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Daily Economy News
November 30, 2016
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.
DIPP plans to ease arbitration laws for companies
Economic Times: November 30, 2016
The industry department has proposed allowing companies to go in for voluntary Arbitration without having to seek court permission, a move aimed at making it easier for firms to resolve disputes.
According to a senior official, the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) has written to the ministry of justice to amend the alternate dispute mechanism under the Arbitration Act to do away with court-led procedures of resolving commercial disputes.
“Arbitration in India is court driven and has to be initiated by a judge… We want to encourage mediation that is voluntary,” the official, who did not wish to be named, told ET. In the World Bank’s Doing Business report, India ranks 172 among 190 countries on the parameter of enforcing contracts.
The World Bank has pointed out to the DIPP that arbitration laws in India suffer from various anomalies, such as it being mandatory for companies that do not have arbitration procedures drawn in their agreement having to go to court first. This is one of the reasons cited why India has performed poorly on the World Bank’s assessment of quality of judicial process.
According to Section 89 of Alternate Dispute Resolution under the Code of Civil Procedure, “court shall formulate the terms of settlement and give them to the parties for their observations, and after receiving the observations of the parties, the court may re-formulate the terms of a possible settlement”. The government has taken steps to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act to reduce the time taken in proceedings and grounds on which an award may be challenged. Dedicated commercial benches have also been set up for faster disposal of commercial cases in Delhi and Mumbai.
“Government increasingly wants to reduce the involvement of courts in these matters to bring down their burden,” said Tejas Karia, partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. The DIPP is engaging with all government departments and ministries to take up various areas of improvement for ease of doing business. India’s rank improved to 130 from 131 last year. All ministries have been asked to set up a task force to monitor steps being taken to promote ease of doing business and also appoint a third party regulator to study effectiveness of reforms and suggest further action.
European countries make a beeline for India’s open skies
HT Business: November 30, 2016
New Delhi: Requests have started pouring in from various European countries for having an open sky agreement with India after the government announced a change of rules in the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP).
An open sky agreement between two nations allows carriers from respective countries to operate any number of flights to any city in that country. Under the NCAP, India has decided to enter into open skies agreement with SAARC countries and with those beyond 5,000-km radius from Delhi. However, the aviation ministry has restricted the number of stations that a foreign airline can operate in, under this agreement.
“The first request came from Greece, with which we have already signed an agreement. We are also hopeful of having similar agreements with Netherlands and Sweden for which talks have been held. We have also received a request for open skies from Georgia,” said a senior aviation ministry official.
Under the agreement with Greece, while Indian carriers can operate any number of flights to any destination in that country, airlines from that country will be allowed to fly to six Indian cities.
Having an open skies agreement with countries beyond 5000 km radius, a brainchild of aviation secretary RN Choubey, should help significantly enhance India’s international connectivity, say experts.
“There is a huge Indian diaspora in the West. Indian carriers have limited international operations and other than Air India and Jet Airways none operates long haul flights. Removing restrictions on flights from these countries to India will enhance connectivity,” said an expert.
The aviation ministry has through the external affairs ministry written to all countries with which India has bilateral air services agreement informing them about the open skies policy. “Those countries which are beyond 5000 kms are free to come and renegotiate the air services agreement with us,” said a ministry official.
Solar tariffs at a new low with Amplus Energy bid
Livemint: November 30, 2016
New Delhi: Amplus Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd has won a bid to install 14.5 megawatts (MW) of solar rooftop plants across 10 states, offering power from these plants at tariffs starting at Rs3 per unit, the lowest ever in the country.
The firm, backed by US private equity firm I Squared Capital, has won bids to install plants in Maharashtra (3MW), Rajasthan (2MW), Punjab (2MW), Karnataka (2MW), Haryana (2MW), Himachal Pradesh (1MW), Madhya Pradesh (1MW), Uttarakhand (0.5MW), Puducherry (0.5MW) and Chandigarh (0.5MW).
