Posts tagged ‘Bangalore’

14/10/2016

India and Russia to sign air defence deal – BBC News

Russia and India are expected to sign a deal on Saturday for the delivery of an advanced air defence system to Delhi, a Kremlin official has said.

The S-400 missiles are Moscow’s most sophisticated aircraft defence system.Yuri Ushakov said the agreement would be signed at a summit in Goa where President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Indian PM Narendra Modi.

India is also hosting a Brics summit in Goa this weekend involving Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“An agreement on the delivery of S-400 ‘Triumph’ anti-missile defence systems and other deals will be signed as a result of the talks,” Russian news agencies quoted Mr Ushakov as saying.

Russia’s missiles send robust signal

The Kremlin earlier this week said the talks with Mr Modi would focus on “a wide range of matters of bilateral relations, especially trade and economic ties”.

The S-400 surface-to-air missiles have been deployed to Syria, where Russian forces have been operating in support of the government of President Bashar al-Assad.Russia and India were close allies during the Cold War, but recently the relationship has become more complex.Talks have been held annually since 2000 and hosted alternately by Moscow and Delhi.

Source: India and Russia to sign air defence deal – BBC News

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15/09/2016

Why water war has broken out in India’s Silicon Valley – BBC News

On Monday afternoon, a school bus was stopped in the Banashankari area in southern Bangalore. Three drunk men got into the bus and asked aloud: “Which child belongs to Karnataka and and which child belongs to Tamil Nadu?”

The 15-odd students, aged between 10 and 14, were stunned. Their school had asked them to leave early because the situation was tense, with violence and arson breaking out in many parts of the city.

“Luckily the driver handled it tactfully. He told the intruders that everyone was a native of Bangalore and that their families supported Karnataka on [water sharing with] Cauvery,” said a parent, not wanting to be identified.

Battle for access

By dusk, dark smoke had filled the Bangalore skies. Some 35 buses had been set on fire by protesters, just because the buses belonged to a travel agency whose owner is Tamil.

Is India facing its worst-ever water crisis?

India to ‘divert rivers’ to tackle droughtEarlier this month India’s Supreme Court ruled that Karnataka must release 12,000 cubic feet of water per second to Tamil Nadu from the Cauvery river until 20 September. Both states say they urgently need the water for irrigation and a battle about access to it has raged for decades.

Karnataka says water levels in Cauvery have declined because of insufficient rainfall

India’s water war

The Cauvery originates in Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu before joining the Bay of Bengal.

The dispute over its waters originated in the 19th Century during the British rule between the then Madras presidency (modern day Tamil Nadu) and the province of Mysore (now Karnataka).

Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have both argued that they need the water for millions of farmers in the region.

The Cauvery river water tribunal was set up in 1990 after the failure of several rounds of talks between the two states.

Dozens of meetings have been held to find a settlement to the century-old dispute.

In 2007, the tribunal ruled Tamil Nadu state would get 419bn cubic feet of water a year. Karnataka would get only 270bn.

Karnataka says water levels in the Cauvery have declined because of insufficient rainfall – 42% of the 3,598 irrigation tanks in the state are dry – and that it cannot therefore share water with Tamil Nadu. So Tamil Nadu went to the top court demanding 50,000 cubic feet of water per second.

When the Supreme Court on 2 September asked Karnataka to “live and let live”, the state softened and offered to release 10,000 cubic feet of water per second to Tamil Nadu every day for five days.

On 5 September however, the top court ordered Karnataka to release 15,000 cubic feet of water per second for 10 days. This ruling was later modified to 12,000 cubic feet of water per second until 20 September.

This would mean that nearly a quarter of the water now available in the Cauvery basin will flow into Tamil Nadu.

A truck from neighbouring Tamil Nadu set on fire in Bangalore

Tamil Nadu says it badly needs the river water for irrigation. Drought-hit Karnataka argues that most of the river water is now needed for drinking water supplies in Bangalore and some other cities, leaving no water for irrigation at all.

