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Greetings from the Embassy of India in Washington DC!
Welcome to the December 21, 2020, edition of our newsletter, bringing you important policy and high-impact news about India.
I hope you find it useful.
High Impact News
"India not only on track to achieve its Paris Agreement targets, but to exceed them" PM Modi at Climate Action Summit
PM Shri Narendra Modi spoke at the Climate Action Summit, held virtually to mark the five years of the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The summit was co-hosted by the United Nations, the UK, France, Chile and Italy and leaders from the governments and private sectors across the globe participated. Prime Minister highlighted that India has reduced its emission intensity by 21 per cent over 2005 levels. In his message delivered virtually at the summit, PM said India's solar capacity has grown from 2.63 gigawatts in 2014 to 36 gigawatts in 2020.
"Our aim is to ensure that our youngsters get an international platform to showcase their skills" PM Modi at PAN-IIT Global Summit
The Prime Minister said India is witnessing a sea change in the way it works. He said earlier, when IITs produced aero-space engineers, there was not a strong domestic industrial ecosystem to employ them. Today, with the historic reforms in the Space sector, the last frontier before humanity has opened up to Indian talent. That's why new space tech startups are coming up every day in India. He expressed confidence that some of those in the audience would boldly go where none have gone before. Cutting edge and innovative work is happening across many sectors in India.
Ambassadors of 64 countries visit the vaccine manufacturing facilities to see how 60 percent of the world’s vaccines are produced in India
The Ministry of External Affairs organized a tour of the Heads of Missions and their representatives in India to visit Hyderabad on 9 December 2020. The tour was organized in cooperation with the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT) and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). The purpose of the visit was to show India’s vaccine capabilities, its achievements and ensuring future cooperation on the Covid-19 front.
Cybersecurity is critical for national security of India & US: Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu at the Global Technology Summit
“Technology is helping us in fighting the pandemic today in more ways than one, from staying connected to making trade and commerce easier through digital platforms to facilitating education and healthcare.” Ambassador Sandhu said while speaking at the Global Technology Summit held by the External Affairs Ministry & Carnegie India.
Tremendous scope for strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and New Mexico: Ambassador Sandhu
India has said that there is tremendous scope for strengthening bilateral cooperation with the US state of New Mexico, especially in the areas of healthcare, medical research, IT and renewable energy. New Mexico also offers a strategic advantage for Indian companies looking into the state to establish their North American headquarters, India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said in his address during a webinar on “India-New Mexico Partnership,” which among others was addressed by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Foreign Investments Demonstrate India’s Resilience and Growth
Despite being weighed down by COVID-19, investment sentiment in the Indian economy has been buoyed by the frequent and active intervention of the Government of India. As a result, the growth saga of Indian economy continued as also reflected by the trends in Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI), Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Corporate Bond Market flows. During October and November 2020, there has been a significant resurgence in FPI inflows resulting in the highest ever FPI inflows for a month for India. As of 28th November 2020, FPI inflows stood at $8.3 Billion. Total Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) inflows into India during the second quarter of financial year 2020-21 have been $28 Billion. In first half of the ongoing financial year, the total corporate bond issued amounted to $58 Billion, 25% higher than that issues during the same period last year. 
New National Biofuels Policy aims at "One Nation, One Gas Grid"
The 3rd RE-INVEST expo was held successfully on November 26th, 2020. The event was attended by dignitaries from across India and the world, and included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and energy ministers from the United Kingdom. The RE-INVEST is a platform to discuss and debate with experts in the world of Renewable Energy the opportunities, issues and challenges of procuring energy from renewable sources. India continues to innovate in Renewable Energy deployment by increasing capacities and adopting practical solutions, newer technologies and market mechanisms. 
UNCTAD declares Invest India as the winner of Invest Promotion Award of 2020 out of 180 Investment Promotion Agencies
The United Nations (UNCTAD) has declared Invest India- the National Investment Promotion Agency of India- as a winner of the 2020 United Nations Investment Promotion Award. The award ceremony took place on 7th December 2020 at UNCTAD Headquarters in Geneva.
Key Policy Decisions
Putting Farmers First: Government's Farm Bills for a better India
The government of India has recently passed farm bills to address the longstanding issues of the agriculture sector in India, to address the sufferings of the farmers and to make India a leading food-exporting country in the world
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Technology Park Opens 
An AI & Robotics Technologies Park (ARTPARK) has been set up in Bengaluru to promote technology innovations in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Robotics. ARTPARK, is a unique not-for-profit foundation established by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru with support from the AI Foundry. With seed funding of $22 Million from the Department of Science & Technology (DST), ARTPARK will gather partners from industry, academia and government bodies. This will lead to cutting edge innovations in new technologies, standards, products, services and intellectual properties.
High-level Ministerial Committee Created to Implement Paris Agreement
As a step towards India’s crusade to tackle the issue of climate change, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has constituted a high-level inter-ministerial Apex Committee for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (AIPA) under the chairmanship of Secretary, MoEFCC. Senior officials from fourteen ministries will serve as Members to AIPA who will oversee the progress in implementation of India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and receive periodic information updates to monitor, review and revisit climate goals to fulfil the requirements of the Paris Agreement.
UNDP and Invest India Unveil SDG Investor Map for India
UNDP and Invest India have launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Investor Map for India, laying out 18 Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) in six critical SDG enabling sectors, that can help India move forward on the path of Sustainable Development. The introduction of SDG Investor Map is most timely and opportune at a time when the India is facing financing gap for the SDGs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Investing in the SDGs at this point is crucial to ‘Building Back Better’ and making the economy and our societies more resilient and sustainable. Enhanced productivity, technology adoption and increased inclusion are all critical factors that this map uses to identify the most attractive sectors for investors. 
Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface, known as PM-WANI, will provide public Wi-Fi service across length and breadth of India
The Cabinet of the Government of India has given its approval for the proposal of DoT for setting up of Public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices (PDOs) spread across length and breadth of the country to accelerate proliferation of Broadband Internet services through Public Wi-Fi network in the country. There shall be no license fee for providing Broadband Internet through these public Wi-Fi networks. The proposal will promote the growth of Public Wi-Fi Networks in the country and, in turn, will help in proliferation of Broadband Internet, enhancement of income and employment and empowerment of people.
Capital Infusion into NIIF Infrastructure Debt Financing Platform 
The Union Cabinet has approved an $800 million infusion for the NIIF Debt Platform. The platform is sponsored by the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), which is comprised of the Aseem Infrastructure Finance Limited (AIFL) and NIIF Infrastructure Finance Limited (NIIF-IFL). The current proposal seeks government investment to further scale the potential and impact of the two entities in the infrastructure debt financing space. This will also support the efforts of the platform to raise international equity. With the fresh infusion of equity by the government, the debt platform is expected to raise enough resources to extend debt support of approximately USD 14 Billion to projects by 2025.
Cabinet approves Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) 
The Indian Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) to boost employment in formal sector and incentivize creation of new employment opportunities during the Covid recovery phase under Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0. Cabinet has approved an expenditure of Rs. 1,584 crore for the current financial year and Rs.22,810 crore for the entire Scheme period i.e. 2020-2023.
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