The winners of 2017 US Open lawn tennis

The 2017 US Open was the 137th edition of tennis’ US Open and the fourth and final Grand Slam event of the year. It was held on outdoor hard courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. Experimental rules featured in qualifying for the main draw as well as in the junior, wheelchair and exhibition events.

The men’s singles tournament concluded with Rafael Nadal defeating Kevin Anderson in the final, while the women’s singles tournament concluded with Sloane Stephens defeating Madison Keys in the final.

The list of important winners are as follows:

Male Singles Title

Rafael Nadal won US Open Men’s Singles Titile  by defeating Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. By winning the US Open 2017 Men’s Singles Titile, he won his 16th Grand Slam. Among his 16 Grand Slams, this is Nadal’s third US Open win. For Nadal, this win is just as much a reminder of his longevity as it is a pillar of his legacy. He’s 31, five years younger than Federer, and he’s closing in on Federer’s record 19 Grand Slam titles. During the 2014-2016 seasons Nadal struggled with injuries, but 2017 has seen a return to form for the star. If he’s able to keep this pace up, it looks more than possible for him to catch Federer, although health will be a key component in that quest.

Women’s Singles Title

Sloane Stephens won the US Women’s Singles title in the US Open 2017. Unseeded Sloane Stephens completed a spectacular return from injury by beating fellow American Madison Keys to win the US Open at Flushing Meadows. Stephens, ranked 83rd, beat 15th seed Keys 6-3 6-0 in the final. The 24-year-old was ranked as low as 957th six weeks ago, having only returned from 11 months out with a foot injury at Wimbledon. She becomes only the fifth unseeded woman to win a major title in the Open era.

Men’s Doubles Title

 Jean-Julien Rojerof the Netherlands and Romanian Horia Tecau eased past Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez 6-4, 6-3 to claim their first US Open doubles Grand Slam with Rojer making a small political statement following the win. During the trophy presentation, Rojer, who was born and lives in Curacao, was asked about the outfit he was wearing, which featured a florescent yellow shirt with a picture of the Statue of Liberty across the front. The Dutchman explained it was inspired by a rally by white nationalists in Virginia last month that left one woman dead. Meanwhile it was more disappointment for Spain. Spanish teams have been in the Flushing Meadows final three of last four years but again fell short of ending a drought that has stretched back to a victory by Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez in 1988.

Women’s Doubles Title

One day after claiming the mixed doubles at the 2017 US Open, Martina Hingis clinched her 13th women’s doubles Grand Slam championship — and brought a brand new partner into the circle of major winners. Chan Yung-Jan and Hingis disposed of the Czech team of Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Taiwanese/Swiss pairing claimed their seventh title of the year, and their first Grand Slam as partners.

Mixed Double Title

Briton Jamie Murray and Swiss Martina Hingis added the US Open title to their Wimbledon mixed doubles crown with victory over Michael Venus and Hao-Ching Chan at Flushing Meadows. They prevailed 6-1 4-6 10-8 after their third-seeded opponents took the second set to force a championship tie-break. Martina Hingis’  first doubles win came as a 15-year-old in the 1996 Wimbledon women’s doubles, while this year marks the 20th anniversary of her US Open singles title, secured with victory over Venus Williams. Scot Murray, who won the the men’s doubles title with Bruno Soares in New York last year, now has five Grand Slam titles.

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The issue of demonetisation has stirred all the observers alike- the young and the old, the educated and uneducated. Cash touches life in several ways. The government demonitised the notes of Rs. 1000 and 500 denominations on November 8, 2016 midnight with certain stated objectives. Was the monitisation policy successful in its purpose? This question may be seen from realization of directly stated goals such as curbing black money and fake Indian currency as well as spillover or consequent advantages such as digitalization of transactions and formalization of economy. Here is a report reproduced from the news daily Statesman by Basant Potnuru, Associate Professor, Economics and Business Policy, , FORE School of Management, New Delhi for the benefit of students.

A demonetisation report card

Demonetisation of high value currency notes of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 on 8 November 2016 has shaken the country by disrupting normal behaviour of Indian politics, economy and society. The ruling coalition quickly articulated this as a bigbang step to unearth black money, impair terrorism funding and weed out fake currency from the system. The opposition on the other hand has termed it as an ‘organised loot’.

Consequently, however, it paid out to the ruling BJP huge political dividend when it won local municipal polls in the post-demonetisation period and in Uttar Pradesh and other state assembly elections. The public verdict on the success and failure of the move however remained inconclusive till the release of demonetisation statistics by the RBI only recently. With 99 per cent of demonetised currency deposited in the banks, the government now faces difficult questions. Was the move at all worth the effort? Why did the government announce it without due consideration and fail to foresee its adverse consequences?

