World
Greece in billions of financing gap over next 3 years: IMF
Financing needs for Greece could add up to over $55.42 billion (50 billion euros) over the period from October 2015 to end 2018 in order to keep the country afloat, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a staff report.
 
The IMF's warning on Thursday came before Greece's upcoming referendum on July 5. Although the Greek government stressed the referendum was on its creditors' offer for a reforms-for-cash debt deal, skepticism and strong reactions that the referendum could lead to Grexit was also widespread in Greece.
 
The report said Greece is unlikely to close its financing gaps from the markets on terms consistent with debt sustainability.
 
It slashed Greece's economic growth forecast in 2015 to zero percent, compared to a growth of 0.8 percent in 2014.
 
The estimate of the additional 50 billion euros in funding, including 36 billion euros from EU lenders, was based on the assumption that existing support from the EU and IMF would continue through this summer.
 
The report was prepared before the Greek authorities have closed the banking sector, imposed capital controls, and incurred arrears to the IMF and did not reflect these developments, which the IMF believe are likely to have a significant adverse economic and financial impact.
 
In May 2010, the IMF approved 30 billion euros in financial assistance for Greece under a Stand-By arrangement, and then in March 2012, the lender approved 28 billion euros for Greece under an extended arrangement to support its economic reform program.
 
To date, Greece has 21.2 billion euros in outstanding obligations to the IMF. A repayment of about 1.5 billion euros was due to the IMF on June 30. Greece did not make the repayment when due and is now in arrears to the Washington-based lender, which makes Greece the first advanced economy default on IMF debt. 

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Fresh From The Farm – 1: The Grass Is Green…
Mixed experiences of a city-dweller who chose to live a ‘romantic’ life in rural India
 
Almost every middle-aged person gets this idea once in a while: to chuck it all and leave stressful, polluted cities and live a semi-retired life in a calm, serene village somewhere deep inside rural India. We have come across hundreds of such dreams in novels, short stories, comic books and real life conversations.
 
Remember Raj and Deepa travelling by train to their old and loveable grandfather’s house in a remote village, almost always next to a small river, and invariably having an adventure along with their village bumpkin cousins during their vacations? And remember granny’s yummy dishes made from vegetables freshly harvested in their farms? And, ahem, them naughty squirrels?
 

Yes! Everyone wants to do that: grow some vegetables, beautiful flowers, have a chicken coop so we can get farm fresh eggs every day and then slaughter the chicken when some of our city friends arrive to see the glorious, healthy, self-sustaining lives we are living happily forever and ever...
We are actually living this dream on our own two-three acre farm, in our own village-type house (a compromise for a farmhouse or a bungalow), with the sounds of chirping birds and mooing cows from dawn to dusk; and fireflies lighting up our lives at nights; dinners under the glare of the full moon—forget the frequent power cuts—and kids dancing like peacocks in the monsoon.
 
A couple of weeks ago, I happened to bump into a high-flying, globe hopping director, energy, of a petroleum major based in a Gulf country and whose chairman was a member of the royal family.
 
The talks veered around to how I happened to reach this small town. After hearing me out, he said: “Aaaah! Wish even I could also retire to a village life”.
 
For good effect, he added: “That is my aim… maybe next year”.
 
At the very same time, he was working the phones and the internet to run his business, almost round the clock.
 
Being born and brought up in Bombay (it became Mumbai, after I left), having visited New Delhi quite often at an early age and having pursued my profession in Hyderabad and Dubai —I became ‘directionless’.  Like any other hardworking, yet ‘suitably unrewarding’ professional I had raised stress, lipid and glycaemic levels: I decided, enough is enough. No more city life for me.
 
I had not been able to save anything in my low-paying profession earlier in my career. Moreover, senior professional positions meant glib-talking bank salesmen buzzed around me like bees and offers of ‘easy money’ in the form of credit cards and personal loans.
 
I fell hook, line and sinker into the trap. I availed of these and sank deeper into the debt swamp.
 
In Dubai, an international bank used to offer personal loans and credit cards on easy terms to anyone with a valid employment visa, who had just walked out of the airport for the first time; and there were the glamorous shopping malls. I took it.
 
The few years there, my wife and I saw our stress levels shoot up like a rocket and we had shouting matches over trivial issues. Once, she even threatened to leave me and go back to her parents’ house, taking the kids along with her. Ours was an arranged marriage, yet we were deeply in love with each other. But Tayyabali, or the financial temptations, was the ‘pyar ka dushman’!
 
In my job, I got rewarded with promotions and salary hikes for a great performance. Often, over those who have been working with the publication for years. But soon things changed and came to a head one day, so I quit. We had about a month to pack up and leave. I used up all my employment benefits for the full and final settlement of my credit cards and loans.
 
We, along with our kids, landed in India, fresh and penniless. This was a moment of ‘realization’ for me!
 
No more the temptations of a city life! 
 
As a heart patient with high sugar and cholesterol levels, I decided that I wanted a quiet, calm life in some green, dream heaven: A village in a remote part of rural India.
 
I compromised and chose  a small town having fairly good educational institutions for the future of my children, a modern multi-specialty hospital, no tempting shopping malls and the rural life, I envisaged. Just three kilometers away from the educational, medical and banking hub of Manipal, I pitched my tents, so to say, in a village called Parkala!
 
We started using shovels and pickaxes, digging up trenches, growing vegetables like okra, beans, spinach and so on. We had our relatives, ‘them city dwellers’ come and visit us to savour our pollution-free rural ambience.
 
We took vicarious pleasure in talking about how we go for a picnic followed by a dip in the nearby river, how we work hard in our garden and how we get fresh vegetables.
 
But we realised that all our romantic dreams were just a mirage.
 
