India, Singapore Want Economic Partnership Deal Fast-Tracked

India & Singapore New Delhi: India and Singapore have asked their negotiators working on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to show adequate flexibility to move ahead and have the review completed at the earliest.

This was agreed to at a meeting that the Singapore’s visiting Foreign and Law MinisterK Shanmugam, had with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here on Tuesday.

“The focus of the discussion was largely economic. Singapore is the source of the largest foreign direct investment into India,” the spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs said.

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India displaces Japan to become third-largest world economy in terms of PPP: World Bank

Source: The Economic Times, Apr 30, 2014

NEW DELHI: India has displaced Japan to become the world’s third biggest economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), according to a World Bank report released on Tuesday.The 2011 round of the bank’s International Comparison Program (ICP) ranked India after the US and China. The last survey in 2005 had placed the country on 10th place.

PPP is used to compare economies and incomes of people by adjusting for differences in prices in different countries to make a meaningful comparison.

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Finance Ministry preparing next phase of economic reforms

Source: The Economic Times, Apr 15, 2014

NEW DELHI: The finance ministry is preparing an outline for the next phase of economic reforms that can be presented to the new government to bolster manufacturing, infrastructure development and farm productivity.Top officials in North Block, which houses the finance ministry, told ET that they are reviewing customs duty structure and ways to ease regulatory approvals.

“We are working on deepening reforms in key sectors that will build on the growth momentum…The idea is to have a plan ready that can be tweaked quickly,” a senior finance ministry official said, requesting anonymity. The immediate urgency is to temper inflation expectations and revive growth, the official said. Although wholesale price-based inflation eased to 4.68% in February from 7.52% in November, retail inflation was still high at 8.1%.

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Indian Rupee Hits More Than 7-Month High; Shares In Focus

Indian rupee Source: Financial Express, Mar 25th, 2014

The Indian rupee strengthened to its highest level in more than seven months on Tuesday, tracking broad global losses in the dollar and as foreign investors continued to buy into a record-setting rally in domestic shares this month.

The US dollar nursed broad losses early on Tuesday, having come under pressure late in New York as investors bought the euro and drove the Australian dollar to its highest this year.

The partially convertible rupee trading at 60.50/51 per dollar at 0336 GMT, its strongest level since Aug. 12 and higher than its Monday’s close of 60.77/78.

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Agriculture dependent population in India grew by 50%

Agriculture Source: The Economic Times, Feb 27, 2014

WASHINGTON: Agricultural population of India grew by a whopping 50 per cent between 1980 and 2011, the highest for any country during this period, followed by China with 33 per cent, while that of the United States dropped by 37 per cent as a result of large scale mechanisation, a latest report has said.

“Between 1980 and 2011, the economically active agricultural populations of China and India grew by 33 and 50 per cent, respectively, due to overall population growth,” the Worldwatch Institute said in its report yesterday.

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PM Pegs Growth At 5% For FY14

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Source: Business Standards, Jan 09, 2014

New Delhi: Striking an optimistic note, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday pegged the country’s economic growth at five per cent for the financial year ending March 2014, while assuring investors India would re-emerge as an attractive investment destination soon. Singh was speaking at the 12th annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here.

“Our economy has done well over the past decade. In the nine years since 2004, we averaged a healthy growth rate of 7.9 per cent per annum. There has been no doubt of a slowdown in the recent past, and we will probably end this year at the same level as last year with a five per cent growth. A number of international as well as domestic factors has contributed to this situation. Despite these challenges, our economic fundamentals remain strong,” Singh said.

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Rural India shows signs of economic revival

Source: Business Standard, Nov 28, 2013

New Delhi/Shirdhon: Pandurang Ghorpade has the weather to thank as he hands out celebratory sweets to neighbours eager for a ride on his prized new possession, a gleaming red tractor bought in anticipation of a bumper harvest.

“Unlike last year, there wasn’t any shortage of water this year,” Ghorpade said. “My earnings are likely to rise from sugar cane and ginger crops that have grown vigorously.”

