Virtusa’s open offer to purchase 26 percent Polaris stake

Mar 22, 2016 0

WESTBOROUGH, MA –Virtusa Corp, Westborough, MA-based technology outsourcing company, has floated an open offer to purchase 26 percent stake in Polaris Consulting & Services at Rs.220.73 per share and amounting to a total outlay of Rs.590 crore, a release said on Tuesday.

The offer which started on March 11, closes on March 28.

Kris A. Canekeratne

Kris A. Canekeratne

The open offer price of Rs.220.73 for the shares of Polaris reflects a premium of about 31 percent over the price of 6 months ago and about 40 percent over the price one year ago, the statement said.

“The earning numbers of Polaris have been average to below average over the last few quarters. Overall the small-cap and mid-cap IT companies have been laggards over the last six to nine months.

“The good performance of Polaris on the bourses is mainly on account of the ongoing open offer, After March 28, we expect the stock of Polaris to retreat,” said Dinkar Shanbhag, head- Institutional Equity, at Mumbai-based broking firm Lotus Global.

On March 3, Virtusa announced that its India subsidiary, Virtusa Consulting Services Private Limited (“Virtusa India”), has acquired all of the outstanding shares of Polaris Consulting & Services, Ltd. (“Polaris”) (BSE: POLARIS NSE: POLARIS MSEI: POLARIS) held by Mr. Arun Jain, founder and chairman of Polaris, Orbitech Private Limited, and certain other minority stockholders, representing an aggregate of approximately 51.7% of the fully diluted outstanding shares of Polaris for an average of $3.12 per share (INR 213.883 per share), for an aggregate purchase consideration of $165.89 million (INR 11,364 million).

Jitin Goyal will remain CEO of Polaris, and was appointed President, BFS, to lead Virtusa’s and Polaris’ business operations serving the banking and financial services verticals. Raj Rajgopal, President of Virtusa, was appointed President, ETS, and will lead Virtusa’s and Polaris’ operations serving the insurance, communications & technology, and media, information & other verticals. In their respective roles, Mr. Goyal and Mr. Rajgopal will be responsible for executing Virtusa’s and Polaris’ growth strategies, which will include driving over $100 million of cumulative revenue synergies over the next three fiscal years from the business combination.

Kris Canekeratne, Virtusa’s Chairman and CEO, stated, “We are extremely pleased to close phase one of the Polaris transaction and we look forward to completing the mandatory open offer to Polaris’ public shareholders. Combined, Virtusa and Polaris create a robust platform and a unique and compelling value proposition. We are enthusiastic about providing end-to-end solutions and services in banking and financial services, greatly expanding our addressable market and positioning us well to pursue larger consulting and outsourcing opportunities.”

Mr. Canekeratne continued, “I would also like to congratulate Jitin and Raj on their respective appointments. Their unparalleled industry expertise, leadership skills, and proven track record of driving business growth will be invaluable as we embark on our next phase of expansion.”

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20th Annual Wharton India Economic Forum Starts on Saturday

Mar 22, 2016 0

PHILADELPHIA, PA—The 20th Annual Wharton India Economic Forum, which will focus on the next chapter of Indian development and growth, will kick off on Saturday in Philadelphia, PA. The event is organized by Wharton School.

Indian Ambassador Arun Singh (file photo)

Indian Ambassador Arun Singh (file photo)

Key speakers include Arun Kumar Singh, Indian Ambassador to the US, and Sri Rajan, Chairman of Bain India.

The annual conference will be held on Saturday, March 26, in Philadelphia and provide an in-depth look into the next chapter of Indian development and growth and will provide a birds-eye view of the Indian economic and business landscape, as well as India-US relations.

Key speakers and their topics this year are:

  • Arun Kumar Singh, Indian Ambassador to the US, who will speak about evolving India-US relations
  • Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO at Viacom 18, a leading television network and media company based in Mumbai, who will discuss India’s rapidly developing media landscape
  • Sri Rajan, Chairman of Bain & Company’s India office, who will speak about the Indian business and economic landscape today
  • Kamal Haasan, Indian actor who will speak about his inspirational film and philanthropic careers

Other sessions will touch on infrastructure, education, and investing outlook, and also presenting will be Ketto (crowdfunding) and Kheyti, (a greenhouse technology solution for farmers) the two winners of the India Startup Competition held in Mumbai in January.

