India seen leveraging Solar Alliance meeting for foreign policy

download (3).jpgSource: LiveMint.com, Jun 18, 2018

New Delhi: The first general assembly of the International Solar Alliance will be held in India this October. The historic event is expected to coincide with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, signalling that New Delhi would employ the first treaty-based international government organization in India as a foreign policy tool.

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Hybrid cars on slow track after a year of high taxes

Source: Business Standard, Jun 18, 2018

New Delhi: A year of high taxes, which came with the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), has almost killed the budding hybrid car market. While Hyundai has junked its hybrid car plans, companies like Maruti Suzuki and Toyota have seen a drop of up to 76 per cent in sales of hybrid cars.

The GST Council last year imposed a cess of 15 per cent on hybrid vehicles, in addition to the 28 per cent GST, leading to a total tax burden of 43 per cent against a previous tax rate of 28 per cent. N Raja, deputy managing director at Toyota Kirloskar Motor said the company used to sell 110 Camry Hybrid sedans every month on an average before the cess was imposed effective July 2017.

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India’s exports hit 6-month high; trade deficit widens as imports up 14.85%

download (1).jpgSource: Business Standard, Jun 16, 2018

New Delhi: A rise in receipts of petroleum, engineering and pharmaceutical products boosted May’s export growth figures to a six-month high of 20.18 per cent, up from 5.71 per cent in April.

Even then the trade deficit widened to a four-month high of $14.62 billion, compared to the $13.7 billion deficit in April as imports rose by 14.85 per cent during the month, compared to the 4.60 per cent rise in April. This could pressurise the current account deficit in the first quarter of the current financial year after it stood at 1.9 per cent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2017-18, compared to 2.1 per cent in the third quarter.

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India has trade deficit with 10 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members

Source: The Economic Times, Jun 17, 2018

India had trade deficit with as many as 10 member countries, including China, South Korea and Australia, of the RCEP grouping of 16 nations which have been negotiating a mega trade pact since November 2012.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) bloc comprises 10 Asean group members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

According to the commerce ministry data, India’s trade deficit — the difference between imports and exports — with seven countries (Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand) of RCEP has in fact increased in 2017-18 as compared to the previous fiscal.

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New Auto Policy likely to be finalised in 3 months

Source: The Economic Times, Jun 17, 2018

The new National Auto Policy, which may seek emission-linked taxation for automobiles and a technology agnostic green mobility roadmap, is likely to be finalised in the next three months, according to official sources.

Discussions with various stakeholders have been on for the past six months to frame the new policy, which envisages having a single nodal regulatory body for the automobile industry, officials in the Heavy Industry Ministry said.

A draft Cabinet note on the policy is being prepared and will be circulated shortly among departments concerned, they disclosed.

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Projects worth Rs 20,000 crore under implementation to boost ports capacity

downloadSource: The Economic Times, Jun 17, 2018

As many as 39 projects entailing investment of Rs 20,535 crore are under implementation to augment the capacity of 12 major ports, an official said.

These projects are part of 112 port capacity expansion projects, involving total investment of Rs 69,636 crore, that have been planned to increase port capacity to 3,500 million tonne per annum (mtpa) to cater to the projected traffic of 2,500 mtpa by 2025.

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Inside Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance e-commerce plan

download (5).jpgSource: LiveMint.com, Jun 14, 2018

Mumbai: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani is planning to enter the e-commerce business by combining the best of online and offline shopping experiences, a business model that will require zero cash burn to acquire customers.

As part of the plan being put together by two of Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) consumer-oriented units—Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and Reliance Retail Ltd—the company plans to sign on local merchants, boosting their sales through what is known as O2O (online-to-offline) marketplace, a business model that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has pioneered, said one person with direct knowledge of the matter, on condition of anonymity.

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