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FM: Rate of increase of Non Performing Assets (NPAs) has slowed down in the last Quarter of the Current Financial Year
Mar 15,2017

The Union Minister of Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley said that to deal with the Non Performing Assets (NPAs) of the banks is a challenging task even though the NPAs have shown declining trend in the last quarter of the current financial year.. He said that the core problem of NPAs is with very large corporates, though few in numbers, predominantly in the steel, power, infrastructure and textile sectors. He said that they had expanded their capacity during the boom period (2003-08) but could not face the onslaught of global financial crisis and consequent slow down thereafter. He said that the Government is taking sectoral specific measures to deal with the problem of NPAs specifically in the resolution of large debts. The Finance Minister added that the Steel Sector is on its path of recovery while many decisions have been taken in the Infrastructure, power and textile Sectors to resolve their problems. The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley was making his Opening Remarks at the First Meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Finance.

The Finance Minister further said that RBI has also made an Oversight Committee to look into process of the cases referred to it by the different banks. Seeing the response and its performance, the Finance Minister Shri Jaitley said that the Government is considering multiplication of such committees. On the issue of setting-up a bad bank, the Union Minister of Finance said that several possible alternatives exist and the issue is being debated on public platforms. The Union Minister of Finance further said that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has already been set -up under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

Earlier, a presentation was made at the beginning of the Meeting on the the subject of NPAs. In the said presentation, details of various measures undertaken by the Government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to deal with the problem of NPAs were highlighted. In the Steel Sector, Minimum Import Price (MIP) has been introduced on import of specific steel products in December 2016 and 10 coal mines have been auctioned to the steel sector. Amended Technology Up-gradation Fund Scheme has been approved by the Government in the Textile Sector. In the Power Sector, measures taken include introduction of Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), auction of natural gas for stranded gas power projects, and allocation of more than 100 coal mines to private and government companies through reverse e-auction. In the road sector, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has approved premium recast of 14-15 distressed road projects, new structures such as Hybrid Annuity Model and Toll-Operate-Transfer Model have been introduced and steps taken to fast track environmental clearance process.

The Reserve Bank of India has also taken measures such as Joint Lenders Forum (JLF) to be compulsorily formed when aggregate exposure is more than Rs 100 crore, Flexible Structuring (5/25) Scheme for infrastructure and core industries sector based on economic life of the project with periodic refinancing, Strategic Debt Restructuring (SDR) Scheme and Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A) among others.

During the presentation, the members were informed about the various legal mechanisms made available for recovery including the Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions (RDDB&FI) Act, Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 among others.

Later, the Members of Consultative Committee who participated in Meeting gave various suggestions in order to deal with the large scale NPAs of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) in particular, which are adversely affecting the overall performance of the banks. One member suggested that the concerned State Governments may be allowed to take part in the auction of stressed assets. It was also suggested by various members that since Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) are in private sector and their performance is not up to the mark in many cases, therefore, close monitoring of the operations of ARCs be done through stringent regulations especially in the wake of decision to allow 100% FDI in the ARCs through automatic route.

Another member suggested that to improve the confidence of bank officials, the Gross NPA norm may be fixed in the range of 9-10% as well as not counting the asset as NPA if it has been restructured. Some members suggested that the Government must go ahead to establish Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency (PARA) and it should only consider those NPAs where sector specific reforms do not work. It was also suggested to explore long term debt market for financing NPAs. One of the members said that the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Public Sector Bank be made a part of the Credit Committee of the bank and that first the Board of the bank should take a call about the decisions being taken by their officials rather than investigating agencies directly acting on the basis of their own information.. It was also suggested that apart from recovery proceedings, criminal action must be taken against the big wilful defaulters and their photographs may also be published. A member also suggested that under the SARFAESI Act, the focus should be on catching big wilful defaulters.

Other suggestions given by the members included that a Special Bank may be created where NPAs of all the Public Sector Banks be transferred. It was also suggested that when the minimum import price on import of specific steel products have been introduced, then the similar exercise should also be undertaken for the raw material being used to produce the finished products so that smaller units are also benefitted. Young entrepreneurs who have taken soft loans from the banks but suffered due to slow down may be supported by the banks in order to revive their businesses.

It was also suggested by some members that there is need to restore the confidence of the officers of the banks which have been off later adversely affected due to increasing NPAs. Measures be taken to comfort these officials and to enable them to take commercially viable and rational decisions. They suggested creating a Special Performance Vehicle (SPV) Committee outside the banking system to guide commercial decisions.

