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O.P. Jindal Global University VC C. Raj Kumar addresses Japanese parliament

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Tokyo, 26 April (IANS) At the invitation of the Japanese Parliamentary Committee of the World Federation, the founding Vice Chancellor of O. P. Jindal Global University (JGU), Professor (Dr) C. Raj Kumar addressed a caucus of over 20 distinguished Members of the Japanese Parliament (National Diet), which also included Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Government of Japan, Masahito Moriyama.

It is truly remarkable that Prof Raj Kumar is also the first Indian Vice Chancellor to be invited to speak at the Japanese Parliament to address the distinguished MPs and public officials of the Government of Japan.

The Japanese Parliamentary Committee of the World Federation invited Prof Kumar to share his views on issues relating to India’s national education policy, bilateral relations, development agenda and global governance. The committee comprised of the some of the most distinguished members of the house of representatives of the Japanese Parliament and other public officials: Mitsuo Ohashi, Chairman, Japanese Parliamentary Committee of the World Federation, Professor Masakuni Tanimoto, Under Secretary General, Japanese Parliamentary Committee of the World Federation, Kiyoshi Odawara, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Japan, H.E. Makoto Hayashi, Deputy Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Takahiro Kanamori, Representative, Friends of the United Nations, Asia-Pacific, Hirobumi Niki, Member of the House of Representatives, Liberal Democratic Party, Masahito Moriyama, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, Seishiro Eto, Member of the House of Representatives, Former Vice Speaker, House of Representatives, Motoko Mizuno, Member, House of Councillors, The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Satoshi Asano, Member of the House of Representatives, Democratic Party for the People, Mr. Kenta Aoshima, Member of the House of Councillors, Ayaka Shiomura, Member of the House of Councillors and Makoto Hayashi, Deputy Assistant Minister & Ambassador, ASEAN, Asian and Oceanian Bureau and Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department and Sukehiro Hasegawa,Chairman, Japan Advisory Committee on Global Governance & Former Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Timor-Leste.

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Kumar, delivered a speech on the Indo-Japan relationship, framing it as a cornerstone for collective progress and prosperity. “The India-Japan relationship is undoubtedly the most important and critical relationship in the Indo-Pacific region.” Kumar articulated five key points, encapsulating the historical, cultural, economic, political and strategic dimensions of the bilateral ties between India and Japan.We have deep-rooted ties between India and Japan, stemming from shared civilisational values and cultural heritage, including the profound influence of Buddhism as a religion and philosophy in both the countries.”

He recalled the outstanding courage of conviction and intellectual integrity of the distinguished Indian jurist, Justice Radha Binod Pal, former Judge of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for his contribution to equity, justice and fairness in Tokyo Trials by ensuring that international criminal justice does not perpetuate the “Victor’s Justice” phenomenon. He was one of three Asian judges appointed to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the “Tokyo Trials” of Japanese war crimes committed during the Second World War. Among all the judges of the tribunal, he was the only one who submitted a judgment which insisted all defendants were not guilty,” he said. Kumar emphasised the enduring people-to-people connections that serve as a foundation for the collaboration between both the countries in various sectors, which also requires greater expansion and deeper engagement.

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The Vice Chancellor highlighted India’s historical support for Japan’s political development post-World War II, recognising Japan’s sovereignty and integrity emphasising India’s role in nurturing Japan’s resurgence and progress. India’s early support to Japan for recognising its sovereignty was unequivocal and came at a time when most counties of the world were reluctant to do so in the early 1950s. Drawing parallels with the evolution of Indo-Japanese relations, Kumar cited examples such as Maruti Suzuki’s transformative impact on the automobile sector, showcasing the potential for innovation and economic collaboration. He further stressed that this landmark collaboration democratised access to transportation, especially for the middle-class population in India and paved way for reforms and expansion in India’s automobile sector.

Kumar emphasised the alignment of democratic principles, rule of law, and respect for human rights, emphasising the convergence of enlightened national interests and democratic values between the two nations. He underscored India’s demographic dividend manifested through a billion people who are less than 35 years of age, with a burgeoning youth population poised to collaborate with their Japanese counterparts for mutual growth and development.

Highlighting the Indo-Pacific Strategic Construct, Kumar stressed Japan’s pivotal role in ensuring peace, stability, and sustainability in the region. He emphasised the need for long-term cooperation between India and Japan to address the shared challenges relating to peace, development and security in the Indo-Pacific region. His speech generated a lively interest and discussion among the Japanese MPs. In response to questions and perspectives shared by the MPs, Kumar expounded on India and Japan’s joint endeavours within the United Nations, advocating for their permanent representation in the Security Council and the reform of the UN. Further, he reiterated India’s steadfast commitment to higher education, emphasising the principles of excellence, equity, and inclusion as outlined in India’s National Education Policy 2020. Kumar also highlighted that these principles find manifestation through our commitment to excellence, diversity and access by offering scholarships and institutional support to our students. Kumar observed that universities such as JGU and other reputed higher education institutions in India foster an environment conducive to promoting research excellence and innovation among our faculty for institution building.

