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Indias crude oil production declines 5.4% in November 2016
Dec 22,2016

Indias crude oil production declined 5.4% to 2.88 million tonnes (mt) in November 2016 over November 2015, recording fall for ninth straight month. Crude oil output of ONGC fell 0.7% to 1.82 mt, while that of private and joint venture (JV) companies dipped 16.5% to 0.78 mt. However, the crude oil production of Oil India improved 1.7% to 0.27 mt in November 2016. ONGCs offshore output declined 1.9% to 1.33 mt, while onshore production rose 2.4% to 0.49 mt.

Crude oil output fell 3.5% to 23.99 mt in April-November period of the fiscal year ending March 2017 (April-November 2016), in addition to 0.4% fall recorded in the corresponding period of last year. Output of ONGC eased 1.7% to 14.72 mt, while that of Oil India declined 1.4% to 2.15 mt and private companies dipped 7.6% to 7.12 mt in April-November 2016 over April-November 2015.

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Cabinet approves doubling of Rajpura-Bhatinda railway line
Dec 21,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for doubling of Rajpura-Bhatinda railway line at an estimated cost of Rs 1251.25 crore and expected completion cost of Rs 1465.59 crore.

The 172.64 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.

The present utilization of this section is nearly 100%. Enhancement of capacity of power plants and planned freight terminals will generate additional freight traffic on this route. The doubling will ease the traffic bottlenecks and will bring more revenue to Indian Railways by capacity enhancement of the route. The districts of Patiala, Sangrur, Barnala and Bathinda would also be benefitted through this project.

The Rajpura-Bathinda section falls in Ambala Division of Northern Railway. At present traffic utilization of the section is nearing saturation. This line is strategically important as several military specials are routed on this line connecting the Western border. The main objective for doubling between Rajpura-Bathinda is to remove capacity constraint and to cater for future growth of traffic on the important route of Indian Railways.

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Cabinet approves creation of Indian Enterprise Development Service (IEDS)
Dec 21,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval to the Cadre review and formation of a new service in the name of n++ndian Enterprise Development Service (IEDS) in the Office of Development Commissioner (MSME), Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME). The creation of the new cadre and change in structure will not only strengthen the organization but will also help to achieve the vision of Startup India, Stand-up India and Make in India.

The measure will enhance the capacity and efficiency of the organization and also help in achieving growth in MSME sector through a focussed and dedicated cadre of technical officers.

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Cabinet approves sale of part of surplus and vacant land of Hindustan Anti-biotics
Dec 21,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the sale of part of surplus and vacant land at Pimpri in Pune, Maharashtra for meeting the liabilities of Hindustan Anti-biotics (HAL).

The proposal entails:

(i) Sale of surplus and vacant land of about 87.70 acres of HAL (actual area of land to be sold would depend upon the rates received in bids, as per guidelines of BIFR) to meet the net liabilities of Rs 821.17 crore after waiver and deferment, through an open competitive bid from Central /State Government Departments, Govt. Agencies, Central/State PSUs, Autonomous Bodies, Urban Development Authorities etc.

(ii) Waivers of Govt. of India loans and interest amounting to Rs 307.23 crore (principal amount of Rs 186.96 crore and interest approximately Rs 120.27 crore thereon calculated as on 30.9.2017) and deferment of various dues amounting to Rs 128.68 crore.

(iii) Sanction of an immediate loan of Rs 100 crore to meet the wages, salaries and other critical expenses of immediate nature. The loan will be repaid to the Government from sale proceeds of the HAL land.

The approval will help the Government in optimum utilization of the Companys assets and to take further decisions in respect of the Company for:

(i) Rehabilitation; (ii) Strategic Sale; or (iii) Closure

On implementation of the scheme/proposal, HAL will be lean with no liabilities and clean balance-sheet, so that the implementation of recommendations of the Ministers Committee is facilitated.

Sale of HAL land at Pimpri in Pune, Maharashtra will facilitate mitigation of sufferings and critical condition of the employees and if the liabilities are met and the balance sheet is cleaned, the implementation of recommendations of the Ministers Committee will be facilitated.

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Indias services export declines 1.7% in October 2016
Dec 16,2016

As per the data released by the Reserve Bank of India, Indias services exports declined 1.7% to US$ 13.11 billion in October 2016 over October 2015. Meanwhile, Indias services imports moved up 9.5% to US$ 7.68 billion in October 2016. Indias services trade surplus narrowed 14.2% to US$ 5.43 billion in October 2016 from US$ 6.33 billion in October 2015.

