06 Jan, 2017
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January 4 – 5, 2017
ND has initiated a new section of daily news, where our news desk compiles the latest news on the Indian economy, to keep our readers abreast and updated on daily economic state of affairs.
The economy news compilations bring business news reports that are relevant today and tomorrow, based on the new pattern of current affairs, and for English awareness. This gives vital inputs on the various sectors of the Indian Industry and trade.
– Sugar Production UP -ISMA
– RBI – 40% of currency to rural areas
- Govt realises 60% of Disinvestment receipts
- India to be world’s 3rd assembler of iPhones
- MSR India – Microsoft Research India – India an innovation hub for Microsoft
- MyBusiness Tool – India to launch small biz product for the globe
– Sebi eases FPI rules for trading on IFSC
– India’s spices exports grow 7% in value in first half of FY17
– Tax collections to exceed budget estimates, says Arun Jaitley-
– FDI inflow grows 27% in April-October period
– Indian unicorns such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola have spawned 700 start-ups
Sugar Production up
Sugar production till Dec 31 up by 0.4%: ISMA
Economic Times: January 04, 2017
India’s sugar production till December 31, 2016 is up by 0.4% even though the sugar production of top producer Maharashtra is lagging by 25%. Sugar production of Uttar Pradesh during same period has been up by 50%.
According to the estimate of industry body Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), 462 sugar mills in the country have produced 80.90 lakh tonnes of sugar till December 31 as against 80.56 lakh tonnes produced by 481 mills during comparable period.
As on December 31, 2016, Maharashtra sugar mills have produced of sugar have been produced 25.25 lakh tonnes sugar as against 33.70 lakh tonnes produced during the corresponding period last season. Mills in Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Pune, which were not as adversely impacted by drought, are crushing at almost similar levels like last year. Of the 147 sugar mills that had commenced crushing operations in the state, 25 have already stopped crushing.
“In Uttar Pradesh, 116 sugar mills are in operation and they have crushed 278 lakh tonnes of sugarcane and produced 27.40 lakh tonnes as on December 31, 2016, with an average recovery of 9.86%. Last year in 2015-16 SS, 113 sugar mills were in operation on December 31, 2015 and they crushed around 178 lakh tonnes of cane to produce 17.97 lakh tonnes of sugar at an average recovery of 10%,” stated an ISMA release. Sugar production this year in UP is higher by 52% as compared to last year same time.
ISMA has pointed that during the first 3 months of the current season October-December 2016 there has been a big fall in sugar offtake. “With weddings and family celebrations being at low key, and consumption of sugar sweetened products like biscuits, chocolates, beverages, ice creams etc. being lower due to lower availability of currency, there has been a demand destruction of almost 5 lakh tonnes of sugar. The offtake in October-December 2017, has therefore been significantly lower than last year,” stated the release.
“Therefore, the sugar consumption in 2016-17 SS, earlier estimated to grow at 2% over last year, to 255 lakh tonnes, will be much lower. The offtake may thus be lower to even last year’s consumption of 248 lakh tonnes,” it added further.
Claiming that the cost of sugar production has increased by about Rs 2/kg than the previous year due to low sugar recovery in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, higher cane price announced by State Governments like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana and ower capacity utilization in the drought affected States like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, ISAM has demanded that the sugar mills should be allowed to recover at least their costs during the current season. “Otherwise, they would not be in a position to make payments to farmers on time and would also not be in a position to repay the loans taken from Government of India including under SEFASU and soft loans, which are due to be repaid this year,” it said.
40% Currency to be supplied to Rural areas
RBI asks banks to supply at least 40% of currency to rural areas
HT Business: January 04, 2017
The RBI on Tuesday asked banks to give priority to rural areas in supplying cash and ensure that at least 40% of the bank notes issued are in denominations of Rs 500 and below in order to meet the shortage of currency notes after demonetisation.
The Reserve Bank of India observed that notes being supplied to rural areas of the country are “not commensurate” with the requirements of the rural population.
“… To mitigate the issue in a more enduring manner, the banks maintaining currency chests are advised to step up issuance of fresh notes to rural branches of RRBs (regional rural banks), DCCBs (district cooperative banks) and commercial banks, white label ATMs in rural areas and post offices in rural areas on a priority basis,” the RBI said.