The government’s articulation of demonetisation lists the following major objectives: 1) to evict the fake currency notes of Rs.1000 and Rs.500; 2) get rid of black wealth held in cash by the corrupt people; 3) bring the hoarded money of small savers into the banking net; 4)based on the hints provided by bank accounts, undertake Income Tax (IT) raids to recover unaccounted wealth from suspicious individuals and corporates who possibly have evaded tax in the past and 5) finally, use the window of time to introduce digital avenues of payments limiting cash transactions.

As against the above targets, thedemonetisation report card is as follows. As per RBI report, only 7.62 lakh pieces of fake currency notes worth Rs 41 crores had returned to the banking system. Second, contrary to the belief of Rs. 4 lakh crore of black money that was expected not to be reported by hoarders with the fear of prosecution, only Rs.16,000 crores (1 per cent of Rs.15.44 lakh crore of demonetised currency) did not come back to the system. This rules out any significant special dividend to the government and the RBI equivalent to the amount of black money, as was anticipated earlier.

As a positive consequence of demonetisation, the tax authorities however could discover undisclosed income of Rs.17,526 crore and seizure of Rs.1003 crore through searches and surveys so far. This number too is not significantly very high compared to the identification of undisclosed income and seizure of gold and cash during pre-demonetisation years. For example, the Government of India’s white paper on black money brought out in 2012 shows that in 2010-11, Rs.775 crore worth cash and jewellery had been seized, which increased to Rs.906 crore in the following year. Undisclosed income detected in 2010-11 was about Rs.10,649 crores. These numbers can roughly be projected using their growth rates to a possibility of Rs.1,003 crore of seizure of cash and gold and detection of an undisclosed income of Rs.17,526 crore that the IT authorities achieved in 2016-17.

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) offered another opportunity to unaccounted cash holders to come clean and deposit their cash by paying 50 per cent of it as tax, penalty and surcharge, and parking an additional 25 per cent for four years without interest. This scheme too has not produced results as anticipat- ed, only Rs.2,300 crore was collected against the I-T department’s target of Rs.1 lakh crore.

Together, all these direct monetary benefits accrued may accumulate to about Rs.35,000 to 50,000 crore only. Though demonetisation has successfully mobilized all money, including that of small savers such as housewives, small traders and businessmen who hoarded money for several months and years, into the banking system, these funds with the banks are expected to be used for productive purposes by lending at cheaper rates of inter- est.

Most of these funds however were short term savings and therefore were expected to be withdrawn quickly rather than be of any use for long-term lending purposes by banks. The black money holders laundered money into deposits up to the limit of Rs.2.5 lakhs in bank accounts opened in the names of several people who are either relatives or otherwise but such deposits too are expected to dry up quickly.

The latest Economic Survey estimated that demonetisation has added 5.4 lakh new tax-payers in the financial year 2016- 17. However, the average income quoted by these new tax payers is only Rs.2.7 lakhs, which would mean that they were required to pay tax for an income of Rs.20,000 only, as income upto Rs.2.5 lakhs is granted exemption.

Also, most of these new tax payers may not continue to stay in the tax-net, as next year they are not required to deposit whole of their cash collected or accumulated throughout the year. Demonetisation came as a big bonanza for digital payment platforms. In terms of total volume of digital transactions from all service providers, it rose from 671 million in November 2016 to 957 million in December 2016, but dropped to 862 million in July 2017.

In terms of value, the transactions spiked to Rs.1,044,055 billion in December 2016 but dropped to the pre-demonetisation levels of Rs.107,481 billion in July 2017. The slowdown in the economy post-demonetisation by 1 to 2 per cent of GDP growth rate constitute a loss of income of Rs.1 to 2 lakh crore. In addition there was the cost of printing new currency (Rs.7,965 cr.) and transportation (Rs.16,000 cr. as on 6 December 2016).

Finally we must add cost of inconvenience and loss of lives. Overall, demonetisation, as an economic case, does not stand scrutiny. Clearly, the costs outweighed the benefits. Expected long term benefits such as growth in tax revenue, digitization, and decrease in corruption are not convincing or foreseen now for the future, as much as the dreams sold by experts and the government.

