India

Will expose ‘big conspiracy’ behind FIRs against AAP MLAs, says Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday said he would expose a “very big conspiracy” behind registration of false cases against AAP MLAs, ministers and him during a one-day special session of Delhi Assembly on Friday, setting another stage for confrontation with the Centre. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the Delhi Cabinet Tuesday decided to convene the one-day special session to discuss registration of “wrong FIRs” against Kejriwal, ministers and AAP MLAs besides other issues related to dengue and chikungunya cases. The government’s move comes after the Chief Minister was named in an FIR into alleged irregularities in Delhi Commission for Women by Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) even as the anti-graft body said that Kejriwal would not be questioned. The chief minister had alleged that the FIR has been registered against him at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “It is clear that the FIR has the PM’s nod. We will soon call a special session of the Delhi Assembly where we will expose the conspiracy behind this,” Kejriwal had said last week. Sources said that during the special session, the AAP MLAs will also attack all three BJP-controlled municipal corporations for “failing” to prevent spread of dengue and chikungunya cases in the national capital. “The issue of MCD failing to fumigate across the city will be raised by the ruling party MLAs. The civic bodies have completely failed to clean the city following which there has been a spurt in the number of dengue and chikungunya cases,” they alleged. Since the Aam Aadmi Party has come to power in Delhi, Kejriwal government and BJP-led Centre have been at loggerheads on various issues including authority over the national capital.

SC to resume hearing challenging bail to ex-RJD parliamentarian Shahabuddin

The Supreme Court today is set to continue its hearing over a petition demanding the cancellation of the bail granted to former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Member of Parliament Mohammad Shahabuddin, who is facing criminal charges in around 50 cases. The argument, which was inconclusive on Wednesday in the apex court, will continue on Thursday, where a victim’s lawyer and the Bihar government have pleaded to the division bench to cancel his bail.Lawyer Prashant Bhushan had earlier on Monday told the apex court that there were 45 cases against Shahabuddin, out of which nine are related to murder and ten are related to convictions. Bhushan told a division bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, that Shahbuddin is a serious threat to society if his bail is not cancelled. Shahabuddin’s lawyer asked for more time to respond. The top court was hearing the petitions challenging a Patna High Court order to grant bail to Shahabuddin earlier this month. The top court had on September 19 issued a notice to Shahabuddin while hearing pleas of the Bihar Government and Chandrakeshwar Prasad against the bail granted to him. The Bihar Government had earlier filed an appeal before the apex court, challenging the Patna High Court’s order of granting bail to Shahabuddin. The petition has been filed by Bhushan on behalf of the victim’s family, which was upset to see Shahabuddin walk free. Shahabuddin, who had been in jail for more than 10 years in connection with multiple cases, was granted bail by the Patna High Court on September 7 in connection with the murder of a man who witnessed the killing of two brothers in Siwan. Shahabuddin’s release from jail evoked widespread criticism of the grand alliance in the state with the opposition accusing the government of paving way for his release by not opposing the bail strongly in the court.

‘File As Many Cases As You Want,’ Rahul Gandhi Dares RSS After Court Date

GUWAHATI: Rahul Gandhi paused his roadshow in Uttar Pradesh today to appear in court in Assam’s Guwahati in a defamation case filed by an RSS volunteer. The Congress Vice President has been sued for accusing the RSS of stopping him from entering a 16th century monastery in Barpeta, around 76 km from Guwahati, last year. The RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP. Mr Gandhi was scheduled to visit the Barpeta Satra monastery before a road show in December but didn’t do so as there were some women pilgrims inside. The next day, he claimed in Parliament that some “RSS people” had stopped him from entering the temple When I went to Assam I wanted to visit the Barpeta temple. The RSS people stopped me from going into the temple. This is the way BJP operates. They put women in front of me and prevented me from going in,” he had said. Mr Gandhi is expected to address a meeting of party workers before returning to New Delhi. The Congress leader Gandhi is fighting another defamation case for linking the organisation with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and recently told the Supreme Court that he was ready to face trial in a Maharashtra court.
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    Gulf

