India - Partner In Growth
Welcome to the January 6, 2017 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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Govt. Sets Up Committee to Create Arbitration System
The Law Ministry has formed a 10-member panel to speedily review and create an institutional framework for an arbitration mechanism in India. The committee will make recommendations on various aspects of improving arbitration in the country, including encouraging use of arbitration for international commercial disputes and other elements. 
NRIs Can Deposit Demonetized Currency Until June 30, 2017
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) can deposit up to Rs. 25,000 ($368) of the demonetized currency during a newly established six-month grace period by making a declaration at airports. The declaration must be submitted at specified branches of the Reserve Bank of India while depositing the junked currency.

BHIM App Launched: What It Is, How It Works, All You Need to Know
Prime Minister Modi launched a United Payments Interface (UPI)-based app called BHIM, short for Bharat Interface for Money. The BHIM app is a straightforward UPI app, which would allow anyone to make simple digital payments directly from their bank account. It is available for download. 

Tax Board Signs Two More Advance Pricing Agreements
The Central Board of Direct Taxes has signed two more unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements, these associated with the IT and automobile sectors. The plan endeavors to provide certainty to taxpayers in transfer pricing by specifying methods of pricing and setting prices of international transactions in advance. 

Roadmap for Early Completion of Water Projects 
The Government has charted out a roadmap for early completion of 99 identified water use projects under PMKSY-AIBP. Out of these, 23 projects have been identified to be completed by 2016-17 and another 31 projects are set to be done by 2017-18.  The remaining 45 projects should be completed by December 2019.                                                             
Finance Ministry: Economy Grew 7.2% in H1, Inflation in Comfort Zone
During the current financial year, the Indian economy continues to consolidate the gains achieved in restoring macro-economic stability. The economy grew at a rate of 7.2 percent in the first half, despite the continuing global sluggishness and recent pick-up in petroleum prices.
Govt. OKs 6 FDI Proposals Worth $180 Million
The Government has approved six foreign investment proposals, including those of Sanofi Synthelabo India, Star Den Media Services and Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services, totaling a foreign investment of $180 million. With growth in foreign direct investment in important sectors such as services and manufacturing, overall foreign inflows into the country rose by 30 percent to $21 billion during the first half of 2016-17. 
Home Loans Cheapest in 6 Years as Rates Slashed
Home loan rates have fallen to their lowest level in six years with the State Bank of India, the country's largest lender, cutting the effective rate to 8.6 percent from 9.1 percent. The Union Bank of India and Punjab National Bank also cut rates and private-sector banks such as ICICI Bank are expected to follow suit.

Tax Collections to Surpass Budget Estimates
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expressed confidence that direct and indirect tax mop-up will surpass the budget estimate of $240 billion by the end of March. In the budget, Jaitley had estimated a 12.64 percent growth in direct tax to $127 billion in 2016-17 and 10.8 percent in indirect tax at $117 billion. 

Overwhelming Response to Regional Connectivity Plan for 600 Air Routes
Buoyed by a positive response from operators, the Civil Aviation Ministry is looking to eliminate the final hurdles in the Government's ambitious regional connectivity scheme. After opening the window for auctioning of routes, the ministry has received registration from 60-some operators, many of who will enter the sector for the first time.