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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bangladesh visit: All you need to know

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PM Modi

New Delhi: With the land swap agreement as the centerpiece, Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves today on a two-day “historic” visit to Bangladesh where he will hold talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina and ink several agreements, especially in the field of connectivity and trade.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar told the media ahead of Modi’s 36-hour visit that the Land Boundary Agreement, which was approved by the Indian Parliament last month, would help to consolidate and deepen bilateral ties.

Both sides would formally ratify the LBA, which envisages the transfer of 111 enclaves with a total area of 17,160.63 acres to Bangladesh, while Dhaka is to transfer 51 enclaves with an area of 7,110.02 acres to India. A 6.1-km undefined border stretch will be demarcated.

“It will actually help very much with management of the border,” said Jaishankar, adding that it would help in improvement of the security situation, help deal with trafficking, and smuggling of drugs and counterfeit currency.

A demarcated border would also bring clarity and discipline and also help boost connectivity, he said.

The likely agreements will be in the field of movement of goods, coastal shipping and waterways. “We hope to have an understanding in telecom and Internet by cooperative arrangements,” he added.

Agreements also could be inked in the field of railways, roads, ports, health and education, he said.

India is also set to give more electricity to Bangladesh. It at present supplies 500 MW to Bangladesh, and now expects to “increase it substantially” with power to eastern Bangladesh.

India would also supply diesel from West Bengal to Bangladesh, which would help better the energy situation there, he said.

Modi, along with Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, would flag off two bus services: the Shillong-Dhaka-Guwahati bus service, and the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus service, which is expected to give a major boost to people-to-people connectivity.

The bus connection would reduce the travel distance from 1,650 km to 400 km.

Modi’s visit would see a boost in the investment climate with India keen to address Bangladesh’s concerns about the trade imbalance.

Jaishankar said the private sector in India is more keen to invest in Bangladesh due to the improved political situation there.

In the field of railways, both countries have the Kolkata to Dhaka Maitree Express and would examine the possibility of a train service between Khulna and Kolkata.

India and Bangladesh share a 4,096 km border, of which over 1,000 km comprises riverine. Both sides are to examine the potential to boost waterways connectivity.

The visit would see both sides negotiate a coastal shipping agreement, which would allow smaller Indian vessels to go to Bangladesh.

Both also have an inland waterways agreement inked in 1972, which has not seen much progress. Indian companies are being invited to set up ports in Bangladesh.

Modi and Sheikh Hasina are to jointly inaugurate a border haat in Tripura via video conference at Kasba in western Tripura.

This would add to the three already in existence – two in Meghalaya and one in Tripura.

Both sides have an Integrated Trade Checkpost in Agartala, while the Petrapole Land Check Post is to be converted into an Integrated Check Post.

Bilateral trade, which stands at $6.5 billion, is heavily skewed in India’a favour. Both sides are to focus on expanding trade and Indian investment.

Among the agreements would be one for making available Bangladeshi TV programmes in India.

Jaishankar said the ratification of the LBA, besides being an affirmation of the government’s “neighbourhood first” policy, would also give a fillip to India’s Act East policy.

Describing Bangladesh as an “exceptional neighbour”, he said India supports Bangladesh as a democracy and notes their commitment to a pluralistic way of life. “We applaud them as a very responsible neighbour with whom we have developed a great relationship of mutual sensitivity.

Giving the itinerary, he said Modi would arrive in Dhaka late in the morning after which he would be accorded a ceremonial welcome. He would proceed to the National Martyr’s Memorial and then the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum for the country’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rehman.

After lunch, along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Sheikh Hasina, Modi is to flag off the two bus services.

After this, the two leaders would attend the ceremony of exchange of instruments of ratification of the LBA and the protocol, for implementing the land swap agreement.

Modi and Hasina would hold talks, following which there would be exchange of agreements and both would lay “virtual foundation stones” of some projects. Both leaders would make their press statements. Modi would attend a dinner hosted by Hasina.

The following day, Modi is to visit the Sri Dhakeshwari temple and the Ramakrishna Mission and the Indian High Commission’s new chancery complex. He would meet President Abdul Hamid over lunch.

Modi would then receive a number of leaders, political and commercial. Political leaders would include opposition leader Begum Raushan Ershad, and former prime minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Begum Khaleda Zia.

