If you pay a visit to the India International Trade Fair in Pragati Maidan every year with the main attractions for you being the spectacularly colourful and vibrant state pavilions and halls, then get set to be disappointed as, in its 2017 avatar, all of this will be missing. This time, most of the halls and pavilions have been demolished except a few, to make way for the proposed International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC), as per Hindustan Times. But, the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) plans to successfully organise the trade fair from November 14-27 this year sans the pavilions and halls. All the state pavilions and certain buildings including the ‘Hall of Nations’have been demolished, squeezing the space for the fair
As per The HT report, the ITPO has assured that states will be given ample space to exhibit their wares at future trade fairs. J Gunasekhran, GM of ITPO said, “People will be able to enjoy the fair in all its glory. All the states and union territories will have designated spaces of around 400-500 square metre, inside the halls still available and the temporary hangars. They will also be allowed to put up displays outside these spaces.” The ITPO had demolished the Haryana state pavilion last year and was given a hangar space. “The success of the Haryana pavilion has given us hope,” LC Goyal, ITPO chairman, was quoted as saying by HT
However, the space crunch means that the ticket sales will be limited to 60,000 per day. The participants have been halved from over 6,000 last year to around 3,000 this year. Gate 2 on Bhairon Mandir Marg and Gate 7 on Mathura Road will not be accessible this year. Goyal said that that the scrapping of the buildings won’t make IITF lose its charm. “We will have a trade fair next year too. But yes, this is the last trade fair in this format,” added Goyal.
The Indian International Trade Fair will be open to only business visitors from November 14-17, and for the general public from November 18 onwards from 9.30am to 7.30.
MANILA: The task of transforming India is proceeding on an "unprecedented scale", Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the powerful ASEAN grouping today while hardselling his government's economic reform initiatives to boost trade and investment.
Addressing the ASEAN Business Forum in the Philippines capital, the Prime Minister said most sectors of the Indian economy were opened up for foreign direct investment, adding the country's economy is now "globally integrated".
"The task of transforming India is proceeding on an unprecedented scale. We are working day and night to ensure good governance which includes easy, effective and transparent governance," he said, noting that more than 90 per cent FDI sectors are on automatic approval route.
Modi listed all major economic reform measures taken by his government including rolling out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and new laws and institutions for bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings. He said 1,200 out-dated laws have been repealed in the last three years as part of reform measures
"India has climbed 30 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index this year. It is the biggest jump by any country this year and a recognition of India's long term reform trajectory. And, the world is taking notice. We have moved up 32 places in the last two years in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum," Modi said.
The prime minister said various reform measures coupled with demonetisation of high value notes have resulted in formalising a large part of the Indian economy.On trade with ASEAN countries, Modi said India wants to build land, sea and air connectivity to this dynamic region and that work is already on in the construction of the tri- lateral highway through Myanmar and Thailand to connect to other countries in South East Asia.
"We are working on the early conclusion of the Agreement on Maritime Transport between India and ASEAN and are exploring coastal shipping services with countries that are our immediate maritime neighbours," he added.
The trade ties between India and ASEAN are on an upswing and both sides want to further boost the trade and investment cooperation.
"The 'Act East' policy of my government puts this region at the centre of our engagement. We have exceptionally good political and people-to-people relations with each and every country in the ASEAN region," he said.
The ASEAN region along with India together comprises combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one fourth of the global population and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion.
Investment from ASEAN to India has been over USD 70 billion in the last 17 years accounting for more than 17 per cent of India's total FDI.
Modi said his government wants to make India a global manufacturing hub and at the same time it wants the youths of the country to be job creators and not just job seekers.
The prime minister said 36 "white industries" have been taken out from the requirement of environmental clearance. Incorporating a company is now just a one day affair, he said.
Modi also talked about the open auction policy for natural resources including telecom spectrum, coal mines and other minerals and even private radio channels, which he said has together contributed about USD 75 billion in revenue.
"Using technology, we are enhancing responsibility and reducing discretion and corruption. We are using our Unique ID system in financial transactions and taxation for this purpose and the results are already visible. These steps, coupled with demonetisat of high value notes has resulted in formalising a large part of our economy," he said.
Modi said the number of new tax payers filing income tax returns has more than doubled and that digital transactions have increased by 34 per cent in one year, as "we march towards a less-cash economy".
"We have used technology to reach out to people. An online citizen engagement platform, MyGov has harnessed ideas, suggestions and inputs on policies and programmes from 2 million pro-active citizens," he added.
On GST, he said it has done away with a vast range of State level and central level taxes through-out India. "This is no small achievement given the vastness and diversity of our country and the federal nature of our polity," he added.
