Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 19.2017
2017.05.01 — 2017.05.07
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Exclusive Opinion Piece: To Be Or Not To Be With One Belt One Road (OBOR), By Lt Gen S L Narasimhan (Retd.) (Эксклюзивное мнение: Быть или не быть с "Одним Поясом, Одним Путем" (ОПОП), генерал-лейтенант в отставке Л. Нарасимхан) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: One Belt One Road, India, cooperation, international relations, opinion
Author: Lt Gen S L Narasimhan

On 07 September 2013, President Xi Jinping made a speech titled "Promote People-to-People Friendship and Create a Better Future" at Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev University wherein he outlined the One Belt and One Road Initiative. He proposed that, "In order to make the economic ties closer, mutual cooperation deeper and space of development broader between the Eurasian countries, we can innovate the mode of cooperation and jointly build the "Silk Road Economic Belt" step by step to gradually form overall regional cooperation."

He further highlighted five tenets of the initiative.

First, to strengthen policy communication. Countries in the region can communicate with each other on economic development strategies, and make plans and measures for regional cooperation through consultations.

Second, to improve road connectivity. To open up the transportation channel from the Pacific to the Baltic Sea and to gradually form a transportation network that connects East Asia, West Asia, and South Asia.

Third, to promote trade facilitation. All the parties should discuss the issues concerning trade and investment facilitation and make appropriate arrangements.

Fourth, to enhance monetary circulation. All the parties should promote the realization of exchange and settlement of local currency, increase the ability to fend off financial risks and make the region more economically competitive in the world.

Fifth, to strengthen people-to-people exchanges. All the parties should strengthen the friendly exchanges between their peoples to promote understanding and friendship with each other.

Out of the five tenets enumerated by him, the first one did not take place. However, China felt that the other countries should join her in the initiative. This has been the bone of contention between India and China. India maintains that this project was announced unilaterally and therefore it is a Chinese project and not a joint one. The third issue that stipulates that all parties should discuss issues concerning trade and investment facilitation is again an issue that has been given a go by.

The countries through which the OBOR runs have different rules and regulations for trade. For example, the European Union is bound by their own trade regulations and is yet to figure out how to go about dealing with OBOR. Similarly, many other countries are yet to do that exercise. The fourth issue of promotion and realisation of settlement in local currency is something that China is aspiring for and works bilaterally with countries. This is to obviate the dependency on the US dollar and gradually replacing it as the currency for international trade.

The Chinese Yuan has been included in the list of currencies that has Special Drawing Rights by the International Monetary Fund in September 2016. Only 33 countries have entered into a currency swap agreement with China since it started that effort in 2009. There is a long way ahead for China on this account to achieve the fourth tenet mentioned above. From these explanations it can be seen that even though China's intentions may have been good, she was in a hurry to go through with the OBOR.

Initially when OBOR was conceived, there was one road and one maritime belt. (See Map 1 Below). It is worth noting that the map published by Xinhua indicated Kolkata as part of the OBOR even though India has still not concurred with the project.

President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan in April 2015 and announced a US $ 46 billion package to Pakistan for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Slowly the CPEC was included in the One Belt and One Road Initiative. India voiced her concerns that the proposed CPEC will pass through Gilgit Baltistan which is her territory. (See Map 2 below).

In many Track 2 discussions the issue was discussed. The Chinese response was that she is aware of India's concerns but stopped short of saying what does China intend to do about it. In these discussions, Chinese also felt that more explanation and discussion was needed on the issue thereby substantiating India's position.

Bangladesh China India Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM EC) was thought of as a transport-trade – tourism corridor in 1999. Over a period, it evolved as a transport- trade – energy corridor. India is in support of connectivity in the region.

This stance has been explained by India's Foreign Secretary Mr Jaishankar. While conveying India's position after the Strategic Dialogue in February 2017, Jaishankar said, "but from our side, I explained to them that India today is a pro connectivity country. We have connectivity initiatives with all sides and we are active participants (in) most of them." "The fact is that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is part of this particular initiative. CPEC violates Indian sovereignty because it runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)."

Even though the BCIM Economic Corridor precedes OBOR China has included it in the OBOR.

Therefore, it can be safely said that China keeps adding projects to the OBOR. (See Map 3 below).

Questions have been raised on the project's name as to whose road and belt it is. Chinese delegations have been at pains to explain that it is not one belt one road but Belt and Road initiative. But the translation of the Chinese term for the project (一带一路) reads as one belt one road.

China is holding a summit on this project on 14 and 15 May this year. On 18 April 17, Mr Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of China said, 110 countries are taking part in the summit and leaders of 28 countries amongst them are attending the event. However, leaders of important western countries are conspicuous by their absence in the list made public by him.

Chinese officials have been trying to explain that Xuan Zang, Fa Xian and Admiral Zheng He, all had visited India and that was the early instance of OBOR. They have also mentioned that India being part of BCIM corridor, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, BRICS New Development Bank and becoming part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are indicative of the fact that India is already part of the OBOR.

Further, they also quote the Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Pakistan on the Boundary between China's Xinjiang and the Contiguous Areas the Defense of Which is Under the Actual Control of Pakistan signed in 1963 and say that their position is consistent with that agreement and that their stance has not changed on Kashmir.

Unfortunately, none of these explanations are addressing India's apprehensions on China violating India's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Unless that issue is resolved and an inclusive process is adopted, it is unlikely that India will become part of the OBOR.

Chinese are known for their astute business acumen. It is also a known fact that there are no free lunches in international relations. The question that arises is why China has become so benevolent all of a sudden. The jury is still out on the answer to that question.
Map 1: Initial Map of OBOR
Map 2: CPEC as part of OBOR
(Please Note that Kolkata is still being shown as part of OBOR)
Map 3. OBOR to BRI
India's Green foot Prints hog International lime lights (Отпечатки зеленых следов Индии привлекают всеобщее внимание) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: India, interntaional relations, opinion, ecology
Author: Neeraj Bajpai

If Anti-corruption drives, including demonetization of high currency notes, are the center piece of the Narendra Modi Government's first three years of governance, A slew of initiatives including India's bold stand in the Paris climate meet, sustained bids to protect flora and fauna and stringent control orders for air and water pollution levels, are among noteworthy foot prints on the environment, forests and climate front.

The government says that it has done massive work during last three years to protect environment while also ensuring that the developmental projects also do not suffer. A right balance has been created between developmental needs of the nation and adequately addressing the environmental concerns.

India participated in COP-22 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco last year. The main thrust of COP 22 was to develop rules for operationalizing the Paris agreement and advance work on Pre-2020 actions.

India, led by its Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Anil Madhav Dave, participated constructively and in association with other developing countries, ensured that climate actions are based on the principles of equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and climate justice. The Marrakech Action Proclamation for climate and sustainable development captures the sense of urgency to take action on climate change, while ensuring sustainable development.

Signing ceremony of Framework Agreement on International Solar Alliance also took place at COP-22. COP-22 concluded on November 20, 2016.

India has committed to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions intensity of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level. Other quantified goals are (a) to achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF), (b) to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

The Government has also decided to ratify the Second Commitment Period (2013- 2020) of the Kyoto Protocol. Developing countries like India have no mandatory mitigation obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
India has also batted for establishing an international clean energy data-grid. BRICS nations joined hands to save environment. Second meeting of BRICS Environment Ministers held in Goa on September 16-17, 2016. The areas, agreed for mutual cooperation, are - abatement and control of air and water pollution, efficient manage

Pollution abating measures

In other major moves, The Environment Ministry in consultation with Central Pollution Control Board has reclassified the industries into "Red", "Orange", "Green" and "White" category, as part of policies and objective of government to promote 'Ease of Doing Responsible Business.It scrapped environmental clearance for nonpolluting – New White Category – industrial units.

The Government has notified a Graded Response Action Plan for Delhi and NCR, which comprises measures such as prohibition on entry of trucks into Delhi; ban on construction activities, closure of brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers; shutting down of Badarpur power plant, ban on diesel generator sets, garbage burning in landfills and plying of visibly polluting vehicles etc.

Major strategies and steps to tackle increasing air pollution include control and mitigation measures related to emissions from automobiles, industrial activities, notification of National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Formulation of environmental regulations and statutes etc.

These measures include setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality; introduction of cleaner or alternate fuels like gaseous fuel (CNG, LPG etc.), ethanol blending; promotion of cleaner production processes; launching of National Air Quality Index; universalization of BS-IV by 2017; leapfrogging from BS-IV to BS-VI fuel standards by 1st April, 2020; comprehensive amendments to various Waste Management Rules and notification of Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules.

The Ministry launched a web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone clearances besides starting schemes related to coral reef conservation as well as protection.


In order to save flora and fauna, The Central Government provides financial assistance to State/Union Territory Governments for the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats. It also aims at preventing human-animal conflict.

It is because of sustained efforts to conserve tiger, India's tiger population has grown to around 2,500, last year while it was 2,226 in 2014.

Based on the proposals from the states, notification have been issued for listing wild pig in Uttarakhand, monkeys in Himachal Pradesh and Nilgai and wild pig in Bihar in Schedule V of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. The Government also approved a series of measures for conservation and preservation of lakes in Bengaluru.

Asia's first 'Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme' launched at Pinjore in Haryana. India became the 56th signatory State to sign the 'Raptor MoU' on conservation of birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia. The 'Raptor MoU' extends its coverage to 76 species of birds of prey, out of which 46 species, including vultures, falcons, eagles, owls, hawks, kites, harriers, etc. also occur in India.

The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill 2016 passed in Rajya Sabha on July 28, 2016, thus ending the long era of ad-hocism and will help the Centre and State Governments to utilise these amounts in a planned manner. It will facilitate make available more than Rs. 6,000 crores per annum to the States/UTs for conservation, protection, improvement and expansion of forest and wildlife resources of the country.

Noose is being further tightened around poachers. Recently, The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), coordinated "OPERATION THUNDER BIRD" in India, from January 30-February 19, 2017. Operation Thunderbird is the code-name for INTERPOL's multi-national and multi-species enforcement operation.

A total of 2, 524 Live species of scheduled animals, 19.2 kg of elephant ivory, 1 tiger skin, 9 carcasses of wild animals, 1 organ pipe coral, 1 jar snake venom, 8 leopard skins and 1 Indian Mujtac skin was seized. As many as 71 persons were arrested during the operation.

