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Government has ensured more than adequate availability of Fertilizers for the present Rabi Season
Nov 23,2016

Government of India, Department of Fertilizers is making all out efforts to ensure that the Fertilizers are readily made available to the farmers as per their demand without any problem.

Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Shri Ananth Kumar informed that Modi Government has ensured more than adequate availability of Fertilizers for the present Rabi Season. The total availability of urea in the country as on 1 November 2016 was 34.24 Lakh MT. Further, against a requirement of 32.76 Lakh MT of urea for the month of November, 41.05 Lakh MT of urea has already been made available in the field. He informed that similarly in the case of DAP, there is huge opening stock of 19.55 Lakh MT in the country against the overall demand of 12.44 Lakh MT for the month of November 2016. Minister (C&F) stated that similarly in case of MoP & NPK fertilizers, against a requirement of 4.08 & 11.16 Lakh MT, for the month of November, the opening stock itself as on 01 November 2016 was 5.25 & 15.05 lakh MT respectively.

Shri Ananth Kumar said that all the Chief Secretaries of the States and Commissioners of Agriculture have been directed to ensure that the farmers do not face any kind of difficulty in getting fertilizers. They have been directed to ensure that all the Cooperative Societies, Private Retailers/ Wholesalers of fertilizers provide fertilizers to farmers through all modes of payments like on Credit as well as through Credit Card, Debit Card, Cheque etc. He informed that strict instructions have been given to all the fertilizer manufacturers and importers of fertilizers that it would be their primary responsibility to ensure that farmers do not face any problem under any condition in getting fertilizers and for this they have to ensure that all modes of payments are accepted by all concerned dealers/wholesalers/ retailers. He further informed that Fertilizers Companies have been directed to see that in case any kind of problem is noticed anywhere in the country due to non-availability of cash/banking services, farmers should be provided fertilizers on credit basis and for that all necessary arrangements be made by them.

Minister said that senior officials of Department of Fertilizers, through video conference monitored the situation yesterday with all the State Governments and have issued necessary instructions to them to ensure that the sale of fertilizers remain smooth throughout the country.

Shri Ananth Kumar expressed confidence that due to abundant availability of fertilizers and the steps taken by the Government, farmers will get their required fertilizers for the present Rabi season without any difficulty. He also said that he is monitoring the situation regularly himself and has directed the officials of the Department of Fertilizers to continuously talk to the State Governments and Fertilizer Companies to ensure that in no case, farmers face any kind of difficulty in getting fertilizers for the present Rabi Season.

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Rs. 1032.23 crore have been spent under Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) during XIIth Five Year Plan till date
Nov 23,2016

Rs. 1032.23 crore have been spent under Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) during XIIth Five Year Plan till date. ILDP aims at augmenting raw material base through modernization and technology up-gradation of leather units, addressing environmental concerns, human resource development, supporting traditional leather artisans, addressing infrastructure constraints and establishing institutional facilities. The breakup of expenditure incurred under ILDP during XIIth five year plan till date is as follows:

(i) Rs.593.98 crore for Human Resource Development for placement linked skill development training and skill upgradation training

(ii) Rs.159.77 crore for Integrated Development of Leather Sector for upgrading/modernizing and / or expansion and setting up a new unit

(iii) Rs. 15.37 crore for providing support for upgradation of two Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) and one project of Solid waste management

(iv) Rs. 63.08 crore for providing support to artisans for design and product development and market linkages

(v) Rs. 200.00 crore for establishment of two new branches of Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) at Ankleshwar (Gujarat) and Banur (Punjab)

(vi) Rs.0.03 crore for the purpose of engagement of Project Management Consultant (PMC) under Mega Leather Cluster (MLC) sub-scheme under which one MLC at Nellore Andhra Pradesh has been approved.

In addition to assistance under ILDP as mentioned in part (a) and (b) of the answer, the following steps have also been taken up by government to promote Leather Sector in the country.

(i) Rs. 495 Crore has been sanctioned by Department of Commerce for construction of new branches at Guna, Patna, Hyderabad, up-gradation of Chhindwara Branch and Computer Networking Centre of FDDI.

(ii) Rs. 765 Lakh has been sanctioned by Department of Commerce under Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme and Rs. 297.93 Lakh under Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) scheme for marketing programmes and activities during 2016-17.

