Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2018

East & North-East Asia

In 2017, economic growth in this subregion accelerated to 4.6 per cent, from 4.2 per cent in 2016, on the back of strong domestic consumption and recovery in external demand. China achieved faster economic growth for the first time since 2010. Consumption grew faster than investment and services faster than industry in line with ongoing rebalancing efforts. In Japan, the unemployment rate declined to a record low. In the Republic of Korea, such export sectors as semiconductors experienced strong growth. Similarly, the economy of Hong Kong, China benefited from stronger global demand, and the gambling sector in Macau, China profited from stronger tourist arrivals. Mongolia’s economy rebounded despite budget cuts, benefiting from non-mining construction, the price hike for coal and stronger external demand for this commodity (partly due to reductions in China’s coal production). While the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does not release official economic statistics, international sanctions are likely to be having a significantly negative impact on its economy.

In 2018 and 2019, the subregion’s economies are likely to continue benefiting from an improved external environment as well as strong domestic demand, but at a slower pace of 4.3 and 4 per cent respectively. Notably, growth in China is expected to ease steadily as financial stability gains higher policy priority. Japan is expecting continued moderate recovery on the back of supportive monetary and fiscal policy measures; however, a widening primary deficit and very high government debt raise concerns. In the Republic of Korea, the planned increase in employment and social spending are expected to boost household income and consumption. Higher minimum wages will support equity objectives but could weaken competitiveness if there are no commensurate productivity gains. Mongolia remains vulnerable to commodity price swings. A three-year programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in that country is aimed at strengthening the banking sector and improving fiscal policymaking.

North & Central Asia

In 2017, economic growth rebounded to 2.3 per cent, from 0.3 per cent in 2016, led by the Russian Federation, which emerged from a two-year contraction, and stronger growth in Kazakhstan. The upturn was clearly driven by higher oil prices and more stable inflation, credit and employment conditions as countries recovered from the 2014 terms-of-trade shock. In the Russian Federation, prudent fiscal management and bank recapitalization supported macroeconomic stability, while structural reforms, including the reorganization of agricultural business entities, have helped to increase productivity. However, Azerbaijan underwent another year of recession as banking sector problems constrained credit growth, and external stability concerns prompted monetary tightening.

The economic outlook is stable, with growth expected to be sustained at 2.3 and 2.2 per cent in 2018 and 2019 respectively. This positive situation is underpinned by stable growth in the Russian Federation. Growth will ease in Kazakhstan as one-off effects of increased oil


Production and fiscal stimulus start to wane. The market integration process driven by the
Eurasian Economic Union is expected to support greater intrasubregional trade and
facilitate stable remittance flows. The 2017 accession of India and Pakistan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation offers an opportunity for the subregion to connect with South Asia along with several regional energy projects, such as the Central Asia-South Asia electricity transmission system, commonly known as CASA-1000. Gas trade with South Asia could be expanded though the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline.

South & South West Asia

In 2017, economic growth decelerated to 6.4 per cent, from 6.6 per cent in 2016. Despite the slowdown, it remains the fastest-growing subregion in Asia and the Pacific. In fact, growth accelerated in all but two countries: India and Sri Lanka. The recently introduced goods and services tax (GST) as well as protracted issues of corporate and bank balance sheet problems pushed the growth rate of India downward. For Sri Lanka, growth moderated further due to severe weather disruptions. In Bangladesh, robust growth has been supported by domestic demand, especially large infrastructure projects and new initiatives in the energy sector. Remittance flows have also started to increase with the increase in global oil prices.