WCCB also convened a species specific operation on turtles, code named OPERATION SAVE KURMA" from December 15 last year to January 30, this year. A total of 15, 739 live turtles were recovered from 45 suspects.

The budgetary allocation for wildlife conservation has been enhanced from Rs. 346.38 crore in 2015-16, Rs. 475 crore in 2016-17 and Rs. 522.50 crore for 2017-18.

Other Measures

Many other steps were also taken during the NDA regime so far. Now, Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 require that the effluent generated or treated from the premises of HCFs should conform to the specified standard before their discharge into the sewer.

The Ministry of Environment & Forests has decentralised the process of granting environment clearance for sustainable sand mining and mining of minor minerals. The Ministry has constituted District Environment Appraisal Committee (DEAC) and District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) for appraisal and approval of mining of minor minerals up to 5 hectares and 25 hectares in case of cluster respectively.

On March 18, 2016, Government notified Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. On March 23, 2016, the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 were notified. For the first time, the Rules brought the producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), along with targets. New Bio-medical Waste Management Rules were notified on March 27, 2016.

A joint action has been initiated with Water Resources Ministry to run sewage treatment plants and with Urban Development Ministry for organised Solid Waste Management. The same formula will be extended to all the other rivers.
Deep State Plans to Nuke Russia & China to Deter BRICS-led Multipolarity (Тайные планы Штатов уничтожить Россию и Китай, чтобы остановить мультиполярность, проводимую БРИКС) / Philippines, May, 2017
Keywords: Opinion, politics, USA, Russia, China

We've already seen how desperate the Western oligarchs are today, from their actions and rhetorics. This is fundamentally due to the failure of their attempts at starting a war somewhere far from their golf courses, and the breakneck successes of the Eastern Alliance in laying down the hardware, i.e. economic infrastructures, for a multipolar world of peace and harmony among countries willing to join them.

Some of these hardware constructions are being ridiculed upon by Western conscript media like Bloomberg when it said that China "repeats West's mistakes" in Pakistan, because the latter announced in 2015 that it would pump out $46 billion worth of investments into that country.

Bloomberg said,
China Repeats West's Mistakes in Pakistan

By Mihir Sharma May 3, 2017 9:07 PM EST

When President Xi Jinping announced in 2015 that China would pump $46 billion worth of investments into Pakistan, the recipients of his largesse seemed less surprised than one might have expected. The military and political elites of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have long extracted aid from outside powers in return for keeping a lid on things at home. As far back as April 1948, barely eight months after independence, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan assured Pakistani military commanders that three-quarters of the new nation's budget would be devoted to defense — fully expecting that the U.S. would underwrite the pledge.

Xi will no doubt tout the Pakistan investments — which include a network of road, rail, power and port projects that are collectively known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC — at his massive "Belt and Road" conference later this month. The Chinese argue these projects won't just link China to markets and suppliers from Europe to Southeast Asia, but also promote stability and development in the countries on its periphery. Indeed, even the International Monetary Fund hopes that China's billions will ease Pakistan's chronic supply-side constraints and perhaps reduce the pressure on the country's development budget.

That, however, reflects the sort of blind optimism to which Pakistan's U.S. sponsors have succumbed for decades. If the Chinese aren't careful, they, too, will find that their money has bought them little more than headaches.

After seemingly showing some level of sympathy for the Chinese investors, Bloomberg resumed to malign China itself.

… China usually struggles to live up to such big promises, of course. But the numbers being bandied about have already seized Pakistan's imagination. Sectors like cement have started growing in response, boosting the Karachi Stock Exchange, which was the world's best-performing last year. Real estate prices have increased, too.

Incoherence is one characteristic of trolling for sowing intrigue between parties seeking peaceful collaboration. To complete the recipe, Pakistan needs to be maligned also in the eyes of China.

Don't ignore Pakistan's domestic politics. Already the whole program has become tangled in an internal tug-of-war…

The second lesson is to beware of the Pakistan army. Decades of foreign support have only further entrenched the military at the center of not just Pakistan's state, but its economy and society.

Pakistan is noisy and disputatious enough to make Chinese planners wonder whether the army might not make a better partner than the civilian government or the private sector. Already, CPEC has exacerbated civil-military disputes in a country that saw its first peaceful democratic transfer of power only a few years ago. …

Pakistan's reputation must be destroyed as well for having betrayed Washington by talking to China, nowadays. Washington DC is so good, but has fallen victim to these pesky Pakistanis.

The pattern is familiar to many in Washington: Money sent to Pakistan has a habit of winding up further bolstering the army's power. Meanwhile, the civilian government is quietly but rapidly losing enthusiasm for CPEC projects, …

The stronger the army, and the weaker the incentives for the civilian government to open up the economy to countries other than China, the less likely Pakistan is to prosper in the coming decades. There's no question a more stable and prosperous Pakistan is vital for South and West Asia, for China and for the world. But it's far from certain that CPEC will produce one.


Who are these people criticizing what China is doing, as if their own track record could suggest that they know any better?

It's pretty clear that the goal of the Bloomberg article above is to plant the seed of doubt and sow political intrigue between China and Pakistan. The article's incoherent conclusion does not jive with what is happening on the ground in Eurasia, and in what we understand to be the primary purpose of the "One Belt, One Road" — which is an international revival of the ancient Silk Road, which actually did not result into wars and conflicts 2 thousand years ago, but foster the peaceful exchange of goods, culture and arts.

It's the West that has broken, more often than not, every promises it has made with its supposed allies everywhere, and not China. What the West has been doing is use these allies abroad as a leverage for bleeding everyone dry, i.e. US taxpayers sending "aid" to countries, only to flow back to Western companies managing the projects yet actually performed by the locals at a much lower cost.

In exchange for such "favors," these Western companies and governments will then ask for more concessions to further their interests in the targeted region. This is every evident in post-invasion Iraq.

This is the reason why the Western population believes that they have the moral authority to militarily intervene because they truly believe that they have assisted these countries advanced over the years, when in truth and in fact, both parties, i.e. Western taxpayers and the Third World population, have all fallen victims to the whole Globalist charade.

That kind of mob chicanery is now being threatened by the Eastern Alliance's Great Eurasian Project, which is slated to provide more equitable opportunities for its peoples.

"Western countries' assistance to Africa is based upon plunder of its wealth. But China's assistance is one of helping the countries' economy."– Julius Nyerere Former Prime Minister of Tanzania

Shockingly for the imperialists, these plans are already being made real for the last 10 years, and they are not in control of its outcome.

Who would have taught that Ethiopia would one day be able to rise from being a mere perennial recipient of Western assistance, i.e. if NGOs are to be believed that they are honestly doing [read: False Philanthropy by Clinton Foundation], into a vibrant economic hub in Africa?

But critics as they are, they will always find negativity even from positive actions of their pre-classified enemy. So they will sow intrigue by saying that eventually China will control that country from the inside, which is really not the experience of those who are at the receiving end of China's goodwill. But even so, isn't this a lot better than being given weapons of war to kill its own citizens and have its natural resources exploited wantonly?

For helping Ethiopia, China will certainly gain the respect of the Ethiopian population and they will finally see the differences between the Eastern paradigm and that of the West. But this doesn't mean that China will exert undue influence in these countries, according to empirical data.

This is the primary reason why China shifted its mode of providing assistance from an outright dole out like they did with the railroad linking Tanzania and Zambia, where they sent thousands of workers and engineers in 1960s and 1970s, a repeat of what they did in the early years of the US republic, to public-private partnerships, or PPPs.

To put it simply, even the Chinese government saw the danger of allowing its companies to abuse its recipient as it will eventually come back home to roast, as is the experience of its Western counterpart, where the corporations have become so powerful, it's now effectively in control of the US government itself.

So, it's not a complete surprise that the mainstream media outfit like Bloomberg and others…

… have reduced themselves to trolling on what the BRICS are trying to do,

… while the armed component of the Empire is also planning to bomb the hell out of the two biggest protagonists, China and Russia.

Washington Plans to Nuke Russia and China

Paul Craig Roberts

Not everyone likes to hear about the threat of nuclear war. Some find refuge in denial and say that nuclear war is impossible because it makes no sense. Unfortunately, humankind has a long record of doing things that make no sense.

In previous posts in recent years I have pointed out both written documents and changes in US war doctrine that indicate that Washington is preparing a preemptive nuclear attack on Russia and China. More recently, I have shown that Washington's demonization of Russia and President Putin, the incessant lies about Russian deeds and intentions, and the refusal of Washington to cooperate with Russia on any issue have convinced the Russian government that Washington is preparing the Western populations for an attack on Russia. It is obvious that China has come to the same conclusion.

It is extremely dangerous to all of mankind for Washington to convince two nuclear powers that Washington is preparing a preemptive nuclear strike against them. It is impossible to imagine a more reckless and irresponsible act. Yet this is precisely what Washington has done.

Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir, Deputy Head of Operations of the Russian General Staff has concluded that Washington in pursuit of global hegemony is implementing an anti-ballistic missile system that Washington believes can prevent a Russian nuclear response to a US pre-emptive attack.

Careful studies have convinced the Russians that Washington is investing in and arranging components that have no other function than to devastate Russia and cripple the country's retaliatory capability. In short, Washington is preparing to launch a nuclear war.

As I explained previously, the theory behind this insane scheme is that after America's preemptive strike Russia will be so devastated that Russia would not retaliate with any remaining forces out of fear that Washington would launch a second major strike. Washington also plans to use agents in place to assassinate as many members as possible of the Russian government, thus leaving the government in confusion without leadership.

Yes, the insane American/Israeli neoconservatives are this determined to exercise hegemony over the world.

Yes, Washington is sufficiently criminally insane to risk the destruction of life on earth based on the supposition that Washington's offense will work perfectly and Russia and China's capabilities will be so degraded that no retaliatory response will occur.

One might hope that the American and Western populations would be outraged that Washington is so power-crazed that Washington is subjecting all life to such risks. But there is no sign of an anti-war movement. The Western leftwing has degenerated into Identity Politics in which the only threat comes from white heterosexual males who are portrayed as misogynists, racists, and homophopes. The Western leftwing is no longer war-conscious. Indeed, the leftwing has become diverted into such silly irrelevancies as transgender rights to toilets of their choice. The impotence of the Western left is so overwhelming that the left might as well not exist.

