Schengen visa application fee to be increased to Euro 80 from 2 Feb

Source: livemint.com, Jan 16, 2020

New Delhi: A trip to much of Europe will be more expensive from next month with Schengen visa fees set to increase to Euro 80 from the current Euro 60, officials said.

A Schengen visa is needed for 26 European countries, including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Switzerland and Spain.

The new fees will come into effect from February 2.

“The visa fee will increase to Euro 80 (for applicants not only from India, but from all countries except those with which the EU has a visa facilitation agreement),” a European Commission spokesperson told PTI.

The increase in the visa fee comes as an updated Schengen Visa Code will apply from February 2, 2020, he said.

Children aged 6 to 12 will have to pay Euro 40 instead of Euro 35, as it is currently, the spokesperson said.

According to exchange rates on Wednesday, a Euro is equivalent to ₹78.93.

There will be no fee for infants and children below six years of age as there is “no change” in this regard in the updated regulations.

The cost of applying for a Schengen visa had remained unchanged since 2006.

“A moderate increase of the fee to Euro 80 will ensure that we have sufficient financial resources to maintain a wide consular coverage worldwide, upgrade IT equipment and software and provide faster and user-friendly procedures for visa applicants,” the spokesperson said.

The hike will also improve the capacity to detect potential security and irregular migration risks during visa application procedures, including by reinforcing consular staff to speed up the application process, he added.

This will also bring the fee in line with the level it would have reached based on the general EU-wide inflation rate since 2006, the spokesperson said.

By international standards, the Schengen visa fee will remain comparatively low. A visa to China, for instance, costs Euro 125 and Euro 133 for the United States, Euro 100 for New Zealand and Euro 90 for India, he explained.

The Schengen visa application form has also been slightly restructured under the new visa regime.

“The application form has been slightly restructured and the formulation of certain entries clarified so that applicants are aware of what information is required, but no substantial changes have been made,” the spokesperson said.

The new visa codes were adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on June 20, 2019, following the European Union’s ordinary legislative procedure, he said.

Over 16 million Schengen Visa applications have been filed at the embassies, consulates and visa centres of the 26 Schengen member countries across the globe in 2018, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com, a website that provides news related to Schengen visa.

In 2018, India was listed as the third largest source for Schengen visa applications with 10,81,359 such requests were made from the country, it said.

“The Swiss consulate in New Delhi received 1,61,403 applications, topping the list as the busiest Schengen consulate in India, followed by the French consulate in New Delhi and Mumbai which received over 140 thousand applications together,” the website said in the statement.

According to SchengenVisaInfo.com, member states that are not represented in India in terms of visa admission, are now obliged to cooperate with external service providers, in order to facilitate visa application for travellers. “The external service providers are allowed to charge a service fee, which cannot be higher than the visa fee. This means Indians applying at an external visa service provider may have to pay up to Euro 160 per visa application, if the external service providers set the maximum service fee permitted, which is Euro 80,” it explained.

India submits proposal on trade pact in services to WTO:

Source: The Economic Times, Feb 23, 2017

NEW DELHI: India has submitted a proposal at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to start discussions on trade facilitation agreement in services.

The proposal aims at liberalising rules for movement of professionals and other steps to reduce transaction costs to boost growth of the services sector.”Today we have submitted the legally vetted paper in Geneva,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters here.

She said that the special committee of the global trade body WTO will discuss the proposal in March.India is pitching for this trade facilitation agreement in services as the sector contributes over 60 per cent to the GDP and 28 per cent to total employment.

Read the rest of this entry »

PM launches “Make in India” global initiative

New Delhi: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today launched the Make in India initiative with an aim to give the Indian economy global recognition.

Make In India

Make In India

Addressing a gathering consisting of top global CEOs at the event in Vigyan Bhawan in the capital, the Prime Minister said “FDI” should be understood as “First Develop India” along with “Foreign Direct Investment.” He urged investors not to look at India merely as a market, but instead see it as an opportunity.

The Prime Minister said it is important for the purchasing power of the common man to increase, as this would further boost demand, and hence spur development, in addition to benefiting investors. The faster people are pulled out of poverty and brought into the middle class, the more opportunity will there be for global business, the Prime Minister said. Therefore, he said, investors from abroad need to create jobs. Cost effective manufacturing and a handsome buyer – one who has purchasing power – are both required, the Prime Minister said. More employment means more purchasing power, he added.

The Prime Minister said that India is the only country in the world which offers the unique combination of democracy, demography, and demand. He said the new Government was taking initiatives for skill development to ensure that skilled manpower was available for manufacturing. He also referred to the Digital India mission, saying this would ensure that Government processes remained in tune with corporate processes. Read the rest of this entry »

Austria plans marketing office in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: The Austrian Trade Commission will be opening an Advantage Austria Marketing Office here shortly.

