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Central Assistance to Andhra Pradesh
Sep 09,2016

1. The Central Government is committed to help and assist the newly created State of Andhra Pradesh. The commitments of the Centre emanate from four basic documents, namely, the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, the report of the Fourteenth Finance Commission, the statement of the then Prime Minister before the Parliament on 20.2.2014 and the Report dated 1.12.2015 of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog on Developmental Support to the Successor State of Andhra Pradesh under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.

2. The above mentioned commitments are broadly categorized as under:-

(i) The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act:

(a) Section 46 of the Act provides for a reference to be made to the Fourteenth Finance Commission to take into account the resources available to the Successor States and make separate awards to them. It further provides for a developmental package to be given to the backward areas of the State of Andhra Pradesh. It also provides for adequate incentives in particular for Rayalaseema and north coastal regions of the State.

(b) Section 90 of the Act declares the Polavaram Irrigation Project as a National Project.

(c) Under Section 93 of the Act, the details of institutions and infrastructure to be developed in the State are outlined in the Thirteenth Schedule to the Act.

(d) Section 94 of the Act provides for appropriate fiscal measures, including offer of tax incentives, to be given to the Successor States to promote industrialization and economic growth. It further provides for support to programmes for backward areas including physical and social infrastructure. In addition, it provides for giving special financial support for creation of essential facilities in the new capital of the successor State of Andhra Pradesh, including the Raj Bhawan, High Court, Government Secretariat, Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council and such other essential infrastructure.

(ii) Statement of the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on 20.2.2014:

The then Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on 20.2.2014 stated before the Rajya Sabha that Special Category Status would be extended to the State of Andhra Pradesh for a period of five years. This would be done to put the States finances on a firmer footing. He further stated that the resource gap for the year 2014-15 would be compensated by the Central Government.

(iii) Fourteenth Finance Commission:

The Fourteenth Finance Commission defined the financial relationship between Centre and the States for the five year period ending 2019-20. The Commission did not make a distinction between Special and General Category States. Its approach was to fill the resource gap of each State to the extent possible through tax devolution. Accordingly, the Commission recommended an enhanced devolution of 42% of the Central Governments tax revenues to States. If devolution alone could not cover the assessed gap, for certain States, a revenue deficit grant was provided. Andhra Pradesh was one of the States determined to be a revenue deficit State, and the Commission recommended that the Centre would provide revenue deficit grant for the period of the Fourteenth Finance Commission. The amount of deficit for each year was mentioned in the report itself and a total of Rs.22,113 crores is to be paid to Andhra Pradesh as revenue deficit grant for the 5 year period.

(iv) Report on Developmental Support to Andhra Pradesh dated 1.12.2015:

The Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog Dr. Arvind Panagariya studied various aspects of the support to be given to Andhra Pradesh under the Reorganisation Act and made recommendations regarding effective implementation.

The Central Governments commitments to the State of Andhra Pradesh

3. Under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, the commitment for the resource gap for the year 2014-15 is being met on the basis of standardized expenditure for that year. The revenue gap has been tentatively quantified subject to further adjustment on account of figures relating to certain pension schemes. A part of the revenue gap compensation amounting to Rs.3,979.5 crore has already been paid and the balance is being paid in annual instalments.

An amount of Rs.2,500 crore has already been paid as support for creation of new capital of State of Andhra Pradesh and a balance of Rs.1,000 crore would be paid in due course.

An amount of Rs.1,050 crore has been disbursed as special package for backward areas and a further amount of Rs.1,050 crore would be paid in the coming years.

4. The Polavaram Project is on the river Godavari near Ramayyapeta village of Polavaram mandal, about 42 km upstream of Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage in the State of Andhra Pradesh. It envisages construction of a dam and canal system to create ultimate irrigation potential of 2,91,000 ha. (7.2 lakh acres), generation of 960 MW of hydro power, drinking water supply to a population of 28.50 lakh in 540 villages and diversion of 80 TMC of water to Krishna river basin.

The project was accorded investment clearance by the Planning Commission for Rs.10,151.04 crore (at 2005-06 price level) in 2009. Further, the Advisory Committee of Ministry of Water Resources approved the cost at 2010-11 price level as Rs.16,010.45 crore during January, 2011 including power and drinking water component of Rs.2868 crore. Prior to the passage of the AP Reorganisation Act, the Polavaram Project was being implemented by the Government of Andhra Pradesh with Central Assistance under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP). An expenditure of Rs.5,135.87 crore had been incurred up to 31.3. 2014 including Central Assistance of Rs.562.469 crore.

The Central Government will fund the Polavaram Irrigation Project in the following manner:

(i) It will provide 100% of the remaining cost of the irrigation component only of the project for the period starting from 1.4.2014, to the extent of the cost of the irrigation component on that date.

(ii) In view of the recommendations of the Vice Chairman NITI Aayog that it will be appropriate for the State of Andhra Pradesh to execute this project (as it is an important project and the State Government is keen to complete it at the earliest), the Government of India has agreed to the States request for the execution of the project by the State Government on behalf of the Government of India.

5. Government of India has already legislated for fiscal incentives of enhanced investment allowance and accelerated depreciation. They will come into effect once notified, after the State of Andhra Pradesh identifies the eligible backward areas.

