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With efforts on to make India an electronics manufacturing hub, the government today said the total investment in the sector has now reached Rs 1,20,000 crore, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today. 


He told the Lok Sabha that the government was promoting electronics manufacturing in a very big way and giving incentives and providing electronics clusters to investors. 


"When our government came (in 2014), the total investment in electronics manufacturing was Rs 11,500 crore. Now it has reached Rs 1,20,000 crore. That is the kind of investment we are getting," he said during Question Hour. 


Prasad said the government was working to make India a big hub of electronics manufacturing in which the Centre and state governments have to play a crucial part. 


"Therefore, we would like to say that by 2020, India must also promote export of consumer goods. I want to assure this House that a large number of companies like Foxtone, Apple and others are keen to invest in India and we are creating an enabling atmosphere," he said. 


The Minister said two companies have shown interest in electronics chip manufacturing and government's effort is to make India an important centre of chip manufacturing. 


"I want to inform that now India is making about 11 crore mobile phones. That is a growth of 83 per cent in quantity terms this year. The growth of LED is 37 per cent. Others include LED light is 65 per cent and tablet is 27 per cent. We are promoting it. I had called a meeting of the IT Ministers of all States," he said. 


Prasad said government has given a lot of duty differential to permit both foreign investors and local manufacturers. 


"I want to tell you, ... Indian companies are making good phones and foreign companies are also getting a place in India," he said. 


Source: The Economic Times

India is planning to invest over $120 billion in the development of airport infrastructure and aviation navigation services over the next decade, said President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday.


Inaugurating India Aviation 2016 here, he said the civil aviation sector is poised for a faster and sustainable growth with the development of 100 smart cities; new economic corridors; more than 50 new airports and expansion of existing airports.


"The deeper air penetration to smaller cities; better connectivity to northeastern part of India; higher disposable incomes of the middle class of India is expected to further propel the growth of Indian civil aviation industry," he said.


Mukherjee noted that India registered a growth of 14 percent in civil aviation sector during the last decade. With foreign direct investment (FDI) in air transport during the last 15 years touched the mark of $570 million, he said India continues to be a favourite destination for foreign investors in civil aviation sector.


The government has allowed FDI through the automatic route to the tune of 100 percent in green field airports; helicopter services and seaplanes; maintenance and repair organizations and flying training institutes. He also pointed out that 49 percent FDI is allowed through the automatic route for domestic scheduled passenger airlines and ground handling services.


"The open sky policy; greater focus on infrastructure development; liberal FDI norms; robust technical and engineering capabilities; assured supply of skilled workforce in information technology and communication network has opened the doors to global players. This will make India a manufacturing hub of aerospace industry," he said.


Mukherjee said as India is at the threshold of taking a major leap in the aviation sector, this event is well timed and resonates well with the latest policy initiatives of 'Make in India', 'Stand up India' and 'Start up India'. He called upon the global giants to seize this opportunity and take lead to forge long-term partnerships.


Source: The Statesman

Aiming at a massive investment of more than Rs 8 lakh crore over the next five years, Railways has firmed up various models to attract private participation for capacity augmentation of the state-run transporter.


According to Railways estimate, an investment of Rs 8,56,020 crore (approximately $135 billion) over five years will augment infrastructure capacity and modernisation. A participative policy for rail connectivity and capacity augmentation has been in place with five models for building rail connectivity, a senior Railway Ministry official said.


He said Non-Government Railway (NGR), Joint Venture (JV), Build Operate and Transfer (BOT), capacity augmentation with funding provided by customers and capacity augmentation through annuity are five models to attract private investment.


The private companies which have been permitted to build rail connectivity under the participative policy are JSW Jaigarh Port Limited for Jaigarh port rail connectivity, Rewas Port Limited for Rewas port rail connectivity, Balaji Infra Development Private Limited for Lalitpur-Udaipura (electrification) and Dhamra Port Limited for Dhamra port rail connectivity.


