BJP, government cheer Moody’s ratings upgrade

Nov 17, 2017 0

New Delhi– The ruling BJP and the government on Friday cheered US credit ratings agency Moody’s upgradation of India’s sovereign ratings, with party President Amit Shah and several ministers tweeting that it was a recognition of all the good work done by the NDA.

“India’s largest ever increase in Ease of Doing Business rankings, Pew study ascertaining PM ji’s popularity, Moody’s upgrade are all reflections of Modi Govt’s hard-work and reform process,” tweeted Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah.

US credit rating agency Moody’s on Friday upgraded India’s sovereign rating to Baa2 from its lowest investment grade of Baa, while changing the outlook for the country’s rating to stable from positive, and said its was based on the Indian government’s “wide-ranging programme of economic and institutional reforms”.

“Recognising India’s growth enhancing reforms under PM , Moody’s has upgraded India’s sovereign rating for the first time since 2004. Entire world is recognising “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”” Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet.

“Recognising India’s continued progress under Hon’ble Narendra Modi ji Mo’dy’s Investors Service has upgraded India’s sovereign rating for the first time since 2004, citing the nat’on’s economic and institutional reforms,” tweeted Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha. (IANS)

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Soon, India-Japan to jointly explore the moon

Nov 17, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Asserting that the relationship between the space agencies of India and Japan has had a “visible change”, the Indian Space Research Organisation chief on Friday said the countries are working towards a joint lunar mission soon.

“We are looking at a possible joint lunar mission which is still in a very preliminary stage. We are working on the details at the moment,” state-run ISRO’s Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar told media persons here.

Kumar was speaking on the sidelines of the 24th Session of Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) here. Heads of space agencies of 10 countries from the Asia-Pacific region, government bodies and industries related to space were at the event.

“The relationship between India and Japan in terms of the space agencies has had a visible change. We are working together for possible future cooperative missions,” the ISRO chief said.

President of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Naoki Okumura said: “India and Japan have been having collaborations in the space sector, which helps us share our knowledge and technologies.

“I believe that India and Japan will lead the space sector in the Asia Pacific region through these collaborations.”

Japan and India had their own lunar missions in the past. In 2009, JAXA’s lunar orbiter spacecraft Selene had impacted the lunar surface after successfully orbiting the moon for a year and eight months.

Japan had also launched Hiten Spacecraft in 1990, the country’s first lunar probe. India had launched its first lunar probe in 2008 through Chandrayaan-1, and is now gearing up for its next lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 in March next year.

The two countries are also having discussions on making use of their space technologies for providing inputs on weather monitoring, and also look to generate inputs together for climate change studies, he added.

The space agency heads of both the countries asserted that working together through collaborations is advantageous for the countries as the resources are shared.

The 24th session of the space forum held here between November 14 to 17 was attended by over 600 delegates from 35 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Heads of space agencies from India, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, Israel, Thailand, France and Russia had participated in the forum. Space representatives from China were not a part of the conclave. (IANS)

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India agrees to co-operate with Poland in Civil Aviation sector

Nov 16, 2017 0

New Delhi– India has agreed to enter into an agreement with Poland for co-operation in the field of civil aviation.

The decision was taken on Thursday by the Union Cabinet which approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Poland for the “promotion of civil aviation co-operation”.

“The MoU will be signed on behalf of the two countries after its approval by the two governments. The MoU would be for a term of five years,” an official statement said.

“The objective of the MoU is to recognise the mutual benefit of co-operation in the field of civil aviation having particular significance in establishing and improving regional air connectivity in India.”

According to the statement, amongst the main focus area of MoU is to support the civil aviation market by reviewing “any legal and procedural issues which may adversely affect co-operation between India and Poland”.

“Exchange of information and expertise between the ministries and respective civil aviation authorities related to aviation regulations, regional air operations, airworthiness requirements and safety standards to enhance safety and security of air transport,” the statement listed as other areas of co-operation. (IANS)

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Jaitley discusses strategic relationship with Singapore PM

Nov 16, 2017 0

Singapore– Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday discussed with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong the issue of upgrading the bilateral partnership to a strategic level as well as a road map to enhance economic and commercial ties.