    Indian envoy sees good scope for  expanding Indo-Saudi ties

    Indian envoy sees good scope for expanding Indo-Saudi ties

    H.E. AHMAD JAVED, AMBASSADOR OF INDIA TO THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA By: Syed Zia ur Rahman, Yahind.com India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ahmad Javed, has said that despite the 38% fall in crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia in value terms, there has been a 15% surge in the volume of crude oil sourced from the Kingdom. In an exclusive interview with Yahind.com, the Ambassador also disclosed Saudi willingness to invest in the Indian petrochemical and refining sectors. He said India is keen on expanding the existing cooperation within the framework of the National Transformation Plan (NTP) Vision 2030. This is in addition to the ongoing tie-up in the fields of trade, commerce and security. Ambassador Javed also said India can share its expertise in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, IT, Science & Technology as well as in higher education, where its experience could be of great value to Saudi Arabia. The following is the text of the interview: 1. Your Excellency, there have been reports in the news media about a few Indian youths joining the ISIS from the Gulf countries. Since some Saudi youths have also crossed over from Saudi borders to Syria, how do you see the scope for cooperation between the two countries on the security front? India and Saudi Arabia have a strategic partnership which encompasses political, economic, and defence cooperation, including the sphere of security. The visit of our Hon’ble Prime Minister to Riyadh in April 2016 was a landmark development in our bilateral relationship. It has helped in further strengthening and expanding the various facets of our relationship 2. In what other areas have the bilateral relations expanded following the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Riyadh early this year? India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations in economic and socio-cultural fields. The establishment of diplomatic relations in 1947 was followed by high-level visits from both sides. Recently, there has been a renewed impetus on further consolidating and diversifying our ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia culminating in the Prime Minister’s visit to Riyadh in April this year. It marks a turning point in our growing engagement with the Kingdom in a strategic direction. 3. What is the current volume of trade between the two countries and the scope for further expansion? Saudi Arabia is our 4th largest trading partner and also a major player in the energy security sector. India imports almost 20% of its crude oil requirement from the Kingdom. The volume of bilateral trade during 2015-16 stands at $26.71 billion as against $39.27 during the previous year. The reduction in the bilateral trade is on account of the drop in oil prices since 2014. Despite the reduction in crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia by 38% in value terms, there has been a 15% increase in the volume of crude oil sourced from the Kingdom. There is growing realization on both sides to transform the buyer-seller relationship in the energy sector to one of deeper partnership focusing on investment and joint ventures in their countries. During the visit of our Hon’ble Prime Minister and the follow- up visit by the Minister of State (IC) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Saudi side showed interest in investing in the Indian petrochemical and refining sectors. 4. In terms of joint ventures, how do you see the depth of these relations? Indian companies in almost all sectors have a strong presence in the Kingdom. Construction giants like L&T and Shapoorji & Pallonji have been operating in the Kingdom for the last several years and have undertaken important projects. In other sectors, Indian IT majors like TCS, Wipro and TechMahindra have established their strong presence not only in the private sector but also in the government sector. India looks forward to expanding the existing cooperation under the National Transformation Plan (NTP) Vision 2030. 5. The Kingdom’s leadership is paying great attention to Saudization of the work force in the wake of the fall in oil prices and the need to diversify its economic base. How do you see the potential for expanding these relations in other fields? As mentioned earlier, India is ready to cooperate with the Saudi Government to realise the objectives of Vision 2030. India can share its expertise, inter-alia, in healthcare and pharmaceuticals as well as IT, Science & Technology. Our experience in higher education could also be of great help to Saudi Arabia. 6. Are any joint ventures in the pipeline between the two countries? The recent visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to the Kingdom has generated a lot of interest among Indian and Saudi Businessmen. We are hopeful that after the Prime Minister’s interaction with the prominent Saudi business leaders, there will be new ventures in India and Saudi Arabia. 7. At present, Saudi Arabia does not have a National Productivity Center for boosting the productivity of its manpower. This is a matter of concern to the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, since thousands of shops have been closed down due to the departure of expatriates, including Indians, who were running such enterprises. Has your embassy taken up this matter at the bilateral level? Indians continue to be the preferred and the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom with its strength increasing from 2.75 million in 2014 to 3.05 million in February 2016 on account of their skills, willingness to work hard, trustworthiness and law abiding nature. While we have seen reports about Saudisation in certain sectors of the economy, the Mission has not come across any complaints from the Indian workers, on account of these measures. 8. There have been reports in the Indian news media about Indian expatriates in Saudi Arabia affected by the non-payment of salaries for several months. Has your embassy intervened in the matter and with what result? We have come across complaints from some Indian workers, especially in the construction sector, for non-payment of their salaries for the last several months. The Mission has taken up this matter with the Saudi authorities at the highest level. The Saudi side has assured its full cooperation in addressing all the issues faced by our workers. 9. There have been suggestions in some quarters that the Govt. of India should put in place a mechanism for rehabilitating the returnees from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Has your embassy received any such instructions from the Ministry of External Affairs following the recent visit of the Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. V.K. Singh to Jeddah? Since the issue of rehabilitation of returning workers is handled by the Government of India and the respective State Governments, I may not be able to comment on it. The role of the Mission is limited to ensuring the welfare of our workers in the Kingdom. 10. Union Minister of Commerce, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, has called for setting up joint ventures in India on a PPP model for utilizing the financial and technical resources of NRIs and returnees from the GCC countries in collaboration with the private sector. They could be in the field of community services like education, healthcare, agriculture, sanitation and wastewater treatment, for which there will always be a demand. In fact, she has shown the way by setting up a Reverse Osmosis (RO) wastewater treatment plant in her constituency in Andhra Pradesh. How do you see the scope for such a joint venture based on a PPP model? As you may be aware, the Indian nationals can directly contribute towards several flagship initiatives undertaken by the Government including ‘Namami Gange’ and ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. Recently, we have established the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI), as a not-for-profit organization to serve as a credible institutional avenue to enable Overseas Indians to engage in social and development projects in India. IDF-OI will also partner with the State Governments to offer projects identified by the State Governments. It will seek Overseas Indians’ contribution to these projects for India’s social and development programme. 11. Any other message that Your Excellency would like to put across through Yahind.com? The presence of a vibrant Indian community of over 3 million in Saudi Arabia is a strong pillar of our bilateral engagements. I am proud to mention that the significant contribution of our Indian brothers and sisters to the development of the host country has been well-acknowledged and appreciated by the leadership as well as the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his Government for their continued support and cooperation for hosting a large Indian community in the Kingdom and ensuring their welfare and security. I am confident that the Indo-Saudi relations will continue to grow and contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond. – Yahind.com

