INDIA NEWSLETTER www.indianembassy.at
Published by the Embassy of India, Vienna Year 4 • Issue 39 • March 2014
FEATURED INDUSTRY INDIAN ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE SECTOR
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Almost 50 per cent of the retail apparel consumers in India are now shopping online to get better deals and variety. The affluent Indian consumer spends more and in a distinct pattern as compared to their Asian counterparts.
Bilateral trade between India and UK is growing at 23 per cent annually and is expected to double to ÂŁ 23 billion (US$ 37.4 billion) by 2015.
Total sowing by leading paper producers in India stood at 315,127 hectares in 2012-13, up from 268,246 hectares in 2011-12.
India plans to extend the visa-onarrival facility to tourists from 180 nations from October 2014.
Foreign tourist arrivals in India stood at 720,000 in January 2014, up from 699,000 in January 2013.
A total of 2,465,005 farmers benefited under the crop insurance schemes in 2012-13, with maximum number of 1,318,200 farmers from Maharashtra. 2 â€˘ India Newsletter
Earnings from exports of shrimps from India grew by 90 per cent to reach Rs 14,364 crore (US$ 2.30 billion) during April-December 2013, as compared to Rs 7,565 crore (US$ 1.21 million) a year ago.
Earnings from export of coconut products from India has more than doubled to Rs 1,022 crore (US$ 164.5 million) in 2012-13 from Rs 496 crore (US$ 79.8 million) in 2010-11.
Welding industry in India is currently worth Rs 5,200 crore (US$ 835.7 million) and major Indian fabricators are expected to invest over Rs 2,100 crore (US$ 337.5 million) in new generation welding equipment over the next three years.
India exported 160,276.95 million tonnes (MT) of agri-organic products worth Rs 1,155.81 crore (US$ 186 million) in 2012-13.
Production of food grains in India is expected to reach a record 263.2 million tonnes (MT) this year, bettering the previous record of 259.3 MT in 2011-12. India has over 2,380 registered green building projects and is among the top five countries in the world involved in spearheading the global green building movement.
India accounts for the highest per capita spend by international travellers across the globe at US$ 2,600 in 2012.
India is expected to become the third largest economy in the world by 2043.
Online retailing in India is expected to reach Rs 50,000 crore (US$ 8.06 billion) by 2016, growing at 50-55 per cent each year over the next three years. The Government of India is expected to spend Rs 5,990 crore (US$ 966.6 million) for promotion and development of the food processing sector during the 12th Five Year Plan (201217).
Indian banking and securities companies are expected to spend Rs 47,700 crore (US$ 7.7 billion) on IT products and services in 2014, an increase of 12.7 per cent over 2013. n
NEWS ARTICLES Vienna looks to double Indian tourists by 2020
anked the most liveable city by Mercer for fifth year in a row, Vienna looks to double Indian tourists by 2020. Vienna Tourist Board said the country received 5.8 million tourists in 2013, an increase of over 4.1 per cent compared with 2012. Norbert Kettner, Director of the Vienna Tourist Board, said, “The profile of the tourist arrivals in Vienna mirrors the global economic situation, as we have seen a strong increase from emerging – particularly Asian – regions.” Indian tourist arrivals to Vienna doubled from 11,077 in 2006 to 22,280 in 2013. The goal is to double this in the next 6-7 years, said the tourism board. An average Indian tourist spends an average 2.45 nights in Vienna. Mercer’s annual quality of life survey that covers 223 major cities saw Vienna bag the title of the world’s most liveable city for the fifth year in a row. Zurich took second place, followed by Auckland.n
GDP may grow 5.6% next fiscal: India Ratings
he economy is likely to grow 5.6 per cent in the next fiscal, India Ratings and Research has said. This is lower than the Government’s estimate of 6 per cent. IMF has projected a growth rate of 5.4 per cent while NCAER says it will be 5.6 per cent. The World Bank has given most optimistic estimate of 6 per cent. Growth in 2013-14 is estimated at 4.9 per cent. “The economic growth in FY15 (2014-15) is likely to be contributed majorly by the industrial sector, which is estimated to grow by 4.1 per cent. This is good news for centre as well state government finances,” it said in a report on public finances.
State finances were likely to remain resilient to the slowdown, it said, estimating some slippage in the fiscal deficit of states, which could go up to 2.3 per cent against 2.2 per cent in 2013-14. Value added tax (VAT) on petroleum products could pose a concentration risk for the consolidated state finances if crude oil prices decline, though this presently looks difficult. The petroleum sector contributed nearly 30 per cent (with a growth of 14.4 per cent on yearly basis) to the VAT collection of states. Aggregate debt of states as a percentage of GDP is likely to increase to 21.7 per cent in the current fiscal from the budgeted estimate of 21.5 per cent. Despite this slippage, debt will be sustainable as the agency believes nominal growth of the economy in excess of interest rate on debt will continue to support the agency’s debt sustainability expectations. However, indirect risk such as guarantee and deficit, state PSUs’ debt could impact the credit profile of some states. It expects the liquidity of state governments to remain comfortable in 2014-15. Even in the current fiscal most states did not face difficulty due to a surge in investment in the national small savings fund.n
India breaks into top 10 in 2013 Gunn Report
ith an estimated market size of $5 billion, India’s the 14th largest advertising market in the world. And in the latest edition of the Gunn Report, it’s finally broken into the Top 10 list of countries that have won the most advertising awards. That’s up from the 13th spot last year. The Gunn Report and Showreel of the Year is an annual publication, authored by Donald Gunn and Emma Wilkie, which ranks ad agencies across the world by their wins at the top creative awards
shows. The report was first published in 1999 and the rankings are used by network agencies and marketers. The report also names McCann World-Group India (Mumbai) as the most awarded Indian agency, a position the agency held in 2007. Taproot India (Mumbai), which topped the India chart in 2012 has slipped to the number 2 spot. In joint third position are JWT India (Mumbai) and Leo Burnett India (Mumbai & Delhi). The surprise this year is Ogilvy & Mather - from dominating the Gunn Report between 2008 and 2012, it’s at the 5th spot this year. And Creativeland Asia, which shone in the 2011 and 2012 editions, failed to make it in the 2013 rankings. “When I joined advertising, India was like an isolated island. But now the global advertising fraternity can relate to us with strong brand building and some great creative work,” says Prasoon Joshi, Executive Chairman, McCann World-Group India. While mails and messages written to Colvyn Harris of JWT and Agnello Dias of Taproot did not get a response, Joshi admits such recognition helps an agency attract and nurture great talent. “Different award shows honor different kind of craft. But the Gunn Report gives the holistic picture about an agency,” he says.n
India remains one of the top destinations for foreign direct investment: Anand Sharma
he Union Minister for Commerce & Industry Shri Anand Sharma has asserted that India remains one of the top destinations for Foreign Direct Investment, despite the economic slowdown. Speaking at a Students’ Interactive Session at Sophia College in Mumbai, Shri Sharma said India’s Foreign Direct Investment policy has been progressively liberalized to make the India Newsletter • 3
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regime more investor friendly. He said in a recent review of the policy the government has amended the sectoral caps in some key areas to stimulate FDI inflow. Between 200913, India attracted FDI worth US $ 172.82 billion, despite growing competition from emerging economies like Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam etc. Responding to a student’s question about India’s poor ranking on the ‘ease of doing business’ parameter, Shri Sharma admitted that red tape continued to be a cause of concern, but added that sincere efforts were being made to create a conducive business environment. He said, his Ministry has recently launched the e-Biz portal, which allows potential entrepreneurs to complete most of the formalities online, like submitting forms, making payments, among others. They can also track the status of their requests through the portal. Shri Sharma said that two of the key organizations crucial for clearance of projects – Ministry of Environment & Forests and Central Board of Customs & Excise are yet to come on board, but expressed confidence that he would convince them to join in soon. The Minister also said the National Manufacturing Policy seeks to address the menace of red tape by introducing accountability to ensure timely clearance of proposals. Shri Sharma said India’s current economic growth is not commensurate with its potential and the country has capacity to grow faster. He said that India is looking to create as many as 100 million skilled jobs in the manufacturing sector by raising its share of GDP to 25 per cent from 16 per cent. “We have to create jobs through industrialization and boosting manufacturing. The dedicated Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the Chennai-Bangalore – Mumbai industrial corridor will create specialized manufacturing centres, with single window service to expand our industrial base,” he added. The Commerce & Industry Minister also defended the FDI in retail 4 • India Newsletter
