Welcome to the November 27, 2014 bulletin of key policy decisions and high-impact news from India, presented by the Embassy of India, in Washington D.C.
High-Impact News

President Obama to be the Chief Guest at India's Republic Day


President Obama has accepted Prime Minister Modi's invitation to be the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebrations in January 2015. The White House said it will be the first visit by a U.S. president as a Republic Day chief guest. It said President Obama would meet with Modi and Indian officials "to strengthen and expand the U.S.-India strategic partnership."


India-US Trade Policy Forum Meeting held in New Delhi


India-US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting, co-chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman, was held in New Delhi on Nov 25. "Both countries noted each others' requests and agreed to follow up on exploring the possibility of enhanced market access on identified agricultural products," a India-US joint statement on the TPF said. They also agreed to deepen bilateral engagement aimed at promoting bilateral investment across sectors. Both the countries stressed on the importance of providing a transparent and predictable policy environment to help attract investments in manufacturing. Later in the day, Minister of Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad held a meeting with the delegation led by Froman wherein the US evinced keen interest of getting involved in Digital India and Make in India programmes.

PwC: India Can Build $10 Trillion Economy by 2034     


India has the potential to achieve a 9 percent growth rate and become a $10 trillion economy by 2034 on the back of concerted efforts by the corporate sector and a constructive role played by the Government, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report said. "The recent electoral mandate for development is a more immediate signal for Indians' desire for growth and for the benefits of growth to be extended to all members of the society," the report said



Tech Mahindra Buys Virginia-Based Firm for $240 Million           
Tech Mahindra, India's fifth-largest IT service company, will buy U.S. network services company Lightbridge Communications Corporation for $240 million. The Vienna, Va.-based Lightbridge is one of the largest independent global providers of network engineering services to the telecommunications industry, with more than 5,000 employees in more than 50 countries, and annual revenues in excess of $400 million 

Foreign Portfolio Inflows Cross $15 Billion Since January 2014

Buoyed by renewed optimism in India's business climate, overseas investors have pumped in $1.6 billion in equity market so far in November, taking the total to more than $15 billion since the beginning of the year. "I think Indian fundamentals would show marked improvement in the next two to three years. Moreover with the renewed interest in stock markets both from local and global players, valuations are unlikely to come down," Ladderup Wealth Management Managing Director Raghvendra Nath said.

India-U.S. Smart Cities Conclave Held in New Delhi    

India-U.S. Smart Cities Conclave was held in New Delhi on November 22. The event was attended by business delegates and policy makers from both the countries. During the event, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that as a follow up to Prime Minister Modi's visit to the U.S., the United States has agreed to help develop the Indian cities of Visakhapatnam, Ajmer and Allahabad become Smart Cities, in line with Modi's plan to create 100 Smart Cities in India. Also, Japan has come forward to help develop Varanasi as a smart city and Singapore has agreed to help develop the capital city of Andhra Pradesh between Vijayawada and Guntur. 

Key Policy Decisions

India, U.S. Export-Import Bank Sign Memo on Clean Energy Investment     


A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. and the U.S. Export-Import Bank to cooperate on clean energy investment. The memo is intended to establish a framework for the joint financing of creditworthy entities for renewable energy projects and to facilitate the export of goods and services of U.S. origin or manufacture in India.                                                                                                  


Railways to Expand Foreign Investment Participation List      


Indian Railways is gearing up for another phase of reforms, including expanding the list of areas where foreign direct investment will be invited, identifying at least 50 projects to be commissioned on a public-private partnership and finalizing a fiscal road map that will shape its budget formulations over the next five years.    


Govt. Wooing Global Oil Giants to Invest in India 


Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan wants to make India a refining and petrochemicals hub and is wooing international energy majors such as Saudi Aramco and Sabic to invest in India's refining and petrochemicals sector. "I'm asking energy majors to tie up with companies in India to set up...large-scale capacities and use India as a base for further exports to Japan, Korea, China and other South East Asian countries, which are the markets for these products,"Pradhan told HT.   


Market Regulator Revises Overseas Derivative Instrument Rules      


India's securities market regulator is revising the rules for offshore derivative instruments to bring them in line with new foreign investment rules approved earlier this year. According to the Securities and Exchange Board of India statement, such instruments will now have to be consistent with India's new foreign investment requirements, including that an investor be from a country whose central bank is a member of the Bank for International Settlements.





Government Approves Integrated Power Development Plan


The Cabinet has approved the launch of an Integrated Power Development Scheme with three major objectives: Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks in urban areas; metering of distribution transformers, feeders and consumers in urban areas; and IT enablement of the distribution sector and strengthening of the distribution network.


Govt. OKs New $6.9 Billion Rural Electrification Plan 


The Government has approved a $6.9 billion rural electrification plan, with components to separate agriculture and non-agriculture feeders facilitating judicious accounting of supply to agricultural and non-agricultural consumers in rural areas, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.  

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