Winding up his two-day trip to the city state for showcasing Indian economy for potential investors, Jaitley ended his engagements with a call on Lee when they discussed measures to raise the level of their bilateral ties.

“They discussed the meeting between the two Prime Ministers and elevation of the India-Singapore partnership to a strategic level and actions taken to translate their vision,” an official statement said.

“Both the leaders also discussed measures to increase engagements in bilateral trade and the further road map for enhancing India-Singapore economic and commercial ties,” it added.

Earlier, Jaitley urged Singaporean businesses to invest in India, highlighting the country as one of the largest FDI recipients with the government undertaking major structural reforms, including Aadhaar, GST and demonetisation.

“India has become the most favourable and attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI),” he told an investors’ roundtable here on Wednesday.

Jaitley said that to provide further impetus to the economy, “the present government has implemented a slew of economic reforms one after the other, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout, introduction of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and recapitalisation package for the Public Sector Banks (PSBs)”.

He said these will help to redress the banks’ balance sheet problem and revive private investment.

“The Minister also spoke about the major initiatives undertaken, including the crackdown against black money through demonetisation and other follow-up measures and major changes in the FDI policy regime with an aim to make it more liberal and investor-friendly,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

He also highlighted the “Ease of Doing Business” measures initiated in the last three years that resulted in India “jumping” in the World Bank’s Index from 146 in 2014 to 100 in October.

Earlier, in his key note address at the Singapore Fintech Festival on Wednesday, Jaitley described how Aadhaar revolution coupled with financial inclusion and its potential applications in transferring of pension, scholarship and government subsidies directly to the actual beneficiaries under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme was transforming the payment landscape in India.

He later met Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, and discussed issues of mutual interest between the two nations.

He also met his Singaporean counterpart Heng Swee Keat and discussed key reforms being implemented by the Indian government along with measures to increase mutual bilateral investments.

He met the CEO and senior officials of the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) and discussed investment opportunities across multiple sectors in India, including the National Investment and Infstrategic relationship rastructure Fund (NIIF).

Jaitley met the SIA and DBS Group Holdings Chairman, CEO of Singapore Airlines, Chairman of Blackstone and President of Singapore Stock Exchange and discussed multiple issues of mutual interest.

He also visited Singapore Expo, a global event organised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) attracting over 35,000 fintech participants, showcasing state of the art developments in fintech and engaging professionals and policy makers on insightful debates on fintech developments across the globe.

Earlier, Jaitley visited the India pavilion set up by Invest India, along with the state governments of Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Maharashtra, which are also participating in the Expo. (IANS)

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Mamata lists potential collaboration areas to Scottish businessmen

Nov 16, 2017 0

Edinburgh–  Showcasing the state’s industrial landscape among Scottish businessmen, West Bengal Chief Mamata Banerjee on Thursday charted out potential areas of collaboration ranging from engineering, services to IT and ITes, between Bengal and Scottish industries.

Banerjee was present in a business meet here organised by Scottish Development International with the support of Asia Scotland Institute and Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.

“Top business houses of Scotland were present and we had a fine round of interaction with business leaders from Bengal on prospects of investment and doing business in the state.

“I think there are potential areas where you can invest. Potential areas of collaboration included engineering, services, healthcare, education, tourism and hospitality, power and energy, life sciences and research, food processing, IT and ITeS,” she said.

She invited Scottish business heads to the Bengal Global Business Summit in January, 2018 to have a feel of the possibilities in Bengal.

Describing Bengal as the gateway of north-eastern states and South East Asia, Banerjee said Scottish investors would get an opportunity to expand their businesses in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Thailand.

Ahead of Bengal Business summit scheduled to be held in January, a state delegation led by Banerjee has been highlighting the UK investors to explore opportunities in the state’s industrial landscape. (IANS)

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Modi to inaugurate 5th edition of Global Conference on Cyber Space

Nov 16, 2017 0

New Delhi– Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the fifth edition of the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS), one of the worlds largest such, on November 23, an official statement said on Thursday.

