India - Partner In Growth
Welcome to the September 29, 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. OKs Merger of Rail Budget with General Budget


The Union Cabinet has approved landmark budgetary reforms relating to the merger of the railway budget with the general budget, the advancement of the date of budget presentation from the last day of February and the merger of the plan and the non-plan classification in the budget and accounts. The changes are designed to reduce paperwork and increase efficiency. 


SEBI Allows FPIs Direct Access to Corporate Bonds 
Market regulator SEBI (Securities Exchange Board of India) has allowed foreign portfolio investors (FPI) to trade directly in corporate bonds without a broker. In a statement, SEBI said FPIs will have an option to "directly access corporate bond market without brokers as has been allowed to domestic institutions such as banks, insurance companies, pension funds etc."

India's 1st Commercial Arbitration Center Set for Mumbai 
India's first major center for commercial arbitration will be launched in Mumbai on October 8. The aim is to make India a hub of international commercial arbitration and help ensure ease of doing business. Experts see the new center as an alternative forum that Indian businesses can approach instead of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the London Court of International Arbitration. 

Govt. OKs More Money for Infrastructure Spending 
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for raising $4.7 billion in the financial year 2016-17 to augment infrastructure spending. The move is intended to supplement the efforts of the Government to improve infrastructure spending and to improve the revenue-capital mix of the expenditure for a more sustainable growth.

Govt. Announces Additional Support for Indian Exporters 
In order to improve the global prospects for India exporters, the Government has extended support for new products and raised incentive rates for other products. Products now receiving export support include traditional medicines, such as Ashwagandha herbs and its extracts, certain marine products, processed cereal products and other value-added items, including plastics, leather articles and so on.  

Navtej Sarna Appointed Indian Ambassador to the U.S.
The Government has appointed Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Navtej Sarna, as the country's next Ambassador to the United States. A 1980-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Sarna will take over from Arun Kumar Singh, who has retired from the service. Sarna, 59, is an author of several books and has served as the Ministry's Spokesperson from 2002 to 2008. He also served as India's Ambassador to Israel. 

How India is Shaping the Global Smartphone Market
Western smartphone makers, such as Apple and Google, are increasingly looking east for growth, giving countries such as India significant influence over the sorts of features they build into their phones. "India has the advantage of volume - they have sufficient volume so they can tell smartphone makers to build certain features," said Satish Meena, forecast analyst at Forrester.

India Sees $18.4 Billion in FDI in Electronics Manufacturing 
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India's electronics manufacturing has hit an all-time high of $18.4 billion in 2016 thanks to enabling policies of the Government and its Make in India initiative. FDI in the sector stood at $1.6 billion in 2014. Mobile phones worth $8.1 billion were made in India, a figure that is likely to touch $14 billion in 2016-17. 

India Leads in Overseas Investment Among Emerging Markets
Listed funds invested $1.3 billion in the Indian markets in August, the highest among emerging markets (EMs) and the largest so far in 2016. India and Taiwan attracted the highest inflows among EMs from listed funds with the latter getting $1 billion during the month. 

Retail Records Highest Private Equity Investments Since 2008 
The Indian electronic products industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10 percent to reach $75 billion by 2017 from $62 billion in 2015, a joint study said. "Rising manufacturing costs in China and Taiwan are compelling manufacturers to shift their manufacturing base to alternate markets," the report said.