Where then is the hope? Russia and China cannot simply sit there and await America's preemptive nuclear strike.

Possibly Washington does not intend a preemptive strike, but only to convince Russia and China that Washington's preparations give Washington so much predominance in a conflict that Russia and China will submit to Washington's hegemony. But this interpretation of Washington's intention implies no less risk. Why would Russia and China wait for Washington to complete its preparations for war, preparations that permit Washington to turn Russia and China into puppet states?

The US military/security complex has clearly prevailed over Trump's intention to normalize relations between the US and Russia, and anti-Russian venom continues to pour out of NATO and Washington's European vassal states. The majority of the American people seem to have accepted the propaganda that Russia is the number one threat to the United States. With propaganda controlling the explanation, Washington's aggressive actions are explained as defense against a threat and not as a policy that will end life on earth.

The chances are high that life on earth is approaching its end. The responsibility lies heavily on the American people, whose success, due to the mistakes of others, made Americans think that they are exceptional and privileged. Unaware of the inhumane threat to all life that is embodied in the neoconservative claim that Americans are exceptional and indispensable, the self-satisfied American public is unaware of the consequences of such hubris. Hubris is leading them, and the entire world, to slaughter in thermo-nuclear war.

The neoconservative claim of American exceptionalism is the identical claim made for Germans by Hitler. If Americans are indispensable, everyone else is dispensable and can be "bombed into the stone age" as one US government official put it, or nuked as Washington intends to do to Russia and China. The claim of American exceptionalism is not accepted by Russia and China. Therefore, the insane, crazed monsters who rule over the West in Washington are bringing life on earth to an end.

And there are no protests. The idiot British, the idiot Germans, the idiot French, Italians, Canadians, Australians, Belgians, Greeks, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, rally behind the insanity that is Washington.

And so apparently do the American people, a population stupid beyond all belief.

Paul Craig Roberts is an American economist, journalist, blogger and former civil servant. He is best known as a journalist specializing in economic affairs from an anti-establishment, liberal conservative perspective.
Calculated Countermoves

Fortunately for us, China and the ASEAN bloc continue to employ wisdom in their treatment to the North Korea-US saber-rattling in the Korean Peninsula.

Earlier, China called on its citizens in North Korea to begin packing as war is imminent between the US and the latter, while ceasing all civilian flights to the country.

The ASEAN, on the other hand, has ignored the request of Kim Jong Un for the bloc to issue a statement of condemnation to US aggression in the Korean Peninsula. Instead, Duterte advised Trump during the latter's call to just ignore Kim Jong Un's ballistic missile tests because the kid could not be intimidated anymore.

What this means is, North Korea will eventually reduce its missile tests and temper its rhetoric against the US, knowing that China may not come to its aid at the onset of such a war.

In the meantime, the Deep State will continue, as they always have, to pursue their sinister agenda to start a nuclear exchange, while settling for the minimum atmosphere of conflict to generate more funds for the military industrial complex.

To deter this scenario, both China and Russia have continued their offensives in the industrial sector by manufacturing their own commercial airliners to compete with Boeing's. Considering the size of the BRICS market, it is easy to forecast that the Western dominance is now compromised.

So, the Western media will continue with their myopic, negative opinions. They simply would not consider that when more people are engaged constructively, and only in economic terms, the less likely they'll go to war. This is akin to the internet where everyone is starting to know each other, and is far more united than ever. This is what these talking heads are wary about — they are being made irrelevant by the minute.

Surely, the established hegemonic control system is crumbling. But to further seal the fate of Western kleptocracy, Russia just flaunted its RS-28 Sarmat ICBMs that is superior to any Western ballistic missiles by at least 15 years.

Russia's RS-28 Sarmat ICBM: Hypersonic Disaster for US Missile Defense Shield

21:44 04.05.2017

Russia is 10-15 years ahead of the US with its cutting-edge heavy liquid-propelled RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Alexei Leonkov, a military expert and commercial director of "Arsenal of the Fatherland" magazine, told Radio Sputnik.

It was previously reported that the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant — the manufacturer of the sea-based ICBMs — is ready to start mass production of super-heavy thermonuclear armed Sarmat missiles (NATO codename name: SS-X-30 Satan 2).

Sarmat missiles are due to enter into service in 2018 replacing the powerful RS-20V Voyevoda ballistic systems (NATO reporting name SS-18 Mod.3 Satan) which have been the backbone of Russia's strategic nuclear forces for more than 25 years.

The SS-18 Mod 5 ICBM (NATO reporting name: Satan), GRAU designation R-36M2 «Voyevoda» The military expert emphasized that Sarmat will serve as a reliable deterrent.

"Let them call it what they want. The [Sarmat] missile system which is about to enter into service is a fifth generation system. Its characteristics are so impressive that our opponents have reason to be afraid of it. According to some estimates, the missile's striking range is up to 18,000 kilometers [11,184.6 miles]. It also has a large number of divided parts, from 10 to 15 warheads, each with a capacity of up to 750 kilotons. They will fly to their target at hypersonic speeds performing maneuvers so that the existing American missile defense system would be incapable of intercepting them," Leonkov said.


But all weapons of war have their own limitations, e.g. nuclear missiles can't be used domestically.

We can accelerate the Deep State's demise if only the so-called Special Forces Patriots, who have learned their fighting skills from the best…

… will finally use what they've learned to eliminate all of the already identified Scourges of the Earth and free the Western population from its despicable and deceptive dogmas, and not just use those ancient fighting skills for the movies…

Why are we advocating for some surgical assassinations?

It's the only feasible and decisive measure to prevent an extinction level event.
China and South Africa offer beacons of hope (Китай и ЮАР зажигают маяки надежды) / South Africa, May, 2017
Keywords: South Africa, China, international relations, cooperation, opinion
South Africa
Author: David Monyae

Cooperation shows that development trajectories can be linked for the benefit of all, bringing the prospect of a future of prosperity

When Vice-Premier Liu Yandong led a large delegation to South Africa for the second session of the China-South Africa high-level dialogue in Pretoria on April 25, the concepts of Ubuntu and a community of shared future informed many of the deliberations on matters of culture, education, communications, health, science and technology, sports, tourism, youth and women.

China's Two Centenary Goals and the African Union's Agenda 2063 and First 10-Year Implementation Plan show that Africa as a whole can successfully link its current development trajectories with that of China.

Win-win cooperation, exchanges and mutual learning opportunities between Chinese and African people, given our shared history and common developmental goals, are therefore unlimited. South Africa, at the bilateral as well as African Union Commission and regional economic communities' level, has shown the willingness to cooperate with China.

Given the current global challenges, including armed conflicts, economic hardships and climate change, it is crucial for African and Chinese people to combine their efforts to confront these challenges. In a post-colonial era where global institutions' architecture favors former imperial and colonial states, the people of the South should again unite to correct these inequalities. The realization of a prosperous, democratic and harmonious society in Africa and China depends on this.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1998, our countries' relations have become a benchmark for South-South relations. South Africa and China enjoy a strategic comprehensive partnership that can be felt in different spheres of South African and Chinese people's lives. China remains South Africa's top trading partner and continues to give the country enormous support. The special economic zones established throughout South Africa showcase China's efforts to promote economic growth for South Africa.

The Southern African Development Community's Industrialization Strategy should be a focal point in enhancing cooperation through increased trade, investment and science and technology for mutual benefit in the context of the Africa-China Plan of Action. South Africa is a key player in the SADC, accounting for more than 60 percent of the SADC's total trade and about 70 percent of its GDP. China-South Africa relations therefore will be felt beyond South Africa's borders.

At this important time, it is fitting to mention that Africa is celebrating its youth population this year, which is the African Union's Year of the Young people. This is an area in which South Africa and China can further strengthen their relations by exchanging youth cooperation. Youth are the custodians of our cooperation and will safeguard the institutional memory of organizations. I call for South Africa and China to revitalize youth engagements. More can be done to link South African and Chinese youth at our leading universities and in sports and cultural exchanges.

Unfortunately, African youth account for 60 percent of the unemployed population. With more than 200 million between the ages of 15 and 24, the continent has an abundance of human resources. The AU's 2017 theme of "Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investments in Youth" speaks to the common agenda of guaranteeing our youth full access to education, training, skills and technology, jobs and economic opportunities. South Africa welcomes China's efforts in supporting our youth through full scholarships and skills development programs. Common in our African cultures is a proverb that says, "It takes a village to raise a child." We live in a global village, given the interconnection of our lives.

On a continental level, the Forum for China Africa Cooperation illustrates Beijing's commitment to African development. South Africa currently co-chairs the FOCAC, a prestigious platform where Sino-African relations continue to grow. What makes Beijing important to all of Africa is that it is not imposing on African states. African solutions to African problems are a well-respected unwritten code that can be felt in China's support to Africa. China was there when we fought against colonialism and won independence and liberation, and it has been here as African nations have pursued development and better lives for our people.

Given our current cooperation, we are guaranteed that China will be there in 2063 when we celebrate Agenda 2063's peaceful and prosperous Africa. How can we forget our friend's efforts to help end the Ebola epidemic, the true embodiment of an all-weather friendship?

Given our shared of history of humiliation, imperialism and colonialism, African and Chinese people should hold hands to end injustices globally. South Africa and China cooperate at the G20, the BRICS, the G77 and other platforms with the common aim of attaining a fair world order. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals are an important rallying point where we can lift our people from poverty. Unequal development, governance challenges and the digital divide are among areas in which South Africa and China should cooperate to make this world a better place for our people.

At the United Nations, South Africa wishes to call for fair representation on the Security Council. In the post-1945 global world order, much has changed, and developing countries need to have more than a General Assembly vote. Peace and development in the world can only be secured if the international rule of law is promoted. China and South Africa have proved to be leaders in upholding international law standards, and we should therefore cooperate in using our "soft power" as beacons of hope. Our quest for meaningful development will fail if the rule of law, which guarantees stability, is not upheld.

