China ‘will boost innovation, creativity’

Updated 12 October 2014
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China ‘will boost innovation, creativity’

HAMBURG: China’s Premier Li Keqiang said the world’s second-biggest economy must open further to harness the innovative and creative talents of its 1.3 billion people.
After three decades of reforms, China — often called the world’s manufacturing workshop — had launched administrative and market reforms “to boost creation and innovation,” he said on a visit to Germany.
“What we hope is to incentivize 1.3 billion people, including 800-900 million workers, to mobilize their innovation capability and creativity so that everyone will have an opportunity to make great accomplishments,” he said.
This would “turn our dividend of population into a dividend of talents.”
Li was speaking at a business forum on the first country stop of a week-long Europe tour, a day after Berlin and Beijing signed a range of business deals and pledged to deepen links and boost trade that last year topped 140 billion euros ($177 billion).
The premier delivered his speech in the northern port of Hamburg, a European base for 500 Chinese companies and the gateway for half of Germany’s annual trade with China, equating to 2.7 million shipping containers last year.
Li reminded his audience that China is a “driving force of growth and recovery of the world economy,” predicting GDP growth of about 7.5 percent this year, despite multiple global crises.
Just as important for China, he said, was job creation, raising household incomes and the “war against pollution.”
During Li’s visit foreign companies operating in China again voiced long-standing complaints about unfair market access, including being blocked from public tenders and having to form local joint ventures.
The premier said China must integrate further with its economic partners, protect intellectual property rights, enforce fair business rules and create “a level playing field” under government oversight.
“China needs to learn from other countries as well as the fine achievements of human civilization, and must combine these with China’s own national conditions, so that China will become a (hotbed) for creation and will be a huge market for the world,” he said.
Li said, China “must rely on innovative development, and we cannot do this without the rest of the world. The world also needs China to achieve prosperity.”
He stressed that for the Chinese economy “there will not be a hard landing, as suggested by some media.”
He added that “economic development is not a sprint, instead it is a long-distance race that never ends... there should be a certain speed but more importantly we need perseverence and stamina.”
Li is on his second Europe tour since taking office this year, which next takes him to Russia, where he will meet President Vladimir Putin, before he travels to Italy for an October 16-17 meeting of Asian and European leaders.


India names Modi demonetization backer as cenbank head

Visitors are seen standing next to a logo of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at the bank's head office in Mumbai on December 5, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 12 December 2018
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India names Modi demonetization backer as cenbank head

  • Das — a high-profile backer of Modi’s controversial 2016 move to scrap high-value currency notes, known as demonetization

MUMBAI: Ex-finance ministry official Shaktikanta Das took charge of the Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday, in a swift appointment expected to ease a dispute with the government as it pushes for looser credit rules ahead of a general election.
The announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration came just a day after Urjit Patel resigned from the post, following months of clashes between the two institutions over lending curbs and how to deploy the central bank’s surplus reserves.
Pressure on the RBI to take immediate steps to boost the economy, including a transfer of the excess reserves to the government, could well rise after Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered likely election losses in three key states on Tuesday.
Das — a high-profile backer of Modi’s controversial 2016 move to scrap high-value currency notes, known as demonetization — will serve a three-year term as governor, effective immediately.
RBI watchers said they expected the 61-year-old, who retired last year as secretary of the department of economic affairs having previously served on the RBI’s board, to put relations between the Mumbai-based bank and the finance ministry in New Delhi on a stabler footing.
Investors will also look closely at his ability to hold up against outside influences after recent efforts by the Modi government to gain greater control over the central bank’s regulatory powers.
“The incoming governor will have to work hard to prove that he has his own independent mind,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at Hdfc Securities.
Investors said any openly political appointee with little macro-economic experience, would not sit well with financial markets that already sold off following the BJP’s election setbacks.
But Ashish Vaidya, executive director and head of trading at DBS Bank in Mumbai, said he expected India’s debt and currency markets to react positively.
“He is a bureaucrat...We expect the RBI to take a pragmatic approach under him, be pro-growth and change its stance going ahead given that inflation has come off sharply,” he said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told Reuters partner ANI that the government acknowledged the bank’s independence.
“Government will fully support the RBI and coordinate with it in areas where consultations of government are required to make sure India’s economy benefits from both government policy decisions and areas which fall within domain of the RBI,” ANI tweeted, quoting Jaitley.

SWIFT APPOINTMENT
Pronab Sen, India’s former chief statistician, said he was surprised by the speed of Das’s appointment.
“If you have a situation where a position as important as the governor of the RBI is filled within 24 hours of the resignation of the incumbent, that will raise eyebrows,” Sen told Reuters.
“People are going to say, clearly this guy had already been identified. And, the situation was created where Urjit Patel had to quit.”
Das — widely seen as a contender for the top RBI job after Raghuram Rajan’s term ended in 2016 — did not answer calls from Reuters to his mobile phone.
RBI officials who have worked with him closely said Das was likely to be more inclusive in the decision-making process than Patel.
“He has a balanced approach and is good at consensus building,” said a former deputy governor. .”..We have had our fair share of differences. But he has always been solution-centric rather than festering on those differences.”
Das worked in the finance ministry under both Modi’s government and the previous coalition led by the main opposition Congress party and was also involved in drafting the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code aimed at protecting small investors.
He came under fire for his pro-demonetization stance and was the most vocal bureaucrat at the time Modi withdrew the high-value bank notes to fight tax evasion.
Das last year criticized the methodology of global rating agencies and sought a sovereign rating upgrade for India.