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PM Modi heads to Belgium, USA and Saudi Arabia

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Image source: cnbc.com

New Delhi: Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s departure statement prior to his visit to Belgium, USA and Saudi Arabia today:

“On 30th March, I will be in Brussels to meet with the Belgian Prime Minister Mr. Charles Michel. I would also be holding the 13th India-EU Summit with the E.U. leadership.

No words are enough to salute the resilience and spirit of the people of Belgium. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the wake of the horrific attacks in Brussels and share the grief of those who lost their loved ones.

Our relations with Belgium are deep rooted and have stood the test of time. Within the E.U., Belgium is India’s 2nd largest trading partner. My meeting with the Prime Minister aims to expand trade, investment and high technology partnership with this important E.U. member.

Along with Prime Minister Charles Michel, I would remote activate the India-Belgium ARIES (Aryabhatta Research Institute for Observational Sciences) Telescope.

The European Union is a vital trading partner and the biggest export destination for India. This Summit will advance our multifaceted engagement across a whole range of domains.

In Brussels, I would also be meeting with the Members of European Parliament (MEPs), Indologists, Belgian CEOs as well as a wide cross section of the Indian diaspora in Belgium. I would also interact with the Board Members of the Association of Diamond Traders in Belgium.

The same evening, I will address a Community Programme and interact with the Indian community.

After Belgium, I will be in Washington DC on 31st March to participate in the 4th Nuclear Security Summit, where several nations and global organisations would be represented.

The Summit would deliberate on the crucial issue of threat to nuclear security caused by nuclear terrorism. Leaders would discuss ways and measure through which to strengthen the global nuclear security architecture, especially to ensure that non-state actors do not get access to nuclear material.

On the sidelines of the Summit, I would meet with several world leaders to carry forward the agenda of bilateral cooperation with those nations.

I also look forward to my interaction with the scientists associated with LIGO project.

On 2nd and 3rd April, at the invitation of H.M. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, I will be visiting Saudi Arabia.

India’s ties with Saudi Arabia are special. Robust people-to-people ties constitute a key component of our engagement. I plan to work with the Saudi leadership to expand and deepen our bilateral relations. Discussions on the regional situation would also be on the agenda.

Our economic ties are also expanding. Saudi Arabia is India’s 4th largest trading partner, and is also India’s largest crude oil supplier.

In addition to meeting with H.M. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, I also look forward to my discussions with other important members of the Royal family.

We want the prominent Saudi businesses to partner with India’s development priorities. That would be one of the key objectives of the business event planned in Riyadh.

I will visit the Masmak Fortress, ‘L&T Workers’ Residential Complex and TCS All Women IT & ITES Center in Riyadh.”

Credits: PIB

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The Answer to The Impending Questions On Demonetization Are Here

While it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

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Indian Currency. Pixabay

Nearly all of the currency removed from circulation in a surprise 2016 attempt to root out illegal hoards of cash came back into the financial system, Resever Bank of India  has announced, indicating the move did little to slow the underground economy.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s currency decree, which was designed to destroy the value of billions of dollars in untaxed cash stockpiles, caused an economic slowdown and months of financial chaos for tens of millions of people or demonetization.

Modi announced in a November 2016 TV address that all 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes, then worth about $7.50 and $15, would be withdrawn immediately from circulation. The banned notes could be deposited into bank accounts but the government also said it would investigate deposits over 250,000 rupees, or about $3,700. The government eventually released new currency notes worth 500 and 2,000 rupees.

 

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An activist of Congress party hold the banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

 

In theory, the decree meant corrupt politicians and businesspeople would suddenly find themselves sitting on billions of dollars in worthless currency, known here as “black money.”

“A few people are spreading corruption for their own benefit,” Modi said in the surprise nighttime speech announcement of the order. “There is a time when you realize that you have to bring some change in society, and this is our time.”

But even as the decree caused turmoil for those in India who have always depended on cash — the poor and middle class, and millions of small traders — the rich found ways around the currency switch. In the months after the decree, businesspeople said that even large amounts of banned currency notes could be traded on the black market, though middlemen charged heavy fees.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with mayor, flickr

The reserve bank of India report said in its Wednesday report that 99.3 percent of the $217 billion in notes withdrawn from circulation had come back into the economy. Some officials had originally predicted that number could be as low as 60 percent.

Also Read: Diverse Gathering To Be Addressed This World BioFuel Day: PM Narendra Modi

“Frankly, I think demonetization was a mistake,” said Gurcharan Das, a writer and the former head of Proctor & Gamble in India. He said that while it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

“You can’t overnight change that in a country which is poor and illiterate. Therefore, for me it’s not only an economic failure but a moral failure as well,” Das said. (VOA)

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