(iii) Rs. 57.11 Crores has been sanctioned by Department of Commerce under Assistance to State for Infrastructure Development of Exports (ASIDE) scheme for creation of common infrastructure facilities.

(iv) Various other measures implemented for leather sector include no import duty on hides & skins, semi-processed as well as finished leather, raw and tanned furskins; duty free import of Machinery under Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme; duty free import of notified inputs to the extent of 3% of Free on Board (FOB) value of export in previous year under Duty Free Import Scheme(DFIS); No excise duty on footwear of MRP upto Rs. 500/-, 6% excise on footwear of MRP over Rs. 500 and upto Rs. 1000 and for leather footwear of MRP over Rs. 1000 along with 30% abatement

(v) Permission for 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under automatic route in leather sector

(vi) MSME units in leather sector are eligible for reduction in interest rates on rupee export credit to the extent of 3% under Interest Equalization Scheme

(vii) Leather products and footwear components are also entitled to 3% scrip under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS).

(viii) The export of finished leather and leather products get All Industry Rates of duty drawback.

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Ministry of Urban Development finalizes Real Estate Rules for Delhi
Nov 23,2016

Ministry of Urban Development has finalized the Real Estate General Rules and Rules for Agreement for Sale for the National Capital Territory of Delhi as required under the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016. Minister Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu approved these Rules, which have been formulated after consultations with the Delhi Government, New Delhi Municipal Council, three Municipal Corporations of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority and other stakeholders. These Rules will be notified by the 27th of this month, the extended date in this regard.

The Real Estate Rules applicable to Delhi are the same as notified on October 31 this year by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation for the five Union Territories without Legislatures. They, however, provide clarity on some aspects like litigation details to be published on website, provision for quality audit of projects and flexibility in agreement for sale.

Regarding publication of litigation details pertaining to the promoter on website, it has been specified such details in respect of litigations disposed of by the concerned court in the past five years in respect of projects developed or being developed may be published on website. This has been considered since a promoter may not have complete information about various cases filed, at the time of providing such information to Regulatory Authorities.

Delhi Rules also provide for Regulatory Authorities to undertake third party quality audit of real estate projects registered with them, to ensure quality of construction, services etc., of the project in the interest of buyers.

With regard to the Rules for Agreement for Sale between the buyer and the promoter, flexibility has been proposed so as to include other elements or features besides the apartment, plot, garage, parking, if required. This has been provided to address special contingencies relating to the nature of projects to be taken up or the needs of buyers.

Under Section 2(g) of the Real Estate Act, Ministry of Urban Development has been mandated with the responsibility of making Rules for the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

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Central Government takes various decisions for the benefit of farmers in the current Rabi Season and to promote digital payments in the economy
Nov 23,2016

Following the cancellation of legal tender character of old Rs. 500 and Rs.1000 notes, a number of measures have been announced by the Union Government, taking into consideration the requirements of various sections of society. Special measures like higher cash drawal limits for farmers and registered traders in APMC markets/Mandis, extension of time limit for payment of crop insurance premium, purchase of seeds with old high denomination bank notes of Rs. 500 from certain select Government Centres etc., have already been announced for the benefit of the farmers. Steps have been taken to ensure availability of cash in rural branches of Banks and 1.55 lakh Post Offices. Network of Banking Correspondents has also been activated with higher cash holding limits to meet the requirements of people in the rural areas.

On further review of the matter, the Government has taken certain decisions for the benefit of farmers in the current Rabi season and to promote digital payments in the economy. These are in the nature of operational measures and are as follows :

(i) NABARD has made available Rs.21,000 crores limit to the District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) through State Cooperative Banks for Rabi agricultural operations. This will enable the DCCBs to sanction and disburse crop loans to the farmers through the network of Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS). This will benefit more than 40% of the small and marginal farmers who avail institutional credit/crop loans. Further, additional limits will be provided by NABARD as per requirement.

(ii) RBI and the Banks have been advised to make the required cash available to the DCCBs. This will ensure quick and unhindered flow of credit and required cash to the farmers, especially for sowing and other agricultural operations during the current Rabi season.