policy of the government, stating that its benefits can be reaped by farmers as well as small and medium enterprises. “If a retail chain sources its farm products from hinterland or creates cold storage facility, it will be the farmer in the villages who will benefit directly” he added. He reiterated that entry of organized retailer will not put the corner grocery stores out of business. Shri Sharma also said that India’s young population is an important asset. “By 2035, when the developed world will be saddled with ageing population, India, and not China, would be the country that would provide skilled manpower to the world” he added. Shri Sharma called upon the young students to cultivate a positive mindset and notice the developments that have taken place in India. The Minister in his address also touched upon various global and domestic issues including the emergence of a multi-polar world, importance of preserving democratic tradition, protecting cultural unity of India and above all the importance of education in building a strong nation. Noted industrialist Adi Godrej in his remarks called for early introduction of GST to rationalize tax regime and boost productivity. More than 150 students of Sofia College for Women participated in the Minister’s Interactive Session, “Emerging India in a Globalized World: The Imperatives of Change”, organized by CII.n
India will see faster, more inclusive growth: Pranab
resident Pranab Mukherjee said faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth is an “impending reality for India”. “As the number of middle-class consumers continues to swell, the market is likely to become more attractive for global business,” he said while addressing participants of the reunion of owner/president management programme of
Harvard Business School at Rashtrapati Bhavan, a statement said. “India’s economic fundamentals as well as growth story remains intact growth that is faster, more inclusive and sustainable is an impending reality for India,” he added. The president said India’s macrofundamentals remain strong as evidenced by the fact that the overall public-debt to GDP ratio has consistently declined from 85.9 percent of GDP in 2003-04 to 66 percent in 2012-13. “India’s external debt is only 21.2 percent of GDP. Its foreign exchange reserves at over $ 292 billion dollars provide sufficient insulation from any short-term discrepancy in the external sector.” “As its current account deficit is expected to reduce to 3.7 percent in 2013-14, and further down to about 2.5 percent, the external sector will only strengthen in the near future,” the president said. Mukherjee further complimented the India Research Centre of the Harvard Business School launched in Mumbai in 2006 which has till date collaborated with business leaders and educators in India on over 55 research projects.n
India overtakes Canada as 4th largest country growing GM crops
ndia has overtaken Canada to emerge as the fourth largest country to grow biotech or genetically modified (GM) crops in 2013 as farmers here planted Bt cotton in about 11 million hectares. In the previous year, farmers in India had planted Bt cotton — the only approved GM crop for commercial cultivation — in about 10.8 m ha. The global acreages under GM crops continued to expand through 2013, albeit at a sluggish pace of around 3 per cent. Acreage under GM crops increased to 175.2 million hectares in 2013, about five million hectares more than last year, according to the International Service for Acquisition
of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) that tracks the GM acreages. The US continued to be the largest country under GM crops, accounting for 40 per cent of the total planted area globally. The GM acreage in Brazil expanded at a faster pace last year compared to other countries, followed by Argentina. While Egypt has stopped planting GM crops, reducing the total number of countries to 27, countries such as Canada saw a decline in area. Of the 27 countries that planted GM crops last year, 19 were developing nations and eight were industrialised countries. Developing nations planted more GM crops than their developed counterparts the second consecutive year with farmers in Latin America, Asia and Africa accounting for 54 per cent of the 175 million hectares. Bangladesh approved the commercial planting of Bt brinjal, while the situation in Egypt put planting on-hold, pending a Government review, ISAAA said. Panama and Indonesia were two other nations that approved cultivation of biotech crops. About 18 million farmers planted the biotech crops in 2013 compared with 17.3 million in 2012. Besides economic gains, farmers benefited enormously from at least a 50 per cent reduction in the number of insecticide applications. In the European Union, five nations â€” Spain, Portugal, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia â€” planted 15 per cent more area than last year at 1.48 lakh hectares under Bt maize.n
Govt allows FIIs, NRIs to invest in insurance sector
oreign institutional investors (FII) and non-resident Indians (NRIs) can now invest in the insurance sector, within the overall 26 per cent cap on foreign direct investment (FDI). Currently up to 26 per cent FDI is permitted in the sector. In a press
note, the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) said apart from insurance companies, the relaxation would apply to insurance brokers, third-party administrators (TPAs), surveyors and loss assessors. All of this investment can be made under the automatic route. The Insurance Act, 1938 does not stipulate any FDI limits for insurance intermediaries or TPAs, but sector regulator Irda has restricted it to 26 per cent. The Arvind Mayaram committee on definition of FII and FDI, in its draft report, had also suggested composite caps whereby FDI, FII and NRI investments would form part of the total cap on foreign investments. A senior executive from a private life insurance company said that having FIIs and NRIs within the 26 per cent FDI cap would enable companies that do not have a foreign partner to attract investments through the route. However, he added at the time of an initial public offer (IPO) by an insurance company, some stake may have to be diluted by foreign partners. The department said the foreign investment would be subject to the condition that companies bringing in FDI would obtain the necessary licence from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) for undertaking insurance activities. With respect to bank-promoted insurance companies, the department has said that private sector banking FDI norms would be applicable. Banking sector FDI norms allow 74 per cent FDI, including investment by FIIs, in private sector banks. Here, the automatic route is followed up to 49 per cent and the government route beyond 49 per cent and up to 74 per cent. The Insurance Act, 1938 says that an Indian insurance company is one in which the aggregate holdings of equity shares by a foreign company, either by itself or through subsidiary companies or nominees, do not exceed 26 per cent paid-up equity capital of such Indian insurance
company. In January, the Irda had set up a 10-member committee to look into 100 per cent FDI in insurance intermediaries and TPAs following requests from various stakeholders. The committee will submit its report in three months. The Insurance Bill that seeks to increase FDI from 26 per cent to 49 per cent awaits Parliament approval. The Bill introduced in 2008 faced huge opposition in Parliament. There were various routes proposed, including models like 23 per cent through the FII route and 26 per cent through FDI.n
Bilateral cooperation in food processing sector with Germany & France
inistry of Food Processing Industries has entered into agreements with some developed countries viz. Germany & France for bilateral co-operation in the field of Food Processing which generally include processed food segments. Besides, the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation has entered into number of umbrella agreements with some developed countries like USA, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Argentina, Austria, Brazil for bilateral co-operation in the areas of agriculture and allied sectors which generally include agro and food processing, cold chain etc. Apart from this, MoUs have been entered into by the two institutions under the Ministry, namely National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship & Management (NIFTEM) and Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology (IICPT). These MoUs relate to collaboration in teaching and research in the food processing sector. The salient features of these Agreements/ MoUs is to attract foreign investments for Infrastructure Development of Food Processing sector, such as, Mega Food Parks, Cold Chains, Abattoirs and Food Testing Laboratories etc. Also for developing institutional co-operation, increasing B2B India Newsletter â€˘ 5
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interaction through participation in important food fairs, conferences/ workshops/consultations etc. All stakeholders including the domestic food processing industry, the consumer, the exporters, the professionals and the academic and research institutions etc. are likely to be benefitted by these agreements/ MoUs. This information was given in Rajya Sabha by Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Dr. Charan Das Mahant in a written reply.