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Cisco to invest $100 million to support digitization

Mar 18, 2016 0

New Delhi– Global IT company Cisco on Friday announced a $100 million investment plan for India to support the next phase of digitisation in the country.

The planned series of strategic investments include $40 million to fund early-stage and growth-stage companies in the country and train 250,000 students by 2020, the company said.

John Chambers

John Chambers

The investment forms part of Cisco’s global ‘Country Digitisation Acceleration’ or CDA programme, under which the company will collaborate closely with state governments on strategic initiatives including the addition of six new innovation labs, three centres of expertise, funded university collaborations and skills investments.

“Digitisation goes beyond connectivity. With our increased investments in education and innovation, we are harnessing the power of technology to launch a generation of problem solvers who will innovate like technologists, think like entrepreneurs and act as social change agents,” said Cisco’s executive chairman John Chambers.

According to Dinesh Malkani, president, Cisco India and Saarc, Cisco’s announcement underscores India’s strategic importance to the company’s global operations.

“We are thrilled that India has been chosen for Cisco’s global country digitisation acceleration programme. India’s digital transformation will grow the economy faster, will provide employment and inclusion, will enable innovation opportunities and help deliver affordable citizen services to become more competitive on the global stage,” Malkani said.

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India plans to invest $120 billion in airport infrastructure

Mar 17, 2016 0

Hyderabad–India is planning to invest over $120 billion in the development of airport infrastructure and aviation navigation services over the next decade with the civil aviation sector poised for fast growth, said President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday.

President Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee

Inaugurating India Aviation 2016 here, he said the sector is poised for a faster and sustainable growth with the development of 100 smart cities; new economic corridors; more than 50 new airports and expansion of existing airports.

“The deeper air penetration to smaller cities; better connectivity to northeastern part of India; higher disposable incomes of the middle class of India is expected to further propel the growth of Indian civil aviation industry,” he said.

Mukherjee noted that India registered a growth of 14 percent in civil aviation sector during the last decade. With foreign direct investment (FDI) in air transport during the last 15 years touched the mark of $570 million, he said India continues to be a favourite destination for foreign investors in civil aviation sector.

The government has allowed FDI through the automatic route to the tune of 100 percent in green field airports; helicopter services and seaplanes; maintenance and repair organizations and flying training institutes. He also pointed out that 49 percent FDI is allowed through the automatic route for domestic scheduled passenger airlines and ground handling services.

“The open sky policy; greater focus on infrastructure development; liberal FDI norms; robust technical and engineering capabilities; assured supply of skilled workforce in information technology and communication network has opened the doors to global players. This will make India a manufacturing hub of aerospace industry,” he said.

Mukherjee said as India is at the threshold of taking a major leap in the aviation sector, this event is well timed and resonates well with the latest policy initiatives of ‘Make in India’, ‘Stand up India’ and ‘Start up India’. He called upon the global giants to seize this opportunity and take lead to forge long-term partnerships.

He also noted Indian civil aviation market is growing at a rapid pace and now ranks ninth in the world. It is estimated that by 2020, India would be the third largest civil aviation market. With a network of domestic and 85 international airlines connecting 40 countries, Indian airports handled passenger traffic of 190 million persons in 2015.

“Yet India is one of the least penetrated air markets in the world with 0.04 trips per capita per annum as compared to 0.3 percent of China and more than 2 in the USA,” he said.

The president also noted that despite rapid growth of civil aviation industry in India, several Tier II and Tier III cities as well as the northeastern states still remain unconnected or inadequately connected with the national grid.

Stating that by 2020, the total passenger traffic in India is likely to touch 421 million, he urged the government and all stakeholders to leverage this tremendous business opportunity.

“It is estimated that India shall require at least 800 aircraft by 2020 to cater to the phenomenal increase of air passenger and freight traffic. The supporting aviation infrastructure has to be suitably upgraded by building new greenfield airports; expanding the existing airports and upgrading facilities for maintenance, repair and operations.”

The five-day biennial event, the biggest conference and exhibition on civil aviation in the country, is being attended by delegates from 25 countries. More than 200 companies are participating in the event being held at Begumpet Airport.

