India plans to make Medical tourism a $9 Billion industry by 2020

India has had a shape increase in tourism of late. Tourists are, however, visiting India not only for the food or the culture but also the healthcare the country provides. It is expected that by 2020 India could see 200% growth in medical tourism amounting to almost $9 billion.

The Indian government is also looking to encourage this trend by making travel to India for medical reasons easier as well as showcase their advanced facilities, highly sort after doctors and their traditional healing sessions like yoga and Ayurveda.

The benefits for a tourist traveling to India for a medical reason are inexpensive healthcare and world-renowned nursing capacity. India is also ranked third for medical tourism destination with almost 240 000 medical tourists visiting India.




The total abandonment of the US currency is premature talk – Dmitriev

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) is a threat to the hegemony of the US dollar – the creation and launch of the NDB was referred to as an international anti-dollar alliance. As a result, prospects of the coalition of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa ‘de-dollarizing’ – creating a single currency of the BRICS countries that would ultimately replace the dollar, have been in discussion on the media. 

BRICS agreeing to cooperation on Fourth Revolution, cryptocurrencies further sparked conversations of the grouping abandoning the dollar. BRICS first discussed Crypto in 2017. 

Kirill A. Dmitriev CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and member of the BRICS Business Council, however, says that “it is premature to talk about total abandonment of the US currency”.

Dmitriev who was being interviewed by Brasil Sputnik on the prospects for financial cooperation under the BRICS and whether the bloc will in future find an alternative to the dollar, further said that BRICS countries focus on using their own currencies in transactions between them while the Chinese yuan plays an increasingly important role.


By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

Tata CEO on BRICS institute’s Advisory Board

Len Brand, CEO of Tata Africa Holdings accepted the invitation for a position on the BRICS institute Advisory board. The BRICS Institute is an independent institute, directed by an Advisory Board comprising remarkable leaders from business, the diplomatic corps, government, and academics. 

In accepting the position, Brand has dedicated himself to assist in developing world-class leaders and fostering real economic growth and shared prosperity between China, the BRICS countries and the world.

The Institute is presided over by 20 members who form the Advisory Board, which comprises several subcommittees who focus on research, knowledge development and innovation. The institute works in close collaboration with Regenesys Business School and draws on the support of senior academic, research and consulting staff, representing all the BRICS countries.

The BRICS Institute was launched at Regenesys Business School on the 14th of June 2018.

READ MORE: The BRICS Institute has officially launched

The Tata CEO has said that he is looking forward to making a positive contribution and further said he is certain that his industry expertise will be of benefit to the BRICS institute and its sub-committee members.


By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

SCO-BRICS parliamentary partnership


Image: Indian Express

A delegation of Russian senators,  Yelena Afanasyeva, Elena Perminova, and Vyacheslav Timchenko traveled to India, from 5-7 February to build BRICS and SCO cooperation with an interest of promoting partnerships in business, education and parliamentary exchanges.

The entire spectrum of Indo-Russia relations was reviewed during the meeting with a focus on further developing relations from friendship groups. Other issues under discussion were economic cooperation between Russia and India, youth entrepreneurship, educational and cultural exchanges.

They also emphasized the proposed signing of mutual recognition of diplomas agreement between India and Russia as crucial for building up direct trade. Russia and India will also have a round table in Moscow later on in the year.


India and China at the forefront the global greening effort

NASA has released information from a new study stating that India and China are leading in greening on land. This is based on data received from a satellite which captured the Asian’s two biggest economies and showed that they both much greener today than 20 years ago.

Together India and China account for one-third of the green on earth. The information has surprised experts as a factor such as land degradation and overpopulation seems to have little effect on the growing green in the regions. The study specifically highlights India and China as the most prevalent where the greening is occurring.

A large amount of the growing green in China is from forests 42% and 32% is from crops, while India 82% of the growing green comes from crops and almost 5% is from forest land.



Brazil the nation to most likely rapture BRICS?

China’s President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazil’s President Michel Temer and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin pose for a group picture at the BRICS summit meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The election of Brazil’s new President, Jair Bolsonaro has been seen as a dilemma for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) grouping. This because of the Bolsonaro’s Presidential campaign messages – he promised: “liberate Brazil from the ideology of its international relations that it subjected Brazil to in recent years.”

The ” liberation of Brazil from socialism” as declared by the far right-wing President has been viewed as the collapse of the grouping. The future of the bloc has been foreseen as “RICS” – Brazil the nation most likely to rapture BRICS.