India and Netherlands sign MoU, agree to enhance cooperation in renewable energy
he Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, gave the green light to intensifying cooperation between India and the Netherlands on renewable energy. The Minister presided over a ceremony where the Dutch Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga and the Secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Dr. Satish Balram Agnihotri, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Under this agreement, an Indo Dutch Joint Working Group will be set up and the exchange of technical and institutional knowledge on clean energy will be facilitated. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Abdullah welcomed the decision of both the governments to enhance their cooperation in the Renewable Energy sector and hoped that the signing of the Memorandum would be just the beginning of a symbiotic and mutually beneficial wave of cooperation in the clean energy sector. The Dutch Ambassador emphasized that both their countries have similar ambitions and face similar challenges in realizing clean energy options in the respective countries. He hoped that the MoU would encourage cooperation not only at the official and governmental levels but also between leading Indian and Dutch 6 • India Newsletter
private companies and research institutions. A number of private companies including DSM, Thermax India and PwC were also present on the occasion. Dr. Abdullah also spoke about the energy situation in India and the rapid growth of the renewable energy sector in India. He spoke of India’s plans to add over 30 GW of renewable energy to its energy mix in the next 5 years. He dwelt on the success of the wind programme as well as the significant cost reductions in solar energy through the JawaharlalNehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). He also highlighted India’s conducive and investor friendly policy framework for promoting renewable energy in a big way. Dr. Abdullah suggested that India and Netherlands had great potential for enhancing cooperation in promoting renewable energy and offered to provide all possible assistance for the purpose.
India and Poland agree to form Joint Working Group for co-operation in the films sector
ndia and Poland have agreed to expand co-operation in the restoration and digitization of Film archives. This was agreed in a meeting between Secretary I&B, Shri. Bimal Julka and the visiting high level Polish delegation headed by Min. (Ms.) Malgorzata Omilanowska, Secretary of State. Both the countries also agreed to form a Joint Working Group in order to prepare a futuristic road map to enhance co-operation in Films, Animation, Digitization, Student exchange programme and such other areas of mutual benefit. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Julka briefed the delegation about various initiatives of the Ministry in the Films sector such as setting up of National Film Heritage Mission with digitization of film archives, setting up of the Centre of Excellence on Animation, Gaming and Visual effects and the participation in various film festivals by the Ministry to promote India as a filming destination. Both
the countries also agreed to further explore possibilities of signing a coproduction agreement in the field of Animation. While appreciating the Ministry’s initiative, the Polish delegation also extended its support for restoration and digitisation of Film Archives.n
IT firms getting more business from Europe
or the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, Indian software exporters are beginning to see early signs of outsourcing business from Europe. iGATE has won a $35 million, fiveyear outsourcing contract from Länsförsäkringar Alliance, a large Swedish financial services company. Around the same time, Royal Philips of the Netherlands extended its existing seven-year outsourcing agreement with Infosys to provide finance and accounting-related services for another five years. Some of the outsourcing is coming through the inorganic route. For instance, late last month, Tech Mahindra, one of the top five Indian IT outsourcers, said that it would acquire the software services unit of German chemicals company BASF. Similarly, in January, Virtusa acquired TradeTech, a Swedish financial services company. Winds of change Outsourcing deals, which were hard to come by in the pre-2008 era for Indian firms, got worse after the great recession. But they are starting to come back. “In the past, European companies were not convinced, unlike their American counterparts, regarding cost reduction as the sole motive to outsource. They demanded more value, which Indian outsourcers were unable to offer then. This is changing,” says Sanjoy Sen, a senior director at Deloitte. In 2012, European companies were sitting on $1 trillion of working capital, according to European consultancy firm REL. This translates to roughly ten times the size of the Indian outsourcing sector. But
when compared to the overall contribution, Europe accounts for around 30 per cent of the $100 billion IT exports sector. A growing number of European companies believe that offshore firms are ideal partners to help them stay competitive, be more agile and address talent shortages,” says Peter Schumacher, President & Founder, Value Leadership Group. Further, a study by Ernst and Young has estimated that 75 per cent of IT services have not been outsourced. All that is starting to change, according to Indian IT companies. Some of them are putting in strategies to reap benefits once outsourcing demand opens up completely. For example, late last year, Wipro appointed Carl-Henrik Hallstrom as Regional Head for the Nordic region.n
European Investment Bank (EIB) and IREDA sign Euro 200 million Agreement
he European Investment Bank (EIB) has sanctioned a Line of Credit (LoC) of Euro 200 million to M/s Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) to be utilized for financing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency projects in India. The total loan period is 20 years. The LoC is secured by a sovereign guarantee from Government of India. Agreement for availing the LoC of Euro 200 million from EIB, was signed by Shri Debashish Majumdar, Chairman and Managing Director, IREDA and Mrs. Magdalena Alvarez Arza, Vice President, EIB in New Delhi in the presence of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy. Speaking on this occasion, Mrs. Magdalena Alvarez Arza, Vice President, EIB said that European Investment Bank started funding Indian project in 1993 and in this period of two decades, India has now become the second largest recipient of EIB fund. Dr. Satish B Agnihotri, Secretary,
MNRE said that this LOC of Euro 200 million will facilitate in IREDA’s financing of existing and new projects of renewable energy. To tackle the twin problems of widening power deficits and mounting carbon emissions, the Indian Government has set ambitious goals to increasingly displace fossil fuels with renewable sources. The agreement signed today supports the Government of India’s focus on a low carbon growth strategy for power generation in India. Developing renewable energy sources not only helps address environmental concerns, but also improves energy security and spurs regional economic development. IREDA is the dedicated financing arm of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and has been spearheading the growth of renewable energy in the country. It has cumulatively financed over 2000 projects corresponding to a financial value of about Rs.22,500 crores. IREDA has been raising resources from various bilateral / multilateral agencies as also from domestic sources through both taxable and tax-free bonds.n
‘India can build a $100-b software product industry by 2025’
