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INDIA NEWSLETTER www.indianembassy.at

Published by the Embassy of India, Vienna Year 4 • Issue 41 • May 2014

FEATURED INDUSTRY INDIAN STEEL SECTOR India Newsletter • 1


Embassy of India, Vienna

NEWS FLASHES

01

Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) into

08

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

India reached 669,000 in

has

March 2014, a growth by 4.5

the ranks of the top 10 IT

per cent year-on-year.n

services companies globally

02

with estimated IT services

India’s software revenues stood at

successfully

revenues of around US$ 10.1

US$ 4.76 billion in 2013,

billion.n

registering a growth of 10

09

per cent over 2012.n

03

joined

Smartphone shipments to India

The digital universe in India is growing

increased by 181 per cent

by nearly 100 per cent

are expected to double in

in every two years and is expected to increase 9-fold between 2013 and 2020.n

04

India obtained foreign remittances

of US$ 70 billion in 2013, the largest in the world.n

05

India’s total exports in the current fiscal

are expected to cross US$ 325 billion due to the improving economic scenario in US and

year-on-year in 2013 and 2014.n

10

India, the world's fourth largest

steel maker, produced 7.25 million tonnes (MT) steel in March 2014.n

11

New launches in the residential segment

increased by 43 per cent at 55,000 units across eight major cities in India during

Europe.n

the first quarter of 2014.n

06

12

India’s demand for paper is expected

Around 100,000 new companies

to rise 53 per cent touching

were registered in India in

20 million tonnes (MT) by

2013-14.n

2020.n

13

07

11 out of every 12 diamonds sold

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs)

invested Rs 9,602 crore (US$

across the world are cut and

1.59 billion) in the Indian

polished in India.n

market in April 2014.n

2 • India Newsletter

14

Over 80 Indian Companies have invested US$ 2.5 billion in agriculture across Africa.n

15

India’s largest bank, State Bank of India (SBI) has announced a one-year rural fellowship programme ‘SBI Youth for India (SBI YFI)’ for 2014 to draft the country’s youth to become change agents in the rural regions.n

16

The Indian tractor market, the largest in the world, is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8–9 per cent for next five years.n

17

India is the World’s largest producer of Bananas.n

18

India has overtaken Japan to become the world’s third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) after the US and China, according to a WorldBank report.n

19

I n d i a ’ s manufacturing sector garnered 12 per cent of the demand for engineers with experience below two years during Feb-Mar 2014.n


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NEWS ARTICLES India’s growth story is work in progress: Manmohan

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n his farewell speech to the Planning Commission, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India’s growth story is “work in progress” and there is still a long way to go. “India’s development story is a work in progress...But there is a lot of distance that is still to be covered,” he said in his last interaction with members of the Planning Commission. Dr. Singh, who is Chairman of the Commission, made a case for reorienting the body to remain relevant in the globalised world. “With an increasingly open and liberalised economy with a greater reliance on market mechanisms, we need to reflect on what the role of the Planning Commission needs to be in this new world,” Dr. Singh said while recalling his long association with the Commission. Expressing satisfaction over the working of the Commission during the UPA’s 10-year rule, the Prime Minister hoped the panel would “subject itself to a critical review and will continue to play a leading role in the policy debate in government and in the development of our nation.” The Commission, Dr. Singh said, needs to evaluate its approach to problems and challenges in the evolving economic scenario. “Are we still using tools and approaches which were designed for a different era? Have we added on new functions and layers without any restructuring of the more traditional activities in the Commission?” Singh asked as he flagged some of the issues. Dr. Singh’s association with the Commission started in April 1980, when he became a membersecretary. He was also Deputy Chairman of the body when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister.n

India displaces Japan to become third-largest world economy in terms of PPP: World Bank

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ndia has displaced Japan to become the world's third biggest economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), according to a World Bank report released. The 2011 round of the bank's International Comparison Program (ICP) ranked India after the US and China. The last survey in 2005 had placed the country on 10th place. PPP is used to compare economies and incomes of people by adjusting for differences in prices in different countries to make a meaningful comparison. India's share in World GDP in terms of PPP was 6.4% in 2011 compared with China's 14.9% and the US' 17.1%, the latest ICP showed. The survey covered 199 economies. "The United States remained the world's largest economy, but it was closely followed by China when measured using PPPs. India was now the world's third largest economy, moving ahead of Japan," the report said. Despite high inflation in India in recent years, prices in the country are still well below those in advanced economies, explaining the higher raking for India on the PPP measure. But according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), India's economy is 12th largest and only about a third of Japan's in terms of absolute unadjusted dollars. "The economies with the lowest prices are either in Africa or Asia and the Pacific and include India, which has the third-largest economy," the report noted. "Because economies estimate their GDP at national price levels and in national currencies, those GDPs are not comparable. To be compared, they must be valued at a common price level and expressed in a common currency," the report said, giving out the rationale for the PPP adjustments.n