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So far an amount of Rs.49.98 crore has been disbursed under different components Capital Goods Policy Scheme
Mar 15,2017

Government has brought out a National Capital Goods Policy. The Policy envisages increase in production to about Rs.7,50,000 crore, direct employment to 5 million by the year 2025. The Policy also envisages increase in the share of capital goods contribution from present 12% to 20% by the year 2025.

Under the Capital Goods Scheme, so far 14 proposals have been approved. Out of these four pertains to Centre of Excellence for technology development by eminent Institutions like Central Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, Scientific and Industrial Testing and Research Centre (SiTarc), Coimbatore. Four proposals have been approved for Common Engineering Facility Centre which includes two Training Centres at HMT Machine Tools at Bangalore and at HEC Limited, Ranchi and two common engineering facilities in Chakan, Maharashtra and Bardoli, Gujrat. Further a Project for setting up an Integrated Machine Tool Park at Tumkur has been approved. Apart from the above, five projects have been approved under Technology Acquisition Fund Programme component of the Scheme.

In addition to the above, the projects pertaining to Capital Goods Industry under Uchchatar Avishkar Yojana and Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) Schemes of the Ministry of Human Resource Development are also being supported partly by the Department of Heavy Industry.

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Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) launched
Mar 15,2017

Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman launched the Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES). Speaking at the event she said the Scheme is focussed on addressing the needs of the exporters. Smt. Sitharaman said the focus is not just to create infrastructure but to make sure it is professionally run and sustained. The Minister added that there will be an Empowered Committee to periodically review the progress of the approved projects in the Scheme and will take necessary steps to ensure achievement of the objectives of the Scheme. She said the proposals of the implementing agencies for funding will be considered by an inter ministerial Empowered Committee specially constituted for this Scheme to be chaired by the Commerce Secretary. While appraising the project the justification, including the intended benefit in terms of addressing the specific export bottlenecks, would be evaluated.

Commerce Secretary Smt. Rita Teaotia said the scheme would provide assistance for setting up and up-gradation of infrastructure projects with overwhelming export linkages like the Border Haats, Land customs stations, quality testing and certification labs, cold chains, trade promotion centres, dry ports, export warehousing and packaging, SEZs and ports/airports cargo terminuses. She said last and first mile connectivity projects related to export logistics will also be considered.

About TIES- After delinking of the ASIDE Scheme in 2015, the State Governments have been consistently requesting the support of the Centre in creation of export infrastructure. This support is imperative to act as an inducement to the States to channelize funds from their increased devolution towards creation of export infrastructure. The objective of the proposed scheme is to enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure, creating focused export infrastructure, first mile and last mile connectivity for export-oriented projects and addressing quality and certification measures.

The Central and State Agencies, including Export Promotion Councils, Commodities Boards, SEZ Authorities and Apex Trade Bodies recognised under the EXIM policy of Government of India; are eligible for financial support under this scheme.

The Central Government funding will be in the form of grant-in-aid, normally not more than the equity being put in by the implementing agency or 50% of the total equity in the project. (In case of projects located in North Eastern States and Himalayan States including J&K, this grant can be upto 80% of the total equity).The grant in aid shall, normally, be subject to a ceiling of Rs 20 Cr for each infrastructure project.

The implementing agencies shall provide details of the financing tie-ups for the projects which will be considered before approval of the project. Disbursement of funds shall be done after financial closure is achieved.

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Import of Vegetable Oils down by 8% in November 2016-February 2017
Mar 15,2017

The Solvent Extractors Association of India has compiled the Import data of Vegetable Oils (edible & non-edible) for the month of February 2017. Import of vegetable oils during February 2017 is reported at 1,270,443 tons compared to 1,082,009 tons in February 2016 i.e. up by 17%, consisting of 1,234,255 tons of edible oils and 36,188 tons of non-edible oils. The overall import of vegetable oils during first four months of current oil year 2016-17, Nov.16 to Feb.17 is reported at 4,680,451 tons compared to 5,098,400 tons i.e. lesser by 8%.

