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CPI inflation dips to 13-month low of 4.3% in September 2016
Oct 13,2016

The all-India general CPI inflation dipped to 13-months low of 4.31% in September 2016 (new base 2012=100), compared with 5.05% in August 2016. The corresponding provisional inflation rate for rural area was 4.96% and urban area 3.64% in September 2016 as against 5.87% and 4.22% in August 2016. The core CPI inflation moved up to 4.77% in September 2016 from 4.59% in August 2016. The cumulative CPI inflation rose to 5.40% in April-September 2016 compared with 4.51% in April-September 2015.

Among the CPI components, inflation of food and beverages declined to 4.12% in September 2016 from 5.83% in August 2016 contributing to the fall in CPI inflation. Within the food items, the inflation eased for vegetables to (-) 7.21%, pulses and products 14.33%, spices 8.10%, meat and fish 5.83%, oils and fats 4.65% and milk and products 4.27%. On the other hand, inflation moved up for fruits to 6.07%, prepared meals, snacks, sweets etc. 5.81%, sugar and confectionery 25.77% and cereals and products 4.17% in September 2016.

The inflation for housing eased to 5.18%, while that for miscellaneous items inched up to 4.51% in September 2016. Within the miscellaneous items, the inflation for transport and communication rose to 2.70% and Health 4.67%, while eased for personal care and effects to 7.67%, household goods and services 4.32% and recreation and amusement 3.97% in September 2016.

The inflation for clothing and footwear was flat at 5.19% in September 2016, while the CPI inflation of fuel and light increased 3.07% in September 2016.

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Plunging Capital Goods Output Dragged IIP
Oct 13,2016

A persistent contraction in capital goods output, which reflects a lacklustre investment demand, led to a contraction in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). IIP contracted 0.7% yoy in August 2016, as against Ind-Ras forecast of negative 0.2% .

Ind-Ra further opines the industrial growth is unlikely to return to a sustained positive growth path so long as the private sector investment cycle does not revive. The sustained large contraction in capital goods output for 10 consecutive months since November 2015 is a clear pointer that investment demand is down and out and its recovery is nowhere in sight.

IIP witnessed a broad-based weakness in August 2016 with a sharp contraction in mining, negligible growth in electricity, and a 0.3% decline in manufacturing output (75.5% weight in IIP; July: negative 3.5%yoy). Although mining has not been doing well now for more than five years, but a contraction in growth in August 2016 was witnessed after a gap of 13 months. It appears that despite the legal hurdles plaguing this sector subsiding over the past one year, the pain is still not over. Surprisingly, electricity which had been one of the better performing sectors at the broad classification level is also showing fatigue. This was the second consecutive month in which electricity growth remained in the low single-digit level.

At the use based level, capital goods output continued its negative trend. Capital goods output contracted 22.2%yoy in August 2016 against a contraction of 29.5% yoy in the previous month. Basic, intermediate and consumer goods growth though remained in the positive territory, they were not encouraging and came in at low single-digit levels. Consumer durables growth moderated to 2.3% in August from around 6% in the previous three months.

Usually, consumer durables show better growth during August and September, led by the creation of inventory for the festival season. Part of the moderation in consumer durables growth could be attributed to a high base effect, as the sector grew 17% yoy in August 2015. Nevertheless, the sustained positive growth witnessed in consumer durables sector since June 2015 bodes well for the overall health of the manufacturing sector, notwithstanding the dismal performance of the capital goods sector. In the classical case of manufacturing/industrial revival, the demand impulses are first felt by the consumer sector before they are transmitted to the basic/intermediates goods sector. The capital goods sector responds to the demand impulse towards the end. Given the existence of excess capacity in several manufacturing sectors, the capital goods sector is unlikely to do well which is reflected in the overall IIP data. However, Ind-Ra believes that in case the consumer goods sector shows sustained growth in the near-term, it may lead to a classical manufacturing/industrial revival as described above.

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116.9% Growth in Foreign Tourists Arrival on E-Tourist Visa in September-2016 Over The Same Period in 2015
Oct 13,2016

A total of 68,809 foreign tourists arrived in September 2016 on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 31,729 during the month of September 2015 registering a growth of 116.9%. UK (15.5%) continues to occupy top slot followed by USA (12.4%) and China (9.0%) amongst countries availing e-tourist visa facility During September 2016.

