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Adopt Three-Fold Mantra of Sun, Cycle and Saving in Energy Sector, Solar Energy is the Energy of Future: Anil Dave
Jul 08,2016

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Anil Madhav Dave, has strongly emphasised the need to adopt the three-fold mantra of n++Sun, Cycle and Savingn++ in the energy sector for clean and green energy. Inaugurating the Conference on Clean & Green Transport for Delhi NCR - Alternatives and Solutionsn++, Shri Dave said that solar energy is the energy of the future and Research & Development (R&D) needs to be done on solar energy, as it will revolutionise the energy sector.

The Minister advocated cycling as the best mode of transport for short distances and cited additional health benefits as another factor for adopting of cycling. Shri Dave also said that energy should not be used carelessly, as energy saved is energy produced. He added that individuals must lead by example in saving energy and also stated that non-practising environmentalists and non-practising scientists were not required.

The Environment Minister pointed out that those involved in R&D must keep in mind the different between the success achieved in laboratories and success while implementing solutions on the roads. He also urged researchers and scientists to be completely immersed in their subjects of research.

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Sri Lanka and India to focus on signing an Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement: Malik Samarawickrama
Jul 08,2016

H.E. Mr. Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade of Sri Lanka, said that discussions are underway to sign an Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA), and negotiations will commence on 20-21 July, 2016. The Minister was speaking at an interactive session organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The Minister noted that the India-Sri Lanka bilateral relationship has deepened considerably since Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena took over in 2015. The ECTA is expected to help Sri Lanka gain better access to India, the worlds fastest growing large economy. He reiterated that India is Sri Lankas largest trading partner, and the fifth-largest source of Foreign Direct Investment.

The Minister added that Sri Lanka is also negotiating similar trade agreements with China, its second-largest trade partner. This would provide an opportunity for Indian investors to set up base in Sri Lanka and export to China with preferential access to that countrys market. Sri Lanka is also looking at signing trade agreements with Singapore, Pakistan, South Korea and Japan.

The Minister said that infrastructure will continue to be a major focus for the Sri Lankan government. The government is working on creating a single electronic window for customs clearance. The Minister added that the government has reviewed 142 potential projects value at over US$40 billion that can be implemented over the next 15 years in Sri Lanka. These include projects such as highways, roadways, housing, ports, transport, pharmaceuticals, real estate, information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services, logistics and manufacturing in industrial zones. The Minister emphasized that the focus will be on the private sector, and only a few projects would take the form of a public-private-partnership (PPP). He added that Sri Lanka would be ready to assist in the provision of land for setting up major investment projects.

The Minister noted that India can play a role through infrastructure development and also by creating jobs in the services sector. Potential Indian investors would benefit from Sri Lankas resilient economy, educated workforce, and preferential access to large markets and rapid growth in sectors like infrastructure.

Mr. Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman, CII National Committee on Infrastructure and Chairman, Feedback Infra Pvt Ltd., stated that Sri Lanka is a priority destination for Indian companies, many of which are already present in the country.

Ms. Renu Pall, Joint Secretary for the Indian Ocean Region at Indias Ministry of External Affairs, mentioned that there is a need to increase the momentum of interaction between the two countries. She suggested that India and Sri Lanka could send delegations every month to each others countries, focusing on specific sectors.

The Minister said that Sri Lanka would welcome Indian investors who are looking at joint ventures with MSMEs and the country would benefit greatly from the transfer of know-how and technology from India. Investment in MSMEs could also help reduce a large skills deficit, especially through education and vocational training. Sri Lanka is keen on cooperating with educational institutes to set up overseas centers in our country and collaborate through research and academic exchanges too.

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Grooming, cosmetic products set for exponential growth in India: ASSOCHAM
Jul 08,2016

The market size of Indias beauty, cosmetic and grooming market will touch 20 billion dollars by 2025 from the current level of 6.5 billion dollars on the back of rise in disposable income of middle class and more and more people aspiring to live good life and look good, industry body ASSOCHAM said.

The industry has mainly been driven by improved purchasing power and rising aspiration among the lower strata of the society while and industry players spending are coming out with products and pricing to suit consumes across difference levels of purchasing power, the ASSOCHAM latest study.