Indias services trade surplus fell 6.4% to US$ 37.79 billion in April-October 2016 over a year ago, with 7.9% rise in services imports to US$ 54.94 billion. Indias services exports rose mere 1.6% to US$ 92.73 billion in April-October 2016.

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Indias trade deficit widens to 16-months high in November 2016
Dec 16,2016

Indias merchandise exports increased 2.3% to US$ 20.01 billion in November 2016 over a year ago. Meanwhile, merchandise imports surged 10.4% to US$ 33.02 billion. The trade deficit jumped 25.9% to 16-months high of US$ 13.01 billion in November 2016 from US$ 10.34 billion in November 2015.

Oil imports rose 5.9% to US$ 6.84 billion, while the non-oil imports gained 11.7% to US$ 26.18 billion in November 2016 over November 2015. The share of oil imports in total imports was 20.7% in November 2016, compared with 21.6% in November 2015. Indias basket of crude oil increased 4.6% to US$ 44.46 per barrel in November 2016 over November 2015.

Among the non-oil imports, the major contributors to the overall rise in imports were gold imports rising 23.2% to US$ 4.36 billion, pearls, precious & semi-precious stones 60.9% to US$ 1.57 billion, crude petroleum & products 5.9% to US$ 6.84 billion, coal 32.5% to US$ 1.28 billion, pulses 53.6% to US$ 0.61 billion, electronic goods 5.4% to US$ 3.54 billion, electrical & non-electrical machinery 8.3% to US$ 2.23 billion and chemical material & products 23.6% to US$ 0.46 billion. The imports also improved for vegetable oil by 9.6% to US$ 0.91 billion, metaliferrous ores & minerals 10.9% to US$ 0.54 billion, project goods 30.8% to US$ 0.21 billion, wood & products 12.4% to US$ 0.44 billion and artificial resins 4.9% to US$ 0.98 billion.

On the other hand, the imports have declined for transport equipment 37.9% to US$ 1.19 billion, iron & steel 16.2% to US$ 0.93 billion, silver 36.3% to US$ 0.18 billion, medicinal & pharmaceutical products 8.4% to US$ 0.39 billion, organic & inorganic chemicals 2.5% to US$ 1.21 billion, fruits & vegetables 9.8% to US$ 0.16 billion, pulp and waste paper 16.4% to US$ 0.06 billion and textile yarn fabric, made-up articles 9.3% to US$ 0.12 billion in November 2016.

On exports front, the engineering goods recorded an increase in exports by 11.6% to US$ 4.96 billion, followed by iron ore 1012.8% to US$ 0.19 billion, marine products 27.9% to US$ 0.57 billion, petroleum products 3.4% to US$ 2.41 billion, fruits & vegetables 43.6% to US$ 0.25 billion, drugs & pharmaceuticals 5.8% to US$ 1.27 billion, organic & inorganic chemicals 5.9% to US$ 1.07 billion, and leather & leather products 6.4% to US$ 0.42 billion.

However, the exports declined for, gems & jewellery 12.8% to US$ 2.53 billion, rice 18.2% to US$ 0.35 billion, man-made yarn/fabrics/made-ups 11.0% to US$ 0.30 billion, RMG of all textiles 2.9% to US$ 1.15 billion, coal & other ores, minerals 8.1% to US$ 0.24 billion, plastic & linoleum 2.2% to US$ 0.43 billion, tea 6.9% to US$ 0.06 billion, in November 2016.

Merchandise exports in rupees increased 4.6% to Rs 135316 crore, while imports moved up 13.0% to Rs 223290 crore in November 2016 over November 2015. The trade deficit widened to Rs 87973 crore in November 2016 compared with Rs 68335 crore in November 2015.

Indias merchandise exports rose 0.3% to US$ 174.92 billion, while merchandise imports fell 8.1% to US$ 241.10 billion in April-November 2016. The decline in imports was driven by a 13.4% plunge in oil imports to US$ 53.28 billion. Indias merchandise trade deficit declined to US$ 66.18 billion in April-November 2016 from US$ 87.91 billion in April-November 2015.

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NITI Aayog announces schemes for incentivising digital payment
Dec 15,2016

Government of India has initiated numerous steps to combat the scourge of Corruption and Black Money in the last two and a half years. Demonetization of 500 and 1000 Rs notes was important milestone in this endeavour. Following demonetization, there has been a spurt in the digital payments across the country and both the volume and amount of money transacted through digital methods has seen manifold increase since 09 November 2016.

