Welcome to the October 16, 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

September Wholesale Inflation Hits 5-Year Low of 2.38%


A continuing decline in food prices, including vegetables, pulled down overall September wholesale price inflation to a five-year low of 2.38 percent.The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation was at 3.74 per cent in August and 7.05 per cent in September 2013. Food inflation is on the decline since May.

India Key Partner in Construction of 30-Meter Telescope

The construction of an ambitious next-generation Thirty-Meter Telescope, to be built at an estimated $1.47 billion by a consortium consisting of India, the U.S., Canada, Japan and China, has begun in Hawaii. India is a significant partner in this ambitious international project, which will be one of the largest optical-infrared telescopes to be built in the next decade.

Facebook to Help Govt. Develop 'Clean India' Mobile App          

Facebook will help the Government develop a "Clean India" mobile application and lend its expertise in areas of health and sanitation, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said after meeting Prime Minister Modi and Minister for Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad during his trip to India.  

Money Pouring into Equity Mutual Funds

In the first half of this financial year, investment into equity mutual funds touched a seven-year high of $5.4 billion. Through the past five years, the sector saw a shrinking investor base and outflows of about $5.7 billion. Investment during the April-September period is higher than during any full financial year in the past, except for 2005-06 and 2007-08.  

OECD: Indian Economy to See Better Growth Momentum

The Indian economy is projected to see an increase in growth momentum while most of the other major economies face a stable outlook, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said. This assessment agrees with a recent report from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which projected a 5.6 percent growth rate for India this year, citing renewed confidence in the market due to a series of economic reforms pursued by the new Government.  

India Inc.'s Foreign Investment Doubles to $3 Billion in September

India Inc.'s overseas direct investment in September 2014 more than doubled from a year ago to $3 billion, data from the Reserve Bank of India showed. In the previous month August, the Indian companies had undertaken investments of USD 1.25 billion in overseas markets. 

Key Policy Decisions

Govt. Clears 25 Foreign Investment Proposals Worth $254 Million


The Finance Ministry has approved 25 foreign direct investment proposals, including six of single-brand retail trade, for a total investment of $254 million. The Ministry referred an additional $295 million pharma proposal to the Cabinet for consideration. Among others, the Government cleared "multi-brand retail trading" applications of Dubai-based global travel retail operator Flemingo International and Miami Perfume Junction, Inc, USA.                                                                                                             


Govt.: States Should Digitize Business Project Clearance System


The Goverment wants state governments to completely digitize their clearance mechanism for business projects, so that an application goes to all concerned agencies at the same time, and adopt best practices of other states to ensure speedy approval for manufacturing units


Industry Ministry Sets Up 'Japan Plus' Team to Fast-Track Investments


The Industry Ministry has set up a "Japan Plus" team made up of officials from both governments in order to expedite investments from Japan. The team will support the Indian Government in initiating, attracting, facilitating, fast-tracking and handholding Japanese investments across sectors. Japan is the fourth-largest foreign direct investment (FDI) contributor to India, with major interests in pharmaceuticals, automobiles and services, and accounts for 7.5 percent of total FDI into India.


Govt. Announces 25% Minimum Public Holding for Listed State-Owned Firms              


The Government has announced rules for a minimum 25 percent public shareholding in listed state-owned firms, paving the way for sales of shares in the firms over three years worth an estimated $9.8 billion. The move would help in promoting a wider investor base in listed state-run companies and also provide a boost to the Government's plan to raise funds from the privatization program.



Key Utilities to be Privatized in 100 Smart Cities

The Government will privatize the management of basic utilities such as power, water and sewage treatment in the 100 smart cities that are to be developed. Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, said: "Private companies can do a more efficient job and we want municipal bodies to take advantage of the initiative by these companies."

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