Navayuga Engineering Company Limited for Astrangra port rail connectivity, Nargol Rail Link Limited for Nargol port rail connectivity, Simar Port Limited for Chhara port rail connectivity, Hazira Port Infra Limited for Hazira port rail connectivity and Dighi Port Limited for Dighi port rail connectivity are other firms working under Railways' participative policy.


Government has also permitted 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in construction, operation and maintenance of suburban corridors through public private partnership (PPP) for high speed train projects and dedicated freight lines.


FDI is also allowed in rolling stock including train sets and locomotive/coaches manufacturing and maintenance facilities, railway electrification, signalling system, freight terminal, passenger terminal, infrastructure in industrial park pertaining to Railway line/siding and Mass Rapid Transport System.


Railways have issued sectoral guidelines for Domestic/ Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector. Besides, public sector undertakings of the Railways and the government have also been permitted to take up rail connectivity projects. Electric and Diesel Locomotive factories at Madhepura and Marhowra entailing FDI have been awarded to Alstom and GE respectively.


Source: DNA India

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country increased by 29% for the 15-month period—ended December last year—after the launch of the Make in India initiative, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.


Launched on 25 September 2014, the initiative aims at promoting India as an important investment destination and a global hub for manufacturing, design and innovation.


“FDI inflow has increased 29% during October 2014 to December 2015 (15 months after Make in India was launched) compared to the 15-month period prior to the launch of this initiative,” commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.


In a separate reply, she said during April-January 2016, the government received 424 FDI proposals. Out these, 285 proposals have been disposed of.


In a separate reply about FDI in e-commerce, the minister said foreign investment in business to customer e-commerce activities has been “opened in a calibrated manner” and an entity is permitted to undertake retail trading through e-commerce under certain circumstances.


She said that a manufacturer is permitted to sell its products manufactured in India through e-commerce retail and a single brand retail trading entity operating through brick and mortar stores, is permitted to undertake retail trading through e-commerce.


An Indian manufacturer is also allowed to sell its own single brand products through e-commerce retail. In a separate reply, she said the department of industrial policy and promotion is implementing the eBiz project which is envisaged to work as a single portal for providing all central and state services.


“Twenty central and 30 state government services have already been integrated on the portal,” she said.


Source: Livemint

India must explore new means of resource mobilization to rev up its public investment in areas such as infrastructure, education and health to sustain its growth momentum, said Asian Development Bank president Takehiko Nakao. Nakao, who was in India to attend the Advancing Asia conference jointly organized by the International Monetary Fund and the finance ministry, said India must make efforts to integrate to the regional value chains in the East Asian economies. Edited excerpts:


How do you think the increasing uncertainty in the global economy will impact India’s growth?


Of course, overall the world economy is slowing down. There is a lot of discussion regarding China slowing down. But it reflects more structural issues like low labour force increase and higher wages. Migration from the rural area to the urban area is now coming to an end. The government is also targeting a new normal, which pays as much attention to environmental and social issues as to growth. It also reflects overcapacity in some areas. China also has room to grow further by focusing more on consumption than investment and on services sector rather than on manufacturing. We are expecting China would not hard land. Commodity exporting countries to China may face some slowdown. But at the same time, because of higher wages in China, some countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh can even take some advantage. Those countries are growing very steadily at 6-7%. India’s economy is not so tightly connected to China. Of course, there is an influence. Indian economy is growing very steadily and we expect more than 7% growth in coming fiscal year. We hope India’s growth will support regional economy and global growth.


So, you expect India’s economic growth to remain robust in the coming years as well?