Brasilia’s stance on the Venezuela crisis is another factor the world is anticipating a ‘Braxit’. A crisis concerning who is the legitimate President of Venezuela has been underway since 10 January 2019, when the National Assembly (the oppositional majority)declared the reelection of Nicolás Maduro as invalid and declared Juan Guaidó as acting President. Brazil has declared support for Juan Guaidó, while Russia and China are rallying behind six-year President Maduro. Brazil joined the US in backing the acting President.

Brazil has, however, not announced an exit – the country has assumed the Presidency of the grouping.

READ MORE: Brazil to host next BRICS Summit in 2019

In an interview with, South Africa Minister of International Relations and Diplomacy, Ms. Lindiwe Sisulu whether she foresees difficulty within the BRICS with Brazil’s new administration, its anti-China rhetoric and the country’s association with the US.

The Minster responded; 

BRICS is an association of willing partners who would like to assist each other. Governments come and ago and we are still hoping that the association will last. The President of Brazil has not broken away from BRICS, and he is the Chair of BRICS this year. We will wait and see what he has to say about BRICS, but I don’t expect that his relationships with other people will take him away from BRICS. We built the association over a long period of time and its successes speak for themselves – reports IOL.


By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

India’s Commerce Ministry Meets Export Promotion Councils to Boost Exports

A meeting with export promotion councils and other key exporters was held in New Delhi today to discuss various issues being faced by exporters and examine ways by which India’s merchandise exports may reach USD 325 billion by March 2019. The meeting was chaired by Secretary, Department of Commerce, Dr. Anup Wadhawan.

India recorded growth of 13.31 percent in overall exports (Merchandise and Services combined) in 2017-18  over the same period last year. Overall exports stood at USD 498.61 billion in 2017-18 of which USD 303.53 billion was from merchandise exports.

After achieving a turnaround from the initial shock and reaching a peak export figure of USD 314.4 billion in 2013-14, India’s exports came under immense pressure again in the post 2013-14 period due to accentuation of the global economic and financial crisis in the second phase when countries like China also got adversely affected. However, since then concerted efforts through improved logistics, trade facilitation, increased digitization to reduce human interface and increase transparency, implementation of GST and capacity building through skilling the Government has been able to arrest the downturn affecting India.

As a result, our merchandise exports have been growing since 2016-17 for almost three years and are likely to reach a new peak in 2018-19.

In the period April to Dec 2018 in FY2018-19, merchandise exports have grown by about 10% over the same period in the previous financial year.

This has been made possible by a detailed export promotion strategy, which has been prepared by the Department of Commerce and is under implementation in consultation with and with the support of wide-ranging stakeholders, including Export Promotion Councils, exporters and financial institutions.


India government 

India now 6th largest economy in the world with high growth Fiscal deficit down to 3.4%; average inflation 4.6% FDI of USD 239 BN in five years Banks recover Rs 3 Lakh Crores in outstanding loans

Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the country has witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world from being the 11th in the World in 2013-14. Presenting the Interim Budget for the year 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world” with an average GDP growth of 7.3% per annum, the highest ever achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991. Shri Goyal said under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a clean, decisive and stable Government reversed the policy paralysis, laid the foundation for sustainable growth and restored the image of the country.

New India by 2022
Shri Goyal said that a New India would celebrate its 75th Independence year in 2022 when every family would have a house with access to water, electricity, and toilets; farmers income would have doubled; and the country would be free from terrorism, communalism, corruption, and nepotism.

Fiscal Deficit and Inflation down

Outlining the broad picture of the State of the Economy, Shri Goyal said the fiscal deficit has been brought down to 3.4% in 2018-19 Revised Estimates from the high of 5.8% in 2011-12 and 4.9 % in 2012-13. Average inflation has been brought down to 4.6% from the high of 10.1% during 2000-2014. In December 2018 inflation was 2.19% only. The Finance Minister said the Current Account Deficit (CAD) is likely to be only 2.5% of GDP this year, against a high of 5.6% six years ago.

Shri Goyal said due to strong fundamentals and stable regulatory regime, the country attracted $239 billion as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the last five years. He cited Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a path-breaking next-generation structural tax reform undertaken by the Government.