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Twenty projects worth Rs 1,900 Crore approved for swift implementation of Namami Gange Programme in Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi
Mar 15,2017

Picking up pace, projects worth nearly Rs 1,900 crore have been approved by the Executive Committee (EC) of National Mission for Clean Ganga. Out of 20 projects which were given EC approval, 13 are in Uttarakhand that includes creating new sewage treatment plants, upgrading existing STPs and laying of sewage networks in Haridwar at an estimated cost of approximately Rs 415 crore. Haridwar, one of the holiest cities of India, is thronged by millions of people every year. This approved plan is aimed at treating sewage water generated by not only citys 1.5 lakh local dwellers, but also by people who visit the holy place for various purposes. All these projects will be fully funded by the Central Government, including even the expenditure on operation and maintenance of these projects.

Among other projects approved in Uttarakhand are four pertaining to pollution abatement works for river Alakananda to ensure cleaner flow of the river downstream. This includes interception and diversion of drains along with creation of new small STPs at four crucial locations - Joshimath, Rudraprayag, Karnprayag and Kirti Nagar at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 78 crore. Apart from these, a major pollution abatement project for Ganga at Rishikesh has also been approved at an estimated cost of more than Rs 158 crore. Beginning with Rishikesh, municipal effluent gets mixed in the Ganga and to rid Ganga of impurities just before it hits the plains, this all-encompassing project for this city has been given a go-ahead, which would not only make sure tapping of all city drains in Rishikesh merging into the river but will also treat the sewage water for reuse. The construction of a new 26 MLD STP at Lakkar Ghat with online monitoring system has also been envisaged in this Rishikesh-specific project.

In the National Capital, a project to construct new state-of-the-art 564 MLD Okhla sewage treatment plant with best effluent standards has also been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 665 crore, which will replace the existing STPs phase-I, II, III and IV. Besides, two projects for laying new sewage pipelines in Pitampura and Kondli to prevent leakages have also been approved at an estimated cost of more than Rs 100 crore.

Sewage related works in Karmalichak in Patna and Rajmahal in Jharkhand have also been given green signal for a cost of over Rs 335 crore. To address the issue of pollution of Ganga in Varanasi, a city thronged by millions of pilgrims throughout the year, a project under Hybrid-Annuity PPP model worth almost Rs 151 crore has also been given EC approval.

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Construction Resolution Board Likely For Armed Forces To Resolve Disputes With Their Builders: DG MAP
Mar 15,2017

Directorate General of Married Accommodation Project (DG MAP) on Friday announced that it has proposed setting up of Construction Resolution Board to address and resolve disputes relating to defence construction work between the army and their builders to avoid prolong litigations on account of which such works usually suffer.

An indication to this effect came from none other than Maj. Gen. Sanjeev Jain who is DG MAP.

Maj. Gen. Jain, however, added that the proposal is at preliminary stage which aims at faster resolving the disputes that sometimes stem between armed forces and their builders that are awarded construction related works for armed forces in creating general infrastructure such as roads and dwelling units and the like.

Lt. Gen. Sharma hinted that realization has picked up in the Defence Ministry for coming out with simpler construction procedures as per which the construction activities which could be outsourced with reasonable and simplified norms.

He, however, added that the government is considering to put in norms and procedures replacing the old ones to undertaking construction activities on conditions amiable for armed forces so that these are completed in time and scope for disputes is minimized without specifying a time limit for the proposed norms.

Secretary General, PHD Chamber, Mr. Saurabh Sanyal emphasized that in construction contracts awarded by the armed forces to the industry, there should be a provision of Exit Clause with stress on performance guarantee so that such contracts are accomplished in time without an edge for contract awarding entity.

He also suggested that the contracts agreed upon between armed forces and their builders, sufficient and adequate dwelling facilities be created for construction workers as it would amount to a great service to the nation, however, at the cost of the government.

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Mandatory for Hospitals to issue detailed bills to patients, separately disclosing cost of Coronary Stents
Mar 15,2017

Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya, said that the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA), under Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, has directed hospitals to issue detailed bills to the patients, specifically and separately mentioning the cost of the Coronary Stents, along with the brand name of the manufacturer and importer, batch number and other details.

Shri Mandaviya informed that non-compliance thereof will be treated as deliberate distortion of evidence along with charges of overpricing inviting prosecution under the Essential Commodities Act. The Minister said that the Government, through NPPA, is closely monitoring the situation and has alerted the State Governments and State Drugs Controllers to monitor the availability of stents. Industry has also been apprised that all manufactures and importers are under legal obligation to maintain smooth production and supply of coronary stents of all brands which were available in the country before price cap, he added.

All State Governments and State Drug Controllers have been advised to exercise the power of entry, search and seizure as per Para 30 of Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013 if manufacturers, importers or distributors try to create artificial shortage of stents. Government has had two rounds of discussions with the Stent companies, which in turn have promised required level of availability.

