The government is working to bring a national retail trade policy for brick and mortar retail traders with an aim to promote ease of doing business, a senior official said on Monday.Joint Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Sanjiv said that the policy would also help in providing better infrastructure and more credit to traders.
The Department, he said, is also working to bring an e-commerce policy for online retailers.”We want that there should be synergy between e-commerce as well as retail traders,” Sanjiv said at a conference on FMCG and e-commerce here.
The Department is also in the process of formulating an insurance scheme for all the retail traders. The accident insurance scheme would particularly help small traders of the country, he added.
”The government is trying to do policy changes not only in e-commerce but national retail trade policy which will be for physical traders which will be introducing ease of doing business, providing better infrastructural facilities, providing more credit and providing all sorts of benefits to traders,” he said.The Joint Secretary urged the industry to focus on producing high quality products.
PepsiCo India is witnessing strong demand from rural India for both its foods and beverages products. “This is largely due to labour migration, increased digital penetration and enhanced distribution of our portfolio and rural India switching from unbranded loose products to branded ones,” Ahmed ElSheikh, President, PepsiCo India, told FinancialExpress.com. The FMCG brand is also looking forward to a strong summer season this year. George Kovoor, Senior Vice President – Beverages, PepsiCo India, said, “We’re excited about what an early onset of summer could signify for the beverage sector in 2023. We are optimistic that our portfolio of well-known brands, such as Pepsi, 7UP, Mirinda, Slice, Sting, and Mountain Dew, will be able to meet consumer demand for refreshing, high-quality beverages to help them beat the heat.”
In its results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2022 ending December 31, 2022, PepsiCo said that its India unit delivered a ‘double-digit organic revenue growth’ in 2022 and has gained market share in the segment in markets, including India. With the inflationary pressures expected to persist in 2023, PepsiCo expects the business to “build on the momentum and strength delivered in 2022”.
In-home consumption remained strong while out-of-home and on-the-go consumption steadily rose in the post covid era. Our product portfolio in foods and beverages are in high demand and the digital consumer category continues to expand with brands building value propositions in a socially networked world thereby significantly driving growth for PepsiCo India. PepsiCo India’s core focus continued to cater to the evolving consumer needs and provide them positive choices by introducing new flavors and launching new products like Pepsi Black, Quaker Oats Muesli and Lays Gourmet among others.
Which regions will bring more sales (urban or rural; metros or tier-II & beyond towns; etc.)?
We continue to witness strong demand from rural India for some time now, for both our foods and beverage products. This is largely due to labour migration, increased digital penetration and enhanced distribution of our portfolio and rural India switching from unbranded loose products to branded ones.
What is your business outlook for the year 2023?
In 2022, we witnessed a seismic shift in omnichannel channel growth with sales significantly outpacing in-store growth across metro cities. As we move forward, the strategy will be to focus on product and consumer experience innovation, prioritizing profitable channels, diligently managing SKUs, and driving execution & productivity across the system. This decade is a decade of India and we are focused on building capabilities, availability and expanding penetration while driving category innovation. With consumers making conscious choices, they are looking for brands that are contributing to the environment at large along with providing affordable products.
What are your thoughts on the Union Budget 2023 for the FMCG segment?
The Union Budget 2023 maintains the country’s robust growth engine with healthy growth predicted on all key metrics. It’s a positive and favorable budget, with the Government’s emphasis on infrastructure, technology, and entrepreneurship boosting economic growth. On the other hand, farmer-centric programs, last-mile connectivity, and digitization will further contribute to the FMCG sector’s multiplier effect.
US-based YouTube advertising company Channel Factory has entered India through a strategic collaboration with advertising and marketing firm Y&A Transformation. The company will offer its ad tech solutions to YouTube advertisers in India.
Channel Factory is a Google-certified global technology and data platform which helps maximise performance efficiency and contextual suitability to deliver quantum leaps in campaign performances.
Channel Factory chief growth officer – Global Robin Zieme said, “We are delighted to enter the Indian market in collaboration with Y&A Transformation. India is one of the most happening and matured digital markets. If the recent IPL bids or the 2023 AdEx projections are any indications of where digital ad spends in India are headed, we believe we are at the right place and right time.”
