Africa eyes $ 100 bn bilateral trade with India

Source: The Hindu Business Line, May 20, 2017

Ahmedabad: Driven by infrastructure and manufacturing sectors, the bilateral trade between India and Africa is expected to touch US $ 100 billion (approx Rs. 6,50,000 crore) in the next two years, as the continent advances towards industrialization, informed a top official of the African Development Bank (AfDB) here on Saturday.

“In 2005-06 the total bilateral trade between India and Africa stood at US $ 11.7 billion, which has reached to US $ 56.9 billion by 2015-16. Now we expect the bilateral trade to exceed US $ 100 billion in the next two years, helped by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for India-Africa partnership,” said Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank ahead of the 5-day annual meeting of the AfDB Group at Mahatma Mandir.

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Highway projects worth Rs 5 lakh crore planned in 2 years

index.jpgSource: The Economics Times, May 19, 2017

NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government has set an ambitious target of awarding Rs 5 lakh crore worth of highway contracts, totalling about 50,000 km, in the last two years of its tenure, surpassing the cumulative road length awarded for paying in the last five years.

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Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari told ET that the contracts will be for 44 economic corridors and 10 expressways, and would include the ‘chardham’ connectivity programme, northeast connectivity programme and the borders-linking projects. Over the last five years, the government could award only 40,000 km of fresh highway length for construction.

“We have planned several projects that would be very crucial for overall development of the country. These new highways would decongest the existing roads, bringing down logistics cost by 5-6%,” Gadkari told ET. “My ministry’s vision is that a freight vehicle should move on highways without restrictions and should be able to do at least 400 km per day. It will have very positive impact on the logistics industry.”

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Govt allows states to seek direct external borrowings

Source: Business Standard, May 18, 2017

New Delhi: State government entities can now directly seek loans from bilateral overseas lending agencies for infrastructure projects of over Rs 5,000 crore, the Union Finance Ministry said on Thursday.

Earlier, the rules did not permit direct borrowings by the state government entities from external agencies. Only, the central government could have raised external funds on behalf of state governments.

“It has been decided to allow direct borrowing by financially sound state government entities from bilateral ODA (Official Development Assistance) partners, based on State Government Guarantee and Government of India counter guarantee” subject to certain conditions.

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Boost to India’s renewables plan: China steps-up investment in solar energy

index.jpgSource: Business Standard, May 18, 2017

New Delhi: India is treading a strong renewable energy path post-Paris Agreement as it witnesses a step-up in Chinese investments in solar energy. Additionally, there’s a significant slowdown in Chinese investments in thermal power plants.

This fact of slowdown came to light in a just-released report of the Global Environmental Institute (GEI) which says China’s overseas investment, including in India, into 240 coal power plants along the Belt and Road Initiative has slowed down in 2016 after the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

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BSNL signs pacts with Facebook, MobiKwik

index.jpgSource: LiveMint.com, May 17, 2017

New Delhi: State-owned telecom operator BSNL has inked a clutch of agreements with Facebook and MobiKwik as its looks to popularise the internet and its value added services among customers.

The pacts were signed to commemorate the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Facebook, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will provide connectivity for the social network’s Rs.Express Wi-Fi Program’.

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Government to develop 15 multi-modal logistics parks for Rs 33,000 cr

Source: Business Standard, May 16, 2017

New Delhi: The government is planning to develop multi-modal logistics parks at 15 locations all over India at an estimated cost of Rs 33,000 crore, said an official on Monday.

As part of the plan, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Monday inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (TIDCO) to develop one such park in the Ponneri Industrial Node area near Kamarajar port in the state.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and M.C. Sampath, Tamil Nadu Minister for Industries, an official release here said.

“It is an important agreement for the development of an integrated, multi-modal transport infrastructure in the country,” said Gadkari while speaking on the occasion.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is planning to develop multi-modal logistics parks at the 15 locations under its Logistics Efficiency Enhancement Programme (LEEP).

The proposed logistics parks, the ministry believes, will bring down the overall freight costs, reduce vehicular pollution and congestion and will enable reduction of warehousing costs.

All this is expected to result in lower logistics costs.

 

More than a 3rd of state taxes to stay out of GST

Source : Economic Times 15 May 2017

NEW DELHI: While states and the Centre celebrate the shift to goods and services tax (GST), they have managed to keep at least one-third of the revenue outside the new regime and in the process denied consumers the benefit of a lower levy.

A study based on the projected tax collection in 17 states by Motilal OswalBSE 3.08 % Securities in 2017-18 showed that alcohol, real estate and petroleum, oil & lubricants accounted for 37% of the own tax revenue of these provinces. Although there is an annual review in case of the oil sector, no such mechanism exists for alcohol and real estate. State finance ministers have been keen to retain their control over these three sectors, as they are cash cows, where tweaks can help meet control over these three sectors, as they are cash cows, where tweaks can help meet their revenue targets.

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