As many as 29 aircraft are on static display. Canada and US are the partner countries for the event which has the theme “Indian civil aviation sector: Potential as global manufacturing and MRO hub”.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the aviation said for last one-and-half year the sector has registered good growth, attracting attention of all.

Civil Aviation Secretary R. N. Choubey said the civil sector was growing at 20 percent per annum. “The growth in domestic flying is 25 percent per annum which is unparalleled and which is not happening anywhere in the world,a he said.

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao were also present.

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Real estate bill passed, government says will bring property prices down

Mar 15, 2016 0

New Delhi–The real estate bill pending before parliament since 2013 was finally passed on Tuesday with the Lok Sabha giving its nod as members cutting across party lines backed it. Terming the development “historic”, Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu asserted the new law will help bring down property prices.

Members rising above party lines including from the Congress, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Indian Union Muslim League supported the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Bill, which had been passed by the Rajya Sabha on March 10.

Indian ParliamentReplying to the debate on the bill in the lower house, Naidu assured that the government is also open to discuss with the builders if they have any issue with the bill.

“We are not against builders. If there are problem with the builders, I am ready to discuss it with them anytime,” he said, adding the speedy land clearances for the real estate projects will help in bringing down prices of the houses.

“I say you will get more investment, you will get early clearances and the property prices will come down.”

Naidu said the bill was brought in the house after consultation with several stake holders including the ministries of defence, civil aviation, environment and consumer affairs.

Expressing satisfaction after members expressed their support to the bill, he said: “It is a historic moment for the country as we are fulfilling the aspirations of the people who wish to own a house, giving them the needed protection. The bill will be giving credibility to real estate sector also.”

During the debate, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Malikarjun Kharge extended his party’s support, saying: “We want to pass the bill.”

RSP member N.K. Premchandran and RJD’s Jaiprakash Narain Yadav also supported it.

BJD’s Kalikesh Singh Deo complimented the government for bringing the bill.

“There was an absolute screaming need for regulation to be brought in. Under the previous avatar, many laws and many authorities regulated different aspects of the real estate business environment. The excesses caused by the imbalance of power during negotiations between consumers and sellers were indeed extreme,” he said.

IUML’s E.T Mohammad Basheer also called it “a very good piece of legislation” but wondered whether there will be clash with the central law as various states also have legislation in this regard.

In his reply, Naidu stressed that the builders should fulfill the promises they make to the flat buyers.

“The builders will have to do their duty. Parliament is not interested in interfering with their activity. What you (builders) are committing, what you are promising, fulfill that. This is the only purpose of this real estate bill,” he said.

The minister also said that he will write to all the chief ministers requesting them to give speedy clearances to the real estate projects in their states.

A major benefit for consumers proposed in the bill is that builders will have to quote prices based on carpet area and not super built-up area, while carpet area has been clearly defined in the bill to include usable spaces like kitchen and toilets.

The bill makes it mandatory for all commercial and residential real estate projects where the land is over 500 square metres, or eight apartments, to register with the regulator for launching a project.

For failure to register, it proposes a penalty of up to 10 percent of the project cost or three years’ imprisonment.

Naidu said the main purpose of the bill is to protect consumers’ interest.

“Sometimes we are called pro-business, I do not mind being called that. After all business and industry (people) are also Indians,” he said, adding the interests of farmers and consumers will be protected.

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Airbus unveils mix of procurement

Mar 14, 2016 0

New Delhi–The Airbus Group not just intends to top its target of $2 billion in total procurement from this country over five years by 2020, but also launch a series of measures under the “Make in India” programme, a top official said here on Monday.

Pierre de Bausset

Pierre de Bausset

Addressing a press conference, Pierre de Bausset, president and managing director, Airbus Group India, said the aerospace giant proposed to transfer the Panther’s assembly line to India and establish the country as a global hub for these choppers.

“Every commercial Airbus aircraft being produced today is partly made in India,” the executive said, adding that also on the cards was the proposal to establish a final assembly line for making Airbus’s fixed wing C295 aircraft for defence application.