    Delay in salary threatens workers’ Eid celebrations

    JEDDAH: The crisis of delayed salaries of the Saudi Binladin Group, the biggest construction company in the country, still continues despite the financial measures that were taken by the company to resolve this problem. Around 100,000 Binladin workers are still waiting for their delayed salaries after the company promised to pay these salaries on Monday. However, the company failed to pay them, according to a media report. The bad economic situation of Binladen workers has not yet been resolved. While they gave financial commitments for Eid Al-Adha, the company’s workers were waiting for their salaries on Monday to be able to manage their personals affairs for Eid. However, the crisis of delayed salaries has hit most workers in the construction sector. The group faced a severe blow last year after oil prices drastically fell, forcing the government to cancel or suspend a number of projects, postpone payments, and stop new contracts after one of their cranes fell on the Grand Mosque of Makkah, resulting in the deaths of 107 people. The acute shortage of liquidity forced the Binladin Group to stop work on a series of projects and relieve thousands of its employees and workers. Many of its foreign workers have not received their salaries and were only paid a stipend amount to meet their day-to-day needs. Some of these employees, in an act of protest, even went so far as to burn buses of the company. Workers of Saudi Oger, another major construction company, still suffer from the ongoing crisis as a result of delayed salaries. There are 31,000 Saudi and foreign employees who have lodged complaints with the Labor Office about delayed wages. The company stopped receiving projects after the government received complaints of nonpayment of wages. Abdullah Radwan, construction committee president at the Jeddah Chamber for Commerce and Industry, said most constriction companies in the Kingdom have been affected by the low number of the construction projects. This why the sector has failed to pay salaries of its workers. Specking to Arab News, he said that construction companies have been forced to delay salaries of their staff until receiving their money from the government for their work on government projects. However, this crisis is temporary and could be resolved soon. – Arab News
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    World