Economic growth is forecast to further moderate to 6 per cent in 2018 before picking up to 6.2 per cent in 2019. Further moderation this year is largely due to Turkey and to a lesser degree Nepal, where the effects of fiscal stimulus and reconstruction are fading; however, growth elsewhere will accelerate. In India, a gradual recovery is expected; private investment is expected to revive as the corporate sector adjusts to GST, infrastructure spending and corporate and bank balance sheets improve with government support. Further growth acceleration is projected for Pakistan on the back of increased infrastructure investment; however, wide fiscal and current account deficits raise concerns. Similarly, while Bangladesh is expecting faster growth, the banking sector has been plagued by financial scams, non-performing loans and weak monitoring problems, which might cause a macroeconomic risk in the near term. Sri Lanka’s exports are likely to benefit from the reinstatement of the GSP+ component of the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences for developing countries. Growth in the Islamic Republic of Iran is expected to pick up slightly, with higher
investment growth offset by lower oil production and limited access to finance.


In 2017, Pacific island developing economies collectively grew by 2.6 per cent, up from 2 per cent in 2016, broadly supported by tourism activities, resource and agricultural production and infrastructure upgrades. Economic growth remained highly uneven across economies. Improved agricultural and mineral production boosted growth as did spending in preparation for hosting the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Papua New Guinea, a country which accounts for close to 60 per cent of the total GDP of the Pacific island developing economies. In Fiji, tourism, retail trade, manufacturing, construction activity and infrastructure upgrades supported growth.

Similarly, Vanuatu’s economy benefited from ongoing infrastructure upgrades, as well as from tourism activity. The economies of Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia rebounded, based on higher spending on infrastructure, while growth remained solid in Solomon Islands and Tonga based on retail trade and construction output. The smaller atoll economies of Kiribati and Tuvalu received windfall fishing licence revenue, which resulted in increased public spending and infrastructure projects in support of growth.

Indias 7% projected growth rate amazingly fast: ADB

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said, India’s projected GDP growth of over 7 percent for the current fiscal is amazingly fast and if this momentum is maintained, the size of the economy can double within a decade.
In an interview with news agency PTI, ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada said, India should not worry about not achieving 8 per cent growth but focus on increasing domestic demand by reducing the income inequality.
He said growth is driven more by domestic consumption than exports. Mr Sawada said inequality and poverty reduction would play a very important role in achieving higher growth because consumption can stimulate more production and that can create more employment.
He said tapping the broadening market will be important to achieve higher growth, adding that the services sector too would play a role in pushing up economic growth. ADB has projected India to remain the fastest growing Asian nation with 7.3 percent growth in 2018-19, and 7.6 percent in 2019-20.

Germany, France vow to stick to Iran deal i

Germany and France have vowed to stand by the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers even if the United States pulls out. In a joint press conference with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, they do not think there is any justifiable reason to pull out of this agreement. He said they will deal with the US decision.
The French Foreign Minister said, France, Germany and Britain are determined to save the deal as the accord safeguards against nuclear proliferation and is the right way to stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon.
US President Donald Trump is to announce tonight his decision on whether to withdraw from the deal. He said in a tweet yesterday. Ever since his election campaign, Mr Trump has described the Iranian nuclear agreement, as bad. The deal, he said, does not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Dmitry Medvedev remains PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen to retain Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister for his new term.
Putin submitted the proposal for premiership to the lower house of parliament, or State Duma, immediately after he was sworn in for his 4th term yesterday.
The Duma is expected to approve Medvedev as prime minister today. Medvedev has held the premiership since 2012 when Putin started his 3rd term as president.
The Russian government stepped down yesterday in accordance with the Constitution after the inauguration of newly-elected President Vladimir Putin.

India signs 200 million US Dollar Loan Deal with World Bank

India signed an agreement of 200-million dollar loan with the World Bank for the National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan) for 315 districts across all states and union territories. It would help the government in achieving its goal of reducing stunting in children 0-6 years of age from 38.4 percent to 25 percent by the year 2022. Our correspondent reports that POSHAN Abhiyaan was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March this year.
A large component of POSHAN Abhiyaan involves gradual scaling-up of the interventions supported by the ongoing World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country over a 3-year period.
With a focus on improving the coverage and quality of ICDS nutrition services to pregnant and lactating women and children under 3 years of age. The project will include investments in improving the skills and capacities of ICDS staff and community nutrition workers, instituting mechanisms of community mobilization and management of services for better outreach to beneficiaries for nutrition impact.
The project will additionally ensure convergence of all nutrition-related schemes and provide performance-based incentives to states and community nutrition and health workers, facilitating a focus on results.