The rural population too is joining the mainstream with improvement in linkages with the cities by roads, telecommunication and the firms reaching out to the people in villages and small towns. That is how it should be, said Secretary General of the ASSOCHAM Mr D S Rawat.

The consumption pattern of cosmetics among teenagers went up substantially between 2005 and 2015 because of increasing awareness and desire to look good. In fact, they are among the fastest growing segment for the manufacturers of a range of products including body sprays, Over 68% of young adults feel that using grooming products boost their confidence.

About 62% of young consumers in big cities prefer to buy online beauty and grooming products whereas, 45% of consumers tend to buy cosmetic, apparel items from any shop of their convenience rather than a single shop. Both quality and value for money is being sought by consumers.

Brands such as Loreal, Lakme , Maybellene, Nivea and Color Bar are being pushed as mass market products and focus on younger women and women with lower buying power, noted the paper.While these are little expensive products, the price barriers are also being broken both by the consumers and the manufacturers.

The herbal cosmetics industry is also driving growth in the beauty business in India and is expected to grow at a rate of 12%. The Indian cosmetics industry has a plethora of herbal cosmetic brands like Forest Essentials, Biotique, Himalaya, Blossom Kochhar, VLCC, Dabur and Lotus and many more.

The flourshing Indian fashion/ film industry is also fueling growth into the cosmetic industry in India by making Indians to relaize the importance of having good looks and appearance

The mens grooming and personal care market in India is outpacing the personal care market at large for growth. Additionally, as more Indian men are looking to remain competitive in the workforce, they are seeking products to help them maintain a youthful look.

More male Indian icons, such as Hindi actors and cricket players, are working with beauty and personal care brands to encourage the use of personal care product by men.

There is a rising aspiration among Indian men to look better groomed, which has led to the Indian mens grooming markets rapid growth of more than 42% in the last 5 years. The study further showed that this growth is faster than the growth rate of the total personal care and beauty industry in India.

Interestingly, men who fall in the age group of 18 to 25, spend more money on grooming and personal care products than women in India. The aspirations and requirements of todays young Indian men are rapidly evolving. With a surge in disposable income, men are becoming more discerning and indulgent. In an evolving trend in India, men are beginning to look at innovative grooming and personal care products created specifically for them.

Due to changing demographics and lifestyles, deeper consumer pockets, rising media exposure, greater product choice, growth in retail segment and wider availability are the reasons for sharp rising demand of cosmetics among India men, especially the youth. Men in smaller towns are displaying greater desire for grooming, especially in the whitening and fairness segment, highlighted the study.

There has been sharp increase in number of beauty salon and spa in the country. It is estimated that about 25-30% of total salon business come from mens treatment.

Key drivers behind recent market growth are -

n++ Rising Disposable income

n++ Competitive workforce Environment

n++ increasingly complex grooming routines

n++ Social Media

n++ Selfie Mania

n++ More Indian icons, such as Hindi actors and cricket players

n++ Young Population

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Investment & capacity building agreements imperative to fructify unity b/w India & Africa: ASSOCHAM
Jul 08,2016

Investment and capacity building cooperation and agreements are needed along with trade agreements at bilateral and multilateral levels to fructify unity between India and Africa which is dependent on - food, energy security and mutual developmental prosperity, apex industry body ASSOCHAM said on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modis four-nation Africa tour.

n++No fruitful trade relationship with African nations can be built without supplementing and complementing it with an equally organic and trustworthy investment relationship where capital can flow into key African development sectors seamlessly and only then mutual economic benefit can be derived,n++ said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

n++As both India and Africa aim to increase bilateral trade five fold to $500 billion by 2020, it will be critical for governments, industry and other key stakeholders to focus on greater market access, availability of trade finance and simplification of bilateral business processes and tax regime,n++ said Mr Rawat.

n++Pharmaceuticals, capital goods, automobiles and spare parts are some sectors offering new trade opportunities that need focus to enhance trade relations between the two regions,n++ he said. n++Consumer goods, wholesale and retail, construction, housing, telecom, financial and banking services are the sectors where India can engage itself with African nations at various levels.n++

n++Indian hospitals, medical professionals together with Indian medicines can provide the basis for an affordable treatment in Africa which would go a long way in strengthening its relations with India,n++ added Mr Rawat.

n++Social insurance services are also one option as its advantages include promoting equity, solidarity and affordability,n++ he said further.

