Welcome to the December 26, 2014 bulletin of key policy decisions and high-impact news from India, presented by the Embassy of India, in Washington D.C.
High-Impact News

India Remains Consensus Top U.S. Investment Destination: Study   

India remains the consensus favorite investment destination for U.S. companies, largely on the back of a "Modi-Rajan-Commodities trinity," Citigroup said in a report. While estimating that the Indian economy is likely to edge back to 7 percent growth and show lower inflation, Citigroup noted that "unlike the 2013 taper tantrums, when India had a high current account deficit, elevated inflation and weak growth, India's fundamentals have improved." 

Telecom Minister: We've Got $2.8 Billion in Investment Proposals Since Mid-Year


The Government has received investment proposals worth $2.8 billion in the past six months in the field of electronics manufacturing, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. He said the Government has approved eight to nine electronics clusters that will house a full manufacturing ecosystem for electronic products.

World's Biggest Solar Power Station Set for Madhya Pradesh


The world's biggest solar power station (750 megawatts) will be built in Rewa district's Gudh area, Madhya Pradesh Energy and Mining Minister Rajendra Shukla said. The "World Bank will provide a 50 percent soft loan for setting up the ultra mega solar power project. The rest will be borne by the joint venture of Centre and the state," Shukla said.

'Make In India' Campaign to be Featured at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Jan


The Government will showcase its new initiatives, including "Make in India" and "Clean Ganga" as well as its economic reforms at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, India's annual event to connect with the Indian diaspora, to be held next month in Gandhinagar. The Government hopes to win investors and strengthen two-way engagement with the 3,000 delegates from the diaspora community likely to attend.

Surat Partners with Microsoft to Become a Smart City 

Surat Municipal Corporation and Microsoft India have announced their partnership to transform Surat into a smart city. With help from Microsoft and other partners, the city administration is evaluating technology infrastructure to meet the changing needs of its citizens. "Eighty percent of the world's diamonds are processed in Surat, 40 percent of India's demand for textiles is met by the city and it serves as the economic hub for several industries," said Milind Torawane, IAS, Surat Municipal Commissioner.
Key Policy Decisions

Govt. Tables Goods & Services Tax Bill in Parliament    


The Government has moved toward rolling out a goods and services tax (GST), setting in motion plans to launch ambitious tax reform starting in 2016, measures that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called the "biggest tax reform since 1947." The "GST will ensure seamless transfer of goods and services, absence of Inspector Raj and no tax on tax," Jaitley said.                                                                                        


Special Economic Zone Infrastructure Freed Up for Wider Use   


Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will soon be allowed to use infrastructure created within the non-processing areas of the zones for general use, ensuring optimum utilization. "A notification for dual use of infrastructure in SEZs will be out soon," Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said. The step is being taken to make SEZs viable, he added.


Reserve Bank Simplifies 'Non-Cooperative' Borrower Classification 


The Reserve Bank of India has simplified the definition of a non-cooperative borrower to include all those who have the ability to pay but still thwart lenders' efforts to recover their dues. "In effect, a non-cooperative borrower is a defaulter who deliberately stonewalls legitimate efforts of the lenders to recover their dues," the Bank said. The goal is to reduce the number of willful defaulters, who erode faith in India's banking system.


Govt.: No Plan to Place Restrictions on Retail Foreign Investment

"There is no proposal to impose restrictions on FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in the retail and agriculture sector in the country," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha. India permits 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 percent overseas investments in the single-retail sector.


Govt. Relaxes Export Rules for Cotton


The Government has relaxed export rules for cotton and cotton yarn, doing away with the need to register contracts, to help boost outbound shipments of the commodity. In a notification, the Director General of Foreign Trade said the registration requirement for export contracts of cotton and cotton yarn "has been dispensed with."


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