he country has the potential to build a $100-billion software product industry by 2025, according to think tank Indian Software Product Industry Roundtable (iSPIRT). According to IT industry body Nasscom, the current size of the software product industry is $2 billion. For the projected growth to be accomplished, “purposeful” action needs to be taken by the Government as well as the industry, iSPIRT said in a report. Industry analysts, however, said the $100-billion target is “far fetched”. Projections The software products market in India, which includes accounting software and cloud computing-
based telephony services, is expected to grow at 14 per cent this year, similar to the 12-14 per cent growth projected by Nasscom, said iSPIRT, which was formed last year after some 30 companies and individuals broke free from Nasscom to form a separate body for the software products companies. Rely on stints It added around 40 per cent of founders of Indian product companies came from multinationals, which shows the extent to which individuals rely on their stints in multinational firms. iSPIRT members, including Sharad Sharma, former Yahoo! India R&D head, Vishnu Dusad, Managing Director of Nucleus Software, Bharat Goenka, Co-founder and Managing Director of Tally Solutions, are increasingly concerned that at a time when India is talking about sunrise sectors, no attention is being paid to the software product industry, which is a $1.2-trillion opportunity globally. “If you look at it logically, this has a higher chance of succeeding when you factor in leadership in software and aspiration among entrepreneurs,” said Sharma. However, analysts remained doubtful. While the opportunity exists, there are caveats such as good broadband connection and ease of doing business, which are huge concern areas, according to Pradeep Mukherji, President and Managing Partner, Avasant APAC and Africa. Similarly, Sanchit Vir Gogia, an analyst at Greyhound Research, said the tax structure on software products is unclear and this affects the business model. Venture capital investments and access to capital markets are issues to be addressed, Gogia added.n
Indian electrical body inks pact with global institute
ndian Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA) and New York based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers India Newsletter • 7
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(IEEE) entered into a memorandum of understanding(MoU). The tie-up will promote collaboration on various initiatives that include skill development and training in the electrical and electronics sectors, capacity building, research and publications and dissemination and enrichment of technical and technological knowledge among the electrical and electronics fraternity in India. Mustafa Wajid, IEEMA, Member Executive Council, said, “There will be focus on technology, knowledge and skill development and academics. We are planning a smart energy conference in January 2015. Also a series of lectures, conferences will be held with industry stakeholders. As far as academics in concerned, we will look at revising the way engineering courses are conducted so that engineering graduates have competencies of global level.” Karen Bartleson, IEEE President, said, “IEEE produces a third of the world literature in this sector and this will be available to the IEEMA.” The membership fee for an Indian student is $27 (where the exchange rate is fixed at Rs 55 to a dollar) for a year. The Indian Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA) is the apex association of manufacturers of electrical, industrial electronics and allied equipment in India. It has around 800 member organisations. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is the world’s largest engineering society with members in over 160 countries and focuses on advancing the theory and practice of electrical, electronics, and computer engineering, computer science, and related technologies.n
Thomas Cook, Sterling merge to create India’s biggest holiday firm
homas Cook (India), a travel and holiday services company backed by billionaire investor Prem 8 • India Newsletter
Watsa and vacation-ownership major Sterling Holiday Resorts (India) announced a part-cash partequity merger deal to create India’s largest holiday company. “The merger aims at building a holiday behemoth which will take holidays to a larger population,” said Ramesh Ramanathan, MD, Sterling Holidays. ET reported that Thomas Cook was in advanced talks to take over Sterling. The merger deal, which values Chennai-based Sterling at Rs 870 crore, will be completed through a multi-stage process. Under the merger terms, for every 100 shares that they hold in Sterling, shareholders of Sterling will receive 120 shares of Thomas Cook. The merger process will start with Thomas Cook India Ltd (TCIL) making a preferential allotment to Sterling for Rs 187 crore. TCIL will, then, buy shares from other shareholders, including Bay Capital and ace investors Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Radhakrishna Damani, for Rs 176 crore. The company will, then, make a mandatory open offer for Rs 230 crore. Sterling will be merged into a wholly-owned arm of Thomas Cook. The total value of the merged entity will be equivalent to Rs 3000 crore. “Sterling will have an independent management team led by Mr Ramanathan. We will operate at arm’s length, but we will certainly explore synergies which can bring in savings,” said Madhavan Menon, MD, Thomas Cook. “We anticipate M&As in travel and interest would be in clean platforms with strong travel teams and also those having invested in technology to enhance client retention and service,” said Ajoy Lodha, partner, investment bank, Singhi Advisors.n
Volkswagen to set up Rs 1,500-cr plant in India
o boost sales in India, German auto maker Volkswagen is planning to expand production capacity and introduce a slew of new models. The group, which had
put on hold investments and new product launches due to uncertain economic conditions in the Indian market, said it was looking at investing Rs 1,500 crore over the next five years to set up a diesel engine manufacturing facility. Mahesh Kodumudi, president and managing director of Volkswagen India and head of Volkswagen Group Sales India, said, “We have not launched a new product lately but that should not be construed as our lack of interest in the Indian market. We were consolidating our operations and are now ready for our next phase of expansion. We will be investing around Rs 1,500 crore roughly over the next five-six years.” The resources would partially be utilised to set up a diesel engine manufacturing unit. The company is examining possibilities to set up the facility, a final decision on which would be taken over the next few months. Expansion Besides, the engine manufacturing unit, the company is looking at expanding capacity to 200,000 units at its Chakan facility from 130,000 units currently. “Our target to gain eight-10 per cent share in the passenger vehicle market may get delayed because of the uncertain political and economic conditions. But we do intend to be a volume player. We have to play in the compact SUV segment, subfour-metre sedan segment, multipurpose vehicle category and if possible go down to a segment where small car UP can compete. We are studying various options for product interventions,” added Kodumudi. The first of the new set of products from Volkswagen is expected to hit the market by 2016. The engine plant in India will help the carmaker reduce costs and expand sales volumes by competing more aggressively with established players such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. The petrol and diesel engines of VW are mostly imported from group facilities from South Africa, Czech Republic and Germany.