Further, Shri Mandaviya informed that aggrieved persons may send verifiable information and complaints regarding this on NPPA Help Line No. 1800111255 or through online complaint mechanism Pharma Jan Samadhan.

NPPA notified the ceiling price of Coronary Stents on 13th February 2017 at Rs. 7,260 for Bare Metal Stent (BMS) and Rs. 29,600 for Drug Eluting Stents (DES) including metallic DES and Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold (BVS)/ Biodegradable Stents. The average MRP before this notification was Rs. 45,100 for BMS and Rs. 1,21,400 for DES. Price regulation has brought down the prices of stents of BMS by 74% and of DES by 85%.

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CPI inflation rises to 3.7% in February 2017
Mar 14,2017

The all-India general CPI inflation increased to 3.65% in February 2017 (new base 2012=100), compared with 3.17% in January 2017. The corresponding provisional inflation rate for rural area was 3.67% and urban area 3.55% in February 2017 as against 3.36% and 2.90% in January 2017. The core CPI inflation rose to 5.00% in January 2017 from 4.83% in December 2016.

Among the CPI components, inflation of food and beverages increased to 2.46% in February 2017 from 1.37% in January 2017 contributing to the rise in CPI inflation. Within the food items, the inflation increased meat and fish 3.50%, vegetables (-) 8.29%, fruits 8.33%, oil and fats 3.83% and sugar and confectionery 18.83%. On the other hand, inflation moved down for pulses and products to (-) 9.02%, spices 3.82%. The inflation also eased for egg 0.54%, milk and products to 4.22% and non-alcoholic beverages 3.17% in February 2017.

The inflation for housing eased at 4.90%, and that for miscellaneous items also eased to 4.79% in February 2017. Within the miscellaneous items, the inflation for Transport and communication jumped to 5.39%, and Education eased 5.37%, and inflation declined for personal care and effects to 5.15%, household goods and services 4.09% and health 4% in February 2017. The inflation for clothing and footwear eased to 4.38% in February 2017, while the CPI inflation of fuel and light increased to 3.90% in February 2017.

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CPI Inflation rises to 3.65% in February 2017
Mar 14,2017

The all-India general CPI inflation rebounded to 3.65% in February 2017 (new base 2012=100), compared with 25-months low of 3.17% in January 2017. The corresponding provisional inflation rate for rural area was 3.67% and urban area 3.55% in February 2017 as against 3.36% and 2.90% in January 2017. The core CPI inflation eased to 4.75% in February 2017 from 4.95% in January 2017. The cumulative CPI inflation was lower at 4.58% in April-February FY2017 compared with 4.92% in April-February FY2016.

Among the CPI components, inflation of food and beverages increased to 2.46% in February 2017 from 1.37% in January 2017 mainly contributing to the rise in CPI inflation. Within the food items, the inflation increased for Vegetables to -8.29%, Fruits 8.33%, Oils and fats 3.83%, Meat and fish 3.50% and Sugar and Confectionery 18.83%. The inflation was flat for Cereals and products at 5.30%, Milk and products 4.22% and Non-alcoholic beverages 3.17% On the other hand, inflation declined for Pulses and products to -9.02% Spices 3.82% and Egg 0.54% in February 2017.

The inflation for housing eased to 4.90%, while that for miscellaneous items also fell to 4.79% in February 2017. Within the miscellaneous items, the inflation for Personal care and effects dipped to 5.15%, Health 4.00%, Education to 5.37%, and Household goods and services 4.09%, while inflation rose for Transport and communication to 5.39% in February 2017.

The inflation for clothing and footwear eased to 4.38% in February 2017, while the CPI inflation of fuel and light increased 3.90% in February 2017.

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Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 introduced
Mar 14,2017

Commerce & Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 in the Lok Sabha on 14th March, 2017 to declare the FDDI as an Institution of National Importance (INI).

The objective of the proposed legislation is to facilitate and promote teaching, training and research in all disciplines relating to design and development of Footwear and leather products and to enable FDDI to emerge as Centre of Excellence meeting international standards.

The Footwear Design & Development Institute was established in 1986 with the objective of providing trained human resource and assistance to the sector. FDDI has pan-India presence with campuses at Noida, Kolkata, Chennai, Fursatganj (UP), Rohtak (Haryana), Chhindwara (M.P) and Jodhpur (Rajasthan) equipped with state of art academic facilities and infrastructure. New campuses at Hyderabad, Patna, Ankleshwar (Gujarat), Banur(Punjab) and Guna (M.P) would also start functioning shortly.

