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A strong ‘Make in India’ theme will be behind US aircraft maker Boeing’s pitch for the Indian Air Force’s order for 110 fighter jets. The order, worth around Rs 800 billion, seeks commitment from vendors to supply sensitive technologies as well to carry out a bulk of manufacturing in India.

 

For the current order, Boeing has tied up with Mahindra Defe­nce System and Hindu­stan Aero­na­utics Limited for producing F/A-18 Super Hornets. “The RFI (request for information) is much contemporary this time. It broadens the scope and competition. It focuses on the IAF’s real war-fighting capabilities. Our joint venture is an optimum mix of capability, cost and industrialisation,” Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India, said in an interview.

 

Kumar said the US government’s willingness to liberalise rules on transfer of technology (ToT) gave them a leg-up against competitors. “I don’t think ToT is an issue. It is not us but the US government is saying that rules will be more forward-looking. The US now recognises India as its ‘major defence partner’ and they are much more forward-leaning and sharing technology with India,” he said.

 

Recently, Kenneth Juster, the US ambassador to India, indicated the same. “The United States plans to offer India certain technology and platforms that we have offered to no other country in the world. We are going to be very forward-leaning in technology, the transfer of technology, and indigenous production that we can offer to India,” he had said.

 

Several foreign manufacturers have objected to ToT without a majority stake in a partnership. Under the current strategic partnership model, it is mandatory for an Indian firm to have at least a 51 per cent stake. Kumar said that having a public sector player as partner made their case of indigenisation stronger. “With a public-private partnership approach, I am bringing the best of public sector and private sector — the only two companies in India which have manufactured airplanes,” he said

 

ALSO READ: PM Modi's 'Make in India' will not work unless there is a strategic plan

 

Boeing’s probable rivals in the process, Dassault, Saab and Lockheed, have chosen private players Reliance, Adani and the Tatas as their respective partners. “The only company which has achieved something in aircraft manufacturing is a public company. The industry I believe cannot suddenly ignore them and go for other, that’s not wise. We brought our industrial partners and spoke to almost 400 companies in the sector. We realised ignoring HAL is a bad idea,” he said.

 

After criticism that the new defence policy did not envisage any role for defence PSUs, the government is now mulling a change to allow them to forge joint ventures with foreign partners.

 

In terms of capability, Boeing will be pitching the latest design of F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft, the most advanced and cheapest to operate. “We are capable of supplying aircraft to India that we are supplying to the US today. It brings advance capability that will be supplied to US defence forces in the foreseeable future. Cost-wise, it is much more affordable, having the lowest cost per flight hour than any aircraft in the US air force inventory,” he said. Recently, the US navy ordered 24 F/A-18 Super Hornets.

 

ALSO READ: India's F-16 India will be exclusive, in line with Make in India: Lockheed

 

Kumar also stressed that an order was essential to kickstart the defence indigenisation story and encourage global giants to invest in India. “In defence, it’s a monopoly situation. You have only one buyer. So if we don’t have that buyer with any order in near foresight, it’s too much risk to invest in capacity. The best way for the government to catalyse investment is to make orders. Not simple RFI and RFPs. We need actual orders,” he said.

 

Source:-Business Standard

Digital transformation in the country is expected to contribute about USD 154 billion to India’s GDP by 2021, tech giant Microsoft today said. The study by Microsoft and IDC, titled “Unlocking the economic impact of digital transformation in Asia Pacific”, said there has been a dramatic acceleration in the pace of digital transformation across India and Asia-Pacific economies. “In 2017, about 4 per cent of India’s GDP was derived from digital products and services created directly through the use of digital technologies like mobility, cloud, internet of things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI),” Microsoft India President Anant Maheshwari told reporters here.

 

He added that within the next four years, it is estimated that nearly 60 per cent of India’s GDP will have a strong connection to the digital transformation trends. “India is clearly on the digital transformation fast track. Organisations are increasingly deploying emerging technologies such as AI, and that will accelerate digital transformation-led growth even further,” he said. The study conducted with 1,560 respondents from mid and large-sized organisations across 15 economies.

 

The report found that digital transformation efforts for organisations range between 11 per cent and 14 per cent. “Business leaders expect to see more than 40 per cent improvements in key areas by 2020, with the biggest jump expected in productivity, customer advocacy as well as profit margin,” Maheshwari said.

 

Source:- Financial Express

New Delhi: In what will help boost its clean energy commitments, India has called for expression of interest (EoI) for the first offshore wind energy project in the country that is being set up in Gulf of Khambat, off the coast of Gujarat, according to a government statement.

 

The development assumes significance, given the 1000 megawatt (MW) size of the project, with the government’s plan to set up at least 5 gigawatt (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2022. India plans to leverage scale to bring down the offshore energy tariffs by harnessing the enormous wind power potential along its 7,600km coastline.

 

“The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) an autonomous body under the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has called for ‘Expression of Interest’ (EoI) for the first offshore wind energy project of India,” the government said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

 

In September 2015, the Union cabinet had cleared the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy, which involves wind energy mapping of the country to identify high-potential locations to be offered to firms for development through a bidding process.

 

“The proposed area is located 23-40 km seaward side from Pipavav port,” the statement added.