While it is essential that India should reduce its dependence on cash and go digital as it moves ahead in the path of development, it is doubtful if the current campaign can work, as slogans for cashless economy are not accompanied by costless or less-cost ideas in doing digital transactions. Neither the service provider companies including banks can provide digital services free of cost nor can the government subsidize them permanently.

India needs to develop rapidly its IT infrastructure, achieve higher levels of education and per-capita income, and transform way of living of people to become a less cash dependent economy. What needs to be done to curtail black money is to fix the demand for black money that comes from political parties, real estate business, and government-private sector nexus.

 

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JNU Entrance Examination for admission to various programmes of study will be held  from 27th to 30th December, 2017 in 53 cities in India and also in Kathmandu (Nepal). (Through Entrance Examination) -M.Phil/Ph.D., MPhil/Ph.D through JRF, Ph.D., Ph.D through JRF, M.Tech., MPH., PGDE, M.A., M.Sc., MCA, B.A. (Hons.) in Foreign Languages and Part-Time courses. Prospectus outlining the details of the admission process can be found on JNU website and candidates need to go through it before filling up the form.

Online Application: Application form has been prescribed for all programmes of study. Candidates can apply Online on payment of prescribed fee by logging on to JNU website www.jnu.ac.in. The site has been designed in a ‘user friendly’ way to help candidates for applying Online in a step-by-step fashion. Online application portal will remain open as per the following schedule:-

Start of Online Application Process : 15.09.2017 (10.00 AM)

Closing of online Application Process : 13.10.2017 (11.59 PM)

Click for detailed information

BRICS summit

The ninth BRICS Summit was held at Xiamen International Conference Center on  September 4, 2017,. It was attended by the heads of state or heads of government of the five member states Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. President Xi Jinping chaired the summit. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, President Michel Temer of Brazil, President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India were present. The summit was hosted by China second time after the 2011 summit. It was centered on the theme of ‘Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future’. A week ahead of the summit, New Delhi and Beijing agreed to withdraw their respective troops from Doklam, ending the impasse that lasted over two months. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese headXi for the second time in three months, after last time the two leaders in Astana, Kazakhstan, at a BRICS an informal meet of BRICS leaders.

BRICS Leaders Xiamen Declaration

Here is a summary of the Xiamen declaration:

  1. The Leaders resolved to endeavor to build on earlier achievements of BRICS with a shared vision for future development of BRICS and they also discussed international and regional issues of common concern and adopted the Xiamen Declaration by consensus.
  2. They reiterated that it was the overarching objective and our desire for peace, security, development and cooperation which brought BRICS together 10 years ago. BRICS countries have since traversed a remarkable journey together on their respective development paths tailored to their national circumstances, devoted to growing their economies and improving people’s livelihoods.
  3. Cooperation since 2006 has fostered the BRICS spirit featuring mutual respect and understanding, equality, solidarity, openness, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation, which is our valuable asset and an inexhaustible source of strength for BRICS cooperation. BRICS have worked together for mutually beneficial outcomes and common development, constantly deepening BRICS practical cooperation which benefits the world at large.
  4. The text mentioned many fruitful results of BRICS cooperation, including establishing the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), formulating the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, strengthening political and security cooperation including through Meetings of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues and Foreign Ministers Meetings, and deepening the traditional ties of friendship amongst our peoples.
  5. The text recalled BRICS Summits in Ufa and Goa, and resolved to work together to further enhance BRICS strategic partnership for the welfare of our peoples. The text reiterated commitment of BRICS members to build upon the outcomes and consensus of their previous Summits with unwavering conviction, so as to usher in the second golden decade of BRICS cooperation and solidarity.
  6. The BRICS members resolved to energize their practical cooperation to boost development of BRICS countries by inter alia, promoting exchanges of good practices and experiences on development, and facilitate market inter-linkages as well as infrastructure and financial integration to achieve interconnected development.
  7. The text resolved to enhance communication and coordination in improving global economic governance to foster a more just and equitable international economic order. BRICS members decided to  work towards enhancement of the voice and representation of BRICS countries and EMDCs in global economic governance and promote an open, inclusive and balanced economic globalization, thus contributing towards development of EMDCs and providing strong impetus to redressing North-South development imbalances and promoting global growth.
  8. BRICS members resolved to emphasize fairness and justice to safeguard international and regional peace and stability. They said in the text that they would stand firm in upholding a fair and equitable international order based on the central role of the United Nations, the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and respect for international law, promoting democracy and the rule of law in international relations, and making joint efforts to address common traditional and non-traditional security challenges, so as to build a brighter shared future for the global community.
  9. BRICS members expressed their desire and determination to embrace cultural diversity and promote people-to-people exchanges to garner more popular support for BRICS cooperation through deepened traditional friendships.
  10. BRICS members decided to expand people-to-people exchanges in all dimensions, encourage all fabrics of the society to participate in BRICS cooperation, promote mutual learning between our cultures and civilizations, enhance communication and mutual understanding among their peoples and deepen traditional friendships, thus making BRICS partnership closer to our people’s hearts.

Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries

On September 5, 2017, President Xi Jinping chaired the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries at Xiamen International Conference Center and delivered an important speech, stressing that all parties need to work more closely to build an open world economy, implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, seize the historic opportunities of world economic restructuring, build extensive development partnerships, and blaze a new path to development that is fair, open, comprehensive and innovative, so as to make greater contribution to world economic growth.

Leaders of BRICS countries including President Michel Temer of Brazil, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa as well as state leaders of countries invited for the Dialogue including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, President Alpha Condt of Guinea, President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand attended the Dialogue. Centering on the theme of Strengthening Mutually-Beneficial Cooperation for Common Development and taking the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the mainline, leaders of all countries exchanged in-depth views on implementing the Agenda for Sustainable Development and building extensive development partnerships, and jointly discussed the major plans for international development cooperation and South-South cooperation, reaching important consensus.

Xi Jinping pointed out that since we entered the 21st century, the collective rise of emerging market and developing countries has become an irreversible trend of our times. Given the new circumstances, emerging market and developing countries need to pull together and work hand in hand more confidently to foster a favorable environment for greater development, and make bigger contribution to global growth.

Among many suggestions he gave in his speech the important ones included:

Call for need to work more closely to build an open world economy-  He urged the leaders of the BRICS to support the multilateral trading regime and rebalance economic globalization to make it more inclusive and equitable. He said, “We need to strengthen coordination on positions, work toward a positive outcome at the upcoming 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, make progress on the remaining items of the Doha Development Round, and provide direction to the multilateral trading regime.” He added that there is  need to promote greater representation and voice of emerging market and developing countries in global economic governance, and foster an international economic order that is fairer and more equitable.

The need to work more closely to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development-  He said that there is  need to implement our national development strategies in the context of the Sustainable Development Agenda and in light of our respective national conditions. This will help BRICS and the countries of the world find a path of sustainable development featuring coordinated economic, social and ecological progress. He also said that BRICS need to better leverage the role of the United Nations, and accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda.

The need to work more closely to seize the historic opportunities of world economic restructuring- He asserted that BRICS   must take bold steps of innovation and reform, press ahead with economic structural adjustment, and invigorate domestic drivers for growth. At the same time, BRICS must formulate their social policy in a way that meets people’s basic needs and work all out to ensure a better life for their people. H e said “We need to enhance the alignment of our development strategies, and strengthen cooperation in best practices sharing and capacity-building as a way to support each other’s pursuit of economic development.”

South South cooperation– Xi Jinping emphasized on need to work more closely to build extensive development partnerships. He rerred to a Chinese saying that says, “A single flower does not herald spring; a single wild goose cannot make a formation.” He asserted that by deepening practical cooperation and tapping into complementarity, BRICS can multiply the impact. He added that BRICS need to make good use of BRICS, G77 and other similar mechanisms, broaden South-South cooperation on a larger scale, and jointly address global challenges. To achieve all this he asserted that BRICS also need to forge chains of interconnected development and seek strength through unity. The purpose of holding the Dialogue of emerging market and developing countries by China is to foster a network of partnerships and to build a community of common development and shared future.

Xi Jinping noted that China attaches great importance to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and has attained early harvests on economic, social, environmental and many other fronts. In order to promote international development cooperation, China will actively help fellow developing countries in implementing the Sustainable Development Agenda. China will provide 500 million US dollars to the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation to help fellow developing countries tackle famine, refugee, climate change, public health and other challenges. China will enhance development experience-sharing and capacity-building cooperation with other countries.

Xi Jinping pointed out that this May, China successfully held the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The philosophy and vision of the Belt and Road Initiative have much in common with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the two can very well complement and reinforce each other. The Belt and Road is as much a path of cooperation as one of hope and mutual benefit.

Xi Jinping stressed that emerging market and developing countries represent the future of world development. It is our duty to promote international development cooperation and implement the Sustainable Development Agenda. Let us work together to blaze a new path to development that is fair, open, comprehensive and innovative.

