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28 Villages electrified last week ; 10,079 villages electrified till date under DDUGJY
Aug 22,2016

28 villages have been electrified across the country during last week (from 15thto 21st August 2016) under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna(DDUGJY). Out of these electrified villages, 4 villages belong to Assam, 5 Chhattisgarh, 3to Jharkhand, 10to Meghalaya and 6 to Rajasthan.

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Global Innovation Index 2016: India improves its innovation rank 15 positions in GII 2016
Aug 22,2016

India has improved its innovation ranking in GII to reach 66th position from its last years rank of 81st, this improvement in the rank for India comes after 5 years of continuous drop in its ranking. Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Finland and Singapore lead the 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index, released jointly by Cornell University, INSEAD, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) AT Kearney and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Speaking at the launch function jointly organized by NITI Aayog, DIPP and CII, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry informed that n++A team to be formed to look into results of the Global Innovation Index to understand the challenges related to India and advise the Govt on Next stepn++.

Along with its innovation performance Indias innovation ranking is driven by methodological considerations, such as the addition of new indicators. Relative to GDP, India performs well above the line of the level of development. Among its income group (lower-middle income) it ranks 6th and in its region (Central and Southern Asia) it ranks 1st.

India has shown a downward trajectory during the period of 2013-2015 in its ranking for inputs and outputs. This year, however, the rank in both inputs and outputs has increased significantly, reaching its best performance for the inputs over the 4 year period. The relative downturn of Indias Innovation Efficiency Ratio (63rd) happened due to significant increase in Innovation inputs (which remained weak in previous years) with respect to its output (efficiency is the ratio between innovation output and innovation input). India ranks 3rd and 1st in its region (Central and Southern Asia) in the Innovation Input and Output Sub-Indices, respectively.

India, 66th, is the top-ranked economy in Central and Southern Asia, showing particular strengths in tertiary education and R&D, including global R&D intensive firms, the quality of its universities and scientific publications, its market sophistication and ICT service exports where it ranks first in the world. India also over-performs in innovation relative to its GDP. It ranks second on innovation quality amongst middle-income economies, overtaking Brazil. Relative weaknesses exist in the indicators for business environment, education expenditures, new business creations and the creative goods and services production.

n++The commitment of India to innovation and improved innovation metrics is strong and growing, helping to improve the innovation environment.  This trend will help gradually lift India closer to other top-ranked innovation economiesn++, says Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Innovation requires continuous investment. Before the 2009 crisis, research and development (R&D) expenditure grew at an annual pace of approximately 7%. GII 2016 data indicate that global R&D grew by only 4% in 2014. This was a result of slower growth in emerging economies and tighter R&D budgets in high-income economies - this remains a source of concern.

n++Investing in innovation is critical to raising long-term economic growth,n++ said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, n++I would like to congratulate the Government of India on how it has prioritized innovation in its development strategy. In the GII, India performs better than other countries at a similar level of economic development. India also shows outstanding strengths in innovation factors such as the number of graduates in science and engineering, the quality of its scientific publications and the quality of its universitiesn++.

Among the GII 2016 leaders, four economies n++ Japan, the U.S., the UK, and Germanyn++ stand out in n++innovation quality,n++ a top-level indicator that looks at the caliber of universities, number of scientific publications and international patent filings. China moves to 17th place in innovation quality, making it the leader among middle-income economies for this indicator, followed by India which has overtaken Brazil.

Soumitra Dutta, Dean, Cornell College of Business, and co-editor of the report, points out that n++Investing in improving innovation quality is essential for closing the innovation divide. While institutions create an essential supportive framework for doing so, economies need to focus on reforming education and growing their research capabilities to compete successfully in a rapidly changing globalized world.n++

GII 2016 Theme: n++Winning with Global Innovationn++

The GII theme this year is n++Winning with Global Innovation.n++ The report explores the rising share of innovation carried out via globalized innovation networks, finding that gains from global innovation can be shared more widely as cross-border flows of knowledge and talent are on the rise. The report also concludes that there is ample scope to expand global corporate and public R&D cooperation to foster future economic growth.

Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices, and co-author of the report, underlines that n++Some may see globalization as a trend in search of its second breath. Yet, the relative contraction of international trade and investment flows does give even more strategic importance to the two sides of global innovation: on one hand, more emerging countries are becoming successful innovators, and on the other hand, an increasing share of innovation benefits stem from cross-border co-operation.n++

At the national level, the report says that innovation policies should more explicitly favor international collaboration and the diffusion of knowledge across borders. New international governance structures should also aim to increase technology diffusion to and among developing countries.

n++Digital has become a primary driver of corporate globalization and advancement. For traditional organizations, the challenge is finding ways to be lean and agile, yet build on the realities of their existing resources and established practices,n++ says Johan Aurik, Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board of GII Knowledge Partner A.T. Kearney.  n++Realizing success in todays new landscape requires forward thinking strategies that embrace digital to support R&D as well as the companys people, processes and systems,n++ he adds.

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Bengaluru most hospitable to tech start-ups; NCR next best, says ASSOCHAM Paper
Aug 22,2016

Bengaluru is host to the largest share of technology driven start-ups, followed by the Delhi NCR and Mumbai while Hyderabad and Chennai are also quite popular among the techies who are budding entrepreneurs, according to an ASSOCHAM study.

The study done in association with the Thought Arbitrage found that in the technology driven start-ups, India has moved up to third position with the US occupying the top position with more than 47,000 and UK with over 4,500. Indias tech start - ups number around 4,200 up to 2015.

In terms of total number of start-ups, comprising tech and non-tech areas, India again figured among the five largest hosts in the world along with China. The number of start-ups in both India and China was 10,000 each. The US is at the number one position among the overall list of 83,000 budding entrepreneurs.

Of the Indian start-ups, riding on the technology, the IT hub Bengaluru was host of 26 per cent, followed by NCR with 23 per cent and Mumbai 17 per cent. In the catching up category fell Hyderabad with eight per cent, Chennai and Pune with six per cent each.

n++The disruptive innovation in technology and process is creating newer Indian start-ups and foreign investors including some of the well-known venture capial funds are showing immense interest in these start-ups,n++ ASSOCHAM President Mr. Sunil Kanoria said.

The awareness that a start-up is a vehicle of rapid growth through technological n++disruptionn++ and innovation, has to spread across the economy. n++Only then, there can be a true start-up revolution; otherwise if any small traditional business is treated as a start-up then the start-up eco system will never develop properly. Realisation of this distinction needs to percolate to all strata of the policy making and economy to ensure that a real support system for the start-ups, in terms of technology, hand-holding, funding and rapid growth, can develop properly in the countryn++, the paper noted.

It said synergizing Start up India with Make in India and Digital India has the potential to expand Indian eco system for the new entrepreneurs. The paper suggested tax exemption for research and experimentation to encourage fresh ideas without fear of failure. Suggesting a Stanford University model in various Indian universities, the ASSOCHAM-Thought Arbitrage paper said courses on creation of small businesses should be encouraged in the learning campuses.

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Additional facilities extended to persons residing in India on Long-Term Visa (LTV)
Aug 20,2016

The Central Government has extended certain facilities in last two years to persons from Minority community of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians staying on Long Term Visa (LTV) in India, such as affidavit in place of renunciation certificate, LTV for five years instead of two years, facilities for education and employment, etc.

In order to provide them fair opportunities for a more comfortable living and hassle-free movement and pursuit of economic activities within the territory of India, Government has decided to extend the following additional facilities to this class of LTV holders:

Permission to open bank account

Permission for purchase of property for self occupation and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment.

Permission to take self employment.

Issuance of driving licence, PAN card and Aadhar number.

Allowing free movement within the State /UT where they are staying.

Transfer of LTV papers from one State to other.