(iii) As a relief to small borrowers (i.e., loans upto Rs. 1 crore), RBI has already decided to provide additional 60 days time for repayment of dues. This will be applicable to personal and crop loans including housing and agricultural loans, taken from banks, NBFCs, DCCBs, PACS or NBFC- MFIs.

(iv) There are 30 crore RuPay Debit Cards which have been issued, including those issued to Jan Dhan Account holders. There is a growth of nearly 300% in use of RuPay cards in the last 12 days. To facilitate the use of this debit card, the Banks have decided to waive transaction charges (MDR) up to 31 December 2016. National Payments Council of India (NPCI) has already waived switching charges for RuPay Cards. Together, these steps will improve the acceptance of debit cards at different establishments.

(v) To promote greater use of Debit Cards, Public Sector Banks and some of the private sector Banks have decided to waive the MDR charges till 31 December 2016. Other private sector Banks are expected to do likewise. Consequently, the transaction charges - including the charges for switching services - stand waived till 31 December 2016.

(vi) To promote greater usage of payments through e-wallets, RBI has decided to increase the monthly transaction limit for individuals from Rs.10,000 to Rs.20,000. Similar enhancements have also been announced by RBI for merchants.

(vii) For convenience of passengers, Indian Railways have decided not to levy service charges of Rs.20 for second class and Rs.40 for upper classes on purchase of reserved E-tickets upto 31st December, 2016. This would facilitate and encourage the passengers to buy E-tickets instead of across the counter purchase through cash.

Daily average number of passengers buying E-tickets online is 58% and across the counter in cash is 42% of the total purchase of tickets. The effort now is to increase the purchase of E-tickets. It is expected that the above measure will encourage people to migrate to cashless transactions.

(viii) TRAI has decided to reduce the USSD charges from the current Rs.1.50 per session to Rs.0.50 per session for transactions relating to Banking and payments. They have also increased the stages from current five to eight. The Telecom Companies have also agreed to waive the above 50 paisa USSD charge per session for the period upto 31.12.2016. Consequently, USSD charges up to 31.12.2016 will be NIL. This will provide a very cost effective method of digital financial transaction, especially to the poor people with feature phones (which are currently 65% of the total phones in the country).

(ix) A lot of time is spent by vehicles at the check posts and toll plazas. While GST will address the problem at the check posts, certain measures are necessary for ease of payment at the toll plazas on the National Highways. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is therefore advising the automobile manufacturers to provide ETC compliant RFID in all new vehicles.

(x) All Government organizations, public sector undertakings and other Government authorities have been advised to use only digital payment methods such as internet banking, unified payment interface, cards, Aadhar enabled payment system etc. to make payments to all stakeholders and employees. At the point of disbursing the payments, it will be necessary for the authorities to provide the option of payments through cards, internet banking, unified payment interface, cards, Aadhar enabled payment system etc.

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Fitch: India Demonetisation Fallout Offset by Uncertain Benefits
Nov 23,2016

The demonetisation of large-denomination bank notes has caused short-term disruption in Indias economy. The move has the potential to raise government revenue and encourage bank lending, but Fitch Ratings believes the positive effects are unlikely to be strong and sufficiently enduring to support credit profiles.

The withdrawal of bank notes - that account for 86% of the value of currency in circulation - has created a cash crunch, and seems to be holding back economic activity. Consumers have not had the cash needed to complete purchases, and there have been reports of supply chains being disrupted and farmers unable to buy seeds and fertiliser for the sowing season. Time spent queueing in banks is also likely to have affected general productivity. The impact on GDP growth will increase the longer the disruption continues, but we will already need to revise down our forecasts to reflect what will almost certainly be a weak 4Q16.

The ultimate aim of the note withdrawal was to curb the use of black money, which is in line with the governments broader reform agenda. The informal sector is very large in India, accounting for over 20% of GDP and 80% of employment.

The move could boost government revenue to the extent that demonetisation helps to move economic activity from the informal to the formal sector, as more earnings would be declared. It is possible that this positive effect would soon outweigh the drag on revenue collection from lower short-term GDP growth. Government finances may also benefit from a proportion of high-denomination notes not being traded. This potentially significant amount would be subtracted from the Reserve Bank of Indias (RBI) liabilities, and the authorities would have the option to transfer this windfall to the government.