The facility of e-Tourist Visa has been made available by the Government of India to the citizens of 150 countries, arriving at 16 International Airports in India. The number of e-Tourist Visa availed by foreign tourists visiting India during the month of September, 2016 has registered a substantial growth rate over the corresponding month of 2015. The salient highlights of e-Tourist Visa for and up to the month of September during 2016 are as follows:-

During the month of September, 2016 a total of 68,809 foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 31,729 during the month of September, 2015 registering a growth of 116.9%.

During January- September 2016, a total of 6,75,302 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 2,01,705 during January-September 2015, registering a growth of 234.8%.

This high growth may be attributed to introduction of e-Tourist Visa for 150 countries as against the earlier coverage of 113 countries.

The percentage shares of top 10 source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facilities during September, 2016 were as follows:

UK (15.5%), USA (12.4%), China (9.0%), Australia (6.0%), Germany (4.8%), France (4.3%), Spain (3.6%), Canada (3.1%), UAE (2.6%) and Malaysia (2.6%).

The percentage shares of top 10 ports in tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during September, 2016 were as follows:-

New Delhi Airport (51.71%), Mumbai Airport (21.06%), Bengaluru Airport (6.44%), Chennai Airport (6.27%), Kochi Airport (3.50%), Hyderabad Airport (2.45%), Kolkata Airport (2.34%),Trivandrum Airport (1.35%) , Amritsar Airport (1.18%) and Dabolim (Goa) Airport (1.11%) .

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Fitch: Reputation Risk Bigger Than Cost Impact of Samsung Recall
Oct 13,2016

Potential long-term brand damage from the recall and production suspension of Samsungs Galaxy Note 7 phone is a greater threat to its credit profile than the direct financial impact, which will be buffered by ample liquidity and a strong balance sheet, says Fitch Ratings.

The immediate impact of the Note 7 incident is unlikely to be significant enough, in itself, to affect Samsung Electronics (SEC) A+/Stable credit rating, which is supported by strong financial metrics that are in line with a higher rating. Fitch believes that the benefits of SECs diversified product portfolio have reduced its vulnerability to this shock. Its other divisions, such as semiconductors, displays and consumer electronics, continue to record robust operating performance.

However, the problems with the Note 7 have raised long-term uncertainty about SECs handset operations, as the issues with the flagship model have highlighted weaknesses both in R&D capabilities and the companys capacity to efficiently remedy serious hardware defects. Note 7 and other potential SEC handset customers may now chose Apple - SECs principal competitor in premium handsets - or mid-tier companies, if damage to the Samsung and Galaxy brands is sustained.

Industry experience, such as the decline of Nokia and BlackBerry, shows how successful manufacturers can lose market share particularly quickly in the handset business. This is due to the fast pace of technological change and the frequency with which many consumers change their handsets.

SEC revised down its preliminary 3Q16 results on 12 October 2016 from the previously announced figures. Operating profit decreased by one-third to KRW5.2trn (USD4.7bn), which is now 30% lower than the same quarter last year. The revision is to reflect the cost of the decision to scrap the Note 7, which is estimated to reach around KRW2.6trn (USD2.3bn). We expect SECs profit for the next few quarters to be affected by a loss of smartphone sales and additional expenses related to the Note 7, such as legal claims. Nevertheless, SECs balance sheet will remain healthy, underpinned by strong liquidity and relatively low debt. SEC had KRW73.2trn of cash and equivalents as of end-June 2016, sufficient to cover KRW12.3trn of total debt - which is mostly a trade-finance facility.

Samsung recalled 2.5 million Note 7 smartphones in September 2016 after a number of the units spontaneously burst into flame. Faulty batteries were blamed at first, and Samsung issued replacement phones that it claimed were safe. However, the new phones suffered the same problem, and Samsung asked consumers to switch off Note 7s on 11 October. All production and sales of Note 7 handsets have been stopped, and the model has been withdrawn.

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Cabinet approves new link between Sahibganj bypass in Jharkhand to Manihari bypass in Bihar including four lane bridge on river Ganga
Oct 13,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the construction of new link between Sahibganj bypass in Jharkhand to Manihari bypass in Bihar including four lane bridge on river Ganga.

The cost is estimated to be Rs.1954.77 crore including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road to be developed is approximately 22 kms.

This work will be done under the National Highways (Others) on Hybrid Annuity Mode. The concession period of the Project is 19 years including a construction period of four years.

The new link road will be approximately 16 km long starting (km.200.87 of Sahibganj Pass in Jharkhand) to another six km long near Narenpur (junction of NH-133B and NH-131A on Manihari bypass in Bihar). This stretch also includes a four-lane Bridge on Ganga river.