Yet, as on date, nearly 95% of Indias personal consumption expenditure transactions are cash-based giving rise to a very large informal economy limiting the ability of State to levy and raise taxes. The Government of India had recently on 08 December announced a slew of measures to promote digital payments.

NITI Aayog has announced the launch of the schemes Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana to give cash awards to consumers and merchants who utilize digital payment instruments for personal consumption expenditures. The scheme specially focuses on bringing the poor, lower middle class and small businesses into the digital payment fold. It has been decided that National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) shall be the implementing agency for this scheme. It would be useful to reiterate that NPCI is a not for profit company which is charged with a responsibility of guiding India towards being a cashless society.

The primary aim of these schemes is to incentivize digital transactions so that electronic payments are adopted by all sections of the society, especially the poor and the middle class. It has been designed keeping in mind all sections of the society and their usage patterns. For instance, the poorest of poor will be eligible for rewards by using USSD. People in village and rural areas can participate in this scheme through AEPS. The scheme will become operational with the first draw on 25 December 2016 (as a Christmas gift to the nation) leading up to a Mega Draw on Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti on 14 April 2017. It will comprise of two major components, one for the Consumers and the other for the Merchants:

a) Lucky Grahak Yojana [Consumers]:

i. Daily reward of Rs 1000 to be given to 15,000 lucky Consumers for a period of 100 days;

ii. Weekly prizes worth Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10,000 and Rs 5000 for Consumers who use the alternate modes of digital Payments

This will include all forms of transactions viz. UPI, USSD, AEPS and RuPay Cards but will for the time being exclude transactions through Private Credit Cards and Digital Wallets.

b) Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana [Merchants]:

i. Prizes for Merchants for all digital transactions conducted at Merchant establishments

ii. Weekly prizes worth Rs 50,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 2,500

c) Mega Draw on 14 of April - Ambedkar Jayanti

i) 3 Mega Prizes for consumers worth Rs 1 crore, 50 lakh, 25 lakh for digital transactions between 8 November 2016 to 13 April 2017 to be announced on 14 April 2017

ii) 3 Mega Prizes for merchants worth Rs 50 lakh, 25 lakh, 12 lakh for digital transactions between 8 November 2016 to 13 April 2017 to be announced on 14 April 2017.

To ensure that the focus of the scheme is on small transactions (entered into by common people), incentives shall be restricted to transactions within the range of Rs 50 and Rs 3000. All transactions between consumers and merchants; consumers and government agencies and all AEPS transactions will be considered for the incentive scheme.

The winners shall be identified through a random draw of the eligible Transaction IDs [which are generated automatically as soon as the transaction is completed] by software to be especially developed by NPCI for this purpose. NPCI has been directed to ensure a technical and security audit of the same to ensure that the technical integrity of the process is maintained.

The estimated expenditure on the first phase of the scheme (up to 14 April 2017) is likely to be Rs 340 crore. The Government will simultaneously carry out a review for further implementation. India is transitioning at a rapid rate from a cash-user society to a cashless society. This is a historic moment in our nations history when our nation is shedding old habits and rapidly adopting new means which shall propel us into a truly modern age.

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e-Tourist visa issuance jumps 63.9% in November 2016
Dec 15,2016

A total of 1,36,876 foreign tourists arrived in November 2016 on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 83,501 during the month of November 2015 registering a growth of 63.9%. UK (22.3%) continues to occupy top slot followed by USA (12.9%) and Russian Fed (8.7%) amongst countries availing e-tourist visa facility During November 2016.

The facility of e-Tourist Visa has been made available by the Government of India to the citizens of 155 countries, arriving at 16 International Airports in India. The number of e-Tourist Visa availed by foreign tourists visiting India during the month of November, 2016 has registered a substantial growth rate over the corresponding month of 2015.

During January- November 2016, a total of 9,17,446 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 3,41,683 during January-November 2015, registering a growth of 168.5%. This high growth may be attributed to introduction of e-Tourist Visa for 155 countries as against the earlier coverage of 113 countries.

The percentage shares of top 10 source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facilities during November, 2016 were as follows: UK (22.3%), USA (12.9%), Russian Fed (8.7%), France (6.3%), China (6.1%), Germany (4.6%), Australia (4.1%), Canada (3.6%), Netherlands (1.8%) and Ukraine (1.8%).