Modi said a "very large part" of India's population had no access to banking services and launch of the Jan Dhan Yojana resulted opening of 197 million bank accounts in one year, adding till August this year, 290 million such accounts have been opened in Indian banks.
He said more than 146 million people are receiving direct cash subsidies through bank accounts on cooking gas alone.
"Today, the government is using Direct Benefit Transfers for 59 different schemes. Subsidies worth nearly USD 10 billion are being directly transferred to the bank accounts of the intended beneficiaries," he added.
"For the first time in India, collateral-free loans have been disbursed to more than 90 million small entrepreneurs under the Mudra scheme. Very near to the population of Philippines," the prime minister said.
He said India is organising an ASEAN-India Connectivity Summit in New Delhi next month with ministers, officials and business representatives from all ASEAN countries.
India is also organising an ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit of ASEAN leaders in January next year.
India's push to digitize has seen its economy undergo massive changes, but that presents a multitrillion-dollar investment opportunity as both tax compliance and access to credit increase, according to Morgan Stanley.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push to digitize the Indian economy has seen the introduction of Aadhaar — a unique identification number based on biometric information issued to residents of India — and attempts to reduce dependency on physical cash, although last November's surprise demonetization drive caused plenty of disruption.
Still, as the Indian economy returns to a sense of normalcy, the country could be set to reap the benefits of those reforms.
"The good thing with digitization, apart from bringing more cash into the economy ... is credit," Anil Agarwal, head of Asian financial research at Morgan Stanley, told CNBC on the sidelines of the bank's Asia Pacific Summit in Singapore.
India's problem, Agarwal explained, was that most lending that occurred in the formal sector went to large corporations or mortgages as banks did not have access to data on individuals or small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that wanted to take out loans.
As the adoption of digitization improves, tracking the credit history of individuals or SMEs is expected to become simpler and that's likely to give a boost to the economy.
"[T]hat will allow banks to be able to lend much more effectively, so the credit will flow to the right part of the economy," Agarwal said
"Our view is that that creates employment opportunities, that increases GDP per year by about 50 to 75 basis points, so GDP growth [on a] real basis is 7.1 percent, nominal is around 11 percent. That means economy and markets can do very well," he added.
Morgan Stanley forecasts India's GDP to reach $6 trillion in 2027 as a result of its digitization drive. That would make India the third-largest economy in the world, behind the U.S. and China, which recorded $18.5 trillion and $11.2 trillion in GDP, respectively, last year.
Digitization also paves the ways for the country's equity market to become one of the world's five largest, with a market capitalization of $6.1 trillion.
The bank isn't the only one optimistic about the impact of Modi's reforms on the country either.
India's sovereign rating was upgraded by Moody's Investors Service for the first time in 14 years to Baa2 from Baa3 on Friday. "The decision to upgrade the ratings is underpinned by Moody's expectation that continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will, over time, enhance India's high growth potential," Moody's said.
The rating agency highlighted the new Goods and Services Tax as a measure that will "promote productivity," and it noted that the Aadhaar system and demonetization helped to "reduce informality in the economy."
Nevertheless, Agarwal acknowledged that it could take some time for those in India's massive informal economy to adopt digitization.
"It will take some time because it is a material change in habits, material change of business model ... but I think over the next 12 to 18 months, by fiscal 2019 or early 2020, I think you'll start seeing those changes," he said.
At a time when President Donald Trump has been going all-out with his “Buy American, Hire American” push and putting the squeeze on foreign guest worker visas in the process, Indian companies have pumped in a tidy $18 billion in investments across the United States and created more than 113,000 jobs.
A report, titled “Indian Roots, American Soil”, highlighting this ‘tangible foreign direct investment’ by Indian companies, was released by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the presence of a host of lawmakers on Capitol Hill here on last Tuesday.
Based on a survey of 100 Indian companies with investments and operations across a wide spectrum of sectors in the US, the report ranks New York ($1.57 billion), New Jersey ($1.56 billion), Massachusetts ($931 million), California ($542million) and Wyoming ($435 million) as the five top States to benefit from the Indian FDI. In terms of jobs created, New Jersey leads the table with 8,570 jobs, followed by Texas (7,270), California (6,750), New York (5,140) and Georgia (4,550).
The report, the fifth of its kind brought out by the CII in alternate years, noted that the surveyed companies have also collectively committed $588 million for R&D and $147 towards corporate social responsibility.
