Economy
Iran projects and trade need push from Indian government

India needs to move ahead with the Urea Project to be set up in Iran as well work out the logistics of container traffic movements from Chabahar port to other Iranian cities

 

The Iranian New year, Nav Roz falls on 21st March and there are signs that export of basmati rice, which had stopped a couple of months ago, will start once again. It may be noted that, in 2013-14, India exported 1.4 million tonnes of basmati but this is likely to be about 800,000 tonnes by March this year, though the exporters were hoping to at least reach a million tonnes.  This has not been possible due to excess stocks imported earlier.
 
Due to the US and European Union sanctions, Iran's export of oil has been restricted to 1.1 million barrels a day and India has been able to absorb as much as 42% of Iranian supplies last year. It may be remembered that the Special Rupee payment mechanism set up and operated through UCO Bank in Kolkata has been used for payment for imports from India, and part payment for oil imports has been paid into this account. This arrangement has helped both the countries.
 
Only a few weeks ago, due to the efforts taken by both the Governments, particularly the Indian Fertiliser industry, India has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by which a 1.3 million tonnes (mt), a joint venture, to produce Urea using the gas as  feeder stock. This 1.3 mt urea plant will be established in Chabahar port development area and the Indian companies that would take part are the Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers, GNFC and GSFC.
 
Additionally, the memorandum includes the development of a container piers though a $100 million investment and permits the formation of joint ventures between Indian and Iranian companies, in various approved areas.  With this MoU, India will gain maritime and land access to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.
In fact, it is reported, in the Pakistani press, that India recently shipped two container consignments to Astara in Gilan province in Iran, on land route, and it was found to be both "economical" and "fruitful" for Indian investors.
 
By taking advantage of this MoU, India has plans to make further investments in Iran, especially, under what is to be called as "reverse' Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Indian officials claim that these reverse SEZs can produce various types of goods that can be exported to other world markets, and that India intends to establish such zones in friendly countries that have lots of raw materials that can be “finished” for export, not only to India but to other areas as well.  
 
The Pakistani press has pointed out that Gwader Port is still not operating vigorously as Chabahar because supporting "structures" are not yet ready! It says that several projects, such as the 950 Kms railway line or the 900 Kms motor way to link with the railways/ highways of the country with the Gwadar port have so far remained only on "file"; whereas, the developments in Chabahar has been better.  Thus they expect that with the Indian involvement, Gwadar port may face stiff competition from Chabahar!
In the meanwhile, while speaking at an event in Moradabad, Mehdi Mahdavipour, a representative of Supreme Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei, is reported to have said that Tehran is very much interested in "developing" ties with New Delhi.  He said further that the Hassan Rouhani administration would try its best to bring back the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline project back on track in the near future!
 
It may be remembered that the project has been stalled due to security concerns over the pipeline traversing through Pakistan and the sanctions imposed on Iran by US/ European Union over its nuclear programme. 
 
But of immediate importance are the urgent steps that Ananth Kumar, the Fertiliser Minister, has to take. These steps include moving forward with the Urea Project plan that has to be set up in Chabahar. A high powered business-oriented delegation must visit Iran to work out the logistics of container traffic movements from Chabahar port to other Iranian cities as well as for studying the prospects of connections to Central Asian republics.  This they must do, just after the holidays, celebrating the Nav Roz!
 
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
 

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COMMENTS

vishal

2 years ago

like Russia our trade relations with Iran is bound to benefit Indians in future. Proper political analysis is necessary on the Indian side. There are hurdles because of the sanctions imposed on Iran by U.S. With improving U.S relation India should not over look the advantage we have in supporting Iran.

Centre asks States to replace affidavits with self-attestation

The Narendra Modi-led NDA government has been emphasising on replacing gazetted or notarised affidavits with self-attestations

 

Terming gazetted-officer signed affidavits as a colonial era practice; Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Friday asked all states to replace them with self-attestation in majority of government works.
 
“The decision to implement self-attestation is most historic and landmark decisions since independence. A circular has gone to all states. Some of the states have approved it. Some of the states are complacent. But we are pushing the practice of adopting self-attestation in place of affidavits,” Singh said at a seminar here.
 
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has been emphasising on replacing gazetted or notarised affidavits with self-attestations.
 
In this regard, all central government ministries have already been asked to review the existing requirements of affidavits and attested copy by gazetted officers in various forms in a phased-manner and wherever possible, make provision for self-certification of documents and abolition of affidavits.
 
Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, said the government was committed to end corruption and bring in anti-graft legislations.
 
“We have to plan and target a situation or at least endeavour to proceed in a direction where we have a society which is incorruptible by virtue,” he said.
 
He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Fighting Bribery in Business Transactions’ organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
 
Addressing the gathering, Secretary, Personnel, Sanjay Kothari talked about the twin weapons of transparency and accountability to end corruption.
 
“Corruption is bane for governance. It is anti-ethical, anti-Constitution, anti-conscience and anti-common good,” Kothari said.
 
In his opening remark, Patrick Moulette, head of anti-corruption division in OECD, said bribery is bad for business and there is huge negative effect of it in the society.
 

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Teesta Setalvad, husband get protection from arrest till 19th February

The Supreme Court said it would independently examine on the basis of FIR whether it is a case for granting anticipatory bail or not which has been denied to Setalvad and her husband

 

The Supreme Court on Friday granted protection from arrest to social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand for another six days. The couple is facing arrest in a case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at Ahmedabad’s Gulbarg Society that was devastated in the 2002 riots.
 
The apex court said it would independently examine on the basis of FIR whether it is a case for granting anticipatory bail or not which has been denied to Setalvad and her husband.
 
“We are not going to quash the FIR,” a bench comprising justices S J Mukhopadhaya and NV Ramana said.
 
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the couple, said: “We are also only for anticipatory bail” and all documents would be placed to satisfy that “it is not the case of custodial interrogation”.
 
After hearing for half an hour during which Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed the plea, the Bench deferred the matter for 19th February, asking the parties to place before it the Gujarat High Court judgment and other additional documents.
 
In the meantime, the order passed Thursday granting them interim protection, shall continue till then, the Bench said.
 
“We will look into the allegations in the FIR mainly. Let it be very clear, we will be looking at the case not by names but like the case of any ordinary individual,” it observed.
 
The apex court was hearing the appeal filed by the Teesta Setalvad and her husband against Thursday’s judgment of the High Court by which their plea for anticipatory bail was rejected for not co-operating with the investigation.
 
The High Court had also observed that the couple was not cooperating in the probe and that “they cannot be armoured with full-fledged anticipatory bail when applicant did not cooperate with the investigation.”
 
Setalvad and her husband have been booked by the Crime Branch of Gujarat Police on charges of cheating, breach of trust and under the IT Act, in a matter relating to the construction of “Museum of Resistance” in the Gulbarg society in Ahmedabad which was hit by communal riot in 2002.
 
On 28 February 2002, in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning incident, armed rioters had swooped on the Gulbarg society and killed 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri.
 

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COMMENTS

VijayTrimbakGokhale

2 years ago

Let the law take it's own course. In case the allegation of non co operation in investigation is upheld by apex court, then it will mean that those threw stones at others, threw them unmindful of the fact that they themselves were living in glass house.

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