The author is a political analyst and co-director at the University of Johannesburg Confucius Institute. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
China, Brazil boost huge potential for cooperation in clean energy technology (Китай и Бразилия наращивают огромный потенциал для сотрудничества в области экологически чистых энергетических технологий) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Brazil, China, cooperation, international relations

BRASILIA — China and Brazil are showing great potential for technological cooperation in renewable energies such as solar, wind and hydropower, a Brazilian expert said Friday.

Both countries can contribute their latest technological progress in clean energy for win-win cooperation, Amaro Olimpio Pereira, an energy planning professor at the Engineering Postgraduate and Research Institute of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, told Xinhua.

Brazil and China have maintained a comprehensive strategic partnership marked by substantial trade and economic exchanges. The two nations are also members of the BRICS bloc that also groups the emerging economies of Russia, India and South Africa.

The current bilateral cooperation, including that in the research of China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS), was a model of South-South cooperation and should be further boosted in the joint development of clean energies and smart systems, said Pereira.

Brazil has an edge in clean energy, he noted. "The fact that Brazil has abundant natural resources is a boon to the renewable energy sector. It has one of the world's top energy supply networks, including renewable energy sources."

The South American nation was also successful in promoting wind energy, and its solar energy industry also started to pick up steam, said the expert.

However, a big hurdle in developing these energies was that sunlight and wind can be intermittent, thus disrupting the energy supply.

To fix that problem, Pereira suggested developing new technologies in power electronics, which underlines the application of electronics in energy conversion and control.

"Developing power electronics is going to be fundamental for controlling that variability. When wind stops, another plant has to kick in to complement. So, that's where power electronics comes in (and) China has made significant progress in that area," said Pereira.

"That's where the opportunity for cooperation arises. Brazil could contribute ... its wind technology, and China, its power electronics equipment. There is a lot of synergy between the two countries," he noted.

Brazil could also share its technology of hydroelectric plant, which could be of interest to China, he added.

"Brazil has mastered the technology behind large-scale hydroelectric, as well as high-voltage and ultra-high-voltage transmission lines. These are things that interest China, considering its great hydroelectric potential and land mass," said Pereira.

He added that China, for its part, has been known for the advance in photovoltaic technology, which made the country much more competitive in the cost of solar panels than other nations.

"Brazil is beginning to see progress in smart grids," Pereira also said, referring to a smart meter that can help utility companies charge consumers' differentiated rates, depending on their level of consumption.

But the technological gaps have "delayed" the program, said Pereira. "China is a model in this field. These smart meters rely largely on telecommunications technology to monitor a home's consumption from a distance.".

Making conventional energy cleaner was yet another area ripe for bilateral cooperation, he said, adding Brazil has large coal reserves that have not been exploited or are exploited using obsolete technologies that led to heavy pollution.

In this field, the Chinese technology can help Brazilian coal-fired thermoelectric plants burn in a more efficient and clean manner, said Pereira.
Press release on Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov's consultations with Deputy Foreign Minister of Brazil Fernando Simas Magalhaes (О консультациях заместителя Министра иностранных дел России С.А.Рябкова с заместителем Министра иностранных дел Бразилии Ф.Симасом Магаляэсом) / Russia, May, 2017
Keywords: International relations, Brazil, Russia, politics

On May 4, political consultations were held between Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and Deputy Foreign Minister of Brazil Fernando Simas Magalhaes.

The officials exchanged views on a wide range of current issues on the bilateral, regional and international agendas and committed their mutual determination for giving additional impetus to their bilateral strategic partnership. They also discussed the schedule of forthcoming political contacts.

The deputy ministers confirmed their readiness to deepen dialogue and interaction, above all, on the key multilateral platforms: the UN, BRICS and the G20. Particular emphasis was placed on cooperation in maintaining international peace, security and stability, the efforts against new challenges and threats, and issues of nonproliferation and arms control.
Tourism Prospects Look Golden for SA and China (Перспективы туризма выглядят золотыми для ЮАР и Китая) / South Africa, May, 2017
Keywords: China, South Africa, tourism, PPEM, international relations
South Africa

China and South Africa have pledged mutual support for each other's tourism ventures as the two countries deepen cooperation on all fronts of their development.

South African Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa and the Vice Minister of the Chinese National Tourism Administration (CNTA), Wang Xiafeng, met on the sidelines of the South Africa-China High Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM) to explore avenues of joint cooperation between the two powerhouses.

"In our bilateral meeting between ourselves and the Vice Minister, we committed to support each other in promoting our respective destinations. We also agreed to support businesses in establishing stronger partnerships to grow the tourism industry in both countries.

"The importance of the relationship between government and business in the tourism industry can never be overemphasised. For tourism to thrive, governments need to forge a stronger collaboration with the industry," said Minister Xasa.

The PPEM was inaugurated in Pretoria, and is an extension of the cordial and mutually beneficial relations between China and South Africa. The PPEM allows the two countries to exchange information and identify common objectives and strategies, and create opportunities for people in both countries to benefit from the sharing of social, cultural and economic capital across government, academia, business and civil society.

The 'Discover Beautiful China' event, hosted by the CNTA, was held under the auspices of the PPEM on Monday.

South Africa and China signed the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Tourism in October 2013. The key focus areas of the agreement include skills development (exchange of capacity building initiatives) and promoting tourism development and investment opportunities, including tourism marketing of both countries.

Embracing Chinese tourists

Minister Xasa took the opportunity to thank the Chinese Culture and International Education Exchange Centre and Yangzhou University for the opportunity provided to 20 South African tour guides and frontline staff in tourism establishments to learn Mandarin and Chinese culture.

"South Africa recognises the importance of teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture to South African tourism practitioners as a vehicle to improve the country competitiveness as a destination of choice in China," she said.

China is one of South African Tourism's core markets in Asia, and contributes positively to tourism arrivals into the country. In 2016, South Africa welcomed 117 144 visitors from Greater China, representing a 38% year-on-year increase.

South African tour companies have added Mandarin speaking guides and are translating promotional materials into Mandarin, while South African Tourism has been holding exhibitions in major Chinese cities across that country.

To make the travel experience even more seamless for Chinese citizens, South Africa has established visa facilitation centres in nine Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xian, Shenyang, Wuhan, Jinan and Hangzhou.

Two new visa centres will open at the end of April in Kunming and Chongqing, bringing the total to 11 visa facilitation centres in China.

SA and China cooperation on international platforms

South Africa and China also share a platform in the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] bloc of emerging economies. While China houses the headquarters for the BRICS Development Bank in Shanghai, South Africa is home to its African regional offices.

Minister Xasa said the Department of Tourism recognises that international cooperation in the area of tourism is emerging as an important foreign policy tool and an instrument of economic diplomacy in strengthening the broader bilateral relations between South Africa and China.

"We are committed to continue to implement other areas of cooperation identified in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 to increase two-way international tourism between our countries for mutual benefit.

"Tourism is much more than an economic driver – it is also a social unifier. It brings people together and it's about creating an experience – an authentic cultural experience," said the Minister.
India to Seal Pact with Russia-Led Grouping (Индия заключит соглашение с группой, руководимой Россией) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: Free trade agreement, India, Russia, The Eurasian Economic Union, international relations

India is set to formalise a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, clearing the decks for negotiations on deepening trade relations with the five former Soviet republics.

The joint statement on the FTA is likely to be issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at St. Petersburg on June 1, Sunil Kumar, joint secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said here on Friday. Addressing a stakeholder consultation, he said the report of the Joint Feasibility Study Group had been accepted by both sides and the formal negotiations would begin by July.

The Eurasian Economic Union comprises Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The FTA is expected to open up a huge market with a trade potential of 37 to 62 billion.

Trade between India and the five Eurasian countries stands at about 11 billion. "The FTA with the Eurasian countries was dictated by India's need to diversify into new markets. We have a targeted trade of 30 billion with the five countries by 2025 and 15 billion annual investment," Mr. Kumar said.

At the meeting, experts highlighted the need for better understanding of the challenges in the new market like non-tariff barriers and quality standards before the negotiations take place.

Mr. Kumar said the Eurasian market could open up new export opportunities for Kerala in medical tourism, IT and IT-enabled services, besides traditional sectors like spices, marine products, coir and rubber. He stressed the need for safeguards in the pact to protect the state's interests. Exporters and representatives of trade organisations called for steps to prevent dumping of goods and misuse of the rules of origin. They also highlighted the need for clarity on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, import licensing, quantitative restrictions and trade remedies.
WEF Africa 2017: SA Inclusion in BRICS Not a Small Victory, Says Survé (WEF Африка 2017: Включение ЮАР в БРИКС не маленькая победа, говорит Сюрве) / South Africa, May, 2017
Keywords: South Africa, Business Council, economy, international relations, cooperation
South Africa

Chairperson of the South African chapter of the Brics Business Council, Dr Iqbal Survé lauded President Jacob for South Africa's inclusion into the Brics partnership zone, a move he said continues to open doors for the Southern African economy.

"This evening is about introducing the Brics Business Council to you, part of what we have agreed, so that you get to understand what the Council does," Survé said as he addressed delegates at a dinner hosted by the Brics Business Council in Durban on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting.

"Secondly, I want to thank President Zuma, I know that there are a lot of critics of President Zuma," he continued. "I want to make this point, which is a really an important one. We must always be truthful and honest about people, both their negatives and positives.

"It is President Zuma, under his administration, that South Africa was able to become a Brics member. I think we should thank the president. It's not an insignificant achievement for our country to be a participant member of economies that are the second and fifth largest economies in the world."

Survé added that African countries, instead of competing against each other, should rather unite and foster closer ties.

More than 1,000 leaders from more than 100 countries, representing business, government, academia, civil society, media and the arts have descended on Durban for the WEF meeting, this year themed "Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership".
Investment and finance in BRICS
Construction Chemicals Market across BRICS regions to gather huge profit over 2016-2024 (Рынок строительных химикатов в регионах БРИКС получит огромную прибыль в 2016-2024 гг.) / USA, May, 2017
Keywords: investment and finance, market, economics,

"Europe is one of the prominent regions holding a considerable share of global construction chemicals market. The regional industry collected a revenue of USD 4.5 billion in 2015, and is expected to grow substantially at an annual rate of 8% over the coming seven years."
Construction Chemicals Market has significantly evolved in the recent years with the global trend of ecofriendly, greener buildings. Upgraded living standards along with exponential increase in the infrastructure spending especially across BRICS nations is leaving a direct impact on the rapid expansion of the overall industry. Driven by the product's unique ability to enhance the construction materials while reducing the harmful carbon footprints, these materials are witnessing a phenomenal demand worldwide. Furthermore, various states, as well as central governments initiations in promoting quality construction work, are set to augment construction chemicals industry's consumer base. According to Global Market Insights Inc., "Construction chemicals market is slated to surpass a revenue of USD 50 billion, with a projected CAGR of 9% over the period of 2016-2024."

