Modi govt slams global ranking firms as India ranks lower than Pak, Afghan in Press Freedom

News Network
May 27, 2023

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The Bharatiya Janta Party-led government of India plans to push back against the country rankings produced by global agencies on topics like governance and press freedom, a key advisor to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quoted as saying by news agencies.

Sanjeev Sanyal, a member of Modi's Economic Advisory Council, said India has begun to raise this issue at global forums. He said the indices were being compiled by a "tiny group of think tanks in the North Atlantic," sponsored by three or four funding agencies that are "driving a real-world agenda."

"It is not just narrative building in some diffused way. This has clear direct impact on trade, investment and other activities," Sanyal said.

India ranked lower than Afghanistan and Pakistan in the new World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders. It was below Pakistan and Bhutan in an academic freedom index by V-Dem Institute.

Over the past year, Indian government has in various meetings pointed out the flaws in methods used to compile global indices used by institutions like the World Bank, World Economic Forum (WEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Sanyal said.

The "World Bank is involved in this discussion because it takes these opinions from these think tanks and effectively sanctifies it by putting it into something called the world governance index," Sanyal said.

The World Bank, WEF, Reporters Without Borders and V-DEM Institute did not immediately respond to requests for comment. UNDP said it would respond shortly.

Sanyal said the ratings also get hard-wired into decision-making through environmental, social and governance (ESG) norms and sovereign ratings. Multilateral development banks offer subsidised loans to ESG-compliant projects.

"The idea of having some ESG norms is not the problem in itself. The problem relates to how these norms are defined and who certifies or measures compliance to these norms," he said. "As things are currently evolving, developing countries have been completely left out of the conversation."

The matter is being taken up by the Cabinet Secretariat, which has held more than a dozen meetings on the issue this year, a government official said. The Cabinet Secretariat and finance ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

India has said it plans to be an advocate for developing countries under its G20 presidency. Sanyal did not say if India has flagged the issue of country rankings with the G20.

"There are other developing countries who are also concerned about this because effectively this is a form of neo-colonialism," he said, adding that concerned ministries have been asked to establish benchmarks and engage continuously with rating agencies.

Some of the upcoming indices being watched out by India are the financial development index by International Monetary Fund, gender inequality and human development indices by UNDP, logistics performance and worldwide governance indicators by the World Bank, sources said. 

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coastaldigest.com news network
June 28,2024

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Mangaluru: A 21-year-old woman was allegedly electrocuted in a village in Belthangady taluka in Dakshina Kannada district, police said on Friday. 

The deceased has been identified as Pratiksha Shetty, they said, adding that the incident happened in Shibaje village within the Dharmasthala police limits on Thursday evening.

According to police, the woman had stepped out of her house to collect a parcel when she was electrocuted. An insulator of an electricity wire had broken and fallen into the water-filled trench, resulting in Pratiksha’s electrocution. 

She was heading towards the main road, just 100 meters from her home, to collect an online parcel she had ordered. The trench, which becomes waterlogged during the monsoon, lay in her path. 

She was electrocuted on the spot. Her father, Ganesh Shetty, also received a shock while attempting to rescue her.

Pratiksha was a resident of Bargula hamlet in Shibaje village, a police official said. The body was handed over to the family after the post-mortem, the official added.

This is the second incident of electrocution this week. Earlier, two autorickshaw drivers had come into contact with a live cable in Pandeshwar in Mangaluru city on Tuesday and died, police said.

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News Network
July 8,2024

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Moscow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Monday on a two-day high-profile visit to Russia during which he will hold summit talks with President Vladimir Putin to review all aspects of bilateral ties and explore opportunities to further boost cooperation in sectors like trade, energy and defence.

It is Modi's first trip to Russia in nearly five years. His last visit to Russia was in 2019 when he attended an economic conclave in the Far East city of Vladivostok.

During the 22nd India-Russia annual summit on Tuesday, Modi and Putin are expected to explore ways to further expand bilateral relations in diverse areas, including trade, energy and defence.

"The special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia has advanced over the past 10 years, including in areas of energy, security, trade, investment, health, education, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchanges," Modi said in his departure statement.

"I look forward to reviewing all aspects of bilateral cooperation with my friend President Vladimir Putin and sharing perspectives on various regional and global issues," he said.

"We seek to play a supportive role for a peaceful and stable region," he said without making any specific references.

The annual summit between the Prime Minister of India and the President of Russia is the highest institutional dialogue mechanism in the strategic partnership between the two countries.

So far, 21 annual summits have taken place alternatively in India and Russia.

The last summit was held on December 6, 2021, in New Delhi. President Putin had visited India to attend the summit. Putin, as head of the Russian state, has visited India nine times.

Prime Minister Modi and President Putin last held bilateral talks on the margins of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at Samarkand in Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022.

In the meeting, Modi had famously pressed Putin to end the conflict in Ukraine saying, "Today's era is not of war".

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Modi has held several telephonic conversations with Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In reflection of its strong friendship with Russia, India has not yet condemned Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.

In Russia, the prime minister will also meet the vibrant Indian community.

From Russia, Modi will travel to Austria on Tuesday in the first visit by an Indian prime minister to that country in over 40 years.

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coastaldigest.com news network
June 29,2024

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Mangaluru: A wave of joy and nostalgia has swept over Tulu-speaking communities in coastal Karnataka with the exciting news that Tulu is now included in Google Translate. This significant development promises to elevate the language’s popularity and recognition on a global scale, filling hearts with pride and happiness.

"The addition of Tulu to Google Translate is a monumental achievement for the language and its speakers," beamed Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy chairman Tharanath Gatti Kapikad.

He expressed that the community is overjoyed, believing this step will expose Tulu to a broader audience, allowing people worldwide to appreciate its richness and beauty.

"With Tulu now available on such a widely used translation platform, the coastal district anticipates a surge in interest and curiosity about our language and culture. We also hope this recognition will help bring due prominence to the language. The people of Tulunadu have long been advocating for Tulu to be included in Schedule VIII of the Constitution and to be declared an official language of Karnataka," he shared.

Kapikad noted that while the academy did not directly influence this development, the introduction of Tulu Wikipedia has also played a crucial role in garnering recognition, as there are now several articles in Tulu on the platform. He encouraged people to send feedback to Google Translate to help improve the feature further.

MLAs D Vedavyas Kamath, U Rajesh Naik, Gurme Suresh Shetty, and others also praised Google Translate for adding the language. "I express sincere gratitude to the Google team for making Tulu available alongside 110 other languages," Kamath said with heartfelt appreciation.

This moment is not just a technological advancement but a celebration of Tulu heritage, invoking memories of a rich past and hopes for a flourishing future.

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