But even farmers in Tamil Nadu are unhappy with their share.P Ayyakannu, president of the local South Indian Rivers Interlinking Farmers Association, called it “akin to giving pigeon feed to an elephant”.

Rising violenceFeeling let down by the top court’s order, Karnataka is boiling.

The main city of Bangalore is the worst affected: the violence in the technology hub forced the closure of many offices and much of the public transport system. Police have imposed an emergency law that prohibits public gatherings, and more than 15,000 officers have been deployed across the city.

One person was killed when police opened fire on protesters on Monday evening. Buses and trucks bearing Tamil Nadu number plates have been attacked and set on fire. Schools and colleges are closing early and many businesses are shut.

A group of activists belonging to a fringe pro-Karnataka group assaulted an engineering student because he had ridiculed Kannada film stars for supporting the strike on Friday, by posting memes on Facebook. The student was hunted down and forced to apologise.

Across the border, in Tamil Nadu, petrol bombs were hurled at a popular restaurant owned by a resident of Karnataka in Chennai while the driver of a vehicle with Karnataka number plates was slapped and ordered to say “Cauvery belongs to Tamil Nadu”.

Normal life has been disrupted in Bangalore

Protests have shut down Bangalore city

The latest violence brings back memories of the anti-Tamil riots in Bangalore in 1991 over the same issue.

Then, some 200,000 Tamils were reported to have left the city, after incidents of violence and arson targeting them.

There was a proposal in 2013 to set up a panel comprising representatives from the two warring states to resolve disputes over river water sharing.

But successive governments have dragged their feet on this, and the two leaders – Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and his counterpart in Tamil Nadu, Jayaram Jayalalitha – have not reached out to each other to resolve the crisis. And with Delhi reduced to being a reluctant referee, the onus has fallen on the Supreme Court to crack the whip.

Source: Why water war has broken out in India’s Silicon Valley – BBC News

02/09/2016

Crime Capital: Why Delhi Is by Far India’s Most Dangerous City – India Real Time – WSJ

Delhi is India’s biggest megacity, home of the country’s central government and, according to new police data, way ahead of the competition in the quest to claim the title as the country’s capital of crime.

The National Crime Records Bureau released its statistics for 2015 on Tuesday and Delhi left everyone else in the dust.Around 25% of the nearly 670,000 crimes recorded in India’s 53 largest cities were committed in Delhi last year, even though the megacity only accounts for around 10% of their combined populations.

The financial capital Mumbai was a distant second, recording only about 6% of the crimes. Tech hub Bangalore claimed about 5% of the crimes and Chennai looked to be the safest of the top five major metros, accounting for only 2% of the crimes.

This is not because Delhi–home of more than 16 million souls–has the largest population. Even on a per capita basis, the capital shined when it came to crime.

Last year it brought home the gold in theft and insulting the modesty of women, beating all the other cities with populations of more than 1 million,  according to the bureau’s data. In rape, only Jodhpur was worse. In the murder category, it was the bloodiest of the five major metros and well above average.

Delhi police attribute the high rate of crime in the city to their hard work. More and more cases are being registered every year as the force cracks down, said Taj Hassan, spokesman for the Delhi police.

“Delhi, being the national capital, witnesses a lot of law and order problems because people from all states live here,” he said. “The law and order situation is under control.”

More than previous years and in other cities, people are now being “encouraged to come forward and report” every incident of crime. “Not even a single complaint goes unnoticed,” he said.

There was, however, one area of hope.Surprisingly Delhi-ites were relatively law-abiding last year when it came to injuries caused by rash driving and road rage. Maybe the city’s notorious traffic is keeping cars from going fast enough to cause injury.

Maybe the city’s police force is too busy tracking down violent criminals to deal with bad drivers.

