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UK Planning Cheaper, Easier Visas For Trade Deal With India: Report – dot newz

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There could also be reductions in the fees for work and tourism visas. (Representational)

London:

The UK is planning to relax immigration rules by offering cheaper and easier visas for Indian tourists, students and professionals, in an attempt to clinch a trade deal with India, a media report said on Saturday.

UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is expected to travel to New Delhi this month, when formal negotiations on a proposed India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) are expected to begin.

Trevelyan is expected to use this visit to open the prospect of relaxing immigration rules for Indian citizens, a key demand from New Delhi, The Times newspaper reported.

While she has the backing of Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, who has put securing closer ties with India on top of the government’s agenda to counter the growing influence of China, Home Secretary Priti Patel is opposed to this move, the report said.

In May last year, Ms Patel had signed a ‘bespoke’ and reciprocal Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP) with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to have around 3,000 students and professionals a year access work experience benefits in either country.

Under the MMP, both sides have agreed to work towards an April 2022 timeline to bring the new system in place, with work underway in the High Commission in London and the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.

However, under further immigration plans reportedly in the works, one option being looked at is a scheme similar to that agreed as part of the UK’s FTA with Australia, which would allow young Indians the chance to come and work in the UK for up to three years.

Another option would be to cut visa fees for students, thereby allowing them to stay in the UK for a period after they graduate, possibly building upon the Graduate Route visa under the points-based immigration rules currently in place, the report said.

There could also be reductions in the fees for work and tourism visas.

At present, it can cost an Indian citizen up to GBP 1,400 for a work visa, while students pay GBP 348 and tourists GBP 95 respectively.

These are in sharp contrast with visa fees for countries such as China, who have to pay significantly less.

Indian-origin peer Lord Karan Bilimoria, the president of the Confederation of British Industry, has been among the most vocal advocates for lowering visa fees for Indians.

“That FTA, I hope, will benefit in enhancing bilateral trade and be as comprehensive as possible. Movement of people; reduction of duties and tariffs – the tariff on Scotch whisky is 150 per cent, that’s got to be reduced drastically; academic collaborations and cross-border research is going to be huge between our countries and partnering on a Green industrial revolution. There is a vast array to really ramp up business and trade between our two countries,” he had said.

A senior government source told ‘The Times’ that there was an acceptance by ministers that the price of a trade deal with India would be to make a “generous” offer on visas.

“The tech and digital space in India are still hugely protectionist and if we could open up even a slither of access, it would put us ahead in the game,” a government official was quoted as saying.

The UK government has repeatedly said it wants a deal that slashes barriers for doing business with India.

According to the Department for International Trade, preparations for the launch of negotiations for the UK-India FTA ‘remains underway’ since the conclusion of bilateral working groups.

Trevelyan and her Indian counterpart, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, had also held talks during the G-20 trade ministers meeting in Sorrento, Italy, last October to discuss “final preparations” for the launch of India-UK FTA negotiations this year.

“We look forward to launching negotiations early this year. India is projected to become the world’s third largest economy by 2050, and a trade deal will open huge opportunities for UK businesses to trade with India’s GBP 2 trillion economy,” a UK government spokesperson said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Shiv Sena, NCP To Contest Goa Assembly Elections Together – dot newz

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Mumbai:

Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have decided to contest the upcoming Goa Assembly elections together in alliance, Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut said on Sunday.

Speaking to ANI, Raut said, “Shiv Sena and NCP will contest together in Goa assembly elections. There will be a discussion on seat sharing on January 18. NCP’s senior leader Praful Patel will discuss seat-sharing formula in Goa on January 18. Only after that, it will be clear who will contest on how many seats.”

“Political dynamics are different in Maharashtra and Goa. NCP, Shiv Sena, Congress are in alliance in Maharashtra. However, at the moment Congress has decided to contest alone without forming an alliance with any other party in the state,” he said.

Goa elections are set to be held in a single phase on February 14. The counting of votes will be held on March 10.

In view of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Shiv Sena leader did not comment much on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s decision to contest from Gorakhpur.

“I will not make any comment on Yogi ji’s decision to contest from Gorakhpur. He has been fielded from his native constituency. So, it is a good thing. I have heard that Aparna Yadav is going to join BJP. It’s good to know,” he said.

Yadav is the daughter in law of Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Meanwhile, elections for the 403 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases starting February 10, the Election Commission said. The polling in Uttar Pradesh will be held on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27 and March 3 and 7 in seven phases.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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“India Feels Proud”: PM Modi On 1 Year Of Vaccination Drive – dot newz

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the vaccination drive added great strength to fight against Covid.

New Delhi:

Lauding India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive as it completes a year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it has added great strength to the fight against the pandemic and has resulted in saving lives and protecting livelihoods.

When the pandemic first struck, not much was known about the virus. However, our scientists and innovators immersed themselves in developing vaccines, he said. India feels proud that our nation has been able to contribute to fighting the pandemic through vaccines, PM Modi tweeted.

“I salute each and every individual who is associated with the vaccination drive,” he said, adding that the role of our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers is exceptional.

“When we see glimpses of people being vaccinated in remote areas, or our healthcare workers taking the vaccines there, our hearts and minds are filled with pride,” he said.

The prime minister asserted that India’s approach to fighting the pandemic will always remain science based. Health infrastructure is also being augmented to ensure that fellow citizens get proper care, he said, asking people to keep following all COVID-19 related protocols.

The countrywide vaccination drive against COVID-19 on Sunday completed one year, during which over 156.76 crore vaccine doses were administered.

According to Health Ministry officials, over 92 per cent of the adult population have received at least one dose while over 68 per cent have been fully vaccinated. The Centre will issue a postal stamp this afternoon to mark the completion of one year of the inoculation drive.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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“We Invite You”: Maharashtra’s Red Carpet For Elon Musk After Telangana – dot newz

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Elon Musk had said Tesla is “working through” a lot of challenges with the Indian government. (File)

New Delhi:

Another state has now invited US billionaire Elon Musk to invest after he said that electric car pioneer Tesla was “working through” a lot of challenges with the Indian government ahead of long-awaited plans to launch in the country.

After Telangana’s invitation earlier this week, a Maharashtra minister today offered Mr Musk a place to set up Tesla’s manufacturing plant in his state.

Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, in a reply to Mr Musk’s tweet, said, “Maharashtra is one of the most progressive states in India. We will provide you all the necessary help from Maharashtra for you to get established in India.”

“We invite you to establish your manufacturing plant in Maharashtra,” the Nationalist Congress Party leader added.

Earlier, Telangana minister KT Rama Rao had invited the Tesla Inc’s chief executive to set shop in his state and said that his government will be “happy to partner Tesla in working through the challenges”.

Mr Musk, in response to a tweet asking him about a potential India launch date, had not identified the “challenges” being worked on with the government.

Tesla had plans to begin selling imported cars in India last year and has been lobbying the government to lower import duties, which can be as high as 100 percent, on electric vehicles before it enters the market.

Elon Musk had tweeted last July that Tesla wanted to enter India “but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country”.

Even as Tesla is holding out for a cut in import duties, luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz will start assembling the electric version of its flagship S-Class sedan, the EQS, in India later this year.



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