Reduction of penalty amount to Rs.100, Rs.200 and Rs.500 instead of existing amount of $30, $130, $230 on non-extension of short term Visa /LTV.

Permission to apply for LTV from the place of present residence when the applicants have changed place without permission.

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FICCI submits feedback on the model GST law
Aug 20,2016

A FICCI delegation led by Mr. Y K Modi, Past President, FICCI met the Revenue Secretary and other officers engaged in policy making in relation to Goods and Services Tax in an Interactive Session held at the Ministry of Finance.

In the meeting, FICCI raised concerns of the trade and industry on the Model GST law which has been in public domain for some time now. FICCIs feedback on the model GST law has also been submitted to the Government. Some of the issues raised by FICCI before the Revenue Secretary on the provisions emanating from the Model GST Law included dual administrative control vested with both Centre and State, wide discretionary powers given to the tax authorities, provisions relating to mandatory pre-deposit for filing appeals, restrictions imposed on availment of input tax credit, potential of probable disputes due to separate valuation mechanism prescribed for related party transactions etc. FICCI requested that provisions which may lead to unwarranted disputes in future may be given a re-look before finalising the law.

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GST Will End Multiplicities In The Indirect Taxation: National, Spokesperson, BJP
Aug 20,2016

Goods and Services Tax (GST) as and when is implemented will attract litigation as it is going to be an evolving tax regime which could take some time to be perfect and the ceiling of perfection be rising with advancing times, according to the National Spokesperson of BJP, Mr. Nalin Kohli.

Addressing the members of the Managing Committee of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today, Mr. Kohli said that the GST ceiling and its bottom line would be consumer friendly as those that will decide the tax rates are going to be public representatives and they would take public view while deliberating upon the taxation limits both at upper hand as well as bottom line in public interests.

n++Since the GST would be an evolving tax regime, it is bound to attract litigations as and when its implementation begins but at the end of the day, the taxation system would gradually end the multiplicities of existing indirect tax system. Not only, the collections would rise but the tax distribution will become more friendlyn++, Mr. Kohli concluded his remarks on GST.

He called upon industry to be more compliant and keep their books neat and tidy as gradually, Indian systems are transforming for much better days which would make compliance as one of the important perquisites to follow a disciplined routine not only in business practices but otherwise too.

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Center reviews measures to ensure availability of essential commodities at reasonable prices
Aug 20,2016

A meeting to discuss measures to ensure availability of essential commodities at reasonable prices, especially of pulses, was held today under the chairmanship of Union Consumer Affairs Secretary - Shri Hem Pande. The meeting was attended by Principal Secretaries, Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs of States and other senior officials. The meeting reviewed availability of pulses and sugar and stock limits imposed by States thereon, bringing down price difference between wholesale and retail, lifting of pulses from Central Buffer Stock and strict enforcement of Packaged Commodities Rules.

In the meeting, States informed that the prices of pulses have started registering downward trends in recent weeks and expected to decline further. States said that stock limits on essential commodities have been imposed and in view of coming festival season, strict monitoring will be done to check hoarding of essential commodities. They were mentioned that huge margin between wholesale and retail price, which varies from 7% to 32% at various places is a cause of concern. In this regard, states agreed to hold periodical meetings with wholesalers and retailers to rationalize this margin.

States were also asked to strengthen Information Mechanism to monitor prices of essential commodities and its daily reporting from various markets to the Centre. They were also requested to increase number of such reporting centres so that price reporting mechanism may be made more broad-based.

States expressed their willingness to seek more allocation of pulses from Buffer Stock. So far, about 7000 MT have been lifted by the States. States were also requested to create a dedicated Police Department on the lines of Tamil Nadu to check offences under EC Act and to ensure display of stocks by wholesalers and importers and disposal of imported pulses within 45 days.

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MoU signed between Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences and University of Latvia
Aug 20,2016

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) and University of Latvia on establishment of an academic chair in Ayurveda.

The MoU will provide a structured framework for taking forward academic and research activities in Ayurveda through deputation of an Ayurveda Professor to the University of Latvia.