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14.66 lakh tonnes of pulses procured towards building the buffer stock
Mar 14,2017

As per the Working Group Report on Foodgrains-Balancing Demand & Supply During 12th FYP of Niti Aayog the projected demand for pulses during 2016-17 is estimated to be around 24.61 million tonnes while the estimated production of pulses is 22.14 million tonnes, thereby implying higher demand than domestic production.

The Government has approved creation of buffer upto 20 lakh tonnes of pulses. As on 08 March 2017, around 14.66 lakh tonnes of pulses have been procured or contracted for imports towards building the buffer. The Government has contracted imports of 4.06 lakh tonnes of pulses towards building the buffer stock. The prices of pulses fluctuates daily as well as over season. While approving the bid for imports, Price Stabilization Fund Management Committee (PSFMC), inter alia, compares offer rate with prevailing domestic rate and bids are generally approved for import when the rate offered are lower than prevailing domestic prices of that pulses.

Government has approved engaging a professional Buffer Stock Management Agency (BSMA) for efficient management of the buffer stock including procurement, storage, maintenance and liquidation of the stock as per Government directives from time to time. The agency for designing and managing the bid process has been selected. Contract for appointment is being finalized.

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Venture Capital Fund Scheme for SC Entrepreneurs
Mar 14,2017

Under the Venture Capital Fund Scheme for SC Entrepreneurs, proposal of 64 SC entrepreneurs from 17 States have been sanctioned so far. The State-wise details of the entrepreneurs of the last three years is given below.

Government has launched Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes with a view to support Banks and Financial Institutions who will be providing financial assistance to SC entrepreneurs and facilitate economic and inclusive development of SC entrepreneurs. Stand-up India Scheme to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women. The SC/ST Hub to provide professional support to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe entrepreneurs to effectively participate in public procurement policy. Besides, the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) implements various credit based schemes for business ventures of SC beneficiaries.

Venture Capital Fund Scheme For SC Entrepreneurs

STATES / UTsNumber of Beneficiaries2014-152015-162016-17Punjab 111Gujarat120Maharashtra01210Delhi NCR041Telangana075Andhra Pradesh020Uttar Pradesh020Uttarakhand001Tamil Nadu031Karnataka011Pondicherry010West Bengal010Assam-North East010Haryana011Chattisgarh001Himachal Pradesh001Rajasthan001TOTAL23824

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The headline inflation outcome in the near term will depend on how food price dynamics evolve-RBI
Mar 14,2017

The impact of demonetisation on inflation in the near-term stemmed mainly from moderation in food inflation, especially perishables, as inflation excluding food and fuel remained broadly unaffected. With demand expected to recover from the latter part of Q4 of 2016-17, inflation risks to CPI excluding food and fuel and headline inflation are, therefore, tilted to the upside, , said RBI in its recent report.

The RBI further stated, with a weight of 46 per cent, the sharp fall in food inflation by about 240 bps during November 2016 - January 2017 pulled down the headline CPI inflation by around 100 bps to 3.2 per cent in January 2017, the lowest inflation reading since the publication of the all India CPI inflation series. Inflation excluding vegetables, which was at 5.0 per cent in October 2016, moderated marginally to 4.8 per cent in November 2016 and remained unchanged at that level in December 2016 before moderating to 4.5 per cent in January 2017. The moderate softening in CPI excluding vegetables suggests the larger role of vegetables sub-group in the observed sharp decline in inflation in recent months. Moreover, inflation in CPI excluding food (which is about 54 per cent of CPI basket) edged up from 4.6 in November to 4.7 per cent in December 2016 and further to 4.9 per cent in January 2017.

Going forward, unfavourable base effects in February could push inflation up. The base effect remains neutral in March 2017. There is a considerable uncertainty as to how vegetables prices will pan out over the coming months. Given that recent vegetables price declines have also been influenced by demonetisation induced distress sales in addition to seasonal factors, it is possible that with significant remonetisation having taken place, there could be some reversal in vegetables prices in March and beyond. Thus, with inflation excluding food and fuel remaining sticky, the headline inflation outcome in the near term will depend on how food price dynamics evolve.

