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New Delhi, 28th Nov (IANS): The rolling out of e-visa facility for tourists from 43 countries, including the US, Israel, Palestine and Japan, by the government will boost the tourism industry in India, feels India Inc.

"This is an extremely positive measure and FICCI welcomes this initiative of the government. The rolling out of the e-Visa facility would give a tremendous boost to the tourism industry as it would make it convenient for visitors to travel to our country," Jyotsna Suri, president, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and chairperson and managing director of the Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, said.

Apart from these four countries, the government will also extend e-visa facility to tourists from Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Tonga, Laos, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Kiribati, South Korea, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, Vietnam and Vanuatu.

The e-visa can be had following four simple steps through a website.

This visa will allow entry of the tourists into India within 30 days from the date of approval of ETA and will be valid for 30 days' stay from the date of arrival. The facility will be extended to other nations in a phased manner.

The tourists will be allowed to enter and depart from nine international airports - Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram.

"The increase of tourism will benefit the entire travel, hospitality & related sectors, generate more jobs and contribute to the country's economy," Suri said.

"However, we need to pursue measures to improve the infrastructure facilities in and around our key tourist destinations so that visitors leave with a memorable and pleasant experience," she added.
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Thiruvananthapuram, 18th Nov (IANS): More than 500 Kerala nurses, who lost their jobs and had to return from Iraq and Libya, appeared for an interview here Tuesday before representatives of five Middle East-based hospitals.

P. Sudeep, CEO of Roots Norka, the state agency that looks after the welfare of the Kerala diaspora, told IANS that this was part of an assurance given by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to the nurses after their return.

"The interviews are currently going on and there will be no charges for those who are selected for the jobs. These hospital groups have offered jobs in most of the Middle East countries and also at their hospitals in the country," said Sudeep.

He said the salary range from Rs.70,000 to 90,000 for those nurses who have a graduate nursing qualification and some experience.

Those nurses who have just a general nursing qualification are being offered Rs.40,000 to Rs 60,000. And those nurses who opt for a job in the country will get Rs.18,000, Sudeep added.

Earlier in the day, Chandy addressed the nurses and said his government was committed to its promise of providing them help.

Chandy has already initiated steps for one time settlements on educational loans the nurses took and banks have agreed to write off all interests.

Sudeep said the hospital representatives were confident of giving jobs to the nurses.

"We are told the processing of papers for visas will commence very soon and it will take around 45 days before these nurses can travel to their work place," said Sudeep.
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New Delhi, 15th Nov (IANS): AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal Saturday launched his party's Delhi Dialogue campaign ahead of the assembly polls and promised 800,000 jobs for the youth of the capital.

Addressing a gathering at Jantar Mantar in the heart of the capital, the former Delhi chief minister said that if voted to power, the Aam Aadmi Party "would create eight lakh jobs and train 10 lakh youth in the next five years".

The AAP convener also promised to better the sports infrastructure by building stadia in the city.

"I had gone to a village (in Delhi) where there was no stadium. The villagers said they had land but no stadium. I asked them to give us land so that it can be turned into stadia," he said.

He said all sports grounds in government schools would be opened to budding sportspersons for training.

Delhi is headed for elections after the assembly was dissolved earlier this month.
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Brisbane, 14th Nov (IANS): The Business 20 (B20), a grouping of business leaders of G20 members, Friday called on G20 leaders to commit to a bold reforms agenda and ambitious individual country growth strategies when they meet in Brisbane at their annual Summit this weekend.

The B20 is a forum through which the private sector produces policy recommendations for the annual meeting of the G20 leaders. It brings together business leaders from across G20 member countries to reflect the key role of the private sector as the main driver of economic growth.

Richard Goyder, B20 Chair, said the G20 is being urged to make commitments in five key policy areas: finance, human capital, infrastructure, trade and transparency to drive growth and employment outcomes, Xinhua reported.

"The B20 welcomed the finance ministers' decision earlier this year to set a growth target of two percent above expectations over the next five years. But sustainable growth will require business investment driven by more than just confidence," he said.

"The enabling environment for business must be improved to stimulate investment, enhance productivity and increase economic activity and growth."

The Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) latest Economic Outlook found the global economy was still stuck in low gear but it was expected to accelerate gradually if countries implemented growth supportive policies.

"The report found that reforms to tax, trade, labour and product markets will benefit domestic investment and global trade, and support greater employment and consumption around the world," Goyder said.

He said the B20 has made 20 recommendations to the G20, which if implemented, would easily exceed the additional two percent growth target and create millions of new jobs.

Nearly 30 business leaders from 18 of the G20 countries will attend Friday night's meeting with G20 leaders.
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New Delhi, 11th Nov (IANS): Union Rural Development Minister Birender Singh, who Tuesday assumed office, indicated that the rural employment guarantee act would continue in the entire country and not just in some districts as it has benefitted the poor.

A former Congressman, Birender Singh said there was no doubt that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act had benefited the poor, and the Rs.40,000 crore allocation for the rural job scheme was not for any specific region.

"Some people had never seen a Rs.500 note in their lifetime in this country. The MGNREGA has managed to reach out to them," he told media after taking charge as minister for rural development, panchayati raj and drinking water and sanitation.

His predecessor Nitin Gadkari had planned to restrict the rural job scheme to the most backward 200 districts of the country.

Gadkari had said that the MGNREGA guaranteeing up to 100 days of unskilled work in a year to every rural household was not required in areas having higher growth.

The remarks had drawn protests from economists and activists who said it would affect the poor of the country.

Birender Singh, however, acknowledged that there were some problems in implementation of the scheme and said the current government would try to correct them.

He said valuable suggestions have come regarding reforming the rural job scheme and all necessary steps will be taken to strike a right balance between creation of jobs and building durable assets through MGNREGA.

The minister said, if the need arises some new works will also be added to the scheme.

On the issue of impending changes in the Land Acquisition Act, Birender Singh said that efforts will be made to bring about a consensus in the matter.

The minister said the government is not against industrialization but the interests of the farmers should not be compromised at any cost. He also added that he was not in favour of acquisition of multi-crop lands.

Asked to comment whether amendments in the land act will be made in the coming winter session of parliament, he replied that he will study the issue first and then will formulate his opinion in a couple of days.

Referring to the Swachh Bharat Mission, a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Birendra Singh said building toilets in the rural areas will be taken up on a war footing and a massive awareness campaign will be launched for behavioral change as far as sanitation and cleanliness are concerned.

He also underlined that the problem of drinking water mainly in the arsenic and fluoride affected regions will be addressed on a priority basis.
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