WTO figures bring cheer to Indian export sector

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ith the World Trade Organisation projecting world trade to grow by 4.7 per cent in 2014 and a slightly faster growth at 5.3 per cent in 2015, which is a 20-year average growth rate, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations has noted that this augurs well for India's exports. While world trade grew by 7.35 per cent on an average between 2005 and 2013, India’s exports grew by 15.66 per cent on an average in the same period, according to the FIEO. However, since India recorded only a modest growth of about 4 per cent in 2013-14, it is necessary for the trade to look at a 15 per cent increase in exports, taking it to $360 billion in 2014-15, said the FIEO chief. In the case of world trade, the growth per cent of 2014 is more than double of what was achieved in 2013 (2.2 per cent). In 2013, trade growth rate was slow due to a combination of flat import demand in developed economies and moderate import growth in developing economies. On the export side, both developed and developing economies only managed to record a small, positive increase. The trade forecast for 2014 has been upgraded to 4.7 per cent from 4.5 per cent. In 2013, Asia recorded the fastest GDP growth at 4.2 per cent, which was almost equal to growth in the previous two years. Responding to the revised forecast of increase in global trade in 2014 and in 2015, M Rafeeque Ahmed, President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has said that projected growth in global trade is a major positive and has been a key factor in driving India's exports. On a rough estimate, India’s exports growth has been more than doubled the global trade growth. ``We should expect a minimum of India Newsletter • 3


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10 per cent increase in exports in 2014,'' said Ahmed. He added that though manufacturing had declined by 0.7 per cent in the April 2013 to February 2014 period, it needed to be promoted at all cost. ``We have to see that the share of manufacturing in GDP increases continuously to touch 25 per cent by 2020. The new Foreign Trade Policy should initiate measures for competitive manufacturing in the country, both for augmenting exports and substituting imports,'' Ahmed added. Incidentally, in 2013, exports of Asia grew faster than any other region, with a 4.6 per cent rise, followed by North America and Europe. However, India suffered a sharp drop of 2.9 per cent in its imports, due to its economic slowdown. Exports of India also fell short of the target of $325 billion in 2013-14, and touched $312 billion.n

India set to grow at 5.4 pc in 2014: IMF

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he International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected India's growth to recover from 4.4 percent in 2013 to 5.4 percent in 2014 and strengthen to 6.4 percent next year, essentially unchanged from its forecast in January. These projections are based on the assumption that government efforts to revive investment growth succeed and export growth strengthens after the recent rupee depreciation, the multilateral finance institution said in the April 2014 World Economic Outlook (WEO). India's growth recovery is supported by slightly stronger global growth, improving export competitiveness, and implementation of recently approved investment projects, it said. A pick-up in exports in recent months and measures to curb gold imports have contributed to lowering the current account deficit, 4 • India Newsletter

IMF said. Policy measures to bolster capital flows have further helped reduce external vulnerabilities. "Overall growth is expected to firm up on policies supporting investment and a confidence boost from recent policy actions, but will remain below trend," IMF said. "Consumer price inflation is expected to remain an important challenge, but should continue to move onto a downward trajectory," the WEO said. In a number of economies, including Brazil, India, and Indonesia, inflation pressure continues and could be reinforced by currency depreciation since mid-2013, IMF said. In India, further tightening of the monetary stance might be needed for a durable reduction in inflation and inflation expectations. The forecast for China is that growth will remain broadly unchanged at about 7.5 percent in 2014-15, only a modest decline from 2012-13. Elsewhere in emerging and developing Asia, growth is expected to remain at 5.3 percent in 2014 because of tighter domestic and external financial conditions before rising to 5.7 percent in 2015, helped by stronger external demand and weaker currencies. For Asia as a whole, growth is expected to accelerate modestly, from 5.2 percent in 2013 to about 5.5 percent in both 2014 and 2015, the WEO said. The improved outlook in advanced economies, alongside more competitive exchange rates in some cases, will help boost exports. Inflation is expected to increase slightly, albeit remaining generally low across the region, as output gaps close. The main exceptions are India and Indonesia, whose high inflation rates should continue to moderate further, IMF said.n

India’s share in global exports static in 2013

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ndia’s share in global exports and ranking amongst top exporters remained unchanged in 2013. The country’s growing current account deficit, however, was flagged as an area of concern by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in its trade forecast report released. The forecast upgraded the expected world trade growth for 2014 to 4.7 per cent from 4.5 per cent estimated earlier. The prospect for 2015 is better with a 5.3 per cent expected growth in merchandise trade, it said. India exported goods worth $312 billion in 2013 posting a 5 per cent rise over the previous year. Its share in world exports was 1.7 per cent — the same as the previous year. The country was ranked 13 amongst top exporting countries as opposed to last year’s ranking of 19, but the improvement was only on paper. The change was on account of the European Union being considered as a single member as opposed to the earlier practice of EU membercountries being ranked separately. India’s imports contracted 5 per cent in 2013 to $466 billion, which the WTO attributed to the country’s economic slowdown. The forecast expressed concerns over India’s large current account deficit and its vulnerability to financial market volatility. “The rise in financial market volatility was most keenly felt in emerging markets with large current account deficits. This is especially true of India, where output growth seesawed from 2.6 per cent in the second quarter to 7.2 per cent in the third, then back to 3.9 per cent in the fourth,” it said.n