    OPEC agrees modest oil output curbs in first deal since 2008

    ALGIERS (Reuters) – OPEC agreed on Wednesday modest oil output cuts in the first such deal since 2008, with the group’s leader Saudi Arabia softening its stance on arch-rival Iran amid mounting pressure from low oil prices. “OPEC made an exceptional decision today … After two and a half years, OPEC reached consensus to manage the market,” said Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who had repeatedly clashed with Saudi Arabia during previous meetings. He and other ministers said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would reduce output to a range of 32.5-33.0 million barrels per day. OPEC estimates its current output at 33.24 million bpd. “We have decided to decrease the production around 700,000 bpd,” Zanganeh said. The move would effectively re-establish OPEC production ceilings abandoned a year ago. However, how much each country will produce is to be decided at the next formal OPEC meeting in November, when an invitation to join cuts could also be extended to non-OPEC countries such as Russia. Oil prices jumped more than 5 percent to trade above $48 per barrel as of 2015 GMT. Many traders said they were impressed OPEC had managed to reach a compromise after years of wrangling but others said they wanted to see the details. “This is the first OPEC deal in eight years! The cartel proved that it still matters even in the age of shale! This is the end of the ‘production war’ and OPEC claims victory,” said Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at Price Futures Group. Jeff Quigley, director of energy markets at Houston-based Stratas Advisors, said the market had yet to discover who would produce what: “I want to hear from the mouth of the Iranian oil minister that he’s not going to go back to pre-sanction levels. For the Saudis, it just goes against the conventional wisdom of what they’ve been saying.”. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Tuesday that Iran, Nigeria and Libya would be allowed to produce “at maximum levels that make sense” as part of any output limits. That represents a strategy shift for Riyadh, which had said it would reduce output to ease a global glut only if every other OPEC and non-OPEC producer followed suit. Iran has argued it should be exempt from such limits as its production recovers after the lifting of EU sanctions earlier this year. The Saudi and Iranian economies depend heavily on oil but in a post-sanctions environment, Iran is suffering less pressure from the halving in crude prices since 2014 and its economy could expand by almost 4 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. Riyadh, on the other hand, faces a second year of budget deficits after a record gap of $98 billion last year, a stagnating economy and is being forced to cut the salaries of government employees. OIL PRICE PRESSURES Saudi Arabia is by far the largest OPEC producer with output of more than 10.7 million bpd, on par with Russia and the United States. Together, the three largest global producers extract a third of the world’s oil. Iran’s production has been stagnant at 3.6 million bpd in the past three months, close to pre-sanctions levels although Tehran says it wants to ramp up output to more than 4 million bpd when foreign investments in its fields kick in. Saudi oil revenue has halved over the past two years, forcing Riyadh to liquidate billions of dollars of overseas assets every month to pay bills and cut domestic fuel and utility subsidies last year. “The Iranians have lived with a very tough macro backdrop for many years…” said Raza Agha, chief Middle East economist at investment bank VTB Capital. “So a sustained drop in oil prices has a more difficult social impact on Saudi.” However, with unemployment in double digits, Tehran is also facing calls to maximise oil revenues and President Hassan Rouhani is under pressure from conservative opponents to deliver a faster economic recovery. Oil prices are well below the budget requirements of most OPEC nations. But attempts to reach an output deal have also been complicated by political rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which are fighting several proxy-wars in the Middle East, including in Syria and Yemen. OPEC sources have said Saudi Arabia offered to reduce its output from summer peaks of 10.7 million bpd to around 10.2 million if Iran agreed to freeze production at around current levels of 3.6-3.7 million bpd. Riyadh has raised production in recent years to compete for market share while Iran’s output was limited by sanctions. Minister Zanganeh has said Iran wanted an output cap of close to 4 million bpd. Saudi output drops in winter when it needs less fuel than during summer, when cooling requirements spike.

    PM Modi condoles passing of former Israel president Shimon Peres

    New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi today conveyed his condolences to the people of Israel, on the demise of former Israel President Mr. Shimon Peres. “In former President Shimon Peres, we lost a key world leader and a friend of India. Pained by his demise. Our condolences to people of Israel”, the Prime Minister said. Peres, who shared a Nobel Prize for forging a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, died at the age of 93. He had suffered a stroke two weeks ago, reports the Guardian. Peres had twice served as prime minister of Israel and later as the country’s ninth president. Peres, Israel’s most eminent elder statesman, was part of almost every major development from the country’s founding in 1948. In a career spanning nearly 70 years, he served in a dozen cabinets and was twice a Labour Prime Minister. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the late former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for reaching, in 1993, an interim peace deal which never hardened into a lasting treaty.
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    NRI