The distribution should depend on variations in the rural and urban mix of each district in terms of relative shares in current and savings deposits and number of deposit accounts, it added.
The move follows an acute shortage of cash in rural areas after the government’s demonetisation that scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes and brought transactions to a standstill as the rural economy is mostly cash based.
“Currency chests should issue bank notes in denominations of Rs 500 and below. In particular ATMs, including WLAs, may be issued Rs 500s and Rs 100s and among ATMs category, off-site ATMs should be allocated higher proportion of cash as against on site ATMs as they are more important in the last mile currency connectivity,” the central bank said.
It also said existing stock of other denominations notes below Rs 100 should also be issued liberally and added that banks should also indent for coins from RBI and ensure supply to public on a priority basis.
The central bank had issued Rs 5.9 lakh crore in new currency across denominations till December 19 but it was well below Rs 15.4 lakh crore withdrawn after the government’s November 8 decision to scrap the two high-value currency notes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise announcement to recall these banknotes sparked chaos and confusion across the country, with millions of consumers queueing outside banks and ATMs to change a limited number of old notes for new ones or withdraw cash.
The government said the move was aimed at rooting out black money and corruption.
Banks started accepting deposits in scrapped notes from November 10. However, very few ATMs opened on November 11, as most of the machines had to be recalibrated for dispensing the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes.
Although the overall situation at banks has improved, ATMs still have to do some catching up. Many vending machines are still out of cash.
The RBI on Friday raised the daily ATM cash withdrawal limit from Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,500 a day for an individual from January 1. However, there was no change announced for the weekly withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 in banks for individuals and Rs 50,000 for small traders.
Govt realises 60% of Disinvestment receipts
Government realizes Rs.21,432.38 crore, by end-November 2016, through CPSEs’ disinvestment receipts, constituting around 59.53 % of the Budgeted Target of Rs. 36,000 crore
Press Information Bureau: January 04, 2017
New Delhi: Government takes various steps to accelerate the disinvestment process including replacement of annual plan with rolling plans, Fast tracking of approval process and to make Disinvestment programme more inclusive by following an approach to reserve 20 per cent of shares on PSUs-OFS transactions for retail investors on a case to case basis.
|Year End Review – 2016|
|Dept. of Investment & Public Asset Management, Ministry of Finance|
Following are the major reform measures, policy initiatives and achievements of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), Ministry of Finance:
- Disinvestment Target and Achievements during 2016-17
The disinvestment target for the Current Financial Year 2016-17 has been estimated at Rs.56,500 crore comprising Rs.36,000 crore from disinvestment of CPSEs and Rs.20,500 crore from strategic disinvestment.
During the current financial year 2016-17, the Government has so far realized Rs.23528.73 crore, which include Rs.21,432.38 crore through minority stake sale in 14 CPSEs and Rs. 2096.35 crore through strategic disinvestment. The total realization of Rs. 21,432.38 crore, by end-November 2016 through CPSEs’ disinvestment receipts, constitutes around 59.53 per cent of the Budgeted Target of Rs. 36,000 crore (CPSEs’ disinvestment).
- Reform Measures and Policy Initiatives:
(a) Steps taken to accelerate the disinvestment process:
The Department has taken following measures to accelerate the disinvestment process:
(i) Replacing annual plan with rolling plans.
(ii) Creating a pipeline of proposals for CPSEs to take advantage of better market condition without any loss of time.
(iii) Fast tracking of approval process.
(iv) Disinvestment programme made more inclusive by following an approach to reserve 20 per cent of shares on PSUs-OFS transactions for retail investors on a case to case basis.
(v) Based on the suggestion made by the Department, SEBI has reduced the notice period for an OFS transaction from T-2 to T-1 (T being the transaction day). This will help in minimizing the possibility of price hammering between the notice day and the transaction day and suitably protecting the interest of retail investors by providing them sufficient time to participate in the OFS transaction.
