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

Modi's 'Digital India' Vision to Boost Education, Healthcare Sectors   


Prime Minister Modi's Digital India program, which promises to transform India into a connected knowledge economy offering world-class online services to even the most remote parts of the country - such as medical specialists and teachers -- will be implemented in a phased manner by 2019 at an estimated cost of $18.7 billion, officials said.     

Cabinet OKs $1.4 Billion Metro Rail Project

The cabinet has approved a new $1.43 billion metro rail project in Maharashtra, the Government said. The go-ahead for the Nagpur rail project comes weeks after Prime Minister Modi permitted foreign investment in railways as part of his efforts to upgrade the nation's infrastructure for an economic turnaround. Rail improvements could boost India's GDP by as much as 2 percent, analysts estimate.   


Govt. to Spend $3.3 Billion on Mobile Connectivity to 55,000 Villages       

The Government has said it will ensure mobile connectivity to 55,000 villages over the next five years with an investment of $3.3 billion through the Universal Service Obligation Fund. The Telecom Ministry expects to connect  half of these villages in the next three years. Survey of villages is being done to build towers for this purpose. 

Ministry: Online Registration of Micro, Small Units Soon in All States

To simplify the process of setting up new enterprises, all Indian states will have an online registration system for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the next two months, said Madhav Lal, Secretary, Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises Ministry. There will be a single registration form that aspiring entrepreneurs need to complete, the Ministry said at the first meeting of State MSME Ministers and Secretaries since the Modi Government took over.  


Reserve Bank to Study Tax Practices for Financial Instruments
The Reserve Bank of India has set up an eight-member working group to study issues related to taxation of financial instruments. "With a view to promoting private financial savings, the Reserve Bank of India has constituted a Working Group to study various issues relating to taxation of financial instruments in India and suggest rationalization," it said in a release.

High-Impact News

Exports Poised to Cross $350 Billion Target This Fiscal Year

The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has said the country's exports can surpass the $350 billion target this fiscal year as growth in the manufacturing sector is expected to pick up pace. The "global trade scenario is improving with positive development in the U.S., EU and emerging economies and in coming months exports should reflect these developments," FIEO president Rafeeque Ahmed said.

$2 Billion Bond Sale a Vote of Confidence for Indian Economy

The International Finance Corporation, a private finance arm of the World Bank, is set to raise as much as $2 billion in a bumper bond sale, a vote of confidence in the Indian economy that's set for a turnaround under the growth-oriented policies of the Modi Government.

Pharma Sector to Maintain Double-Digit Growth   

The Indian pharmaceutical market will continue to grow in double digits, representing a better growth opportunity than many other geographic markets, Moody's Investors Service said. "As consolidation in the industry continues globally, particularly among generic drug companies, Indian firms will increasingly look to become involved in global mergers and acquisitions," Moody's senior vice president Michael Levesque said in a report.

Luxury Carmakers Ramp Up India Investments On Growth Hopes
Luxury automakers, especially Germany's Big 3 - Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz -- are looking to gain from the untapped market potential in India, by expanding local assembling operations and distribution networks, and increasing marketing and advertising investments.


Wipro to Open U.S. Center for Big Data, Social Media, Cloud 
Wipro Ltd, India's third-largest software services exporter, plans to open a center at its Mountain View, Calif., office to demonstrate to clients the advantages of using emerging technologies such as Big Data, social media and cloud. "The Wipro Customer Experience Center ... is designed to demonstrate emerging technologies, test proof of concepts and give customers the opportunity to see the latest data center, enterprise and cloud solutions in real-world, real-time scenarios," said the company in a statement.

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