 

India, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030, as part of its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015. The country plans to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. Of this, 60 GW is to come from wind power projects.

 

“At global level, it has been observed that, offshore wind energy while being better than onshore wind in terms of efficiency is also becoming competitive and comparable in terms of tariffs. With a large energy market in India, the EoI is expected to evince keen interest from leading players of offshore wind turbine manufacturers and developers. Indian industry can also participate along with suitable tie up with global players,” the statement added.

 

India’s onshore wind power tariffs have remained low after plummeting to a record low Rs2.43 per kilowatt hour (kWh) at an auction conducted by state-run Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd in December, beating the record low solar tariff of Rs2.44 per unit registered in May. Earlier this month tariffs remained low, with bidders quoting wind power tariffs as low as Rs2.51 per unit for 2 GW of wind power contracts. In the wind auction conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI) in February, bidders had quoted wind tariffs as low as Rs2.44 per unit for wind power contracts.

 

The offshore site, in the Gulf of Kutch of Gujarat, has been chosen after Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were identified by the government as states with a high potential for offshore wind farms. As per official estimates, the Gujarat coastline has the potential to generate around 106000 MW of offshore wind energy and Tamil Nadu about 60000 MW.

 

Source:- Live Mint

India and Zambia today signed four agreements including on double taxation avoidance and judicial cooperation as President Ram Nath Kovind held delegation-level talks with his Zambian counterpart Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

 

President Kovind, who arrived here yesterday on the final leg of his visit to three African countries, had "meaningful and wide-ranging discussions" with his Zambian counterpart, said a statement issued by the Indian President's Office.

 

"The two Presidents exchanged views on bilateral and global issues. Committing to India's long-standing developmental partnership with Zambia, President Kovind also expressed appreciation for Zambia having signed the International Solar Alliance agreement. He looked forward to early ratification of the agreement from the Zambian side," the statement said.

 

The two sides signed four agreements - on double taxation avoidance; on judicial cooperation; on mutual visa waivers for officials and diplomats; and on the Entrepreneurship Development Institute that India will build in Zambia.

 

This is the first visit to the country by an Indian president since 1989.

 

President Kovind also addressed the Zambia-India Business Forum.

 

"Zambia and India are time-tested friends. Built on this strong foundation, our bilateral trade and economic engagement has prospered," he said.

 

"Indian companies have invested significantly in Zambia, especially in mining, telecom, energy and manufacturing. But we can do more. There are opportunities for our businesses to explore - from social enterprises to new technology; from community projects to highways; and from 'Digital India' to 'Smart Zambia'," the President said while addressing the Forum.

 

Noting that the trade between the two countries has picked up significantly in the past few years, President Kovind urged all stakeholders - small and medium enterprises, Chambers of Commerce, large companies, new entrepreneurs - to diversify and expand the Zambia-India business corridor.

 

"Both Zambia and India are blessed with a youthful population. We need to connect our young people through start-ups, skills, technology and new ideas," he said.

 

As part of President Kovind's visit, India has agreed in principle to provide concessional finance and support towards the construction of the Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centre in Lusaka. India has also gifted Zambia medicines and medical equipment worth USD 3 million as well as presented USD 100,000 for the Mahatma Gandhi School in Lusaka.

 

Earlier in the morning, the President visited the Embassy Park Presidential Memorial in Lusaka and paid tributes to three former Presidents of Zambia Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa and Micheal Sata.

 

After his arrival here yesterday, President Kovind addressed a gathering of the Indian community.

 

"Members of the community are our champions in a faraway land. They have made great efforts to embellish India's reputation as well as keep alive our cultural traditions. This is commendable," he told the gathering.

 

Tomorrow, the President will ceremonially commence work on the 93-km Lusaka Traffic Decongestion Project.

 

Source:- Business Standard

India is among the most favoured FDI destinations and the annual FDI inflows to the country is expected to rise to around USD 75 billion over the next five years, says a UBS report. According to the Swiss financial services major, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to India nearly doubled over the past decade to USD 42 billion as of 2016-17. Some moderation was seen in FDI flows in the December 2017 quarter, but it will likely normalise over the coming quarters, the report authored by Tanvee Gupta Jain and Edward Teather (Economists, UBS Investment Bank) noted. “We expect annual FDI inflows to India to rise further to around USD 75 billion over the next five years. We believe India will be increasingly recognised as a favoured FDI destination if growth is accompanied by continued structural reforms,” UBS said in a research note.

 

The report further noted that India needs to focus on attracting stable FDI flows to improve the competitiveness of its manufacturing sector and to make it an integral part of the global value chain. “We believe the transfer of technical and organisational knowledge that accompanies these flows will help boost productivity, support investment and contribute to India’s growth, under the right conditions,” the report noted.

 

According to a UBS Evidence Lab survey of US C-Suite corporate leaders in October and November 2017, India remains an attractive investment destination as over a quarter of larger companies expressed an intention to invest in India. The report further noted that while India has been undertaking reforms to attract higher FDI flows, the overall magnitude of these flows though improving is still way below potential.

 

“Domestic challenges including inadequate infrastructure spending, a restrictive regulatory regime, strict labour laws and other supply-side bottlenecks have constrained the positive externality and productive spillover impact of these flows,” the report noted.

 

Source:- Financial Express