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India highest recipient of remittances at USD 79 billion in 2018: World Bank

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Washington, April 9:India retained its position as the world’s top recipient of remittances with its diaspora sending a whopping USD 79 billion back home in 2018, the World Bank said in a report on Monday.

India was followed by China (USD 67 billion), Mexico (USD 36 billion), the Philippines (USD 34 billion), and Egypt (USD 29 billion), the global lender said.

With this, India has retained its top spot on remittances, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief.
Over the last three years, India has registered a significant flow of remittances from USD 62.7 billion in 2016 to USD 65.3 billion in 2017.

 

“Remittances grew by more than 14 per cent in India, where a flooding disaster in Kerala likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to families,” the Bank said.

In Pakistan, remittance growth was moderate (seven per cent), due to significant declines in inflows from Saudi Arabia, its largest remittance source. In Bangladesh, remittances showed a brisk uptick in 2018 (15 per cent).

According to the report, remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached a record high of USD 529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 per cent over the previous record high of USD 483 billion in 2017.

Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, reached USD 689 billion in 2018, up from USD 633 billion in 2017, it said.

The Bank said remittances to South Asia grew 12 per cent to USD 131 billion in 2018, outpacing the six per cent growth in 2017.

“The upsurge was driven by stronger economic conditions in the United States and a pick-up in oil prices, which had a positive impact on outward remittances from some GCC countries,” it said.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional inter-governmental political and economic bloc of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

However, the Bank in its report rued that the global average cost of sending USD 200 remained high, at around seven per cent in the first quarter of 2019.

Reducing remittance costs to three per cent by 2030 is a global target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.7. Remittance costs across many African corridors and small islands in the Pacific remain above 10 per cent.

On ways to lower remittance costs, Dilip Ratha, lead author of the Brief and head of KNOMAD, said, “Remittances are on track to become the largest source of external financing in developing countries. The high costs of money transfers reduce the benefits of migration. Renegotiating exclusive partnerships and letting new players operate through national post offices, banks, and telecommunications companies will increase competition and lower remittance prices.”


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Govt directs hospitals to display rate list of tests, lab investigations

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Srinagar, Apr 25: Government has issued a circular to all hospitals and health institutions directing them to display rate list of all available diagnostic tests and lab investigations for easy access of people.

“It is impressed upon all the Heads of Hospitals/ Health care institutions to clearly display/indicate the various radiological examinations/lab. investigations/other tests conducted/available along with the rates chargeable within their respective laboratories/Hospitals, at designated areas and conspicuous places in clear fonts in English/Local language for the information of General Public,” reads the circular.

“These Instructions shall be followed in letter & Spirit,” it added.

 

The orders in this regard were issued by the Commissioner/Secretary Health and Medical Education Department following several complaints that certain basic tests/investigations are being denied/ not carried out in health care Institutions of the State on one pretext or the other.

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Chowkidaar needs your votes to win fight against ‘terror’: PM Modi in Bihar

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hit out at the opposition over terrorism and national security, saying they deny these affect people and that they aren’t issues to be discussed.

The Prime Minister started his speech in Maithili, the local dialect spoken in the area, in Bihar’s Darbhanga as he picked on the opposition’s attack over India’s airstrike in Pakistan’s Balakot in February this year.

“They question why does Modi talk about militancy. They say it is not an issue. You tell me — aren’t national security and terrorism issues? They do not have an understanding that you have. More than 350 people were killed in an attack in Sri Lanka. Isn’t this an issue?” he questioned.

 

“After three phases of voting on 300 seats, those seeking evidence of India’s airstrikes, have vanished. They are now abusing Modi and the EVMs. These people, who have been cut off from the grassroots, have not been able to sense the mood of the nation,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that it is the poor who have been affected the most by militancy.

“Everyone lived a normal life 40 years ago. But the money that should be used for the poor and used for building schools and hospitals are being now being used to buy bomb and guns,” he said.

He also cited the example of security force personnel, who he said, don’t get to sleep for hours and if something happens they are blamed.

“It’s important to end militancy… This is a ‘New India’ and, we will strike at the heart of militancy and decimate them,” he said.

Modi also referred to the modules busted in Darbhanga over the years and said the people in the region have been affected by militancy.

“Aap ka yeh chowkidar chowkanna hai. Na koi module rahega na hi koi militant bachega (Your security guard is alert. All modules will be busted and all militants will be caught),” he said.

In Darbhanga, Abdul Bari Siddiqui of the RJD and BJP’s Gopalji Thakur are pitted against each other as they face the issues of caste and nationalism from the Lok Sabha seat. Polling will be held on April 29 in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha election 2019.

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Kashmir NEET aspirants alloted four more centres

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Srinagar: To accommodate all the 9,250 aspirants from the Kashmir Valley for this year’s National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exams, the National Testing Agency (NTA) has allotted four additional centres in the region, officials said on Thursday.

NTA had already set up NEET exam centres in the Valley for 5,750 aspirants. The remaining 3,500 aspirants had been demanding additional centres so that none of them needed to travel to centres outside the Valley.

“Four additional centres allotted now will accommodate the remaining 3,500 aspirants so that none of this year’s NEET aspirants from the Valley have to travel outside to take the test”, an official said here.

 

The four additional centres are being set up here in the Kashmir University, Gandhi Memorial College, Green Valley School and Kashmir Harvard School.

NTA officials said the aspirants are being advised on Thursday through SMS about their centre allotments.

Following the demand for setting up of additional NEET centres in the Valley, two advisors of the Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik — Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and K.K. Sharma — had taken up the matter with the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry.

The test is scheduled to be held on May 5.

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