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Ebola outbreak: Punjab exporters avoid visits to West African nations

Lahor: In the wake of Ebola disease outbreak in West African nations, Punjab’s light engineering goods makers and exporters expect shipments in future to be hit as they have decided not to “put their lives at risk” by postponing/cancelling their visits to these countries.

Besides, some exporters also fear delay in payment by buyers in Ebola hit nations.

“There is going to be a bad impact of Ebola outbreak in West African countries on Indian exports of engineering items including bicycle and bicycle parts. Exporters or their representatives are cancelling or postponing their visits to these nations.

“Its consequential effect will be drop in exports from India,” Engineering Exports Promotion Council (EEPC) Panel Convenor (Bicycle, bicycle parts) Satish Kumar Dhanda told PTI today.

Exporters pointed out that no body was ready to take risk by visiting Ebola virus disease hit nations which would hit future export orders.

Deadly Ebola virus disease outbreak has taken place in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Out of West African nations, Nigeria is one of the biggest export markets for Punjab based light engineering goods, including bicycles and bicycle parts makers.

Nigeria is among top 25 countries as far as export of engineering goods from India is concerned. As per EEPC data, the engineering exports to Nigeria during April till July 2014 was USD 420.89 million, up by about 24 per cent over exports of corresponding period last fiscal.

“We are postponing our visit to Nigeria keeping in mind the deadly attack of Ebola virus,” Ludhiana based bicycle parts exporter Tipson Cycles, Director, Kamal Pahwa said.

Pahwa also said that Nigeria based importers had also started delaying payment, citing lower sales.

“Our payment by buyers in Nigeria is getting delayed. They (importers) are saying that the payment was delayed because sales (of bicycles) have dropped,” said Pahwa.

“We are now adopting wait and watch policy,” he added.

With EEPC organizing engineering goods exhibition in Kenya next month, Punjab based light engineering goods maker are reluctant to participate in the exhibition in the wake of Ebola disease in West African countries.

Sushma Swaraj chairs brainstorming session with Indian envoys

Hanoi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday chaired a brain storming session with 15 Indian Heads of Mission in South East and East Asia to chart out the foreign policy initiatives to be undertaken in the strategically important region by the new BJPled government.

This is the second Heads of Mission meeting that she has called for since assuming office in May. She held a similar session with Heads of Mission from the Middle East in Delhi.

Official sources said the meeting is a way to chart out the future roadmap and to get a frank assessment about the Indian foreign policy in the region and its potential.

“The meetings will also look at possibility of extending India’s soft power in the region, especially by creating cultural linkages,” a diplomatic source said.
Sources said the BJPled government is keen to establish friendly and cultural ties with the countries in the region.

Swaraj, who is here on a bilateral visit, has stressed on the need for an ‘Act East Policy’ that she said should replace India’s over two decadeold ‘Look East Policy’. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had said her visit to Vietnam was part of the Act East Policy. “She has said it is not enough to Look East but Act East.

This is Act East in action. We began with the focus on neighbourhood and this has now moved on with focus on ASEAN. Our Prime Minister is going to Japan, so it further moves eastwards,” Akbaruddin had said. India is keen to boost its ties in the region especially with ASEAN.

Stressing on the need for strong connectivity within ASEAN, Swaraj has said that there is a need to look at a more “functional visa regime” in the grouping.

She said the new government in India was a strong believer in a participative approach to bring together the members of the strategic community, the Industry, the experts and professionals and the youth in India and ASEAN countries to further the common agenda of development, progress and prosperity.

Modi to launch plan for every Indian household to have bank account

New Delhi:Prime Minister Narendra Modi will promise on Thursday to provide a bank account for every Indian household when he launches a major initiative that could save billions of dollars in welfare spending and help mend strained state finances.

India has grown to become Asia's third largest economy, but nearly twofifths of its 1.27 billion people do not have a bank account. This leaves them dependent on moneylenders and other informal financing routes.

In a keynote speech this month, Modi made financial 'inclusion' a top priority of his administration. He followed this up by writing 725,000 emails to bank officials urging them to support the initiative.

"There is an urgency to this exercise as all other development activities are hindered by this single disability," he said in a Twitter post.

Modi won India's biggest electoral mandate in 30 years in May with a promise to revive India's flagging economy. So far, he is yet to launch the bigbang reforms needed to break out of a cycle of low growth and high inflation.

Some commentators say his emphasis on the new banking and insurance programme seeks to cement his support base among poor households with small savings. Over 40 percent of Indians live on less than one dollar a day.

The launch of the Jan Dhan Yojana, or the Scheme for People's Wealth, comes weeks after Modi blocked a global trade deal, saying it threatened the interests of poor farmers.

Under the banking scheme, account holders would get a debit card and accident insurance cover of up to 100,000 rupees ($1,654). They would also get an overdraft facility of up to 5,000 rupees.

Suspended rape-accused DIG Sunil Paraskar faces another inquiry

Mumbai: In further trouble for suspended Maharashtra DIG Sunil Paraskar, accused of molestation and rape by a model, a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) has been launched against him to find if there were administrative lapses on his part while dealing with the victim before she filed police complaint.

“The preliminary enquiry (PE) is being conducted by Joint Police Commissioner (Administration) Vivek Phansalkar,” Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said today. The PE, started recently, will find out if there were any administrative lapses by Paraskar while dealing with the model. Based on the PE report, DGP Sanjeev Dayal will decide whether a Departmental Enquiry should be initiated against the senior IPS officer, who was suspended yesterday, police said.

Dayal has observed that Paraskar, who claimed to have “friendly relationship” with the 25yearold victim, appears to have violated Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules and his behaviour amounts to belittling the image of AllIndia Service Officers, they said.

Police recently submitted an investigation progress report to Dayal, who forwarded it to the State Government which subsequently placed him under suspension. “The PE report will have the statements of the accused, victim, witnesses and other evidences gathered by Crime Branch while carrying out investigation into the rape case,” said another officer.

According to police, Paraskar travelled with the model beyond his jurisdiction (to Navi Mumbai) and took expensive gifts from her without prior permission of his seniors. There were also regular conversations between them.

Meanwhile, a forensic science laboratory has fixed September 1 to conduct a voice analysis test on Paraskar. The test is part of investigations into the rape case and is separate from the PE.

The model, in her complaint last month, alleged the 57yearold officer molested and sexually assaulted her on two occasions in December 2013. According to her, she met Paraskar first in 2012 when he was Additional Commissioner of Police with regard to a case.

Early this month, a city court granted prearrest bail to Paraskar, observing that “it appears from the behaviour of the complainant and her emails that the act must be committed with consent.”

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