Indias sovereign credit profile would benefit from an improvement in government finances, which currently stand out as a major weakness. However, there are considerable uncertainties over the potential positive effects. Most importantly, demonetisation is a one-off event. People that operate in the informal sector will still be able to use the new high-denomination bills and other options (like gold) to store their wealth. There are no new incentives for people to avoid cash transactions. The informal sector could soon go back to business as usual.

There are similar uncertainties over the impact on the banking sector. Some banks have already reported large increases in deposits since demonetisation began. A surge in low-cost funding may remove a constraint on banks that prevented lending rates from keeping pace with the RBIs policy rate cuts in recent years. Reduced lending rates could encourage stronger credit growth, supporting the economy. Lower debt-servicing costs might also speed the resolution of banks asset-quality problems.

However, demonetisation could also affect the ability of borrowers in sectors that rely on cash transactions to service their loans, with negative effects on bank asset quality, which is why the RBI has temporarily allowed banks to give small borrowers more time to repay loans before classifying them as non-performing. Furthermore, the positive impact on funding conditions will depend on deposits remaining in banks beyond the next few months. There is nothing to prevent them being withdrawn again. Finally, there are other factors holding back lending, most notably the under-capitalisation of state-owned banks and weak investment demand. Fitch today reaffirmed our negative outlook on Indias banking sector - notwithstanding the effects of demonetisation - which reflects the fragile standalone position of state banks and the risks to their viability ratings in the absence of larger capital injections.

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Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board (IBBI) of India notifies two Regulations
Nov 23,2016

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), in exercise of its powers conferred under section 240 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, has notified the following two regulations yesterday:

n++ The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Model Bye-Laws and Governing Board of Insolvency Professional Agencies) Regulations, 2016, and

n++ The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Professional Agencies) Regulations, 2016.

These two regulations inter alia provide for the eligibility norms to be a Professional Member of an Insolvency Professional Agency and also for eligibility norms to be registered with the IBBI as an Insolvency Professional Agency.

A company registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 with a minimum net worth of Rs. 10 crore shall be eligible to be an Insolvency Professional Agency. More than half of the Directors of its Board shall be independent directors and not more than one fourth of the Directors shall be insolvency professionals. It shall have Membership Committee(s), Monitoring Committee, Grievance Redressal Committee(s), and Disciplinary Committee(s) for regulation and oversight of professional members.

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534 Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras functioning in 26 States/UTs
Nov 23,2016

With a view to achieving the objective of making available quality medicines at affordable prices, the Government has been taking several regulatory and fiscal measures from time to time. In order to provide further relief to the common man in the area of healthcare, a countrywide campaign for ensuring availability of quality generic medicines at affordable prices to all, in the name of n++Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojanan++ (PMJAY) has been started. As on date, there are 534 Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras (PMJAK) functioning over 26 States/UTs. The PMJAY is being implemented by the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI).

The Medical Council of India has amended the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 on 08 October 2016 to provide a new para 1.5 regarding use of generic names of drugs which provides as under:

n++Every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names legibly and preferably in capital letters and he/she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs.n++

As on date, 226 Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras (PMJAK) have been opened in State run hospitals, Medical Colleges and other Government hospitals.

Indian Medical Association and Indian Medical Council are supporting PMJAY to promote the use of generic medicines. Medical Council of India has amended the code to promote the use of generic medicines.

Generic version of each medicine is available in the market except patented medicines. The Government companies which are manufacturing generic medicines are : Indian Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Limited (IDPL), Rajasthan Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Limited (RDPL), Hindustan Antibitoics Limited (HAL), Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Limited (KAPL) and Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Limited (BCPL).

BPPI is buying generic medicines from private companies also through open tendering process for Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana. Presently, more than 100 private manufacturers are providing generic medicines to Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana (PMJAY).

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M-wallet/digital payment cos. must win customers trust for widespread adoption, says study
Nov 22,2016

With a view to win customers trust, companies operating in the mobile-wallet sector should take measures like providing effective, completely secure, private and reliable services, 3-D or OTP (one time password) security options, data back-up system and others to spread awareness among people, suggested an ASSOCHAM-RNCOS joint study.

n++Crystal clear policies and a common regulatory body for all m-wallets (closed, semi-closed and others) are required to bring clarity in procedures and policies between m-wallet companies and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),n++ suggested the study titled Indian m-wallet market: Forecast 2022, conducted by ASSOCHAM jointly with research firm RNCOS.

n++A strong authentication mechanism must be put in place to bind the identity of the user to the authorization of the transaction thereby being extremely mindful of authentication and risk assessment,n++ said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general, ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the study.

n++As the mobile payment space evolves, the stakeholders must create secure transactions that foster consumer trust, besides, m-wallet companies must provide a much more secure payment authentication process out to the masses,n++ said Mr Rawat.