The company has to pay import (basic customs) duties on fullyassembled engines. Since the orders have to be made much beforehand (lead time for production and shipping), it additionally reduces flexibility in manufacturing. Cost savings are important for being price competitive in the mass segment. The group’s volume models made at Chakan include the Volkswagen Polo and Vento, Skoda Fabia and Rapid. Kodumodi said, “One of the factors that delayed the launch of small car UP in India is -- we have to get the price-cost equation right. We were consolidating operations and adding depth to localisation programmes to be more competitive.” Apart from Volkswagen, two wheeler maker Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India announced plans to invest Rs 1,100 crore to set up a new plant in Gujarat in its fourth facility in the state. The new units will become operational in the second half of 2015. Besides, Japanese automobile maker Isuzu Motors also announced
an investment of Rs 3,000 crore. The company plans to set up a manufacturing facility, spanning over 107 acres, in Chennai. The proposed plant is expected to be operational by early 2016 and will create 2,000-3,000 direct jobs.n
India, China may soon start producing films jointly
he co-production agreement was first discussed between the two countries during a visit by a Chinese delegation led by Cai Fuchao, the Chinese Minister of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television in June last year. India has signed co-production treaties with several countries so far, including France, Germany, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, Poland and Spain, among others. Negotiations are on with Australia and Canada. Japan, Turkey, Korea and Belarus have also shown interest in entering into co-production deals with India.
Talks with stakeholders The Information and Broadcasting Ministry Secretary Bimal Julka is currently attending the Berlin Film Festival and is leading a delegation to promote India as a viable filming destination. The Ministry in a statement said Julka has had discussions with stakeholders representing various countries. He said India’s co-production agreements were unique as they offered multiple benefits to foreign film producers and helped them harness the strengths India’s technically qualified manpower. The Ministry has been working on a single-window clearance mechanism for prospective international film producers looking for permission to shoot in the country. It has also released an India Film Guide at the festival, giving an overview about India’s film’s policies and is an effort to brand the identity of the Indian film industry and commemorate the celebration of 100 years of Indian cinema.n
PERSPECTIVES ON INDIAN ECONOMY By Mr Anis Chakravarty, Senior Director and Lead Economist at Deloitte India. He has a rich experience of over 13 years in advising companies in the European Union, India and the United States on a wide range of issues that relate to economics, finance and transfer pricing.
an entrepreneurial perspective and from the perspective that they were young, bright academicians (bright IIT graduates for example) who were getting into that sector, the IT sector just took off. ■■ Role of technology
Monetary policy directionquote Retail inflation has been hovering around 10 per cent and there have been actions taken on the WPI side, which have little effect on the food inflation. So I think that directly going in and targeting CPI is a very good move from that perspective.
Role of technologyquote At the end of the day, the evolution of the technology landscape in India is going to do a couple of things. It is going to make the coupling with the world that I had spoken about earlier much more stronger and certainly, it is going to help tremendously from an export perspective and from a services perspective.
■■ Impact of entrepreneurship
■■ Manufacturing agenda
Impact of entrepreneurshipquote With the whole focus that India had on the IT sector, particularly from
Manufacturing agendaquote If we look at the overall sector and what the Government has done,
■■ Monetary policy direction
there are a number of positives. Around a few years back, the Commerce Minister announced the National Manufacturing Policy. The industrial corridors are very important developments, because indeed if these are implemented in the correct fashion, they will enable penetration of manufacturing into the rural economy. ■■ India’s relative economic position India’s relative economic positionquote Typically, a 4.8 per cent or a 5 per cent growth that we are looking at now is actually a very good number from a global perspective. Indeed for India as an emerging economy and if I put in the BRICS context as a whole, it’s a very good number to have. India Newsletter • 9
Embassy of India, Vienna
INDUSTRY The Indian Road Infrastructure Sector
ndia’s road network, spanning across 4.69 million km, is the thirdlargest road network in the world, next in line only to the US and China. The country relies heavily on its robust road network that carries almost 65 per cent of freight and 80 per cent of passenger traffic. National Highways (NH), under the jurisdiction of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), constitute for almost 2 per cent of the network but carry about 40 per cent of the total road traffic. Thus, India relies heavily on roads to move freight in the most costefficient and effective manner. The Indian Government intends to earmark US$ 1 trillion for infrastructure development over next five years. To speed-up the same, it is also trying to rope-in private investments through publicprivate partnerships (PPPs). The Government has been tweaking its policies to make the sector more investor-friendly. Key Developments and Investments Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) received in construction development sector from April 2000 to July 2013 stood at US$ 22.44 billion, according to Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). ■■ Road development is a major priority in Northeast India. An investment of Rs 33, 688 crore (US$ 5.47 billion) has been earmarked for construction of 6418 km of roads in the region during the 12the plan period under the special accelerated road development programme (SARDP-North East) and Prime ministers package for Arunachal Pradesh. Mr Oscar Fernandes, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, has recently assessed the progress of National Highway works and has stated that around 2000 km of roads are sanctioned for 2013.
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■■ IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd has recently bagged US$ 300 million-contract to build a six-lane highway that will connect an eastern industrial zone to mining districts such as Dhanbad, the nation’s coal capital. The link is expected to help in effective evacuation of resources. The deal also marks private players’ faith in public works as the Indian Government has been implementing new policy measures, including a strategic shift in how projects are financed. ■■ Meanwhile, Bihar State Road Development Corporation (BSRDC) has awarded a major road project for construction of 12km-long 4-lane elevated road corridor between AIIMS and Digha in Patna to a construction major. Once completed, the road will ease the traffic conditions in the region. The project was awarded to M/s Gammon India Ltd out of eleven bidders. ■■ India and China have signed a bilateral pact on co-operation in the road transportation sector. The scope of the agreement includes management of road infrastructure technology, standards for highway construction and maintenance, road safety intervention strategies aimed at reducing death and injuries resulting from road accidents, etc. India also seeks assistance from China regarding how they deal with contractual issues and financing of highways build in public private partnership mode. Policy Initiatives The Indian Government has been very pro-active in implementing new policy measures to give an impetus to the road infrastructure in the country. The most significant policy change is that the Government has departed from conventional PPP model for such projects. Under the PPP model, developers finance construction out of their own funds, often in exchange
for the right to charge toll fares. The Government has decided to restore the form of contract where it funds part of the road building, taking on more of the risk of the project itself. This initiative has even attracted foreign private equity players, like Macquarie Group Ltd. Meanwhile, Vijay Chibber, Secretary to the Ministry of Road Transport has announced that the ministry has decided to carry out feasibility of Imphal bypass and assess the possibility of highway between Chumukedima near Dimapur in Nagaland and Maram in Manipur. The ministry has also decided to build 130 km stretch of Agartala Sabroom section of NH-44 to two lane standards as this will link Chittagong port through Bangladesh. It was also decided to construct alternative highway to Gangtok. Chibber mentioned that time taken for road construction in Northeast India is twice higher than the national average. In a bid to improve the quality of roads in rural parts of the Pune district, the Government has announced a fresh allocation of Rs 40 crore (US$ 6.5 million) to undertake construction of roads up to 89 km under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). The work on 16 roads is expected to begin soon. The newly constructed roads will connect small villages to bigger or important roads, thereby increasing road network and improving mobility of people. The Union Government has
approved of works worth Rs 354 crore (US$ 57.25 million) for the state, which includes 105 road works and 29 bridges. Prithviraj Chavan, the Chief Minister, had submitted a proposal to increase the state’s road network to 639 km. Furthermore, in order to give a pace to investments in the sector, the Government has modified its policy framework so that developers don’t have to wait for long for clearance from forest authorities to start construction. Another positive step taken is that the central bank has decided to reclassify loans to road builders as secured loans rather
than unsecured loans, which would give more comfort to banks to lend to projects. Road Ahead India is poised to attain the next level in highway development as the authorities and builders are increasingly focussing on transit efficiency. Experts believe that public funding or other alternate financial models, apart from PPP, would be instrumental for attaining the required targets. Moreover, the country has 600-700 km of access-controlled expressways and is working continuously to
build more high-quality, accesscontrolled expressways for faster connectivity between cities and towns. The Government is making sure that new roads and routes are well equipped with Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) including round-the-clock CCTV surveillance for monitoring realtime traffic data and ensuring safety and security of users. A recent study has stated that infrastructure development (for expressway projects alone) would require about Rs. 450,000 crore (US$ 73.11 billion).
