The coordinated policy actions taken by the G-20 countries since November 2008 have not only helped to prevent a crisis of the type the world saw in the 1930s but also contributed to global economic recovery, prime minister Manmohan Singh told reporters before his departure for Canada
Ahead of the Group of Twenty (G-20) summit in Toronto, prime minister Manmohan Singh today said it was necessary for the global economy to continue to recover in a stable and predictable manner without succumbing to protectionist tendencies, reports PTI.
"We need investment and capital flows, as well as an open and rule based trading system that does not succumb to protectionist tendencies," Mr Singh said in a statement before his departure for the two-day summit from Saturday during which he will also have talks with US president Barack Obama and other leaders.
Cautioning that the recovery of the global economy was "still fragile and uneven" with new "worrying signs emerging in the Euro zone", MR Singh said the challenge for the Toronto summit will be three-fold.
These challenges would be to ensure that global economic recovery is durable, balanced and sustainable; to calibrate exit strategies in the light of growing concerns over expansionary fiscal policies; and to focus on medium and long-term structural issues relating to governance issues, he said.
"As the Indian economy grows and further integrates with the international system, we have an increasingly direct stake in all these matters," he said, adding “to meet our ambitious development targets it is necessary that the global economy continue to recover in a stable and predictable manner."
Mr Singh said the coordinated policy actions taken by the G-20 countries since November 2008 have not only helped to prevent a crisis of the type the world saw in the 1930s but also contributed to global economic recovery.
"This is a sign of the G 20’s success. At the same time, we have to be conscious that the recovery is still fragile and uneven. New worrying signs have emerged in the Euro zone," he said.
The prime minister said the summit is expected to deliberate on a framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
India would project its expectations from the global economic and financial system, and the kind of global growth processes that it seeks. "We will highlight the importance of development issues in the future work of the G-20," he said.
On the margins of the summit, Mr Singh would hold separate meetings with Obama, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, British prime minister David Cameron and Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan.
He would hold bilateral talks with Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper when the two sides are expected to sign a deal providing for cooperation in the field of civil nuclear energy, paving the way for supply of uranium and cooperation in research, development, waste management and radiation safety.
"Our relations with Canada are becoming broad based and there is a mutual desire on both sides to impart fresh vigour and vitality to them. India and Canada share the same values and there are many opportunities for us to contribute to each other’s welfare and prosperity," Mr Singh said.
The summit which will review the current status of the global economic recovery and discuss a tax to fund future bail out of banks, a proposal India is opposed to.
Mr Singh, who heads a high-powered Indian delegation, is expected to place on record India's opposition to such a banking transaction levy on the ground that Indian banks did well during the 2008 financial crisis sparked by weak regulation norms in developed countries.
Notwithstanding the rejection of the tax idea at the G-20 finance ministers meeting in Busan in Seoul earlier this month, countries like the US, France and Germany, favour such a levy.
They are expected to pursue their demand in Toronto while the new British government has announced imposition of a banking levy in its first budget.
Besides India, countries like hosts Canada, Japan and Brazil have their reservations on such tax-funded bailouts.
Mr Singh's delegation includes deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, his sherpa in the summit, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, finance secretary Ashok Chawla and other officials.
The India Meteorological Department in April had said that the country would receive 98% rains of the long- period average; however, as per an update, the weather office said rains in the June-September season will be 102% of the long- period average
Despite the delay in advance of monsoon, India is expected to get more rains this season than earlier predicted by the weather office, reports PTI.
As per an update to the monsoon forecast of India Meteorological Department (IMD), rains in the June-September season will be 102% of the long period average.
"It will be 102%," agriculture secretary P K Basu told reporters when asked about the quantum of rainfall the country would receive this season.
In April, the IMD had said that the country would receive 98% rains of the long period average (LPA).
The LPA, at 89 cm, is the mean rainfall received by the country over a period of 50 years.
India had received 11% less rains than normal for the June 1-23 period even as south-west monsoon, which has been virtually stationary for the past week, showed signs of advancing northwards.
The weather office said that the country received 97.4 mm rainfall for the June 1-23 period as against the normal levels of 109.6 mm.
However, weather scientists have said that there was no need for alarm as there was still hope for improvement in rainfall across the country.
The southwest monsoon, which is nearly 10 days behind its normal schedule over north India, is expected to strengthen with the formation of a low-pressure area in the Bay of Bengal.