6. In respect of educational and other institutions:

n++ A Petroleum University has already been established.

n++ The IIT has already been functioning from a transit campus and the main campus is being constructed.

n++ The National Institute of Technology has already been functioning since September 2015 in a temporary campus and its main campus is being constructed.

n++ The Indian Institute of Information Technology, Kurnool has already started functioning from the temporary campus and would start functioning and its main campus is being constructed.

n++ The site for the Central University in Anantapur district has already been selected.

n++ The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research has been established in Tirupati.

n++ The Indian Institute of Management has been established at Visakhapatnam.

n++ An All India Institute of Medical Sciences has been approved at Guntur and the land for the same is being taken over.

n++ A Tribal University is to be established in the State of Andhra Pradesh for which a Site Selection Committ

Introduction of Flexi Fare system for Rajdhani/Duronto and Shatabdi trains
Sep 08,2016

Ministry of Railways have decided to introduce the flexi fare system for Rajdhani/Duronto and Shatabdi trains as per details given below:-

1.The Base Fare for Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi class of trains will be on flexi fare system.

2 (a).n++ The base fares will increase by 10% with every 10% of berths sold subject to a prescribed ceiling limit as indicated in the table below. There will be no change in the existing fare for 1AC and EC class of travel. In the tables given below GÿX stands for the present base fares.

Fare Structure for Rajdhani and Duronto category of TrainsCharges % of berths10%10%10%10%10%10%10%10%10%10%2S1X1.1X1.2X1.3X1.4X1.5X1.5X1.5X1.5X1.5XSL1X1.1X1.2X1.3X1.4X1.5X1.5X1.5X1.5X1.5X3A1X1.1X1.2X1.3X1.4X1.4X1.4X1.4X1.4X1.4X2A1X1.1X1.2X1.3X1.4X1.5X1.5X1.5X1.5X1.5X1A1X1X1X1X1X1X1X1X1X1XX= Base Fare

n++

Fare Structure for Shatabdin++ category of TrainsCharges % of berths10%10%10%10%10%10%10%10%10%10%CC1X1.1X1.2X1.3X1.4X1.5X1.5X1.5X1.5X1.5XEC1X1X1X1X1X1X1X1X1X1XX= Base Fare

Other supplementary charges like reservation charges, Superfast charge, Catering charges, Service tax etc., as applicable shall be levied separately.

(b). Vacant berths left at the time of charting would be offered for current booking. Tickets under current booking shall be sold at the last price sold for that class and other supplementary charges like reservation fee, superfast charges, catering charges, service tax etc., as applicable shall be levied in full.

(c). The information should also be displayed to the passenger during the booking in case the fare of lower class becomes higher than the higher class to exercise option to travel by the higher class.

(d). The last price for every class of tickets for the particular train should be printed in the reservation chart for the purpose of charging of difference of fare in the train or charging the passengers of the train without ticket etc.,

3.The operation of various quotas available in these category of Trains shall be as under:

(a).Tatkal Quota: The present limit of berths set aside for Tatkal quota in these trains shall be operated as per the existing guidelines.n++ However, no additional charges as Tatkal charges will be levied.n++ The berths assigned under the Tatkal quota shall be booked at the rate of 1.5 times of the base fare for all classes (2S, SL, 2A, 3A and CC) except 1AC and EC. Other supplementary charges like reservation fee, superfast charges, catering charges, service tax etc., as applicable shall be levied in full.

(b).There shall be no Premium Tatkal Quota in these train services.

n++4. Concession: Normal concession as applicable for respective concessional ticket will be admissible on the base fare of the ticket at each stage as per the table above.

5. Refund Rules:n++ There will be no change in the existing refund rules.

n++6. Other Charges: There shall be no change in charges for reservation fee, superfast surcharge etc. Such charges, wherever applicable, shall continue to be levied additionally as per existing instructions.

7. Service tax will continue to be levied as applicable as per instructions issued in this regard.

8. All other rules and conditions pertaining to the above category of trains shall ben++continued without any change.

9.n++ The changes in fares as above shall come into force w.e.f 09.09.2016.

10. Therevisedfareswillnot applytotickets already issued in advance for journeys to commence on or after 09.09.2016.

11.n++ In the case of tickets already issued at pre-revised rates, the difference of fare shall not be collected from the passengers.

n++12.n++ These changes should be carried out in manual ticketing system and in PRS, UTSn++ etc.,

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Consumer behavior in heavily influenced by large social networks that allow consumers to have n++n++crowd cloutn++n++
Sep 08,2016

The changes to Indian consumer behaviour are being driven by increasing incomes, the younger profile of consumers and growing access to the internet. According to the FICCI-PwC report, Shaping Consumer Trends, the greatly increased use of smartphones, consciousness concerns about health and the environment, technological innovations and the rising complexity of decision-making due to the proliferation of products and points of sale are key areas of change that will impact consumer and retail businesses.

According to the report, these drivers are reshaping where, what and how consumersn++n++ make purchases and how they want to be served. The key business trends that are visibly unfolding and creating a large number of opportunities for consumer-driven companies are: n++h

Changing purchase patterns: The shift in purchase behaviour towards online buying, dominated by mobile phones, has been very evident over the last few years. Preferences are now clearly extending beyond the original product categories of electronics and fashion to include food and grocery as well as local origin products. n++h

Evolving desire for service: Consumers are now seeking a clutter and trouble-free experience, enabled by technology and better quality sales people.

Switch to health and wellness-driven choices: There is a marked consumer shift towards products and services that are perceived to be relatively healthy and less harmful or enhance peoplen++n++s sense of physical and mental wellness and the environment. n++h

Rise of convenience: Cash-rich and time-starved consumers are seeking a new dimension in n++n++convenience by knowledgen++n++ to help them navigate to the right products and services that are relevant for them. n++h

Growing social networks: The concept of n++n++crowd cloutn++n++ is gaining significance as consumers realise that their collective networks are enabling them to demand improved products and services from companies.

