Welcome to the November 13, 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-U.S. Trade Policy Forum to be held in New Delhi

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will lead the Indian side at the India-US Trade Policy Forum meeting to be held in New Delhi later this month. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will lead the American delegation to the meeting, which is the premier bilateral forum for trade and investment issues between the two countries. "This is an important opportunity to follow through on Prime Minister Modi and President Obama's commitment to use the Trade Policy Forum to deepen our trade and investment relationship and help achieve the potential of our strategic partnership," Froman said

S.C. Gov. Haley Traveling to India to Lure Jobs to Her State   


Newly re-elected Gov. Nikki Haley is leading South Carolina's first trade trip to India in hopes of persuading companies in her parents' native country to bring jobs to South Carolina. The Republican will lead a 10-day trip involving the state's commerce and tourism agencies.Commerce Director Bobby Hitt said, "There's a lot of excitement among our partners in India in advance of her visit, and we think this trip will go a long way toward putting our state on the map with Indian companies and decision-makers."


Starbucks Expects India To Be Among Its Top Five Markets         

Starbucks Coffee, the world's largest coffeehouse chain, has great expectations for its business in India."India is a strategic market and one day it will be among our top five markets," said John Culver, group president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, who was in India to mark the Seattle-based company's two years in the country.Besides expanding its presence in the country, Starbucks plans to export locally sourced coffee to select stores in other Asian countries and sell it online in the U.S.


American Express Boosting Its Mid-Income Card Portfolio in India 

American Express, which is known for its premium credit cards for the world's wealthiest, is strengthening its portfolio of cards for mid-income groups in India. The credit card issuer is partnering with online travel portal MakeMyTrip and PAYBACK to introduce a co-branded card to capitalize on the growing popularity of online travel booking. "At American Express, we found that 30 percent of our total spend across categories is done online, of which nearly 50 percent is for online travel booking. We wanted to seize this opportunity," said Manoj Adlakha, chief executive officer at American Express Banking Corp.   

Toshiba to Invest $30 Million to Expand Indian Power Business

Japanese firm Toshiba Corp. will invest about $30 million to expand its power transmission and distribution business in India. The move is part of the company's plan to invest $100 million in the Indian power sector by 2016.    

Seventeen Indian Firms Picked as Global Growth Companies 

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has selected 17 Indian companies to be part of its Global Growth Companies (GGCs) in South Asia. GGCs are nominated for their ability to become global leaders. The selected companies include 4G Identity Solutions, ANI Technologies, Avesthagen, Bandhan Financial Services, Centum Electronics, Finolex, Flipkart, Forbes Marshall, InterGlobe Enterprises, Justdial, MakeMyTrip, Nash Industries, Persistent Systems, Radikal Foods, RBL Bank, Sobha, and Transasia Bio-Medicals. The WEF identified 370 companies as GGCs.    

Key Policy Decisions

Draft Civil Aviation Policy Faces New Global, Domestic Demands 


Civil Aviation Minister Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati has released a Draft Civil Aviation Policy, calling it "a step towards making civil aviation a vibrant sector in our country, to rise to its full potential." The new Civil Aviation Policy is expected to be in place by January 2015. The Draft "aims to develop a transparent policy in which regulations for the Civil Aviation sector would be more meaningful," the Minister said.                                                                                                 


Foreign Venture Capitalists May be Allowed in Infra Investment Firms 


Capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has proposed allowing foreign venture capitalists in core investment companies for the infrastructure sector. The final rules would be put in place after hearing public comment and amending existing regulations. SEBI said the proposal is aimed at "removing any hindrance for investment in the infrastructure sector through the [foreign venture capital] route and to boost the infrastructure sector in the country."      


Boost for Technology Centers in India   


Technology centers aiding micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) will benefit from a $200 World Bank loan agreed to by India. The Technology Center Program will set up 15 new Technology Centers and modernize 18 existing ones for a total cost of $400 million, which includes the World Bank loan. The aim of the project is to enhance the productivity of MSMEs by improving their access to technology and business advisory services as well as skilled workers.


Rail, Road Transport Ministries Agree to Speed Up Train Bridge Projects 


The Rail and Road Transport Ministries have signed a memorandum of understanding to speed up approval of rail bridges crossing national highways to a period of two months, vastly reducing the typical approval time.


31 New Investment Projects Worth $402 Million OK'd 

Karnataka State has approved 31 new investment proposals worth $402 million, including Honeywell's $228 million proposal to set up a campus in the State. The campus will sit on 5.4 acres near Varthur on the outskirts of Bangalore and likely will create 500 jobs. The State approved 30 other projects worth $174 million, expected to create 16,451 jobs in 15 districts.


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