The Indian m-wallet market in FY 2016 was around INR 1.54 billion or Rs 154 crore, and it is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 141 per cent during the period between 2015-16 to 2021-22 and reach till INR 300 billion or Rs 30,000 crore by the end of FY 2022 driven by growing usage of smartphones, robust mobile internet penetration, growth of e-commerce sector together with increasing disposable incomes, the study noted.

It is also anticipated that the market value of m-wallet transactions in India will grow at a CAGR of 154 per cent during the period FY 2016 to FY 2022, and reach INR 55 trillion or Rs 55 lakh crore from INR 206 billion or Rs 20,600 crore, more so as m-wallet transaction is among the fastest growing paperless modes of payment or banking, and it is expected that the majority of transactions will go paperless in the next 10 years.

Besides, in FY 2016, the total m-wallet transaction was 0.6 billion; and it is expected to reach 120 billion by FY 2022, growing at a CAGR of 142 per cent.

M-wallet market can be segmented into three broad services - money transfers from wallet to wallet, bank to wallet and vice versa which accounts for 38 per cent share followed by recharge and bill payments for mobile, DTH, landline, electricity and other such services (31 per cent share) and the remaining share of 31 per cent is captured by online shopping, hotel/travel/movie ticket reservations, online food order, payment of insurance premium, recharging metro rail card and others.

While mobile wallet service contributed 21 per cent share in mobile payment volume transactions in FY16, its share in total mobile payment volume transactions is expected to increase to 79 per cent by FY22.

However, it said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) licensing regime is discouraging mobile wallet growth in the country. n++The present system allows only e-transfer of money and approves semi-closed prepaid instrument issuance while it does not allow cash out from the semi-closed wallet.n++

Besides, for all the entities (including banks, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), telecos and others) to operate any kind of m-wallet, there are copious of strict RBI policies which encumbrance the growth of m-wallet sector in India.

n++The RBI should relax its current policies and allow cash withdrawals from the semi-closed wallets,n++ suggested the study.

The consumers mindset is the biggest factor that hinders the growth of Indian m-wallet market, as they are more sceptical about the safety and security issues as in the case of internet banking as users worry that their devices could be hacked or attacked by some kind of viruses, noted the ASSOCHAM-RNCOS study.

Also, often people complain that their money has been debited but the transaction got declined while transacting via mobile, and to avoid such problems users keep away from using mobile wallet related services, it added.

Privacy is another issue related to the growth of m-wallet industry as for all kinds of monetary transactions and other such services one needs to disclose his/her identity, which might create a huge problem for the customers if the hackers hack the security or wireless transmission and obtain all the information related to the social or financial matters, highlighted the study.

n++There is an urgent need for m-wallet based companies to spread awareness about their services across the country regarding the major issue of lack of awareness about their usage and benefits,n++ it said.

The ASSOCHAM-RNCOS study has suggested that m-wallet companies should expand their reach by offering services through agents and distributors in order to capture large consumer base.

n++They should establish more and more distributors or agents outlets/office in the areas where there is poor or no internet connectivity,n++ it said.

It is also recommended that companies in this domain should increase both - the limit of number of transaction and transaction amount even in case of basic account.

Introducing lucrative schemes and offers can also go a long way in strengthening the customer base for m-wallet companies like a small amount of interest on the amount kept in the wallet for a month/quarter/year would attract customers to load money in their wallet to get interest rate benefits.

Besides, there is a need for technological advancement by the m-wallet companies so that their m-wallets are compatible with all operating systems and they do not have pay extra money every time to launch their application on a new platform.

n++The m-wallet companies must develop a common platform for their application to save money and time as this would ultimately result in reduction in cost and expansion in user base and hence revenue,n++ further noted the ASSOCHAM-RNCOS study.