Ashish Saraf, vice president for industry development, said the group’s “Make in India” strategy included establishing the country as a hub for complex and demanding global aerospace ecosystem, train medium firms to becoming Airbus suppliers and play matchmaker among its suppliers.

“The investments could exceed Rs.5,000 crores, resulting in the creation of over 10,000 jobs,” he said, adding the ecosystem that has been envisaged for the small and medium enterprises companies in India is to support the complete line of aircraft manufacturing, testing and delivery.

Xavier Hay, president of the chopper division for India, spoke about the partnership with Mahindra Defence for a joint venture company with the objective to become private strategic partners for the helicopter platforms.

He said a state-of-the-art industrial cluster was planned to locally produce Panthers, aimed at 110 Naval Utility Helicopters, the Fennecs for over 200 Reconnaissance and Surveillance choppers and Caracal for the foreseen 120-plus Naval Multi Role Helicopters.

“In combining best products & state of the art technologies, Mahindra Defence and Airbus Helicopters joint venture will set up a robust and efficient Indian helicopter industrial base if the three programmes become a reality,” Hay said.

The other benefits listed by him included transfer technologies from Airbus and its suppliers, ensuring self reliance and competitiveness of the Indian helicopter manufacturing ecosystem and enhance competence in life cycle management of helicopters with Indian companies.

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India’s star shines bright in global gloom: IMF chief

Mar 12, 2016 0

New Delhi– With young workforce and continuing policy reform, India has not only emerged as the fastest-growing economy, but its stars also shine bright amid the current global gloom, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Saturday.

“It’s fitting we meet in India,” said Lagarde in her remarks at at “Advancing Asia” summit here. “It’s the world’s fastest growing large economy, on the verge of having its largest, youngest ever workforce — and, in a decade’s time, set to become the world’s most populous country.”

IMF Chief-MinisterShe also announced a training and technical assistance centre here for capacity development.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the podium, Lagarde said it was an opportune time to toast India’s achievements — and Asia’s achievements — which, she added, was a rare bright spot in this current global economic turmoil.

“India stands at a crucial moment in its history — with an unprecedented opportunity for transformation. Important reforms are underway. Think, for example, of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’. With promise of more reforms to come, India’s star shines bright.”

At the same time, Lagarde said, Asia remains home to two-thirds of the world’s poor, many of whom live in India. To address that and also make Asia’s 4.4 billion people realise their full potential, she listed six priorities:

– Broadening access to services like health and finance through steps like Jan Dhan Yojana

– Leveraging fiscal policy impact with instruments like conditional cash transfer programs

– Empowering women with access to education, dismantling barriers

– Providing amenities like water, sanitation and electricity, with better infrastructure

– Greater global trade integration for more sustained growth

– Tackling the challenge of climate change.

India has been working on several of these initiatives, said Lagarde, like the plan for universal access to banking services by 2018.

“Through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana scheme, over 210 million previously un-banked people have opened a bank account since August 2014, with social transfers paid directly,” she said, lauding the scheme.

“Then with Aadhaar system, India has come up with a groundbreaking way to deliver targeted subsidies. Almost one billion people have Aadhaar numbers, and the potential to use this for delivering payments and other services — including for women — is tremendous.”

Lagarde also announced that the IMF will open a new Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center for South Asia, which will be its first fully-integrated institution and a model for future capacity development work.

Indian officials said capacity development at the central and state levels in fiscal policies can enhance revenue mobilisation and help in the development of policies for more effective financial management. This is expected to help economic development and inclusive growth.

It will benefit other member countries of the IMF in the region — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka — with support from external partners like Australia and the Republic of Korea.

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India to become third largest aviation market in the world

Mar 10, 2016 0

New Delhi–India’s proposed new civil aviation policy must support a potential for 350 million passengers annually and $170 billion in revenues even as plans for a levy towards regional linkages and auction of traffic rights remained concerns, says a top global expert.

Tony Tyler

Tony Tyler

“We forecast that India is going to be the third largest aviation market in the world within 10 years,” said Tony Tyler, director general of International Air Transport Association (IATA). “So Certainly having an aviation plan like this is a step in the right direction,” he said.

But he also listed three ideas in the proposed policy as areas of concern:

– The 2 percent levy to fund regional connectivity.