Source: Crime Capital: Why Delhi Is by Far India’s Most Dangerous City – India Real Time – WSJ

19/07/2015

Farmer suicides in Karnataka – The Hindu

Is it falling prices? Is it a glut in production? Or are farmers just falling into debt because of aspirational spending? Whatever the reason, Karnataka is again facing the spectre of rising suicides

“Crop loans are difficult to get, but large personal or consumption loans are easily available. This is the surest way to push farmers into deep debt, from which they are unable to recover because their earnings cannot keep pace with agricultural costs.” Photo: K.Bhagya Prakash

Krishna, 32, a farmer in Singamaranahalli, about 30 km from Hunsur in Mysuru district, consumed pesticide and died in the first week of June. The sesame farmer with three acres of land could not survive the debt trap he was in. He had defaulted on repayment to a local cooperative bank, fallen into the clutches of moneylenders, the water table had dropped, and his borewells had run dry. Having lost all hope of repaying the loans, he decided to end it all.

In the last fortnight alone, 50 farmers have committed suicide in Karnataka. The State Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda admits “it is alarming”. What is puzzling is that cases of farmer suicides had actually dropped over the last two years and have now suddenly begun to increase from mid-June onwards.

The suicides point to two things: first, a serious agrarian crisis shaped by an increase in cultivation costs and a decline in agricultural income, which is pushing farmers into a debt trap; and second, the sociological pressures that farmers face because of the disparity between their income and those in urban areas.

Vivek Cariappa is an organic farmer from Mysuru. He talks of the insecurity among farmers because neither the State nor institutional mechanisms have been able to address the crisis.

It is difficult to get crop loans, he says, but loans for consumption goods like cars, or personal loans for weddings and festivals are easily available. It is the surest way to push farmers into debt.

In Panakanahalli in Mandya district, Mahesh took a loan for his sister’s marriage. In Kestur village of Chamarajanagar district, Nanjundaiah borrowed Rs. 30,000 from a bank and Rs. 4 lakh from moneylenders to get his daughters married. Both farmers were unable to repay the loans and committed suicide.

The problem is also sociological: Farmers who aspire to the lifestyle of salaried persons end up taking loans, sometimes at 60-80 per cent interest rates, and become prey to loan sharks.

“ There is a serious agrarian crisis with an increase in agricultural costs and a decline in earnings. There is also sociological pressure ”

For most farmers across the State, what were once considered luxury items such as cars have now become aspirational necessities. Kurubur Shanthakumar, President of the State Sugarcane Growers’ Association, talks of how he followed his father’s footsteps and became a farmer, but his son wanted to study in Mysuru. This ended up costing Shanthakumar a sizeable sum of money. The pressure is most severe in areas close to the big urban centres of Mysuru and Bengaluru, but is true in general all over, points out G.K. Veeresh, former chairman of the State government’s committee that studied farmer suicides in 2002.

Then, mono-cropping had been seen as a major cause for suicides. Mr. Veeresh talks about how farmers had a tendency to focus on a single crop if it had seen commercial success. The problem was, when it failed, they faced total collapse. More than land holding, says Mr. Veeresh, crop planning is the bigger issue. Farmers must be educated to see the long-term benefits of “multi crop-multi income” farming.

But this time around, the farmers who committed suicide don’t appear to have stayed with one crop. Yes, some sugarcane farmers have faced a major crisis after sugar factories, mostly owned by powerful politicians, defaulted on payments, but they have not accounted for the majority of suicides.

T.N. Prakash, Chairman, Karnataka Agriculture Price Commission, speaks of the urgent need to address the issue of rising input costs when incomes stay stagnant. One suggestion Mr. Prakash makes is interesting. He says that the Agriculture Price Commission could instead become a commission for agricultural cost, prices and farmer’s incomes, which would give it more authority to implement suitable measures.

Another reason could be a glut in production. Mr. Cariappa and Mr. Shanthakumar point out that the State, despite having records of the area under sugarcane cultivation and the crushing capacities of sugar mills, has turned a blind eye to excessive cultivation. This has kept prices low enough to benefit the sugar mills owned by politicians.

