IndUS Business Journal

Indian firms’ direct investment abroad in May up over 48 percent

Jun 15, 2016 0

indian flagMumbai–Indian companies’ direct investments overseas increased to $2.69 billion in May, which marked a rise of 48.2 percent over the same month last fiscal, Reserve Bank of India data showed on Wednesday, even as official statistics showed India’s trade deficit last month widened to its highest in three months.

As per the RBI, Indian firms had invested $1.82 billion in their overseas ventures in May 2015.

The overseas direct investment in May this year, “both under the Automatic Route and the Approval Route”, was much lower than $4.11 billion in the preceding month of April.

The investments by the Indian companies were made up of loans ($365.93 million), guarantees issued ($1.95 billion) and equity ($383.71 million), the statement added.

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Have petitioned US on 1984 gas disaster: Activists

Jun 14, 2016 0

Bhopal–Activists representing survivors of the 1984 gas disaster on Tuesday said they had petitioned the White House regarding the criminal case against Union Carbide and its new owner Dow Chemical.

The leaders said they hoped the US Department of Justice will serve the Bhopal District Court’s notice on Dow Chemical so that it appears in the court here on July 13.

Source: PrevenBlog

Chart: courtesy of PrevenBlog

The organisations said they had sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking directions to the Central Bureau of Investigation to call for harsher measures against Dow Chemical if it fails to appear on July 13.

Activist Rashida Bee said: “One month is not yet over and we have collected more than 117 thousand signatures on our petition.

“As per the terms of the White House web site, the US government is obliged to respond to our petition within the next 30 days.

“We are hopeful the Prime Minister will take note of this historic challenge by the Bhopal survivors and their international supporters and instruct the CBI to seek issuance of non-bailable warrant against Dow Chemical if it fails to appear in court on July 13,” she said.

Added Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action: “Once Dow Chemical appears in court, it will have to present Union Carbide to face trial.

“A successful trial can very well lead to Union Carbide having to pay heavy criminal fines in keeping with its grave criminal acts and its terrible consequences. Hopefully the fines will be large enough to supplement the meagre compensation victims have received so far.”

Tonnes of poisonous gas leaked from the now shut Union Carbide pesticide plant in the heart of Bhopal on the night of December 2-3, 1984. At least 1,700 people died instantly and thousands have died in later years.

Many more face life-long health issues due to exposure to the gas. Activists say the compensation Carbide paid to survivors and the families of those died was too meagre. (IANS)

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Mobile data revenues to reach Rs 95,500 crore by 2020-21

Jun 14, 2016 0

New Delhi–Data revenues for the Indian telecom companies would grow to Rs 95,500 crore by 2020-21 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 per cent over the next 5 years, ratings agency ICRA said in a study on the Indian telecom sector.

According to the study, data revenues are expected to contribute 34 per cent to the total mobile service revenues from the current levels of around 20 per cent.

“Over the last 5 years, data revenues for the ICRA sample of telcos traced a strong CAGR of 54 per cent from Rs 3,200 crore in FY2012 to Rs 27,450 crore in FY2016,” said Harsh Jagnani, AVP-Corporate Sector ratings.

However, he added that that “compared to international levels, the data revenues as proportion of total mobile service revenues in India are significantly lower, presenting a strong growth driver”.

The study stated that on December 2015, the broadband subscribers (3G and 4G) comprised 46 per cent of the total data subscribers for the ICRA Sample (1), as against just 8 per cent as on June 2012. With 4G rollout, ICRA expects the proportion of mobile broadband subscribers (3G and 4G) in the total data subscribers to increase further.

The study said that in order to assess future growth potential of data revenues in India, ICRA analysed data revenue trends in other markets by analysing 16 telcos covering seven different geographies from both mature as well as emerging markets.

These firms’ total subscriber base stood at 2,179 million as on December 2015, constituting 31 per cent of the total global mobile subscribers, the study added.

“Data revenues constitute 19 per cent of the total revenues for ICRA Sample of Indian telcos, which is significantly lower than the 40-50 per cent seen for mature international markets and 20-30 per cent seen for emerging markets. India is 3-5 years behind the developed markets in terms of roll out of data services and its penetration to a meaningful extent,” Jagnani said.

“Majority of the developed markets witnessed rollout of 3G services during the period 2004-2006. In these markets, 3G services evolved and matured over 7-9 years before the rollout of 4G/LTE (Long Term Evolution) services,” he said, adding that in China, 3G was rolled out in 2009 and 4G within five years but in India, 3G rollout began in 2011 “and is still in early stage, while the 4G network rollout has started”.

The study noted that the scale of data services is much smaller in India as compared to China, where total data subscribers stood at 808.6 million, constituting 62 per cent of the total subscriber base as against 163 million subscribers (27 per cent) in India as per the Sample.