The record low tariff of Rs3 per unit has been offered in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Puducherry. Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra will get solar power at Rs5.56 per unit, Rajasthan at Rs5.38, Haryana at Rs5.76 and Punjab at Rs6.20 per unit. The tariffs have been fixed for 25 years.
“The Rs3 per unit tariff is unprecedented in Indian rooftop solar sector that has drastically reduced pricing dynamics. This is the lowest bid anyone has ever made in India. Even if you include subsidy that is given for solar rooftop projects, this is the lowest tariff ever quoted,” said Sanjeev Aggarwal, managing director and chief executive of Amplus Energy.
In January, solar power tariffs in India had fallen to Rs4.34 per unit when Fortum Finnsurya Energy Pvt. Ltd of Finland won the contract for a 70-MW plant in Rajasthan.
Amplus, which in June acquired US solar power developer SunEdison Inc.’s roof-top solar power assets in India, won the bid under the 500MW rooftop grid connected scheme in different states floated by Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI), a public sector unit dedicated to the solar energy sector.
“Solar rooftop plants will be identified and installed on buildings of NGOs, educational institutes, hospitals, trusts and not-for-profit firms in these states,” Amplus said. The company will invest Rs70 crore in the projects and install, operate and maintain them for a period of 25 years.
The projects will make possible carbon dioxide savings of 500,250 million tonnes or reduce consumption by 36,97,500 barrels of crude oil over a 25-year period, which is equivalent to planting 623,500 trees.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has increased India’s solar power target from 20,000MW to 100,000MW by 2022. Of this, solar rooftop power is expected to contribute 40,000MW. While the offer of low tariffs is a significant development, the viability of such low rates for rooftop solar power is uncertain.
“There is no question of loss. The project is viable. Also, when a new project is offered at low prices, it encourages people to adopt it faster,” Sanjeev Aggarwal said.
Textile machinery industry to touch Rs 35,000 crore in 5 years
Mr Sanjiv Lathia, Chairman, India International Textile Machinery Exhibitions Society (India ITME Society), has predicted that the market size of India’s textile machinery industry is expected to increase to Rs 32,000-35,000 crore (US$ 4.7-5.1 billion) in the next five years, from the current size of Rs 22,000 crore (US$ 3.2 billion), based on Make in India, and various other incentives for the manufacturing sector introduced by the Government of India. The Indian textile sector is one of the largest contributors to India’s overall exports, contributing 11 per cent (US$ 40 billion) to the total outbound shipments in FY 2015-16, and is expected to touch US$ 223 billion in size by 2021. The sector is also the second largest employer in the country after agriculture.
National anthem must be played before screening of films: Supreme Court
UPDATED: NOVEMBER 30, 2016 13:17 IST
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered all cinema halls across the country to play the national anthem before the screening of films and that all present must “stand up in respect” till the anthem ended. It said the practice would “instill a feeling within one a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism.”
Cinema halls should also display the national flag on screen when the anthem is played, it said.
A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy said it is time people expressed their “love for the motherland.”
“People must feel this is my country. This is my motherland… Arrey, who are you? You are an Indian first. In other countries, you respect their restrictions. In India, you do not want any restrictions?” Justice Misra remarked.
The Bench said it is the duty of every person to show respect when the national anthem is played or recited or sung under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1951.
“…people should feel that they live in a nation and show respect to the national anthem and the national flag,” Justice Misra said. People should imbibe and express respect to the inherent quality of the anthem and the flag.
On ‘perceived notions of freedom’
The Bench said too much has been indulged in the name of “individually perceived notions of freedom.”
The Union government, represented by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, said it completely agreed with need for specific guidelines to show respect and honour for the national anthem and the flag.
In its interim order, while awaiting a detailed response from the Centre, the court issued a complete ban on the commercial exploitation of the national anthem and the flag.
The court banned dramatisation of the anthem or it to be used in any part of any variety shows or for entertainment purposes.
“Dramatisation at this point is absolutely inconceivable,” Justice Misra, who dictated the order for the Bench, observed.