This glut is true for cotton, tobacco and other crops as well. Excess production helps processing industries, as it ensures that the prices of raw materials stay low and they profit from it. There is also “mass hysteria” when a farmer commits suicide, and it may result in others taking the same step. Politics over farmer suicides and the wide publicity they get tend, in a way, to “glorify” suicides and worsen the situation, says Mr. Veeresh.

via Farmer suicides in Karnataka – The Hindu.

12/05/2015

Indian rail projects outweigh rivalry before Modi visit to China | Reuters

Beijing has been pushing India to accelerate work on a multi-billion dollar rail link from New Delhi to Chennai ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to China this week, as the Asian giants put economic ties before regional rivalries.

China, which is conducting a feasibility study into a $36 billion bullet train project from the capital in the north to Chennai in the south, has asked for work to begin on a pilot project covering part of the route, officials said.

The two sides have also agreed to speed up implementation of a shorter high-speed rail corridor from Chennai to Bengaluru, as China seeks to cash in on Modi’s vision of modernizing a creaking train system that 25 million people use daily.

Indian Railways Logo

Indian Railways Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Such cooperation could help ease tensions between the neighbors caused by a Himalayan border dispute and Chinese naval forays into the Indian Ocean as well as India’s strategic tie-ups with Japan and the United States.

Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to address the border issue, a major irritant that overshadowed Xi’s visit to New Delhi last year and has proved impossible to resolve despite 13 years of negotiations.

But progress on the economic front is more likely, officials said, as China eyes a greater share of India’s $2 trillion economy. Thanks in part to a statistical revision, India is now the world’s fastest growing major economy, outstripping China.

Modi, who arrives in China on Thursday, appears happy to encourage such investment, despite reservations among India’s powerful security community which has not forgotten a brief border war the countries fought in 1962.

“Modi is abandoning the old approach to China,” said C. Raja Mohan, an influential Indian foreign policy analyst.

“He has recognized that India can’t construct a serious business relationship with China, the world’s second largest economy and a major exporter of capital, by giving the security establishment a veto over economic policy,” he added.

$10 BILLION IN DEALS

China’s ambassador to India, Le Yucheng, told CNN-IBN television that deals worth $10 billion were expected to be signed during Modi’s three-day visit.

He urged the Indian government to focus on cutting red tape to ease investment flows, the channel said in a press release.

During Xi’s visit to India last year, China announced $20 billion in investments over five years, including setting up two industrial parks.

Since then progress has been slow, in part because of the difficulties Modi has had in getting political approval for easier land acquisition laws.

Only a fifth of the necessary land has been acquired for a $5 billion industrial park in the western city of Pune that the two sides announced last year, said a Chinese official.

In Modi’s home state of Gujarat, only 28 percent of the land has been purchased for a proposed $1.8 billion Chinese-built industrial park in Vadodara.

That is not likely to blunt China’s appetite for investments in India, according to experts.

“China’s attitude toward this investment is extremely positive,” said Ma Jiali, executive deputy director of the China Reform Forum’s Centre for Strategic Studies and an India expert.

via Indian rail projects outweigh rivalry before Modi visit to China | Reuters.

14/04/2015

Narendra Modi: India Has Changed – India Real Time – WSJ

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to convince German industry that India is a reliable place to do business on his first visit to Europe’s largest economy as India’s leader.

View image on Twitter

“I am here to assure German companies that India is now a changed country — transparent, responsive and stable,” Mr. Modi told a delegation of Indian and German business leaders on Monday.

The Indian leader insisted that he was committed to introducing a “predictable” business environment in his country, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed him for the start of the Hannover Messe trade fair.

As the official partner country of the Messe—the world’s largest industrial trade fair—India is promoting its industrial and technological assets as Mr. Modi seeks to draw German industrial investment to his country.

Months after his election last May, Mr. Modi, of the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party, launched a “Make in India” campaign to promote the country as an investment destination and manufacturing center. His goal is to market India as an industrial hub for foreign players eager to take advantage of the country’s large workforce, raw materials and infrastructure.

via Narendra Modi: India Has Changed – India Real Time – WSJ.