    Indian envoy sees good scope for  expanding Indo-Saudi ties

    Indian envoy sees good scope for expanding Indo-Saudi ties - Sep 20 2016

    H.E. AHMAD JAVED, AMBASSADOR OF INDIA TO THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA By: Syed Zia ur Rahman, Yahind.com India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ahmad Javed, has said that despite the 38% fall in crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia in value terms, there has been a 15% surge in the volume of crude oil sourced from the Kingdom. In an exclusive interview with Yahind.com, the Ambassador also disclosed Saudi willingness to invest in the Indian petrochemical and refining sectors. He said India is keen on expanding the existing cooperation within the framework of the National Transformation Plan (NTP) Vision 2030. This is in addition to the ongoing tie-up in the fields of trade, commerce and security. Ambassador Javed also said India can share its expertise in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, IT, Science & Technology as well as in higher education, where its experience could be of great value to Saudi Arabia. The following is the text of the interview: 1. Your Excellency, there have been reports in the news media about a few Indian youths joining the ISIS from the Gulf countries. Since some Saudi youths have also crossed over from Saudi borders to Syria, how do you see the scope for cooperation between the two countries on the security front? India and Saudi Arabia have a strategic partnership which encompasses political, economic, and defence cooperation, including the sphere of security. The visit of our Hon’ble Prime Minister to Riyadh in April 2016 was a landmark development in our bilateral relationship. It has helped in further strengthening and expanding the various facets of our relationship 2. In what other areas have the bilateral relations expanded following the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Riyadh early this year? India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations in economic and socio-cultural fields. The establishment of diplomatic relations in 1947 was followed by high-level visits from both sides. Recently, there has been a renewed impetus on further consolidating and diversifying our ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia culminating in the Prime Minister’s visit to Riyadh in April this year. It marks a turning point in our growing engagement with the Kingdom in a strategic direction. 3. What is the current volume of trade between the two countries and the scope for further expansion? Saudi Arabia is our 4th largest trading partner and also a major player in the energy security sector. India imports almost 20% of its crude oil requirement from the Kingdom. The volume of bilateral trade during 2015-16 stands at $26.71 billion as against $39.27 during the previous year. The reduction in the bilateral trade is on account of the drop in oil prices since 2014. Despite the reduction in crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia by 38% in value terms, there has been a 15% increase in the volume of crude oil sourced from the Kingdom. There is growing realization on both sides to transform the buyer-seller relationship in the energy sector to one of deeper partnership focusing on investment and joint ventures in their countries. During the visit of our Hon’ble Prime Minister and the follow- up visit by the Minister of State (IC) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Saudi side showed interest in investing in the Indian petrochemical and refining sectors. 4. In terms of joint ventures, how do you see the depth of these relations? Indian companies in almost all sectors have a strong presence in the Kingdom. Construction giants like L&T and Shapoorji & Pallonji have been operating in the Kingdom for the last several years and have undertaken important projects. In other sectors, Indian IT majors like TCS, Wipro and TechMahindra have established their strong presence not only in the private sector but also in the government sector. India looks forward to expanding the existing cooperation under the National Transformation Plan (NTP) Vision 2030. 5. The Kingdom’s leadership is paying great attention to Saudization of the work force in the wake of the fall in oil prices and the need to diversify its economic base. How do you see the potential for expanding these relations in other fields? As mentioned earlier, India is ready to cooperate with the Saudi Government to realise the objectives of Vision 2030. India can share its expertise, inter-alia, in healthcare and pharmaceuticals as well as IT, Science & Technology. Our experience in higher education could also be of great help to Saudi Arabia. 