SHOWCASE - Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) Infrastructure Leasing and F i n a n c i a l Services Ltd (IL&FS) is one of India’s leading infrastructure development and finance companies. It was promoted by the Central Bank of India (CBI), Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC) and Unit Trust of India (UTI). Over the years, IL&FS has broad-based its shareholding and inducted Institutional shareholders including State Bank of India (SBI), Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), ORIX Corporation-Japan and Abu
Dhabi Investment Authority. IL&FS has a distinct mandate catalysing the development of infrastructure in the country. The organisation has focussed on the commercialisation and development of infrastructure projects and creation of value added financial services. From concept to execution, IL&FS houses the expertise to provide the complete array of services necessary for successful project completion: visioning, documentation, development, finance, management, technology and execution. India Newsletter • 11
Embassy of India, Vienna
LATEST INDUSTRY NEWS Setting up of AmritsarKolkata industrial corridor and formation of AmritsarKolkata industrial corridor development corporation The Union Cabinet gave its approval for setting up the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC) and formation of the AKIC Development Corporation (AKICDC). The AKIC is proposed to be developed in a band of 150-200 kms on either side of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC), in a phased manner, and would therefore comprise a belt of at least 5.5 lakh square kms in the seven States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal. Phase-1 will be in the nature of a pilot project, during which at least one Integrated Manufacturing Cluster (IMC) of 10 square kms each, in each of the seven States would be set up, as identified by State Governments. The States would however, be free to set up more than one IMC, if they choose to do so. Uttarakhand, being a hill state would be given flexibility with regard to the size of the cluster. Both brownfield as well as green field IMCs can be set up. At least 40 percent of the land in each IMC will be permanently earmarked for manufacturing and agro-processing, considering that substantial part of the area in these States, except Jharkhand, is under agriculture.The IMCs envisaged under the project would be entitled to all the benefits available under the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP), 2011, provided they are organized as envisioned in the NMP. For infrastructure development, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode would be encouraged. While viability gap funding would be 12 • India Newsletter
available for infrastructure amenable to PPP, trunk infrastructure not amenable to PPP will be developed through grant-in-aid from the Central Government. The Central Government will also provide interest subsidy to States for land acquisition, grant-in-aid for project development and master planning of IMCs, set up AKICDC, provide external connectivity and all benefits under NMP, 2011, facilitate the establishment of tool room in clusters, enable technology partnership with Indian Institutes of Technology/National Institutes of Technology, grant of approvals for the IMC as well as help State Governments to promote global investments in clusters. State Governments would be responsible for ensuring availability of land for development of IMCs, necessary spurs for road infrastructure, facilitate generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in IMCs, putting in place single window clearance mechanism, setting up Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for development of clusters, identify and facilitate anchor industries in the IMCs, ensure provision of built up places and low cost housing. A three tier institutional structure at the Central level will be set up comprising an Apex Monitoring Authority under the Industry Minister, an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) under Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and the AKICDC for project development, coordination of implementation of the projects and inter-state activity. At the State level, a cell under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary/Industrial Development Commissioner would be constituted. State Governments will
set up a nodal agency at the cluster level for administration of clusters, or nominate an existing Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). For approval of individual IMC, in the first stage, based on an appraisal of the proposal by the Inter-Ministerial Group, ‘in-principle’ approval will be accorded , and final approval would be granted after the conditions laid down in the ‘in-principle’ approval and other conditions that may be considered necessary are fulfilled, through a detailed prescribed process. A financial indicative commitment of about Rs 5600 crore, spread over 15 years, by way of budgetary support from the Central Government has been estimated in the first pilot phase for setting up seven IMCs in the AKIC. The Union Cabinet also approved that AKICDC will be set up immediately with a total equity base of Rs 100 crore, with 49 percent stake of the Central Government, with balance equity to be taken by stakeholder State Governments as per option and willingness, and HUDCO.The Central Government will also provide Rs 100 crore as project development fund to AKICDC.
HCC wins orders worth Rs 726 cr Mumbai-based Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) has secured contracts worth Rs726 crore. A Rs433 crore order from Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam is for the construction of a 2.9 km four-lane bridge between Daudnagar and Nasriganj, including approach roads, over the river Sone in Bihar. HCC has also received orders totalling Rs293 crore from its businesses in water, nuclear and industrial segments.
EXPERT BUSINESS ADVICE The article below was extracted from Dezan Shira & Associates’s publication entitled “India Briefing”. For further corporate assistance, consider contating Dezan Shira & Associates, a specialist in foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. For further details or to contact the firm, please email Mr. Gujan Sinha under email@example.com or visit www.dezshira.com
Recent Changes in Indian FDI Policy Amendments in Indian FDI policy last year opened a number of key business sectors to increased foreign investment and in several instances eliminate the need for foreign investors to obtain approval from the Indian government before investing. Additional 2013 policy changes that alter the legal definition of ‘control’ as pertaining to the determination of sectorial caps, as well as regulations for single and multi-brand retail trading are also important for foreign institutional investors (FII) and firms considering foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI Routes and Forms Foreign investment into India falls under one of two FDI routes: ■■ Government Route: For investment in business sectors requiring prior approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). ■■ Automatic Route: For investment in business sectors that do not require prior approval from the government, but the filing of a notification after the incorporation of the company and issue of initial shares. Foreign investment takes one of two principal forms: ■■ Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): The acquisition of shares or other securities in an Indian company. ■■ Foreign Institutional Investment India Newsletter • 13
Embassy of India, Vienna
(FII): Investment by foreign institutional investors (such as hedge funds, insurance companies, or mutual funds) registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). These distinctions are important when interpreting recent changes in foreign investment policy, as foreign investment caps and approval routes often vary by both industry and investor.
