India - Partner In Growth
Welcome to the July 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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Reserve Bank OKs Foreign Players to Hike Stake in Axis, IDFC Bank 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed foreign investors to up their stakes in Axis Bank and IDFC Bank to up to 74 percent and 46 percent, respectively. In a separate notification the RBI said, "FIIs/RFPIs can now invest from the existing 24 percent up to 46 percent of the paid-up capital of IDFC Bank Limited under PIS."

Trade Directorate General Implements Ease-of-Doing-Business Initiatives 
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Dr. Anup Wadhawan, speaking recently with exporters, summarized ease-of-doing-business initiatives relating to policy simplification, reducing cost of capital through interest subvention, document reduction, IT initiatives such as online filing of applications, creation of trade portal and training and outreach activities.

Govt. Ups SSI Eligibility, Exemption Limits on Jewelry Makers
The Government has decided to increase the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Eligibility limit and SSI Exemption limit for manufacturers of jewelry or jewelry parts or both. In this year's budget, a nominal excise duty of 1 percent (without input and capital goods credit) or 12.5 percent (with input tax credit) has been imposed on articles of jewelry with simplified procedures. 

Govt. Unveils Fourth Tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds 
The Ministry of Finance has launched the fourth tranche of sovereign gold bonds (SGB), which will be open for investment by resident individuals and institutional investors from July 18-22. Based on last week's average price of physical gold, the issue price of the fourth tranche will be 3,119 per gram of gold. SGB aims to reduce the demand for physical gold, divert savings into financial instruments and further narrow the current account deficit  
President Mukherjee Launches 1st Edition of 'India Skills' 
President Mukherjee has inaugurated the first edition of the "India Skills Competition" on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day and the marking of Skill India's first anniversary. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship announced the launch of five major initiatives reinforcing the Ministry's commitment to the youth of India.  

Transport Minister Gadkari Concludes Successful U.S. Visit 
Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari concluded his week-long official visit to the U.S., receiving assurances from the infrastructure and investment companies to provide the necessary technical expertise as well as capital to further boost the robust Indian maritime, roads and highways sectors. Gadkari met with investment bankers, fund managers and trade and industry executives in infrastructure in Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister Visits Washington D.C. 
Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan visited Washington D.C. July 17-18, meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. The two sides agreed to ramp up cooperation in assessing India's on- and off-shore hydrocarbon reserves, development of bio-fuel and other initiatives.

Cisco Readies Plan to Set up Manufacturing Plant in India
U.S. tech giant Cisco is working on a plan to establish a manufacturing facility in India and is in talks with the Government to do so, said Cisco Chief Executive Chuck Robbins, terming India as one of its "best bases." He added that "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is very committed to manufacturing." 

Amazon India Opens Largest Fulfillment Center in Sonipat 
Amazon India has opened its largest fulfillment center in Sonipat, Haryana, a warehouse sprawling across 200,000 square feet. This is Amazon's 22nd warehouse in the country. "It will enable thousands of small and medium businesses to save money by replacing their upfront capital expense with low variable cost and pay only for the storage space they use and the orders that we fulfill," said Amazon India's Akhil Saxena. 

Morgan Stanley: India to Grow 7.7% 
Morgan Stanley has upped its India growth estimate for this year to 7.7 percent from 7.5 percent, because of "positive surprises" in the macro data. According to Morgan Stanley, the growth recovery is becoming more broad-based, driven by public capital expenditure, foreign direct investment and consumption.