- Restructuring and re-naming the Department to comprehensively manage the Government’s investment in PSUs as DIPAM
(i) The Union Finance Minister has underlined the need for adopting a comprehensive approach to efficiently manage its investment in CPSEs as highlighted in Para 89 of his Budget Speech of 2016-17 as below:
“We will adopt a comprehensive approach for efficient management of Government investment in CPSEs by addressing issues such as capital restructuring, dividend, bonus shares, etc. The Department of Disinvestment is being re-named as the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM)”
(ii) In the light of the announcement made, the Department has been re-named as Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) which is in line with focus of the Government on management of its investment in Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) for accelerating economic development as well as augmenting the Government resources for higher expenditure. It also underlines the Government’s recognition of its investment in CPSEs as an important asset for accelerating economic growth and commitment to efficient use of its resources to achieve a better return on its investment in CPSEs.
(iii) As announced in the Budget, guidelines on “Capital Restructuring of CPSEs” have also been issued by this Department on 27th May, 2016. These guidelines supersede all previously issued guidelines by various Ministries/Departments from time to time and comprehensively deal with the inter-related issues on payment of dividend, buy back of shares, issue of bonus shares and splitting of shares. The focus of these guidelines is on optimum utilization of funds by CPSEs/Government to spur economic growth.
- The major achievements/highlights in respect of disinvestment of CPSEs are as under:
Details in this regard as follows:
(i) NHPC OFS
CCEA in its meeting held on 10.09.2014 approved 11.36 per cent disinvestment in NHPC out of GoI shareholding of 85.96% per cent, through an OFS. The OFS took place on 27.04.2016 & 28.04.2016. The Government realised an amount of Rs.2,716.55 crore.
(ii) MOIL Buyback
The Alternative Mechanism in its meeting held on 07.06.2016 approved participation of Government in Buyback of shares by MOIL. The MOIL buyback offer opened on 19.09.2016 and closed on 30.09.2016. The Government realised an amount of Rs.793.87 crore.
(iii) NMDC Buyback
The Alternative Mechanism in its meeting held on 07.06.2016 approved participation of Government in Buyback of shares by NMDC. The NMDC buyback offer opened on 19.09.2016 and closed on 30.09.2016. The Government realised an amount of Rs.7,519.15 crore.
(iv) BEL Buyback
The Alternative Mechanism in its meeting held on 05.08.2016 approved participation of Government in Buyback of shares by BEL. The BEL buyback offer opened on 06.10.2016 and closed on 21.10.2016. The Government realised an amount of Rs.1,802.60 crore.
(v) NTPC Employee OFS –
NTPC Employee OFS was opened on 27.06.2016 and closed on 05.07.2016. The Government realised an amount of Rs.203.78 crore.
(vi) NHPC Employee OFS
NHPC Employee OFS was opened on 04.11.2016 and closed on 11.11.2016. The Government realised an amount of Rs.21.27 crore.
(vii) DCIL Employee OFS
DCIL Employee OFS was opened on 31.10.2016 and closed on 15.11.2016. The Government realised an amount of Rs.0.93 crore.
(viii) NALCO OFS
CCEA in its meeting held on 19/02/2015 approved disinvestment of 10 per cent paid up equity of National Aluminium Co. Ltd (NALCO) out of Government of India’s shareholding of 80.93 per cent through Offer for sale (OFS). The Legal Advisers and Merchant Bankers have been appointed and non deal road shows are being conducted.
(ix) Buyback of shares by NALCO
Board of NALCO in its meeting held on 25th May, 2016 recommended buyback of fully paid equity shares not exceeding 64,43,09,628 (of face value Rs. 5 each) at price of Rs. 44/- per share. Government of India also participated in said buyback. On this account, GoI received an amount of Rs. 2831.71 crore and its share holding came down to 74.57 per cent, from 80.93 per cent prior to buyback.
(x) HCL OFS
CCEA in its meeting held on 13/05/2015 had approved disinvestment of 15 per cent paid-up equity of Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) out of Government of India’s shareholding of 89.95 per cent through Offer for Sale (OFS). In first tranche, disinvestment of 7 per cent paid-up equity capital of HCL through OFS method was held on 29/09/2016 & 30/09/2016. A total number of 6,47,65,260 equity shares were offered for sale at floor price of Rs. 62/- per share. The issue was over-subscribed and GoI received an amount of Rs. 399.93 crores as disinvestment proceeds from the said transaction.