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Forthcoming Budget will have stipulations for simplified direct and indirect taxation: MOS Finance
Nov 22,2016

Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Arjun Ram Meghwal promised that the forthcoming budget would have stipulation and provisions that would lead to further simplification of tax administration and tax dispensation of both direct and indirect taxes to enable business community to render their transaction smoothly and effectively.

In his Valedictory address at International Tax Conference : Global Tax Issues & Recent Developments under aegis of PHD PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Meghwal described the demonetization move of the NDA government as a step that would severely attack the menace of cross border terrorism and its funding besides substantially reducing the threat of rising black money.

n++Tax administration and tax policies need to be further simplified to promote ease of doing business as well as its facilitation. The forthcoming budget would reflect and adequately cater to this effectn++, said Mr. Meghawal adding that the government of the day is committed to eliminate corruption and red tape.

n++The decision to demonetize the Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes is one such step in this direction and many more such moves would follow as Prime Minister Mr. Modi is determined to purge the system from all its ailmentsn++, said the Minister.

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Regional Connectivity Fund created for Udan Scheme
Nov 22,2016

The Ministry of Civil Aviation launched Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme on 21st October, 2016 for providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country. The primary objective of RCS is to facilitate and stimulate regional air connectivity by making it affordable. Promoting affordability of Regional air connectivity is envisioned under RCS by supporting airline operators through (i) concessions by Central Government, State Governments and airport operators to reduce the cost of airline operations on regional routes and (ii) financial support (viability gap funding or VGF) to meet the gap, if any, between the cost of airline operations and expected revenues on such routes. RCS-UDAN is a demand-driven scheme, where airline operators undertake assessment of demand on particular routes.

A Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) has been created under powers conferred under Rule 88-B of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 to provide the VGF requirements under the scheme. The Central Government has decided to impose a levy on the scheduled flights being operated within India to fund the Regional Connectivity Fund. However, following flights has been exempted from the above mentioned levy:

i) Flights operated on CAT II/ CAT IIA routes as specified in Route Dispersal Guidelines issued under Rule 134 (1A).

ii) Flights operated on RCS routes.

iii) Flights operated with aircraft having maximum certified take off mass not exceeding 40,000 kg.

The payment of VGF will be made to selected airline operators from the RCF. Selection of airlines will be done through transparent bidding process and the RCS flight is expected to start from January, 2017 onwards

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GST, Bankruptcy Laws Will Emerge Facilitator For Inbound & Outbound M&A: PHD Chamber
Nov 22,2016

Global Investment and Acquisitions Forum 2016 held under joint aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Corporate Catalyst India and M&A Worldwide, has forecast that with GST and Bankruptcy Laws in place, prospects for mergers and acquisitions both inbound and outbound would grow proportionately in India.

The Forum also felt that India is no longer experimental zone for multi nationals for their operations as it has evolved so much in the last couple of years that global giants have strategies for setting up of their operations in India because of its emerging potentials which promise higher returns on investments.

The unanimous view of the forum was that multi nationals and global giants that would earlier set up representative offices and liaison channels in India as part of their strategy to open up offices in India have moved on to a next phase as per which their strategies are to launch their corporations and begin business with their counterparts in joint venture sector.

This change has come after the new government has come to power with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm of affairs.

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Demonetization to help inflation remain under control, interest rates to fall: PHD Chamber
Nov 22,2016

While appreciating the Government efforts to control inflation in the economy vis-a-vis reforms in supply chain, Dr. Mahesh Gupta, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that demonetisation of rupees 500 and 1000 notes would also help prices to remain under control in the coming months.

Good monsoon behaviour and abundant supply of kharif crops coming in the market in the recent months has checked the rise in prices of many commodities, said Dr. Gupta.

The average WPI inflation so far in this financial year stands at around 3% during Apr-Oct 2016 and we are hopeful that inflation will fall below 3 percent in the coming months, he said.

The recent developments has created a good scope for further reduction in repo rate in the forthcoming monetary policy statement scheduled on December 7, 2016.

Repo rate at this juncture should not be more than 6% to give a big push to the economy with the new currency in circulation, said Dr. Gupta.

Reduced rate of interest with benign inflationary expectations would be a major breakthrough for the economy to enter the higher growth path, going forward, said Dr. Gupta.