Confidence and trust building measures like establishing skill development institutes and research facilities, more direct business-to-business interactions, workshops and seminars, have to be further increased with immediate effect - to create a conducive atmosphere for talks between India and Africa.

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A shortfall of Rs 5000 crore of License Fee and Spectrum Usage Charge and Rs 7000 crore of interest
Jul 08,2016

The Department of Telecommunication has clarified the following information on understatement of revenue by telecom service providers in 2006-07 to 2009-10:-

CAG Report on understatement of revenue by six Telecom Service Providers by Rs 46000 crores was received in February 2016. The Report pertains to four years i.e. 2006-07 to 2009-2010 which is before the tenure of this government. The Report points out a shortfall of Rs 5000 crore of License Fee and Spectrum Usage Charge and Rs 7000 crore of interest. The 6 service providers are Bharti, Vodafone, Aircel, Reliance, TATA and Idea.

The Department received the key documents scrutinized by the CAG in mid-June 2016. These are being vigorously examined and the process of issue of demands for the four financial years for six operators in 22 license service areas in consonance with license agreement is currently ongoing.

Demands raised from this exercise will be recovered with due interest and penalty as applicable under license agreements. There is therefore no loss of revenue to Government.

Revenue Assurance is the top priority of DoT. The government is determined to recover every rupee of underpaid amount with interest and penalty from every defaulting company in the minimum possible time.

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DoNER Ministry to offer subsidy incentives in Northeast for employment generating units: Dr Jitendra Singh
Jul 08,2016

Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) will offer subsidy incentives in Northeast for industrial and other units generating employment. Announcing this on the conclusion of a meeting of the Ministry here this morning, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said that, as a policy, the Ministry will encourage such entrepreneurship and business establishments which generate employment for the youth in the region. For this purpose, he said, the assistance to North Eastern Development Finance Corporation (NEDFI) would incorporate a component of higher interest subsidy for such units which give more employment. DoNER Ministry is coordinating with Union Ministry of Finance in this regard, he added.

Spelling out the action plan for the year to come, Dr Jitendra Singh gave details of Venture capital funds as another incentive for those undertaking n++Startupn++ initiatives in the North-Eastern region. This will be an added attractive feature for youth from all over India who wish to avail the benefit of Prime Ministers n++Startup India, Standup Indian++ programme by setting up an establishment in Northeast.

Dr Jitendra Singh referred to a meeting held recently with the North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) wherein it was decided to carry out satellite based survey for planning and monitoring of projects in the region. This, he said, will help in expediting the projects and also avoid discrepancies. In a similar initiative, he said, all the 8 States of Northeast region have agreed to cooperate in carrying out geo-tagging by giving GPS details of various ongoing schemes in the respective States.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, DoNER Ministry will also take up waste management project under North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP) and North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP). In this case, the Ministry would study the other tried models of waste management including the Tamil Nadu model under the Capacity Building &. Technical Assistance (CB&TA) scheme.

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Petronet LNG Calls For A Consortium Of Oil Companies To Acquire & Build Acreages Abroad Including India, Says Its MD & CEO
Jul 07,2016

Managing Director & CEO, Petronet LNG, Mr. Prabhat Singh floated a proposal for creation of a consortium or SPV (special purpose vehicle), consisting of companies such as Petronet LNG, GAIL, ONGC, EIL and OIL to jointly bid for prospective properties for exploration of natural gas and as well setting up of LNG terminals in overseas fields, particularly those of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the like.

Inaugurating a conference on n++How to Survive in Low Oil & Gas Price Scenarion++ under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Prabhat Singh also disclosed that his company has offered to convert the fossil fuel fed economy of Andaman & Nicobar with that of natural gas, stating that such a proposal has already been submitted to the Lieutenant Governor of the Island.

The Petronet LNG and administration of Andaman & Nicobar Island were progressing satisfactorily on the subject as the latter is suitably inclined to convert its eco-system with cleaner fuel rather than staying on to diesel fed economy, he indicated.

Elaborating on the issue of proposed consortium or SPV, Mr. Singh hinted that it has been conceived by the Petronet LNG at a time when the company expects that the prevailing scenario of low oil and gas price would stay on for another five years and that to thrive on such circumstances, the consortium and SPV approach of national oil companies would be ideal situation to acquire oil & gas including terminal acreages and assets overseas including India.