The project will help in expediting the improvement of infrastructure in Bihar and Jharkhand and also in reducing the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying in the area in these States. The development of this stretch will also help in uplifting the socio-economic condition of this region in the State.

It would also increase employment potential for local labourers for project activities. It has been estimated that a total number of 4,076 mandays are required for construction of one kilometer of highway. As such, employment potential of 89,000 (approx.) mandays will be generated locally during the construction period of this stretch.

Background:

The new project highway is a new formation of the missing link at NH-131A to NH-133B connecting Sahibganj in Jharkhand and Manihari in Bihar. At present, there is a missing link between Jharkhand to Bihar as there is no Bridge on the river Ganga at this location. The vehicular traffic uses Vikramshila Setu at Bhagalpur on Farakka barrage thus travelling a long distance to reach their destinations in North Bihar.

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Cabinet approves revision of ethanol price for supply to Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies
Oct 13,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the mechanism for revision of ethanol price for supply to Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to carry out the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme in the following manner:

i. For the next sugar season 2016-17 during ethanol supply period from 1st December, 2016 to 30th November, 2017, the administered price of ethanol for the EBP Programme will be Rs.39/- per litre.

ii. Additionally, charges will be paid to the ethanol suppliers as per actuals in case of Excise Duty and VAT/GST and transportation charges as decided by OMCs.

iii. If the need arises to increase/reduce the retail selling price of Petrol by Public Sector OMCs, then such increase/reduction would proportionately factor in the requirement of maintaining the fixed cost of purchase of ethanol during the ethanol supply year.

iv. The prices of ethanol will be reviewed and suitably revised by Government at any time during the ethanol supply period that is from 1st December, 2016 to 30th November, 2017 depending upon the prevailing economic situation and other relevant factors.

The revision in ethanol prices will facilitate the continued policy of the Government in providing price stability and remunerative prices for ethanol suppliers.

Background: Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme was launched by the Government in 2003 which has been extended to the Notified 21 States and 4 Union Territories to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels. This intervention also sought to reduce import dependency for energy requirements.

However, since 2006, OMCs were not able to receive offers for the required quantity of ethanol against the tenders floated by them due to various constraints like State Specific issues, Supplier related issues including Pricing issues of ethanol.

In order to augment the supply of ethanol, a need was felt to put in place a new mechanism for pricing of ethanol. Accordingly, the Government on 10th December, 2014 decided that the delivered price of ethanol at OMC depots would be fixed in the range of Rs. 48.50 per litre to 49.50 per litre including Central/State Government taxes and transportation charges.

The decision has helped in significantly improving the supply of ethanol. Ethanol supplies increased to 67.4 crore litres in 2014-15 and the projected supplies for ethanol supply year 2015-16 are around 120 crore litres. The objective to fix the delivered price of ethanol has been achieved to a large extent. In view of firming of sugar prices, falling crude prices and consequent under-recoveries of OMCs on this account, a need to re-examine the pricing of ethanol under EBP Programme has been felt.

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Cabinet approves MoU between India and the Russian Federation on Expansion of Bilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation
Oct 13,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the Russian Federation on Expansion of Bilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation.

The MoU would expand more Bilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation between India and Russian Federation.

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Cabinet approves MoU between India and Hungary on cooperation in the field of water management
Oct 13,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Hungary on cooperation in the field of water management.

The MoU will be signed between Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India and the Ministry of Interior, Government of Hungary. It will enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of water management, on the basis of equality and mutual benefits. This will encourage the development of bilateral relations between public and private organizations concerning water resources of both the countries.

Both the countries will get benefited by joint activities and mutual exchange of scientific delegations and experts in the field of water resources development and management. The cooperation, particularly on river basin management/ integrated water resources management, efficiency in water supply and irrigation technology innovation and flood & drought management will help improve the socio-economic conditions of the people of both the countries.

Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation is entering into a MoU with Hungary with wide-ranging areas on water sector for the first time.

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Cabinet approves redevelopment of residential colonies at West Ansari Nagar and Ayur Vigyan Nagar Campuses of AllMS, New Delhi
Oct 13,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved redevelopment of residential colonies at West Ansari Nagar and Ayur Vigyan Nagar Campuses of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AllMS), New Delhi. National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) will undertake the exercise to replace the existing housing stock of 1,444 dwelling units of Type I to IV with Build Up Area (BUA) of approx. 0.87 lakh sqm with approx. 3,928 dwelling units of Type II to VI with BUA of approx. 4.02 lakh sqm. It will also create social infrastructure facilities of approx. 0.65 lakh sq.mtr. including Dharamshala and approx. 0.94 lakh sq.mtr. commercial BUA.