Discussing about the report, Mr. Krish Iyer, Chairman-FICCI Retail & Internal Trade Committee and President & CEO, Walmart India, n++n++The continued focus on ease of doing business by the Government augurs very well for Indian++n++s industries across sectors. Wen++n++re seeing lot of reforms by the government, not only related to FDI, but also for removing several structural & systemic bottlenecksn++n++n++n++.

n++n++n++n++So while India remains one of the most attractive markets for businesses worldwide due to its favorable demographics, size of the population, growing purchasing power and the growing consuming class, effective implementation of the progressive policy reforms will further boost the economy and create an ease of doing business environment in its true spiritn++n++n++n++, added Mr. Iyer.

Mr. Anurag Mathur, Partner and Leader n++V Consumer & Retail, PwC India, said, India is in a strong position in the world where a growing consumption capacity, demographic shape and lifestyle changes will propel double digit growth for consumer business over the next decade. However, the Indian consumers selective participation in global consumption trends & concerns coupled with local infrastructure challenges will require a unique response from companies to win and leapfrog on the growth cycle.

India has come a long way in regulating its policies and promoting ease of doing business, and has huge potential for growth in the sector. As per the report, the Government is actioning policy reforms by liberalising foreign investment norms and creating a single window clearance policy to facilitate business in the country. But there is a need for further investment under the Make in India campaign for India to compete with the developed nations of the world and make a mark in the sector.

Commenting on the steps the Government has taken so far, Mr. Akash Gupt, Partner & Leader n++V Regulatory Services, PwC India, said, n++n++Globally, investors are looking at India not only for its market size but as a destination with significant long- term potential. The evolving regulatory framework and the dynamism of the Government have opened new avenues and have twofold benefits on fulfilling objectives of make in India, and of increasing consumption demand in the country. This is the time when most regulations are and should be created around consumers. In particular, the food and beverages segment has opened up the extensive scope of manufacturing and trading in the country. And with the implementation of 100% FDI in retail trade of food products, we can expect to see an enhanced consumer basket and a utility-driven consumption trend.n++n++ Key regulatory recommendations made in the FICCI-PwC Report: n++h

Give the FMCG and Retail sector industry status so that companies are eligible for priority sector lending n++h

Continue to focus on improving n++n++ease of doing businessn++n++ in the country to improve the regulatory environment and Indian++n++s rank on the global index n++h

Implement GST early to achieve cost efficiency in the procurement and supply chain n++h

Provide fiscal incentives to the industry, including on backend infrastructure and supply chain n++h

Introduce a unified agriculture marketing ePlatform to actualise its objective of providing the n++n++best possible price to the farmern++n++

Implement a unified retail policy on a pan-India basis and introduce a time-bound functional single window to help businesses meet compliance-related requirements for all bye-laws and guidelines (This would also entail one-stop clearance for registration of entities and reduce multiple layers of approvals for critical licenses and permits required to set up shops and businesses.) n++h

Harmonise various laws such as Legal Meterology, BIS and FSSA (Any confusion on these, specifically on labelling and related issues, should be pro-actively dealt with.) and create a mechanism to address issues arising due to the multiple laws n++h

Governing the sector under the existing FDI policy on retail sector, the sector is segregated between single brand retail trading, multi brand retail trading, wholesale cash and carry trading and e-Commerce. With a view to streamline this with the global trends and practices, the government may consider having a product specific policy for foreign investment in the trading sector n++V to give example, liberalisation of policy by removing conditionalities applicable to single brand trading in case of luxury products which will allow such companies to set up shops in India. This will create a niche brand presence in the country.

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Consumer behavior in heavily influenced by large social networks that allow consumers to have crowd clout
Sep 08,2016

The changes to Indian consumer behaviour are being driven by increasing incomes, the younger profile of consumers and growing access to the internet. According to the FICCI-PwC report, Shaping Consumer Trends, the greatly increased use of smartphones, consciousness concerns about health and the environment, technological innovations and the rising complexity of decision-making due to the proliferation of products and points of sale are key areas of change that will impact consumer and retail businesses.

According to the report, these drivers are reshaping where, what and how consumers make purchases and how they want to be served. The key business trends that are visibly unfolding and creating a large number of opportunities for consumer-driven companies are:

Changing purchase patterns: The shift in purchase behaviour towards online buying, dominated by mobile phones, has been very evident over the last few years. Preferences are now clearly extending beyond the original product categories of electronics and fashion to include food and grocery as well as local origin products.

Evolving desire for service: Consumers are now seeking a clutter and trouble-free experience, enabled by technology and better quality sales people.

Switch to health and wellness-driven choices: There is a marked consumer shift towards products and services that are perceived to be relatively healthy and less harmful or enhance peoples sense of physical and mental wellness and the environment.

Rise of convenience: Cash-rich and time-starved consumers are seeking a new dimension in convenience by knowledge to help them navigate to the right products and services that are relevant for them.

Growing social networks: The concept of n++n++crowd cloutn++n++ is gaining significance as consumers realise that their collective networks are enabling them to demand improved products and services from companies.

