Indian Business Briefs: Hollywood Revenue in India Jumps 92 Percent

Feb 4, 2016 0

Modi-BriefsPM Modi: My Goal is ‘Reform to Transform’
Prime Minister Modi spelled out his elaborate vision for India at The Economic Times Global Business Summit held in New Delhi. Listing the many successes of his Government, he said he will continue to strive and give more opportunities to all Indians. His motto, he said, is to transform the life of every Indian through reforms.

Infosys, TCS Invest in Obama’s ‘Computer Science for All’ Plan
India’s top software companies, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, have joined Google and Salesforce to support President Obama’s just announced $4 billion “Computer Science for All” initiative that aims to dramatically increase the number of children with access to computer science training in the U.S. and build a more technologically advanced nation.

Apple CEO Tim: Indian Smartphone Market is Great
Tim Cook is betting on India for the long term. Apple is hoping that the country’s younger population thirst for top-of-the-line consumer products and economic growth prospects will help pick up the slack as other markets falter. In its first-quarter earnings call, CEO Cook said Apple will continue to invest in India despite the global slowdown and currency fluctuations.

India Becomes World’s Largest Exporter of Rice
In data released by the Thai Rice Exporters Association, India has beaten Thailand to become the largest exporter of rice in the world. According to the reports, India exported 10.2 million tons of rice in 2015 as compared to Thailand’s 9.8 million tons.

Hollywood Revenue in India Jumps 92%
Total Indian revenue for Hollywood films, according to trade magazine Box Office India, rose by more than 92% in 2015. Nearly one-quarter of the revenue for the year came from one movie-Vin Diesel’s action thriller “Fast and Furious 7,” which grossed $15 million in India.

Ford Mustang To Debut in India in 2016
Ford plans to launch its iconic Mustang sports car in India in the second quarter of this year. The company currently sells models such as EcoSport and Endeavour in the country. “First time in 50 years we have right-handed Mustang,” said Ford India Managing Director and President Nigel Harris.

smart citiesFirst 20 Smart Cities Revealed
The Government announced the first 20 Smart Cities, which include five capital cities, to be developed as Smart Cities. Bhubaneswar in Odisha topped the city challenge competition. The Government has also offered a fast-track window for the next rejected 23 cities based on their ranks to upgrade their proposals and submit them by April 15 for re-evaluation.

Govt. OKs Setting Up Over 5000MW of Grid-Connected Solar Projects
The Cabinet has given its approval for setting up more than 5,000 MW of grid-connected solar PV power projects on a build, own and operate basis. The total investment is about $4.4 billion. This would generate about 30,000 new jobs and reduce 8.5 million tons of CO2 emissions every year.

Govt. Reduces Documentation for Import-Export Code
To facilitate ease of doing business and lessen paperwork, the Commerce Ministry has decided to reduce the number of mandatory documents for taking import-export code to two. Earlier, several documents were required to get the code number.

CBDT: 100 Transfer Pricing Disputes with U.S. Resolved
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has said it has resolved as many as 100 transfer pricing disputes with the U.S., which will lead to an environment of “tax certainty and encourage MNCs” to do business in India. The resolution of such issues, the CBDT said further, follows the framework agreement signed with U.S. revenue authorities in January last year.

Competition Commission OKs Marriott-Starwood Deal
The Competition Commission of India has given its nod for acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts by Marriott International, setting the stage for the Marriott and Starwood combine to create a hospitality behemoth in India. The merger would not only create the world’s largest hotel chain but also the biggest hotel chain in India by rooms.

Central Bank Mandates Online Forms For FDI Filing
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to file forms related to foreign direct investment only online on the e-Biz portal starting February 8. With a view to “promoting ease of reporting” of such transactions, RBI, under the e-Biz project of the government, has enabled online filing of three returns — ARF, FCGPR and FC-TRS.

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India and IMF to host meet on Asia’s economic challenges

Feb 2, 2016 0

By Arun Kumar

WASHINGTON– Asia’s strong economic performance, its increased resilience to shocks and the region’s ongoing economic policy challenges will be the focus of a high-level conference in New Delhi March 11-13.

Co-hosted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Indian government, “Advancing Asia: Investing for the Future” will bring together officials, corporate executives, academics, and civil society representatives from more than 30 countries spanning Asia and the Pacific.

Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde

“Advancing Asia provides a forum for Asia-Pacific leaders to discuss a region renowned for its economic successes over the past decades,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

“As Asia’s advanced, emerging market and developing economies move to the next stage of success, they face the key challenge of how to maintain and enhance the region’s high growth record while boosting jobs, reducing inequality, accelerating infrastructure and human capital development and implementing other growth-enhancing reforms.

“I am very pleased to cooperate closely with the Government of India on this conference that will explore how the region can meet these policy challenges through investments in the future,” Lagarde said.

Key topics to be discussed at the conference will include the most effective drivers of growth; income inequality, demographic change, and gender; infrastructure investment; climate change; managing capital flows; and financial inclusion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lagarde will be among the conference’s keynote speakers.

Other official sector participants will include Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao, Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, and Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Advancing Asia follows the Asia 21: Leading the Way Forward conference, a conference held in Daejeon, South Korea in 2010, where leaders gathered to discuss the region’s role in a global economy recovering from the Global Financial Crisis.

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Indian Business Briefs

Jan 29, 2016 0

Obama: Both U.S. and India Can Increase Trade and Investment
President Obama welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to cut red tape and make it easier for doing business in India. In an interview to PTI, Obama said that both countries can do even more to increase trade and investment that create jobs in both nations. “The United States continues to look at our export controls to make sure Indian companies have the same access to American technology as our closest allies,” Obama said.

Ambassador: Partnership Between U.S. Innovation, Indian Startups
There is a deep partnership between innovation in the U.S. and startups in India, Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Arun K. Singh said, days after Prime Minister Modi launched the ambitious Startup India program in New Delhi. “In the last couple of years, there has been a lot of energy in the startup domain in India,” Singh told in a recent interview.

Report: Foreign Investment to India Doubles to $59 Billion in 2015
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flow to India nearly doubled to $59 billion in 2015, largely boosted by steps taken by the Government to improve the investment climate, according to UNCTAD’s latest report on global investment flows. Globally, FDI flows surged 36 percent to an estimated $1.7 trillion, their highest level since the financial crisis of 2008-09.

Govt. To Organize India Investment Summit from Feb.4-6, 2016
The Finance Ministry will organize an “India Investment Summit” during February 4-6, 2016 in New Delhi. A large number of long-term investors are expected to participate in the Summit. Apart from infrastructure related Federal Ministries and Departments, many State Govts. will also take part.

International Solar Alliance to Have Headquarters in India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of France Francois Hollande laid the foundation stone of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) headquarters in Gwalpahari, Gurgaon. The ISA is part of Modi’s vision to bring clean and affordable energy within the reach of all and create a sustainable world.

Govt. Creates Body to Speed Up Incorporation
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has launched the Central Registration Centre with the objective of providing speedy incorporation related services within stipulated time frames which are in line with international best practices. The body will further automate the approval processes by utilizing advanced software tools and engines, rationalizing and modifying rules and engaging professionals to expedite the process of manual scrutiny.

Global Accounting Standards for Banks, Insurance Firms
The Government has issued the roadmap for implementation of globally accepted accounting standards for commercial banks, insurance companies and non-banking financial companies. The new accounting standards have been converged with International Financial Reporting Standards.

Cabinet OKs New Power Tariff Policy
The Cabinet has allowed amendments to the national tariff policy that provide for differential power prices in a day, and allow power companies to pass on central taxes to consumers and expand existing generation capacity by 100 percent. “The new amendment would allow consumers to become producers of electricity,” Power Minister Piyush Goyal said.

Shipyards Gain Infrastructure Status
The Government has granted infrastructure status to the shipyard industry, a move aimed at promoting the “Make in India” initiative. With the infrastructure status, the shipyard industry will be able to receive flexible structuring of long-term project loans, long-term funding from infrastructure funds at lower interest rates and other benefits.

IMF Keeps India Two-Year Growth Forecast at 7.5%
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) retained India’s growth forecast for the next two years in its latest update of the World Economic Outlook.The update released expects the Indian economy to grow 7.5% in Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018, the fastest among major economies.

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Telangana to be most preferred technology investment destination

Jan 26, 2016 0

HYDERABAD– Telangana has conceived a unique Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy to make the state the most preferred technology investment destination in the country, Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan said on Tuesday.