The best monsoon in six years means similar scenes to the one in Shirdhon southeast of Mumbai are being played out across much of rural India, home to two-thirds of the 1.2 billion population. It also means sales of tractors and motorbikes are surging, raising hopes this pick up in activity will spread and feed a wider revival in an economy that has slumped to its worst growth in a decade.

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Brics to Commit $100 Billion To Forex Fund

Source: livemint, Sep 6, 2013

St. Petersburg, Russia: The BRICS group of emerging economies will contribute $100 billion to a fighting fund to steady currency markets destabilized by an expected pullback of US monetary stimulus, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

China, holder of the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves, will contribute the bulk of the currency pool. But it will be much smaller than the $240 billion originally envisaged and officials said it would not be functional for some time yet. Cheap dollars that fuelled a boom in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) over the past decade have turned tail since Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, warned in May of a “taper” in the US bond-buying scheme.

BRICS

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Finance Minister P Chidambaram seeks 10-point action plan to revive economy

Source: The Economy Times, Aug 19, 2013

NEW DELHI: Finance minister P Chidambaram has asked each of the secretaries in his ministry to present 2a 10-point action plan on Monday that could help draw up an agenda to kick-start a wider set of measures to revive the economy and improve business sentiment.

Chidambaram has asked all the four departments to come up with ideas that could be implemented or prioritised over the next few months. This will also send out a signal that the government was for the time done with steps to stabilise the rupee and wants to move on to other pressing issues.

“Each departments has to present a ten-point action plan on Monday” a ministry official familiar with the development told ET. Top bureaucrats in the finance ministry were closeted in a series of meetings on Saturday deliberating the things they will bring to the attention of the finance minister.

The action points could be anything that can help revive growth and boost sentiment, the official said pointing to a shift in the mood in the North Block that had been fire-fighting the rupee depreciation.
“There are lot of initiatives that are in the works in each dept. The idea is to move forward in a focused manner by prioritising things. This is largely aimed at bringing focused approach decision making,” another senior finance ministry official told ET.

Economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram said the government is already working on a plan to open up the ports sector and the real estate investment trusts (REITs) will be soon announced to help attract more equity.The action plan could also include impediments that the officials feel that need to be removed in order to revive growth, which is likely to be around 4.8% in the first quarter of the current fiscal, same as that in the last quarter of previous fiscal.

“We have done whatever we needed to do on the rupee front. It is now time to change focus,” the first official said.

Abheek Barua, chief economist with HDFC Bank agreed that measures on rupee should work and it was time to move on to other things. “I don’t think any more measures would be required. They need to be communicated well. The government has already given out specific fund raising plan including quasi issuances and this should show its effect once money comes in. Some measures on hasten investments could be taken. Clearance to Mylan is a big showcase decision,” he said.

Finance minister had last week said the government will contain the current account deficit at $70 billion, 3.7% of GDP against 4.8% last year, and outlined a plan to fund this deficit without drawing on the country’s forex reserves.

Earlier, the government had further increased the duty on gold and silver while the Reserve Bank of India had lowered the limit on outbound investment through the automatic route for corporate and also reduced the amount individuals could send out under the liberalised remittances schemes to 75,000 dollars from 200,000 dollars. Despite the measures, the rupee breached 62/dollar on Friday and sensex crashed 769 points.

India set to become world’s manufacturing hub: Anand Sharma

Source: The Economic Times, July 11, 2013

NEW YORK: Pitching India as a long-term investment destination, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma today said the US should respect free movement of skilled professionals to enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries. The Minister is accompanied by a CII CEOs delegation in his four-day visit to the US to woo foreign investors. He said India and the US are partnering across sectors, including aerospace, nuclear, defence, agriculture, information technology, communications, science and technology, and will grow stronger with a two-way process. Speaking at a dialogue hosted by the CII and the US India Business Council (USIBC) here, Sharma made a strong pitch to US businesses to look at India as a long-term business and investment opportunity. He outlined the various policies undertaken by the Indian government to invigorate manufacturing and to create the right conditions for inviting investments into the country.
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