India - Partner In Growth
Welcome to the January 21, 2016 bulletin of key policy decisions and high-impact news from India, presented by the Embassy of India, in Washington D.C.
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PM Modi Launches Start-up India Movement
Prime Minister Modi has launched the Start-up India initiative and unveiled the highlights of the start-up action plan. He said a dedicated start-up fund worth $1.5 billion will be created for funding of start-ups. He said start-ups will be exempted from paying income tax on their profit for the first three years and that the Government is working on a simple exit policy for start-ups. 

Government Adopts New Model to Implement Public-Private Projects
The Government has decided to take up infrastructure projects on the hybrid-annuity mode, a new model for implementing contracts under the Public-Private Partnership projects in highways, Namami Gange (Ganga Rejuvenation) and railway projects.   The government is keen to accelerate the pace of projects and adopt modes of financing which help reduce the burden on developers and financial institutions.

India Joins International Energy Agency - Ocean Energy Systems 
The Cabinet has given its approval for India becoming a member country of the International Energy Agency - Ocean Energy Systems (IEA-OES) by signing the implementing agreement. By becoming a member of the IEA-OES, India will have access to advanced R&D teams and technologies across the world. 

Ministry of Defense Unveils New Procurement Procedure
The Ministry of Defense has unveiled the Defense Procurement Procedure 2016, which will be effective from March. The new policy aims at giving a boost to the Make In India initiative, a greater role for the private sector and a big push to the medium and small scale sector. 

Govt. OKs 5 Foreign Direct Investment Proposals 
The Government has approved five proposals of foreign direct investment amounting to $894 million, including a $739 million plan of Cadila Healthcare for fresh equity infusion. The other major proposal approved was of Recipharm Participation BV for incorporating a wholly-owned subsidiary in India. 

Ministe: Railways to Invest $142 Billion in 5 Years
Indian Railways plans to invest $142 billion over the next five years and hopes to double this investment figure in the following five-year cycle, said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, during his recent visit to Washington D.C.  During the visit, Minister held meetings with US Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Anthony Foxx and various financial institutions such as World Bank and IFC .
Since the last Railway Budget of 2015, the Indian Railway has implemented 110 reform measures.
India Tops Air Passenger Growth in November 2015 
Falling fares, more flights and the Diwali festival combined to drive air passenger growth in India, already the fastest growing aviation market, to 25.1% in November, leaving the U.S., the world's largest aviation market, a distant No.2 with 9.1% growth. 

At 7.6%, India is Fastest-Growing Car Market
Growth in sales of passenger vehicles in India was the fastest among the eight largest auto markets in the world in the first 11 months of 2015. India sold as many as 2.5 million passenger vehicles in the 11 months. Growth in India was fuelled by positive customer sentiment in cities, gradual uptick in the economy.

Assocham: Indian Luxury Market To Cross US$18.3 Billion By 2016
With the increasing brand awareness and growing purchasing power of the upper class, Indian luxury market is expected to cross $18.3 billion by 2016, a study by Assocham says. Areas such as five star hotels and fine-dining, electronic gadgets, luxury personal care, and jewelry performed well in the year of 2015 and are expected to grow by 30-35% over the next three years.

Blackstone to Invest Another $1 Billion in India in 2016
Blackstone's Indian operations plans to match this year the record $1.1 billion it invested into the country during 2015. New York-listed Blackstone has put more than $5 billion into India since entering the market in 2005, making it the country's largest private investor by assets. It holdings are split almost equally between its private equity and property divisions.