Thunderstorm in northern and eastern India

India Meteorological Department has issued a warning of thunderstorm accompanied with squall and hail in large parts of northern and eastern part of the country today.
It issued an amber-coloured alert, indicating severe weather for parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, western Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal.
The Delhi government has decided to shut all second shift schools starting in the afternoon today. Last night a dust storm, with a wind speed of 70 kilometres per hour, hit the national capital followed by a squall, bringing down the temperature. The traffic police has asked commuters to check weather conditions before travelling while the Delhi Metro too has decided to exercise extreme caution in running of trains in the wake of the warning.
The Haryana government has cancelled leave of all officials in civic bodies across the state. According to the Met Department, thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds, is very likely at isolated places over Punjab, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, Bihar, western Madhya Pradesh, east Uttar Pradesh and East Rajasthan, Coastal and South Interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Getronics appoints Rogier Bronsgeest as new COO

Looking to become the preferred partner in business transformation and reach $1 billion in turnover with double digit profitability by 2020, Getronics has appointed Rogier Bronsgeest as new Chief Operating Officer and Head of Global Service & Delivery.
After 30 years of working for some of the biggest names in technology, Bronsgeest has the international experience and practical know-how needed to drive Getronics forward on its ‘Path Towards a New Tomorrow’. 
Amsterdam/London UK, 8th May 2018 – As confirmed by Whitelane’s latest IT Outsourcing Study from March 2018, Getronics is one of the top performers in IT worldwide in terms of general customer satisfaction, excelling notably in terms of service delivery quality, proactivity and flexibility. For the global ICT integrator, it is not just an encouraging sign but validation of its people-centric approach, based on adaptability, resilience and proactivity and aimed at delivering an exceptional user experience. Strengthening the team in its mission to become the preferred partner in business transformation, Rogier Bronsgeest will be joining the team as new COO with immediate effect.
Having initially begun his career at Unisys, Bronsgeest can boast of vast international experience with the likes of Baan and IBM, as well as with Getronics. His latest functions included President Global Customer Services at British Telecom, delivering services in over 170 countries and contributing to the company becoming a market leader, as well as Chief Customer Experience Officer at Colt Technology Services, guiding the company in its digital transformation, increasing online usage and achieving a record NPS (Net Promotor Score) in the B2B telecom domain. With his track record and expertise in change management, business strategy and IT services, he is the right man to help the ‘new’ Getronics fulfill its goals and ambitions, with a focus on enabling happy end users.
After my earlier spell with Getronics, from 2004 to 2009, I am very happy to get back on board and excited by the challenges that lie ahead”, Bronsgeest says. “By continuing down the path chosen in recent years and building on the new Getronics vision, go-to-markets and value propositions, I am looking forward to further improving our user experience and helping Getronics establish itself as the preferred partner for businesses in transformation.”
On behalf of the entire team, I am pleased to welcome Rogier back into the Getronics family after a successful earlier stint”, adds Nana Baffour, Chairman and Group CEO of GetronicsI am looking forward to working closely with him, and firmly believe he has all the right qualities to further drive transformation in our daily operations, lead the energizing of our human capital and proactively promote cross-selling with our commercial team. In doing so, he will help us maintain and enhance the award-winning Getronics customer support and end-user experience”.