In his address at the main Republic Day celebrations at Parade Grounds here, he said that the youngest state of India is seen as a global investment destination given its progressive policies in infrastructure and power.

Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan with Prime Minister Modi (Photo: Wikipedia)

Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan with Prime Minister Modi

Narasimhan, who is the governor of the two Telugu states, rushed to Hyderabad after unfurling national flag and reviewing the parade at the main celebrations at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, his cabinet colleagues and top officials attended the ceremony.

The governor pointed out that Telangana has notched up IT exports of Rs.68,258 crore with as many as 1,300 companies including 500 global firms having their operations.

The IT Infrastructure Region (ITIR) being promoted with the central support in and around Hyderabad is geared up to generate IT exports of Rs.235,000 crore eventually with a projected direct employment of nearly 15 lakh and indirect employment of nearly 53 lakh. This may fetch additional tax revenue to the state of over Rs.30,000 crore.

The state launched T-Hub, the largest startup incubator in the country, with 70,000 square feet space in Hyderabad. The second phase with an investment of Rs.150 crore and built up area of 3 lakh square feet is scheduled for rollout by the end of this year.

Under its investor friendly initiative TS-iPASSs, the state has attracted Rs.25,000 crore investment by permission for setting up of 1,013 industrial units with employment potential of 75,000.

Narasimhan pointed out that Hyderabad accounts for 20 percent of India’s total pharma exports. The government plans to set up new pharma city with public private partnership to cement the state as a leader of pharma sector.

Several mega industrial programmes like Hyderabad-Warangal industrial corridor and textile hub at Warangal were initiated to kickstart the economy and enhance employment opportunities for youth.

He said the state created a landmark with a budgetary outlay of more than Rs.1.15 lakh crore for 2015-16 with a plan allocation of more than Rs.52,000 crore. Under this, the per capital plan allocation has doubled compared to financial year 2013-14.

The government is spending Rs.43,000 crore exclusively on welfare sector. “This testimony of the commitment to significantly improve public spending for the development of the state,” he said.

He said the government through its policies and strategies ended chronic power deficit and made the state free from bane of power cuts. The goal is to make available 25,000 megawatt of additional power.

Mission Kakatiya, one of the flagship programmes, is aimed at reviving 45,300 irrigation tanks with an outlay of Rs.22,500 crore over next five years.

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Time Inc. Names Finalists for Inaugural TIME India Awards

Jan 22, 2016 0

DAVOS, Switzerland–Time Inc. announced nine companies in sectors ranging from automobile engineering to steel manufacturing as the finalists for the inaugural TIME India Awards at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. McKinsey & Company is the knowledge partner on this project.

Time logoNorman Pearlstine, Chief Content Officer for Time Inc. will announce the winners at a ceremony in Mumbai on Feb. 13, at which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the guest of honor. The event will kick-off a weeklong series of events to mark the Indian government’s “Make in India” initiative to boost the country’s manufacturing sector.

The nine finalists were selected from a pool of approximately 3,000 manufacturing companies after a rigorous evaluation of qualitative and quantitative parameters.

A jury of leading international business figures will select the winners of the TIME India Awards in each category. Judges include General Electric Vice Chairman John Rice; Infosys Founder N.R. Narayana Murthy; ICICI Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar; Renault and Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn; TIME Assistant Managing Editor Rana Foroohar; and Kevin Sneader, Chairman, Asia, at McKinsey & Co. Pearlstine will chair the jury.

The awards encompass three categories: Best in Class Manufacturing, Manufacturing Innovator of the Year and Young Maker of the Year.

The finalists for the 2016 TIME India Awards:

Best in Class Manufacturing

Hindustan Unilever Limited

Shahi Exports Private Limited

Tata Steel Limited

Manufacturing Innovator of the Year

Hero MotoCorp Limited

Mahindra & Mahindra Limited

Samsung India Electronics Private Limited

Young Maker of the Year

Yogesh & Rajesh Agrawal, Ajanta Pharma Limited

Anant Vardhan Goenka, CEAT Limited

Anil Rai Gupta, Havells India Limited

Time Inc. is one of the world’s leading media companies, with a monthly global print audience of over 120 million and worldwide digital properties that attract more than 140 million visitors each month, including over 60 websites. Time’s influential brands include People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Time, Real Simple, and Southern Living, as well as more than 50 diverse titles in the United Kingdom.

