak.

4. Pranab Mukherjee served as Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012 and the Congress party’s top troubleshooter before being elected as President of India.

5. While Presidentship, as the 13th President of India, he taught school children the political history of India on Teacher’s Day.

6. After the demise of Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee quit the Congress and formed his own political party, the Rashtriya Samajwadi Party.

7. Pranab Mukherjee has served as Finance Minister in both Pre-Liberisation and Post-Liberisation eras

8. After his appointment as the 13th President of India, Mukherjee has rejected seven mercy petitions including that of Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab.

9. Pranab Da is also an avid book lover who used to read books for a long time and also written many books, including them the most famous was “The Dramatic Decade: The Indira Gandhi Years”.

May Pranab Da live a long and healthy life and keep guiding us! Wish him a very happy Birthday.

– by Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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President Pranab Mukherjee lauds Mamata Banerjee for good work in Health and Education sectors

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Bring Software Industries to West Bengal, says CM Mamata Banerjee to Bengali Diaspora. Wikimedia

Kolkata, May 20, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday lavished praise on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, lauding her government’s competence especially in the education and health sectors.

“She is doing lot of work, in education, in health. I have been a part of the state politics for 50 years. After becoming President, I have come to the state so many times,” the President said at a programme here.

“… From my personal experience I can say her government is working competently. I bless her as an elder. She is much younger to me,” he added.

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Then, turning to Banerjee, who was present on the dias, he said: “You go ahead, God will help you”.

Mukherjee, who was speaking at the inauguration of the Indian Institute of Liver and Digestive Sciences — Eastern India’s first full-fledged healthcare institute dedicated to liver diseases — also commended Banerjee for taking immediate action after she received complaints that medical treatment was being “sold at an exorbitant cost”.

Banerjee had in February met private hospital authorities and pulled up many of them for “unethical” money-making practices and followed it up by passing the stringent West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill, 2017 that led to the formation of a regulatory commission to monitor the activities of private healthcare providers.

“After receiving complaint that instead of service, treatment was being sold at an exorbitant cost, she has taken immediate action.

“She has spoken to doctors, talked to the departments concerned, and individual and organisations who are involved in the matter. And she has found out a way through discussions,” Mukherjee said. (IANS)

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Indira Gandhi still “most acceptable ruler” of India for her Decisiveness and Fearlessness: President Pranab Mukherjee

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Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, with daughter Indira Gandhi, Wikimedia

New Delhi, May 13, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said Indira Gandhi was still the “most acceptable ruler” of the country and hailed the late Prime Minister for her decisiveness and fearlessness.

“To the people of India, she is the most acceptable ruler of a democratic country, even today,” Mukherjee said at the launch of the book “India’s Indira – A Centennial Tribute” during her birth centenary year.

He said that Indira Gandhi’s short period in political wilderness revealed her true strength.

“She remained undaunted in the face of attacks and criticism. She never lost courage. If the Congress party came back into power within a short period of three years, it was because of Gandhi’s hard work and determined action,” said Mukherjee at the event attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi among others.

“When Congress was defeated in 1977, when I met her, the first thing she told me was ‘Pranab, don’t get unnerved by the defeat. This is the time to act. And she acted,” he said.

The President, who had served as a minister in her cabinet, said that she had “waged a relentless war against communal and sectarian violence, throughout her life” while successfully rising above “divisive identities of caste, community, religion and creed and established a direct connect with people”.

“It was this unhindered rapport that made her acceptable from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Mizoram to Dwarka. She had only one identity – that of an Indian,” said the President.

He said that Indira Gandhi’s life was infused with a tremendous passion for India and its people, and hailed her contributions towards the progress and development of India.

About Indira Gandhi’s decisiveness, Mukherjee referred to several of her bold decisions including the Operation Blue Star the 1984 military operation to remove Sikh militants from the Golden Temple in Punjab.

“Sometimes history demands some action which may not prove correct later on, but perhaps is most relevant at that time,” he said.

“Fearlessness in action and boldness in decision making was the unique hallmark of her character,” said Mukherjee who was presented the first copy of the book edited by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma. “It was in Indiraji’s time that India became the third largest reservoir of skilled scientific and technical manpower, the fifth military power, the sixth member of the nuclear club, the seventh in the race for space and the tenth industrial power,” he said.Gandhi was Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and then from 1980 to 1984 when she was assassinated. (IANS)