– Auctioning of traffic rights

– Norm for user development fee based on both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue.

Tyler said the Indian aviation space was already an expensive place to operate. “By putting this regional connectivity fund levy on it is going to add something like $350 million a year further to additional costs for airlines in India,” he said in a statement.

On auctioning traffic rights, he said no country was resorting to this practice and what it will eventually yield was hard to predict. “One of them, I feel, would be the concentrating of the market in a few powerful hands,” he said.

“After all the only people who will be able to afford to buy traffic rights will be the ones who are making lots of money already. So I think it could be a very anti-competitive move and it’s something that is really unprecedented in world aviation.”

As regards arriving at the user development fee based on what is called a hybrid-till approach, Tyler said airport regulation was a complicated issue, involving different factors like rates of return and investments. Cross-subsidy, he said, was not a good idea.

“The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India is who should determine what sort of ’till’ should be used. Putting it into law and regulation through the civil aviation policy is the wrong approach,” he said, referring to a mix of aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues for levies.

Overall, Tyler said, he was excited about the prospects for Indian aviation.

“India should develop its aviation policy to realize the huge potential of this market. Indian aviation will support 19 million jobs and $170 billion in GDP,” he said.

“We see the potential for 350 million passengers by 2034. We see an enormous potential for the airlines and, of course, for aviation to play a vital role that it can do in connecting the Indian economy within India and also to the world,” he added.

“But to do that the government needs to move forward with the right policy approaches and those policy approaches are the ones that embrace the idea of partnership with the industry and deep consultation with industry because we all want the same in the end.” (IANS)

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Indian Policy and Business Briefs

Mar 10, 2016 0

Food ProcessingGovt. OKs 100% FDI in Marketing Food Products Made in India

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that 100 percent foreign direct investment is to be allowed in the marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India. This will benefit farmers, give impetus to food processing industry and create significant employment opportunities.

Threshold Limits Raised to Ease M&A

In a move aimed at improving the ease of doing business, the Government has raised the financial threshold limit for companies seeking approval from the Competition Commission for proposed mergers and acquisitions. The latest steps by the Corporate Affairs Ministry would benefit businesses, especially startups, where deal valuations are not too high.

Budget Allots $1 Billion for ‘Smart Cities,’ Urban Projects

The Government has allocated a little more than $1 billion for two key programs — the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and ‘Smart Cities’ Mission. The names of the first 20 Smart Cities, including Bhubaneswar, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Bhopal, were announced late last month.

India, U.S. to Promote Traditional Treatments to Fight Cancer

India has partnered with the U.S. to collaborate on research and development of traditional medicines for preventive and palliative cancer care, a move aimed at bringing in more global acceptability and credibility for traditional treatments. The collaboration is also expected to open the market for traditional treatments.

Foreign Military Sales Procedure with U.S. Streamlined

The Ministry of Defense has streamlined the foreign military sales procedure with the U.S. to make it more efficient. Rather than raising bills on a case-by-case basis every quarter, all the funds against various cases have been pooled together in one body.

Global Tech Firms Eye Indian Expansion

Global technology companies such as Oracle and Cisco are lining up investments to capture opportunities under the Digital India and Make in India initiatives. Safra Catz, global CEO of Oracle said, “Digital India and Make in India are truly inclusive. We will release further resources to grow much larger in India.”

Private Equity Investments in India Hit New High in 2015

India was the top destination for private equity and venture capital investors in 2015. The country received a record $22 billion in investments last year, 32 percent more than the previous highest of $17 billion in 2007, according to a report by Bain & Co. India. Consumer technology, real estate, banking, financial services and insurance top the sectors that attracted investors, accounting for 65 percent of deal value.

Report: Luxury Car Sales in India to Double by 2020 

Analysts believe luxury vehicle sales in the country will more than double in the next five years. Luxury vehicle sales in 2015 grew 6.4 percent year compared to the previous year. The market was led by Mercedes-Benz, which won back the leadership position from Audi by selling nearly 12,900 units.

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India dares Monsanto with 70 percent cut in technology fees

Mar 10, 2016 0

By Vivian Fernandes

The union agriculture ministry headed by Radha Mohan Singh has notified a sharp, 70 percent reduction in fees payable to Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech (MMBL) for its patented cottonseed technology, disregarding the company’s threat that it would have “no choice but to re-evaluate every aspect of our position in India”, if this were to happen.