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Kharif Crop Sowing Crosses 992 Lakh Hectare Areas
Aug 19,2016

The total sown area as on 19 th August, 2016 as per reports received from States, stands at 992.76 lakh hectare as compared to 938.57 lakh hectare at this time last year.

It is reported that rice has been sown/transplanted in 346.38 lakh ha, pulses in 136.04 lakh ha, coarse cereals in 180.20 lakh ha, oilseeds in 175.49 lakh ha, sugarcane in 45.55 lakh hectare and cotton in 101.54 lakh ha.

The details of the area covered so far and that covered during this time last year are given below:

 Lakh hectare 

CropArea sown in 2016-17Area sown in 2015-16Rice346.38334.26Pulses136.04100.57Coarse Cereals180.20167.69Oilseeds175.49168.49Sugarcane45.5549.60Jute & Mesta7.567.73Cotton101.54110.23Total992.76938.57

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Vishakhapatnam Port poised for major expansion
Aug 19,2016

Vishakhapatnam Port is poised for major expansion, with the Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurating several projects during his visit to the port yesterday. The Minister inaugurated a Container Freight Station of 1 lakh TEU capacity developed by M/s. VCTPL at a cost of Rs.104 crores for which an extent of Ac 34 acres is allotted by the Port. He also inaugurated the commissioning of 6.25MW out of 10MW solar power plant. The power generated from this plant is meeting the captive consumption of the port and the excess power is proposed to be sold by third party agreements.

In addition to this the Minister inaugurated a Liquid cargo berth - EQ-10 developed by M/s. AVR Infra, on Private Sector Participation at a cost of Rs.55.38 crores with a capacity of 1.84 million tonnes per annum and a Multi cargo berth - WQ-6 developed by M/s.ABG Infra Logistics on Private Sector Participation at a cost of Rs.114.5 crores with a capacity of 2.08 million tonnes per annum

Shri Gadkari also laid the foundation stone for the project n++Reconstruction of old EQ-2,3,4&5 berths into two new berths of 530 meters quay in the inner harborn++ taken up with ports internal resources at a cost of Rs.182 crores and capacity of 6 million tonnes. He also reviewed the progress of two berths WQ-7&8under construction taken up by port with internal resources at a cost of Rs. 243 crores and capacity of 6.39 million tonnes.

The union Minister reviewed the performance of the port and the progress of developmental projects. He also reviewed the dredging projects executed by the port at a cost of Rs.400 crores which were taken up to enhance the draft of inner harbor to 14.5mts to enable Panamax vessels berthing and outer harbor to 18.1 draft to enable berthing of Super Cape vessels berthing.

Later, the Honble Minister held discussions with the stakeholders of the port. He suggested to the Govt., of Andhra Pradesh to install sewage treatment plant for treating the city sewage before letting into the port limits to avoid water pollution. The Honble Minister informed that the pollution levels have been considerably reduced consequent to various mechanization projects. The particulate matter (PM10) in the air is brought down from the level of 300 microgram in 2011 to less than 100 microgram in 2016. Honble Minister also directed the Port to engage a good consultant to do a comprehensive study and suggest measures to reduce the pollution level further.

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Commerce and Industry Minister to form a dedicated group to identify & implement expeditiously steps govt can take to accelerate Indias innovation
Aug 19,2016

Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman said that a dedicated group will be formed to identify & implement expeditiously steps government can take to accelerate further Indias innovation. Addressing the function at the launch of the Global Innovation Index report 2016 she said it is possible to do more and the country is thirsting to move forward.