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In conclusion, Kumar reiterated the transformative potential of Indo-Japanese relations that needs to be built on the expansion of educational partnerships between universities in both countries. He expressed optimism about the future trajectory of Indo-Japanese collaboration in higher education, envisioning a landscape defined by excellence in research and scholarship, and the creation of knowledge through leadership in promoting frugal innovation.

Kumar led a high-level faculty delegation from O.P. Jindal Global University to Japan which included Professor (Dr) Mohan Kumar, Dean, Strategic and International Initiatives, Professor of Diplomatic Practice & Director, Jindal Global Centre for G20 Studies, Professor Kathleen A. Modrowski, Dean, Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, Professor Padmanabha Ramanujam, Professor of Law & Dean of Academic Governance and Student Life, Professor (Dr) Upasana Mahanta, Professor of Political Science & Dean, Office of Admissions and Outreach, Professor (Dr) Vesselin Popovski, Professor of Law & Vice Dean, Jindal Global Law School and Executive Director, Centre for the Study of United Nations, JGU and Professor (Dr) Akhil Bhardwaj, Associate Professor & Associate Dean and Director, Office of International Affairs & Global Initiatives.

–IANS

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India’s growth momentum to continue in April-March quarter of 2024-25: FinMin report

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) The Indian economy closed the financial year 2023-24 strongly despite strong external headwinds, and early indications suggest that the growth momentum will continue during the current April-June quarter of 2024-25, according to a Finance Ministry report released on Friday.

“The emerging robust trends in key high-frequency indicators of growth like GST collections, e-way bills, electronic toll collections, sale of vehicles, purchasing managers’ indices, and the value and number of digital transactions attest to the growing strength of the economy,” the Finance Ministry said in its monthly economic review for April.

The industrial and service sectors of the Indian economy are performing well, backed by brisk domestic demand and partially by tentative external demand. This can benefit India’s manufacturing firms as part of the China Plus One strategy.

The EXIM Bank of India has forecast that merchandise exports will post a double-digit growth in Q1 of FY25, the report pointed out.

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The report expects domestic manufacturing to receive stronger export orders due to improved economic activity and consumer sentiment in Europe and a steady US economy. It cites an uptick in India’s exports in April to support the point.

It admits that geopolitical tensions and volatility in global commodity prices, especially of petroleum products, present substantial challenges. “Nonetheless, the expectation is that the macro-economic buffers will help the Indian economy navigate these challenges reasonably smoothly,” the report added.

Factors like the ongoing recovery in the hotel and tourism industry, increased credit flow to transport and real estate segments, policy support, and robust investments in physical and digital infrastructure and logistics will help the services sector. The strong export growth in April 2024 indicates that the momentum in services trade has been carried forward into FY25, it said.

On the inflation front, the report cites the good rabi harvest of wheat and the prediction of a normal Southwest Monsoon as factors that will lead to higher food production and easing of price pressures during 2024-25. The RBI has forecast a 4.9 per cent retail inflation for FY25’s first quarter.

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According to the report, Government initiatives to stabilise the prices of essential food items, including their open market sale, stock monitoring and trade policy measures are helping to stabilise food prices.

“The positive indications in the farm sector should help India firewall against any adverse pressures that may arise from geopolitical tensions and global commodity prices. Likewise, the strong macro-economic buffers of India should help the real sectors of the economy navigate the external headwinds smoothly and continue the growth momentum of the previous year,” the report added.

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RBI fines Hero FinCorp for breach of norms

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Mumbai, May 24 (IANS) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 3,10,000 on Hero FinCorp Limited for breach of norms related to the fair practices code for NBFCs.

An RBI inspection has revealed that Hero FinCorp did not convey the terms and conditions of loans in writing to the borrowers in the vernacular language understood by them.

The statutory inspection of the company was conducted by RBI with reference to its financial position as on March 31, 2023.

Based on supervisory findings of non-compliance with RBI directions and related correspondence in that regard, a notice was issued to the company advising it to show cause as to why penalty should not be imposed on it for its failure to comply with the directions.

After considering the company’s reply to the notice, oral submissions made during the personal hearing and examination of additional submissions made by it, the RBI found, inter alia, that the charge against the company was sustained, warranting imposition of monetary penalty.

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The RBI also said: “This action is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the company with its customers.”

–IANS

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India's forex reserves soar to lifetime high of $648.7 billion

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Mumbai, May 24 (IANS) India’s foreign exchange reserves surged by $4.55 billion to touch a new lifetime high of 648.7 billion mark during the week ended May 17, according to the latest data released by the RBI on Friday.

This is the third consecutive week during which the country’s forex kitty has expanded which augurs well for the macroeconomic fundamentals of the economy as an ample supply of dollars helps to strengthen the rupee.

The country’s forex reserves had increased by $2.56 billion to $644.15 billion during the week ended May 10 and had recorded $3.66 billion rise for the week ended May 3.