11/03/2015

Nuclear Power Gains Traction in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s government is breathing life into its nuclear sector with the approval of the country’s first new reactors in more than two years. As the WSJ’s Brian Spegele reports:

The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic-planning agency, approved construction of two reactors in the country’s northeastern Liaoning province by state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp., according to a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by the company’s listed unit, CGN Power Co.

China is the world’s biggest nuclear growth market. The country operates 24 reactors currently. A further 25 are under construction, out of 68 globally, according to the IAEA. China doesn’t disclose total spending, but based on the cost of reactors, its buildout represents tens of billions of dollars in potential new business for Chinese and foreign companies over the coming decade.

via Nuclear Power Gains Traction in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

18/02/2015

Modi wants more technology transfer from global defence firms | Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked global defence contractors to transfer more technology to India as part of the lucrative deals that they win to modernise its armed forces.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends an event organised by the Christian community to celebrate the beatification of two Indians by Pope Francis late last year, in New Delhi February 17, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

The country’s offsets policy, which requires contractors to invest a percentage of the value of the deal in India, will be tweaked to encourage more technology transfer, and less simple assembly or production, Modi said at the opening ceremony of the Aero India airshow at Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru.

“We have the reputation as the largest importer of defence equipment. This may be music to the ears of some of you. But this is an area where we do not want to be number one,” Modi said before an air display of Indian military planes.

“It will no longer be enough to buy equipment and simply assemble here.”

India is forecast to spend $250 billion over the next decade to upgrade its military, which still largely relies on Russian equipment it bought from the 1960s to the 1980s, and catch up with strategic rivals like China.

via Modi wants more technology transfer from global defence firms | Reuters.

11/12/2014

The Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi Agreements in Full – India Real Time – WSJ

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that their countries had signed 20 bi-lateral agreements including memorandums of understanding and commercial contracts on Thursday.

View image on Twitter

During Mr. Putin’s visit to India’s capital, the Russian leader said in a news conference that the documents placed an emphasis on trade and economic issues.

Eight of the agreements signed relate to nuclear power and energy production including a roadmap for bilateral cooperation in the civil nuclear energy sector over the next 20 years. Russia also agreed to supply “major equipment” to the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu.

India agreed to identify a second site apart from Kudankulam for Russian-designed nuclear power plants.

Mr. Modi said that they had “outlined an ambitious vision for nuclear energy” and would have “the highest standards of safety in the world.”

A list of the agreements signed is below as provided by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

via The Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi Agreements in Full – India Real Time – WSJ.

04/12/2014

Visas for travel: Common sense comes to India | The Economist

RED TAPE is the bane of frequent business travellers. Many places in the world require arduous and expensive visa applications for even the most routine travel. I have two passports just so I can juggle concurrent applications when necessary. But the best policy, for business travellers and tourists alike, is a less-restrictive visa regime. The Schengen Area has proven a huge boon to European travellers; this blog has long supported making it easier for people to travel abroad.

Now there’s some good news. India, a nation notorious for bureaucracy and red tape—not to mention the long queues outside its diplomatic missions of people hoping to visit the country (see picture above of India House in London)—has dramatically loosened its visa policies. Travellers from 43 nations, including Germany, Japan, Russia and America, will now be able to receive visas upon arrival. There are, unfortunately, some restrictions:

You have to apply online four days in advance, pay a $60 fee, and upload a passport photo and a scan of your passport.

It only works for the international airports in nine cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Goa.

It is valid for 30 days, and you can only get two per year.

Narendra Modi‘s government has referred to the changes as being for a “tourist visa”. But the announcement makes clear the visa can be used for a “casual business visit”, and many Gulliver readers may decide that’s good enough for them.

The new policy is far from perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction and one that travellers should applaud. It will “send out a clear message that India is serious about making travel to the country easy,” Mahesh Sharma, the country’s tourism minister, said in a statement. That’s an encouraging attitude. If Mr Modi’s government can pull off more changes along these lines, travellers—and the Indian economy—should benefit greatly.

via Visas for travel: Common sense comes to India | The Economist.

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