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Airport Expansion, Enhanced Regional Air Connectivity & Expansion in Air Traffic is top Priority of Govt.: Ashok Gajapathi Raju
Nov 22,2016

Minister of Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, remarked that with new civil aviation policy in place and other associated reforms accompanying it, the civil aviation sector would emerge to serve the un-served at affordable pace.

Minister of Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati reassured the Indian civil aviation industry, emphasizing that the government of the day is exploring all possibilities for capacity expansion of leading airports in the country as well doing its best to make sure that the regional air connectivity is accomplished as per its UDAAN initiative.

The Minister also stressed that though the domestic civil aviation industry has been growing at a rate of more than 20% in the last few years, admitting that higher passenger growth in civil aviation sector is still a challenge for the government which could be won with addition of capacities in Indias leading airports.

Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati also emphasized that the cargo sector of Indian civil aviation though has developed but needed further expansion and development since the industry as such has been growing over 20% per annum and hoped that this growth rate would even exceed in times to come in view of Indias economic potential with its high appetite for higher growth.

Minister of State, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Mr. Jayant Sinha asked civil aviation industry to grow in such a manner so that its passenger traffic, currently estimated at about 150 million for domestic and overseas sector multiplies manifold and catches on pace with the air traffic of China which presently is calculated at 500 million per annum.

In order to achieve this objective, the ministry has been adopting three pronged strategy under its UDAAN commitment which includes expansion of airports capacities, ensure regional connectivity and equip the air passenger with better level of satisfaction and experience under its Air Sewa initiative, emphasized the minister adding that the government would do all possible to transform the civil aviation sector.

Secretary, Civil Aviation, Rajiv Nayan Choubey, reiterated the government commitment for higher growth of civil aviation sector with all possible governments initiatives in partnership spirit, adding that by December 2016 dozen of schedule commercial operations could begin to connect small towns in the country under its regional connectivity drive.

Minister, Government of Ireland, Pat Breen emphasized that India and Ireland should have stronger partnership to expand Indias civil aviation sector as his country is one of the global leaders in this sector, particularly on leasing out operations in which Ireland has already established its hegemony.

Chairman Civil Aviation Committee, PHD Chamber, K Narayana Rao proposed to the government to bring in civil aviation sector under priority lending scheme of the government, especially for acquiring smaller air crafts for enhanced regional air connectivity.

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FICCI launches Self-regulation Code of Conduct for the e-pharmacy sector
Nov 22,2016

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) announced the launch of Self-regulation Code of Conduct for the E pharmacy sector in the presence of key stakeholders here. Accessibility, affordability and lack of awareness are the major challenges for last mile access to medicines. These barriers could be effectively overcome by adopting technology, specifically the Internet, into the healthcare system. Over the last one year, E-pharmacy has come up as a significant channel to provide last mile access to medicines. This will most importantly benefit patients of chronic diseases, elderly patients and sick patients who are not in a condition to go out to find a pharmacy. The E-Pharmacy model provides tracking and traceability of medicines, addressing the problem of counterfeit medicines, consumption of drugs without prescription, tax loss and provides value added services for consumer empowerment in healthcare, which are well aligned with Digital India initiative of our Honourable Prime Minister with a vision to transform the country into a digitally empowered society. The conference started with the release of the Selfregulation Code of Conduct -an attempt by the Industry to adhere to the highest professional standards and to have proper safeguards so as to ensure that consumers health and safety is not compromised.

1. Processing medicines against Prescription Scheduled medicines must be processed only against a valid copy of prescription (physical or scanned copy) of a registered medical practitioner

2. Restriction of Sensitive habit forming medicines E pharmacy must ensure that no schedule X and other sensitive habit forming medicines are processed through their platform. Ensure there are adequate checks and balances in place to prevent sale of any such drugs.

3. Dispensation only from duly licensed pharmacy domiciled in India E Pharmacy must ensure that the medicines are dispensed through licensed pharmacies only. The E pharmacy must make reasonable effort to ensure that all the pharmacy partners (before facilitating the sale of any medicines through such pharmacy partners) are duly registered under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act/ Rules.

4. Convenient access of medicines E-pharmacy player must make suitable arrangements to ensure that the medicines are packed, transported and delivered in such a way that their integrity, quality, and effectiveness are preserved.