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Based on product trends, the industry is principally segmented into concrete admixtures, asphalt modifiers, protective coatings, sealants, and adhesives. Concrete admixtures construction chemicals industry accounted for 50% of the global share in 2015, and is expected to show a sharp growth curve in the next seven years. The massive growth can be attributed to these materials' increasing demand both from residential as well as commercial infrastructure sector such as flyovers, roads, bridges etc. Owing to the chemicals' inherent property of improving the cement quality by modulating its physical and chemical resistances, concrete admixtures are expected to show significant adoption across a wide range of sectors. Concrete admixtures are further bifurcated into mineral and chemical admixtures. Increasing government efforts on the restoration of heritage buildings is anticipated to spur sealants, adhesives and protective coatings based construction chemicals market demand.

Europe is one of the prominent regions holding a considerable share of global construction chemicals market. The regional industry collected a revenue of USD 4.5 billion in 2015, and is expected to grow substantially at an annual rate of 8% over the coming seven years. As per European commission, buildings in this region accounts for 40% of the total energy consumption and emit almost 33% of the overall greenhouse gas emission, which in turn is driving the regional market.

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Geographically, Asia Pacific is another promising player dominating construction chemicals industry. Booming construction activities along with rapid urbanization across these regions is leaving an influential impact on the regional industry share. China, India, and Japan are the major revenue contributors prominently driving the market. Escalating construction market in China is having a parallel impact on the region's construction chemical market. Japan and India are other two regions, expected to witness a notable progress in the construction chemicals industry growth.

Prominent market participants include Sika Group, Dow Chemical, Arkema, BASF SE, and RPM International.

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BRICS bank--a missed opportunity? (Банк БРИКС - упущенная возможность?) / United Arab Emirates, May, 2017
Keywords: New Development Bank, opinion, World Bank, IMF
United Arab Emirates
Author: Matthew Amlôt

The New Development Bank, the multilateral bank established by the BRICS states of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, recently held its second annual meeting in New Delhi.

The bank, headquartered in Shanghai, was created with the purpose of supporting emerging economies whilst providing an alternative to the western dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund. As of the announcement of the creation of the New Development Bank (NDB), the BRICS nations represented 40 per cent of the world's population and agreed to establish the bank with an estimated capital of $100 billion.

Its creation could have been an opportunity to pave a new path for developmental economics, but instead the bank has been come to be seen as a replication of the existing Bretton Woods institutions. Writing in The Conversation, Misheck Mutize, Lecturer of Finance and Doctor of Philosophy Candidate, specialising in Finance, University of Cape Town and Sean Gossel, Senior Lecturer, UCT Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town point to the partnerships NDB has engaged in, noting that it recently entered into an MoU with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Mutize and Gossel argue that the NDB has already fallen into the trap of operating like the institutions that it is seeking to replace. By signing MoUs with institutions such as EBRD, and signing partnerships deals with the World Bank to co-finance projects, NDB has become part of the international framework it was seeking to compete with.

Furthermore, the organisation is operating with the same corporate-led, for-profit model that existing Bretton Woods multilateral institutions utilise. Although a focus was put on investments being of a social nature from the start, as NDB is profit-driven this philosophy may be somewhat undermined. The interests of the citizens of BRICS nations may be taking a backseat to the profit-driven nature of NDB.

Of the $811 million NDB has already loaned out, $180 million found its way to South Africa as a loan to the state-owned power utility Eskom to develop 670 MW of power generation and the connection of 500 MW of renewable energy projects from independent power producers—an interesting proposition considering two of Eskom's recent leaders have stated that the organisation wants little to nothing to do with renewable energy. In January 2017, BusinessDay reported that Eskom claims that renewable energy has caused 'a net loss' to the economy.

As to whether this loan has had a positive effect on the South African economy is a moot point. The loan adds further pressure to a country already likely to struggle with the dollar-denominated liabilities it has built up. In combination with this the currently dilapidated rand is likely to add further challenges.
BRICS rating agency plan gathering pace (План кредитного агенства БРИКС стремительно набирает обороты) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: Credit Agency, South Africa, China, economics, investment and finance, opinion

Plans of the five-nation BRICS bloc to set up its own credit rating agency seem to be gathering pace, with discussions being held with the corporate sector and experts on finding a suitable agency.

"The main issue is that the agency that conducts sovereign ratings can not be a government organisation. It has to be independent, with an international or at least regional reputation and credentials to be taken seriously at the global forum," said a person familiar with the development.

Discussions are now on with industry representatives as well as financial and economic experts on whether an existing agency should be roped in or a new institution set up to conduct sovereign ratings.

"As of now, it is more of an academic discussion. A finalised proposal could be announced maybe in the second half of the year," said the person.

Concerned by the methodologies of global rating agencies that they often perceive as "unfair", BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — had in 2015 first proposed an independent BRICS Ratings Agency.

This was then, in October 2016, made a part of their joint declaration and would be "based on market-oriented principles, in order to further strengthen the global governance architecture".

Ratings peeve BRICS countries have frequently complained of being assigned low credit ratings by the three top global agencies despite showing better fundamentals than many peers and even some European economies.

While China enjoys a higher rating, member countries such as South Africa and India have junk and lowest investment grade ratings respectively.

India through the Finance Ministry has been calling for a ratings upgrade by international ratings agencies based on its high growth and improved fiscal situation.

In fact, unhappy with the low ratings, the Economic Survey 2016 had also questioned why India was not given a rating upgrade by global agencies while giving an upgrade to China.

Earlier, this week, Fitch also left India's ratings unchanged at BBB- with a stable outlook, which is the lowest investment grade.
BRICS bank is offering more of the same rather than breaking the mould (Банк БРИКС предлагает в основном одно и тоже, а не ломает шаблоны) / United Kingdom, May, 2017
Keywords: New Development Bank, Economics, opinion, World Bank
United Kingdom

The New Development Bank recently held its second annual meeting in the Indian capital of New Delhi to discuss the sustainability of financing development projects in its member states.

The multilateral bank was established by the BRICS states of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. With headquarters in Shanghai, China, it was created to support emerging economies and provide an alternative to the domination of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

But the new bank is already proving to be a replication of the Bretton Woods institutions. This can be seen through the partnerships the new bank is forming as well as its operating posture.

It's also showing bias towards the development of Asian countries. This is evident from its funding patterns and the recent proposed enlargement of the BRICS bloc. The list of proposed additions includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Nigeria, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. All except three are Asian.

The proposed expansion of the BRICS countries has been justified as a move to strengthen the bloc and fill the void created by rising protectionism in the US. But it has been met with mixed reactions even among member countries. India, for example has expressed its disapproval that BRICS "plus" is China's ploy to cut New Delhi's influence in the group by roping in more pro-China countries.

The New Development Bank's business as usual and its bias towards Asia suggests that it will not become an alternative source of finance. It will not address the key areas of needs for emerging economies like human capital development, poverty alleviation and basic healthcare.

More of the same

The New Development Bank was set up as an alternative to the World Bank and IMF which are viewed to be pushing western agendas. It was to provide a development model that would be sensitive and beneficial to emerging economies. But it's quickly abandoning this mandate and falling into the trap of operating like the institutions it was created to replace.

In September 2016 the New Development Bank signed partnership deals with the World Bank to co-finance projects. The agreement also aims to facilitate knowledge and staff exchanges. This puts the bank in bed with the institutions it was established to counter.

The bank has also signed memorandums of understanding with the European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Eurasian Development Bank and the International Investment Bank (IIB). The agreements cover co-financing of infrastructure projects, the bulk of which are in Asia.

Perhaps the foundations of the bank were faulty from the start. Its original designers were two former World Bank chief economists, Joe Stiglitz and Nick Stern. Given this history, it's possibly never going to challenge the world financial order.

Today, the New Development Bank is pushing the corporate-led development model just like the World Bank, the IMF and other Bretton Woods institutions. Their investments are profit-oriented which tends to undermine social justice. Thus similar to the World Bank and IMF, the New Development Bank seems more focused on protecting its investments at the expense of saving the interests of the BRICS citizens.

Over the past decade, the corporate led model has impoverished many people in emerging economies, particularly in Asia. It has led to farmer suicides, large-scale privatization, natural resource looting and environmental degradation.

Funding so far

The New Development Bank has so far made loans of $811 million to entities in four BRICS countries towards energy infrastructure. Of this $300 million went to Brazil, $81 million to China, $250 million to India, and $180 million to South Africa.

For South Africa, the bank has so far not provided any meaningful opportunity to obtain additional finance. The loan of $180 million (R2.6 billion) was given to South Africa's power utility Eskom to develop 670 MW of power generation and 500 MW worth of renewable energy projects involving independent power producers. This unnecessary loan to an inefficient state owned entity has only contributed to BRICS's power over South Africa by adding onto the current contingents liabilities dollar-based loans that the government has guaranteed for the next 12 to 20 years.


There are weaknesses in the way in which the New Development Bank works that also raises questions about its intent.

First, the bank's activities are often shrouded in secrecy. There are no clear official records available to the public about the bank's activities, decisions and operational guidelines. Analysts have to rely on secondary and tertiary information sources.

Second, the bank is yet to present any socio-economic redress and environmental operational guidelines for communities. This would ensure that its funding does not lead to displacement, evictions, ecological destruction, loss of livelihoods and threats to the basic right to life. These issues have recurred for decades due to projects funded by other multilateral development banks.

Lastly, as a co-financier with development institutions like the World Bank, the bank's seriousness about promoting transparency, accountability and probity remains questionable.