The court banned the display of the national anthem on any “undesirable or disgraceful places.” It said such display “tantamounts to disrespect.”
It also banned the display, recitation or use of the abridged version of the national anthem.
Wants ‘people to see the order in its letter and spirit’
The Bench said the protocol of showing respect and honour to the anthem and flag is rooted in “our national identity, integrity and constitutional patriotism.”
It said that the order should be distributed to Chief Secretaries of States and Union Territories. The order shall be widely published by the electronic and print media so that “people wake up to see the order in its letter and spirit”. The order should be implemented within a week hence.
“Universalism is alright but little still Bharat is the epitome of culture, knowledge… Gyaan and Vigyaan,” Justice Misra observed.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea to clarify when the national anthem should be sung.
The PIL was filed by Shyam Narayan Chouskey seeking a set of parameters on what amounts to abuse of the anthem.
The Supreme Court’s decision to consider this PIL followed after a wheel chair-bound man was assaulted by a couple at a cinema hall in Panaji for not standing up during the rendition of the anthem.
The petition sought the anthem to be played in cinema halls across the country before screening of films and also issue a protocol for the playing or singing of the anthem at functions where constitutional dignitaries are in attendance.
Belgium, Netherlands to swap land; alter border
Hindu – BRUSSELS NOVEMBER 30, 2016 10:12 IST
UPDATED: NOVEMBER 30, 2016 13:01 IST
Belgium and the Netherlands have agreed to a swap of land, a peaceful handover on a continent where borders have long been a source of bloodshed.
Each will cede small, uninhabited parcels of land to reflect a change in the course of what is known in French as the Meuse river, and in Dutch as the Maas.
Belgium will give two peninsulas of 16 hectares to the Netherlands and receive one of three hectares in return.
It all comes down to humans messing with Mother Nature, in this case straightening the river.
After Belgium gained independence from the Netherlands in1830, the border was drawn along the Meuse. But in 1961, the river was straightened to make navigation easier, placing parts of each country’s territory on the other side of the river.
With the current border, the only way to reach the land without crossing into another country is by boat.
A Belgian foreign ministry spokesman said police would find it very difficult to access the strips of land that Belgium is relinquishing if any incident were to occur.
“It was just not logical that that small piece was still part of Belgium,” he said.
The border will most likely change at the start of 2018 after both countries have ratified a treaty signed on Monday by the Dutch and Belgian foreign ministers.
The land swap, however, does not extend to the border village of Baarle-Hertog, which famously has non-contiguous bit of the Netherlands in Belgium and vice versa.
Amid disruptions & uproar, Bill to tax deposits passed in Lok Sabha
The HINDU As per the proposed amendment, those caught illegally converting money will have to cough up 60 per cent tax plus penalties, which will come to 85 per cent.
In the midst of disruptions and adjournments, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a Bill that seeks to tax money deposited in bank accounts post demonetisation.
The Taxation Laws (2nd Amendment) Bill 2016 was passed in the lower House of Parliament without any debate, provoking strong protests from Opposition leaders.
“I urge the House to accept the amendments,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while moving the Bill for passing, adding that the Bill will enable the government to implement schemes like the Garib Kalyan Kosh.
The new Taxation Laws (2nd Amendment) Bill 2016, passed sans debate in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, will entail a tax of 30 per cent of the income declared, an additional surcharge of 33 per cent of the tax amount, and a penalty of 10 per cent of the declared income. This adds up to a total liability of about 50 per cent. In addition, the amendment states that 25 per cent of the declared income is to be deposited in an interest-free deposit scheme with a lock-in of four years.
If undeclared, then the unexplained amount will face a flat tax of 60 per cent, a surcharge of 25 per cent of the tax amount, and a possible 10 per cent penalty at the discretion of the assessing officer. This takes the total levy on undeclared income or assets to as much as 85 per cent.
Only two amendments — by N.K. Premchandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and B. Mahtab of the Biju Janata Dal — were allowed. However, while Mr Premchandran refused to move the amendment as he was shouting slogans, Mr Mahtab’s amendment was negated by a voice vote.