(xi) Buyback of shares by CIL
The Board of Coal India Limited in its meeting held on 11th July, 2016 recommended buyback of fully paid equity shares not exceeding 10,89,55,223 ( Face value Rs. 10) at Rs. 335/- per equity share. GoI participated in said buyback. On this
account, Government of India received an amount of Rs. 2638.24 crore. Post buyback, the GoI shareholding in CIL has slightly increased to 79.78 per cent from 79.65 per cent prior to buyback.
(xii) CONCOR Employees OFS
Government has received an amount of Rs. 9.34 crore on account of transfer of shares to the employees of CONCOR held in September, 2016 post OFS of the Company.
(xiii) IOCL Employees OFS
Government has received an amount of Rs. 262 crore on account of transfer of shares to the employees of IOCL held in May, 2016 post OFS of the Company.
(xiv) NBCC OFS
OFS of 15 per cent Government of India shareholding in NBCC was launched on 20th October, and completed on 21st October, 2016. The OFS’s sale proceeds was Rs. 2201.14 crore.
(xv) Disinvestment of SUUTI holdings
1,48,23,702 shares of Larsen & Toubro Ltd (1.62 per cent of the equity capital of the company) was sold out of SUUTI’s strategic shareholding by bulk trades on 4th November, 2016. Government received an amount of Rs. 2096,34,65,993/- from this sale. Strategic holding of SUUTI comprise shares of Axis Bank, ITC Ltd. and L&T shares.
- Strategic Disinvestment
Procedure and mechanism for strategic disinvestment of CPSEs was approved by CCEA in February, 2016. The CCEA Note seeking in-principle approval on First and Second tranche recommendations of NITI Aayog on strategic disinvestment of CPSEs, incorporating the recommendations of CGD, thereon has been approved by CCEA in its meeting held on 27th October, 2016. Action has been initiated on the process of strategic disinvestment of the CPSEs accordingly.
State govt to introduce widespread policy reforms to boost ease of doing business in Haryana: Vipul Goel
Economic Times: January 04, 2017
Government of Haryana in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry organised the fourth roadshow for Pravasi Haryana Divas in New Delhi on Monday. Industry leaders of Haryana origin attended the roadshow aimed to invite NRIs and people of Haryana origin to come and invest in the state.
Minister for Industries, Haryana, Vipul Goel, said: “Haryana is changing and perception about Haryana is changing even faster. The state has improved in ease of doing business rankings from 14th to 6th position in a short period.”
“We are aiming at not only highlighting available avenues for investments in various sectors, but also offering concrete opportunities for meaningful contribution towards improving the lives of the people of Haryana,” he added.
He said steps such as special Skill Development University, which will start soon and Haryana Kaushal Vikas Nigam will go a long way to develop the state. “State government is working on Aerospace & Defence Policy, IT & ESDM Policy, Food Processing Policy, Retail Policy, Textile Policy, Footwear Policy, to boost ease of doing business in the state,” he said.
“Health, education, tourism, media and entertainment are the key sectors where in we are looking for business partnerships. The government has also been committed to accelerate the pace of socio-economic development in the rural areas through Swa-prerit Adarsh Gram Yojana (SPAGY), which seeks to translate Gandhian Vision of reconstruction of villages of India so that it may be as easy for anyone to live in them as it is supposed to be in cities. Over past few decades, Haryana has transformed into a land of opportunities and enterprise. Today Haryana is counted among the most developed and industrialised states of India.”
Devender Singh, principal secretary, Industries, Government of Haryana, while speaking on ‘Opportunities for Investment in Haryana’ sai: “Haryana is the first state which has started deemed clearances under the Enterprise Promotion Act. The state government will soon implement special sectoral policies in IT, IT manufacturing, retail, defence and aerospace, food processing and textiles.”