Unchanged FDI Caps Civil Aviation 49% Defense 26% Airports 74%+ Print Media 26% Brownfield Pharmaceuticals 100% Multi-Brand Retail 51%
Changes to FDI Caps and Approval Routes A comparison of the previous and revised policies in key Indian business sectors are outlined in the chart in the previous page. Changes in the Definition of ‘Control’ A changed definition of ‘control’ is also expected to apply to FDI in sectors where a sectorial cap currently exists. Prior to the 2013 amendments, companies were considered to be ‘controlled’ by resident Indian citizens if Indian citizens held a 51 percent stake in the firm and had the power to appoint a majority of directors in that company. Under the broadened definition of control introduced this year, ‘control’ now includes not only the power to appoint a majority of directors, but also the ability to control the management or policy decisions via shareholding, management rights, shareholder agreements, or voting agreements. Indian citizens must exercise ‘control’ under all limbs of this new definition for a company to be considered domestically ‘controlled’. Consequently, companies previously considered to be ‘Indian’ may now be viewed as foreign controlled 14 • India Newsletter
and subject to FDI caps and other restrictions on downstream investment.
Changes in Single and MultiBrand Retail Trading While previous FDI policy only permitted one non-resident entity with ownership of a brand (or rights to a brand) to invest in Indian companies engaged in the retail trading of that brand, policy changes now allow multiple nonresident entities to invest in Indian entities engaged in single-brand retail trading of that brand (as long as each own or have rights to the brand via a legally binding agreement). Additionally, single-brand retail trading investment routes have been modified as follows: ■■ Former Position Cap - 100% / Route: Government ■■ Revised Position Cap - up to 49% / Route: Automatic Cap - above 49% / Route: Government In respect to multi-brand retail trading, changes made in 2012 permitted up to 51 percent FDI with prior government approval. Conditions for investment, however, required companies to invest at least 50 percent of the total FDI proceeds into ‘back-end infrastructure’ such as manufacturing, processing, packaging, distribution, logistics, design improvements, quality control, warehouses, storage, and agriculture market produce infrastructure. Changes made in 2013 now clarify that at least 50 percent of the first US$100 million invested must be in ‘back end infrastructure.’ Furthermore, the previous requirement for multi-brand retail trading companies (MBRTCs) regarding manufacturing and processing 30 percent of products in ‘small industries’ has been discontinued, and companies are now permitted to source their products from any manufacturing or processing entity so long as
investment in plant and machinery is below US$2 million at the first engagement. MBRTCs are now also allowed to establish outlets in a wider range of locations, as the previous restriction to cities with populations of at least 1 million has been scaled back. State governments now possess the authority to permit MBRTCs to operate in their region.
Investing The issuance of shares by Indian companies falls under the compliance guidelines outlined in the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Companies seeking capital through the public route should base the issuance price on SEBI guidelines. Unlisted companies seeking capital may not issue private shares at a price less than fair value based on the discounted cash flow method, and price will be determined by a SEBI registered merchant or chartered accountant. The acquisition of unlisted shares by a non-resident from an Indian resident must be exchanged at market price based on the SEBI guidelines. Units operating in SEZs may issue shares at a price based on the valuation against the import of capital goods. This valuation must receive approval from a Development Commissioner Committee and the appropriate customs officials. Shares must be officially issued within 180 days of receipt of invested capital, or the funds must be refunded to investors. Upon the issuance of shares to foreign investors, the issuing company has 30 days to file Form FC GPR, which outlines the company’s activities and relevant details, through the appropriate regional office of the RBI. A certificate declaring compliance with the Companies Act 1956 and Companies Act 2013, as applicable from time to time, shall be submitted at the same time. The issuing company shall also obtain a certificate confirming the price of issue is in line with the prescribed guidelines.
TRADE FAIRS INTERESTED IN VISITING A TRADE SHOW IN INDIA? In case your company is interested in visiting a tradeshow/B2B event in India, be it one listed here or another one that came to your attention, get in contact with us via firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information about possible assistance/subsidies.
India Newsletter â€˘ 15
Embassy of India, Vienna
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INVEST INDIA Federation House, Tansen Marg New Delhi—110 001 0091-11-23765085, 23487278 email@example.com www.investindia.gov.in
nvest India is the country’s official agency dedicated to investment promotion and facilitation. Set up as a joint venture between FICCI (51% equity), DIPP (35% equity held by the Department of Industrial
policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry) and State Governments of India (0.5% each), its mandate is to become the first reference point for the global investment community. It provides granulated, sectorspecific and state-specific information to a foreign investor, assists in expediting regulatory approvals, and offers hand-holding services. Its mandate also includes assisting Indian investors make informed choices about investment opportunities overseas.
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Embassy of India, Vienna
TOURISM India: The Greatest Show on Earth by Annie Fitzsimmons fter my recent eight-day whirlwind journey through India, I slept for days. India is exhilarating and a joy to experience, bursting with bright, decadent colour, but I have never been so exhausted after a trip. To do India on your own is challenging, especially if you want to fit a lot into a short period of time. On this trip, Greaves India tour guides led my group through each destination and also gave us time to explore on our own. I stayed at Oberoi hotels and resorts, to experience the brand synonymous with seamless service and beautiful properties in India. I flew from JFK on Qatar Airways business class (one of the best I’ve experienced ... hello lobster & caviar!) through Doha and arrived in Mumbai at 4 AM. On this late night drive into the city, it was hard not to notice skeletal stray dogs, people sprawled on cars and sidewalks, and an ... ahem ... interesting stench. My room at the sleek Oberoi Mumbai had views of Marine Drive, or “Queen’s Necklace,” named for the twinkling lights bordering the Arabian Sea that resemble jewellery. While there, I even took advantage of the 24-hour spa with a 11:00 PM post-dinner massage. We started our tour at the Gateway of India, Mumbai’s Eiffel Tower, and saw remnants of British colonial rule in the architecture. Other memorable stops included the Dhobi Ghat, the famous laundry area, the Gandhi Museum, the billion-dollar home of a Mumbai family, and the striking, enormous Victoria Terminus Train Station. Mumbai in October was still stifling and humid; think New Orleans or Houston on a mid-August day. The best time to go to India is November-March, when cooler weather descends without the
18 • India Newsletter
threat of monsoons. From Mumbai, I flew to the province of Rajasthan, the “Land of Kings,” which is most associated with India’s grand and glorious royal past. The dry, desert air was a welcome relief from Mumbai. In Rajasthan, I stayed at the palatialOberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur and the swanky yet comfortable Oberoi Rajvilasin Jaipur. Both offered peace from the chaos. From the airport in Udaipur, we passed the largest silver producing plant in India, and, of course, hundreds of cows. I was told by a local, “we treat cows like mothers and givers of life.” The Jagdish Temple, the Delhi vegetable market and a tour of the royal palace are not to missed in Udaipur. In Jaipur, my favourite moments were an elephant ride to the top of Amber Fort (get there early!), a tour of the just-opened former pleasure palace Jal Mahal, and shopping, shopping, and shopping. This is where you’ll find gorgeous fabrics, gems, clothing and accessories. Follow the footsteps of Princess Diana and Gwyneth Paltrow to Gem Palace, which has been in the same family since 1852. If you ask nicely, they might let you try on millions of dollars worth of jewels. For my time in Delhi, I stayed at The
Oberoi Gurgaon, a glossy new hotel in the business district close to the airport. To explore Delhi, there is usually terrible traffic from Gurgaon, but it’s a great place to stay (along with its next door neighbour The Trident Hotel) if you plan to take a day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Called the world’s greatest monument to love, the Taj Mahal was a tomb for the king’s favourite wife. I was surprised at how powerful it was. They don’t let any hawkers in, so you can peacefully take in the intricate detailing on the marble and the story of how it came to be. My guide said, “Our biggest advantage over China is that we speak English.” This completely enhanced my understanding of India as I saw Third World metropolises struggle to rise from poverty and old British rule and what it means for the rest of the world. India is indeed the greatest show on earth.