The EU and India have launched a Trade and Technology Council (TTC), a bilateral forum to prioritise their partnership through cooperation in digital governance, green and clean energy technologies, and resilient value chains, trade and investment. The Council is a response to increasing great-power competition and a desire on both sides to bolster their respective strategic autonomies, with the potential to have a significant impact on the EU’s ambitions in the political, economic and technology spheres.
In a context of increasing great-power competition, the EU and India are aiming to mutually bolster their respective strategic autonomies. Ten months after its announcement in April 2022, Brussels and New Delhi have launched the Trade and Technology Council (TTC), highlighting their joint commitment to prioritise their partnership through a strategic engagement in trade and technology. The bilateral forum includes three working groups on cooperation in digital governance and connectivity, green and clean energy technologies, and resilient value chains, trade and investment.
The EU-India TTC opens up a new avenue for cooperation, and in turn entails a number of challenges and opportunities. At a time when the global governance of technology is being shaped by means of ad hoc coalitions and platforms for dialogue –but not yet through international organisations, with the particular exception to some extent of the ITU, the UN agency devoted to ICT governance–, this mechanism is the second of its kind initiated by the EU, the EU-US TTC being the first. It joins the growing list of regional-based initiatives that the EU is launching to address the impact of technology on security, economic(s) and values, such as the Digital Partnerships with Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore, the Joint Commitment to Digital Transformation in the EU-Africa Joint Vision for 2030, and the upcoming EU-LAC Digital Alliance, among others. It falls back on the goals envisioned by the first-ever approach to EU digital diplomacy, released a bare six months ago.
On the Indian side, the TTC is not the first institutionalised platform either. The Quad Initiative, formed by Australia, India, Japan and the US, is the main multilateral group addressing the strategic orientation of trade and technology in the Indo-Pacific. Furthermore, the Biden Administration recently launched a number of cooperation initiatives, including quantum computing, artificial intelligence, 5G wireless networks and semiconductors. The Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies is the latest move by the US to create alignments and to counter China.
The China factor in the EU-India TTC It is the China factor that explains the EU’s impetus to cooperate with partners on a bilateral basis and not tri-laterally or multilaterally. The EU-US TTC’s work has so far focused mostly on information sharing, joint mapping, defining best practices, identifying risks and exploring options for closer cooperation. One of the main US goals at the early stage was to leverage the TTC as a space for dialogue on a common view vis-à-vis China, while for the EU the TTC is not about China.
That is why the EU has entered a new phase of bilateral cooperation with India on trade and technology. The key underlying motives behind a reignited cooperation between the two is the mirror effect from Sino-Russian alignment: while the EU seeks to decrease its reliance on China (although without an anti-China impulse), India aims to reduce its dependence on Russia and China.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the structural competition between the US and China have further driven the EU to look at the world through a geopolitical lens, particularly on trade, and it is now applying a more realist(ic) assessment of weaponised interdependence. The EU’s open strategic autonomy is an expression of the shift in the thinking behind European policies. That is the reason why we are witnessing the EU arming itself with a toolbox that is expanding by the day in order to tackle economic distortions and security disruptions to supply chains and strategic technologies from China –but not only–.
On the other hand, while working on reducing its dependence on Russia from the military point of view, India has not yet condemned in overtly explicit terms the invasion of Ukraine. However, with China posing a military challenge at its borders and an undesirable military dependence on Russia, New Delhi is not in the most comfortable of situations. Such a quandary only provides a further incentive for India to increase its engagement with the EU.
Given the general trend towards reducing dependence on China in critical sectors, India has conducted several technology crackdowns on the country since at least 2020. It has either banned Chinese apps and services or subjected Chinese manufacturers to investigations from India’s Enforcement Directorate, which has seized bank accounts or accused many companies of tax evasion. Section 69 of the Indian Information Technology Act enables the Indian central government to block access –by invoking emergency powers– to any domain or app that is deemed to be a threat to national security.