The Inside Story of the Rohingya Crisis:

CPR is pleased to invite you to a discussion on
The Inside Story of the Rohingya Crisis: The Road Ahead for Myanmar’s Democracy
A conversation between Khin Zaw Win and Nimmi Kurian
Thursday, 10 May 2018, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Conference Hall, Centre for Policy Research
Image Source
About the talk:
The Rohingya issue has been reduced to a single-issue debate fixated on the security dimension largely concerned with issues of illegal migration, religious radicalisation and terrorism. Despite being intensely debated, the underlying causes and the potential consequences of the crisis are dimly understood.
Join us as we unpack and interrogate the multiple and contradictory narratives of the Rohingya issue in the wake of the UN Security Council delegation’s visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh earlier this week. These will be debated in a conversation between Khin Zaw Win and Nimmi Kurian that will delve deeper into the historical narrative, the complexities of the issue, the challenges it poses, and the possible solutions going forward.
About the speakers:
Khin Zaw Win has decades-long experience as one of the most respected and independent political commentators from Myanmar. He has had a ringside view of Myanmar’s transitions from authoritarianism to democracy including the contested debate on devolution of power and recognition of ethnic aspirations. He is currently the Director of the Yangon-based Tampadipa Institute and works on policy advocacy and capacity building issues. He has previously served in the government health services of Myanmar, and Sabah, Malaysia. He is a former Fellow of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, New York, a UK FCO Chevening Fellow, University of Birmingham and holds a degree in Public Policy programme from the National University of Singapore. He is currently closely involved in addressing the ongoing Rohingya crisis.
Nimmi Kurian is an Associate Professor at Centre for Policy Research and Academic Advisor at the India China Institute, The New School, New York. Her research interests include Asian borderlands, comparative regionalism, transborder mobilities and Indian foreign policy. She is one of the contributors to the India Country Report as part of the Bangladesh China India Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM EC) Joint Study Group, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Her recent publications include: India and China: Rethinking Borders and Security (co-author) University of Michigan Press, 2016;  ‘Why the ‘Good’ Refugee is a Bad Idea’, Open Democracy, 30 April 2018; ‘An Uneven Flow? Navigating Downstream Concerns Over China’s Water Policy’ in K. J. Joy et al, Water Conflicts in Northeast India, Routledge, 2017. ‘How Suu Kyi can Change the Rohingya Narrative’, Diplomatist, November 2017; ‘Footnotes of a Forgotten Text: Turning the Page on Myanmar’s Federal Debate’, CPR Policy Brief, June 2018, forthcoming; ‘Addressing the Drought of Ideas on the Brahmaputra’, China-India Brief, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, October 2017.

To celebrate Europe Day

The Ambassador of Iceland,
E-Card# : E-2236 
To celebrate Europe Day 
The Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of India
H.E. Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski and Mrs. Malgorzata Kozlowska
request the pleasure of the company of 
 Mr. Naresh Kumar Sagar & Spouse
at a reception
on Wednesday, 9th May 2018 from 19:00 to 21:00

The Durbar Hall
Hotel Taj Diplomatic Enclave
S.P. Marg, New Delhi
Tel.: +91-11-66781910
Yes-Please click here

Regrets Please click here

For security reasons please bring print out of this e-invite and photo ID with you.

Delhi Government braces for storm

Picture 018
The Chief Secretary, Delhi Shri Anshu Prakash today chaired a high-level evening meeting at Delhi Secretariat following the Indian Meteorological Department’s warning about isolated thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds.
The meeting was attended by the senior officers of Ministry of Home Affairs, Indian Meteorological Department,
National Disaster Management Authority, Revenue Department, Environment Department, Health Department, Education Department, Delhi Police, Delhi Traffic Police, Delhi Fire Service, Delhi Transport Corporation, Delhi Jal Board of Delhi Government and all Commissioners of Local Bodies (MCD).
After the high-level meeting, it was decided that Government, Government Aided & Recognized Unaided Schools under Directorate of Education running in Evening/II nd shift shall remain closed on 8.05.2018 (Tuesday) as a precautionary measure. Other schools are also advised to not hold outdoor activities/extracurricular activities during the abovesaid time period.
Whereas in any case of emergency, the citizens of capital can call on a toll-free number 1077 (24×7) of Delhi Disaster Management Authority. The National Disaster Management Authority has issued a Do’s and Don’ts for the citizens for preparedness/Before, during and After.

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