The total estimated cost of the project is Rs.4441 crore including maintenance and operation costs for 30 years. The project shall be implemented on self-financing basis by sale of commercial space on free hold basis with no cost to the exchequer to the Government. The project will be completed in five years in a phased manner.

Background:

The present residential accommodations at West Ansari Nagar and Ayur Vigyan Nagar campuses are more than 50-60 years old and have outlived their utility. They are unsafe to live in. The rapidly deteriorating condition of these old houses entails very high expenditure on their maintenance. The existing housing stock in AllMS, New Delhi demonstrates highly inefficient use of the land. Thus, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare moved this proposal for redevelopment of existing old dilapidated housing stocks to augment the housing stock by making optimum utilization of land resources as: per Master Plan Delhi (MPD) - 2021 and using modern construction technology with green building norms and in-house solid/liquid waste management facilities.

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Cabinet apprised of the MoU between India and Qatar on cooperation in the field of Youth and Sports
Oct 13,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on April 7, 1999 and the First Executive Programme for MOU signed with Qatar on bilateral cooperation in the field of Youth and Sports signed on 05 June 2016.

The MoU will help in expanding knowledge and expertise in the areas of sports science, sports medicine and coaching techniques, which would result in improvement in performance of our sportspersons in international tournaments and strengthening of bilateral relations between India and Qatar. It would be equally applicable to all sportspersons irrespective of their caste, creed, region, religion and gender.

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Cabinet approves MoU between Exim Bank on General Cooperation with the NDB, along with other Development Financial Institutions of BRICS nations
Oct 13,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on General Cooperation with New Development Bank (NDB) through the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism by Government at the level of Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs/ Export Import Bank of India.

The proposal will enhance trade and economic relations among the BRICS countries. There is no financial implication involved with signing of the MoU. The participating institutions from the BRICS nations will be benefitted by this MoU.

The MoU is a non-binding umbrella agreement aimed at establishing a cooperation framework in accordance with the national laws and regulations, besides skills transfer and knowledge sharing amongst the signatories, Further, establishment of the NDB reflects the close relations among the BRICS countries and provides a powerful instrument for increasing their economic cooperation and help India play an enhanced international role. Therefore, keeping in view the strategic relevance of cooperation for sustainable development and inclusive economic growth, the signing of MoU is necessary in the context of cooperation extended by the Members in various forms for promoting and facilitating trade of goods and services as well as investments in mutual projects among the BRICS countries.

Background:

Five banks from the BRIC nations had established the BRICS Interbank Co-operation Mechanism to enhance trade and economic relations amongst the BRIC countries, and enterprises. The BRICS Interbank Co-operation Mechanism now proposes to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on General Co-operation with the New Development Bank.

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Cabinet approves establishment of an Indian Institute of Management at Jammu
Oct 13,2016

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the establishment and operationalisation of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Jammu in a transit/temporary campus at Old Government College of Engineering & Technology from the Academic Year 2016-17.

The project will involve a cost of Rs.61.90 crore in temporary campus for the initial four years from 2016 to 2020. The student strength intake for this year in the Post Graduate Diploma Programme (PGDP) in Management is 54 which will progressively go up to a cumulative student strength of 120 in the 4th year. Meanwhile, steps would also be taken up for setting up campus at Jammu and an out-campus in Kashmir region. The Detailed Project Report for the permanent campuses is under preparation and thereafter the process for setting up of the campuses would start.

The Cabinet also approved formation of an IIM Jammu Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. IIM Jammu will be run and managed by the Society with a Board of Governors (BOGs) to be constituted by the Government of India, which will administer the Institute and would be responsible for establishment and operationalisation of the Institute.

This is a part of Prime Ministers development package for Jammu & Kashmir. The Institute coupled with opening of IIT at Jammu, modernization of NIT Srinagar and opening of two new AIIMS institutions, one each in Kashmir region and Jammu region, would go a long way in meeting the requirement of high quality living and education in Jammu & Kashmir.

Background:

Indian Institutes of Management are the countrys premier institutions imparting best quality education in management on globally benchmarked processes of education and training in management education and allied area of knowledge.

At present, there are nineteen IIMs. Out of these, thirteen IIMs are located at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Shillong, Ranchi, Raipur, Rohtak, Kashipur, Trichy, Udaipur. Another six IIMs which have been started in 2015 are located at Amritsar, Sirmaur, Nagpur, Bodhgaya, Sambalpur and Vishakhapatnam.