According to him, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is aware of it and that the Ministrys intent is also there on it without disclosing a definite roadmap to convert it into reality. n++The idea has been briefly floated and discussed and its conclusiveness should follow as India would be bidding to acquire gas properties and to build LNG terminals in countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for which if India proceeds with collective approach, it would establish and edge over othersn++, said Mr. Singh adding that such an approach is also called for under prevailing circumstances to building energy storage facilities and other such assets domestically.

Speaking on the occasion, Executive Director-Corporate Planning, ONGC, Mr. Yash Malik pointed out that collaborative approach of national oil companies is the right solution to creating oil and gas assets in India to enable it thrive under the low oil and gas price regime, articulating that Indian oil sector needs a fiscal regime better than what prevails currently.

Mr. Malik also pointed out that in the low price scenario of oil and gas, his company is successfully going ahead with joint venture approach.

Chairman, Hydrocarbons Committee, PHD Chamber, Mr. Rajeev Mathur said that the gas sector has been successfully confronting with the challenges of the emerging time.

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Worldwide IT spending is forecast to be flat in 2016: Gartner
Jul 07,2016

Worldwide IT spending is forecast to be flat in 2016, totaling $3.41 trillion, according to Gartner. (see Table 1). This is up from last quarters forecast of negative 0.5% growth. The change in the forecast is mainly due to currency fluctuations.

The current Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast assumes that the U.K. would not exit the European Union. With the U.K.s exit, there will likely be an erosion in business confidence and price increases which will impact U.K., Western Europe and worldwide IT spending, said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner.

While the UK has embarked on a process to change, that change is yet to be defined. The leave vote will quickly affect IT spending in the UK and in Europe while other changes will take longer. Staff may be the largest immediate issue. The long-term uncertainty in work status will make the UK less attractive to new foreign workers. Retaining current non-UK staff and having less access to qualified new hires from abroad will impair UK IT Departments.

New Options Are Disrupting Established Markets

2016 marked the start of an amazing dichotomy. The pace of change in IT will never again be as slow as it is now, but global IT spending growth is best described as lackluster, said Mr. Lovelock. 2016 is the year that business focus turns to digital business, the Internet of Things and even algorithmic business. To fund these new initiatives, many businesses are turning to cost optimization efforts centering around the new digital alternatives (for example, SaaS instead of software licenses, voice over LTE [VoLTE] instead of cellular and digital personal assistants instead of people) to save money, simplify operations and speed time to value. It is precisely this new breadth of alternatives to traditional IT that will fundamentally reshape what is bought, who buys it and how much will be spent.

The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast is the leading indicator of major technology trends across the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. Global IT and business executives use these highly anticipated quarterly reports to recognize market opportunities and challenges, and base their critical business decisions on proven methodologies rather than guesswork.

Table 1. Worldwide IT Spending Forecast (Billions of U.S. Dollars)2015 Spending2015 Growth2016 Spending2016 GrowthData Center Systems1712132.9%1745782.0%Software3139481.1%3322075.8%Devices662295-4.6%627235-5.3%IT Services865818-3.4%8976343.7%Communications Services1400049-9.2%1380782-1.4%Overall IT3413324-5.5%34124360.0%Source: Gartner (July 2016)

Data center systems spending is projected to reach $174 billion in 2016, a 2% increase from 2015. The market is driven by strong growth in the server markets in Greater China and Western Europe, and a strong refresh cycle in the North American enterprise network equipment market.

Global enterprise software spending is on pace to total $332 billion, a 5.8% increase from 2015. North America is the dominant regional driving force behind the growth. It is responsible for $11.6 billion of the $24 billion dollar increase in 2016. At a segment level, the fastest-growing market continues to be customer relationship management software.

Devices spending is projected to total $627 billion by the end of 2016. The lackluster economic issues surrounding Russia, Japan and Brazil will hold back demand and worldwide PC recovery in 2016. Additionally, Windows 10 upgrades have further led to PC buying being delayed - consumers are willing to use older PCs longer, once they are upgraded to Windows 10.

Spending in the IT services market is expected to increase 3.7%, totaling $898 billion. Japan is the fastest-growing region for IT services spending with 8.9% growth. With an increase in digital business projects, Japanese companies are starting to better understand that they need consulting support to transform their business and advice around new technologies from consultancy companies. Critically, they now see real value in those services and consequently are willing to pay for the services.