To strengthen its relevance to emerging economies, the New Development Bank must review the much criticised, inequitable representation of developing countries, especially from Africa. It must also focus more on small-scale investments rather than large-scale infrastructure projects. These often lead to exclusion of people and communities, and aggravate existing vulnerabilities rather than bringing about development.
#WEFAfrica17: Brics bank at advanced stage (#WEFAfrica17: Банк БРИКС на продвинутой стадии) / South Africa, May, 2017
Keywords: New Development Bank, Business Council, South Africa, economics, opinion
South Africa
Author: Siseko Njobeni

Durban - Plans to set up the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the Brics Bank, are at an advanced stage, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Wednesday. Speaking at a Brics Business Council dinner, Nkoana-Mashabane said: "Brics Bank is no longer a dream. It is a reality." She said the African Regional Centre of the Bank would initially focus on infrastructure funding. The centre would be based in Johannesburg. "We already have an address," she said.

She said the bank would compete with the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Speaking at the same event, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said Africa had to move towards industrialized and diversified economies.

"That is absolutely fundamental," he said. He said digitised technologies could be tools to solve the continent's problems "and bring in people to production. We have to make the journey as a continent together."

He said there were lessons that Africa could learn from China, which he said was undergoing reforms which would culminate in that country focusing on its domestic market.

"It has turned to domestic consumption. It is trying to move beyond manufacturing. It has turned into an innovator of technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. That is our journey. That is what where we need to be going. We need to accompany that with much more energetic tools deployed to open up opportunities for our people," said Davies.

He said being part of the bloc of emerging economies was important, as the Brics economies accounted for 22.5 percent of global output and 40 percent of the global population.

Read also: BRICS bank to issue debt in members' currencies

"The global output is expected to rise in the next five years to about a quarter of global output. So it is a significant grouping of countries. What was important for South Africa is that South Africa became part of it. Brics needed an African economy. They were missing this continent. Our membership of Brics has borne an understanding and a responsibility that we must bring the relationship with the African continent into the Brics family."

Davies said South Africa had strong economic and trade relations with its Brics partners. On trade, China was South Africa's largest trading partner as an export destination and a source of imports. India was the country's sixth largest trade partner.

He said trade with Russia and Brazil had also increased. The problem with South Africa's trading relationship with its Brics partners was that the country exported primary products and imported finished goods.

"But there has been willingness in the context of the Brics partnership to support more value adding and to support this through practical interventions," said Davies.

Meanwhile, Dr Iqbal Survé, the chairperson of the Brics Business Council, said by 2030, the combined gross domestic product of the Brics countries was expected to reach R50 trillion.

"We are very fortunate to be at that table. But being at that table does not guarantee that we will benefit easily. We will have to work hard," said Survé.
Industry output has best Q1 since 2013 (Производительность промышленной продукции имеет самый высокий уровень за период с 2013 года) / Brazil, May, 2017
Keywords: Brazil, economics, investment and finance

As the economy continues to recover, industrial production is beginning to show signs of recovery. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), growth in the sector was of 0.6% for the quarter ended in March last.

As the country faced a crisis in recent years, this is the first time industry growth is positive for a first quarter since 2013 (when output increased by 2.1%). Since then, the sector has faced bitter consecutive losses.

However, the scenario began a reversal in the wake of the reforms and measures implemented by the government. Losses were gradually turned into positive results. The sector's performance is still far from ideal, now close to 2008 numbers, but is expected to fully recover in the coming months and years.

The IBGE survey also revealed that growth is more widespread among various industries. In the quarter ended in March, positive results were seen in two of the four major economic categories, 15 of 26 segments, 47 of 79 groups and 53% of the 805 products surveyed.

Vehicles and mining

Among the sectors surveyed, those that made the greatest contributions to the positive results were mining and quarrying (8.2%) and motor vehicles, trailers and vehicle bodies (11.5%).

Other major contributors include computer equipment (18.3%), apparel and accessories (8.0%), metallurgy (1.9%), rubber and plastic products (2.7%), textiles (6.2%) and machinery and equipment (2.0%).

Industry output was also positive (1.1%) in year-over-year numbers for March. Despite these advances, industry still needs to gain further momentum before it can fully recover.
Trade balance hits record $6.9B surplus in April (Торговый баланс достиг рекордного положительного сальдо в $ 6,9 млрд в апреле) / Brazil, May, 2017
Keywords: Brazil, economics, trade balance

With Brazilian products gaining momentum abroad, the April trade balance has hit a record for the month. Exports surpassed imports by US$ 6.969 billion in April, resulting in an unprecedented accumulated trade balance of US$ 21.387 billion in year-to-date terms.

The figures, released this Tuesday (2 April) by the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services, show strong daily average increases for both exports and imports.

Daily average exports in March were 27.8% higher than in the same period of last year, influenced by increases of 29.2% for commodities, 27.5% for semi- manufactured goods and 25.7% for manufactured products.

Commodity exports were mostly influenced by strong sales of iron ore (+87.6%), crude oil (+58.6%), pork (+34.4%) and soy beans (+7%).

Semi-manufactured goods also saw strong highs. The largest increase was in sales of soybean oil (173.9%), followed by shipments of iron and steel (55.5%), cast iron (46.1%) and raw sugar (44.4%).

Imports, on the other hand, grew by 13.3% compared to the same month of last year, driven by increased purchases of fuels and lubricants (28.5%), intermediate goods (16.5%) and consumer goods (6.3%).

Strong year

The Brazilian trade balance reached the highest accumulated surplus for the first four months of the year in history, at US$ 21.387 billion. Projections by both the financial market and the federal government point to foreign trade transactions exceeding US$ 50 billion in 2017.
The Hindu: Russia - a Forgotten Trade Partner? (The Hindu: Россия - забытый торговый партнер) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: investment and finance, Russia, India, diplomatic relations, GDP

This year, the world's largest democracy, India, and the biggest country by area, Russia, are celebrating the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between them. Russia continues to be among India's major politico-diplomatic and defence partner nations. While India has inked separate strategic partnership pacts with more than two dozen countries, the Indian and Russian governments in December 2010 elevated their bilateral 'Strategic Partnership' to what they termed a "Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership."

The New Delhi-based think tank 'Foundation for National Security Research', which did a comparative assessment of India's strategic partnerships — meaning, 'political-diplomatic, defence and economic cooperation' (during the 10-year period prior to November 2011), had said, "Russia emerges as the most important strategic partner of India" The November 2011 report had found that Russia had provided strong political and diplomatic support to India and helped enormously in building India's defence capability. However, it warned that the "economic content of the (India-Russia) partnership is extremely weak," and recommended that "urgent and vigorous steps need to be taken to improve economic relations if this (India-Russia) partnership is to be sustained and made durable."

Until 1990-91, India and Russia — the main constituent of (the erstwhile) Soviet Union — had enjoyed robust trade ties. In 1990, the Soviet Union was India's top goods exports destination with shipments to the tune of 2.9 billion, according to data from the World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) software. In the list of nations from where India imported goods, Soviet Union figured seventh in value terms with 922 million. Then in 1991, two watershed moments happened — economic liberalisation was introduced in India, and the Soviet Union was dissolved. In the following two-and-a-half decades, Russia remained India's strong politico-diplomatic and defence partner like the erstwhile Soviet Union used to be. However, since 1990-91, India's trade underwent further diversification and Russia is now not anywhere near the top in the list of India's trade partners. WITS data showed that in 2015, India exported goods worth 1.6 billion to Russia, but had shipped more items in value terms to 37 other countries. In 2015, India's imports from Russia were valued at 4.5 billion, but had imported goods worth more than that from 23 other nations.

This slippage in trade is a huge demotion for Russia, considering that the erstwhile Soviet Union was among India's leading trade partners. Worse still, India's goods exports in 2015 to Russia were worth just 1.6 billion as against 40.3 billion during that year to the U.S. — which was India's leading export destination. Also, in 2015, India's goods imports from Russia were worth only 4.5 billion as against 61.6 billion from China — which was India's leading source of imports that year.

If one takes into account India's GDP of about 2 trillion and Russia's GDP of 1.3 trillion, it becomes clear that their bilateral trade and investment ties are far below potential. Pointing out that India-Russia trade in 2015-16 amounted to about 6.7 billion, a concept note by the New Delhi-based think-tank Research and Information System for developing countries (RIS) said while Russia comprised just 1% of India's total trade, India accounts for a minuscule 1.2% of Russia's overall trade.

Stating that both the countries have set a target to raise bilateral trade to 30 billion by 2025 and increase bilateral investment from 10 billion to 15 billion, the RIS suggested that expediting the conclusion of negotiations of the proposed India-Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) Free Trade Agreement would provide opportunities to India and Russia for regional cooperation and development as well as concessional trade and investment in the region. Members of the EEU include Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The September 2016 meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation had identified expeditious implementation of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project as well as the launch of the 'Green Corridor' project for Customs facilitation (by easing Customs norms) as what would be major steps towards better connectivity and trade facilitation. According to the RIS, the INSTC — a multi-modal transportation route connecting the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian sea through Iran and onward to Northern Europe through St. Petersburg in Russia — will enhance trade and investment linkages between these regions.

Referring to reports of Russia and China proposing to bring the EEU closer to China's One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) initiative (a massive project to develop infrastructure in more than 60 countries, primarily in Asia and Europe), Ashok Sajjanhar, former ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, while addressing a recent RIS event, said India should study the impact of this development in the context of the proposed India-EEU FTA.

India-Russia trade ties have been below-potential and lopsided (in favour of Russia) as it is primarily a buyer-seller relationship and not one based on collaborations through investments, according to Pranav Kumar, Head (trade and international policy), Confederation of Indian Industry. Besides, if the emphasis continues to be on sectors such as defence, hydrocarbons and nuclear power, it would result in Russia gaining more, he added. Therefore, he said, to ensure a balance, sectors such as IT/ITeS, pharmaceuticals and healthcare — where India has considerable strength — should also be encouraged, apart from seeking Russian investments in India in areas including defence manufacturing to push the 'Make In India' programme and in infrastructure and space technology to take forward the Smart City and Digital India initiatives respectively.