6. Are any joint ventures in the pipeline between the two countries? The recent visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to the Kingdom has generated a lot of interest among Indian and Saudi Businessmen. We are hopeful that after the Prime Minister’s interaction with the prominent Saudi business leaders, there will be new ventures in India and Saudi Arabia. 7. At present, Saudi Arabia does not have a National Productivity Center for boosting the productivity of its manpower. This is a matter of concern to the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, since thousands of shops have been closed down due to the departure of expatriates, including Indians, who were running such enterprises. Has your embassy taken up this matter at the bilateral level? Indians continue to be the preferred and the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom with its strength increasing from 2.75 million in 2014 to 3.05 million in February 2016 on account of their skills, willingness to work hard, trustworthiness and law abiding nature. While we have seen reports about Saudisation in certain sectors of the economy, the Mission has not come across any complaints from the Indian workers, on account of these measures. 8. There have been reports in the Indian news media about Indian expatriates in Saudi Arabia affected by the non-payment of salaries for several months. Has your embassy intervened in the matter and with what result? We have come across complaints from some Indian workers, especially in the construction sector, for non-payment of their salaries for the last several months. The Mission has taken up this matter with the Saudi authorities at the highest level. The Saudi side has assured its full cooperation in addressing all the issues faced by our workers. 9. There have been suggestions in some quarters that the Govt. of India should put in place a mechanism for rehabilitating the returnees from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Has your embassy received any such instructions from the Ministry of External Affairs following the recent visit of the Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. V.K. Singh to Jeddah? Since the issue of rehabilitation of returning workers is handled by the Government of India and the respective State Governments, I may not be able to comment on it. The role of the Mission is limited to ensuring the welfare of our workers in the Kingdom. 10. Union Minister of Commerce, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, has called for setting up joint ventures in India on a PPP model for utilizing the financial and technical resources of NRIs and returnees from the GCC countries in collaboration with the private sector. They could be in the field of community services like education, healthcare, agriculture, sanitation and wastewater treatment, for which there will always be a demand. In fact, she has shown the way by setting up a Reverse Osmosis (RO) wastewater treatment plant in her constituency in Andhra Pradesh. How do you see the scope for such a joint venture based on a PPP model? As you may be aware, the Indian nationals can directly contribute towards several flagship initiatives undertaken by the Government including ‘Namami Gange’ and ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. Recently, we have established the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI), as a not-for-profit organization to serve as a credible institutional avenue to enable Overseas Indians to engage in social and development projects in India. IDF-OI will also partner with the State Governments to offer projects identified by the State Governments. It will seek Overseas Indians’ contribution to these projects for India’s social and development programme. 11. Any other message that Your Excellency would like to put across through Yahind.com? The presence of a vibrant Indian community of over 3 million in Saudi Arabia is a strong pillar of our bilateral engagements. I am proud to mention that the significant contribution of our Indian brothers and sisters to the development of the host country has been well-acknowledged and appreciated by the leadership as well as the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his Government for their continued support and cooperation for hosting a large Indian community in the Kingdom and ensuring their welfare and security. I am confident that the Indo-Saudi relations will continue to grow and contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond. – Yahind.com
    “Glory of Hyderabad” Launched in the Presence of Mr. Mohammad Mahmood Ali, Deputy Chief Minister of Telangana State

