Government working to give services trade a reforms push

index.jpgSource: The Economic Times, Sept 27, 2016

NEW DELHI: Worried by the shrinking trade surplus in services, the government is working on a bouquet of reforms to play to the country’s core strengths of technology, leisure travel and medical tourism.

The commerce department has circulated a cabinet note on domestic reforms to enhance earnings from services exports, detailing measures that can be implemented after due deliberations. “It is work in progress. There are services like IT, tourism, medical tourism, legal and education, which are not our jurisdiction…We can apply our mind but it is up to the line ministries,”said an official, requesting anonymity. The services trade surplus narrowed 9% to $5.36 billion in July from $5.88 billion a year ago.

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Japan and Korea to invest in seafood sector in India

Source: The Economic Times, Sept 23, 2016

indexVISHAKAPATTANAM: Two major forces in the seafood sector Japan and Korea have expressed interest in investing in value addition of seafood products in India, according to union commerce minister Nirmala Sitaraman.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the 20th India International Seafood Show being held at Vishakapattanam on Friday, she invited the trade members of both the countries to visit the aquaculture farms in the country,particularly Andhra Pradesh, which is leading in aquaculture production in the country. She said both the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh government are keen to increase the value addition of Indian seafood exports which have touched Rs 30000 crore annually. “They can bring the technology and best practices from the world over and implement it here in a cost effective manner,” she said.

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Seafood exports increase by 7 per cent

Source: The Economic Times, Sept 27, 2016

KOCHI: In a sign of strong recovery, seafood exports in first five months of the current fiscal rose 7 per cent from a year ago to touch 333,832 tonnes, according to data from Marine Products Export Development Authority (Mpeda). In value terms, the year-on-year increase was 17 per cent to Rs 13,426 crore, Mpeda’s provisional data for the five months to August showed.

“The good performance has come in the lean season, which augurs well for the coming months,” Mpeda chairman A Jayathilak said.

In 2015-16, marine exports dipped 9 per cent from the previous year to Rs 30,421 crore as the unit value realisation of frozen shrimp, which constitutes over 70 per cent of total exports, fell by $2 to $8.28 per kg. Jayathilak said the loss of the previous year has been made good in the first few months of the current year. He said seafood exports are expected to touch the targeted $5.6 billion in the current year.

As per Mpeda data, production of aquaculture shrimp, which is driving exports, touched an alltime high of 550,000 tonnes in 2015-16.

Government clears 11 FDI proposals worth Rs 2,325 crore

Source: The Economic Times, Sept 26, 2016

NEW DELHI: An inter-ministerial panel today approved 11 proposals entailing foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow of over Rs 2,300 crore.

Among the proposals cleared, Sharekhan Ltd would attract foreign investment of Rs 2,060 crore, Finance Ministry sources said. The Sharekhan proposal was for selling 100 per cent stake to BNP Paribas, they said.

Besides, Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, cleared the proposal of Perrigo India worth Rs 253 crore.

Other proposals approved included Pepe Jeans and IBM. Of the 11 proposals cleared today there would be expected FDI inflow of Rs 2,325 crore, sources said.

Out of the 18 foreign investment proposals considered, three including that of Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services and Flag Telecom were deferred for want of more information.The 240th meeting of FIPB rejected 4 proposals.

The proposal of Morgan Stanley of Rs 95 crore was approved through automatic route.

India allows FDI in most sectors through the automatic route, but in certain segments considered sensitive for the economy and security, the proposals have to be first cleared by the FIPB.

The government has taken slew of measures in the recent past to boost foreign direct investment into the country. On June 20, the government had “radically liberalised” the FDI regime with the objective of providing major impetus to employment generation in India.

This was the second big reform after some major changes announced in November 2015. The government has said measures undertaken by it has resulted in increased FDI inflows at $55.46 billion in 2015-16, as against $36.04 billion in 2013-14.

Interest of global tech giants revives in Indian startup space

Source: The Economic Times, Sept 27, 2016

BENGALURU | HYDERABAD: Apple‘s recent acquisition of Indian machine-learning startup Tuplejump offers further evidence of a revival in the interest of global technology giants in the country’s startup space, especially in areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud infrastructure and automation.

Enthusiasm for tech startups in India had waned in the last two years with fewer exits, a funding crunch and an inability to scale up. That seems to be changing with Intel, Apple and Nutanix shopping around for companies and the people who work there. Intel bought Soft Machines, a Silicon Valley chip designer with offices in Hyderabad, for $300 million in September. The company was cofounded by former Intel veteran Mahesh Lingareddy. Last month, Intel acquired California-based deep-learning startup Nervana Systems run by Indian-origin entrepreneur Naveen Rao in a deal reportedly valued at $408 million. Sequoia-backed Calm.io was acqui-hired by global enterprise tech giant Nutanix in August. Most of Calm.io’s 43-member team based at its development centre in Bengaluru will be moving to new Nutanix offices.

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Govt cuts import duty on wheat, potato & palm oils

Source: Business Standard, Sept 23, 2016

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday cut import duty on wheat and potato to 10 per cent while reducing it by 5 per cent on crude as well as refined palm oils, to boost supplies and check prices during the upcoming festival season.

In a notification, the Central Board of Excise and Customs said import duty on potatoes has been reduced from 30 per cent to 10 per cent till October 2016.The import duty on wheat has been reduced from 25 per cent to 10 per cent till February 2017.

The government reduced import duty on palm oil from 12.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent for crude palm oil of edible grade, and from 20 per cent to 15 per cent for refined palm oil of edible grade.

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PMO gives hard push to restore ailing ayurvedic sector

index.jpgSource: The Economic Times, Sept 26, 2016

MUMBAI: The Narendra Modi government is giving a hard push to rejuvenate the ailing Rs 15,000-crore Ayurvedic industry.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has fixed responsibility on a top-ranked official who is closely monitoring and overseeing movement under various ministries that are directed to come up with measures to boost development of the industry, a source informed.

The ministries of commerce, environment & forests, agriculture and science & technology are part of a renewed booster drive that is expected to complement the ministry of ayush, formed two years ago to lift the sector.

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