Communications services spending is projected to total $1.38 trillion in 2016, down 1.4% from 2015. Japan leads the growth in communications services, with 8.3% growth, while Greater China adds the most dollars to spend with just more than $8.3 billion. Eastern Europe, Western Europe and North America all are forecast to decrease as price wars and declining usage affect virtually all communications services markets.

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Fitch: Global Sovereign Downgrades Set for a Record Year
Jul 07,2016

Sovereign credit ratings are on track for a record number of downgrades in 2016, driven by the impact of lower commodity prices in emerging market economies, Fitch Ratings says in its latest bi-annual Sovereign Review and Outlook. There were 15 downgrades in 1H16 compared with the previous annual high of 20 in 2011, and 22 ratings are on Negative Outlook, suggesting this years final total is likely to exceed that of 2011.

Lower commodity prices continue to be the single most important factor responsible for downward sovereign ratings momentum. Seven of the 10 most commodity-dependent sovereigns rated by Fitch have been downgraded in 2016 or are on Negative Outlook. All are in emerging markets.

The partial recovery in commodity prices in 1H16 has led to improved market sentiment towards emerging markets, but not necessarily to improvements in sovereign credit fundamentals. Public and external finances in a number of commodity-exporting countries are not yet aligned with the new structurally-lower price environment.

The Middle East and Africa region accounts for more than half of the negative rating actions in 1H16 and 10 of the 22 Negative Outlooks assigned currently. Unlike 2011, when the previous record-number of sovereign downgrades was concentrated in investment-grade sovereigns, this years ratings deterioration is led by speculative-grade credits. As of end-June, the ratings of more than one in three sovereigns in the B and BB categories had a Negative Outlook.

From a regional perspective, the significance of the UKs pending exit from the EU is difficult to overstate. The short-term economic impact of the vote to leave the EU will be decidedly negative in the UK, leading us to downgrade the UKs rating to AA and assign a Negative Outlook on 27 June. We revised our GDP growth forecasts lower for 2016-2018, and project a corresponding deterioration in the fiscal balance and consequent rise in government debt as a share of GDP. There is considerable uncertainty over the political outlook, and no agreement as yet on when the country should trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the formal mechanism for EU withdrawal.

Fitch believes that developments in the UK make it more probable that populist or Eurosceptic movements find greater support elsewhere in the EU, providing added impetus for political fragmentation and polarisation trends that became evident in the aftermath of the Eurozone crisis. A referendum in Italy in October on constitutional reform will be another test of populist pressures and could trigger political instability.

Europes political backdrop could have negative implications for sovereign ratings, as fiscal consolidation may drop further down the list of policy priorities. An easing of fiscal policy in the eurozone has already been evident, prompted by the shift of focus to issues surrounding migration and security, and austerity fatigue. In addition, the fiscal space made available by lower interest rates is not being used to bring fiscal deficits down. Several eurozone sovereigns have comparatively high government debt levels, which are likely to remain effective rating constraints.

Markets reacted positively in 1H16 to accelerated Chinese credit growth and other signs of activity picking up in response to policy easing, but volatility is likely to persist as long as Chinese policymakers send mixed signals with respect to addressing the countrys corporate debt problem. Fitch expects higher US interest rates and a stronger US dollar to result in renewed downward pressure on the renminbi later this year, with possible regional implications.

In the US, Fitch recently revised down its US GDP growth forecasts, but we still expect the Federal Reserve to raise policy rates by year-end. Latin America is headed for its second consecutive year of contractions as it faces subdued commodity prices, weak external demand (notably China, relative to previous growth rates) and tighter external financing conditions. Larger government deficits and tepid growth combined with currency depreciations are contributing to rising government debt.

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Copper-Titanium alloy to be made first time in India by a Pune startup
Jul 07,2016

Under the aegis of the DRDO-FICCI Accelerated Technology Assessment & Commercialization (ATAC) initiative DRDO concluded a technology-transfer process for its indigenously developed Copper-Titanium technology to Pahwa Metal Tech (PMTPL), a Pune-based startup founded by industry veteran, Mr. Lalit Kumar Pahwa. The technology transfer exercise was completed coinciding with the launch of the Startup India initiative by the Honble PM of India on the 16th January 2016, a MoU was exchanged between DRDO & PMTPL on the same day to start the technology transfer process, which has now completed.