5. Public health Initiatives of Government of India E pharmacy players must partner with Government for any recall of medicines and collect adverse events of medicines (consumer reports) and comply to submit them to National Centre for Pharmacovigilance.

6. Customer grievances E pharmacy must ensure that there is a proper mechanism in place to address any queries or grievances that the end-customer may have. E pharmacy players must appoint an ombudsman commission comprising of reputed members of civil society to address any public grievance. The Ombudsman commission shall be appointed for six months by members of the governing council in consultation with other stakeholders.

Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI voiced the support of consumer friendly models and mentioned that India needs to move with the times and embrace new age models to stay ahead. Also FICCI has been at the forefront helping many sectors operate with a process of developing self-governance models, and this initiative is a step in the right direction to help enable this sector of the economy

Arvind Gupta, Head of Digital India Foundation said n++we need to embrace technology - in both offline and online models. There is a great opportunity to take this ecosystem ahead by leveraging the India stack using the existing infrastructure of Aadhar and Digi-locker to maintain the repository of prescription, health records and monitor the dispensing of sensitive medicines. All pharmacies, online or offline, should check prescriptions on this lockern++

Noted consumer activist, Bejon Mishra, welcomed the initiative and re-iterated that there is no difference between e-Pharmacy and offline pharmacy, and both should operate with compliance and maintain proper records and dispense with prescription. He also congratulated the effort of the association to come up with progressive self-regulation framework and suggested that there be mechanisms put in place to make sure this is adhered to.

Prashant Tandon, CEO and Founder of 1mg mentioned that this group of progressive epharmacies have come up with code of conduct in the interest of consumers and as a group they look forward to productive engagement with the regulator to help make the Indian pharmacy sector a model sector.n++

Pawan Kaul, Co-Chair of FICCI e-commerce committee added that n++by recognising and registering the legitimate e pharmacies, Government can easily address the challenges by maintaining sanctity of both IT act and Drug and Cosmetic Act. This will bring effectiveness and efficiency in the entire ecosystem.n++

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Gartner Says Indias Digital Commerce Players Needs to Find a Sustainable Growth Model
Nov 22,2016

Digital commerce sales in India have remained flat, so digital commerce companies need to identify a sustainable growth model that can be achieved in a defined timeframe, according to Gartner, Inc. One of the challenges was that leading marketplaces cut back on promotions and discounts after the regulation banning price competition came out in March 2016.

Digital commerce is at an early stage in India, and consumers are value-conscious, so they are enticed when there are big promotions and steep discounts. said Gene Alvarez, managing vice president at Gartner. However, sales stalled once incentives were not present, challenging the performance of digital commerce players. This is partially a result of the continuous discounts at online marketplaces that are competing fiercely to gain market share, and which sets them to an incentive-driven growth model.

None of the digital commerce companies in India are profitable. They typically earn between 5-15 percent commissions of product sales, but the massive discounts on top of the investment needed to expand to more geographies saw those companies losing money. This can be a serious problem when the capital market tightens up.

The problem is being neglected when there is plenty of funding, and companies can live off sufficient capital. Once the market tightens, it is a survival game that only those that watch the bottom line and cash flows will win in the end, said Mr. Alvarez, There is a need to go back to the basics, that is, to operate on a sustainable growth model. Of which, customer experience and data-driven incentives are two fundamental factors.

Customer Experience: This is the most important differentiator of a digital commerce service as price becomes transparent across sites. Discounts will only retain customers as long as the promotion lasts, while good customer experience will make people come back and purchase more even when there is no promotion. Good customer experience will also entice new customers as word-of-mouth spreads, and visitors experience the service themselves. Customer experience goes beyond a frictionless shopping experience on the website or in the mobile app, and includes delivery, custom service, returns, retail discovery, customer ratings and reviews.

Data-driven incentives: Promotions and discounts are still important techniques to drive sales. However, they need to have positive return on investments (ROIs). Businesses can not only recover the cost of incentives but also make a profit. This requires businesses to personalize incentives based on shoppers profiles and purchasing propensity, and only give out the amount that is enough to trigger a purchase but not too much to lose money. This capability takes time to build as it requires data analytics and personalization technologies, built on the data collected about the shoppers.

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