Welcome to the December 4, 2014 bulletin of key policy decisions and high-impact news from India, presented by the Embassy of India, in Washington D.C.
Key Policy Decisions

Recent Govt. Initiatives Make It Easier to Do Business in India       

The Department of Commerce has initiated various measures to improve India's ranking in the World Bank's "Doing Business Report," including eliminating unnecessary paperwork and reducing the number of required documents in shipping transactions and moving certain application processes online.                                                                                                   


Panel Wants Speedy Green Approvals in Mining, Power Sectors        


To aid economic development, a high-level Government environmental panel has recommended speedy green approvals in the mining and power sectors. The panel has recommended creation of a National Environment Management Authority at the central level and a State Environment Management Authority at the state level as full time processing, clearance and monitoring agencies.      


Ministry of External Affairs Creates New Setup to Help Indian States  


A States Division has been created in the Ministry of External Affairs to help States and Union Territories promote exports and tourism and attract more overseas investment and expertise. This new Division will also share experience through training and capacity-building in areas such as trade and investment.


Regulation Change Clears Way for Major Foreign Investment in Infrastructure         


The Indian infrastructure space is poised to get billions in new foreign investment now that market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has modified its rules to allow such investments. SEBI now permits foreign venture capital investors to put money in Core Investment Companies set up for the infrastructure sector.


Govt. Reduces Import Tariff Value on Gold, Silver    


The Government has reduced the import tariff value on gold to $388 per 10 grams, down from $401, and on silver to $540 per kilogram, down from $575, following global price trends. The import tariff value is the base price at which customs duty is determined to prevent under-invoicing. Gold imports jumped 280 per cent to $4.17 billion in October, as per the latest trade data. The in-bound shipments touched 95 tonnes in September this year as against 12 tonnes a year ago.

High-Impact News

Bombay Stock Exchange Market Capitalization Tops $1.6 Trillion

Scaling a new peak, the total investor wealth in the Indian stock market has hit a record high of $1.6 trillion, marking a jump of 10 times in little more than a decade. Of the overall stock market wealth, investment funds command nearly 50 percent, while foreign investors own close to 20 percent and the rest is shared between institutional and retail investors from India. 

U.S. Military Affairs Diplomat Visits India


Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Puneet Talwar travels to India this week to co-chair a political-military dialogue with senior officials from India's External Affairs and Defense ministries. The talks will focus on regional and maritime security, defense trade, and new areas for strategic cooperation.

India Passes U.S. as Social Messaging App Viber's Top Market      

India has surpassed the U.S. to become the largest market for social messaging app Viber on the back of marketing campaign undertaken by the company in India and equally, on the number of rising smartphone users. India has more than 33 million Viber users sending messages and making free international calls to Viber users in other countries. The U.S. follows India with 30 million users.



India's Nov. Factory Growth Fastest in Nearly 2 Years

Indian factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in nearly two years in November as burgeoning order books led manufacturers to accelerate output, a business survey showed. The HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 53.3 in November from 51.6 in October, its highest since February 2013, and the 13th consecutive month of expansion in activity. 

Reserve Bank Maintains Interest Rates

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has held interest rates steady but held out hope for industry by saying the Central Bank could ease monetary policy early next year. The repo rate was kept unchanged at eight per cent. RBI also kept the cash reserve ratio and the statutory liquidity ratio unchanged.    

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