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.
High-Impact News


Rupee Becomes Top-Performing Asia-Pacific Currency

Boosted by capital inflows and euphoria around the incoming Government, the rupee's surge to 11-month high has made it the best-performing currency in Asia-Pacific region against the U.S. dollar so far in 2014. With a gain of 5.3 percent since the start of this year, the rupee has sprinted ahead of the Asia-Pacific peers, including Indonesia's rupiah and the New Zealand dollar, in terms of year-to-date rise.

Foreign Direct Investment Up 8% to $24 Billion

Foreign direct investment into India grew 8 percent year-on-year to $24.3 billion in 2013-14, according to government data. In the previous fiscal year, foreign direct investment in India totaled $22.4 billion. The highest foreign investment came in services, followed by automobiles, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and construction development. 

Marks & Spencer Plans 100 stores in India by 2016


Britain's largest clothing retailer, Marks & Spencer, said it will open 100 stores in India by 2016, up from the 86 announced last year. The company, which runs 40 stores in the country, said its Indian same-store-sales grew 13 percent in the fiscal year ended March 2014. Three years ago, M&S identified India as a priority market.

Report: Digital Payments to Reach $20 Billion
Digital payments in India are expected to reach $20 billion by the end of this year, a 40% increase from last year, propelled by growing Internet penetration, growth in e-commerce and the ease of online payments, according to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

Two Indian Firms Win Green Energy Award
Two Indian firms have won prestigious Ashden green energy awards for 2014, presented at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Infosys received the International Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings by cutting more than $80 million from its electricity bills since 2008. Indian firm Greenway Grameen won the Ashden Clean Energy for Women and Girls Award.

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Key Policy Decisions

New Ministers Go All Out to Woo Investors   

The new Government sent the right signals from day one to investors by bringing up the issue of retrospective taxation, something that has been hurting foreign companies such as Vodafone. Ravi Shankar Prasad, telecom, law and IT minister said, "retrospective tax should be avoided. India should be made an investor-friendly regime." He made it known that the new Government's goal is to remove uncertainty and provide investors a stable fiscal and legal policy.   



Reserve Bank Set to Restore $200,000 Limit for Spending Abroad

The Reserve Bank of India is likely to again allow individuals to spend up to $200,000 per year abroad, including in real estate, reversing a 2013 clampdown limiting overseas spending to $75,000. The move is a confidence-boosting measure the new Government is expected to welcome as a sign that India has successfully reversed the rupee's decline


New Finance Minister's Goals: Fiscal Consolidation, Curbing Inflation, Speeding Decisions       


Admitting that he is taking over as Finance Minister at a very "challenging time," Arun Jaitley said he will work to expedite decision-making processes to lead to smoother, more efficient operation. He added that he will concentrate on fiscal consolidation and the need to curb inflation.    


Reserve Bank Eases Credit Rules for Exports   


The Reserve Bank of India has simplified the rules for credit to exporters, who can now get a long-term advance from banks for up to 10 years, easing previous rules. Banks can make such payments to exporters with a satisfactory record of three years and adjust these payments against future exports. "This move will help boost our exports," said Rupa Rege Nitsure, chief economist, Bank of Baroda.


Experts Laud New Integrated Coal, Power and Renewables Ministry

Integrating the ministries of coal, power and renewable energy will improve coordination and better align the goals of India's numerous energy ministries, say experts who are lauding the move. The three previously independent ministries have been combined under new minister Piyush Goyal. The ministries of petroleum & natural gas and mines remain separate.  


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