India to be world’s 3rd assembler of iPhones
Times of India: January 04, 2017
Bengaluru: With the upcoming Bengaluru assembly plant of Apple, India will become only the third country to do the final assembly of iPhones -an indication of how important the country has become for the world’s most-valued company.
Apart from one assembly facility in Brazil, all of Apple’s assembly units for its bestselling product are in China.
Apple uses a global and fairly complex supply chain.The parts for the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac are manufactured, mostly by third parties, across 28 countries. It has 766 suppliers, of which 346 are based in China, 126 in Japan, and 69 in the US. There is one in India -in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. That’s a unit of Flextronics. But it’s not clear what the unit makes.
Some parts made by these suppliers are sub-assembled in certain locations. All the sub-assembled units and other parts are brought together for final assembly in either China or Brazil in the case of iPhones. For the Apple Mac, the final assembly happens in China, US, and Ireland -the last of these is Apple’s own facility -and for the iPod, China is the only final assembly location.
With India becoming one of the world’s biggest smart of the world’s biggest smartphone markets and one of iPhone’s fastest growing markets, Apple has decided to assemble the iPhone here.As TOI reported last week, Taiwan’s Wistron, one of Apple’s suppliers and assemblers, will set up a facility in Bengaluru’s industrial hub of Peenya for the purpose.The products from this facility are expected to be available in the domestic market towards the end of next year.
Wistron has three supply facilities for Apple and an iPhone final assembly unit in China.
“An assembly unit does not require big investments,” said Jaipal Singh, market analyst at research firm IDC. He said this has been a strategy that all Chinese handset manufacturers have followed in India over the past couple of years. “Labour in India is cheaper than in China. It makes sense to grow the Indian market by establishing a domestic plant,” he said. Analysts said the unit would also manufacture for exports over time.
Data from Hong Kongbased Counterpoint Technology Market Research showed Apple sold 2.5 million iPhones in India from October 2015 to September 2016, a rise of more than 50% over the year-ago period. Apple India clocked robust sales touching Rs 9,997 crore in the 2016 financial year, up 56% from Rs 6,472 crore in the year before. iPhones are expensive, but with a local assembly unit, some analysts believe, Apple can avoid import tariffs and cut the iPhone price by around 15%, allowing it to expand the market.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said India’s low percapita income would not become an impediment in growing Apple’s market share in the country . More than 50% of Apple’s sales in India are contributed by older models which become cheaper once newer models are launched, indicating the brand’s aspirational value.Apple has around 40-45% market share in India’s premium phone segment.
Indian unicorns such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola have spawned 700 start-ups
Livemint: January 04, 2017
India’s 12 unicorns, including MakeMyTrip and Naukri (both from an earlier generation), and Myntra (acquired by Flipkart), have created a mini-army of entrepreneurs that has gone on to found 700 companies, highlighting the role of these firms in shaping the start-up ecosystem.
According to data from start-up and venture capital tracker Tracxn, these firms are following the footsteps of the original glimmer twins of the Indian software services space, Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd, which fostered entrepreneurs who went on to found 867 and 685 companies to date.
Notable ventures formed by former employees of Flipkart, Infosys and Wipro include Urban Ladder, Zopper, Roadrunnr, Housejoy, CureFit, Udaan and Mindtree Ltd.
Since its inception, some of Flipkart’s employees have left the company to found 177 start-ups. Of these, 168 have emerged since 2010. That isn’t surprising, given the start-up wave that has surged through India over the past half-a-decade, powered by venture capital firms that put down roots around 2006-07. In Infosys’s case, the corresponding number of start-ups is 768; in Wipro’s, 574.
The mortality rate of these start-ups is high, highlighting the broader challenges facing the Indian start-up ecosystem, where only a handful manage to scale up into sustainable ventures.
Then, there’s the lack of exits in India.
“Exits are really far and few between and hard to come by,” says a former Flipkart executive and founder of a start-up, pointing out that India is no Silicon Valley, which has hungry acquirers such as Google Inc. and Apple Inc. And large Indian conglomerates do not buy into a lot of start-ups, added this person on condition of anonymity.
“I think it’s too early to say that most of these ventures have failed. You can’t create an Infosys or Wipro overnight. Don’t forget that even Infosys took almost two decades before it really took off. And for software product start-ups, the cycles are usually even longer. They need to be given more time,” said Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education Services and former chief financial officer at Infosys.