    “Glory of Hyderabad” Launched in the Presence of Mr. Mohammad Mahmood Ali, Deputy Chief Minister of Telangana State - Sep 16 2016

    Mr. Mohammad Mahmood Ali, Dy Chief Minister,Telangana,Mr. A.K. Khan, Director General, Anti-Corruption Bureau,Telangana, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India in Chicago, Dr. Deepak Kant Vyas, Chairman Redberri Corporation, Mr. Mir Khan, President, Mr. Iqbal Baig, Vice President, Mr. Ashfaq Syed,General Secretary, Glory of Hyderabad, Mr. Iftekhar Shareef, Mr.Syed Hussain, Ms. Gazala Rahman, Ms. Tasneem Osmani and Mr. Khalid Osmani at the Launch of Glory of Hyderabad. By: Ashfaq Syed, Chicago, USA Chicago, IL, September 8, 2016: “Hyderabad has always remained as a point of convergence of many different cultures, traditions, festivals, and religions that gave it its distinct cosmopolitan character. Hyderabad’s lingua franca, ‘Dakhini’, is a unique blend of several languages, typifying the true plural character of the city, where people belonging to different castes, creed, and religions live in peace and harmony and participate in each other’s festivals with enthusiasm”, said Mr. Mohammad Mahmood Ali, Dy Chief Minister of Telangana, in his inaugural address of the “Launch of the Glory of Hyderabad” held in Chicago, on Sunday, September 5th, 2016 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, at Shalimar Banquets, 280 W. North Ave. Addison, IL. Continuing his address, Mr.Mahmood Ali said that the ‘Glory of Hyderabad’ is aimed at celebrating the famed ‘Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb’ and portraying the “Hyderabadiyat”, rather than merely glorifying Hyderabad’s historical achievements. “The Hyderabadi Tehzeeb is the traditional mix of civility, hospitality, courtesy, and grace in social interaction, the hallmark of which is respect and consideration”, added Mr. Mahmood Ali. “Mr. K Chandrasekhar Rao has been considered as the best Chief Minister in India. He is committed in transforming the old city of Hyderabad into Golden city of Hyderabad”, he added. Mr. A.K. Khan, Director General, Anti-Corruption Bureau of Telangana, who was the Guest of Honor at the event, said that Hyderabad is well known across the globe on account of its rich history and culture, Hindu-Muslim unity, and above all, its unique cuisine. He paid rich tributes to Hyderabadi-Americans for their rich contribution to the socio-economic and educational fabric of the US. Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India in Chicago said that Hyderabad has recently been declared as the most livable city in India and also gained reputation as a home for such global giants as Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google, Face book.“While Hyderabad has been protecting and preserving its age-old culture and traditions, it has been proactive in welcoming and embracing the contemporary socio-economic changes”, stated Dr. Sayeed. Dr. Sayeed added, “I met Mr. KTR, Minister in Telangana Government in his recent visit to the US. Thanks to his professional approach and enlightened leadership, Telangana Government and the State of Illinois are going to sign a number of MoUs very shortly”. Dr. Deepak Kant Vyas, Chairman Redberri Corporation graciously outlined charitable donation from the Redberri Earth foundation that will include: a Scholarship for a student of need to pursue a Master’s level program in the US with a commitment to return to Hyderabad; establishing a Gold Medal Award at aUniversity in Hyderabad, upgrading a Children’s ward at a selected hospital, and surgery for a polio patient with economic need. “We are committed to partnering with the Telangana Government on projects that make a difference and are repeatable”, he added. Mr. Vyas opined that the four pillars of Charminar represent Character, Community, Courage, and Confidence. We want to set an example for giving back to the community in a way that reflects our commitment to social responsibility”, he emphasized. Earlier, Mr. Mir Khan, Chairman, Glory of Hyderabad, in his welcome address, said that the children born and brought up in the US are not familiar with the inherent strengths and an arrayof positivity’s of Hyderabad. He said that efforts will be made, under the banner of the ‘Glory of Hyderabad’ to create awareness among the younger generation about the inspiring history and robust culture of Hyderabad. He paid rich tributes to Dr. Ausaf Sayeed for organizing a number of high profile events in Chicago aimed at showcasing the culture of Hyderabad. He also applauded the generous efforts of Dr. Vyas for his commitment to finding enduring solutions to the problems of weaker sections of society in Hyderabad. Mr. Mohammad Mahmood Ali presented Lifetime Achievement Award, on behalf of Glory of Hyderabad,to Mr. Khan Lateef Khan, Editor-in-Chief, Munsif Urdu daily for his services to community and for Urdu language, to Mr. A.K. Khan for his Meritorious and Dedicated Police Service, and to Dr.Ausaf Sayeed for his Exemplary Service to the Indian Community of Chicagoland. Dr. Ausaf Sayeed and Mr. A.K. Khan jointly presented an award to Mr. Mohammad Mahmood Ali for his Charismatic Leadership on behalf of The Hyderabadi Community in Chicagoland. Mr. Iqbal Baig, Vice President proposed vote of thanks. He made a special reference to the management and staff of Shalimar Banquet for making the event a great success. Mr. Ali Faheem, President, Shalimar banquets and a businessman of Chicago, who belongs to Hyderabad, came forward to support this event with free hall and snacks for all the guests. He also promised to support ‘Glory of Hyderabad’ in all its endeavors. ‘Glory of Hyderabad’ is a registered organization with Mr. Mir Khan as President, Mr. Iqbal Baig as Vice President, and Mr. Ashfaq Syed as General Secretary. Ms. Gazala Rahman from ‘Glory of Hyderabad’ was the MC for the event. – Yahind.com
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    Special