Jagnani said that the comparison with other geographies including China points to a robust growth outlook for data services in India, but by a “different” path as given the high competitive intensity and risks of aggressive pricing, India will see data growth at low realisations. (IANS)

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India’s investments at 10-year low in 2015: World Bank

Jun 14, 2016 0

Washington– India recorded a decadal low in combined public-private investments in 2015, in line with a contraction seen in other emerging economies like China and Brazil, the World Bank has said.

“India recorded a 10-year low in investments, as only six road projects, usually a rich source of PPI over the past 10 years, reached financial closure,” the World Bank said in its latest annual report – Private Participation in Infrastructure Database – released here on Monday.

The report said global investment in 2015 decreased to $111.6 billion, going below the five-year average of $124.1 billion from 2010 to 2014.

“This contraction resulted from lower investments in Brazil, China and India,” the World Bank said, adding that global private infrastructure investment in 2015, though on par with the previous year, was 10 per cent lower than the previous five-year average because of falling commitments in China, Brazil, and India.

“The data finds that investments in other emerging economies increased rapidly to $99.9 billion, representing a 92 per cent year-over-year increase,” said Clive Harris, practice manager (Public-Private Partnerships) in the World Bank.

Commitments in Brazil last year were only for $4.5 billion, which was a sharp decline from $47.2 billion the previous year, reversing a trend of growing investments, the report said.

“Investment in China also fell significantly below its 5-, 10-, and 20-year averages, as the average transaction dropped to $63 million,” it added.

By number of projects, however, the three major emerging economies took the lead, with 131 of the 300 global deals, or 44 per cent of all projects. Yet their combined investment of $11.6 billion only made up 10 per cent of the global total, compared to 54 per cent in 2014, which was also the annual average over the previous four years, World Bank said.

“Consistent with historical trends, India generated a majority of the projects (36 out of 43); Pakistan had four; Nepal, two; and Bangladesh, one.

“Notably, 26 of the 36 projects in India, amounting to $2.0 billion, targeted renewable energy, while all of Pakistan’s projects, totalling $749.9 million, solely focussed on renewables,” the report added. (IANS)

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FIPB approves Aurobindo Pharma’s Foreign Direct Investment proposal

Jun 14, 2016 0

New Delhi–The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has approved two foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals, including that of Aurobindo Pharma, an official statement said here on Tuesday.

“Based on the recommendations of FIPB in its meeting held on May 20, 2016, the government has approved two FDI proposals involving FDI of Rs 2.19 crore,” said the finance ministry statement.

The FDI proposal of Aurobindo Pharma is worth Rs 2.19 crore while the one from Sterling Commerce Solutions India was for approval to act as an investing company, the statement said.

FIPB has recommended another proposal from Holcim India for approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

The proposal seeks approval for Ambuja Cements to acquire 24 per cent shares in its holding company, Holcim India, it said.

Moreover, Vodafone India’s proposal to acquire 100 per cent share capital of You Broadband India has been deferred, it added. (IANS)

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Mallya declared a ‘proclaimed offender

Jun 14, 2016 0

Mumbai–A special court here on Tuesday declared liquor baron Vijay Mallya a “proclaimed offender” in the ongoing bank loans default and money-laundering cases, officials said.

Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Special Court Judge P. R. Bhavke issued the proclamation against Mallya, while accepting an application filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya

“ED application is allowed.. and proclamation is issued against Vijay Mallya,” the court ruled on the application made by the central agency on June 10.

On Monday, ED lawyer Nitin Venegaonkar had urged Special Judge Bhavke to declare Mallya as a ‘proclaimed offender’ to facilitate his deportation from Britain, where he is currently based since the past around four months.

In its plea, the ED argued that Mallya has refused to respond to multiple summons and a non-bailable arrest warrant issued in connection with the investigations into various cases lodged against him, and accordingly, sought the special court’s order to declare the 61-year-old businessman a ‘proclaimed offender’ under section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Under the law, a proclaimed offender is required to appear before the court within 30 days, failing which the government can initiate proceedings to attach and dispose off his assets to clear his outstandings, Venegaonkar said.

The latest development came barely two days after Mallya denied all allegations against him and termed the ongoing investigations as “heavily biased”, and holding him “guilty without trial”.

The ED is in touch with Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice against Mallya, which could facilitate his arrest anywhere in the world.

In April, the Indian government had cancelled Mallya’s passport and made a formal request to the British authorities for his deportation. (IANS)

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Americans gave record $373.3 billion as charity in 2015

Jun 14, 2016 0

New York– In 2015, charitable giving among Americans hit a record $373.3 billion with individuals donating over two-thirds of the amount, according to the annual report by the Giving USA Foundation.