What would also help in boosting bilateral ties is trading in local currencies, setting up pipelines for direct gas delivery from Russia to India as well as operationalisation of the proposed 1-billion fund through India's National Investment & Infrastructure Fund and the Russian Direct Investment Fund for investment in infrastructure and technology projects.
AIIB Approves First Loan to India to Develop Energy Sector of Andhra Pradesh (АМИБ одобрил первый кредит Индии для развития энергетического сектора штата Андхра-Прадеш) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: investment and finance, AIIB, India, energy

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved the first 160-million loan to India to support the energy sector of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the bank state in a statement.

"The Board of Directors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved a loan of US160 million in support of the Andhra Pradesh – 24x7 Power for All project in the Republic of India with the objective to strengthen the power transmission and distribution system in the State of Andhra Pradesh," the statement said.

AIIB President Jin Liqun pointed out that the bank supported its members "in their transition towards a low-carbon energy mix by promoting the improvement of energy efficiency."

According to the statement, the project is co-financed with the World Bank.

The AIIB is an international financial institution that invests in infrastructure projects. It was proposed by China in 2013 and launched as an initiative in October 2014. The AIIB currently has 57 founding members, with China, India and Russia having the largest share of votes on its board of directors.
As India's Rating Headache With Fitch Continues, BRICS Agency Could Be a Way Out (В то время, как головная боль рейтинга Индии с Fitch продолжается, Агентство БРИКС может стать выходом) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: Fitch Ratings, India, credit rating agency, economics, investment and finance, New Developement Bank

Global agency Fitch Ratings said it has retained the "BBB-" sovereign rating — the lowest investment grade — for India as weak public finances continue to constrain India's ratings. India has been critical of global rating agencies for pegging its rating at a much lower level.

Experts say it is difficult to ignore the strong fundamentals of India's economy and sustained reforms of recent years. Deepak Parekh, chairman of India's leading housing finance company, Housing Development Finance Corporation, criticized Fitch's decision. "You can't ignore strong fundamentals of India's economy and reforms that have been taken in last few years," he said.

"India is not immune to external shocks, but country's strong external finances make it less vulnerable than many of its peers, but weak public finances continue to constrain India's ratings," the Fitch statement said. Further, it said that it is "not likely" that Indian government's budgeted INR 700 billion capital injection into banks between FY16 and FY19 will be sufficient.

Parekh's views are shared by many in academia as well. "It is true that debt levels are high relative to other stronger economies and banks are grappling with bad loans. But it also cannot be ignored that India is undertaking reforms and inflation targets too are under control," Dr. Surojit Das, Assistant Professor at the Department of Economic Studies and Planning at the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Sputnik.

India has been critical of rating agencies like Moody's, S&P, and Fitch for pegging its credit rating to the much lower BBB- level despite recent economic growth and stable macroeconomic indicators.

The rating agencies point at India's high public debt levels and bank non-performing assets as the reason for status quo.

The Narendra Modi government has maintained that the agencies have ignored the steady decline in India's debt burden and fiscal strength in recent years.

India's concerns over the methodology adopted by rating agencies have been shared by other BRICS member countries, including Russia, China, South Africa and Brazil, prompting the multilateral body to set up an independent rating agency based on market-oriented principles.

During his recent India visit, Shanghai-based New Development Bank (NDB) President K.V. Kamath said the work on establishing an alternative credit rating agency led by the BRICS bloc is underway. A BRICS rating agency will make the global governance architecture more transparent and democratic.

The idea of a BRICS rating agency emerged during the 2015 BRICS summit in Ufa and was affirmed by the Goa Declaration at the eighth BRICS Summit.

BRICS has started engaging financial experts on a business model for the new rating agency as well as what methodology it would adopt to rate itself and others.
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on May 4, 2017 (Очередная пресс-конференция 4 мая 2017 года официального представителя МИД КНР Гун Шуаня) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Political events, domestic policy, China, international relations

Q: A commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) criticized China for pressuring the DPRK through sanctions. What is China's comment on that?

A: China's position on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula is consistent and clear, and so is our position on developing good-neighborly and friendly relations with the DPRK.

For years, the Chinese side has been assessing and dealing with the relevant issue based on its own merits in an objective and impartial manner. We are unwaveringly committed to realizing denuclearization on the Peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability of the Peninsula and resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation. We hope that all the other parties concerned will also assume due responsibilities and contribute their due share to regional peace and stability and the common well-being of people in the region.

Q: According to the Syrian opposition delegation at the Astana talks, Russia proposed the creation of four "safe zones" across Syria. It is not yet clear which international forces will facilitate the security in the four zones. Sources said that Algeria, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates as well as the BRICS are under consideration. Since China is a BRICS member, will China be ready to participate in the international forces to ensure the safety of these four zones if Russia asks Beijing to do so?

A: I need to get more information on the specifics you mentioned.

As a principle, the Chinese side supports efforts conducive to lowering tensions in Syria, consolidating ceasefire and cessation of violence there, and politically resolving the Syrian issue. The Chinese side also believes that Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be upheld and respected.

Q: On May 3, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China held a hearing on "Will the Hong Kong Model Survive? An Assessment 20 Years After the Handover", finding fault with the implementation of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong over the past 20 years. What is China's response to that?

A: The relevant hearing constitutes a blatant interference in China's internal affairs including Hong Kong affairs. The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to it. "One country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy have been earnestly implemented since the return of Hong Kong 20 years ago. It is an undeniable fact for all those without prejudice.

The so-called commission you mentioned is always biased against China. Defying facts and driven by ulterior motives, the commission claimed at the so-called hearing that the practice of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong was eroded, and press freedom and judicial independence threatened.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and Hong Kong affairs fall totally within China's internal affairs. We are firmly opposed to any country's interference in Hong Kong affairs in any form. The attempts of some individuals in Hong Kong to collude with foreign forces in meddling with Hong Kong affairs will never succeed.
Indian govt connects more that 2m households to the Internet (Правительство Индии подключает к Интернету более 2 млн. домов) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: Political events, domestic policy, India, internet

The Indian government is ensuring that all its citizens regardless of their financial status stay connected to the Internet, as more than two million families will be provided wih free internet connection while others would be charged at lower rates at the Indian state of Kerala.

This comes as the country rolls out it's "smart villages" plan. Minister of Finance of the Indian state of Kerala, Thomas Isaac says the plan would ensure access to Internet services since it is the right of every citizen of the state.

The Indian Express reported that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan presented the draft Information Technology policy framework in the Assembly.

According to the paper, the new policy's aim is to create single portal for citizen interactions, enable mobile services for ease of access to e-governance services, create "Smart Villages" and attract investments in the information technology sector.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
Only 27% Indian women are in labour force- the lowest among BRICS countries (Только 27% индийских женщин трудоспособны - самый низкий показатель среди стран БРИКС) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: world of work, labour force, India, statistics
Author: Devanik Saha

Rising income levels and stability in families are disincentivising women from joining the labour force, according to Reassessing Patterns of Female Labor Force Participation in India, a March 2017 report by the World Bank, which analysed government data from 2004-05 to 2011-12. As many as 19.6 million women–equivalent to the population of Romania–dropped out of the workforce during this period, of which rural women accounted for 53%, the report said.

In its three year (2017-20) 'action agenda draft' released on April 23, 2017, NITI Aayog, a government think-tank, stressed on the importance of promoting equal participation of women in the Indian economy.

Only 27% Indian women are in the labour force–the lowest among BRICS countries; among G-20 countries, it is better only than Saudi Arabia, IndiaSpendreported on April 9, 2016.

The labour force does not include women who do "unpaid care work", which refers to all unpaid services within a household including care of people, housework and voluntary community work.

Rising family incomes disincentivise women from joining the labour force

The study found that the decision to join the labour force is primarily influenced by economic stability at home rather than social norms, educational attainment and age. The study assessed the proportion of self-employed, regular wage earners and casual labour in a given household's working-age population.

It found that, in rural as well as urban areas, while the proportion of regular wage-earners in households increased between 2004-05 to 2011-12, proportion of self-employed persons and casual labour decreased, indicating the rising stability in family incomes. The proportion of regular wage earners in urban areas was 20 percentage points more than rural areas, which explains its low FLFP rates.

Therefore, as household incomes become more stable, fewer women join the labour force.

This is in sync with earlier studies (here and here), which suggest that with rising household income levels, women in rural India withdraw from paid labour and engage in "status production" at home.

Status production refers to work that maintains and enhances the family's social standing, although they do not necessarily enhance the woman's status within that unit. Common examples of status production work include the upkeep of suitable work clothes, provision of food at the workplace, entertainment of colleagues and feeding hired hands and co-workers within the woman's family.

Rise in educational qualifications correlated with decline in workforce

Secondary and higher secondary education did not lead to women participating in the labour market in India, the World Bank analysis found. The lowest incidence of FLFP rate is among those who had attained secondary (grade X) and post-secondary levels of education, followed by those with levels of education below the secondary level in both rural and urban areas.

The FLFP rate is highest among illiterates and college graduates in both rural and urban areas. These two groups, illiterates and those with college education, are also the groups that experienced the largest drops in FLFP rates during this period.

Higher literacy does not lead to greater decision-making power for women, IndiaSpendreported on February 13, 2017.

Only 691 females attend college for every 1,000 males. This ratio drops from 825:1,000 at the age of 19 years to 531:1,000 at 25-29 years. As many as 1,403 females have never attended any educational institution for every 1,000 males who have not, IndiaSpendreported on November 28, 2015.

Women are dwindling in the workforce despite the enrolment of girls in higher education increasing from 39% to 46% between 2007 and 2014, IndiaSpend reported on July 27, 2016.

Between 2004-05 and 2011-12, FLFP has dropped across all educational categories in both rural and urban areas. This indicates that irrespective of one's education, the incentive for females to participate in the labour force has declined over the period.

"The decline in the FLFP rate for all educational categories and the particularly poor performance of those with secondary and higher secondary (grade XII) levels of education need to be explored in detail," the study said. This can probably be explained by a lack of appropriate jobs in rural areas, or the expectation of higher wages among those having secondary levels of education.

"The critical issue in terms of the quality of jobs is what you can earn–the wages," Sher Singh Verick, deputy director, International Labour Organization, South Asia, told The Wire in this December 2016 interview. "If you are able to get a reasonable wage, this will act as a pull factor to get you into the labour market. If wages remain very low for you, your incentive as a woman becomes lower."

