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Sanskrit binds India and Lithuania together

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New Delhi: The Make in India Week in Mumbai witnessed the arrival of Lithuania ambassador Laimonas Talat-Kelpša. It was also the 98th anniversary of Lithuania’s independence. On behalf of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was presented with a unique gift: a specially published small Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary.

A common Indian might feel the presence of this exotic-sounding European country, an uncanny one.

With the fastest public WiFi in whole Europe, Lithuania has been ranked as the 20th best country for doing business this year; standing at number eight in ease of starting a business and taking it less than three days to start a new venture there.

However, with the active involvement of Lithuania in the club of world’s leading economies, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and with India upping its game in making a global presence, the two countries seem to strengthen and renew their ties.

PM bestowed with Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary

A small Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary was published and gifted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Make in India Week program in Mumbai.

This shows how both countries use common words in their every dialect which helps in generating a positive energy. This further strengthens Indo-Lithuanian ties, with people in authority able to reconnect and make significant international trading decisions.

Why the unfamiliarity with Lithuania?

Often mistaken for Ludhiana in Punjab, the place is uncommon to the Indian ear. Lithuania is lesser known in India due to various reasons:

  • The linguistic connection shared by India and Lithuania is bound till academics only.
  • Constrained in World War II and Cold War, ties could not be built with Lithuania. This was because India didn’t hold the adequate freedom to take actions of its own.
  • Also, previous 24 years of our diplomatic ties included high-level visits and large-scale initiatives; this made relations good but limited.

Indo-Lithuania- interweaved with striking similarities

  • The striking resemblance of words and grammatical structures in Sanskrit and Lithuanian, smoothly overlapping into modern Hindi.
  • Many words like dievas (देव)- when we appeal to God, labas (लाभ)- wishing each other wealth and prosperity, ašara(अश्रु)- tears of joy and sorrow, and sapnas (सपना)- dreams, are a part of Hindi and Lithuanian language.
  • Making Indian presence in Lithuania more prominent, a ten-fold rise in the past three years in the number of Indian students seeking education opportunities in Lithuania has been witnessed.
  • With 66 percent increase, Indo-Lithuanian trade crossed the EUR100m mark. The steady growth will significantly increase with the upcoming conclusion of Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement between India and the European Union.
  • Commercial links have been expanding, despite the difficult economic situation worldwide.

The future to come

Upcoming years could be challenging but opportunities would be in the bounty:

  • Intensified high-level visits between the two countries, supported by business delegations and extensive cultural programs.
  • In 2017, India and Lithuania will celebrate 25 years of their diplomatic relations. With India celebrating its 70th anniversary that year, Lithuania will be celebrating its Centennial in 2018.
  • Important agreements in areas of Agriculture, Cultural Exchange, Extradition, and Science & Technology, are already under negotiation, paving the way for speedy implementation.
  • After an impending decision being considered for the past ten years, Indian resident mission may open soon in Lithuania.
  • Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may choose to become the first Indian leader to visit Lithuania and the Baltic States, signifying deeper ties.

Just like India, Lithuania is a country built from scratch. Accomplishing 37th position in the UN Human Development Index, the nation boasts of excellent social and educational conditions. All this achieved in mere 26 years. Therefore, India understands its hard-earned transformation best. (Inputs from ibnlive.com)(Image source: wikimedia.org)

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PM Narendra Modi: Government bringing Stringent Consumer Protection Law

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Prime Minister Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a speech. IANS

New Delhi, October 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the government was in the process of enacting stringent legislation aimed at protecting consumers along with setting up a Consumer Protection Authority (CPA).

“Consumers’ protection is this government’s priority. We are in the process to bring a new law on consumer protection keeping in mind the need of the country and business practices here,” Modi said at an International Conference on Consumer Protection for East, South and South-East Asian Countries.

“We are in the process of forming a Consumer Protection Authority, which will have executive powers, for immediate redressal.”

The rules were being streamlined to solve consumer problems in less time and at less cost, he added.

“The stress is being given on consumer empowerment. Strict provisions are being contemplated against misleading advertisements,” Modi said.

