Friday 13 July 2012

Singapore to help set up Delhi's own 'ITE centre'

By Goh Chin Lian, The Straits Times, 12 Jul 2012

NEW DELHI - Singapore will help the Delhi state government set up a training centre modelled after the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

It is the first project under a new pact signed last night that paves the way for more cooperation in vocational education.

Delhi's Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit first discussed the collaboration with Singapore's Education Minister Heng Swee Keat last October. At the meeting, she remarked that she was particularly impressed with ITE, a Ministry of Education spokesman said.

Yesterday, Mr Heng said: 'We are honoured by India's confidence in ITE's system of technical education... we hope to contribute to India's efforts in developing her young people.'

ITE's overseas arm, ITE Education Services, will work with the Department of Technical Training and Education (DTTE) of the Delhi state government to set up the training centre in Jonapur, South Delhi.

The assistance will include teacher training, curriculum development and advice on the set-up of the campus.

When completed, the centre is expected to train up to 15,000 students annually in various fields. These include production and manufacturing, electronics, retail merchandising, hospitality and tourism, as well as health and finance - areas which tap on ITE's strengths.

This is ITE's first large-scale collaboration of this nature. For a start, ITE will train up to 70 leaders and master trainers in management, pedagogy and technical training.

While the project cost is still being worked out, Temasek Foundation has decided to co-fund the programme with DTTE. Its chief executive officer Benedict Cheong said technical and vocational education and training are 'critical in helping to improve and upgrade the technical capabilities of the skilled workforce in any country'.

In response to a question at a business summit, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the training centre will help provide post-secondary training to those who cannot go to university. India has enormous amounts of talent and high-quality universities, he said, adding: 'I think your priority is to make much broader investments so that you can fulfil the potential of all your young people, and not just for a small minority.'

PM Lee urges India to get closer to Asean, prosper together
He invites India to join Asean's new regional economic partnership
By Goh Chin Lian, The Straits Times, 12 Jul 2012

NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hopes India will partner Asean to forge deeper economic ties across Asia. He believes that is a way for India and the region to prosper together.

That was the thrust of his speeches to businessmen and political leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on the first day of his official visit here.

Highlighting Asean efforts to build a dynamic, peaceful and prosperous grouping through deeper economic integration and security cooperation with its regional partners, he invited India to join Asean's new Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which enhances access to its market of 600 million.

It was 'strategically important' for India to be part of an emerging architecture for regional cooperation, where 'India is there at the table contributing, helping and benefiting', he said.

Another priority was for Asean and India to conclude agreements in investment, services and air transport, and pave the way for closer integration in other areas.

His hope is that talks on these pacts can be wrapped up by December this year, when Asean and India mark the 20th anniversary of their dialogue relations with a summit in Delhi.

At the same time, Mr Lee made clear he understood the political challenge India's leaders face in securing a consensus to pursue regional engagement, especially if it involves economic liberalisation.

He hopes India can push ahead with reforms as its own experience since 1991 has shown that moves to free up the economy benefit its businesses and people.

'I hope India can continue to make progress internally and engage Asean more strategically. The more India does so, the more Indian businesses and the region will benefit,' Mr Lee said at the business summit.

He urged India's chambers of commerce to champion liberalisation and encourage the Indian government to keep the economy open to foreign players.

Addressing about 200 businessmen, Mr Lee encouraged Indian firms to join Asean's integration efforts. They can help Asean improve its infocomm technology connectivity and build new road links through India, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Asked by a summit participant later if Asean would face similar troubles as the European Union's, Mr Lee assured him that Asean wanted integrated trade but had no ambitions to form a single currency or central bank.

Yesterday, Mr Lee, who was accorded the full honours of a state visit with a formal welcome ceremony, called on Indian President Pratibha Patil and Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari. The leader of the opposition, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, also called on him.

In the evening, Mr Lee and Dr Singh witnessed the signing of two agreements on cooperation in vocational education and the renewal of a bilateral pact to allow the Republic of Singapore Air Force to hold joint military training with the Indian Air Force at Kalaikunda Air Force Station for another five years.

Speaking there, Mr Lee said bilateral ties are in 'excellent shape' and that Singapore places great importance on its friendship and collaboration with India. 'I am confident that our partnership will strengthen and grow in the years ahead.'

Dr Singh said Singapore is 'a close friend and valued regional partner for India', and described Mr Lee's visit as a milestone in bilateral ties. He later hosted a banquet for Mr and Mrs Lee at Hyderabad House.

Foreign investors face challenges
By Goh Chin Lian, The Straits Times, 12 Jul 2012

SINGAPORE business space provider Ascendas has been in India for 18 years but still worries about policies changing, governance requirements and the lack of infrastructure.

Ascendas has progressed from a single joint venture to investing in real estate, managing funds and providing asset services. Mr Thomas Teo, chief executive officer of Ascendas India, said: 'We believe in the business potential resulting from India's cost-efficient labour pool, particularly for IT software work, the rising middle class and the opportunities created from an economy with a big population growing off a low base.'

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted the challenges that foreign investors encounter. He urged India to do more to improve its investment climate.

He said: 'Investors into India rely on good governance, a predictable regulatory regime, and a hassle-free, rules-based business environment before making major long-term commitments.'

Agreeing, Singapore Business Federation chief executive officer Ho Meng Kit said that as with any emerging market, 'frequent changes to policies, regulations and taxation are some of the key concerns of foreign investors'.

Other challenges include the sharp and growing regional variations among India's different states and territories in terms of poverty, availability of infrastructure and socio-economic development, he added.

Mr Lee said he would like to see India further liberalise its air services agreement with Singapore to meet increased demand from passengers.

Both Mr Lee and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later announced that they had agreed to speed up a second review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between Singapore and India.

Dr Singh said he also assured Mr Lee that India is committed to being investment friendly and welcomes more Singapore investments, particularly in infrastructure where the city state has great expertise.

No comments:

Post a Comment