Also, due to US sanctions and tighter export control regimes on Chinese semiconductors and other critical technologies, India has presented itself as the alternative for the location of multinationals such as Apple and Samsung, to diversify its supply chains away from China. India has been investing in its homegrown technology sector to build up its own economic and security statecraft thanks to both governmental support and public-private schemes in frontier-technology development.
Opportunities and the future ahead In general, Europe still has a low awareness of the threat China poses for India and, more importantly, the dynamics of Sino-Indian relations. The greater the channels of cooperation with India, the greater the EU’s understanding of the Indian position and the opportunities to be had by engaging more broadly in the Indo-Pacific region.
Furthermore, there are a variety of attitudes and positions across the EU as to how to approach China, technology and trade policy from a security and geopolitical perspective. The Netherlands’ potential decision to join the US semiconductor export controls on China, alongside Japan, prove the extent to which there is a need for the EU as a bloc to agree on common views on critical issues. This will be paramount for the first and third working groups of the EU-India TTC, the former focusing on areas of mutual interest such as AI, 5G/6G, high performance and quantum computing, semiconductors, cloud systems, and cybersecurity, and the latter on efforts to supply chain resilience, access to critical components, and trade barrier and global trade challenge resolution.
However, there are several opportunities for the EU-India TTC. First, the forum’s institutionalisation will help both sides to bolster a strategic level of cooperation by combining long-term policy initiatives with short-term urgent responses when deemed necessary.
Ministerial meetings will take place at least once a year –the first is planned to be held in spring 2023–.
Second, it is likely for the EU to aim to keep the TTCs with the US and India as separate forums, but it will be important to keep an eye on possible cross-alignments at the working and policy levels –not so much at the political and diplomatic levels, given the different intensities and narratives vis-à-vis China–.
Third, the EU-India TTC might lead to the diversification of partners in the Indo-Pacific region. While the EU has separate digital external policy agendas with Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore by means of bilateral Digital Partnership Agreements, it is true that the sum of these initiatives might lead to some rapprochement, at least at the working level of information sharing, joint mapping and the definition of best practices, as is already the case with the EU-US TTC.
India possesses all the ingredients to have a significant impact on the EU’s scope to increase and strengthen its political, economic and technology ambitions. The extent of the impact will depend on how work proceeds at the TTC and how it will translate into the EU-India Free Trade Agreement, whose negotiations were relaunched last year after a nine-year hiatus. This means it will need to proceed with two types of deliverables: low-hanging fruits, but also ambitious ideas that support each side’s goals in the TTC.
The TTC takes the discussion on stronger EU-India relations to a further level, where the concept of strategic autonomy in a rapidly volatile geopolitical environment acquires a transcendental meaning for both sides in the years ahead. They will seek to enhance their respective strategic autonomies and economic resilience in light of decoupling narratives that alter the world economic system and underscore a growing strategic alignment.
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In the face of growing global concerns over energy security triggered by the Ukraine conflict, India and the US are giving a fresh look at exploring practical cooperation in the civil nuclear energy sector after failing to move forward since inking a historic agreement over 14 years back for partnership in the area.
Ways for bilateral cooperation in areas of clean energy including nuclear commerce under the framework of the India-US nuclear agreement of 2008 figured prominently in the talks US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey R Pyatt had with Indian interlocutors in Delhi on February 16 and 17.
In an exclusive interview to PTI, Pyatt described India as a very crucial partner for the US in ensuring global energy security in view of serious disruptions in supplies of fossil fuel resulting from Russia’s “brutal” invasion of Ukraine.
Pyatt said the US supports Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “incredibly ambitious” energy transition goal of having 500 GW (gigawatt) of energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
“I am very focused on how we can develop opportunities for future civil nuclear cooperation, recognising that if we are stuck at issues, we have to work them through, the famous liability question,” he said.
“The business model of the civil nuclear industry is changing. In the US, we made a huge commitment to small and marginal reactors which could be particularly suitable to the Indian environment as well,” he said without elaborating further.