This was disclosed by Mr Markus Haas, Deputy Austrian Trade Commissioner in India, during his interaction with the members of the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Fapcci) here on Monday.

The objective was to further enhance trade between Austria and Andhra Pradesh, he said.

Source: The Hindu Business Line, July 14, 2010

 

CII to organise seminar on business opportunities in UAE

NEW DELHI: With the aim to offer firms an opportunity to explore business openings in UAE, the confederation of Indian industry (CII) in association with Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, UAE, will organise a business seminar titled “Hamriyah Free Zone- Your Venture to Success” on July 16 in Puducherry.

Read the rest of this entry »

Indian services sector witnesses two-year high growth in June 2010

New Delhi: The services sector in India grew at its fastest in two years in June 2010 led by an increase in business expectations and new orders.

According to the HSBC Markit Business Activity Index, based on a survey of 400 firms, the service sector rose to 64.0 in June 2010 from 58.2 in May 2010, pointing to a substantial rate of growth as a figure above 50 indicates expansion.

Read the rest of this entry »

L&T plans to restructure JV with Mitsubishi

Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) plans to restructure its joint venture with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, as it prepares to re-bid for the NTPC contract for bulk supply of supercritical boilers worth about Rs 9,000-11,000 crore, in which they were earlier disqualified on technical grounds. NTPC re-tendered the contract today.

L&T plans to transfer the equity of L&T in their joint ventures (JVs) with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) into L&T Power through a book transfer, if clauses for the re-tender remain the same, company executives told Business Standard.

Bids from L&T Power, a 100 percent subsidiary of L&T, were disqualified this week on technical grounds that the firm lacked experience and expertise to supply supercritical boilers and lacked equity partnerships in manufacturing theses. L&T’s pair of three-year old JVs with the Japanese company — L&T MHI Boilers Pvt Ltd and L&T-MHI Turbine Generators Pvt Ltd — are between L&T and MHI, and not between L&T Power and MHI. “If L&T had bid instead of L&T Power, they may not have raised this issue,” said an L&T executive, who wished not to be quoted.

NTPC re-tendered since after L&T Power’s disqualification, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd was the only one in the fray. Though the retendering would delay the projects by at least three months, it is expected that BGR-Hitachi and Ansaldo Caldaie Boilers might also take part. The two consortia were unable to meet the qualification criteria to bid for the tender earlier, said an executive privy to the process. Besides formalising partnerships, the tender conditions also required the bidders to have already acquired around 70 per cent of the land for a manufacturing facility.

Ansaldo Caldaie Boilers, a JV between Italian company Ansaldo—which is 50 per cent owned by Gammon India—and GB Engineering at Trichy, is in the initial stages of setting up the plant.

Another JV likely to bid is between Pune-based Thermax and Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation of the US. This JV deal was signed only in March. “We will bid, depending on the new clauses that NTPC will publish in the new tendering norms. As of now, we have identified land and can acquire it even before October, if required,” said M S Unnikrishnan, managing director of Thermax.

NTPC initially floated the tender in last October. The last date for bids was January 28. Only BHEL and L&T bid for boilers, as other companies planning to set up Jvs were either in the process of setting up the units or in the construction stage. NTPC’s orders are for 11 boilers, nine for its own projects and two for Damodar Valley Corporation.

Bharat Forge, which is setting up a JV with Alstom of France at Mundra in Gujarat, had started construction only in December last year. Toshiba JSW Turbine and Generator Pvt Ltd, a JV between Toshiba Corporation and Sajjan Jindal’s JSW Group, is planning to commission its facilities near Chennai by January 2011.

L&T Power is investing close to Rs 3,600 crore in power generation and related sectors at Hazira in Gujarat. It has planned to augment its existing manufacturing capacity of steam turbine generators and boiler-turbines-generators (BTG) to 6,000 Mw from the current 4,000 Mw in two years. Investments include Rs 750 crore in boilers, Rs 1,400 crore in forgings, Rs 1,050 crore in turbines and Rs 120 crore each in foundry and piping facilities.

Source : Business Standard. 25/06/10

 

Infotech signs pact with Norwegian firm

Hyderabad: Infotech Enterprises Ltd, an engineering services and technology solutions provider, has signed a long-term agreement with Seawell AS of Norway to provide engineering support services.

Under the agreement, Seawell, a drilling and well services company, has set up a dedicated Engineering Centre at Infotech’s Manikonda facility here.