Discussing about the report, Mr. Krish Iyer, Chairman-FICCI Retail & Internal Trade Committee and President & CEO, Walmart India, The continued focus on ease of doing business by the Government augurs very well for Indias industries across sectors. Were seeing lot of reforms by the government, not only related to FDI, but also for removing several structural & systemic bottlenecks.

So while India remains one of the most attractive markets for businesses worldwide due to its favorable demographics, size of the population, growing purchasing power and the growing consuming class, effective implementation of the progressive policy reforms will further boost the economy and create an ease of doing business environment in its true spirit, added Mr. Iyer.

Mr. Anurag Mathur, Partner and Leader n++V Consumer & Retail, PwC India, said, India is in a strong position in the world where a growing consumption capacity, demographic shape and lifestyle changes will propel double digit growth for consumer business over the next decade. However, the Indian consumers selective participation in global consumption trends & concerns coupled with local infrastructure challenges will require a unique response from companies to win and leapfrog on the growth cycle.

India has come a long way in regulating its policies and promoting ease of doing business, and has huge potential for growth in the sector. As per the report, the Government is actioning policy reforms by liberalising foreign investment norms and creating a single window clearance policy to facilitate business in the country. But there is a need for further investment under the Make in India campaign for India to compete with the developed nations of the world and make a mark in the sector.

Commenting on the steps the Government has taken so far, Mr. Akash Gupt, Partner & Leader, Regulatory Services, PwC India, said, n++n++Globally, investors are looking at India not only for its market size but as a destination with significant long- term potential. The evolving regulatory framework and the dynamism of the Government have opened new avenues and have twofold benefits on fulfilling objectives of make in India, and of increasing consumption demand in the country. This is the time when most regulations are and should be created around consumers. In particular, the food and beverages segment has opened up the extensive scope of manufacturing and trading in the country. And with the implementation of 100% FDI in retail trade of food products, we can expect to see an enhanced consumer basket and a utility-driven consumption trend.

Key regulatory recommendations made in the FICCI-PwC Report:

Give the FMCG and Retail sector industry status so that companies are eligible for priority sector lending

Continue to focus on improving ease of doing business in the country to improve the regulatory environment and Indian++n++s rank on the global index

Implement GST early to achieve cost efficiency in the procurement and supply chain

Provide fiscal incentives to the industry, including on backend infrastructure and supply chain

Introduce a unified agriculture marketing ePlatform to actualise its objective of providing the best possible price to the farmer

Implement a unified retail policy on a pan-India basis and introduce a time-bound functional single window to help businesses meet compliance-related requirements for all bye-laws and guidelines (This would also entail one-stop clearance for registration of entities and reduce multiple layers of approvals for critical licenses and permits required to set up shops and businesses.)

Harmonise various laws such as Legal Meterology, BIS and FSSA (Any confusion on these, specifically on labelling and related issues, should be pro-actively dealt with.) and create a mechanism to address issues arising due to the multiple laws

Governing the sector under the existing FDI policy on retail sector, the sector is segregated between single brand retail trading, multi brand retail trading, wholesale cash and carry trading and e-Commerce. With a view to streamline this with the global trends and practices, the government may consider having a product specific policy for foreign investment in the trading sector to give example, liberalisation of policy by removing conditionalities applicable to single brand trading in case of luxury products which will allow such companies to set up shops in India. This will create a niche brand presence in the country.

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India-Egypt set trade target of $ 8 billion, sign MoU on JV for marketing mobile phones
Sep 08,2016

Lava International India and Easy Group of Egypt, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of a joint venture between the two companies for marketing mobile phones and other IT related equipment in Egypt initially and subsequently manufacturing the same and catering to the whole North African and MENA region markets .

The MoU was signed during the 4th India-Egypt Business Council meeting organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) which was attended by Eng. Khaled Abu Elmakarem, Co-Chair of the India-Egypt Business Council from the Egyptian side, HE Mr Hatem Tageldin, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to India, Mr Sanjay Bhattacharya, Indian Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt and leading Egyptian and Indian businessmen. The MoU follows a FICCI initiative to cultivate strong business linkages between Indian companies and their Egyptian counterparts during a delegation visit to Cairo, Egypt, in March, 2016.

India and Egypt have witnessed enhanced engagement following Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisis interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2015 and later during the Third India-Africa Forum Summit at New Delhi in October 2015.

India and Egypt are looking at intensification of dialogue between the two countries and enhanced trade and investment. India and Egypt have a trade volume of $ 3 billion -- which both sides are keen to upgrade to $ 8 billion -- and there are currently 52 Indian companies operating in Egypt of which 25 are joint ventures with a total investment of $ 3 billion across a wide range of sectors. As a US $ 286 billion economy with around 89 million consumers -- the second largest in Africa -- that Egypt represents, the potential and scope is immense.

Addressing the Business Council meeting which also coincides with the first official visit of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to India, Ambassador of Egypt to India HE Mr Hatem Tageldin said that the Indian and Egyptian leadership were committed to enhance cooperation in all sectors - political, cultural, economic and Defence. Mr Tageldin called upon entrepreneurs to tap the opportunities in chemicals, petrochemicals, textiles, autos and auto components, mining and renewable energy as well as those in the Suez Economic Corridor.

Describing the India-Egypt bilateral relations as poised at an important juncture, Mr Sanjay Bhattacharya called upon Egyptian businesses to work closely with Indian industry to bring to fruition the shared vision of creating a new partnership in a new era. n++There are both opportunities and challenges and also a broad understanding between the two sides of the need to take things forward,n++ Mr Bhattacharya said, highlighting opportunities of expanding economic cooperation in hydrocarbons and development projects that the Egyptian Government had launched.