Pyatt served at the US Embassy in New Delhi as Political Counselor from 2002 to 2006 and as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2006 to 2007, a period that saw intense negotiations between the two sides on the civil nuclear pact.
The actual cooperation in the civil nuclear energy sector eluded in the last over 14 years primarily due to differences between the two sides over liability rules relating to seeking damages from suppliers in the event of an accident.
“It was the first big thing that our two governments did together. It was so powerful for the rest of the world,” Pyatt said about the 2008 pact.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy said the “civil nuclear renaissance” that the people were talking about got derailed to some considerable degree following the accident at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011.
However, he said Japan is now reconsidering the importance of nuclear power as part of its overall response to the “incredible disruptions of the global energy markets that (Russian President) Vladimir Putin has caused with his invasion of Ukraine,” he said, adding the climate crisis is another reason for preferring clean energy.
Pyatt suggested that New Delhi is very keen to take forward civil nuclear energy cooperation as part of the overall bilateral energy ties.
“The US-India energy and climate agenda is one of the most important that we have anywhere in the world,” he said.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy said overall energy cooperation between India and the US will form a major part of the strategic ties between the two sides.
“When I look at where our strategic relationship is going, I see the issues that I am now responsible for as being right at the centre of the picture because there is so much potential to build on the strong foundation to do even more,” he said.
Pyatt said the US is keen on forging strong cooperation with India in areas of green hydrogen energy as well.
India on January 4 approved the National Green Hydrogen Mission with an outlay of Rs 19,744 crore to develop a green hydrogen production capacity of five million tonnes a year by 2030.
“The US investment in hydrogen compliments the Indian investment in hydrogen and what I am interested in right now is to build bridges between our respective efforts so that we can leverage each other’s expertise,” he said.
To a question, Pyatt said there is significant scope for joint projects between the companies of the two countries in the area.
Pyatt said just like Reliance Industries is looking at green hydrogen in India, ExxonMobil Corporation, an American multinational oil and gas corporation, has also made a big commitment to the clean energy source.
He said India and the US can work in areas of hydrogen fuel cells, and how to scale up storage mechanisms for hydrogen energy and green shipping.
“There is fantastic scope for it. The market is going to have to decide how we use this product,” Pyatt said.
The American diplomat said the US is looking at possible energy cooperation under the framework of Quad as well.
“Quad is a fundamental organising principle for us. If you look at the different ways in which our four governments are active – all four have made a big commitment to hydrogen (energy). Australia has a big hydrogen programme, India has a large commitment. Our hydrogen ecosystem is going to grow very fast, the Japanese have a long-standing interest in hydrogen (energy),” he said.
Besides India and the US, the Quad comprises Japan and Australia.
The top diplomat further added: “This visit is focused on how to build up the US-India bilateral strategic energy partnership. But I think as that partnership becomes stronger and moves into the future-oriented areas, there is a natural opportunity to go from there into the Quad setting,” he said.
The senior diplomat said the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created an incentive, particularly in places like Europe, to accelerate the energy transition.
“It is important to understand that Putin thought he could bring Europe to its knees by holding back gas resources, (but) that has failed and now that it has failed, he cannot play that card again. We have to make sure that he is never in a position to do that to anybody else,” Pyatt said.
India-Sweden healthcare Innovation Centre and its knowledge partner AstraZeneca India on Tuesday announced that it has collaborated with the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) Jammu to integrate Qure.ai’s smart artificial intelligence technology to detect lung cancer early on.
“Under the aegis of Indo Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre (ISHIC), Qure.ai is scaling-up the integration of its AI-powered chest x-ray interpretation tool that can benefit early and easy detection of lung diseases including lung cancer,” the centre said in a statement.
The collaboration with DHS Jammu is a significant example of how technology can be leveraged and simply integrated in the primary healthcare settings, it added.
“Innovation is critical to address the healthcare challenges in the country and we at India-Sweden healthcare innovation centre are working towards a mission to support these innovative solutions. We are delighted to initiate this first project in Jammu towards early screening and diagnosis of lung diseases in the state. We look forward to supporting the start-up ecosystem and the states towards building an innovative ecosystem in the country,” Cecilia Oskarsson, Swedish Trade Commissioner to India said in a statement.