Since their onset on 31st May, monsoon rains have made staggered progress and stopped in the tracks due to cyclone 'Phet', delaying their advance by at least 10 days to the breadbasket northern region, as well as central and north-western parts of the country which mainly grow oilseeds.
Anand Chakravarthy, senior vice-president, marketing, Big 92.7 FM, speaks to Moneylife on how players in the FM space will have to ‘take radio beyond radio’
Moneylife (ML): As a result of unsustainable high license fees, the sector has been reeling under heavy losses. A few FM stations have been forced to shut down, as they could not afford to pay the annual license fees, set at levels significantly above their earning capacity. What are your comments on this scenario?
Anand Chakravarthy (AC): Ten years is too short a (time for a) license period for a player in the radio market to actually break even. We need to give them (players) a longer period of time to build their space in the industry. So our recommendation to the government has been to extend the license period to 15 years.
ML: Big FM, which operates 45 radio stations, had plans to gear up to bid for more frequencies as the government was to open up around 700 frequencies for the next round of FM expansion in the beginning of 2010. What has been the progress on this front?
AC: I think the government is waiting for the (amendments to the) Copyright Act and we are hopeful that by the next three to four months, they will be announced. We are hopeful that there will be some regulatory changes as well. Music royalty issues have to be sorted out, licenses have to be renewed-rather, an extension period is required which should be beyond 10-15 years, which has been our main contention since the beginning.
ML: What advantages does FM have over other media platforms?
AC: I think radio is the only democratic medium left in the country at present. Today if you have to download a ringtone, buy a newspaper or watch television, you will have to pay for it. For radio, you just need a Rs-20 set and you can pick up all the radio stations for free. Mobile penetration is also increasing and handset costs are coming down, which has helped in increasing FM penetration.
ML: A number of new entrants are trying to enter the market. Will the scenario become a little too crowded?
AC: In the Indian market, we have only six radio stations in the metros. Anywhere in the world, the number of stations is at least 25 or 30. Eventually in a market, consolidation does happen. But our market is too young for consolidation. Almost 2,500 towns have not yet been covered. I think that is the opportunity.
ML: What does the FM radio industry need to do in order to exploit the true potential of this sector?
AC: Radio has obviously still not reached its potential in India. In Phase II we have reached only 87 cities which is hardly anything compared to the US and Australian radio market spread across all cities. I think with Phase III coming up you will see another 300 licenses where we hope to move to another 100 stations. So that is when we will get significantly high scale of operations. That will really open up the next big opportunity for the radio industry.
ML: Most of the programming currently being aired, whether music or not, has little or no library value. Very little programming is developed to create any strategic intellectual property. How should players work around creating better value?
AC: We have to produce what a consumer likes-in India, Hindi music is what consumers like. I think there is a big difference between being 'different' and being 'relevant'. When you create innovation it always has to be relevant to the consumer. We don't have to be different just for the sake of being different because it does nothing for your brand.
ML: When will news broadcasting be allowed on Indian private FM channels? For example, the US has got something called National Public Radio-an excellent example of a radio (FM) channel that combines music, talk shows and news.
AC: I think a big positive for the category would be if the government allows the airing of news on radio like in the US. Today if you consider the only reason why people are listening to All India Radio is because they get to hear everything on that channel starting from news to songs and reviews. In private channels we don't get such privileges. But it will only be fair if news is open for broadcast on private channels as well. We have seen broadcasting of news and live sporting events in the television space and that can easily be introduced in the radio space as well. In Phase III we are expecting some positive changes for sure.
ML: With the advent of 3G and broadband wireless, people will be able to tune in to a host of channels across the world. Won't that mean that a huge chunk of listeners will be weaned away from what is being relayed on our FM channels?
AC: To my mind what 3G will bring in place is opportunities. For example things like visual radio and possibilities of creating actual interaction with RJs live while listening to the radio station. And I think as any media brand would do, we would like to embrace the technology.
ML: What is the outlook for the radio industry?
AC: The outlook for the radio industry is very positive. We react to the market very early in life because there are only six channels and we need to give them some more time. Radio channels are getting more and more advertisements with every passing day which means that the advertising space is quite positive about the radio industry. Of course there are regulatory issues and we hope to address them. Radio growth is still projected at 16%-18% by 2010, better than television and print media.