Capital is a problem for some. “Less than 10% of start-ups manage to convince an institutional investor to invest capital in their companies. Less than 3% manage to reach Series B stage. So building and scaling business is exceptionally hard. So we can continue to see a fair mix of successes and failures, and potentially success after multiple failed attempts,” said Abhishek Goyal, co-founder at Tracxn.
Still, he added, it’s important to understand the important role played by companies such as Infosys and Flipkart. In some cases, this translates into the right kind of infrastructure and environment.
“The culture and workplace (of Infosys) were the benchmarks for me when I was setting up my own entity,” said Rajiv Srivatsa, co-founder and chief operating officer at Urban Ladder, who worked at Infosys for two years till 2002. “The biggest encouragement for me was to have a personal website on the Infosys intranet. That was the start of my entrepreneurial journey in a small way.”
FDI inflow grows 27% in April-October period
Economic Times: January 05, 2017
New Delhi: Foreign direct investment grew 27% in the first seven months of the fiscal to $27.82 billion, from $21.87 billion a year ago.
Manufacturing accounted for 41.5% of the total equity inflows into the country during April-October, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion’s year-end review.
This happened at a time when the government made a fervent pitch abroad for ‘Make in India’ to make India a manufacturing hub of the world and generate largescale employment.
Services, telecom, trading, computer hardware and software and automobiles were among the major sectors that attracted FDI during this period.
In 2015-16, India had received $55.6 billion through FDI, up 23% over the previous year.
The government has been pushing for enhancing ease of doing business and a favourable patent regime to make India an attractive investment destination.
DIPP in its review said that trademarks filing have increased 10% and trademark examination surged 250% during this fiscal till November from a year ago. Trademark pendency has come down to three months, from at least six months till 2015, and is expected to be one month by March 2017.
The allocation for National Industrial Corridor Development & Implementation Trust has been increased to Rs 17,550 crore till March 2022.
The government is scouting for an anchor investor for one of its most ambitious infrastructure projects, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, for which several overseas investors including Ikea, Kia Motors and China Railway Construction Corp have lined up.
Tax collections to exceed budget estimates, says Arun Jaitley
Livemint: January 05, 2017
New Delhi: The central government will exceed its budget estimates for both direct and indirect tax collections this year, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday.
The central government had budgeted for Rs8.47 trillion in direct taxes and Rs7.79 trillion in indirect taxes in the current fiscal year.
If the government does manage to exceed its budget collections, it will reverse the trend of the last couple of years when direct tax collections fell substantially short of the initial budget estimates.
Tax revenues have been aided by additional revenue mobilization measures such as the income disclosure scheme, which is expected to yield at least Rs15,000 crore in taxes in the current financial year.
The increase in tax revenues is expected to counter the shortfall in divestment receipts and help the government achieve its fiscal deficit target of 3.5% of gross domestic product in 2016-17.
The government had budgeted for Rs56,500 crore in divestment receipts for the year but has so far raised only Rs23, 529 crore.
Jaitley’s statement come at a time when many states have expressed concern about the fall in value-added tax revenues for the last two months on account of the impact of demonetisation on businesses.
Responding to statements made by West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra on the massive impact of demonetisation on tax revenues, Jaitley said that this trend is not reflected in all states.
“States like Haryana, Punjab and Assam have reported growth in their revenues in November… States that are governed well have done well,” Jaitley said in a press conference, taking a swipe at some opposition-ruled states that have reported a fall in tax revenues.
Mitra said that the state saw a 2% contraction in tax revenues after demonetisation as against a growth of 11% in the year-ago period.
Some other states also expressed their concerns on falling tax revenues in the pre-budget meeting with Jaitley on Wednesday. The Union government has asked states to furnish their tax collection numbers for the past two-three years.
“We have asked the states to furnish the data for the last two-three years so that a trend can be established,” Jaitley said.
