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

India to Build 200 Low-cost Airports

To address India's status as one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets, the government plans to build 200 low-cost airports in the next 20 years to connect India's smaller cities, a civil aviation ministry official said this week. The India Aviation 2014 expo is being held in Hyderabad in which more than 250 aviation companies from 18 countries are participating.

$2.8 Billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Launched

The first phase of the ambitious $2.8 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial corridor was launched on Monday, with federal and regional governments signing their support. The corridor will feature a new industrial city, a logistics park, an exhibition and convention center and a water supply project. The corridor is expected to create 330,000 jobs initially.

Reserve Bank Governor: New Bank Licenses Coming

India will hand out licences for setting up new banks in coming weeks after receiving the go-ahead from the Election Commission, Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan said on Friday. Over two-dozen aspirants from the private and public sectors, including Anil Ambani-led Reliance Capital, Aditya Birla Nuvo as well as nonbank financial companies (NBFCs) such as Shriram Finance, Religare, L&T Finance and IDFC, have applied for bank licenses. 

Genetically Modified Crops Lauded in Govt. Strategy

The Ministry of Science on Monday issued the draft of its national biotechnology development strategy. The revised strategy stated that genetically modified crops would help achieve "higher productivity and better quality food while reducing resource inputs." The draft comes as the government moves toward field trials of selected varieties of genetically modified crops.

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Norms Relaxed for Banks on Restructuring

In its ongoing work to revitalize distressed assets in the economy, the Reserve Bank of India said on Wednesday that it would grant some regulatory breathing room for banks buying equity shares for restructuring purposes. The Bank said it would allow banks to exceed the existing capital market exposure limits without punishment. 

High-Impact News

India - U.S. Energy Dialogue Held in New Delhi

India and the U.S. agreed to further collaboration in the energy sector to promote scientific cooperation, R&D and environmentally-friendly technologies and products during the India-U.S. Energy Dialogue in New Delhi this week. Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr. Montek Singh Alhuwalia and U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz addressed the media during the conference.  

India, U.S. Top Brass Set to Bolster Military Ties

A 26-member U.S. delegation led by Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of  the U.S. Army Pacific, will travel to India later this month for the 18th meeting  of the India-U.S. executive steering group. The two militaries enjoy a close working relationship and plan to conduct their annual counter-terrorism exercise in the Indian state of Uttarakhand this summer.  

U.S. Pharma Benefits From Large Indian Generic Market

U.S. pharmaceutical companies benefit from selling their products in India's large generic drug market, the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance said this week. The comments follow U.S. government hearings last month investigating the Indian pharma industry. Witnesses noted the huge impact India's pharma sector has in supplying life-saving drugs to the world's poorest nations.   

U.S. Defense Giants Back India's IP Protection

Two of America's major defense and aviation firms, Honeywell and Boeing, have come out strongly in support of India's intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, even as Washington is considering trade sanctions against India, claiming it fails to enforce IP rights. Giving a much-needed shot in the arm to India's case, Honeywell, in a filing to the U.S. Trade Representative, said: "Our experience is that an acceptable IPR legal framework exists in India with laws and regulations that are comparable to IPR regulations in other developed countries." Boeing added: "Indian IPR laws applicable to the range of Boeing's business activities in India are comparable to IPR regulations in other developed countries, as India is a signatory to all major conventions and treaties on this subject." 

USIBC defends India's IP Protection Measures

A top American trade advocacy group has strongly opposed any move by the U.S. to designate India a Priority Foreign Country, which would label it as a violator of intellectual property rights. The U.S. India Business Council told the U.S. Trade Representative that the Indian Government has been responsive to IP issues raised over the past year, with more enforcement, raids and arrests of pirate manufacturers.   

GlaxoSmithKline Invests $1 Billion More in Indian Pharma Unit

GlaxoSmithKline said that it had increased its stake in its Indian pharmaceutical subsidiary to 75 percent in a transaction valued at more than $1 billion. The British drug maker said it paid $1.05 billion to increase its stake in GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited from 50.7 percent. The Indian unit will continue to trade publicly after the deal.  


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