The technology has been developed at the Defence Metallurgical Research Lab (DMRL), Hyderabad, premier DRDO lab on metallurgical research domain, and relates to a process of manufacturing of Copper Titanium alloy, using air induction and vacuum induction melting. The alloy thus made has non-sparking characteristics and possesses high strength and electrical conductivity comparable to existing Copper Beryllium (CuBe2) alloy alternatives. The application areas of the alloy are diverse and range from industrial machinery to aerospace. The successful completion of the technology transfer process shall enable an Indian startup to manufacture the alloy for the first time in India for global customer base.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. S Radhakrishnan, Director, Directorate of Industry Interface & Technology Management, DRDO, said, the successful transfer of DRDO developed Copper-Titanium technology is a testament of the commercialization potential of research done at DMRL, DRDOs premier research lab for metallurgy. With the successful completion of the technology transfer process, we are hopeful to see the technology being employed in wider application areas. The technology transfer shall enable the licensee, M/s Pahwa MetalTech, to manufacture the Copper-Titanium alloy for the first time in India.

With close to 100 MoUs for technology transfer signed till date under its aegis, the DRDO FICCI Accelerated Technology Assessment & Commercialization (ATAC) platform has provided an impetus to the Make in India initiative by enabling private sector players to acquire DRDO technologies and manufacture for wider applications and customer base.Mr. Lalit Kumar Pahwa, CEO & MD, PMTPL noted, n++As a startup, PMTPL is very excited and to launch this Made in India technology for the world. We thank the DRDO FICCI ATAC programme and the teams at DMRL, DRDO and FICCI for their support in helping us come thus far. We are proud to launch an exciting technology that shall have application in several sectors of the economy and will contribute to the Make in India initiative of our Honble PM.n++

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Brexit may lead to dip in investment flows from India to UK in near term
Jul 07,2016

A FICCI Survey brings to the fore the concerns of India Inc. over the possible near term impact of Brexit on Indian business and the economy. Yet, it remains sanguine that the UK will make renewed efforts to strengthen ties with countries of the Commonwealth group and India stands to gain given its own growth performance and a much better regulatory and business environment. The respondents were hopeful that this can be an opportunity for India and UK to make renewed efforts to strengthen ties.

While the full impact of the UK move to Leave from the European Union will take some time to unfold, the FICCI survey sought to gauge the sentiment among the Indian companies having operations in or doing business with the UK. Some of the companies surveyed share deep trade and investment linkages with the UK. Responses were received from about 45 companies covering sectors such as education, information technology, tyres, pharmaceuticals, steel and steel products, automotive, textiles, apparel, financial services etc.

Respondents feel that the Brexit transition may lead to moderation in investments flows to the UK from India. However, India is expected to get continued attention from the investors including investments from the UK. UK is third largest investor in India and accounts for about 8.0% of the total FDI inflows in the country. In fact, several British companies have exhibited interests in India post launch of the Make in India campaign. The Government has considerably liberalised the FDI regime in the country and there has been an increase in FDI inflows over the last two years. This trend is expected to continue.

The respondents stated that given the strengths of the economy it may be worthwhile to look at a bilateral FTA with the UK and this should focus on goods, services as well as investments. It is felt that UK may now take a less rigid stand (compared to the EU) and it may be worth pursuing a broad based bilateral agreement. Further, it is important that such an instrument is a hybrid agreement that incorporates the movement of people as a natural corollary to the movement of goods, capital and services so that the impact on mobility of professionals and on ICT sector is not as negatively impacted as anticipated.

About 63% of the participants indicated that signing a comprehensive FTA with the UK (on goods, services and investments) may help to mitigate any negative impact of Brexit on India. For example, if India enters into an agreement with the UK that leads to the legal services market opening up, then this could lessen the negative impact of Brexit on India-UK bilateral relations.

Nonetheless, the companies participating in the survey did indicate some concern regarding a dip in export realisations, additional compliance to competition regulations, rise in operating costs of doing business and possible curbs on immigration leading to brain drain from the UK over the near term.

The FICCI Survey also captures views from some of the leading higher education institutions on what can be expected in terms of relationship with UK universities in the coming days.