Mr Vijay Sankar, Chairman of the India-Egypt Business Council from the India side highlighted the increased frequency of interactions between Indian and Egyptian businesses as sign of good times to come between the two partners. Mr Sankar said that while India Egypt cooperation has expanded to cover diverse areas, there was a need to correct the slowdown in trade.

Urging Indian industry to explore the potential in Egypt, members of the Business Council from the Egyptian side offered incentives to Indian business like allocation of land for free in upper Egypt, employment incentives, laws for protection of Intellectual property and exemption from tax for 10 years. Indian and Egyptian Business Council members also discussed possbilities of luring Bollywood to shoot in Egypt and big companies to hold annual meetings to promote corporate tourism.

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6- 8% of investments in B2C start-ups in India are made in the healthcare sector: FICCI - KPMG paper
Sep 08,2016

The road ahead for Indian++n++s healthcare sector is set to be revolutionized with the rising base of healthcare start-ups that recognize the need for making quality healthcare accessible to Indian++n++s billion plus population, according to a joint study by FICCI and KPMG in India titled Indian healthcare start-ups; An inside look into funding.

Dr. Nandakumar Jairam, Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee; Chairman, NABH and Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia Hospitals India said, What we need today is a unified approach for long-term solutions that would help in optimizing disease-care to preventive and promotive care as well as patient centricity though data - driven efficient technologies. Fostering Start-ups and Entrepreneurship will provide the requisite innovative approach for achieving these reforms.

Mr. Vishal Bali Chair, FICCI HEAL 2016 Organizing Committee; Co-Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee & Co-founder & Chairman, Medwell Ventures said, Start-ups are already disrupting the way healthcare is delivered in India. According to the NASSCOM Start-up Ecosystem Report 2015, India serves as the fastest growing start-up-base worldwide and 6-8% of the recent B2C Start-ups in India have been in the Health-tech sector. This means that the sector has already secured ample traction from investors owing to its huge potential.

Mr. Ashok Kakkar, Co-Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee and Senior MD, Varian Medical Systems International India said, 80 per cent of the Indian population is uninsured, resulting in medical costs being paid by people from their own reserves. Start-ups combat this challenge and come up with innovative models to help people get insured on a large scale.

Mr. Nilaya Varma, Partner and Head, Government and Healthcare, KPMG in India, said, Healthcare start-ups in India have potential to emerge as new enabler of accessible and affordable healthcare services. Many start-ups have moved away from traditional healthcare delivery models to asset light, technology based and enabling platforms for patients & healthcare providers. However, start-up continue to face some encounters in terms of funding, incubation and regulatory environment. The governments Start-up India initiative intends to bridge some of the challenges and provides encouraging ecosystem for start-ups. In the recent past increasing number of HNIs, seed funds, incubators and other private investors have extended support to start-ups. The creation of conducive ecosystem for healthcare start-ups will be boon for the healthcare sector.

With a doctor patient ratio as low as 1:1700 (in proportion to the total population), stumped penetration of healthcare in rural areas and a low medically insured population, the potential for healthcare start-ups to emerge as a key member in the healthcare ecosystem is vast. Domestically, healthcare start-ups have not yet received a steady stream of funding to support their ventures with capital as low as USD27 million in the first four months of 2016. The challenges to garner fund flow is hindering multiple projects, ideas, concepts and approaches from taking off.

Private sector investments alone are not sufficient to boost the necessary change and the government needs to shoulder the dual responsibility of a guide and an investor to create a sound healthcare system to keep up with global standards. Indian++s healthcare system is vast and disorganized; however it contributes largely to the total workforce. Healthcare start-ups are likely to engage in extended innovative Research and Development (R&D), in turn increasing their accessibility to the larger population and creating greater scope for employment generation.

Other key finding presented in the knowledge paper are as follows:

Start-ups can act as a much needed facilitator to help approximately 70 per cent of the rural population with limited or no access to hospitals or clinics.

Mobile and internet platforms can be one of the means to address Indian++s deficient healthcare facilities, via innovation in technology and telemedicine. This could result in better diagnosis by doctors making the history of patients available on cloud platforms.

The start-up domain is struggling to rope in the right investors and arrange for adequate funding, which could largely be attributed to the slow pace of growth in the sector. It takes anywhere between 10 to 15 years to introduce a new product in the market with very few prevalent business models to compare with.

Indian++n++s public spending on the healthcare sector comprises of only 1.4 per cent of the GDP and is amongst the lowest in the world.

Private sector stakeholders could play a crucial hand in the growth and development of healthcare start-ups, by investing in high-risk which could enable entrepreneurs to bring medical advancements and generate higher returns for them.

Healthcare start-ups could transform the future of the sector by bridging the gap between supply and demand, especially in rural areas through smartphones and digitization of healthcare practices.

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Use of solar pumps for irrigation being prioritized to improve farm productivity and provide drinking water in rural & inaccessible habitations
Sep 08,2016

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) sees a huge potential for off-grid application of solar PV in the country as solar pumps for irrigation could provide access to water to un-electrified and remote areas and enhance the crop yield for farmers. The efficacy of solar pumps is evidenced by the fact that the shortage of drinking water supply infrastructure in rural and inaccessible habitations was being addressed through the use of solar pumps.

This was stated by Mr. Satyabrata Sahu, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, while addressing the FICCI conference on Scaling up Solar Pumps Applications in India. He also highlighted that the Ministry has so far deployed 15,000 solar water pumps to serve drinking water purposes in rural areas of the country.