    Indian envoy sees good scope for  expanding Indo-Saudi ties

    Indian envoy sees good scope for expanding Indo-Saudi ties

    H.E. AHMAD JAVED, AMBASSADOR OF INDIA TO THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA By: Syed Zia ur Rahman, Yahind.com India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ahmad Javed, has said that despite the 38% fall in crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia in value terms, there has been a 15% surge in the volume of crude oil sourced from the Kingdom. In an exclusive interview with Yahind.com, the Ambassador also disclosed Saudi willingness to invest in the Indian petrochemical and refining sectors. He said India is keen on expanding the existing cooperation within the framework of the National Transformation Plan (NTP) Vision 2030. This is in addition to the ongoing tie-up in the fields of trade, commerce and security. Ambassador Javed also said India can share its expertise in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, IT, Science & Technology as well as in higher education, where its experience could be of great value to Saudi Arabia. The following is the text of the interview: 1. Your Excellency, there have been reports in the news media about a few Indian youths joining the ISIS from the Gulf countries. Since some Saudi youths have also crossed over from Saudi borders to Syria, how do you see the scope for cooperation between the two countries on the security front? India and Saudi Arabia have a strategic partnership which encompasses political, economic, and defence cooperation, including the sphere of security. The visit of our Hon’ble Prime Minister to Riyadh in April 2016 was a landmark development in our bilateral relationship. It has helped in further strengthening and expanding the various facets of our relationship 2. In what other areas have the bilateral relations expanded following the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Riyadh early this year? India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations in economic and socio-cultural fields. The establishment of diplomatic relations in 1947 was followed by high-level visits from both sides. Recently, there has been a renewed impetus on further consolidating and diversifying our ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia culminating in the Prime Minister’s visit to Riyadh in April this year. It marks a turning point in our growing engagement with the Kingdom in a strategic direction. 3. What is the current volume of trade between the two countries and the scope for further expansion? Saudi Arabia is our 4th largest trading partner and also a major player in the energy security sector. India imports almost 20% of its crude oil requirement from the Kingdom. The volume of bilateral trade during 2015-16 stands at $26.71 billion as against $39.27 during the previous year. The reduction in the bilateral trade is on account of the drop in oil prices since 2014. Despite the reduction in crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia by 38% in value terms, there has been a 15% increase in the volume of crude oil sourced from the Kingdom. There is growing realization on both sides to transform the buyer-seller relationship in the energy sector to one of deeper partnership focusing on investment and joint ventures in their countries. During the visit of our Hon’ble Prime Minister and the follow- up visit by the Minister of State (IC) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Saudi side showed interest in investing in the Indian petrochemical and refining sectors. 4. In terms of joint ventures, how do you see the depth of these relations? Indian companies in almost all sectors have a strong presence in the Kingdom. Construction giants like L&T and Shapoorji & Pallonji have been operating in the Kingdom for the last several years and have undertaken important projects. In other sectors, Indian IT majors like TCS, Wipro and TechMahindra have established their strong presence not only in the private sector but also in the government sector. India looks forward to expanding the existing cooperation under the National Transformation Plan (NTP) Vision 2030. 5. The Kingdom’s leadership is paying great attention to Saudization of the work force in the wake of the fall in oil prices and the need to diversify its economic base. How do you see the potential for expanding these relations in other fields? As mentioned earlier, India is ready to cooperate with the Saudi Government to realise the objectives of Vision 2030. India can share its expertise, inter-alia, in healthcare and pharmaceuticals as well as IT, Science & Technology. Our experience in higher education could also be of great help to Saudi Arabia. 6. Are any joint ventures in the pipeline between the two countries? The recent visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to the Kingdom has generated a lot of interest among Indian and Saudi Businessmen. We are hopeful that after the Prime Minister’s interaction with the prominent Saudi business leaders, there will be new ventures in India and Saudi Arabia. 7. At present, Saudi Arabia does not have a National Productivity Center for boosting the productivity of its manpower. This is a matter of concern to the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, since thousands of shops have been closed down due to the departure of expatriates, including Indians, who were running such enterprises. Has your embassy taken up this matter at the bilateral level? Indians continue to be the preferred and the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom with its strength increasing from 2.75 million in 2014 to 3.05 million in February 2016 on account of their skills, willingness to work hard, trustworthiness and law abiding nature. While we have seen reports about Saudisation in certain sectors of the economy, the Mission has not come across any complaints from the Indian workers, on account of these measures. 8. There have been reports in the Indian news media about Indian expatriates in Saudi Arabia affected by the non-payment of salaries for several months. Has your embassy intervened in the matter and with what result? We have come across complaints from some Indian workers, especially in the construction sector, for non-payment of their salaries for the last several months. The Mission has taken up this matter with the Saudi authorities at the highest level. The Saudi side has assured its full cooperation in addressing all the issues faced by our workers. 9. There have been suggestions in some quarters that the Govt. of India should put in place a mechanism for rehabilitating the returnees from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Has your embassy received any such instructions from the Ministry of External Affairs following the recent visit of the Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. V.K. Singh to Jeddah? Since the issue of rehabilitation of returning workers is handled by the Government of India and the respective State Governments, I may not be able to comment on it. The role of the Mission is limited to ensuring the welfare of our workers in the Kingdom. 10. Union Minister of Commerce, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, has called for setting up joint ventures in India on a PPP model for utilizing the financial and technical resources of NRIs and returnees from the GCC countries in collaboration with the private sector. They could be in the field of community services like education, healthcare, agriculture, sanitation and wastewater treatment, for which there will always be a demand. In fact, she has shown the way by setting up a Reverse Osmosis (RO) wastewater treatment plant in her constituency in Andhra Pradesh. How do you see the scope for such a joint venture based on a PPP model? As you may be aware, the Indian nationals can directly contribute towards several flagship initiatives undertaken by the Government including ‘Namami Gange’ and ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. Recently, we have established the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI), as a not-for-profit organization to serve as a credible institutional avenue to enable Overseas Indians to engage in social and development projects in India. IDF-OI will also partner with the State Governments to offer projects identified by the State Governments. It will seek Overseas Indians’ contribution to these projects for India’s social and development programme. 11. Any other message that Your Excellency would like to put across through Yahind.com? The presence of a vibrant Indian community of over 3 million in Saudi Arabia is a strong pillar of our bilateral engagements. I am proud to mention that the significant contribution of our Indian brothers and sisters to the development of the host country has been well-acknowledged and appreciated by the leadership as well as the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his Government for their continued support and cooperation for hosting a large Indian community in the Kingdom and ensuring their welfare and security. I am confident that the Indo-Saudi relations will continue to grow and contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond. – Yahind.com
  • “TEACHERS DAY CELEBRATION” HELD IN HYDERABAD.

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