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India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP) 2.0 launched to support Industrial and Social Innovations
Mar 14,2017

Strengthening its commitment to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, the Department of Science and Technology launched the India Innovation Growth Programme 2.0 on 11 March 2017. The programme has been running since 2007 with the support of Lockheed Martin Corporation and has supported close to 500 innovators, start-ups, creating an economic value of approx. US$ 900 million. The programme has been administered by the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum and implemented by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). Through a wide outreach campaign undertaken by FICCI over the last 10 years, spreading over 100 cities across India, the Programme has received and evaluated over 7000 ideas so far. In addition to building entrepreneurs, more than 50 incubation managers from India have been trained in the US on global best practices on incubation and commercialization and this has been possible.

Under the IIGP 2.0, Tata Trusts have come on board to support and scale social innovations. IIGP 2.0, will have two separate challenges viz. University Challenge and the Open Innovation Challenge to support innovations across industrial and social sectors. The program shall provide funding, capacity building, mentoring, incubation and business development support to the innovators, helping them scale their ventures to the next level. Speaking on the IIGP 2.0 launch, Pankaj Patel, President, FICCI stated n++FICCI is proud to have been a partner of the India Innovation Growth Programme since its inception in 2007. With over 500 innovations supported, the exemplary work undertaken is noteworthy. Inclusion of new partners is a welcome addition as the programme grows from strength to strength. We remain committed to building on the tremendous success of the last decade in fostering and accelerating Indian technological innovations into the global marketplace.n++

Dr. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI said n++Over the last 10 years, the India Innovation Growth Programme has grown to be one of Indias foremost technology acceleration platforms. FICCI strives to provide an entire ecosystem to the startups through diversified programs such as the IIGP, XLr8AP, Google digital unlocked certification program to meet the varied needs of startups in India. We work closely with innovators through various phases, from ideation to commercialization. Moving into the next decade, we remain confident of the continued growth & success of the IIGP in its new avatar.n++ Several of the IIGP innovators have been further scaled through the XLr8AP Program of Government of Andhra Pradesh, FICCI and University of Texas. An IIGP awardee, Sameer Panda has invented a tyre with burst-preventive puncture-curative technology and stated that the Xlr8 program with his commercialization strategy and is soon planning to set up a manufacturing unit in Renigunta.

A number of high impact social enterprises selected under the IIGP have also been supported under the Millennium Alliance Program being implemented by FICCI. One such enterprise is Aakar innovations who has developed a ~100% compostable menstrual hygiene solution providing affordable pads to adolescent girls and women. This is done using a unique low cost, low electricity consuming machine that produces 12002400pads/8-10 hrs through community participation from 12-16 women(no specific skills required) as production workforce. FICCI is now supporting Aakar to scale this technology to Kenya and Uganda.

With support from the Department of Science and Technology, FICCI recently announced an Indo - Rwanda Innovation Growth Program. The Program will deploy 20 demonstrated and validated Indian technologies and innovations over a period of two years. The joint programs/ventures created with Rwandan partners will deliver at least 20 sustainable social enterprises that will stimulate economic impact development in Rwanda.

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Fitch: Brexit: Now Comes the Hard Part
Mar 14,2017

The British government will soon provide formal notice of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, and, as contentious as the debate on Brexit has been to now, the period ahead promises to be even more combative, says Fitch Ratings in its latest Global Perspectives commentary.

The UK faces five primary challenges from the outset. Lack of full control over the negotiating agenda is the most important of these. While Prime Minister May has said a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU is one of the governments objectives, some European leaders have suggested that post-exit trade arrangements can only be considered after the terms of exit have been agreed.

A related challenge will be settling the financial terms of the UKs departure from the EU, which is likely to be among the issues EU leaders seek to resolve up front. The UK will have a strong incentive to settle its exit bill quickly to preserve as much of the two-year negotiating period as possible for more difficult and important issues. But in so doing, it risks criticism at home of an early and unnecessary concession

The three remaining challenges are domestic. Scotland may seek a bespoke solution to allow continued access to the single market, raising the risk of a second independence referendum if its objectives are unmet. Beyond Scotland, there is certain to be plenty of open opposition to the governments negotiating strategies and priorities, exposing possible political pressure points that can be exploited by EU negotiators.

Finally, it will prove challenging for the government to manage expectations over a two-year period, and negotiating setbacks may be reflected in heightened financial market volatility. The biggest associated risk is a decided swing in public opinion toward a more negative view of Brexit, lending support for either a greater Parliamentary role in approving the final negotiated agreement or another opportunity for the electorate to formally express its view.

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