The Aayog's 2017-20 agenda says women tend to be paid less, work in less productive jobs and are over-represented in unpaid care work, and engaging in vulnerable forms of employment is a reflection of their subordinate position in the household.

The World Bank study calls for a systematic analysis of both the supply and demand sides of the segmented rural labour market.

More married women join the workforce in rural areas; trend reverses in urban areas

Marriage affects the participation of women in two ways, the World Bank study said.

  • After marriage, women typically take on the role of caregiver in the family, which significantly alters the allocation of their time.
  • Marriage changes a woman's social position and status; a married woman joins the labour force only when social norms and the stigma attached to paid labour conform with family restrictions.
Although the median age of marriage has increased, it continues to be low: 19.2 years for women in 2011 (up from 18.2 in 2001), according to an analysis of census data, as reported by The Hindu on June 29, 2016. Men got married at 23.5 years in 2011, up from 22.6 in 2001.

In rural areas, the FLFP rate of married women was more than unmarried women. However, in urban areas, participation rates of unmarried women were higher than that of married women.

In urban areas, participation rates of women dropped between 2004-05 and 2011-12, leading to an overall drop in the FLFP rate for both married and unmarried women.

So, while marital status did have an impact on the participation rates of women in the labour market, it does not explain the drop that occurred during 1993-94 to 2011-12 in the urban areas.

The study found that irrespective of their caste (scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, other backward class or general), the FLFP rate of married females is higher than unmarried females in rural areas.

Policies should promote acceptability of female employment

Merely increasing women's access to education and skills will not necessarily lead to a rise in FLFP, the World Bank study suggested. Gains will not be realised unless social norms around women's (and men's) work also change, and/or the rural labour markets offer forms of employment that are acceptable and attractive for women and their families.

Policies should centre on promoting the acceptability of female employment and investing in economic sectors in rural areas that are attractive in terms of female employment, the report said.

Jobs near home attract women: 93% of unemployed female youth said they would take a job if they could work from home or in the village, according to a pilot survey conducted among rural, below-poverty-line youth in areas around Bhopal in 2015, IndiaSpendreported on March 8, 2016.

"The real test for the coming years is how jobs can be created in the rural areas so that women living in rural areas can access them. Local job creation is the most important message. It is very important because you are going to need more jobs where women live. Most of the population is still within rural areas–65% of the people in India are still in rural areas," Verick said in The Wire interview.
Meirelles predicts "strong" employment recovery in 2017 (Мейрель прогнозирует «сильное» восстановление занятости в 2017 году) / Brazil, May, 2017
Keywords: Brazil, employment, world of work, economics, society

Finance Minister highlighted the importance of economic reforms, predicted labour market will reverse negative trend before the end of this year

Brazilian Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said this Tuesday (2 May) that he has "no doubt" that unemployment will drop before the end of this year. The minister called attention to the need to approve economic reforms so that the country can consolidate the recovery of growth.

"There is no doubt that we will see a strong spike in employment in 2017. Afterwards, certainly very strong recovery in 2018, causing unemployment to fall sharply," said the Finance Minister.

During the first quarter, Meirelles estimated that Brazil should already show growth, and stated that the Brazilian economy is already showing signs of improvement. However, the minister stressed that economic reforms in the National Congress must be approved.

"Our conviction is that the approval of these reforms will soon become reality so this growth of the economy can be consolidated," he said.

The government's main proposed measure, pension reform, is currently under review by a special committee of the Chamber of Deputies. Among other points, it provides for the adoption of a minimum retirement age of 65 for men and 62 for women.

In 2016, the deficit in Brazil's social security budget in the general regime was R$ 149.7 billion, and the forecast for this year is for the shortfall to rise to R$ 188.8 billion. Without pension reform, it is estimated that the deficit will reach R$ 202.2 billion.

In addition to pension reform, the modernisation of labour laws will also be an important factor in boosting employment. It has already passed in the Chamber and will now be reviewed by the Federal Senate.
Welcome to the"2017 Tianjin (China) and BRICS High-Tech SME Cross-Border Investment and Trade Cooperation Conference" (Добро пожаловать на Конференцию высокотехнологичных малых и средних предприятий трансграничного инвестиционного и торгового сотрудничества Тяньцзинь (Китай) и БРИКС 2017) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Bank of China, conference, cooperation, world of work, Business Council

On June 5-6, 2017, Bank of China and Tianjin Municipal Government will jointly hold the "2017 Tianjin(China)and BRICS High-tech SME Cross-border Investment and Trade Cooperation Conference". China assumed Presidency of the BRICS in 2017. As a major event held by Bank of China, a member of the BRICS Business Council, the conference is intended to help domestic SMEs and the SMEs of the BRICS countries and the world at large to strengthen the communication and cooperation, realize complementary advantages, achieve mutual-beneficial results and share the business opportunities brought by the global value chain, by leveraging on BOC's strengths in internationalized and diversified development.

I. Agenda

The conference will be held at Renaissance Tianjin Lakeview Hotel, Tianjin, China on June 5-6, 2017. 100 foreign enterprises of the BRICS countries and other countries and nearly 600 domestic enterprises will be invited to attend "B2B" talks onsite; meanwhile, matchmaking activities for equity, investment and financing projects will be held to promote "Investment-Loan Linkage" policy; and video meeting sections will be established for the domestic and overseas customers that cannot come to the site. On the second day of the conference, there will be a tour to featured functional zones for customers that have cooperation intentions.

II. Features of the Conference

The conference is aiming to promote trade cooperation between domestic and foreign customers by seizing the opportunities brought by the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integration initiative, the "Belt and Road" Initiative, the China (Tianjin) Pilot Free Trade Zone and national innovation demonstration zones; help the SMEs of the BRICS countries to expand international market, introduce advanced experiences and technologies, promote the transformation and upgrading of industries, and improve the international competitiveness; committed to building the "China-Europe Advanced Manufacturing Industrial Park" and other high-end advanced manufacturing bases, promoting the transfer of new and high-tech enterprises and commercialization of major scientific and technological achievements; meeting the equity and bond financing needs of SMEs and sharing the policy advantages of Tianjin's "Investment-Loan Linkage" policy.

III. Focused industries and regions

The conference will focus on such hi-tech industries as new energy, new materials, high-end equipment manufacturing, biopharmaceuticals, electronic information technology and petrochemicals as well as traditional industries such as fishery, agriculture and light textiles.

Overseas enterprises in BRICS countries, "Belt and Road" countries as well as Europe, Asia-Pacific and Americas will all be invited to attend the conference. Domestic enterprises in Tianjin, Beijing and Hebei and other surrounding regions will be invited to attend the conference.

IV. Expenses of the Conference Some of the expenses of the foreign clients and their entourage, including airport pickup, conference fees, as well as accommodation, food and beverage costs during the Conference, will be covered by the organizer. For domestic clients, conference fees and working meals during the Conference will be covered by the organizer.

V. City Profile

Tianjin is a municipality directly under the central government and is located at the center of the Bohai Sea region. It first originated in the estuary of the North and South Canals and the Haihe River. In AD 1404 when Tianjin was officially established, it had already been an important hub connecting the economies of north and south China. In 1860, Tianjin became a treaty port and a frontier region for north part of China to open up to the outside world, and took the lead in various fields of social development of modern China. In 1978, it became one of the first open cities. In 2006, after the development of Tianjin Binhai New Area was included in national development strategies, Tianjin has made full use of policy advantages in embarking on explorations, and achieved booming economic and social development, and contributed a lot to building the Bohai region into a new growth pole following the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta. With the implementation of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integration initiative and the further development of the Pilot Free Trade Zone, Tianjin has been continuously deepening the transformation and adjustment of its economic and industrial structures. Currently, Tianjin is focusing on the creation of a national advanced manufacturing and R&D base, a core area of international shipping in north China, a demonstration area for financial innovation and operations, as well as a pioneering area for reform and opening up to the rest of the world.

VI. Application

The open Tianjin welcomes guests from home and abroad, and the beautiful Tianjin is looking forward to your participation. "2017 Tianjin(China)and BRICS High-tech SME Cross-border Investment and Trade Cooperation Conference" welcomes clients from all around the world!

Please download and fill in the "Information Table of the Enterprises Attending the Tianjin Conference" (attached), and send it to the e-mail address of BOC for application.


GAo Na Tele: +86-10-66593414

BAI Jing Tele: +86-22-27107197

Deadline: May 7, 2017
Important BRICS dates to remember in June (Важные для запоминания даты БРИКС в июне) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: Credit Agency, meeting, forum, film festival, FIFA Confederations Cup

From Credit Agency meetings to Film Festivals, the BRICS calendar is bumper-packed for the month of June. Find out more below:

10-13 June
The city of Fuzhou in the Chinese Fujian province will host the first-ever BRICS Political Parties, Think Tanks and Civil Organisations Forum.

12-15 June
BRICS Heads of Export Credit Agencies Meeting is expected to take place at Hangzhou, the city of China's Zhejiang province. This BRICS' state-owned agencies expected to meet for the third time are China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (SINOSURE), Brazilian Fund and Guarantee Management Agency (ABGF), Export Insurance Agency of Russia (EXIAR), Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa Ltd (ECIC), Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd (ECGC).

16-17 June
Ministers of Agriculture from BRICS bloc would descent for China's city of Nanjing for the seventh BRICS Ministerial meeting on Agriculture and Agrarian reform meeting. The meeting aims to address nutritional needs of global citizens particularly those in emerging markets and promote trade.

23-27 June
BRICS bloc hosts its second Film festival in the city of Chengdu in China. Unlike the previous year, the festival is expected to kick off with a first-ever five nation joint film as each of the five countries have one director involved with the production.

23 June
Ministers of Environmental Affairs from all BRICS member countries will meet at China's Tianjin city to discuss critical environmental issues such as air and water pollution and well as waste management and climate change.

17 June – 2 July
Millions of soccer fans from all over the world are expected to fix their eyes Russia as the country will be hosting the 10th FIFA Confederations Cup, as a curtain-raiser for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The tournament will be played in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, and Sochi. Some of the countries expected to compete in the games include Germany, Australia, Chile, Portugal and the host country.
More than 200 000 tickets have been sold and all ticket holders have been urged to apply for a Fan ID at
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