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

Cabinet panel approves 5 port expansion projects


Five of India's major ports, including Mumbai, will receive significant capacity expansions, following approval by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Tuesday. The projects, with an investment of $2.8 billion, should be awarded by the end of March. Four of the ports are container terminals; the fifth, in Mumbai, is a multi-purpose cargo berth.

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Two new semiconductor plants OK'd; IBM among partners

The Cabinet has approved construction of two new semiconductor wafer fabrication plants in India. The plants will directly employ about 22,000 and contribute to the creation of 100,000 jobs. The two plants were realized as a result of government incentives to attract foreign investors. IBM is a partner of the plant to be located in Uttar Pradesh.
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Reserve Bank boosts foreign investment in Indian debt

In a bid to encourage long-term investments into the debt market, the sub-limit for investments in short-term papers by foreign investors has been cut, said the Reserve Bank of India. Eligible investors include Foreign Institutional Investors, Qualified Foreign Investors and other long-term investors registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India.


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Official Notice
Plan launched to make India world's No. 3 economy
Indian Finance Minister Chidambaram unveiled a 10-point plan that would help make India the world's third-largest economy by 2043, trailing only the U.S. and China. To grow from its current rank as the world's 11th-biggest economy, India should consolidate its debt, rebuild infrastructure, develop worker skills and cut taxes for manufacturers, among other measures, the minister said.
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Autos news: Taxes cut, mileage requirements increased

As part of the 2014 budget, the government reduced the excise duty on scooters and cars of all sizes, ranging from compacts to SUVs, making new cars more affordable for Indians. At the same time, the government is requiring automakers to increase mileage by an average of 14 percent starting in 2016, in order to save fuel and reduce emissions. 

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High-Impact News
U.S. Energy Secretary to visit India in March 

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will discuss shale gas exploration, collaboration on strategic oil reserves, exports of liquefied natural gas and renewable energy during his March visit to India. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation-led consortium is likely to tap U.S. expertise in shale gas exploration and mapping.

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Ambassador Jaishankar: Indian-

Americans key to India-U.S. ties

India's new Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. S. Jaishankar, praised the Indo-American community for carving a distinct space for itself in the U.S. in almost all spheres of lives during an address  in Washington D.C. Dr. Jaishankar has said the small but influential U.S. Indian-American community is the basis for a "dramatic" transformation of bilateral ties in the past few decades.


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USIBC: India should be top U.S. priority

The U.S. should turn more attention to India as its economy recovers and it remains the key U.S. ally in the "tough neighborhood" of its region, U.S.-India Business Council president Ron Somers wrote in an op-ed in Roll Call. Somers argues the Senate's immigration bill "would seriously disrupt relationships" between U.S. companies and their Indian partners.


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Boeing, Doctors W/O Borders praise India's IP protections

India's intellectual property protections are strong and well-enforced, Boeing and Doctors Without Borders testified to the U.S. Trade Commission. India works with "all leading Fortune 500 companies across the world and hence have world-class practices to protect IPR and information security for their global customers," Boeing said. Doctors Without Borders "strongly objects" to U.S. pressure on India.

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Coke serves up new offerings in India, enters dairy segment 

Beverage giant Coca-Cola India is betting on a bevy of new launches to go one up on its rival PepsiCo. Coke will introduce its low-calorie Coke Zero, relaunch its energy drink Burn and enter the Indian dairy market with its dairy-based drink Maaza Milky Delite. Though diet drinks have only about 1% share of the carbonated soft drinks market in India, Coke is banking on Coke Zero, which is the world's seventh-most-popular soda.


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India shows cost-effective way to go to Mars
While India's recent launch of a spacecraft to Mars was a remarkable feat in its own right, it is the $75 million mission's thrifty approach to time, money and materials that is getting attention. "The mission is a triumph of low-cost Indian engineering," said Roddam Narasimha, an aerospace scientist and a professor at Bangalore's Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research. 


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