According to AstraZeneca, the AI powered chest X-ray is designed to distinguish lung nodules in under a minute and minimise the chances of lung cancers going undetected.
“We celebrate the progress that has been made in cancer care, including advances in screening, the development of innovative therapies, greater public-private collaboration and increased prioritisation of health equity. As a global cancer community, we have many reasons to be optimistic about the future. We are moving ever closer to achieving our ambition – eliminating cancer as a cause of death,” Dr. Sanjeev Panchal, Country President and Managing Director, AstraZeneca India said in a statement.
Importantly, this tool is being accessed in primary care setting where x-rays are utilised most commonly, it added.
In 2020, there were an estimated 18.1 million cancer cases worldwide with Lung Cancer being the second most common form of the disease. The constant increase in the incidence of lung cancer highlighted the need for healthcare organisation around the world to come together, collaborate and innovate the way lung cancer was addressed.
In India, ISHIC-a tri-part collaboration with AIIMS Delhi, AIIMS Jodhpur and Business Sweden with AstraZeneca and NASSCOM as the knowledge partner was formed to fortify the healthcare ecosystem by identifying, mentoring and integrating some of the smart and best-in-class healthcare solutions, in alignment with the health priorities of the country. To date, the centre has mentored over 37 promising start-ups that can enhance the way healthcare is accessed and delivered, it added.
Tata Motors on Monday said it will supply 25,000 XPRES-T electric vehicle units to Uber in one of the largest deals in the green mobility space till date. As per a memorandum of understanding inked between the two entities, Uber will utilise the electric sedans in its premium category service, the companies said in a joint statement.
The electric fleet would be operational across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, it added.
The Mumbai-based automaker will begin the deliveries of the cars to Uber fleet partners in a phased manner, starting this month.
The companies did not provide the financial details of the deal.
The price of a single unit of XPRES-T starts from Rs 13.04 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
A single unit of X-Pres-T (ex-showroom), with a range of 315 km, is priced at Rs 14.98 lakh and entails a FAME subsidy of Rs 2.6 lakh.
“In line with our commitment to grow sustainable mobility in the country, we are delighted to partner with Uber, India’s leading ride-sharing platform,” Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility MD Shailesh Chandra said in a statement.
Offering customers environmentally friendly EV ride experiences via Uber’s premium category service, will accelerate the adoption of green and clean personal ride-sharing, he added.
“This partnership will further cement our market position in the fleet segment,” Chandra noted.
Uber India and South Asia President Prabhjeet Singh said Uber is committed to bringing sustainable, shared mobility to India, and this partnership with Tata Motors is a major milestone in that journey.
“It represents the largest EV partnership yet between an automaker and a ridesharing platform in India. It will supercharge the transition to zero emissions on the Uber platform as we work towards building a sustainable future,” he added.
Tata Motors has so far over 50,000 EV units from its plant in the personal and fleet segment.
In July 2021, the automaker launched the ‘XPRES’ brand exclusively for fleet customers, and the XPRES-T EV is the first vehicle under this brand.
The new XPRES-T electric sedan comes with two range options – 315km and 277 km (ARAI certified range under test conditions).
It packs a high energy density battery of 26 kWh and 25.5 kWh which can be charged from 0-80 per cent in 59 mins and 110 mins respectively, using fast charging or can also be normally charged from any 15 A plug point.
It comes with zero tail-pipe emission, single-speed automatic transmission, dual airbags, and ABS with EBD as standard across variants.
Maruti Suzuki India said it will continue to work on all kinds of technologies in order to reduce its carbon footprint. The auto major will also focus on local manufacturing to achieve its goals, it said in a stock exchange filing on Monday.
The company stated that multiple technologies would be required for decarbonisation of the Indian auto sector. The total carbon reduction of the fleet will depend upon not just the carbon reduction of each technology, but also on the volume of vehicles each technology can generate, it noted.