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm, deeply committed to helping institutions in the private, public and social sectors achieve lasting success. With consultants in more than 100 offices in over 60 countries, across industries and functions, McKinsey brings unparalleled expertise to clients anywhere in the world.

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India’s Start-ups Action Plan: Highlights

Jan 16, 2016 0

Following are major policy highlights of Start-ups Action Plan Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled on Saturday in New Delhi while launching the ambitious ‘Start-up India’ campaign to boost digital entrepreneurship at the grass-root level:

* Income Tax exemption for first three years

* Tax exemption on capital gains

* No inspection of start-ups for three years on labour and environment law compliance post-self certification.

* Compliance regime based on self-certification

* Single point of contact for Start-up India hub as friend, mentor and guide

* Corpus of Rs.10,000 crore through Fund of Funds, Initial corpus: Rs.2,500 crore

* Faster exit through a new insolvency and bankruptcy laws to wind up a start-up in three months (90 days)

* Mobile app will be launched on April 1 to register start-ups in a day

* Portal for clearances, approvals and registrations

* Atal Innovation Mission for impetus to innovation and encourage talent, sector-specific incubators, 500 tinkering labs, pre-incubation training and seed fund for high-growth

* Norms to be relaxed for public procurements. No requirement of turnover or experience, but no relaxation of quality

* Faster patent registration and protection for IPRs

* Fast-track mechanism for start-up patent applications

* Panel of legal facilitators for start-ups to file IPRs on patents, designs, trade marks

* 80 percent rebate on filing of patent applications

* Public-private partnership (PPP) model for 35 new incubators, 31 innovation centres at national institutes, seven research parks and five bio-clusters

* Innovation core programmes for 10 lakh students in five lakh schools across the country.

* National and international start-up festivals to provide visibility

* Annual incubator grand challenge to create world class incubators

* Credit guarantee fund for start-ups.

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Taj Group’s fourth luxury Mumbai hotel opens near airport

Jan 14, 2016 0

MUMBAI– The Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces on Thursday announced the opening of its fourth luxury property, the Taj Santacruz, in Mumbai near the airport here.

Located just off the Western Express Highway, it offers close access to the city’s financial and entertainment hubs and is minutes away from both the domestic and international terminals of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Taj Santacruz Mumbai_Facade_Early morning

Taj Santacruz Mumbai_Facade_Early morning

“With its distinctive design, spacious rooms and warm service, Taj Santacruz is a luxurious new addition symbolic of the cultural melting pot that is quintessentially Mumbai and the hotel captures the spirit of the city,” said general manager Pankaj Sampat in a statement.

Taj Santacruz’s architecture, colours and styles mirrors the smorgasbord of cuisines, languages, art, cinema and festivals within its walls which are decorated with paintings and traditional sculptures by Indian artists.

“A benchmark for luxury in north Mumbai, Taj Santacruz will be an oasis for business and leisure travelers alike – it is the new jewel in the Taj crown,” said senior vice president, West India and Africa Operations, Farhat Jamal.

The hotel has 279 rooms and suites – among the largest in the city with a base of around 575 square feet, modular designs, luxuriously appointed amenities, ideal for fly-in fly-out business meetings.

Besides Taj Santacruz, the group already has its iconic first hotel Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Hotel President and the Wellington Mews, all in south Mumbai, and the Taj Land’s End in Bandra west.

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Indian pharma sector can touch $55 Billion

Jan 13, 2016 0

NEW DELHI– The Indian pharmaceuticals industry, growing currently at around 14 percent per year, can double its worth in the next four years to touch $55 billion (or Rs.4 lakh crore), union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar said on Wednesday.

Ananth Kumar

Ananth Kumar

“Pharmaceutical sector in the country is a sunrise industry. From around Rs.2 lakh crore currently, we are targetting this sector to touch Rs.4 lakh crore mark, or around $55 billion, by 2020,” the minister said here while releasing the report of the task force on “Development of Manufacturing Capabilities in each Medical Vertical in Pharmaceutical Production”.

“The sector needs to increase its growth rate by 1-2 percent every year. That’s why we have taken various policy initiatives and will keep doing that,” the minister said.

Noting that India can be a world leader in pharma, Ananth Kumar said the government is working to set up pharma parks, bulk drugs parks and medical devices parks, while the first medical devices park in the country was coming up soon.