The companies represent diverse sectors including pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, aerospace and defence, financial services, healthcare, tourism, engineering and construction, automotive, food and agriculture, energy and information technology. Hailing the initiative, the lawmakers, both Democratic and Republican, called upon the Indian companies to keep up the momentum, with several of them pitching for steering the investment towards their own respective States.
“Indian industry and professionals are making significant contributions to the US economy - I am delighted that this fact is being recognised today at the CII event on Capitol Hill,” said India’s Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna, adding: “The presence and reach of Indian companies continues to grow each year as they invest billions of dollars and create jobs across the United States.”
Sarna said the study highlights Indian industry's ascension as a significant stakeholder in the US economy, noting: “This is a critical component of our strong and vibrant bilateral relationship with the US, which continues to flourish in strategic terms as well.” Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress and Democratic co-chair of the India Caucus, lauded the Indian companies for not only adding value to the US economy, but investing in American communities as well. US-India trade in goods and service totalled $114 billion in 2016 - a year when India was America's ninth largest trading partner, she said, but noted: “There is much work to be done.”
“I am glad to see the principles of free market economics being celebrated today on Capitol Hill as we recognise the contributions Indian Industry have brought to the US economy and States,” said Republican Congressman Dave Brat from Virginia said: CII Director-General Chandrajit Banerjee said the story of Indian investment in the US showcases “how intertwined we are as nations that contribute to each other's success”.
India should be able to return to its "normal" growth range by next year as the short-term fallout from a new goods and services tax plan and last November's currency ban ebb, the country's finance minister told CNBC.
The Indian economy grew at its slowest pace in three years between April and June at 5.7 percent. A Reuters poll conducted in October showed economists predict South Asia's largest economy will grow by 6.7 percent in the fiscal year ending March 2018.
"I see the Indian economy picking up quite well," Arun Jaitley told CNBC, adding that the negative impact on growth from demonetization and tax reforms appear to have bottomed out.
"All indications do indicate that we will certainly improve, and whatever is the "Indian normal," other factors remaining the same, we should be able to grow between that 7-8 percent range," he said.Worst of demonetization is over
Last November, India unexpectedly announced all 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes would be withdrawn from circulation, replaced by new 500 and 2,000 rupee denomination notes. The move caught most people off-guard and led to a massive shortage of cash around the country.
While Jaitley acknowledged that India's decision to squeeze out a large portion of its high value currency temporarily affected growth, he said the worst of it was "long over."
He also pointed to the benefits that came about as a result of India's demonetization efforts. Jaitley said it allowed the government to put digitization of the economy — an important aim for Prime Minister Narendra Modi — as a center-stage issue and allow for more cashless transactions.
The move also opened new funding sources for the economy. "We've been able to increase the tax base as far as the Indian economy is concerned," he said, adding that there have also been an increase in the number of deposits in banks.
"Today, the banks have more funds to lend even to the [small-and-medium businesses], providing we are able to recapitalize the banks," Jaitley said.
That said, many economists and analysts have said the real impact of demonetization was felt in India's large informal sector, where most transactions are done in cash.
When asked how the move affected the informal sector, Jaitley said there wasn't a "lasting impact" since "remonetization took place within a matter of weeks."
But experts have said that India's quarterly statistics — including its gross domestic product figure — use data on organized sectors as a proxy of the country's unorganized sectors, meaning the numbers may not accurately reflect the impact of demonetization.
Positives from the tax reform
The other main factor affecting India's growth outlook was the goods and services tax — India's most ambitious economic reform plan in 70 years. It was rolled out only on July 1, but according to Jaitley, manufacturing slowed down in the months leading up to it because "people were de-stocking."
The new goods and services tax replaces a thicket of indirect central and state levies that critics argued had blunted economic competitiveness and hobbled efforts to lift more out of poverty. The reform introduced four main tax rate bands on goods and services: 5-, 12-, 18-, and 28 percent irrespective of the location of purchase.
Jaitley said that, in the first few months since the plan was rolled out, the tax receipts collected had been "fairly okay." Big and medium-sized businesses have adjusted well, he added, but smaller businesses — typically more reliant on cash — will "obviously take some time."
"Therefore, we are giving them time in terms of compliance burdens," he said. "I do see people will take time in adjusting to the new setup, and therefore, we are moving slowly in implementing some of the eventual steps which are a part of the [goods and services tax] itself."
He pointed to several positives that came about from the reform. "The decision-making process of the [goods and services tax] has matured itself. The Council is functioning very effectively. You have a common market which has been created. You have all the barriers which have been removed," Jaitley said.
In order to get states to comply with the reforms, Jaitley said they were promised a 14 percent yearly increase in tax revenue for the first five years.
"I'm quite sure we'll be able to maintain that," he said.