India’s Modi puts his country’s faith in technology for ‘inclusive growth’

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives a speech at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday. (AP)
Updated 12 February 2018
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India’s Modi puts his country’s faith in technology for ‘inclusive growth’

DUBAI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an eloquent advocacy of the power of technology to reduce poverty and bring about “inclusive growth for everyone” at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Modi, who had previously addressed thousands of his compatriots at the Dubai Opera, told the summit that 21st century technology was essential for his country to face its big challenges: Poverty, unemployment, housing, education and natural disasters.

“Technology, from the Stone Age to the industrial revolution to the digital revolution, has fundamentally altered the condition of man for the better. It is a source of disruptive change, empowering men and women, minimizing government and maximizing governance,” he said.

But he warned that governments have a responsibility to see that technology is not used for negative ends.

“It is the job of governments to ensure that the power of technology is used for the good of the common man. Technology has got to be a constructive, positive force. Man sometimes fashions technology into destructive and violent areas, like when cyberspace is used for the spread of extremism.”

In a speech preceded by traditional Indian dancing and studded with references in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language, Modi said: “Sometimes it seems like man is making the cardinal mistake of using technology to come into conflict with nature. Man has to coexist with nature, as India has done with yoga.”

It was his second visit to the UAE since he became prime minister in 2014. He said the UAE was a “home from home” for 3.3 million Indian workers.

“The vision of Dubai is backed by technology, innovation and enterprise, but it is not confined to the laboratories. It is applied in the real world, in Masdar (Abu Dhabi’s sustainable city) and the Future Accelerator in Dubai.”

He added: “In establishing ministries of happiness and the future, the UAE has recognized the idea of maximizing human happiness.”

Modi highlighted India’s achievements in biometric profiling, linking identities to financial details and mobile phone numbers, which he said was leading to the creation of a “cashless society” in his country, and also the commitment to solar energy use and Internet-based “long distance” education.


German economy defies trade gloom with strong growth

Updated 10 min 35 sec ago
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German economy defies trade gloom with strong growth

  • Germany’s economy, Europe’s biggest, grew by 0.5 percent compared with the previous three-month period
  • Economists had forecast a 0.4 percent increase this time

BERLIN: The German economy accelerated in the second quarter despite the US move to impose new tariffs on Europe, official data showed Tuesday, performing slightly better than economists had expected.
Germany’s economy, Europe’s biggest, grew by 0.5 percent compared with the previous three-month period. That is up from 0.4 percent in the first quarter — a figure that was revised upward Tuesday from the initial reading of 0.3 percent given in May. Economists had forecast a 0.4 percent increase this time.
Its performance in the April-June period was helped by higher private and government spending and by increased investment in equipment and construction, the Federal Statistical Office said. Rising exports were outpaced by increasing imports.
The figure underlined the German economy’s continuing robust performance, with business confidence high and unemployment low despite some disappointing data on factory orders this year and concern about global trade tensions.
It has now grown for 34 of the past 37 quarters, said Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING in Frankfurt, but he cautioned that “the challenges facing the German economy will increase rather than decrease.”
Those include the specter of a possible escalation of trade tensions, despite a recent deal to defuse a US-European Union dispute, geopolitical risks such as that posed by events in Turkey and a shortfall in investment and structural reforms at home, he said.
In year-on-year terms, the economy expanded by 2.3 percent in the second quarter.