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UN chief Antonio Guterres to visit India in October

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United Nations | UN chief Antonio Guterres will travel to India early next month, his first trip to the country as head of the world body that coincides with the commencement of events marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Secretary-General will arrive in New Delhi on October 1. His visit coincides with the beginning of events to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2 next year, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq told reporters here Friday.

On October 1, Guterres will formally open the new UN House in New Delhi and on October 2, the Secretary-General will participate in the closing session of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention.

During the visit, he will meet President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on October 3.

He will also meet with Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan before giving a lecture at the India Habitat Centre on Global Affairs on the theme ‘Global challenges, global solutions’.

The Secretary-General will also take part in the General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance. In the afternoon of October 3, he will visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar and will return to New York on October 4.

Guterres had visited India in July 2016, just months ahead of the election for Secretary General. During his visit then, he had met Swaraj.

Replying to a question on Guterres’ trip to the Golden Temple, Haq said that the visit is essentially a personal one as the UN chief wanted to see the holy Sikh pilgrimage site.

When asked if Guterres will be asked questions about the 1984 Sikh riots, Haq said it was a bit “premature” to mention the topics he will bring up.

Haq also expressed the world body’s gratitude to the Indian government for its contribution of USD 1 million to install solar panels and a green roof on the Conference Building of the United Nations Secretariat.

The contribution was received by Under-Secretary-General for Management Jan Beagle, who said that “India’s generous contribution sends a strong message promoting innovation for action on climate change, and to enable greater efficiencies”.

The initiative will help the Secretariat reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy, Haq added.

National

Government likely to make announcement on RBI soon: Finance Secretary

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RBI

New Delhi | The government is likely to make an announcement regarding Urjit Patel’s successor as Reserve Bank of India’s Governor later in the day, Finance Secretary A N Jha said.

RBI has been rendered headless following Patel’s unexpected resignation, with immediate effect, Monday. Patel, who is the first governor since 1990 to step down before his term ends, in a brief statement, cited “personal reasons” for the decision.

The decision to quit comes four days ahead of a crucial meeting of the board of the central bank that could have discussed issues of simmering differences with the government. It is expected that the board meeting may be deferred as there is no regular governor.

Speaking to reporters, Jha said, some communication from the government on RBI is expected.

Patel’s three-year term was to end in September 2019, and he was eligible for a second term like most of his successors, barring a few like his outspoken predecessor Raghuram Rajan.

A Kenyan national who acquired an Indian citizenship prior to being appointed Deputy Governor of RBI in January 2013, Oxford-trained Patel was initially seen as toeing government line after he backed the November 2016 shock decision to overnight junk 86 per cent of the currency in circulation.

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Former Kerala Minister C N Balakrishnan dead

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Kochi | Veteran Congress leader and former Kerala minister C N Balakrishnan died at a private hospital here, party sources said Tuesday.

He was 84. Balakrishnan, a former Cooperation minister, undergoing treatment for pneumonia at a private hospital here and the end came late Monday night, the sources said.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala were among those who condoled his death.

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Eminent economist Surjit Bhalla resigns from EAC-PM

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New Delhi | Eminent economist and columnist Surjit Bhalla on Tuesday said that he had resigned as part-time member of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister(EAC-PM) on December 1.

“I resigned as a part-time member of PMEAC on December 1,” Bhalla said on social networking site Twitter.

The EAC- PM is headed by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy. Economists Rathin Roy, Ashima Goyal and Shamika Ravi are other part-time members.

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