He said India was among the few countries which had enacted a law a year after the UN adopted guidelines on consumer protection in 1986.

The Prime Minister also said the prices of commodities were set to go down and consumer protection for their interest effects due to the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Due to the GST, the competition among companies was going to increase. So prices will go down. It will help consumers from lower middle class and poor sections,” Modi said.

“Earlier, transportation by trucks would take five days but it has come down to just three three days now as checkposts on borders have vanished after the GST. It means transportation cost has gone down. This is going to be transferred to consumers,”

Taking a dig at those opposed to the GST, he said: “Some people may be taking advantage of the lack of awareness. However, the benefits will be transferred (to consumers) in days to come.”

Talking about the conference, Modi said: “It shows how seriously we take the needs of our citizens and how we strive hard to solve their problems”.

“It is the first conference in the region, where everyone is trying in their own ways to save the interest of consumers. However, we have to keep in mind that the world is going towards a single market,” Modi said.(IANS)

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Tillerson’s Visit to India Highlights Strong Emerging Alliance

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting at the Prime Minister's residence in New Delhi. VOA

The United States pledged its commitment to deepening strategic ties with India as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders in New Delhi during a visit that highlighted their strong emerging alliance.

Combating terrorism and expanding India’s role in helping Afghanistan’s development were key issues discussed by Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Tillerson, who arrived in the capital city after stops in Kabul and Islamabad.

At a news conference after the talks, Tillerson extended an assurance that “in the fight against terrorism, the United States will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with India. Terrorist safe havens will not be tolerated.”

The top U.S. diplomat visited the region after the Trump administration unveiled a new South Asia strategy calling on India to play a larger role in Afghanistan’s economic stabilization and on Pakistan to take more action against militant groups based in the country.

Indian foreign minister Swaraj said President Donald Trump’s new strategy for the region “can only be successful if Pakistan acts decisively against all terror groups without any discrimination.” New Delhi has long blamed Islamabad for supporting insurgent groups that carry out terror acts in India.

Tillerson, who last week said that he sees India as a key partner in the face of what he considers negative Chinese influence in Asia, reiterated that India could play a wider role in the region. Analysts say Washington’s overtures for closer ties with India are prompted by the need to counter China’s rise.

Tillerson told reporters “the United States supports India’s emergence as a leading power and will continue to contribute to Indian capabilities to provide security throughout the region.” He said Washington was willing to provide New Delhi with advanced technologies for its military modernization.

“We also look forward to further cooperation in the broader Indo Pacific region as we both promote a rules-based approach to commerce and a transparent and sustainable approach to economic development,” he said.(VOA)

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BJP to Celebrate November 8 as ‘Anti-Black Money Day’

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Anti black money day, Demontisation
Demontisation ousted one thousand rupee notes in India last november. Pixabay free

New Delhi, October 25: In a bid to counter the opposition campaign, the BJP will celebrate November 8, the day high-value currencies were demonetized last year, as “Anti-Black Money Day” across the country.

Announcing the party’s decision to counter the opposition plans for observing the day as “Black Day”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said all prominent leaders, union ministers, state ministers and office bearers will participate in programmes across the country.

On November 8, the party will organize programmes highlighting all the steps the government has taken against black money. He said since the government was formed in 2014, from day one it had taken steps against black money.

“There was a parallel black money economy in the country. When the NDA government came to power (May 2014), Prime Minister Narendra Modi took steps to minimise and end it. On November 8, the BJP will celebrate ‘Anti-Black Money Day’ and mobilize people in favor of the steps taken against black money,” Jaitley told reporters here.

The special investigation team (SIT) to go into black money, which was directed by the Supreme Court in 2011 and was not acted upon by the previous UPA government, was formed by the NDA, the Finance Minister said.

Jaitley also hit out at the Congress over its plans to observe the day because the demonetization decision was “ill-conceived”.

Apparently referring to the opposition criticism, Jaitley said it was normal for political parties which had a number of opportunities to be in power earlier not recognize that the squeeze on black money and the other steps cannot be achieved through baby steps.

The Finance Minister said the BJP would carry forward the debate by the opposition to polarize people against black money through its own campaign.(IANS)