The percentage shares of top 10 ports in tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during November, 2016 were as follows: New Delhi Airport (44.99%), Mumbai Airport (18.53%), Dabolim (Goa) Airport (14.19%), Chennai Airport (5.26%), Bengaluru Airport (5.23%), Kochi Airport (2.99%), Kolkata Airport (2.32%), Hyderabad Airport (1.94%), Trivandrum Airport (1.32%) and Amritsar Airport (1.11%).

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Railway revenue rises 6.1% in November 2016
Dec 14,2016

The Indian Railway (IR) has recorded 6.1% growth in its revenues to Rs 13953.85 crore in November 2016 over November 2015, while snapping 4.1% decline to Rs 13146.91 crore in November 2015. The passenger earnings surged 11.3% to Rs 3887.50 crore in November 2016, against 10.3% growth recorded in November 2015. The earnings from freight traffic, accounting for 65.5% of the total revenue rose 1.1% to Rs 9137.62 crore in November 2016, after consistent decline for last 12 straight months. The other coaching revenue dipped 17.8% to Rs 333.09 crore, while the revenue from sundry activities zoomed 179.2% to Rs 595.64 crore in November 2016.

In April-November FY2017, the revenue earnings of IR declined 2.7% to Rs 104834.55 crore, while snapping 7.3% surge recorded in April-November FY2016. Further, the IR revenues have been below the budget target of Rs 117731.23 crore for the above mentioned period.

The goods revenue dipped 7.3% to Rs 66953.90 crore, while the passenger revenue rose at moderated pace of 4.4% to Rs 31492.70 crore in April-November FY2017. The other coaching revenue increased 2.4% to Rs 2956.49 crore, while the sundry earnings surged 44.5% to Rs 3431.46 crore in April-November FY2017.

The passenger traffic of IR increased 7.0% to 709.66 million in November 2016. Passenger traffic rose 1.0% to 5507.62 million in April-November FY2017. The passenger traffic is marginally higher than the budget estimate of 5472.07 million for April-November FY2017.

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Indias fuel product consumption jumps 12.3% in November 2016
Dec 14,2016

Indias fuel product consumption or sales increased 12.3% to 16.64 mt in November 2016 over a year ago. Diesel sales increased 10.6% to 6.75 mt, while petcoke sales moved up 38.3% to 1.91 mt, LPG 15.9% to 1.88 mt and petrol 14.2% to 2.03 mt. Consumption of bitumen also gained 23.6% to 0.53 mt, fuel oil 11.5% to 0.57 mt, and ATF 8.2% to 0.58 mt. Further, the consumption of lubes/greases increased 14.4% to 0.29 mt, naphtha 3.3% to 1.08 mt, others 4.8% to 0.58 mt, and LDO 51.5% to 0.04 mt. However, the consumption of kerosene dipped 31.8% to 0.39 mt in November 2016.

Consumption or sales of fuel product increased 9.7% to 130.00 mt in April-November 2016 over April-November 2015. Sales of petcoke increased 44.0%, diesel 4.1%, petrol 11.7%, and LPG 11.6%. Consumption of fuel oil also moved up 17.0%, ATF 12.0%, naphtha 3.0% and bitumen 7.1%. Further, the consumption of lubes/greases inched up 9.2%, others 3.5% and LDO 18.4%, but declined for kerosene 15.8% in April-November 2016.

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WPI inflation eases to 3.2% in November 2016
Dec 14,2016

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation eased for the third straight month to 3.2% in November 2016 from 3.4% in October 2016. The decline in WPI inflation was entirely driven by a dip in inflation for primary articles, while fuel and power and manufactured products group inflation continued to rise in November 2016. Further, the unfavourable base effect restricted sharp decline in inflation in November 2016.

Inflation of primary articles dipped to 1.2% in November 2016 from 3.3% in October 2016. The inflation for manufactured products rose to 3.2% in November 2016. Further, the inflation for fuel items accelerated further to 7.1% in November 2016 from 6.2% in October 2016.

As per major commodity group-wise, inflation eased for fruits, vegetables, egg, fish, spices, fibres, oilseeds, flowers, edible oils, oilcakes, tea, beverages and tobacco products, wood and products, non-metallic mineral products and automotives in November 2016. On the other hand, inflation of foodgrains, coffee, sugarcane, iron ore, crude petroleum, mineral oils, grain mill products, sugar, textiles, paper products, leather products, rubber products, chemical products, and basic metals rose in November 2016.

