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India Asks Members To Back Food Security & Doha Plan At WTO Meet

New Delhi: India has asked the World Trade Organisationto unequivocally endorse the centrality of the multilateral system, give special treatment for developing countries and reiterate its commitment to the Doha Round.

The tough posture came after the US sought to block a deal on public stockholding, putting the WTO ministerial at risk of a collapse.

Without naming the US, an official statement from the government said that a major country's stand on public stockholding, which impacts the minimum support price programme, "has posed a severe threat to a successful conclusion of the conference" as there was a mandate to find a permanent solution by biennial meeting of ministers.

234

UN Says India's GDP Seen Rising 7.2% In 2018, 7.4% In 2019

New Delhi: India's economy is likely to grow by 7.2 per cent in 2018 and go up further to 7.4 per cent in the following year on the back of strong private consumption, public investment and the ongoing structural reforms, according to a United Nations (UN) report.

Overall, economic outlook for South Asia is seen largely favourable and steady for the short term, notwithstanding significant medium-term challenges, said the 'World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018' report unveiled by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).

"The economic outlook remains steady and largely favourable in South Asia, driven by robust private consumption and sound macroeconomic policies”, the report said.

213

Suresh Prabhu Says Government's Priority Is To Have Permanent Solution On Public Stockholding

New Delhi: Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu has said that India is pushing for an improvement over the Bali package for its public procurement programme for foodgrains.

"For us the priority is to have a permanent solution on public stockholding which is better than the peace clause," Prabhu said after a meeting with European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in Buenos Aires, where he also flagged concerns over attempts by "some countries" to hit at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the forum for multilateral dialogue.

212

Trade Unions To Prepare Case For CIL Contract Workers' Wage Hike

New Delhi: Trade unions have started to pitch for a wage hike for contractual workers of the Coal India Limited.

The state-owned company had in October said it has signed a wage agreement with workers' unions, proposing a 20 per cent hike in salaries for a period of five years.

"We will now take up the matter of new wage agreement for the contract workers and some other pending issues with Coal India," All India Coal Workers' Federation general secretary D DRamanandan said.
A decision to form a high-powered committee has been taken to deliberate on this, he said.

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Widespread Protests Continue In West Asia On US Embassy Issue

New Delhi: Meanwhile, demonstrations against Mr Trump's announcement have spread. Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters held demonstrations in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Tunisia and Iran.

Protesters also rallied in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia. 

Israel said, it has targeted a number of sites belonging to Palestinian militant group Hamas in retaliation for rocket strikes. 

The Israeli military claimed to hit a weapons manufacturing site and an ammunition store early today. Three rockets were fired from Gaza to Israel late yesterday, with one hitting the southern city of Sderot.