The theme of the two-day conference is Cyber4All: A Secure and Inclusive Cyberspace for Sustainable Development.

“This is a historic moment for all of us to host the Fifth edition of the Global Conference of Cyberspace in India. I believe it is a recognition of India’s emerging role as a massive cyber power, accelerated by the Digital India push, which has acquired international acknowledgment,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Electronics & IT and Law & Justice Minister.

“The GCCS 2017 is certainly in accord with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision to transform India into a digitally empowered country. GCCS 2017 will give the world’s cyber community a unique opportunity to learn from global experience and expert insight, and discover more about the technology led transformation being engineered in India,” he added.

Incepted in 2011 in London, second GCCS was held in 2012 in Budapest with focus on relationship between internet rights and internet security, which was attended by 700 delegates from nearly 60 countries. The third edition of GCCS was held in 2013 in Seoul with commitment to Open and Secure Cyberspace. The fourth version GCCS 2015 was held on April 16-17, 2015 in The Hague, Netherlands which saw participation from 97 countries.

“The GCCS 2017 is going to be four times bigger than its previous edition in terms of its magnitude. The last conference held in The Netherlands saw about 1800 delegates, and I am happy to announce that we have over 10,000 delegates who will participate in person. There will also be virtual participation from over 2,800 locations across the world will be connected in an interactive mode,” Prasad said.

“We have had over 40 Run-up events around the world since March 2017 to precede the main event that received an unprecedented response from the policy makers, industry, academia, civil society and think tanks. We look forward to cooperation and knowledge sharing among countries to implement and replicate successful initiatives as one of the major expected outcomes of this conference,” the minister added.

The statement said representatives from 124 countries will participate in the two-day event.

“Thirty-three ministers from various nations dealing with the subject matter of cyber space (ICT or similar ministries in some countries and Foreign Ministry in others) have already confirmed. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka also is expected to come for the inaugural ceremony,” it added.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will deliver the keynote address at the valedictory function. (IANS)

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Indian companies account for $17.9 bn investments in US

Nov 15, 2017 0

New Delhi– One hundred companies with origins in India are responsible for creating more than 100,000 jobs and $17.9 billion in investments across the United States, according to a survey report.

The findings were disclosed in the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) ‘Indian Roots, American Soil’ report — a state-by-state breakdown of tangible investments made and jobs created by 100 surveyed Indian companies doing business in all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The industry body said that its survey respondents represent diverse sectors including pharmaceuticals and life sciences, telecommunications, aerospace and defence, financial services, among others.

According to the report, New Jersey, Texas, California, New York and Georgia are “home to the most number of workers in America directly employed” by Indian companies.

On foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow basis, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Wyoming received the maximum funds from Indian companies.

Further the report revealed that surveyed companies also provided data regarding their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and research and development expenditures, which totalled $147 million and $588 million, respectively.

CII released the study on Capitol Hill on Tuesday during an event that highlighted the contributions of Indian companies to the US economy in the form of FDI, jobs created and saved, research and development, skills training and local corporate social responsibility initiatives.

At the event, India’s Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna spoke in support of the contributions.

In addition to Sarna, several members of the US Congress and a delegation of CII member-companies with investments and operations in the US participated in the event.

“Indian industry and professionals are making significant contributions to the US economy — I am delighted that this fact is being recognised…,” said Ambassador Sarna.

“The presence and reach of Indian companies continues to grow each year as they invest billions of dollars and create jobs across the United States.”

Ambassador Sarna continued: “The CII study ‘Indian Roots, American Soil’ highlights Indian industry’s ascension as a significant stakeholder in the US economy — this is a critical component of our strong and vibrant bilateral relationship with the US which continues to flourish in strategic terms as well.”

CII’s Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said: “The story of Indian investment in the US is one that showcases how intertwined we are as nations that contribute to each other’s success.”

“CII is extremely optimistic about the growth of the US-India business and strategic partnership — today’s event and report launch in the heart of the US Capitol will hopefully help shine a light on an untold aspect of this story of collaboration.” (IANS)

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L&T IT arm sets up global design centre in Israel

Nov 14, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Larsen & Tubro (L&T) Technology Services Ltd on Tuesday announced setting up a design centre in Jerusalem as a global hub to develop advanced solutions in video, integrated circuits and security.