Recovery of Bank Loans
Highlighting the Banking Reforms, Shri Goyal said the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has institutionalized a resolution-friendly mechanism and nearly Rs. 3 lakh crores have been recovered by Banks and creditors. He said high stressed non-performing assets (NPAs) amounted to Rs. 5.4 lakh crore in 2014. Since 2015, numerous Asset Quality Reviews and inspections were carried out, and the 4Rs approach of recognition, resolution, re-capitalization, and reforms has been followed. Highlighting the restoration of the health of the Public Sector Banks, the Finance Minister said that recapitalization has been done with an investment of Rs. 2.6 lakh crore.
Steps against corruption

Listing out the measures undertaken by the Government to bring about a New Era of transparency in Real Estate Sector, the Finance Minister mentioned about The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) and Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act. He said the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 is helping to confiscate and dispose of the assets of economic offenders, who escape the jurisdiction of the country. He said the Government conducted a transparent auction of natural resources including coal and spectrum.

Highlighting the achievements of Swachhata Mission launched by the present government led by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Shri Goyal said the country achieved nearly 98% rural sanitation coverage with as many as 5.45 lakh villages being declared open defecation free.

EWS Reservation

To ensure 10% reservation in educational institutions and Government jobs for economically weaker sections, the Government will provide for 25% extra seats i.e. around 2 lacs, while maintaining the existing reservation for SC/ST/Other Backward Classes.
Food grains for poor

To provide foodgrains at affordable prices to the poor and middle classes, the Finance Minister said about Rs 1,70,000 crore was spent in 2018-19. Rs 60,000 crore has been allocated for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the Budget Estimate of 2019-20.


– India Ministry of Finance

India, Japan & US key to Indo-Pacific stability

The chairman of the Nippon Foundation, Yohei Sasakawa, believes for increased stability and peace in the Indo-Pacific region India, Japan, and US cooperation will be a key element. This comes as China growing presence in the South China Sea becomes more prevalent.

India, Japan, USA, and Australia are a quartet working to strengthen ties and coordinate their activities in the Indo-Pacific which stretches from the east coast of Africa to the east coast of Japan. China’s One Belt One Road project, as well as growing influence in the South China Sea, has caused new tension in the region which has prompted the reestablishment of the quad in 2017.

Sasakawa believes that it may be already too late to contain a rising China as they are building massive projects in around the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and on African coasts. The Chinese Overseas Development Aid (ODA) is seen by many critics as loans used to trap countries into debt.

Sikkim’s lone Lok Sabha MP P.D. Rai has referred to the relationship between India and Japan has been described as the bedrock of stability which could maintain stability in South Asia and East Asia in the years to come.

SA, India to strengthen cooperation in agriculture


Image source: Illumina 

The governments of South and India have agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.

The two countries made the commitment during a bilateral meeting between South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana and Indian Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Parshottam Rupala, in New Delhi, India last week.

The bilateral meeting was aimed at strengthening cooperation in agriculture, forestry and fisheries with a special focus on the areas of crop and animal production, research, food and nutrition security, agroforestry, aquaculture, and agro-processing.

The meeting was a culmination of technical discussions which took place at the 4th Joint Working Group on Agriculture between the two countries.

During a meeting, Zokwana and Rupala recognized the importance of agriculture to the economies of their respective countries and committed to continue deepening bilateral trade in agricultural commodities.
South Africa gained market access for persimmons and mangoes in 2016. Work is currently at an advanced stage to gain market access for avocados, litchis, and pickled sheep and goat skins.

The ministers recognized the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Research and Education between the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in 2018. They urged both institutions to expedite the finalization of a work plan to outline a programme of action on cooperation in research and education.

The areas to be covered in the work plan include crop breeding, silk production, agricultural biotechnology, post-harvest technologies, and agriculture education and training.

They also agreed to explore opportunities in the area of the bamboo value chain.

Addressing poverty and hunger
Further agreements were made on working together on mutual food and security initiatives directed towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with specific reference to SDG 1 – addressing poverty; SDG 2 – addressing hunger, and sharing their experiences in the development of drought-resistant varieties and bio-fortified varieties.

Both Ministers further noted the importance of the soil-water-energy relationship and committed to intensifying initiatives in this nexus to address sustainable agricultural systems.

Revolutionary agricultural development
Experiences were shared in extension services on the importance of it in the Fourth Industrial Revolution to ensure revolutionary agricultural development was emphasized.

Furthermore, the Ministers agreed on convening an inaugural bilateral seminar on the extension. The seminar will be a platform to share best practices and set a new bilateral agenda on extension and technology transfer.

South Africa will host the first seminar, where a joint action plan will be crafted. In strengthening the marketing of commodities, the National Agricultural Marketing Council of South Africa and the National Institute of Agriculture Marketing of India will sign a Memorandum of Understanding.