India’s spices exports grow 7% in value in first half of FY17
Economic Times: January 05, 2017
Kichi: Boosted by large shipments of chilli, nutmeg, mace, cumin and garlic, spices exports from India grew 5 per cent in volume and 7 per cent in value in the first half of 2016-17 from a year ago.
Export of spices rose to 4,37,360 tonnes valued at Rs 8415.97 crore in first half of 2016-17 compared with 4,14,780 tonnes worth Rs 7892.65 crore in the first half of last year.
Chilli became the most exported spice for the six-month period with the shipment of 1,65,000 tonnes, fetching Rs 2307.75 crores.
Garlic exports contributed substantially to the overall growth during the period, after rising 132 per cent in value terms and 55 per cent in quantity.The exports of nutmeg and mace grew by 81 per cent in quantity as compared to last year and saw a 69 per cent increase in value.Cumin exports rose by 49 per cent to 68,600 tonnes, as compared to 45,894 tonnes during the same period in the previous year.
Turmeric,, apart from fennel and celery, also contributed significantly to the total spices exports during April-September 2016. The export of value-added products like curry powder and paste as well as spice oils & oleoresins also increased during the period, according to data released by Spices Board
Sebi eases FPI rules for trading on IFSC
Times of India: January 05, 2017
Mumbai: In an attempt to boost the government’s Ease of Doing Business initiative, markets regulator Sebi on Wednesday said that foreign investors already registered with Indian regulators to trade on Indian bourses will not require any fresh registration for operating through the Gujarat-based International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
All the brokers serving FPIs through IFSC are now allowed to use Sebi and RBI registrations for trading on IFSC. The centre has been set up within Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).
On January 9, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate BSE’s new international trading platform, India International Exchange, at IFSC in GIFT City. NSE, the largest stock exchange in India in terms of trading volumes, is also working to launch its own platform at the same facility.
On Wednesday, Sebi said that registered FPIs which are planning to operate in IFSC, “shall be permitted, without undergoing any additional documentation and/or prior approval process.” When an FPI trades through the IFSC, “a trading member of the recognized stock exchange in IFSC, may rely upon the due diligence process already carried out by a Sebi registered intermediary during the course of registration and account opening process in India.”
The market regulator also said that if an eligible foreign investor (EFI), who is not registered as an FPI but wants to operate in IFSC, the EFI’s broker can accept the due diligence carried out by a bank, which is permitted by RBI to operate in IFSC, to open an account for that investor.
However, Sebi said that all those FPIs which are currently operating in India and now plans to operate in IFSC also, have to maintain separate books for the two operations. “Custodians shall, in turn, monitor compliance of this provision for their respective FPI clients. Such FPIs shall keep their respective custodians informed about their participation in IFSC,” a Sebi circular said. It also directed all the stock exchanges operating on IFSC to maintain all the details of trading operations of their EFIs clients.
Pichai chooses India to launch small biz product for the globe
Business Standard: January 05, 2017
Sundar Pichai, the India-born chief executive officer of Google, used his homeland to launch a global platform that allows small firms to build websites on their smartphones before the largest Internet firm takes it to other countries.
India has around 51 million small and medium businesses, but less than a fifth of them, or around 9 million, are online.
Google is looking to bring more small firms online, launching do-it-yourself courses for users to build websites on smartphones. This will help it engage and lock these users on its platform. At the same time, Google expects local solutions built for India can be replicated in other emerging markets in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
“When we solve for a place like India, we solve for everyone around the world. That has led us to grow our team here and spend more time and ensure the products are useful for everyone,” said Pichai, launching the MyBusiness tool with Law and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Google also launched Digital Unlocked, an education programme, in association with industry body FICCI and the Indian School of Business to teach mobile and online courses to help small businesses.
Since it stepped up focus on India over a decade, Google has been building India-specific products, engaging with the government to connect 100 railway stations with Internet via its Railwire project, and improving access in the hinterland.
The company is also working on a host of products around regional languages. In the second edition of the Google for India event last September, the company said it was doing extensive work on making searches more comprehensive in Indian languages.
The company is also launching a voice-based vernacular search platform. The platform now works in Hindi, but the company plans to make it available in other Indian languages. Last December, the first edition of the Google in India event saw Pichai launching a host of India-specific products.