On the issue of presence of fluoride and arsenic in drinking water, Mr. Sahu said that to make water free of fluoride and arsenic NITI Aayog had provided Rs 1,000 crore for defluoridation. He said solar pumps could be integrated with defluoridation technology to overcome the problem.

Mr. Santosh Vaidya, Joint Secretary, MNRE, stated that awareness creation and scaling up was a major challenge as the consumer did not understand quality, technical standards or reliability. Therefore, there was a need to reach out to the consumer. He also underlined the need for creation of business models which should ensure long term support to the consumer. Besides, it was necessary to create a database of who is supplying the equipment and services with clear cut guidelines on procurement.

Mr Dinesh Kumar Goyal, Former Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan and presently Advisor to the Solar Energy Corporation of India, underscored the enormous market potential of solar pumps in replacing more than 18 million electric powered and 7 million diesel pump sets currently operating in the country. He also stated that subsidies are crucial for the successful implementation of the solar water pumps programme and that it should be viewed as viability gap funding.

Mr. G. Prasad, Scientist- F/Director, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, indicated that installation of solar pumps is a priority for the governments off-grid solar programme to improve the productivity for farmers. The widespread use of solar pumps would bring costs down within the reach of framers and allow withdrawal of subsidies.

Speaking about the challenges in application of solar pumps, Mr. Prasad said, at present, solar pumps were being implemented in two modes - states and banks. However, only a handful of states were proactively working towards the target. These included Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. Thus, there was a need for all states to implement the programme at a fast pace to meet the set targets. Besides, the banks which were insisting on collaterals for loans were being advised to treat solar pumps as collateral. He also signaled that the

Ministry may consider revising the guidelines next year to increase subsidy for solar pumps used for community drinking water purposes.

Mr. V Saibaba, CEO - Solar Business & President - Strategic Business Development (Wind), Inox Wind Limited, and Chairman, FICCI Solar Energy Task Force, said that the more than 70,000 solar pumps have so far been deployed in the country. Given the potential economic opportunity, there has been an influx of private players offering solar pumping alternatives. Application of solar pumps in remote areas which had no electricity would enable farmers to increase their yield. He added that for industry there was a great opportunity to scale up the application of solar pumps and bring down costs.

Mr. Ardeshir Contractor, MD & CEO, Kiran Energy and Co-chair, FICCI Solar Energy Task Force, said that solar pumps were being indigenously manufactured at a rapid pace. Over the years, in solar energy space prices have come down, efficiency has increased with enhanced reliability. Now we need to see how we can make it well in India.

Ms. Rita Roy Choudhury, Senior Director & Head - Environment, Climate Change, Renewable Energy & Water Division, FICCI, said that solar pumps have the potential to replace around 21 million electric and 7 million diesel powered pumps, thereby offering an environmentally friendly and financially sustainable solution to address energy-water-food nexus in India. FICCI has set up a committee on solar water pumps comprising industry leaders and experts to deliberate on and suggest solutions to address some of the barriers which hamper wider adoption of solar pumps, and highlight the significant opportunity both within the country and for export.

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Procurement of Moong by Government agencies starts, process to be expended for Urad and Tur also
Sep 08,2016

The Government agencies have been directed to expand procurement of pulses directly from the farmers in all pulses producing States.

Procurement of Moong has already started by the agencies in Karnataka and Maharashtra and it will be soon expanded to other states according to arrivals. The agencies have been directed to take up procurement of Urad from September 15, 2016 and Tur also immediate from its arrival.

The directions in this regard were given by the Cabinet Secretary, Shri P.K. Sinha during a meeting held here today to review the prices and availability of essential commodities, especially pulses. All the concern Ministries and Departments have been directed to strengthen monitoring mechanism to ensure availability of these commodities at reasonable prices during the coming festival season.

The meeting was attended by Secretaries of Department of Consumer Affairs, Department of Food, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Commerce and by senior officials of related Ministries.

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Organised Jewellery Retailers Get their Glitter Back
Sep 08,2016

After the contraction in demand for jewellery in 1HCY16, organised jewellery retailers are expected to witness a change in fate in the next three quarters and record 10%-12% top line growth in FY17, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The sector posted flat revenue growth in FY16 and low single digit growth in Q1FY17. Ind-Ra believes that the higher number of wedding days coupled with reduced obstacles on the regulatory front will drive volumes.

The World Gold Council highlighted that gold imports contracted and jewellery demand fell by 32% in H1CY16 to around 186 tonnes in India. The key hurdles that the industry faced in 1HCY16 have been 1) strike by jewellers on account of imposition of excise duty and government regulations, 2) delays in purchases on the expectation of fall in gold prices, 3) increase in recycled gold, and 4) possibility of higher share of unaccounted gold in the system due to the spike in prices, regulatory hurdles and levy of excise duty.

Higher number of wedding days in H2FY17 (both on a sequential and year on year basis) together with fading regulatory hurdles is likely to provide a boost to the revenue growth in the coming quarters. Wedding jewellery is a key driver for demand and accounts for 60%-65% of the market demand.

Additionally, the Governments recent measures namely, increase in the limit of collectible amount under the Gold Savings Scheme to 35% from 25% of net worth and the compulsory hallmarking of jewellery will boost the organised jewellery sector and aid in shifting some of the demand from the unorganised sector. The Gold Savings Scheme contributed 15%-30% of the revenues for the organised jewellers; prior to 2014 when it was closed by the Government. Although the Government resumed the Scheme in 2015, the maximum collectible amount was capped at 25% of the net worth.

