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Cars, smartphones, machines, medicines, garments — anything made in India will be allowed 'warehouse to wharf ' export in a single day under a new Make in India green channel that seeks to give a big boost to local manufacturing and exports.


Under the facility that will begin at select ports in a month, cargo clearance will shorten from about a week to a few hours, a senior government official told.


Among the measures aimed at helping to make the policy work, there will be no upfront payment of any duties. That will be settled later when the paperwork is done. "It would be launched after the passage of the finance bill," the official said, adding that this would allow clearance of shipments without any payment of duty as proposed in the budget. 


A new platform being developed will let companies know when to move goods from factories or warehouses so they don't have to wait at ports, the official added.


The SWIFT system, introduced in April by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), allows importers and exporters to file just one form at ports for clearance from all agencies including the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Drug Controller General of India and Plant Quarantine and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau. 


SWIFT, or Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade, also allows for risk-based assessment at customs. The programme cuts down on paperwork procedures significantly but not the waiting period of six-seven days. The new initiative seeks to address this issue.


The Narendra Modi government launched the Make in India programme to push manufacturing in the country. It's also been touted as the main vehicle to draw foreign capital. 


Although India has managed to pip China in terms of foreign direct investment ( FDI) flows, there are still significant obstacles. Cargo clearance delays at ports have been cited by many foreign investors as one of the key issues.


India is ranked 133 in the World Bank's ease of doing business ranking on the "trading across borders" parameter because of paperwork taking too much time and high costs. Border compliance takes 311 hours compared with nine in highincome OECD countries. Documentation compliance takes 67 hours versus four hours.


After cutting down on paperwork, the new programme will seek to address this concern effectively, the official said. The CBEC has initiated talks with stakeholders seeking their feedback on the operational aspect of the proposed platform as well as participation. "These are the measures that will go a long way in helping trade," said Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations.


However, he pointed out that the customs department needs to address manpower shortage issues urgently if it wants these ambitious programmes to succeed. 


Source: The Economic Times

The FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) has cleared proposals amounting to Rs.13,030 crore that includes the proposals of Axis Bank asking to increase the shareholdings of foreign investors to 74 percent.


According to the finance ministry sources,  in its meeting on Friday, the government panel has cleared five proposals out of 14.


Axis Bank, the third largest private sector bank in India, got the nod from the government to increase the limit of foreign direct investment (FDI) from 62 percent to 74 percent. The proposal involves an inflow of foreign investment of around Rs 12,900 crore.


Currently, the private banks in India have a limit on accepting foreign investment to 74 percent, and the limit for Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) is 49 percent.


Besides, the panel also cleared proposals of pharmaceutical firms - Wockhardt and Aurobindo.


Under the new policy, the decision on the proposal from DCNS - a leader in submarine systems globally, first for 100 percent FDI in defence, was postponed by the inter-ministerial panel as the defence and home affairs ministries needed more time to study the proposal. 


In November last year, the Government of India has changed the rules for FDI in the defence sector, permitting up to 49 percent foreign investment through automatic route. The FIPB has rights to clear proposals up to Rs 5,000 crore. Proposals above that amount need to be scrutinised by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).


During the period of April-December 2015-16, foreign investment in India surged by 40 percent, amounting to $29.44 billion.


Source: The Dollar Business

A top US think-tank has launched an India-US trade initiative aimed to strengthen economic ties and meet the two countries' bilateral trade target of $500 billion.


Launched by Atlantic Council yesterday, the initiative has the support of two powerful Senators - John Corny of the Republican Party and Mark Warner of the Democratic Party. The two are also Co-Chairs of Senate India Caucus, the only country specific caucus in the US Senate.


"As the largest and oldest democracies in the world, India and the United States share a relationship built on common values. By further increasing trade between our two countries, we have an opportunity to strengthen our unique bond, advance American interests in the region, and grow both economies," Cornyn said.


"Bilateral trade between the two countries already exceeds $100 billion annually. I hope we continue to work to harness the full potential of US and Indian cooperation to increase bilateral trade and provide more economic opportunities for companies in both the US and India," Warner said.


The Atlantic Council US-India Trade Initiative aims to generate American support for continued economic engagement in India and to forge collaboration on issues of trade and commerce, a statement said.


In an effort to leverage, sustain, and promote the positive developments in trade relations between the two countries, the Initiative will develop policy briefs and strategy papers, convene US-India trade workshops and host a flagship US-India Trade Conference with policymakers, practitioners and private-sector leaders, it said.


The Initiative will address seven of the most crucial areas of the US-India trade relationship, including smart cities, infrastructure, defense, financial institutions, insurance, trade agreements and intellectual property rights, the Council said in a statement.


India and the US enjoy a robust and thriving trade relationship which holds tremendous potential for the future in a number of sectors including renewable energy, infrastructure, smart cities, IT services, digital economy, and defense, said Indian Ambassador to the US Arun Singh.


"The elevation of the Strategic Dialogue between the two countries to a Strategic and Commercial Dialogue is a testimony to the importance of our trade and commercial ties in strengthening our bilateral partnership," Singh said.


Atlantic Council Chairman Jon Huntsman said the US-India bilateral relationship holds immense economic potential for both countries and should be a priority for the incoming administration.


"The Atlantic Council is committed to playing an active role in promoting trade relations between the US and India and helping cement a pathway for broader cooperation," he said.


Source: The Economic Times


Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Thursday gave a 2032 date to India becoming a $10-trillion economy, a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India should dream of a $20 trillion economy but did not fix a target. 


The PM, while speaking at the ET Global Summit last year had asked why the country could not dream of a $20-trillion economy and said his government was preparing the ground for it. Kant, in a presentation before the Prime Minister on Thursday, said the country needs to work towards a 10% growth rate year-onyear against its projected growth rate of 7.4% to achieve a $10 trillion economy by 2032. 


When contacted by ET, Kant said the aim was to create 175 million jobs and achieving zero percent of Below Poverty Line population by 2032. "If we achieve a $10 trillion economy target by 2032 by a 10% growth rate year-on-year, the compounding effect would be such that ours could be a $20-trillion economy in the next 6-7 years after 2032. The 10% y-o-y growth is the biggest challenge." 


In his presentation, Kant said if India grows at 7% till 2032, its GDP will only be $6 trillion in 2032 against $2 trillion as on today while 5-6% of the population will remain below poverty line. The new plan flows out of a Group of Secretaries report that talked of achieving 10% growth "year-on-year in the next five years" by aiming at 10 'Champion States' growing at 12% and more, 4% agricultural growth rate, 10-12% growth in manufacturing and services, worldclass infrastructure and the advancements in technology and innovation. 


The immediate targets specified for 2019 are India moving up to No. 1 Start-up destination, India's rank in Ease of Doing Business being in Top 30 and 60% digital penetration through JAM Platform and e-payment mobile applications for government programmes.


Target for manufacturing contribution rising to 25% of GDP is fixed for 2022. Kant told ET that each department's targets had been specified with clear dates and it will be monitored through an online dashboard by NITI Aayog. "It has never happened before in the history of the country," he added. 


Source: The Economic Times