The issue has acquired nationalist vs multinational overtones and might deter investors from coming to ‘make in India’.

Radha Mohan Singh

Radha Mohan Singh

The ministry has set the maximum selling price for a 450-gram pack of the genetically-modified seeds known by the trade name Bollgard II or BG-II at Rs.800 for the whole of India. This includes a technology fee of Rs.9 and seed value of Rs.751.

The maximum selling price of the previous version called BG-I has been fixed at Rs.635. The ministry has said no technology fee is payable for it, as it is off patent. BG-I was the first genetically-modified cottonseed which India approved for cultivation in 2002.

MMBL was charging Rs.163 per pack as technology (trait) fees for BG-II, which has two insecticidal genes obtained from agro-bacteria for greater resistance to a deadly pest called bollworm. It has been asserting that trait fees are governed by private agreements and cannot be decided by the government. Trait fees are different from royalty for which MMBL charges a lumpsum when licensing the technology.

The agriculture ministry brought Bt cottonseeds under price control last December. MMBL has moved the Delhi High Court against the order, and specifically against government regulation of trait fees. But it failed to obtain relief at a hearing on March 9. The next hearing has been fixed for March 23.

Currently, various states have price control orders. Maharashtra had fixed the price of BG-II at Rs.830 for the 2015 sowing season, ahead of the monsoon. The rate in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is Rs.930. In Punjab and Haryana it is Rs.1,000. The central government order supersedes them all. It introduces a single price for the whole country.

Earlier attempts by states to fix trait fees were quashed by courts, though they have upheld their authority to fix prices.

The nine-member price committee set up by the agriculture ministry did not have a representative of MMBL though BG-II covers nearly all of India’s cotton acreage.

“We are in the process of examining the notification in detail and will be able to comment only after we study the document in its entirety,” MMBL’s spokesman said.

Kalyan Goswami, the rxecutive director of the National Seeds Association of India (NSAI), said it was “pleased to note that the farmers’ voice had been heard by the Ministry of Agriculture”. NSAI had asked the ministry to lower the trait fee because BG-II technology was facing “redundancy”. NSAI is a party to the dispute in the high court.

There have been reports of pink bollworm developing resistance to the technology in parts of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana. The state-owned Central Institute of Cotton Research said that about ten percent of the crop had been affected. But the resistance can be managed. The technology is still effective against other varieties like the American bollworm and the spotted bollworm.

“We strongly oppose the decision… as it violates the principles of free market economics,” Shivendra Bajaj, executive director of the Association of Biotech-led Enterprises-Agriculture Focus Group (ABLE-AG) said in a statement. ABLE-AG is a grouping of 13 agri-biotech companies.

“By slashing trait fees, the government has clearly shown that it is going for short-term populist measures rather than supporting innovation… The decision will be detrimental in the long run as companies may have to reconsider their investments in seed-based R&D… due to the current uncertain environment,” Bajaj added.

In this battle of between nationalists and a multinational who will come on top?

The president of NSAI is Prabhakar Rao, the founder and managing director of Hyderabad-based Nuziveedu Seeds Limited (NSL). MMBL has terminated the licenses of NSL and its two subsidiaries, which were its largest franchisees. MMBL says the three companies have not paid it about Rs.165 crore in trait fee dues collected from farmers. Rao is said to be close to the agriculture minister.

The ministry has also made a reference to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to investigate MMBL for abuse of dominance. The CCI will look into the issue.

There has been a virtual, though not formal, split in the NSAI, with multinational members of the association opposing the NSAI’s official stance in favour of price control and reduction of trait fees.

Some commentators have warned the agriculture ministry against sending a message that would unnerve investors. The government has been urged to try competition, not price controls as means to reduce prices. Encouraging technologies rival to BG-II should be the route to take, it was suggested.

Several business newspapers have said the government should not be disincentivising innovation and firms like Monsanto.

But while the government is talking about “Make in India”, its ministers seem to be unmaking the effort.

(Vivian Fernandes is editor of www.smartindianagriculture.in.)

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