Simply put, farming is no easy job. Almost always, it was my wife who did all the dirty work: Digging, removing the weeds, setting up support for the creepers, chopping off tree branches, allowing me frequent respites because of my health condition.
 
Yet, she enjoyed all this and maintained a lovely figure. And I enjoyed helping her whenever possible. We also bumped into many people with farming as their ancestral and life-long occupation.
 
Hearing their woes, I realised, the village life is far, far from tranquil and definitely not as romantic as we have always imagined. I am frequently reminded of the proverb: The grass is greener on the other side.
 
Having narrated a part of my story, I will now write about how common folks go about their lives in rural India and the issues they face. Keep reading.
 
(Shrikant N Shenoy has been a journalist since 1980, having worked in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Dubai. He launched a news portal and an online Konkani language channel from Manipal, Udupi, but ran out of money. In 2011, he successfully launched an English newspaper with five editions simultaneously on a shoe-string budget. He tweets as @udupinet.)
 

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COMMENTS

bhaskar

2 years ago

Looks like this is going to be an awesome series of articles.. Looking forward eagerly..

Ralph Rau

2 years ago

Like a Tree which should each try and blossom where we are planted.

Of course we must attempt to commune with nature as often as possible. This is the only way to restore a sense of proportion and balance in a mechanised faced paced world.


A one acre sized productive rural piece of land will definitely help to restore our humanity and keep us connected to the sacred life giving mother earth.

When a Mumbai taxi driver goes beyond even Atithi Devo Bhava
Rakesh Tiwari, a taxi driver, was on his way back home, when he discovered that the belongings of a foreign student interning with Moneylife Foundation were left behind. He travelled about 15kms in opposite direction to return them 
 
In an incident that can figure easily in the ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (the guest is equivalent to God) campaign, Rakesh Tiwari, a taxi driver from Mumbai went out of his way to return the personal belongings of a foreign student left behind in his taxi. Here is how Leanne Truong, a student from Australia’s University of Western Sydney, interning with Moneylife Foundation, narrates her ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ moment… 
 
“After a meeting on 30 June 2015, at about 7pm, I got into a taxi at Dadar to go to meet all my friends at a Starbucks in Colaba. The taxi driver, Rakesh Tiwari, was extremely friendly. He told me stories and joked with me the whole way there. About an hour after arriving at my destination, I realised that I had left some of my personal items in his taxi. Luckily, he had provided me his card so I tried calling him. However, we could not converse over the phone due to the language barrier so I quickly ran to the staff at my friend’s hotel and they spoke to him on my behalf.
 
Once they finished speaking with him, they told me that he was on the train back home and had been on the train for half an hour. However, Rakesh told them that he would get off the train and come back to Churchgate Station, where he had parked his taxi, to see if my personal items were in his car. Within the next hour, he was outside my friends’ hotel with my bag. 
 
He offered to drive me home and by this time, it was close to 9.30pm. He told me how he lived at Nalasopara, about two hours away from Churchgate and I felt guilty yet completely honoured and grateful that he returned just to check if my items were in his car.
 
I cannot believe how lucky I was that he had given me his business card. More than that, I cannot believe how kind of a person he is that he would return to Churchgate station when he was already half an hour into his trip home purely to confirm that my items were in the taxi. Furthermore, from my understanding, he had to wake up at 5am next morning to come back to Churchgate for work again. 
 
This man is one of the kindest men I have met in Mumbai. Before arriving in India, I heard many terrible stories all convincing me that I should be wary of the local people. All my family and friends were terrified that I was going to India. However, since arriving in India, I have not received anything but kindness from the locals. 
 
It has been an honour for me to cross paths with a man like Rakesh. He is truly an inspirational human being doing a great service for India. People like him will give India the great name that it deserves. I also know that this is not the first time that Rakesh has done things like this, for both foreigners and locals alike. I wish him all the best, and I hope you can all join me in celebrating his kindness by forwarding this story to as many people as possible.” 
 

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COMMENTS

Varun Reddy

2 years ago

Should we feel happy that a good deed was done or should we feel outraged that the foreigner when coming to India felt that she should be extremely wary about Indians?
Great going Indian English TV media.
You have become successful in your endeavour of projecting India as a "land of dangerous people".

Bhaswati Chakraborty

2 years ago

It really feels good when positive things are reported about our people. Many good deeds are done but seldom appreciated. Our image as Indian people also improves as a result.

Capt Guru N Misra

2 years ago

Kudos to Rakesh Tiwari for being the Good Samaritan. His jesture and kindness towards another human being, especially a foreigner. This has contributed to raising the image of incredible India. God bless Rakesh

Shrikant Shenoy

2 years ago

Just a few days back we were in Mumbai to see a dear old friends admitted to Bhatia Hospital after a stroke. We started by bus from Versova to Tardeo, but had to get down at Mahim to take a connecting bus. Even on a Sunday evening, there was a huge traffic jam. Realising that we would reach well past visiting hours, we decided to take a cab. No empty cabs stopped when they heard the destination. One old Premier Padmini black-yellow taxi with an even older driver stopped and when he heard "hospital", he said hop in. Then he took us through a different route with less traffic to reach the hospital well in time. Yep, there are many people like that! Thank God, Yeh Hai Bambai Meri Jaan!

Ramanujapuram Krishna

2 years ago

Twice I lost my phone in taxis in Abu Dhabi and both times got it back because two honest Pathans delivered it to me without expectation of reward.
Rakesh Tiwari is in a different league who took a whole lot more trouble to do the right thing. Salute this wonderful person! May Mahavishnu bless him always!

Nilesh KAMERKAR

2 years ago

Incredible India!

Deepak R Khemani

2 years ago

Great Job Rakesh Tiwari he makes us feel proud to be India. May his tribe increase.

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