The agency believes that organised jewellery retailers are likely to see an improvement in EBITDA margins in FY17 by 100-200bp (FY16: around 8%) on the back of the increased share of high margin diamond jewellery and higher gold prices. However the expansion through franchisee mode may constrain the improvement in margins, given the lower mark up in this channel.

Organised jewellers also face an overhang of the impending GST Bill. The GST committee report recommends an all-inclusive tax rate of 2%-6% on precious metals. The sector currently pays VAT and excise at 1% each and hence the GST rate over and above 2% is likely to increase the tax incidence on end consumers. We expect any increase on account of higher GST to be passed on to the end consumer; albeit it may impact non-wedding segment demand and prompt customers to opt for the unorganised sector.

Jewellery retailers suffered major disruptions in the last two quarters on account of closure of business, due to the jewellers 42-day strike which began in March 2016 in response to the Government regulations namely imposition of excise duty and mandatory pan card requirement for jewellery purchases above INR0.2m. Additionally, consumer demand for jewellery remained muted on account of high as well as volatile gold prices (gold prices have increased about 27% yoy in the H1CY16 to around INR30,000/10gm).

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4G telecom service to rake in Rs 80,000 cr in less than four years: ASSOCHAM-KPMG
Sep 08,2016

Amidst unfolding intense competition in the mobile data market, an ASSOCHAM-KPMG Paper expects a slew of data based services by the leading telecom operators even as the high speed 4G connections would account for 17 per cent of the total user base by 2020 with revenue in the range of Rs 80,000 crore.

The entire business mix of the telecom industry is going to witness a sea change. The unveiling of 4G on a large scale by one of the largest corporate houses, is going to be a major development. 4G is expected to n++significantly transform the revenue mix of service providers with estimated Long Term Evolution (LTE) revenues expected to reach Rs 79,580 crore in the next few years.

The ASSOCHAM-KPMG Paper on Powering Digital India said the demand for high speed internet services would receive a further push from key governmental initiatives such as Digital India, Smart Cities. Besides mobile networks have been identified as key tools for financial inclusion where 4G can facilitate implementation of governments social sector schemes in a faster and secure way. n++As a result, data traffic in India is expected to grow rapidlyn++.

It said the telecom sector in India is at an inflexion point, where it is poised not only to ride a high growth trajectory but also to provide a strong impetus to the governments key development initiatives. However, the paper also sounded a word of caution. n++While demand growth is expected to remain steady on the back of affordable smart phones, digital inclusion programs and 4G rollouts, high capital requirements and an extremely competitive scenario continue to affect the profitability of key playersn++.

The paper said to power the next phase of growth and to ensure that the industry achieves its true potential, n++it would be important for different sections of the industry to collaborate and work towards the common objectivesn++.

As a keen observer of the unfolding competition and the hype around the new entrant and impact on the incumbent players, ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said, the potential in the data market has not been utilized even to the extent of one-third of its size. n++There would be room for most of the established and a new player. However, the consumers would have more choices at affordable pricingn++.

According to the Paper, India is the second largest mobile market with over a billion subscribers at the end of February 2016 and 608 million urban subscribers and 444 million rural subscribers. n++There is a huge potential to grow in the rural sector where tele-density is still quite low at around 50 as compared to urban tele-density of over 153n++.

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Export of Oilmeals down by 46% in April - August 2016
Sep 08,2016

The Solvent Extractors Association of India has compiled the export data for export of oilmeals for the month of August 2016. The export of oilmeals during August 2016 is reported at 56,597 tons compared to 91,834 tons i.e. down by 38%. The overall export of oilmeals during April to August 2016 is reported at 330,834 tons compared to 609,748 tons during the same period of last year i.e. down by 46% due to lesser availability of oilseeds for crushing and continuous disparity in exporting oilmeals in International Market.

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To boost the tourism in the State of J&K, the Government has decided to extend the facility to travel by any airlines to visit J&K on LTC
Sep 08,2016

To boost the tourism in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, the Government has decided to extend the facility to travel by any airlines to visit Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) on LTC, under Special Dispensation Scheme for Central Government employees, for a period of two years beyond 25.09.2016.

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Over 5.15 Crore Households Lighting their Houses with LED Bulbs
Sep 08,2016

The Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs (UJALA) programme has been widely accepted across rural and urban areas of the country and so far over 15.45 crore LED bulbs have already been distributed under this programme. Over 5.15 crore Indian households have already benefitted from this programme and have made their homes brighter.

The UJALA is the worlds largest Light Emitting Diode (LED) programme for the residential sector. The initiative is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) a public sector undertaking of Ministry of Power.

The scheme is presently operational in 18 states and 4 Union Territories. EESL will roll out the scheme in West Bengal and North Eastern states in the coming days. In the remaining states and Union Territories, the decision to roll out the scheme is pending with the respective state governments.

LED bulbs can be collected from designated distribution kiosks across the country, the details of which are available on www.ujala.gov.in.

The LED bulbs distributed under the UJALA scheme is one third the market price and these superior quality bulbs also come with a three-year free replacement warranty. Under the UJALA scheme, consumers can avail these LED bulbs at an upfront cost and can save nearly Rs. 336 every year on their electricity bills per LED bulb, making the bulbs free to the user in just 3 months.

