India - Partner In Growth
Welcome to the December 16, 2016 bulletin of key policy decisions and high-impact news from India, presented by the Embassy of India, in Washington D.C.
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Digital Payments Committee Makes Recommendations to FM Jaitley
The Committee on Digital Payments has recommended a medium-term strategy for accelerating growth of digital payments in India with a regulatory regime that is conducive to bridging the digital divide by promoting competition, open access and interoperability in payments, in its report to Finance Minister Jaitley. 
Govt. Seeks to Grow Shipping Sector, Tourism 
With an eye toward developing India's shipping sector and tourism, Govt. has outlined a plan for optimum utilization of shipping and coastal resources that sees increasing the share of coastal/inland water transportation, development of coastal shipping as part of an end-to-end logistics supply chain, integration of inland waterways with the coastal routes and development of regional centers to generate cargo. 

Govt. OKs Funding of National Highway Projects 
The Government has approved funding of National Highway projects that are generating toll revenue for at least two years after start of operations through the Toll Operate Transfer (ToT) model. Currently, 75 operational Highway projects have been identified for monetization under the ToT model. 

Govt. Launches Website of National Rail Plan, 2030
The Government has launched the website of the National Rail Plan, 2030This site allows all stakeholders to give their input for railways planning. The Plan will work to integrate the rail network with other modes of transport and achieve Prime Minister Modi's vision of integrated planning and cost optimization of the transportation network by laying the new railway lines and new highways together in tunnels and over mega-bridges. 

Cabinet Approves Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016 
The Cabinet has cleared a bill proposing a significant overhaul of India's 12 major ports. Under the proposed bill, all future public-private partnership operators will be free to fix tariff rates based on market conditions and will simply need to notify the port authority. 
India to Become 'Major Defense Partner' of U.S. with Senate Passage of Bill
The U.S. Congress has cleared the way for India to become a "major defense partner" with the Senate overwhelmingly passing the $618 billion defense budget for 2017. "I applaud the inclusion of forward-leaning provisions designed to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation with India," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)
FM Jaitley: India, U.S. Strike 1st Bilateral Advance Pricing Pact
India and the U.S. have reached a deal for the first bilateral advance pricing agreement, a move that will enable American firms to ascertain tax liabilities beforehand, Finance Minister Jaitley said. The two nations have resolved more than 100 cases of tax disputes involving a tax of about $752 million through the Mutual Agreement Procedure, he said. 

India Tops Asia in Innovation Chart 
India has emerged as the most preferred destination for innovation in Asia and third biggest globally, with India's Silicon Valley of East Bengaluru leading the charge, says research by global consulting firm Capgemini. Nine new innovation centers were opened in India during the survey period, taking the total number to 25. 

S&P: Demonetization, GST Will Help India in Long Run
Demonetization will be beneficial for the Indian economy in the long run, global ratings agency S&P said. "Indian government reforms will have long-term structural benefits but carry short-term execution and adjustment risks," S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Abhishek Dangra said in the report, titled "India's Demonetization and The GST: Short-Term Pain For Long-Term Gain."

Why India's Real Estate Market is in for a Big Boost
Global real estate investors will soon be able to invest in real estate and infrastructure in India, as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are expected to make their debut in the world's largest democracy. Next year, Blackstone is expected to offer its first issuance of these securities, a development that could pave the way to boost India's broader market for properties.