India - Partner In Growth
Welcome to the February 24, 2017  bulletin of key policy decisions and high-impact news, presented by the Embassy of India, Washington DC.
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India Launches Bharat QR Code for Cashless Payments

Bharat QR code, the world's first interoperable payment acceptance method, has been launched in India as part of the Government's efforts to move toward a less-cash economy. The Bharat QR Code is unique because of its low cost, interoperability and collaborative approach with payment networks including MasterCard, Visa, National Payment Corporation of India and American Express. 

Government to Double Solar Capacity by 2019-20 
The Government has approved an increase in capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW of the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects. The enhanced capacity would ensure the setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500 MW or above across the country by 2019-20. 
Indian Navy Signs 1st Contract Under Make in India Program
A contract between Nova Integrated Systems Ltd. And the Indian Navy for procurement of Surface Surveillance Radars has been concluded. This is the first contract signed under the Buy and Make (Indian) Category, in line with the Government's Make in India initiative. The contract gives a major boost to the Government's drive to modernize the armed forces.

Reserve Bank Proposes Lower Discount Rate from April 1
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed that merchant discount rate (MDR) or charge on debit card transactions be rationalized on the basis of turnover in order to maintain the Government's efforts in digital payment. RBI proposes that where a merchant is willing to pay upfront for the card acceptance infrastructure, the MDR must be on the lower side. 

India, U.S. Bodies to Sign Memo on Homeopathic Medicine at Forum
The Government will inaugurate the first-of-its-kind World Integrated Medicine Forum on Regulation of Homeopathic Medicinal Products: National and Global Strategies. U.S. and Indian homeopathic medicine bodies will sign a Memorandum of Understanding. Homoeopathy is a popular medical system in India and its strength lies in the fact that its medicines are gentle, safe as well as cost-effective. 

PM Modi Asks U.S. to Have 'Farsighted' View on H-1B Visa Issue

Following the Trump administration's move to curb H-1B visas that will impact Indian skilled workers, Prime Minister Modi pressed the U.S. to have a "balanced and far-sighted perspective" on the movement of skilled professionals between the two nations. Indian H-1B recipients are valuable contributors to the U.S. economy.

279 Foreign, 270 Indian Firms Participate in Aero India 2017

The 11th biennial edition of the International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition - Aero India 2017 - wrapped up successfully, with 279 foreign firms and 270 Indian firms participating. The show gave a boost to the Make in India efforts in the defence sector. 

FDI Inflows to India Jumped 18% in 2016 to Record $46 Billion

Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into India in 2016 jumped 18% to a record $46.4 billion, at a time global FDI inflows fell. Government data show FDI inflows into India in 2016 were strongest in October at $6.2 billion, followed by $5.1 billion in September. The global flows of FDI fell 13% in 2016.

India is 12th-Largest Holder of U.S. Securities in 2016
India became the 12th-largest holder of U.S. government securities at the end of 2016, with exposure worth $118.2 billion. This is up from December 2015, when India's exposure amounted to $116.8 billion.

Health Ministry Conducts World's Largest Survey on Drug Quality
The Government has conducted the world's largest scientifically designed survey to determine the quality of drugs. As part of this survey, 47,954 drug samples relating to 23 dosage forms were drawn from 654 districts of 36 States and Union Territories from supply chains including retail outlets, government sources, from airports and sea ports.