Donations from foundations, corporations, estates and individuals rose four per cent last year, that was “record-setting whether measured in current or inflation-adjusted dollars,” the report says.

W. Keith Curtis

W. Keith Curtis

The figure was lower than the 6.1 per cent inflation-adjusted growth reported in 2014, but the unceasing climb indicates philanthropic giving especially by individuals is growing.

“It’s heartening that people really do want to make a difference, and they’re supporting the causes that matter to them,” said W. Keith Curtis, chairman of the Giving USA Foundation, adding that Americans are embracing philanthropy at a higher level than ever before.

According to the report, $264.6 billion came from individuals, 3.8 per cent more compared to 2014. Foundations donated $58.6 billion, up 6.5 percent. Corporate giving was $18.45 billion up 3.9 percent, with charitable bequests lifted 2.1 per cent to $31.76 billion.

The largest share of the donations – $119.3 billion went to religious organisations, with education and human services receiving $57.48 and $45.21 billion, according to the report.

The least was contributed to the environment and animals – $10.68 billion, as well as international affairs – $15.75 billion.

The only segment that suffered a decline last year was giving to foundations, which fell by four percent when inflation-adjusted, to $42.3 billion.

The data revealed in the report was researched by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

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Salient features of India’s draft Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill

Jun 14, 2016 0

Following are the salient points of the draft Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill:

* GST rate not specified in the constitutional amendment bill, as desired by the Congress. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said there was complete consensus at the empowered committee meeting that there should be no constitutional cap on the GST rate.

* All forms of “supply” of goods and services such as sale, transfer, barter, exchange, license, rental, lease and import of services of goods and services made for a consideration will attract CGST (central levy) and SGST (state levy).

* As GST will apply on “supply”, the erstwhile taxable heads such as “manufacture”, “sale” and “provision of services”, among others, will lose relevance.

* The liability to pay CGST or SGST will arise at the time of supply.

* With GST to be applicable according to whether a transaction is “intra-state” or “inter-state”, separate provisions are there to help an assessee determine the place of supply for goods and services.

* States will draft their own State GST based on the draft model law with minor variations.

* GST would be payable on “transaction value”, being the price actually paid or payable, and said to include all expenses in relation to sale, such as packing and commission.

* As the threshold limit, the draft GST Bill proposes Rs 10 lakh, and for Northeast states and Sikkim, an amount of Rs 5 lakh.

 

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Renewables sector set to get $7.8 trillion investment by 2040: Report

Jun 14, 2016 0

Paris– The currently weak coal and gas prices will not stop record investment of nearly $7.8 trillion in the world renewable energy sector over the coming decades as the cost of generating clean energy drops, a report said on Tuesday.

With renewables set to attract $7.8 trillion by 2040, the impact of cheap gas and coal will be offset by drops of 41 per cent and 60 per cent respectively, the Bloomberg New Energy Outlook 2016 said.

Jon Moore, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a statement that though compared to a year ago, coal and gas prices are projected to go “significantly lower”, the report “strikingly, still shows rapid transition towards clean power”.

The shift to a low-carbon energy sector will not happen quickly enough to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius, the report said.

The Paris Agreement last December calls for capping the earth’s average surface temperature at “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.

Additional investment of $5.3 trillion in zero-carbon power, over the projected $7.8 trillion would be needed by 2040 to achieve even the two-degree target, the report added.

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Tourism projects worth Rs 300 crore cleared for UP

Jun 14, 2016 0

New Delhi– Trying to reach out to the religious pilgrims in Uttar Pradesh, the central government on Tuesday cleared tourism projects worth over Rs 300 crore “in-principle” in Uttar Pradesh under the Ramayan and Krishna Circuits.

The decision was taken at the first meeting of National Committee on Ramayan Circuit and National Committee on Krishna Circuit held here under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Union Tourism Ministry.

Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma

Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma

The meeting was chaired Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma and attended among others by Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi, experts and senior officials of the ministry, an official release said here.

The Ministry has launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2014-15 with an aim to develop theme based tourist circuits in the country on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner, the release said.

Under Ramayana Circuit, 11 destinations spread across six states have been proposed. These are : Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringhverpur and Chitrakoot (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi, Buxar and Darbhanga (Bihar), Jagdalpur (Chattisgarh), Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Hampi (Karnataka) and Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu).

The expert committee also suggested to include Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh), Nashik and Nagpur (Maharashtra) and Mahendragiri (Odisha) in the proposed circuit, the release said.

Under Krishna circuit, 12 destinations spread across five states have been proposed. These are: Dwarka (Gujarat); Nathdwara, Jaipur and Sikar (Rajasthan); Kurukshetra (Haryana), Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Barsana, Nandgaon and Govardhan (Uttar Pradesh) and Puri (Odisha).  (IANS)

 

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