India has improved its innovation ranking in GII to reach 66th position from its last years rank of 81st, this improvement in the rank for India comes after 5 years of continuous drop in its ranking. Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Finland and Singapore lead the 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index, released jointly by Cornell University, INSEAD, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) AT Kearney and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

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70% of Indias top export destinations face economic slowdown: PHD Chamber
Aug 19,2016

Though a ray of hope is emerging with dynamic efforts undertaken by the Government in improving the ease of doing business and reforms in the export infrastructure but economic slowdown in 70% of Indias export destinations is a major challenge to Indias exports growth, said Dr. Mahesh Gupta, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Notwithstanding, slowdown in destination economies, dynamic reforms undertaken at domestic front vis-a-vis improvement in ease of doing business has potential to post a 9-10% exports growth in the current year 2016-17, said Dr. Gupta

The incremental growth rate (increase in growth rate over the growth rate achieved in previous year) is negative for most of the destination economies including USA, UK, UAE, Hong Kong, China, among other major export destinations.

The GDP growth rate of US is projected to decline from 2.4% in 2015 to 2.2% in 2016, UAE growth is projected to decline from 3.9% in 2015 to 2.3% in 2016, Hong Kong is projected to decline from 2.36% in 2015 to 2.15% in 2016, China is projected to decline from 6.9% in 2015 to 6.6% in 2016 and growth of UK is projected to decline from 2.2% in 2015 to 1.7% in 2016, according to the World Economic Outlook of IMF

Global trade growth is also projected to remain sluggish at 2.8% in 2016 showing no change from 2.8% in 2015. So will be the demand scenarios of these economies and growth of our exports towards these economies, said Dr. Mahesh Gupta

Going ahead, India should focus more on the promising growth economies such as emerging and developing economies as economic growth is projected comparatively higher in many of these economies.

The emerging and developing economies have been projected to grow from 4% in 2015 to at a rate of 4.1% in 2016 and 4.6% in 2017 which is significantly high in comparison to the growth rate of advanced economies at 1.9% in 2015, 1.8% in 2016 and 2017.

Growth scenarios indicate higher prospectus for growth of exports in the emerging and developing economies.

Enhanced focus on emerging and developing economies particularly economies in Asian and African region will help India to achieve at around US$290billion exports with a growth rate of 9-10% in 2016-17 over the US$264billion exports 2015-16.

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Clarification regarding the Income Declaration Scheme 2016
Aug 19,2016

Fifth Set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) was issued yesterday clarifying certain issues relating to Income Declaration Scheme,2016 (the Scheme). Clarification has been sought as to whether the answer number 4 of the said FAQ shall apply to all assets declared under the Scheme or it is limited to only immovable property. As explained in the said answer, the clarification was issued considering the fact that investment in an immovable property may be funded partially from undisclosed and partially from disclosed sources. In such cases, if the property is sold in near future, gains from part of the property may be long term and the balance may be short term. This shall cause undue hardship to the declarant. Therefore, the clarification issued relates only for determination of holding period of immovable property.

In view of the above, it is again clarified that answer number 4 of the said FAQ shall only be applicable for determining holding period of an immovable property for which the date of acquisition is evidenced by a deed registered with any authority of the State Government. However, for assets other than immovable property declared under the Scheme, the holding period shall start from 01.06.2016 for purpose of computation of capital gains.

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Approval of Eligible Projects or Schemes under Section 35AC of the Income Tax Act, 1961
Aug 19,2016

Section 35AC of the Income Tax Act 1961, inter alia provides for a deduction in computing the business income of an assessee, of the amount paid by him to a Public Sector company or a local authority or to an association or institution approved by the National Committee for carrying-out any eligible project or scheme.

Section 35AC of the Income Tax Act, as amended by the Finance Act, 2016, provides that no deduction under this Section shall be allowed in respect of any assessment year commencing on or after 1st April, 2018. Accordingly, the benefit of deduction under Section 35AC of the I.T. Act is available only up to previous year ending 31-03-2017 (Assessment Year 2017-18) in respect of the payments made to association or institution already approved by the National Committee for carrying-out any eligible project or scheme.

In view of the above, it may be noted that requests received after 31st December, 2016 for the grant/modification/extension of approval beyond 31st March,2017 under Section 35AC of the Income-Tax Act shall not be considered/entertained by the National Committee.

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