“We have expanded our presence in Israel with a Centre of Excellence (CoE) as a global hub to develop and deliver ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) design, hardware and software-based security solutions to global customers,” said the city-based company in a statement here.

The CoE will focus on diverse verticals like automotive, entertainment, Internet of Things (IoT), media and telecom.

The company has also opened a sales office in the Israeli capital Tel Aviv to expand its business and offer engineering services in verticals such as medical devices, plant engineering, semiconductors and telecom.

“The CoE is part of our investments in next-generation engineering and disruptive technologies for embedded applications, machine learning, chips and video,” said the statement but did not disclose the investment made in the facility.

The company is also in talks with Israeli universities and institutes for collaboration in research and development projects and create opportunities for growth with industry players and Israeli start-ups.

“We use digital engineering and smart technologies to enable digital transformation of our customers,” said LTTS Chief Executive Keshab Panda on the occasion.

“As Israel is rich in innovation, we plan to develop disruptive engineering services and create digital skill sets for embedded applications, machine-learning and enhanced security.”

Besides meeting the parent company’s (L&T) needs in product development, the subsidiary offers product testing and validation to its global customers.

The company is also developing the “smartest office campus” for a Israeli technology firm in partnership with global software major Microsoft.

With 15 delivery centres and 38 innovation labs in India and 11,000 techies, the company provides software services and products to 52 Fortune 500 firms and 48 of the world’s top Engineering Research and Development firms. (IANS)

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Netherlands opens consulate in Lucknow, aims to boost trade ties

Nov 14, 2017 0

Lucknow– Dutch Ambassador to India Alphonsus Stoelinga on Tuesday announced that the Netherlands has opened a consulate in Lucknow to boost trade ties between his country and the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Leading a delegation that called on the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the envoy expressed the desire of companies from the Netherlands to invest in the state.

Ambassador Stoelinga also stated that the consulate of his country in Lucknow was first outside the metropolitan cities in India.

The visiting dignitary also expressed hope that the consulate would help strike closer bonding between the industries of both Uttar Pradesh and the Netherlands and that trade would increase between the two.

During the meeting, the Chief Minister informed the delegation about the various initiatives rolled out by his government to encourage industrial investment in the state.

He said that on account of the new industrial policy, a environment conducive for investment had been created in the state.

Adityanath pointed out that sectors like infrastructure, agro-processing, tourism, dairy, electronics, agriculture and food processing, alternative energy sources and civil aviation offered immense scope and opportunities of working together.

He also extended an invitation to the Netherlands to be a “Partner State” in the proposed “Global Investors Meet”. (IANS)

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India, Canada agree to expedite finalisation of free trade pact

Nov 13, 2017 0

New Delhi– India and Canada on Monday agreed to work towards an early conclusion of a proposed bilateral free trade agreement, with New Delhi highlighting the importance of services under such a deal, an official statement said.

The proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) figured in the discussions between India’s Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu and Canadian Minister for International Trade Francois-Philippe Champagne at the 4th India-Canada Ministerial Dialogue on trade and investment here, a Commerce Ministry statement said.

“Both sides noted the exchange of wish lists on the services front. India reiterated that the architecture for services under the CEPA is a vital focus area and a response from Canada on positive elements has to be mutually beneficial,” it said.

“The Canadian side assured that they will look into the issues concerned, including movement of natural persons and what kind of provisions could be built into the CEPA,” it said.

India is keen to ensure easier movement of Indian skilled workers to Canada for short-term work.

The negotiations for the free trade agreement started in November 2010.

“The Ministers directed the chief negotiators to discuss and explore ways for early conclusion of the agreement,” it added.

The statement said that India and Canada discussed the progress made under the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) and expressed hope for its early conclusion.

They also said that bilateral trade was “much below” its untapped potential.

The bilateral merchandise trade in 2016-17 was worth $6.13 billion. (IANS)

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