“Maruti Suzuki will continue to work on all technologies for continuous carbon reduction in a manner that will be good for the environment, for the customer, and for Make-in-India,” the company said in a presentation made during an investor meeting.
Each technology will have its own carbon reduction potential, cost implication, need for infrastructure, localization potential and customer pull across different vehicle segments, the automaker said.
It noted that Maruti Suzuki has the least amount of fleet carbon emission among all car manufacturers in India.
A second manufacturing facility for Li-ion batteries is being set up with an additional investment of Rs 7,300 crore by Suzuki Motor Gujarat (SMG), a 100 per cent subsidiary of the Japan-based Suzuki Motor Corporation, it added.
Domestic air passenger traffic nearly doubled to 12.5 million in January compared to 6.4 million recorded a year ago, according to official data released on Monday. In January, IndiGo saw its domestic market share decline for the fifth consecutive month at 54.6%. It carried 6.85 million passengers last month. In August last year, the carrier had a market share of 59.72%.
As per the data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the regulator received more complaints from the passengers of various airlines on account of flight problems, baggage issues and staff behaviour compared to December. Air India and Vistara carried 1.15 million and 1.11 million passengers, respectively, in January, with a market share of 9.2% and 8.8%, respectively.
Budget carriers Go First and AirAsia India transported a total of 1.05 million and 930,000 passengers, respectively. The number of domestic passengers flown by low-cost airline SpiceJet stood at 914,000 according to DGCA. The total number of domestic passengers flown by the Tata Group airlines — Air India, Vistara and AirAsia India — together stood at 3.23 million, accounting for around 26% of the total domestic market in January 2023.
Air India and AirAsia India are fully owned by the Tata Group while Vistara is 51% owned by the conglomerate and the rest is with Singapore Airlines. As part of the group’s plans to consolidate its aviation business, Vistara is being merged with Air India and budget carrier AirAsia India with Air India’s international low-cost arm — Air India Express
.Also, all seven domestic airlines, including Akasa Air, saw lower passenger load factor (PLF) sequentially in January. IndiGo, however, maintained its top position in on-time performance in January with 84.6% on an average of its flights from four key metro airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad — departing and arriving at their scheduled time.
Leasing activity in office space remained robust in January. However, a seasonality blip due to the global holiday season falling during the month led to some decline compared with December 2022, a report by JLL India said on Monday. The report further said the space take-up may remain sluggish in the upcoming months with headwinds faced in the technology sector.
The total monthly leasing activity for January stood at 3.2 million square feet with the typical January lull after the 2022 year-end leasing momentum causing a 56.4% month-on-month decline. However, it was still higher by 93.1% year-on-year. Fresh leasing, which included expansion and relocation-driven space take-up, accounted for 87% of all recorded transactions during the month. January is typically a low period as the holiday season for global corporates and future business planning take precedence.
Mostly deals that slipped due to certain reasons get concluded during this month, according to JLL India. In January, the three cities that saw the maximum leasing activity were Delhi-NCR, Chennai and Mumbai, accounting for 77% of such activity. In terms of number of transactions, Mumbai remained the most active market, followed by Delhi-NCR.
“As future business projections are made under the shadow of global headwinds and the tech sector, facing a period of course correction is likely to be slow in space take-up, we expect that rising office occupancies and growth in other occupier segments should keep the momentum steady,” said Samantak Das, chief economist and head of research and REIS, India, JLL. However, over the next two to three months, while the overall sluggishness is likely, there is an expectation of sustained trends of demand movement, he added.
The IT sector is currently facing slower employment and sluggish corporate growth expectations, and as a result, space take-up may be more benign as part of a course correction, the report by JLL India said. “Given the evolving global economic scenario, other occupier categories are anticipated to maintain steady state, although with a minor downward bias in the short-term.
The IT/ITeS category still remained the largest driver of overall market activity in January, accounting for 28% of total market activity, thanks to one large transaction and a few smaller ones. Whilst the actual numbers were identical m-o-m, BFSI and manufacturing made considerable advances in terms of share,” it added.