I really hope so because it is supported by policies. Macro-economic situation has been very stable. There was concern about current account deficit, fiscal deficit and exchange rate depreciation in Indian and other emerging economies after US Fed chairman Ben Bernanke announced tapering of quantitative easing in 2013. But Indian economy has been very stable even after the Fed started increasing interest rates. Growth has been stable, inflation has been managed, foreign exchange reserve is increasing, current account deficit is minimal and fiscal deficit is declining. So, Indian economy is stable. And I think, based on the reform efforts like inviting more foreign direct investment, deregulation and budget proposal for investments in rural and in infrastructure sectors will boost growth.


Do you think India is benefiting because of its rather slow liberalization process of financial and external sectors reforms?


It is better for India to be more open and integrated to the value chains and production networks of the world, especially in East Asia. But it may be true that it (lesser integration of Indian economy with rest of the world) gives India some buffer to global volatility.


What are your views on the new budget presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley?


It is very ambitious and there are very important elements like investments in rural agriculture areas such as irrigation, more investment in infrastructure, more expenditure in health and education and also dispute resolution mechanism for public-private partnerships. Government is also trying to pass the GST (goods and services tax) reform. One thing the Indian government must continue to address in coming years is how to increase capital expenditure from the government. Today, it is 1.6% of GDP and it is very low. Including investments by states and state-owned enterprises, public investment is 5% of GDP. To achieve growth of 8-9% and also to increase expenditure in health and education, which are so important, government must think of how to mobilize more resources. For China, it is more than 10% of GDP. While China may be an exception, public investment at present in India is very small against what it should be.


How do you see Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s performance after almost two years in office?


Some people say reforms are not implemented as much as expected, but if we look at the track record of the government, macroeconomic stability has been achieved; also there are many reforms, including raising the threshold for foreign direct investment in some areas. Also, there is effort in deregulation of procedure in some areas, doing business index has improved, foreign direct investment is now increasing. So, there are many achievements. Perception about India is now changing. Of course, economic reforms started in the 1990s. So, it’s not only Prime Minister Modi’s achievement. But Prime Minister Modi has provided another impetus to reforms and competitiveness and many other initiatives which we are supporting like Make In India, Clean India, smart cities, solar initiatives. The prime minister has changed the perception of foreign investors and global community about India.


When you visited India in August 2014, Prime Minister Modi told you that ease of doing business would have improved significantly when you visit again within a year’s time. Do you see any perceptible change?


There are things that they can do more, but yes he said that and I came back in February, June last year and now. States can compete to make their investment climate better and if GST can be passed, then it is good to make Indian economy integrated.


In the past, you have said that development finance is a complex business. Do you think the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) have robust mechanisms for this? Has the ADB started coordinating with these institutions?


First of all, I would like to cooperate with these two new multilateral banks. I had good discussion with AIIB’s president Jin Liqun. We have agreed that there are huge needs of financing in Asia and we can cooperate, including through co-financing and also paying attention to international standards for procurement, environmental protection and social impact. India has a strong safeguard process for environmental protection and resettlement. But as far as AIIB is concerned, their idea is to make systems as lean as possible. So, they are not considering having regional missions or local offices. We have around 80 people in our local office in India. I think resident missions are so important to communicate with authorities, finding and implementing projects, including procurement. But because there is a difference of view, I think AIIB and ADB can complement more. We can share the knowledge obtained through our resident missions. We have already started discussion of what project in what country is possible for co-financing projects. Several projects that we have discussed will be in the South Asian countries.


Including India?


I don’t want to say this because it is not decided, but there can be a possibility.


How effective could the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement be towards Asian integration? Do you think it can emerge as an effective counter-balance to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?


It doesn’t need to be a counter-balance. We need trade agreements which are effective. TPP and RCEP can both be very effective tools to integrate economies. RCEP is Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) plus six countries, including India. It involves so many important economies in Asia and it is more flexible than TPP in terms of adapting to country’s economic situation. So, we can do TPP and RCEP as well. If both agreements are signed, there are more opening up of sectors, then these two arrangements can merge. But first, they must finalize these discussions and they should be ratified, including by the US Congress.


Source: Livemint