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Adani Transmissions Acquisition of Reliance Infrastructures Assets Rating Neutral
Oct 13,2016

Adani Transmissions (ATL) proposed acquisition of Reliance Infrastructures three operating transmission assets is unlikely to impact the rating on its debt facilities, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).

The three operating transmission assets proposed for acquisition benefit from the revenue sharing mechanism applicable for interstate assets, which is implemented by the Central Transmission Utility (Power Grid Corporation of India). The acquisition would decrease the counterparty concentration in consolidated ATLs assets, since Maharashtra based utilities contribute between 60% and 65% of ATLs consolidated revenue presently. Ind-Ra would review the final terms of acquisitions and also any future investments.

The rated debt under the obligor group is protected by a waterfall mechanism, whereby cash flows from the operating assets under Adani Transmission India and Maharashtra Eastern Grid Power Transmission Company are first available for servicing the rated debt before being invested in new projects or used for any other purpose, after complying with the defined financial covenants.

ATL has signed a binding term sheet with Reliance Infrastructure for acquiring the assets and expects to complete the transactions by 1QFY18, subject to statutory and regulatory approvals.

ATLs outstanding ratings are as follows:

- INR35.8bn non-convertible debentures: IND AA+/Stable

- INR12bn commercial paper (outstanding INR9.25bn): IND A1+

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Commerce Minister requests for expeditious clearances for import of Indian Rice and a Green Channel for import of Indian Pharmaceutical products
Oct 13,2016

The Commerce and Industries Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman and Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister for Ministry of Finance and Commerce, China exchanged notes on trade and commerce and agreed that the mounting bilateral trade deficit has been a cause for concern for India which seeks greater market access for its goods for a long term sustainable trade relationship.

Commerce Minister requested for expeditious clearances for import of Indian Rice and a Green Channel for import of Indian Pharmaceutical products to China - especially those which already have USFDA and EUFDA accreditation. She also requested the Chinese Vice minister to consider demonstration IT/ITeS projects for Indian companies - which have acquired global acclaim. She expressed concerns at the long drawn procedures for clearances which tend to frustrate the Indian companies seeking business opportunities in China.

Sitharaman requested for buying missions to India to source amongst other things, Indian Tobacco and oil meals.

The two leaders in consonance with the apex level meetings convened by the Prime Minister Modi and Xi Jinping, agreed that measures on providing greater market access for Indian goods and services in China need a demonstrative action.

The Chines Vice Minister assured that China would act on the concerns expressed by India regarding market access for Indian goods in the Chinese markets. He informed that recently China has quickened the pace of granting clearances to Indian Pharma companies for import of Indian Pharma products.

The Chinese Vice Minister further requested the cooperation of India in the various multilateral fora where China and India are engaged - the RCEP and assured that Indias concerns on a Single undertaking will be duly taken on board with services being an integral part of the cooperation agreement.

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Need factor market reforms in at least 12 champion states: Amitabh Kant
Oct 13,2016

Speaking at a discussion on Fuelling Indias Growth Engine: Manufacturing, Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, said that Indias manufacturing must penetrate global markets, given that Indias market share in global exports is still low.

Kant added that factor market productivity is key for the competitiveness of Indian products and hoped that states would bring in reforms in land and labour markets. He said that India needs at least 12 champion states to usher in these reforms. He stressed that Indian companies need to push the limits on innovation in sectors such as defence, electronics and hardware.

Baba Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Forge, stated said that India is competitive in manufacturing with most skill sets widely available and raw material costs no different from the rest of the world. India needs better infrastructure rather than incentives, he felt. While the global environment has been a hurdle for exporters, Indian companies must meet the requirements of domestic markets so that imports can be reduced.

Kalyani felt that the Make in India brand has successfully established itself globally and it is only a matter of time before companies are able to convert it to an opportunity. In the defence sector, he said that Make in India would soon become a reality.

Johan C. Aurik, Global Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board, A.T. Kearney, USA, expressed optimism about Indias current economic conditions. He advised that rather than imitate China, India should produce for the domestic markets. Technology advances such as robotics and artificial intelligence are having a huge impact on manufacturing, he added.

According to Sanjeev Sharma, Managing Director, ABB India, a robust eco-system exists in India and technology absorption is taking place at a rapid rate. With high-end software development and cutting-edge R&D, he expressed confidence about the cost of doing business.

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