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Embassy of India, Vienna
INDIA IN AUSTRIA - PAST EVENTS Taste of India Event at the Vienna Expat Center
n February 13th, the Indian Embassy (Vienna) in cooperation with the Expat Center, an initiative of the Vienna Business
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Agency, organized the “Taste of India” evening. On the occasion, Prosi Exotic Supermarket & Cosmetic World, Austria’s largest international food store catered freshly cooked Indian food and Alpine Wineries,
producer of fine Indian wines, promoted a wine tasting for the 70+ guests who attended the event. The event also included some Incredible India tourism promotion and cultural performances.
he event was sponsored by PROSI Supermarket, the largest ethnic supermarkt in Austria, and Alpine Wineries, a quality Indian wine producer with an important footprint in Europe. ■■ As reported by Alpine Wineries: “It was a great opportunity for Alpine Wineries to be part of the event at Expat Centre, Vienna on 13th February 2014. This memorable evening was made possible by the keen personal interest of Mr.Swaminathan, Indian Ambassador to Austria. The well organized event provided a platform for the participants to exchange their experiences in informal set up with great ambience. The efforts put in by the organizers including the staff of Indian Embassy and other stakeholders in making this happen is highly appreciable. For us at Alpine Wineries it was a sense of déjà vu as our integrated vineyard and winery unit was established in a collaboration and partnership with Austrian Industry. A young entrepreneur’s dream of establishing a winery in India meeting global standards was realized through this collaboration. Hence, the evening provided an ideal platform for us to share our experience in establishing our unit and how this partnership is highly appreciated in the Indian wine industry circles. A traditional European business finding its foothold in India, an emerging economy is a sign of immense opportunities for partnership between Indian and Austrian Industries. The fact that exchanges between India and Austria is moving beyond traditional businesses and cultural exchanges augers well for the future collaboration between these two countries and its people. We earnestly hope that this is beginning of a long term relationship which provides a platform for people of Austria and India to exchange their ideas, complement & collaborate in business and other fields. We eagerly look forward to participating in many such events both in India and Austria which will take our relationship to a higher level and realize the full potential of this partnership.”
Kerala Tourism Roadshow in Vienna
he Tourism Department of the State of Kerala visited Vienna on February 18th, 2014, adding the Austrian capital to the roadmap of the“Kerala Tourism Roadshow”. The event was attended by leading outbound tourism agencies and businesses in Austria. Some impressions of the event can be found in the images below
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INDIAN MOVIE EVENING AT THE EMBASSY Due to limited capacity, seats will be given on a first come, first served basis. Therefore, you are highly encouraged to reserve your seats online at www.indianembassy.at, via email under marketingofficer@ indianembassy.at
Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year
arpreet Singh Bedi (Ranbir Kapoor) has just graduated, and his marks
are, well, let’s say a little embarrassing. But
from dreaming of an exciting and adventurous career, and they never will. ‘Rocket Singh - Salesman of the Year’ is the sometimes thoughtless, sometimes thoughtful story of a fresh graduate trying to find a balance between the maddening demands of the ‘professional’ way, and the way of his heart - and stumbling upon a crazy way which turned his world upside down, and his career right side up. Welcome to the world of sales, boss! ■■ Director: Shimit Amin ■■ Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Prem Chopra, Gauhar Khan ■■ Genre: Comedy ■■ Duration: 150 min ■■ Release Year: 2009 ■■ Language: Hindi ■■ Subtites: German
Showtime March 28th, 18:00 Indian Embassy Business Centre (1st Floor, Kärntner Ring 2, 1010 Vienna) 22 • India Newsletter
NOTICE BOARD EMBASSY’S LIBRARY ■■ The EMBASSY’S library is opened mondays and wednesdays from 11am to 1pm without appointment. ■■ For scheduling an appointment outside the opening hours, please contact the information assistant under firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 505 8666 33
BUSINESS CENTRE ■■ The EMBASSY’S Business Centre is opened DAILY from 11am to 1pm without appointment. ■■ For scheduling an appointment outside the opening hours, please contact the commercial wing under the contacts given below. ■■ Marketing Officer: email@example.com or 01 505 8666 30 ■■ Marketing Assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 505 8666 31
STUDENTS WELFARE OFFICER ■■ Mr. Pawan T. Badhe, Third Secretary in this Embassy has been designated as Officer to look after welfare of Indian Students in Austria and Montenegro. ■■ His contact details are: 0043 1 505 866 15 and email@example.com
MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS GOES MOBILE Now you can... ■■ Avail services : passport, visa, consular assistance ■■ Ask your Minister : on the go, anytime, anywhere ■■ Follow your PM : on his visits abroad ■■ Find the nearest Indian Mission/Post : for emergency consular assistance ■■ Be informed : about India’s Foreign Relations on the move and form your own opinions ■■ Know more : about how to undertake Kailash Manasarovar Yatra and Haj Pilgrimage ■■ Download and watch : pictures & documentaries on India ■■ Play and Personalize : what you need, when you need ■■ Share and contribute : your views, pics & suggestions All this & much more on your smartphone Ministry of External Affairs proudly presents “MEAIndia” – an integrated smart app for mobile and other hand held devices ‘MEAIndia’ is now available for download on App Store and Google Play Store..
FACEBOOK ■■ Our Facebook page targets the India-Austria community and covers subjects such as Business, Culture, Embassy News, India-related events and programmes in Austria, and much more. ■■ We have reached the 1300 followers mark! ■■ ‘Like’ our facebook page and be the first to know!
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India Newsletter published by the Embassy of India, Vienna