Premium processing of US H-1B visas resumes

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommenced processing H-1B visas five months after it had suspended the services temporarily to manage the rush of new petitions. The premium processing of the H-1B work visas will be in all categories but subject to the limit set by the Congress.

The upper limit set for FY 2018 is 65,000 H-1B visas. In addition, work has also begun on the annual 20,000 petitions to hire employees with a US higher educational degree. This service is only available for the pending request and not new submissions.

USCIS takes 15 days to clear the visa under premium processing. According to the Times of India, “If the 15-calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application,” the USCIS said.

The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows US companies to employ foreign workers possessing theoretical or technical expertise in speciality occupations. The visa is popular among the Indian IT professionals as technology companies use it to hire employees each year.

Sources: NDTV, TOI

SC to hear Rohingyas’ plea on Oct 3.

The Supreme Court on September 18, 2017, decided to hear the plea filed by Rohingya Muslims on October 3. Two Rohingya immigrants, who filed the plea, asked for apex court’s intervention in regards with the deportation of the Rohingyas to Myanmar.
According to the media reports, the Union home ministry has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in which it called Rohingya Muslims a security threat to the country, reported Firstpost. The centre also added that the right to move and settle in the country can only be enjoyed by the citizens of India and any illegal immigrant will face the jurisdiction.
According to a report in the Times of India, the centre will present all the intelligence inputs before the court on October 3.
The Supreme Court has also refused to issue any notice to the National Human Rights Commission, which supports the Rohingyas and is ready to argue against the deportation.
Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren RIjiju, said, “It is a sensitive matter. Whatever government will do, will be in nation’s interest.”, reported the Statesman.

Image Sources: Reuters

No agreement on Indus Water Treaty : World Bank

The second round of talk between India Pakistan was held on  September 14-15 in Washington D.C.to discuss the Indus water Treaty and the technical issues of the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric power plants within its framework and  was concluded without an agreement.

In the official statement World bank stated,” “Both countries and the World Bank appreciated the discussions and reconfirmed their commitment to the preservation of the Treaty. While an agreement has not been reached at the conclusion of the meetings, the World Bank will continue to work with both countries to resolve the issues in an amicable manner and in line with the Treaty provisions.”

In the two day discussion, The Indian delegation was led by the Union Water Resources Secretary Amarjit Singh along with the representatives from It also had representatives from the Ministry of External Affairs and India’s Indus Water Commission. The World bank has shown its commitment to assist both the countries to solve the dispute and settle the issues in good faith.

In August 2017 India was allowed to build hydroelectric power plants on the Jhelum and Chenab Rivers after the first round of talks but Pakistan has opposed the design of the plant of technical grounds.

Sources:

Business Standard , NDTV

 

Amit Shah asserts India’s sovereignty

On Saturday, BJP President Amit Shah asserted on the point that India is a sovereign country and it has the right to develop the country within its boundaries. He also said that India is dismissing China’s objection to Japan showing interests in investment in the northeastern states.

While addressing a press conference, he said, “India’s policy has been very well clarified by Sushmaji (External Affairs Minister). It is our sovereign right to develop the country inside our boundaries and we will utilise that right.”

Moreover, China has opposed the involvement of any third party in the Sino-Indian boundary disputes or any foreign investments in areas over which it has claimed in the region.

However, a joint statement has been issued by India and Japan on Thursday stating that

the setting up of the Act East Forum and referred to plans to take up infrastructure projects such as road connectivity and electricity in India’s northeastern states.

Chinese Foreign Ministry, spokesperson Huan Hunyin, reacting to it, said,”We are now trying to seek a solution through negotiations that is acceptable to both sides. Under such circumstances, various parties should respect such aspects and any third party should not be involved in our efforts to resolve the disputes.”

Sources – TOI, ZEE News

3% decrease in India’s external debt in FY17

India’s external debt came down by $13.1 billion to $471.9 billion at the end of March this year on annual basis. This 2.7 percentage decrease in debt has been mainly due to decrease in NRI deposits and commercial borrowings.

The debt has remained within manageable limits and the situation has improved in 2016-17 over 2015-16, said ‘India’s External Debt: A Status Report 2016-17’ by the Department of Economic Affairs. The external debt-GDP ratio fell to 20.2 per cent at the end of March 2017 from 23.5 per cent at March 2016. At end-March 2017, long-term external debt was $383.9 billion, showing a decrease of 4.4 per cent year-on-year.

Long-term external debt accounted for 81.4 per cent of total external debt at end-March 2017. “Short-term external debt increased by 5.5 per cent to $88 billion at end-March 2017. This is mainly due to the increase in trade related credits, a major component of short-term debt with a share of 98.3 per cent,” the report said.

A cross country comparison based on ‘International Debt Statistics 2017’ of the World Bank, which presents the debt data for 2015, shows that India continues to be among the less vulnerable countries with its external debt indicators comparing well with other indebted developing countries. The ratio of India’s external debt stock to Gross National Income (GNI) was the fifth lowest and in terms of the cover provided by foreign exchange reserves to external debt, the position was sixth highest in 2015.

Sources: The Financial Express, ANI

India sends out its relief to Rohingya Refugees

India sent 53 tonnes of relief materials for the lakhs of Rohingya Muslim refugees in Rakhine provine of Bangladesh under the operation ‘Insaaniyat.’ The relief material consists of items the packets of food staples namely rice, pulses, sugar, salt, cooking oil, tea, ready to eat noodles, biscuits and some urgently required basic amenities like mosquito nets, tents etc. Bangladesh is currently facing huges problem due to huge exodus of muslims from neighboring country Mayanmar and settling in the former.

According to the reports India will provide 7000 tonnes of relief material to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh High Commissioner in New Delhi Syed Muazzem Ali discussed the influx crisis in detail with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar last week. India’s stance on the issue was a reason for garnering flak and the first assistance came days after Dhaka approached India.

The external Ministry in New Delhi quoted, “In response to the humanitarian crisis being faced on account of the large influx of refugees into Bangladesh, Government of India has decided to extend assistance to Bangladesh.”

According to the UN reports, more than 379,000 refugees have crossed Bangladesh Border since the violence erupted in the country On Aug 25 and they also claimed that a brutal campaign was lauched against them in their own country.  UN has also made an emergency appeal for $77 million to address the Rohingya crisis.

SOURCES : The Wire  Economic Times

DRI seizes gold worth Rs 2 crore, smuggled in India

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized more than seven kilograms of gold bar smuggled into India from Bangladesh, reported Financial Express and Business standards. The value of these gold bar is estimated to be over Rs two crores.

Nearly 50 gold bars having foreign markings, weighing 7412.43 grams, and valued at over Rs 2.04 crore were found and seized from the three accused. The agency was working on a tip-off. They got hold of a black Alto car from the eastern part of Kolkata and arrested the three accused Indrajit Biswas, Selim Molla and Rabiul Islam, who hail from India-Bangladesh border areas.

The accused admitted of smuggling the gold bars from Bangladesh into

India. The accused were supposed to further deliver them at Kolkata. All the three accused had been produced before the court and have been remanded judicial custody till September 21.

This year, the agency has seized over 150 kg of gold from West Bengal and north-eastern states. The value of this is valued close to Rs 44 crore in the market, which was smuggled from Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Bhutan.

News Source: Financial Express, Business Standard

Image Source: Indian Express