India - Partner In Growth
Welcome to the February 10, 2017  bulletin of key policy decisions and high-impact news, presented by the Embassy of India, Washington DC.
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Govt. Think-Tank Launches 1st 'India Innovation Index' 
To make India an innovation-driven economy, NITI Aayog, the Government think-tank, along with the Confederation of Indian Industry have launched the "India Innovation Index" that will rank Indian states on innovation. This index will become the point of reference for all international agencies to collect up-to-date data from India.

Govt. to Launch New Portal for Transparency in Mining 
In order to enhance transparency and accountability and improve ease of doing business in the Indian mining sector, the Government will launch the TAMRA (Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation) online portal and mobile application. The goal is to speed up mining activity in India and track the status of statutory approval for mining blocks. 
RBI Leaves Borrowing Rates Unchanged
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has left the key policy rate, or Repo Rate, unchanged at 6.25 percent, as it tries to assess the impact of demonetization on inflation and the output gap. The Repo Rate is the repurchase rate at which RBI infuses liquidity into the banking system and is also the signaling rate. 

Health Ministry Notifies Medical Devices Rules, 2017
The Government has notified Medical Devices Rules, 2017. The new rules conform to international best practices and seek to remove regulatory bottlenecks to the Make in India initiative and facilitate ease of doing business while ensuring availability of better and safer medical devices for patient care.

With Remonetization Picking Up, Withdrawal Limits Lifted
With the remonetization of the Indian economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to remove the restrictions on cash withdrawals from saving bank accounts (including accounts opened under PMJDY). Earlier, the RBI had partially removed the restrictions on cash withdrawals from the current, cash credit, overdraft accounts and ATMs. 

U.S. Amends Laws to Make India its Major Defense Partner
Recognizing India's status as a major defense partner, the U.S. has made necessary changes in its export control laws to facilitate transfer of arms and technologies to India. The new rule "creates a presumption of approval" for the Indian companies seeking to import Commerce Department-controlled military items, except weapons of mass destruction & related items.
Air India Launches Delhi-to-Dulles Non-Stop Flights
Air India will launch non-stop, round-trip flights from Washington D.C.'s Dulles International Airport to New Delhi three times a week starting in July. The move will connect the two capital cities and target a growing international visitor market between the two. Washington is Air India's fifth U.S. city to offer non-stop flights to New Delhi. 
India Launches World's Largest Digital Literacy Program
The Government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan, a program that aims to make 60 million rural households digitally literate. This $350 million project is meant to usher in digital literacy in a massive way. The program will teach citizens how to use mobile banking, digital wallets and undertake other non-cash transactions, in-line with the Government's direction following demonetization. 

1st Phase of the Station Redevelopment Program Launched
The first phase of the world's largest railway station redevelopment program, comprising 23 major railway stations on the Indian Railways network, has been launched by the Government of India. The 400 stations to be redeveloped will provide best-in-class amenities and services to passengers. 

India now the 2nd-Largest Domestic LPG Consumer
India has become the world's second-largest domestic  LPG   (liquefied petroleum gas) consumer due to the rapid rollout of a clean fuel plan for poor households and fuel subsidy reforms. LPG consumption by households has reached 21 million tons, registering an annual growth rate of 10 percent. Consumption is expected to rise to 22 million tons by 2019.