Members of the education fraternity felt that education in UK is expected to become more affordable and we might see UK wooing candidates with more incentives. For

Indian students studying in the UK, Brexit might result in a more level playing field compared with other EU students who hitherto had an informal edge over the rest of the world in the job market. India being one of the largest skilled labor markets, with a population well versed in the English Language could have a distinct advantage.

Further, the IT companies expected to face the heat in light of the Brexit. It was pointed out that given the risk of further moderation in growth in the UK and EU, there is an increased probability that the companies lower their IT budgets (a discretionary spend). This would have an impact on the domestic software companies. India is one of the largest exporters of IT-enabled services and the sector has significant exposure to the European market especially the UK.

In addition some concern has been expressed regarding bond issuance planned in USD and INR. UKs credit rating has been cut, and given most buyers of the bonds are from the EU there is nervousness around these bond issuances. This is important for India as it would be difficult to imagine financing Indias huge infrastructure appetite through debt finance in London as aggressively as currently planned. Again, this would depend on what Brexit scenario that plays out. But in the meantime, greater uncertainty will impact the bond pricing.

Highlights of the Survey

The respondents were of the view that it is too soon to assess the impact of Brexit on the global economy and India. There will be more clarity once the actual policy response from United Kingdom and the European Union is spelled out. Things can be positive if the situation is managed well by both the European Union and the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, some frictional issues that would come with the transition cannot be ruled out.

Global Economic Situation: The respondents felt that the overall economic situation would remain difficult for the next two to three years. The global recovery remains frail and the Brexit move is detrimental to the overall health of the global economy. The exit from the European Union has increased the risk of United Kingdom falling into a recession.

Impact on Investments in the UK: United Kingdom has been the gateway to Europe and the survey participants felt that UKs position as a major investment hub will get impacted over the near term. The increase in uncertainty post Brexit will impact the confidence level of potential investors wanting to invest in the UK.

Impact on British Pound: The investors have been pulling money out of the UK and this may exert a further downward pressure on the Pound. The survey respondents based out of the UK anticipated an increase in operational costs over the near term due to this pressure on the Pound Sterling.

Immigration: The respondents expect more restrictions on immigration in the United Kingdom post Brexit. However, it was felt that the restrictions on the other EU citizens will be limited due to political reasons; Indian immigrants may have to feel the actual heat. The respondents indicated that the move might lead to brain drain from the United Kingdom.

Survey Findings in Numbers

While 48% of the survey participants indicated that their business linkage with the UK is largely for the UK market, 14% indicated that it is mainly for EU and the rest had a balanced interest in both the markets.

About half of the respondents reported that they dont intend to set up separate operations in any other EU country over the near term following Brexit. It was said that it will take a couple of years for the actual picture to become clear.

43% of the survey participants anticipated a decrease in intra company transfers/movement of professionals to the UK from India over the medium term (next 3-5 years).

43% respondents cited a decrease in Indian migration to the UK over the medium term (next 3-5 years).

51% of the participants anticipated a decline in investments to the UK over the next three to five years.

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India Inc enthused by decisive Cabinet reshuffle by PM, says ASSOCHAM
Jul 07,2016

By undertaking a decisive reshuffle of his Council of Ministers, Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi has conveyed a strong resolve to put a premium on performance of his colleagues to improve quality of governance and make difference in the lives of common people, ASSOCHAM said.

n++As the NDA Government is about to reach a half-way mark , the Cabinet reshuffle along with other initiatives like the recent textile package, liberalization in FDI rules would counter those who thought the Narendra Modi Government may not be able to pursue the pace of reforms and decision making in the second part of its innings.

n++If the GST Bill is passed in the ensuing Monsoon session of Parliament, that will be a master stroke for a huge uplift in the business sentiment even as the implementation of the new taxation regime would still take time,n++ ASSOCHAM Secretary Mr D S Rawat said.

India Inc is quite enthused by the strong leadership quality of the Prime Minister at a time when the country is grappling with the global head winds and geo-political risks from terrorism, political upheavals in Britain and European Union and the mood swings in the US in the run-up to Presidential elections.

He said the best part of the reshuffle is that the Prime Minister has displayed his clear preference for energy and efficiency. n++Since he leads from the front, he expects his ministers too to perform likewise. Besides, his interest into detailing of specific issues like drought management, financial inclusion, employment generation, solar energy and sanitation has built enough pressure within the government to put focus on delivery,n++ the chamber said.