“In the next 3 years, the country will have 6 pharma and 2 medical devices parks. There will be Rs.30,000 crore, or around $6 billion, investment on this count,” Ananth Kumar said.

He pointed out that pharma industry development was almost entirely private sector driven, with only 4-5 public sector undertakings in the sector.

“We have been telling the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to come out with a separate ministry of pharmaceuticals. It needs a full-fledged ministry,” he said.

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India to invest $140 Billion in railways in next Five Year Plan

Jan 8, 2016 0

Indian_RailwayKOLKATA– The government has decided to pump in $140 billion in the railways in the next Five Year Plan as infrastructure investment, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said here on Friday.

“We have taken a decision to invest $140 billion in the railways in the next Five Year Plan,” he said at the Bengal Global Business Summit here.

Prabhu said that the dedicated freight corridor will be completed in another three years speeding up the movement of goods and ensuring direct linkages with ports.

The railways have awarded tenders of Rs.19,000 crore over the past six months and the amount will be doubled in the near future.

He said the proposed East-West metro, which links the satellite town of Salt Lake to Howrah, has been put on the fast track and is slated to be completed in two and a half years.

The first phase of the metro services would become operational in June 2018, said Prabhu.

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India and World Bank Sign $50 Million Project to Improve Education & Skills Training for Minority Communities in India

Jan 7, 2016 0

NEW DELHI – The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a US$ 50 million credit for the Nai Manzil: Education and Skills Training for Minorities Project to help young people from minority communities complete their education and gain from market-driven training programs with the aim of improving their employment outcomes.

At the signing - Michael Haney, Operations Advisor, World Bank, Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Dinesh Singh Bisht, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Minority Affairs

At the signing – Michael Haney, Operations Advisor, World Bank, Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Dinesh Singh Bisht, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Minority Affairs

The project will support the Government of India’s national Nai Manzil (New Horizon) Scheme, a comprehensive education and skills development program for youth from minority communities, launched in August this year. The project will reach out to disadvantaged youth from minority communities and support their enrolment in open schooling, as well as provide hands-on vocational training. It will also provide post-placement support to assist them in finding sustainable employment.

“The Nai Manzil Scheme is designed as an integrated education and training program that provides youth from minority communities skills that are needed for different tasks in a rapidly changing world. Interventions under this project will support the Nai Manzil Scheme in improving the employability and performance of minority youth in the labor market,” said Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

The credit agreement for the project was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Michael Haney, World Bank’s Operations Adviser in India, on behalf of the World Bank.

“India’s demographic dividend can be harnessed only if all young people from all sections of society are equipped with the education and skills needed to make them productive members of the economy,” said Michael Haney, Operations Adviser, World Bank, India. “This project reflects the government’s intent to provide opportunities for youth from minority communities to acquire the education and training that they might have missed out on. We hope it will improve the employability and earning capacity of youth, particularly that of women, in these communities.”

Twenty percent of young people (i.e. those between 17 and 35 years of age) from minority groups (notified minorities consist of Muslims, Parsees, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, and Sikhs) are out of the labor force, which is higher than their share of the youth population. While overall the trend has been for youth in India to receive more years of formal education, youth from certain minority communities are more likely to experience lower levels of education and are more likely to be unemployed. According to the National Sample Survey 2011-2012, Muslim youth have the lowest labor market outcomes. They earn 25-30 percent lower wages, are 50 percent less likely to be engaged in the formal sector and have higher rates of unemployment.

A recent World Bank study of select skills training programs in five states of India found that well designed skills training programs make a positive difference; beneficiaries were found to experience a seven percentage point increase in employment (with a stronger result for women than for men) and a 21 percent increase in their wages. In addition, formal education continues to shape employment outcomes and long-term productivity of the youth. Youth with primary education (or less) receive 12 percent lower wages than those with secondary education, the study found.

“The objective is to help these youth to extend their formal education and enter the labor market with better employment prospects. The project will also incentivize the education and training providers to provide placement support to these students, and track them for a certain period after they have completed the study or training program,” said Muna Salih Meky, Senior Education Specialist, World Bank and John D. Blomquist, India Program Leader, Inclusion and the World Bank’s Task Team Leaders for the project.

The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm – the credit is on IDA terms with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.

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