Amid protests by several Opposition members, the Lok Sabha was adjourned four times on Tuesday.
The cheapest trip to Mars leaves from Sriharikota, India’s Cape Canaveral
Spacefaring rivals can’t beat the prices charged by India, which sent its own probe to the Red Planet for less money than Hollywood spent making a movie
The cheapest flight to Mars may leave from a tiny barrier island in southeastern India.
Sriharikota, the nation’s Cape Canaveral, is the launchpad for an ambitious space programme that has shot more than 120 satellites into orbit—including for the US, Israel and Germany. Spacefaring rivals can’t beat the prices charged by India, which sent its own probe to the Red Planet for less money than Hollywood spent making a movie about an astronaut stranded there.
While China strives to put people farther into space, this South Asian country instead eyes a bigger slice of the $5.4 billion satellite-launching industry. India added an Alphabet Inc. subsidiary as a customer this year, heightening its profile just as the global launch market surges because of the demand for constant internet connectivity and monitoring of the earth by commercial, scientific and military entities.
“Launch capacity globally is limited,” A.S. Kiran Kumar, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, said at its Bengaluru headquarters. “Why are people coming to us? Because they are looking for the most cost-effective, short turnaround-time launches.”
India competes for commercial launches with space agencies in Europe and Japan, and with private players such as Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin LLC. The nation has launched 37 satellites this year, almost double last year’s total, with more planned, according to Kumar’s organization.
Most trips departing from India use the workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, or PSLV, which can take a microsatellite into space for about $30 million, according to UK-based researcher Seradata Ltd. The tab is split if multiple satellites are hauled.
That’s about half the price charged by SpaceX for rides on its Falcon 9 rockets, though the Hawthorne, California-based company says its payloads are bigger. It’s also cheaper than the prices charged by the US for its Minotaur rocket and Arianespace SA for its Vega, according to Seradata.India’s PSLV ticks all the right boxes for commercial satellite makers, said David Todd, head of space content at Seradata. Its last failure was in the 1990s.
“It has reached the ‘Nirvana’ stage in a modern launch vehicle’s experience,” Todd said. “It has settled into having a long series of perfect flights with no failures.”
The agreement with Google-owned Terra Bella, a satellite imagery company, took seven years to negotiate, said Susmita Mohanty, co-founder and chief executive officer of Bengaluru-based Earth2Orbit, which brokered the deal.
That’s because the US in 2005 started discouraging domestic companies from hiring the Indian Space Research Organisation and its affiliate, Antrix Corp., for commercial launches after the Indian government wouldn’t sign a pact setting quotas and minimum prices.
As India held out, the market came around. The burgeoning need among phone companies, electronics makers and broadcasters for rockets prompted the US government to issue waivers on an individual basis.
Global satellite industry revenue — including services, manufacturing and launching — almost doubled to $208 billion in the decade through 2015, according to the Washington-based Satellite Industry Association.
Terra Bella uses images taken from space to analyze port traffic, help disaster-response teams, and track changes in mining pits, according to its website. India’s space agency launched its 110-kilogram (243-pound) SkySat microsatellite in June — one of 20 atop a single rocket. Isro plans to launch more than 80 at once—the most ever—early next year.
Terra Bella wouldn’t comment except to refer to a blog post showing one of its first images: Chicago’s Soldier Field.“Our launch agreement was pioneering,” said Mohanty, whose father was a space scientist in India during the 1970s. “We have opened the door and left it ajar for other satellite makers to access India’s frequent and affordable launches.”
The nation’s most famous liftoff occurred in 2013, when a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carried the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft from Sriharikota. The craft, called Mangalyaan in Sanskrit, made India the fourth nation to reach the fourth planet from the sun.
Mangalyaan’s objectives include looking for methane and carbon dioxide in Mars’ atmosphere to determine whether life ever existed on our neighbouring planet.