He would meet the presidents of leading chambers of commerce in Bangladesh and the leaders of the Left parties. His last engagement would be to address a meeting of a cross-section of society at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. (IANS)

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Richard Thaler Supported Demonetisation, there is More to the Story

Demonetisation is what Richard Thaler had long supported. However, he remarked "Really? Damn," when he was informed about the introduction of Rs. 2,000 notes in place of the discontinued Rs. 500 and 1,000 notes thereby highlighting how his joy of seeing a step towards a cashless economy and reduction of corruption was momentary.

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Richard Thaler
Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences on 9th October.Wikimedia

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to scrape Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes last November, Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler supported demonetization describing it as a policy that he had long supported.

Dr. Richard Thaler, a Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at the University of Chicago won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences on 9th October.

Did Richard Thaler really support demonetization in the way BJP took it? There is more to the story than what meets the eye.

As soon as Thaler was declared the Nobel Prize winner, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started sharing Thaler’s tweet regarding demonetization on social media affirming that the move which was severely criticised by the members of the opposition was actually supported by a Nobel Prize winner. The BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya retweeted the old tweet within a fraction of a second.

However, Richard Thaler remarked “Really? Damn,” when he was informed about the introduction of Rs. 2,000 notes in place of the discontinued Rs. 500 and 1,000 note thereby highlighting how his joy of seeing a step towards a cashless economy and reduction of corruption was momentary.

It was not only the BJP supporters but also a large number of BJP leaders who were flowed away with incomplete picture depicted by Malviya and tweeted about it.‬ This included Union Minister Giriraj Singh, former BJP IT Cell Head Arvind Gupta, and many others.

Soon after, twitterati realized that the full picture of Thaler’s statement on demonetization was rather hidden.

Prime Minister Modi declared that the motivation behind scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was to promote cashless economy and reduce corruption. This decision was severely criticised by different sections of the society putting on Modi the ultimate responsibility for heralding economic deceleration. Demonetisation pulled down India’s GDP growth rate to a mere 6.1% in 2016-17.

Some highlighted that the introduction of Rs 2000 note was an ephemeral panacea for remonetization and that its printing has been terminated.

-Prepared by Mohima Haque of NewsGram, Twitter: mohimahaque26

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PM Narendra Modi: Don’t believe in vote bank politics, Nation comes first

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

Varanasi, Sep 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday, said that the BJP did not believe in vote bank politics as the country was above party politics. This is his second day of the visit to his parliamentary constituency in Varanasi.

Modi told a gathering that he had launched a major war against corruption and the corrupt to ease the life of the common man. He also said cleanliness was worship for him as it could rid the poor of various diseases and a lot of economic burdens.

“Governance for us is not about votes or winning elections. The priority is the development of the nation. For us, the country is bigger than party,” he said, in his address to farmers in Shahanshahpur on the outskirts of Varanasi.

He said most of the problems faced by the common people in India were rooted in corruption.

“I have launched a war against it and will take it further to ensure that graft is weeded out from the country.”(IANS)

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PM Modi in Varanasi: Sanitation is worship, Cleanliness Is a Way to Serve the Poor

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The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addresses the gathering, at Shahanshahpur, Varanasi Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on September 23, 2017.

Varanasi, Sep 23 :  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a public gathering in Varanasi said that sanitation is worship for him, as it can rid the poor of various diseases.

The gathering was largely attended by people on the second day of his Varanasi visit. Modi visited, Shahanshahpur a village of his Lok Sabha constituency. Where he laid the foundation stone of a public toilet in the area.

“That is because sanitation is also a kind of worship for me. It will rid the poor of my country of various diseases and the economic burden due to those diseases that result from dirty surroundings,” he said while addressing people there.

He said while no one likes garbage, everyone in India shies away from the responsibility of keeping their surroundings clean.

“It is the responsibility of every citizen and every family to keep their surroundings clean so we are able to build clean villages, clean cities and a clean nation,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister urged people to take one resolution each, to improve the nation by 2022. The year will also mark the 75 years of independence.

“In the coming five years, we have to be committed towards that resolution. If 125 crore people take one resolution each and live up to it, then the nation would move 125 crore steps forward in the next five years,” he said.

(IANS)