Welcome to the October 23, 2014 bulletin of key policy decisions and high-impact news from India, presented by the Embassy of India, in Washington D.C.
Key Policy Decisions

Govt. Deregulates Diesel Prices


In the biggest wave of economic reforms since coming to power, the Modi Government has de-regulated the price of diesel fuel and announced a new price for domestically-produced natural gas. The Government also announced the re-launch of the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme for liquefied petroleum gas to help consumers denied the subsidy because they do not have a national identity number.                                                                                                        


Govt. Looks to End Stalemate in Coal Sector; Announces E-auction of Mines 


Looking to end uncertainty in coal block allocation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the Government will offer a group of coal mines to private firms via an e-auction. The Cabinet recommended promulgation of an Ordinance to facilitate e-auction of coal blocks for private companies for captive use and allot mines directly to state and central Government-owned firms.   




India Unveils Labor Reforms, Launches Universal Account Number for Workers 


The Government unveiled a string of labor reforms, including measures to end harassment by labor inspectors, in efforts to ease doing business India. The Government also established a universal account number for workers and a single portal for doing business with the Labour Ministry. Prime Minister Modi called the approach "minimum government and maximum governance."


Govt. Eases Rules for Defense Firms


To attract investments in the defense sector, the Government has allowed private companies to sell equipment to state-run entities without prior approval of the Ministry of Defense. The Ministry also removed the cap on annual production capacity for defense-related equipment.



G.S. Sandhu: Foreign Investment Cap Hike in Insurance to Raise $5 Billion in Five Years

The proposed foreign direct investment limit hike in the insurance sector is expected to result in inflow of $5 billion over the next five years, said G.S. Sandhu, Secretary, Financial Services. The Government will take steps in the Winter Session to get the pending insurance bill passed in Parliament, he said at the TIEcon Delhi 2014 event.

High-Impact News
Abbott Inaugurates New Nutrition Manufacturing Plant

Global health giant Abbott has set up a $73 million plant for manufacturing nutrition products in Gujarat. The state-of-the-art factory employs more than 400 people. In an interview, executive V.P. John C. Landgraf talks about the company's plans and the potential of the Indian market. Excerpts:


Govt. Appoints New Chief Economic Advisor


U.S.-based economist Arvind Subramanian has taken charge as chief economic advisor in the Finance Ministry. A former International Monetary Fund economist, his key task will be to create a new monetary policy framework whereby the Government sets the inflation target and the central bank hits it.







Report: Likely to Hit $6 Billion by 2015, India's E-commerce Surges           

With online retail rising among India's 400 million Internet users, the domestic e-commerce market is expected to reach $6 billion in 2015, a 70% increase from 2014, making the country one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in the Asia-Pacific region, estimates global research firm Gartner. Additionally, about 30% of e-commerce now comes from mobile devices.


U.S.-India Trade Group to Partner in Vibrant Gujarat Summit

The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) will lead a U.S. delegation of Fortune 500 CEOs and senior executives to the Vibrant Gujarat 2015 summit in Gujarat in January 2015. "USIBC is pleased to once again be a part of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, having long supported the pro-business environment of the state," USIBC acting president Diane Farrell said.   

Tata Consultancy Services Is First Indian Firm to Join U.S. Trade Group

Tata Consultancy Services, India's largest infotech company, has joined the U.S.-based Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), an IT trade association. "We are excited to welcome TCS, widely recognized as a leader in the global marketplace and the first Indian-headquartered company to join ITI," said ITI president and CEO Dean Garfield. 

India Projected to Become 3rd-Biggest Aviation Market by 2031

India will jump six places to become the world's third-largest aviation market in 2031, overtaking the United Kingdom, the IATA has said in a report. China is expected to become the world's top market, with the United States dropping to second place.   

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