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PM Modi to brainstorm oil scenario with global CEOs

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New Delhi | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday will brainstorm with chief executives of top global and Indian oil and gas companies on emerging energy scenario, with ripples from US sanctions on Iran and volatile oil prices threatening growth. The third annual meeting would also deliberate on ways to revive investment in oil and gas exploration and production, official sources said.

Modi’s first meeting was on January 5, 2016 where suggestions for reforming natural gas prices were made. More than a year later, the government allowed higher natural gas price for yet-to-be-produced fields in difficult areas like deep sea.

In the last edition in October 2017, suggestions were made for giving out equity to foreign and private companies in producing oil and gas fields of state-owned ONGC and OIL. But the plan could not go through in view of strong opposition from Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC).

Sources said Saudi Oil Minister Khalid A Al Falih, BP CEO Bob Dudley, Total head Patrick Fouyane, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Vedanta chief Anil Agarwal are expected to attend the meeting Monday. The meeting, coordinated by the NITI Aayog, is likely to focus on challenges posed by volatile oil prices and the US sanctions on Iran. The meeting would look at measures to attract investments and steps for making it easier to do business in India.

Sources said reforms initiated in the last four years in the oil and gas sector, including open acreage policy, pricing reforms and liberalised licensing policy, will be showcased and suggestions would be sought on what more can be done to hasten growth.

The government is looking at private investment to raise domestic oil and gas production, which has stagnated for the last few years while fuel demand has been rising by 5-6 per cent annually. India is dependent on imports to meet 83 per cent of its demand and more than half of its natural gas requirements.

The Prime Minister in 2015 had set a target of reducing India’s oil dependence by 10 per cent to 67 per cent (based on import dependence of 77 per cent in 2014-15) by 2022. Import dependence has only increased since then and the government is now looking for ways to raise domestic output.

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo and India’s Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan would also attend the meeting, they said.

Also likely to attend the meeting are ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Chairman Sanjiv Singh, GAIL India head B C Tripathi, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) Chairman Mukesh Kumar Suran, Oil India Chairman Utpal Bora and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) Chairman D Rajkumar.

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Legal perspective being sought for quotas for upper castes in Bihar: Nitish Kumar

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Nitish Kumar, the Bihar chief minister today on Monday declared his government will implement quotas for the economically-backward among the unreserved category once they get a legal perspective concerning the suitable modalities.

Nitish Kumar stated that a legal perspective was being sought as to whether the new quotas, which have been brought forth by way of a recent constitutional amendment and are in addition to the existing reservations, could be introduced in the state through an executive order or an Act passed in the legislature.

He also stated that we are bound by the top court judgement, which placed a cap of 50 percent on the quotas for the educationally and socially backward, but added that he is in the support of the demand for increasing the limit to make reservations proportionate to the population of the respective caste groups.

He added, “But opposition parties which are voicing the demand have no clue as to how to go about it. In my view, there should be a fresh tally wherein the separate populations of social segments like SCs, STs and OBCs is taken into account. Based on its report, the nation can move towards ensuring proportional representation for various castes”.

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PM Modi to inaugurate Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention in Varanasi on Tuesday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday will inaugurate the 15th convention of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi.

It is for the first time that the three-day long convention is being organized from 21st January to 23rd January in place of 9th January to permit the participants for visiting the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and attend the parade of Republic Day here.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s office stated that the theme of the convention for this year is ‘role of the Indian diaspora in building new India’.

The chief guest of the convention will be Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth, whereas a member of Parliament of Norway, Himanshu Gulati will be the special guest. Further, member of Parliament of New Zealand, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, will be the guest of honour.

The decision to celebrate the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas was taken by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the first event was celebrated on 9th January 2003 in Varanasi.

As a matter of fact, January 9 was picked to be the day for the celebration of Pravasi Bharatiya since it was this day in the year 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi had returned from South Africa to India.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas is now celebrated once in every two years and gives a platform to the Indian community overseas for engaging with the government and reconnecting with their roots said the statement.

Pravasi Bharatiya Sammaan, is discussed on the selected overseas Indians for their imperative contributions to different spheres both abroad and in India.

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India among the most trusted nations globally: Reports

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Davos | India is among the most trusted nations globally when it comes to government, business, NGOs and media but the country’s brands are among the least-trusted, according to a report.

The The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer report released on Monday, ahead of the the World Economic Forum (WEF) meet here, noted that the Global Trust Index witnessed a marginal increase of 3 points to 52.

China topped the Trust Index among both the informed public and the general population segments, with scores of 79 and 88 respectively.

India was at the second place in the informed public category and third place in the general population category.

The Index is the average per cent of trust in NGOs, business, government and media.

The findings are based on an online survey in 27 markets covering over 33,000 respondents. The fieldwork was conducted between October 19 and November 16, 2018.

In terms of trust in companies headquartered in each market, the most trusted are those from Switzerland, Germany and Canada. The brands from these countries have a trust score of 70 each while that of Japan is 69 per cent.

However, companies headquartered in India, Mexico and Brazil are the least trusted, followed by China and South Korea, as per the report.

While the score of India and Brazil is 40 per cent, that of Mexico and China stood at 36 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively.

The report noted that there is a growing feeling of pessimism about the future, with only one-in-three mass population respondents in the developed world believing his or her family would be better off in the next five years.

Among the mass population, just one-in-five believe the system is working for them and 70 percent desire change. And despite a full-employment economy, fear of job loss remains high among the general population.

This is based on views of respondents about global companies headquartered in specific countries and how much these firms are trusted by them ‘to do what is right’.

According to the report, globally ‘my employer’ is significantly more trusted than NGOs, business, government and media

“The last decade has seen a loss of faith in traditional authority figures and institutions,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman.

When it comes to reliable sources for news, search and traditional are among the most trusted. Search and traditional media have a score of 66 each, while the score of social media is 44 per cent, the report noted.

“73 per cent worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon,” it added.

Stephen Kehoe, global chair, Reputation at Edelman said that divergent levels of confidence between the mass population and informed public about the future signal a continued underlying rot in the structure of society.

“While not everyone is taking to the streets, the data shows why protests like the Gilet Jaunes in France, the women’s marches in India and walkouts by employees at some major tech companies could become more mainstream,” Kehoe said.

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