“This agreement would offer Seawell’s Drilling Facility Engineering (DFE) increased flexibility and ability to handle more projects. It would now have a dedicated group of engineers based in India,” Mr Krishna Bodanapu, President (Engineering) of Infotech, said here in a press release.

“The agreement marks our foray into drilling equipment and facilities in the oil and gas industry. As the demand for drilling and well services increases globally, we hope that this would help us explore this segment,” he said.

“This agreement with Infotech would change the way engineering services are delivered to our customers,” Mr Chris Levett, Executive Vice-President of Seawell AS, said.

Source : The Hindu Business Line.  07/06/10

 

Engg R&D firms bet big on domestic market

Chennai/ Bangalore: On the back of its value proposition and infrastructural investments by the government, the domestic market in India for engineering R&D services (ER&D) is expected to witness robust growth. It is estimated that almost 10-15 per cent of India’s total ER&D services market could come from its domestic market by 2020 when the country is expected to capture a revenue of $40-45 billion.

According to a report by Nasscom and Booz and Co, the Indian ER&D services market has shown a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 45 per cent from $1.5 billion in 2004 to $8.3 billion in 2009.

Sectors such as telecom, semiconductors and automotive have been the biggest revenue generators for the industry with embedded software design contributing almost 40 per cent to the revenue base. An indicator of this growth is the increase in the number of offshore development centres (ODC) that provide dedicated ER&D services, which has gone up significantly since 2006.

Core engineering

“From the demand side, India is becoming an integral part of the value chain and Indian companies are developing many core engineering works for their global customers. So clearly, we see Indian companies are now moving from volume to value-based offerings and developing a lot more IPs now,” said Vikas Sehgal, Partner, Booz & Company, a management consultancy firm.

He said engineering and R&D services providers in India including the captives of global firms, who were primarily catering to the requirement of their global customers are now looking at India as a market in a big way. This is happening as a lot of spending is taking place in infrastructure development, energy, telecommunication and roads and building in the country.

“We are seeing companies like Infosys, HCL, Tata and Mahindra Satyam gearing up their sales force in a big way to focus on the local market,” he added. Honeywell Technology Solutions (HTS), the R&D and innovation division of technology giant Honeywell in India, is now developing products catering to local markets. HTS started focusing on developing products for its Indian customers almost 3-4 years ago.

Experienced professionals

Another key focus area in recent times has been hiring experienced professionals from the US, Europe and within India itself to boost ER&D product development capabilities. “Engineering requires a completely different mindset to address the market. It requires tremendous domain knowledge to service customers,” said BVR Mohan Reddy, chairman and managing director of Infotech Enterprises.

As a result, it is learnt that the total number of engineers with over 10 years of experience increased from 15 per cent in 2006 to 25 per cent in 2009 in India. Overall, India has a base of one million engineers, majority of whom are employed by large Indian conglomerates.

“From our perspective, there is a definite trend where we develop products for the Indian markets. This is not necessarily for Indian companies, but for our global customers who wants to develop products for Indian market,” said GH Rao, corporate vice president, Engineering and R&D services of HCL Technologies. HCL, for example, is developing base stations to be used in rural pockets in India for one of its global customers.

Global footprint

Indian service providers have also invested considerably in expanding their global footprint to service geographically distributed customers. They have established sales teams in North America and Europe and delivery centres in China and Japan for closer interaction with customers in the former and to co-ordinate efforts with existing manufacturing facilities in the latter. Within India, companies have begun to move to Tier-2 cities to take advantage of lower costs of operations and to access a large graduating pool of engineers.

Source : Business Standard. 24/05/10

German industry bodies tie up with MSME agencies

Lucknow: Two German industry bodies have tied up with five Indian micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) representative agencies to usher in professionalism and expertise in their management, and improve their access to services.

The partnership programme will be implemented jointly by ZDH (the German Confederation of Skilled Craft) and SEQUA, which is a non-profit subsidiary of Germany’s top four business associations.

The Indian MSME partners include the Indian Industries Association (IIA), the Federation of Madhya Pradesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Mohali Industries Association (Punjab) and the Faridabad Small Industries Association (Haryana).

Barring IIA, which has chapters across India, the remaining four represent MSMEs in their respective states. The programme seeks to improve services of the partner organisations in India, strengthen management aspects, and create and expand networking of the partner organisations, he added.

Meanwhile, activities for promotion and development of MSMEs under SEQUA will be finalised in a workshop to be held in Lucknow during June-July 2010.

“Germany has a strong MSME base, which accounts for 90 per cent of its total industries. Besides, it is mandatory for MSME units in Germany to be associated with an industry association,” IIA executive director D S Verma told Business Standard.

 Source: Business Standard, May 11, 2010