Inflation of food items (food articles and food products) eased to 4.4% in November 2016 from 6.3% in October 2016. Meanwhile, inflation of non-food items (all commodities excluding food items) moved up to 2.6% in November 2016 from 2.1% in October 2016.

Core inflation (manufactured products excluding foods products) rose to 24-months high of 1.5% in November 2016 from 1.1% in October 2016.

The contribution of primary articles to the overall inflation, at 3.15%, was 36 basis points (bps) in November 2016 compared with 96 bps in October 2016. The contribution of manufactured products was 179 bps compared with 151 bps, while that of fuel product group was 106 bps against 92 bps in October 2016.

The contribution of food items (food articles and food products) to inflation fell to 140 bps in 3.39% in November 2016 compared with 197 bps to 3.39% in October 2016. Meanwhile, the contribution of non-food items (all commodities excluding food items) was 179 bps in November 2016 compared with 144 bps in October 2016.

As per the revised data, the inflation figure for September 2016 was revised up to 3.8% compared with 3.6% reported provisionally.

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Indias current account deficit at 0.6% of GDP in Q2 of 2016-17
Dec 14,2016

Indias current account deficit (CAD) at US$ 3.4 billion (0.6% of GDP) in Q2 of 2016-17 was lower than US$ 8.5 billion (1.7% of GDP) in Q2 of 2015-16 but higher than US$ 0.3 billion (0.1% of GDP) in the preceding quarter.

The contraction in the CAD on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis was primarily on account of a lower trade deficit (US$25.6 billion) brought about by a larger decline in merchandise imports relative to exports.

Net services receipts moderated on y-o-y basis, primarily owing to the fall in earnings from software, financial services and charges for intellectual property rights.

Private transfer receipts, mainly representing remittances by Indians employed overseas, amounted to US$ 15.2 billion, having declined by 10.7% from their level a year ago.

In the financial account, net inflows of both foreign direct investment and portfolio investment were significantly higher in Q2 on a y-o-y basis.

Non-resident Indian (NRI) deposits declined to US$ 2.1 billion in Q2 of 2016-17 from US$ 4.2 billion in Q2 of 2015-16.

Net loans availed by banks witnessed a net repayment of US$ 9.0 billion in Q2 of 2016-17 as against net borrowing of US$ 3.1 billion in Q2 of 2015-16.

In Q2 of 2016-17, foreign exchange reserves (on BoP basis) increased by US$ 8.5 billion as against a decline of US$ 0.9 billion in Q2 of last year.

BoP during April-September 2016 (H1 of 2016-17)

On a cumulative basis, the CAD narrowed to 0.3% of GDP in H1 of 2016-17 from 1.5% in H1 of 2015-16 on the back of the contraction in the trade deficit.

Indias trade deficit narrowed to US$ 49.5 billion in H1 of 2016-17 from US$ 71.3 billion in H1 of 2015-16.

Net invisible receipts were lower, mainly due to moderation in software exports and private transfers and higher outgo on account of primary income (profit, interest and dividends).

Net FDI inflows during H1 of 2016-17 rose by more than 28.8% over the level during the corresponding period of the previous year.

Portfolio investment recorded a net inflow of US$ 8.2 billion during H1 as against a net outflow of US$ 3.5 billion a year ago.

In H1 of 2016-17, there was an accretion of US$ 15.5 billion to foreign exchange reserves.

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CPI inflation dips to 24-months low of 3.6% in November 2016
Dec 13,2016

The all-India general CPI inflation dipped to 24-months low of 3.63% in November 2016 (new base 2012=100), compared with 4.20% in October 2016. The corresponding provisional inflation rate for rural area was 4.13% and urban area 3.05% in November 2016 as against 4.78% and 3.54% in October 2016. The core CPI inflation was nearly flat 4.90% in November 2016 from 4.86% in October 2016.

The cumulative CPI inflation rose to 5.03% in April-November 2016 compared with 4.69% in April-November 2015.

Among the CPI components, inflation of food and beverages declined to 2.56% in November 2016 from 3.71% in October 2016 contributing to the fall in CPI inflation. Within the food items, the inflation eased for vegetables to (-) 10.29%, pulses and products 0.23%, oils and fats 2.70%, spices 6.48% and meat and fish 5.83%. The inflation also eased for prepared meals, snacks, sweets etc 5.82%, sugar and confectionery to 22.40% and non-alcoholic beverages 3.70%. On the other hand, inflation moved up for milk and products 4.57% and Cereals and products 4.86% in November 2016.