Afterwards, leaders of other BRICS countries and leaders of countries invited for the Dialogue delivered speeches respectively. Commending the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries held by China as the rotating presidency of BRICS, all leaders supported to build extensive development partnerships, and hoped to continue to conduct this kind of dialogue, in a bid to advance South-South cooperation and international development cooperation. All parties highly spoke of the positive significance of the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Narendra Modi’s Speech

The PM of India said in the BRICS Summit that the Goods and Services Tax was “India’s biggest economic reform ever.” He further told the gathering that programs like Digital India, Start-Up India and Make in India are changing economic landscape of India. He asserted that these programs were helping turn India into a knowledge based- skill supported- technology driven society. Addressing the plenary session of the Brics Summit in China’s Xiamen city, Modi said trade and economy were the foundations of the cooperation among Brics -Brazil-Russia- India-China-South Africa. He suggested some steps that can be taken to upgrade mutual cooperation. PM Modi also thanked President Xi again for his warm reception and the excellent organisation of this Summit. Key highlights of Indian PM’s speech in BRICS is as follows:

  • Prime Minister Modi said that while trade and economy have been the foundation of our cooperation, our endeavours today touch diverse areas of technology, tradition, culture, agriculture, environment, energy, sports, and ICT.
  • He appreciated that the New Development Bank has started disbursing loans in pursuit of its mandate to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development in BRICS countries. At the same time, our Central Banks have taken steps to make the Contingent Reserve Arrangement fully operational. These are milestones of progress we can build upon.
  • He asserted that it is important that our people remain at the centre of our journey and expressed happiness that China has taken forward the people-to-people thrust of our exchanges from last year. Such inter-mingling will consolidate our links and deepen our understanding.
  • He said that India is in mission-mode to eradicate poverty; to ensure health, sanitation, skills, food security, gender equality, energy, education and innovation. National programmes of Clean Ganga, Renewable Energy, Digital India, Smart Cities, Housing for All and Skill India are laying the basis for clean, green and inclusive development. They are also tapping the creative energy of our 800 million youth.
  • The Prime Minister also said that India’s women’s empowerment programmes are productivity multipliers that mainstream women in nation building.
  • He also said that India has also stepped up the fight against black money and corruption. Moving forward, using the springboard of our national experiences, BRICS countries can deepen partnership for win-win results.
  • He urged for finalization of the roadmap for its creation of BRICS rating agency at the earliest.At present an Expert Group has  been studying the viability of such an agency.
  • He also urged the BRICS leaders to strengthen their Central Banks further in terms of their capabilities and promote co-operation between the Contingent Reserve Arrangement and the IMF.
  • The Prime Minister of India also emphasized on, affordable, reliable, and sustainable access to energy and described it as crucial for the development of BRICS. He added that climate resilient development calls upon BRICS to utilise all available resource streams. Renewable energy is particularly important on multiple counts. Recognizing this, India, together with France, launched a major international initiative – the International Solar Alliance (ISA) – in November 2015. It will bring together a coalition of 121 countries for mutual gains through enhanced solar energy utilisation. BRICS countries can work closely with ISA to strengthen the solar energy agenda.
  • He said that the five members of BRICS have complementary skills and strengths to promote use of renewable and solar energy. The NDB can also establish an effective link with ISA to support such cooperation. He expressed his desire to see more clean energy funding, particularly in solar energy, from the NDB.
  • He emphasized on the need to mainstream the youth of BRICS in their joint initiatives as far as possible. Scaled up cooperation in skill development and exchange of best practices will be a valuable instrument.
  • He mentioned that in the Goa Summit last year BRICS had exchanged thoughts on smart-cities, urbanization, and disaster-management in the context of cooperation between our cities. We need to further accelerate this track.
  • He emphasized on the need and role of Technology and innovation as the foundations of the next generation of global growth and transformation. India has also found that technology and digital resources are powerful tools in fighting poverty and corruption.
  • A strong BRICS partnership on innovation and digital economy can help spur growth, promote transparency and support the Sustainable Development Goals. I would suggest considering a collaborative pilot project under the BRICS framework, including private entrepreneurship.
  • Initially, India would be happy to work towards more focused capacity building engagement between BRICS and African countries in areas of skills, health, infrastructure, manufacturing and connectivity.
  • Praising BRICS for contributing to growth and wielding influence in many other development areas in the last decade, he emphasized that the next decade is crucial. In an environment where the world seeks stability, sustainable development and prosperity,  BRICS leadership will be crucial in driving this transformation. If  BRICS can set the agenda in these areas, the world will call this its Golden Decade.

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