Ministry of Power, through Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), has ensured that the common man is made aware of the scheme through various platforms. In every state, where the scheme is functional, traditional media such as Television, Radio and Newspapers; Out of Home media such as Hoardings, Communication Vans, Posters, etc.; and Digital platforms such as website, Social Media, Mobile App and microsite are used to spread awareness about distribution of these bulbs.

Government of India is committed to achieving its target of replacing all the 77 crore inefficient bulbs in India with LEDs. This will result in reduction of 20,000 MW load, energy savings of 100 billion kWh and Green House Gas (GHG) reduction of 80 million tonnes every year.

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M/o Tourism approves projects of Rs. 450 Crore under Swadesh Darshan for Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim
Sep 08,2016

The Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) for the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in Ministry of Tourism has approved projects to the tune of Rs. 450 Crore for development of Heritage circuit in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Ramayana Circuit in Uttar Pradesh, North East Circuit in Sikkim and Coastal Circuit of Tamil Nadu.

The Heritage Circuit in state of Madhya Pradesh, covers Gwalior- Orchha- Khajuraho-Chanderi-Bhimbetka-Mandu with total project cost of approximately Rs. 100.00 Crore. The project envisages world class infrastructural development of the sites which includes developing a Theme Park and Convention centre in Khajuraho, Sound and Light Show in Mandu. Site Illumination, Construction of Tourist Facilitation Centres and parking area are other intervention proposed in the circuit. The Heritage Circuit in Uttarakhand is on developing Tourism Infrastructure in Jageshwar-Devidhura-Katarmal-Baijnath sites with total project cost of approximately Rs.83 Crore. The highlights of project in Uttarakhand are development of Eco Log Huts, Sound and Light Show and Upgradation of Temple Pathways.

Coastal circuit in State of Tamil Nadu envisages development Chennai- Mamamallapuram-Rameshwaram-Manpadu-Kanyakumari with total project cost of approximately Rs.100 Crore has been approved. Sound and Light Show, development of Beach amenities, Construction of Pedestrian Bridge connecting Vivekanand memorial with Tiruvalluvar Statue are major highlights of project.

Ramayana Circuit in State of Uttar Pradesh envisages development of two destinations viz. Chitrakoot and Shringverpur. The Project cost for this circuit is approximately Rs.70 Crore for development of Parikrama marg, food Plaza, Laser Show, Foot Over Bridge connecting MP and UP part of Chitrakoot. Development of Ghats, Tourist Facilitation Centre and Parking area. Ramayana Circuit in Uttar Pradesh also includes Ayodhya for which the State Tourism Department of Uttar Pradesh is preparing Detailed Project Report (DPR).

North East circuit in State of Sikkim with approximate project cost of Rs.95.50 Crore includes development of eco log huts, cultural centre, paragliding centre, craft bazaar, base camp for mountaineering and meditation hall.

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Driving Licenses and Vehicle Registration Certificates can now be accessed through Mobile App
Sep 08,2016

Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice jointly launched a new service - integration of DigiLocker with Driving Licenses (DL) & Vehicle Registration Certificates (RC). With this integration people will no longer need to carry around physical copies of their RCs and Driving Licences. They can instead access digital copies of the same on their mobile phones via the DigiLocker mobile app. Driving Licenses and Vehicle Registration documents can now be issued directly to the DigiLockers of individuals in digital formats. These digital copies can be shared with other departments as identity and address proof. They will also be used for on the spot verification through the cittizens mobile, by various law enforcement authorities like the Traffic Police. Besides being convenient for people, this will also result in assured authenticity of such documents and reduction of administrative overhead.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Nitin Gadkari said that this platform is a major step forward towards ensuring greater transparency and cutting down corruption and red-tapism. He said the move will benefit a large number of people by facilitating ease of access to the documents.

Launching the service Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the integration will bring a paradigm shift in the vision of paperless governance. It will serve to bring agility and efficiency to the entire process of issuance of driving licenses and vehicle registration certificates through IT enablement.

DigiLocker, launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in July last year, aims at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. It is a platform for issuance and verification of documents and certificates digitally. When a person signs up for a DigiLocker he gets access to a dedicated cloud storage space for his important documents. DigiLocker currently has 21,26,332 registered users with 24,11,702 uploaded documents and has issued over 4,26,73,232 documents as on 01 September 2016. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is actively digitizing driving licences and registration certificates and maintaining a National Register System. With todays launch this National Register System has got integrated with DigiLocker, making over 19 crore Vehicle Registration Certificates and over 9 crore driving licenses available in the citizens lockers. Once the data from the remaining RTOs is updated in the National Register Systems, the digital copies of those driving licenses and vehicle registration certificates will also be available via DigiLocker.

In order to access the digital RC and DL a person needs to first sign up for a DigiLocker. He then needs to download the DigiLocker Android App from Google PlayStore. In the Mobile App he will have to select the Issued Documents section and then the DL/RC. Field staff like the Traffic Police can do offline verification of RC/DL using QR Code. Apart from the mobile view version, digitally signed documents can also be accessed electronically, and these will be at par with the physical issued documents as per IT Act 2000.

Shri Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, MeitY informed that with integration, MoRTH becomes the 17th issuer to issue its documents to DigiLocker. He also informed that this is the largest such integration since DigiLocker was launched last July.

Shri Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary, MoRTH said that the Ministry is working towards intergrating even documents like vehicle insurance and fitness certificates to DigiLocker .

The integration is the result of continuous coordination between MoRTH and MeitY with technical support from National Informatics Centre and National e-Governance Division (NeGD) under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.

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