India’s foreign exchange reserves had earlier touched a lifetime high of $648.562 billion in April after which they had declined for three weeks in a row by $10.6 billion as the RBI actively intervened in the market to buy dollars to stabilise the rupee.

An increase in the foreign exchange reserves gives the RBI more headroom to stabilise the rupee when it turns volatile.

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This is because the RBI intervenes in the spot and forward currency markets by releasing more dollars to prevent the rupee from going into a free fall.

Conversely, a declining forex kitty leaves the RBI less space to intervene in the market to prop up the rupee.

India’s forex reserves, including the central bank’s forward holdings, can now cover more than 11 months of imports, which is a two-year high.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das recently referred to the record foreign exchange reserves as a reflection of the strength of the Indian economy.

“It is our prime focus to build a strong buffer in the form of a substantial quantum of forex reserves which will help us when the cycle turns,” he remarked while unveiling the first monetary policy review of the current financial year that began on April 1.

–IANS

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At 'Illness to Wellness' awareness session, experts warn undetected thyroid diseases can lead to major health complications

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New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) The ASSOCHAM CSR Council, under the Illness to Wellness initiative, hosted a panel discussion on the eve of World Thyroid Day titled ‘Thyroid Matters: In Health & Disease’ with the primary goal of increasing awareness about thyroid diseases and the need to encourage early treatment of thyroid dysfunctions.

The panel comprised Dr. (Prof.) Chandrakant Sambhaji Pandav, Member, National Council on POSHAN Abhiyan and Former Head, Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi; Dr. Subhash K Wangnoo, Senior Consultant – Endocrinologist & Diabetologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi; and Dr. Mudit Sabharwal, Consultant Diabetes & Endocrinology, Fortis La Femme Multi Specialty Hospital and Director and Consultant, Diabetologist, Dharma Diabetes and Metabolic Clinics, Delhi & NCR.

The session was moderated by Dr. Rajesh Kesari, Founder and Director, Total Care Control, Delhi-NCR, and EC Member, RSSDI.

Dr. Pandav explained the importance of awareness in tackling the rise in thyroid diseases. He also mentioned that adequately iodised salt is needed to stave off thyroid diseases.

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“Without awareness, you cannot move forward. Awareness is necessary to ensure early detection of thyroid diseases and can prevent major ailments. Historically, iodine deficiency has been a major cause of thyroid disorders. Although iodization programmes have reduced goiter prevalence, iodine deficiency still exists in some regions,” he said.

Anil Rajput, Chairperson, ASSOCHAM National CSR Council, said: “The increase in the prevalence of thyroid-related health issues warrants heightened awareness and pro-active measures to be put in place with a greater sense of urgency to effectively address this challenge of significant proportions.

“Thyroid ailments affect both men and women with the latter reporting a higher incidence necessitating the need for gender-sensitive approaches to be looked at in greater detail. On World Thyroid Day, it is important to galvanise public awareness about thyroid disorders across all age groups and I am confident that together we can empower individuals, families, and communities to effectively address thyroid ailments and move towards a healthier and more resilient nation.”

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Talking about the symptoms, Dr. Sabharwal said there are two types of thyroid disorders — Hypothyroidism (symptoms include- fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, cold intolerance) and Hyperthyroidism (symptoms include weight loss, heat intolerance, increased appetite)

“A simple exercise like Surya Namaskar can help control/prevent hyperthyroidism. After Covid-19, we have seen a rise in cases of hyperthyroidism. We must remember that cholesterol and diabetes are also linked to thyroid, therefore, people should ensure a healthy lifestyle to prevent health issues like thyroid ailments,” he said.

Dr. Wangnoo said unexpected weakness, postpartum depression in women, and lethargy are signs of thyroid dysfunction to watch out for.

“Thyroid does a lot of work to help metabolise and maintain blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate. Pregnant women also need to be very careful. Postpartum depression is something that women are vulnerable to due to thyroid issues. The intelligence quotient in babies may be affected if there is late detection,” he said.

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–IANS

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Adani Ports to join Sensex from June 24 after BSE rejig

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Mumbai, May 24 (IANS) Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will be included in the S&P BSE Sensex from June 24.

The BSE benchmark will drop from the index on the same day.

The Asia Index Pvt. Ltd. on Friday announced the reconstitution results for its indices, effective from June 24.

The Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone stock was down 1.83 per cent on Friday at Rs 1,416.90 per share.

An IIFL Alternative Research report said earlier this week that Adani Enterprises is expected to replace Wipro in the benchmark Sensex.

On Friday, positive action was seen in the Adani Group stocks. The Adani Enterprises stock was almost flat at Rs 3,381 apiece on the BSE, while Adani Green Energy shares went up by 1.8 per cent, Adani Total Gas increased by 2.5 per cent, and Adani Energy Solutions rose by 0.50 per cent.

Indian stock indices traded in a sideways range on Friday. At close, Sensex was at 75,410, down 7 points, while Nifty was at 22,957, down nearly 10 points.

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–IANS

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