It cost about $74 million, or about 11% of the price tag for NASA’s Maven probe. By comparison, 20th Century Fox spent an estimated $108 million making “The Martian,” according to Box Office Mojo.
Thrift has been the hallmark of India’s space program since the early 1960s, when rocket sections were transported by bicycle and assembled by hand inside St. Mary Magdalene Church in Thumba, a fishing village near the tip of the Indian peninsula.
The Soviet Union was an early supporter, launching India’s first homemade satellite in 1975 and putting the first Indian in space in 1984. Rakesh Sharma spent almost eight days aboard the orbiting Salyut 7 station conducting experiments.
Cost efficiency is imperative in a country where about 21% of its population lived on less than $1.90 a day in 2011, according to the World Bank. That poverty makes relevancy even more significant, Kumar said.
“In most other places, generally, the space program started as a strategic or a military program,” said Kumar, who joined the space organization in 1975 and took over last year after working on the Mars orbiter. “In our program, right from the beginning, what has been looked at is how this space technology can be used for societal benefits.”
The Mars mission kick-started efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to use the space program to lift the standard of living. India operates about 35 satellites for broadcasting, navigation, scientific research and weather monitoring, and Kumar said the nation needs to double that.
One key area is disaster management since 60% of the land mass is prone to earthquakes and about 70 percent of its cultivable area is susceptible to drought. The nation also suffers devastating tropical cyclones.
India plans to launch a satellite to look for potential risks and then provide information for mitigation, response and recovery, Modi said. The machine will scan all of South Asia.
“India is ready to make its space capabilities available to any country for purposes of disaster risk management,” Modi told a 3 November conference in New Delhi.
The government also is putting a mining surveillance system in space, hoping to curb illegal digging through remote sensing detection technology. Currently, the nation depends on eyewitness accounts.
But the Indian Space Research Organisation’s $1.09 billion budget is also about boosting the space industry. India currently is building its own competitor to the US-run Global Positioning System.The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System consists of seven satellites and provides coverage for users in India and within 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) of its borders. Its applications include positioning information for land, sea and air; mapping data; and disaster management, according to the space organization’s website.
Modi touts the system as an example of his “Make in India” effort, and his minister for space programs told parliament in July he wants to get private, domestic businesses involved in manufacturing rocket engines, fuel tanks and spacecraft.All this is to help prepare for a potential 2020 mission, in cooperation with France, to put another satellite into orbit around Mars before possibly landing there, according to the NDTV channel.
“What was once seen as only within reach of the West has now opened up to nations from around the world,” Luigi Peluso, a managing director at AlixPartners who’s part of the consultant’s aerospace practice, said in an e-mail. “India has keen ability to control costs and very well-established scientific and technical resources available.” Bloomberg
The Swedish newspaper was recently asked it to delete the reference made by President Pranab Mukherjee to the Bofors scam in an interview to it, as a claim protested by the Indian Government on 27 May 2015. India has expressed disappointment over the disrespect shown to the President, the newspaper has defended its right to publish what was said during the interview.
Know, who is Vijay Kelkar and what is PPP !
Vijay Kelkar is a renowned economist and a former Finance Secretary. He was appointed head of newly constituted committee to give recommendations to recast the model of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model in India. India is one of the largest PPP market with over 900 projects. The Kelkar committee will review the PPP policy, suggest a better risk-sharing mechanism between private developers and the government after analysing such projects.
Know, who is Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar !
Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar was crowned as the new Maharaja of of Mysuru (Mysore) royal family. He is the 23-year old grandson of Princess Gayathri Devi, who was the eldest daughter of the last Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar. The coronation was held at Mysuru’s famous Amba Vilas Palace, which was decked up for the occasion.
Know about Sepp Blatter!
Swpp Blatter, was re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term at the 65th Annual Congress of FIFA held at Zurich for four year term.
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan stood against Blatter in this election. It is worth mentioning that FIFA is going through a major controversy regarding corruption in the organisation with two FIFA vice presidents and a recently elected FIFA executive committee member still in custody.