India - Partner In Growth
Welcome to the October 6, 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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Govt. Ratifies Paris Climate Agreement   
On October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, India ratified the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Praising India for the ratification, President Obama said in a tweet, "Gandhiji believed in a world worthy of our children. In joining the Paris Agreement, PM Narendra Modi and the Indian people carry on that legacy." UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also lauded India by tweeting, "Sabhi Bharatiyon ko dhanyawad" (I thank all Indians).  
Tourism Investment Summit to be Held Annually to Boost Visitors 
The Government will hold an annual tourism investment summit in order to help bring foreign money and tourists to India. "We will assist and support investors for making India the tourist destination of choice," said Stated Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister Of State (I/C) For Tourism And Culture. He noted India's tourist helpline is now in 12 languages. 

Govt. Targets Doubling Food Processing Levels to 20% by 2019
The Government has set a target of doubling food processing levels in the country to 20% by 2019, said Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal. She noted that regional neighbors such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore process as much as 70 to 80 percent of their food. 

Shipping Ministry Proposes New Model Concession Agreement for Port Sector 
The Ministry of Shipping has proposed a new Model Concession Agreement (MCA) for the port sector. The objectives of the revised MCA include a more equitable allocation of project risks, provisions to handle unforeseen circumstances, removing ambiguity in existing provisions and attracting more private sector investment.

Cabinet OKs $339 Million Makeover for IT for GST 
The Cabinet approved a $339 million project to improve IT capabilities of the indirect tax administration ahead of the GST rollout. The cost of "Project SAKSHAM" will be incurred over seven years. The new indirect tax network of the Central Board of Excise and Customs will support larger number of taxpayers. 

India Climbs Steadily in Global Competitiveness Index
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that data from the World Economic Forum shows that India's ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index has improved by 16 places for the second year in a row. He said that according to the latest ranking, India is placed 39th among 138 countries, ahead of BRICS countries other than China, which is ranked 28th. 

Govt. Organizing 2nd Summit on Medical Travel 
After the successful launch of the inaugural edition last year, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry organized the second edition of "Advantage Health Care India 2016," an international summit on medical value travel with the aim of promoting healthcare services exports from India, scheduled from Oct. 3-5 October at the Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida.

Google to Set Up Data Centers in India
Google announced that it plans to set up data centers in India by 2017 - a strategy that will help the company cater to a larger number of customers, especially those in the government or financial services industry since regulations in those sectors don't permit data to be transmitted outside the country. 

August Sees Big Surge in M&A Deals;Tally Since Jan. Stands at $22 bn
Corporate India announced merger and acquisition (M&A) deals worth $2.5 billion in August, up three-fold year-on-year, driven largely by positive macro- economic factors and Government's reform initiatives, says a report. The surge in deal value was largely on account of big ticket deals, as banking and the financial sector led activity contributing over 30 percent of total deal value.

Marriott-Starwood Tie-Up to Open 80 Hotels in India in 3 Years 
Marriott, which recently completed acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, said the combined entity in India would open around 80 hotels in the next three years, taking the total number of hotels it operates to around 160 in the country. Both the hotel chains currently operate seven brands each with a total of around 79 hotels with around 18,000 rooms in India.