Google also said India was the third largest startup ecosystem and the company had invested Rs 130 crore in it. The company has started Google Launchpad and Google Accelerator, investing in mid to late startups through Google Capital.
Prasad, who was also at the event, said Google was as much an Indian company as American and it needed to play a larger role in the domestic market by tailoring its products and working more on cyber security.
“Google India needs to tailor its operation more to India’s psyche, local languages, local aspirations, local products… India’s digital economy is going to be $1 trillion plus in the coming 3-4 years,” he said.
Stressing that Google should be more involved, the minister highlighted areas, including cyber security, where the technology giant could play a bigger role. Growth of digital payments would lead to stronger challenges in cyber security, he said.
MSR India – Microsoft Research India
India an innovation hub for Microsoft
Livemint: January 05, 2017
India is a hotbed of research and development (R&D) activity for Microsoft. Other than its local data centres, cybersecurity and Smart City initiatives, the country is home to Microsoft Research India, (MSR India), which was established in January 2005 in Bengaluru. The other unit—Microsoft India (R&D) Pvt. Ltd set up its India operations in Hyderabad in 1998. Over the past 18+ years, it has expanded to become one of Microsoft’s largest R&D centers outside its headquarters in Redmond.
MSR India does work around three major areas, said Sriram Rajamani, managing director of Microsoft Research India Lab. “The first is the ‘Theory and Algorithm’ group that does fundamental work with big data clients, which results in very innovative and novel machine learning algorithms. Then we have the ‘Systems’ group which does a lot of work in security, privacy, etc. Third, we have the ‘Technology for Emerging Markets’ group that studies the role of technology in socio-economic development, which does a lot of work around societal problems in healthcare, education and agriculture. This group does a lot of deployments as pilots in India too,” says Rajamani.
Similarly, Microsoft’s India Development Centre (IDC) is part of global centres in Microsoft. “The aim is to work on both global engineering solutions and problems related to India,” says Anil Bhansali, managing director of Microsoft India (R&D) and General Manager, Cloud and Enterprise, MSIDC.
For instance, when the Andhra Pradesh government wanted to examine the reason why children drop out of school, in a bid to stop the trend, it took the help of Microsoft researchers to build machine learning models based on data being collected on student enrolment to predict drop outs. This was done by applying machine learning and advanced visualization techniques that take into account multiple data points, including a student’s board exam performance, post-exam enrolments, school facilities, and teachers’ abilities and skills. This solution, according to Rajamani, has been taken to 10,000 government schools across Andhra Pradesh. “The interface also allows officers to counsel students accordingly,” he says.
Microsoft also partnered with the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) to create an eye-care solution that successfully predicts the outcome of eye surgeries and improves treatment. Using EyeSmart—an ophthalmic electronic medical record and hospital management system—and Microsoft Azure, LVPEI has registered over 400,000 new patients digitally.
In another such instance, Microsoft partnered with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a United Nations agency, to analyse volumes of data on weather forecasts, local rainfall and soil conditions. The data, according to Bhansali, was analysed to develop a “Sowing Date” application that tells farmers the right sowing date to maximize their yield. Access to this platform for farmers was simplified by providing information to farmers via SMSes in Telugu.
99DOTS, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, and UKAID, is another case in point. Incubated at Microsoft Research India, Everwell Health Solutions—a healthcare technology start-up based in Bangalore—has been developing and deploying 99DOTS for the past three years. 99DOTS is a technology-enabled project focusing on medication adherence for anti-tuberculosis drugs. Treatment programmes wrap each medication pack in a custom envelope, which hides phone numbers behind the medication. Patients can only see these hidden numbers after dispensing their pills. After taking daily medication, patients make a free call to the hidden phone number. The combination of the call and patient’s caller ID yields high confidence that the dose was “in-hand” and they took the dose. Patients receive a series of daily reminders (via SMS and automated calls). Missed doses trigger SMS notifications to care providers, who follow up with personal, phone-based counselling. Real-time adherence reports are also available on the web.
The R&D challenge, as Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft India puts it, is to develop products and services “that have a global footprint and also work in emerging countries like India”.
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