The ASSOCHAM expects several new measures and decision in the coming days and weeks, including announcement of new RBI Governor, to further boost investor confidence in the Indian economy.

n++Favourable weather conditions along with clear cut policy framework can make a lot of difference. The things are beginning to happen in the infrastructure space, particularly in the road and highway sectors. Hopefully, the manufacturing too would see better days ahead,n++ the chamber said.

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Renewal of The India-Bhutan Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit
Jul 07,2016

The existing Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan was signed on 29th July 2006 for a period of ten years. Discussions were held between both countries at New Delhi on 05-06 July 2016, to finalise the text of the draft new Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit. The visiting Bhutanese delegation was led by Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan.

After deliberations, it was agreed that the new Agreement may be signed at the earliest, after obtaining the internal approvals by both the sides, and it would be made effective from a mutually agreed date. Both sides agreed that, in the interim, to prevent disruption of trade, the existing Agreement may be extended for a period of one year or till the date of coming into force of the new Agreement, whichever is earlier.

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Air Conditioned Coach developed for DEMU Train
Jul 07,2016

Indian Railways has developed the first ever air conditioned coach (car)for its DEMU trains. Till now the existing DEMU trains consisted only of non-air conditioned coaches. The first ever AC coach has been manufactured at Indian Railways Chennai based Integral Coach Factory (ICF). Existing 8-coach DEMU train will have 2 such newly developed AC coaches. Soon such DEMU trains will be rolled out for passenger services. Integral Coach Factory (ICF) has planned to roll out 4 DEMU train sets each provided with two AC coaches. Further manufacture of these trains will be based on the feedback from users.

These air conditioned coaches are provided with 5 comfortable reclining cushioned chairs arranged in each row(2*3 confg) with total capacity to seat 73 passengers. The interior furnishing of these AC coaches is similar to that of intercity AC express train coaches. All AC coaches are equipped with environment friendly bio-toilets. Indian Railways presently run three type of DEMU trains namely: 6- coach DEMU train with 700 hp, 8- coach DEMU train with 1400 hp and 10- coach DEMU train with 1600 hp.

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Railway Streamline procedure for issue of concession certificate to physically challenged persons (Divyang)
Jul 07,2016

Ministry of Railways has decided to streamline the procedure for issuing of concessional certificate to physically challenged persons (Divyang) in case of change of residence and also in some other cases for the convenience of the passengers. Indian Railways has already facilitated convenient booking of concessional tickets including online ticketing for the physically challenged persons. The following decisions have been taken to streamline various issues : -

1. In those cases where the applicant has shifted to a new place and his/her concession certificate has been issued by the Government Hospital of his/her previous residence, he/she may be allowed to apply to DRMs office (suppose A) of current residence. This division will then get the concession certificate verified by the concerned division/zone (suppose B) in which the Government hospital falls which has issued the concession certificate. Such division/zone will then send the verification report to the referring division (A) which had sent the verification request. Based on the verification report, Division A will issue the ID card to the physically challenged person or to his/her representative (with proper authority letter) on his/her behalf. However, original certificates (including address proof indicating current residence) must be shown at the time of collection of card. The time limit for disposal of the application/issue of ID card in such cases is two months from the date of receipt of application.

2. The photo I.D. card issued to the eligible physically handicapped person is valid for five years from the date of issue or till the last date upto which the concession certificate is valid whichever is earlier after which it has to be renewed/re-issued for which the same procedure as for issue of fresh photo ID card is to be followed.

As per rules under IRCA Coaching Tariff No. 26 Para (1) Vol. (II), in certain cases as indicated above the validity of concession certificate exceeds five years : -

n++ In case of permanent disability, the concession certificate is valid for ten years in the age group of 26 to 35 years.

n++ In case of permanent disability, the concession certificate is valid for whole life of the concerned person above the age of 35 years.

In cases mentioned above where the validity of concession certificate issued by the hospital authorities is 10 years or the whole life as the case may be, fresh verification of the concession certificate is not required for renewal of photo I.D. card in case the existing concession certificate is still valid. Remaining conditions/procedure for issue/renewal of the photo I.D. card will remain the same.

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