The inflation for housing eased to 5.04%, while that for miscellaneous items inched up to 4.83% in November 2016. Within the miscellaneous items, the inflation for Transport and communication rose to 3.77%, and Personal care and effects 7.73%, while eased for Household goods and services to 4.21% and Health 4.55% in November 2016.

The inflation for clothing and footwear was flat at 4.98% in November 2016, while the CPI inflation of fuel and light eased to 2.80% in November 2016.

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ADB scales down Indias growth forecast to 7% for 2016
Dec 13,2016

Economic growth in developing Asia remains broadly stable, but a slight slowdown in India has trimmed the regions growth outlook for 2016, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report. In a supplement to its Asian Development Outlook 2016 Update report, ADB has downgraded 2016 growth to 5.6%, below its previous projection of 5.7%. For 2017, growth remains unchanged at 5.7%.

Asian economies continue their robust expansion in the face of global economic uncertainties, said ADB Deputy Chief Economist Juzhong Zhuang. Structural reforms to boost productivity, improve investment climate, and support domestic demand can help maintain growth momentum into the future.

Combined growth for the major industrial economies exceeded expectations in the Update, ticking up 0.1 percentage point to 1.5% in 2016. Growth in 2017 is maintained at 1.8%. Robust consumer spending supported the US economy, with supportive monetary policy and improved labor markets fueling growth in the euro area. Japans expansion, meanwhile, will be buoyed by strong exports, despite the stronger local currency.

ADB has downgraded the forecast in South Asia from 6.9% to 6.6% in 2016. Growth will bounce back in 2017, reaching 7.3%. Indias tempered growth projection to 7.0% from the previously forecasted 7.4% in 2016 is due to weak investments, a slowdown in the countrys agriculture sector, and the lack of available cash due to the governments decision to ban high-denomination banknotes. This will likely affect largely cash-based sectors in the country including small- and medium-scale businesses. The effects of the transition are expected to be short-lived and the Indian economy is expected to grow at 7.8% in 2017.

The forecast in East Asia is maintained for 2016 and 2017. Growth this year will reach 5.8%, with a slight moderation to 5.6% in 2017. Growth in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) - the worlds second largest economy - is expected to hit 6.6% this year, driven by strong domestic consumption, solid wage growth, urban job creation, and public infrastructure investment. The forecast for the PRC in 2017 is maintained at 6.4%.

In Southeast Asia, growth forecasts remain unchanged at 4.5% in 2016 and 4.6% in 2017, with Malaysia and the Philippines expecting stronger growth due to a surge in domestic consumption and public and private investment, compared to lower growth forecasts in Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, and Singapore.

The outlook in Central Asia is maintained at 1.5% in 2016 and 2.6% in 2017, as the ongoing recession in the Russian Federation and low global commodity prices for oil and natural gas continue to dampen growth in the subregion.

The Pacific will see growth of 2.7% in 2016, picking up to 3.3% in 2017. The fiscal contraction in Papua New Guinea - the Pacifics largest economy - and recovery from recent cyclones have weighed on growth in the subregion. While cyclone damage in Fiji has had a bigger impact on its growth outlook than previously envisaged, prospects for Samoa, Kiribati, and Tuvalu are improving through improvements in fisheries, infrastructure, and tourism.

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Rabi crops sowing crosses 472 lakh hectares
Dec 09,2016

As per preliminary reports received from the States, the total area sown under Rabi crops as on 09 December 2016 stands at 472.43 lakh hectares as compared to 438.90 lakh hectare this time in 2015.

Wheat has been sown/transplanted in 225.63 lakh hectares as on 09 December 2016 compared with 202.28 lakh hectares sown same time of last year. The area under pulses crops was higher at 121.74 lakh hectares against 110.80 lakh hectares a year ago. The area under oilseeds crops has also moved up to 72.23 lakh hectares against 65.71 lakh hectares.

However, the area under rice was lower at 8.00 lakh hectares as on 09 December 2016 compared with 10.98 lakh hectares sown same time last year. The coarse cereals crops have also exhibited lower coverage of 44.83 lakh hectares compared with the last years coverage of 49.13 lakh hectares.

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