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Govt plans conclaves to help exporters face quality, standards barriers India is working on a roadmap to help exporters deal with quality and technical standard barriers faced in foreign markets. Exports of shrimps, rice, steel, peanuts and milk powder from India are increasingly facing quality and specification barriers that are often not backed by proper scientific evidence. The Commerce Ministry will hold consultations with experts from international trade organisations, standard setting bodies as well as representatives from the Indian industry to identify ways in which quality issues can be better handled. “We are planning a series of such interactions so that we are aware of the steps that are required to be taken in the country as a whole and also sector-wise to deal with the issue of quality standards acting as trade barriers,” Joint Secretary of Commerce Sudhanshu Pandey said. The first such conclave, which brought together experts from the World Trade Organisation, the Food and Agricultural Organisation, the International Trade Corporation, the global standard setting body Codex and United Nation’s ESCAP, took place in New Delhi on April 16-17. It assessed the gaps in existing procedural, administrative, regulatory, and legislative areas and arrived at a roadmap of reforms required to meet global challenges. Officials from Indian standard setting bodies such as the Bureau of Indian Standards and the Export Inspection Council also participated in the discussions. “Recommendations were given to the Government on steps to be taken to be rated better on the quality front so that exports can be promoted. Wherever standards are being used as barriers, we will try to find remedies for them,” Pandey

said. India needs more expert bodies, better land infrastructure and more accreditation and certification bodies to begin with, he added. Although the Government does not have numbers on the trade affected by quality barriers, the quantum is fast growing as it is not just the developed countries, but developing countries too that are using these. Indian industry also needs to be more aware of the issues at hand. “At present, awareness is very poor and exporters often don’t even get to realise whether the barriers that they are facing are genuine or can be contested. They keep suffering silently,” Pandey said.n

India tightens certification norms for fruits, veggies to pacify EU

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xports of all perishable items to the European Union from India will now be routed through recognised pack-houses under the vigilance of plant protection inspectors to minimise quality glitches. The move is aimed at convincing the EU, that recently banned export of five fruits and vegetables from India as pests were found in some consignments, to reverse its decision. “We have asked the EU to send its team of experts to see our improved inspection and quality certification process and lift its export ban,” a Commerce Ministry official said. The EU’s Standing Committee on Plant Health imposed a ban on Indian mangoes, bitter gourd, taro, egg plant and snake gourd, as pests and insects were detected in a number of consignments shipped from the country.

satisfied about India taking genuine steps to improve its sanitary and phyto-sanitary certification process, the official said. Although only about 5 per cent of India’s total exports of perishables to the EU have been affected at the moment, there is much more at stake as the country exports fruits and vegetables worth over €400 million to the region. Indian officials from the Commerce Ministry and the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) under the Agriculture Ministry recently met officials from the EU’s Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs in Brussels to discuss the ban. “We informed the EU that India had already decided to put in place an improved inspection and quality certification process when the ban was announced and the EU should have waited for it to be implemented. Now that we have gone a step forward and are getting the packaging process supervised by NPPO inspectors, there shouldn’t be any more problems,” the official said. The Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), in its notification, has specified that it is not only essential for pack houses to follow complete procedure for export of fruits and vegetables to the EU laid down by it, it also has to maintain records of arrival of material and actual shipped quantity and report it daily to the Government. Improved inspection

Ban may be extended

“The number of rejection of consignments at the pack houses has gone up significantly after the stricter inspection and certification process was put in place this month. We are confident that the EU will have less to complain about now,” the official said.

The ban, which will be applicable from May, could be extended to other perishables if EU is not

The EU, however, has not given any commitments on when it would lift the existing ban.n India Newsletter • 5


Embassy of India, Vienna

India eyes benefits from new, mega free trade bloc; industry cautious

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he Commerce Ministry is in hectic consultations with other Ministries and the industry to ensure that India is a net gainer in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership — the largest free trade bloc proposed so far. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) being negotiated between India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the ten-member ASEAN, is a difficult one for India to navigate, as it would have to open doors to a large number of countries in one go. “Although we have separate FTAs with many of these countries, they want to go beyond what has already been given to them,” a Commerce Ministry official said. With the industry already finding faults with the pacts India has signed with the ASEAN countries, Japan, South Korea and the limited one with Thailand, it would find it hard to open up its markets further. ASEAN includes Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Continued protection The automobile and the electronics industry, for instance, which have been shielded to a large extent in the FTAs signed with the Asian countries individually, would want continued protection, despite pressures for opening up by the members of the new bloc. “We have warned the industry that they have to send us their inputs at the earliest. They have to tell us exactly where they want protection, how they would want non-tariff barriers placed by other countries to be addressed, and the areas that we have to push aggressively for greater market access in other countries,” the official said. Comments have been also sought from other Ministries and departments on what the country’s negotiating strategy would be. 6 • India Newsletter

These could be incorporated in the separate carve-outs that India wants with individual countries, especially China, which poses the greatest threat to the country. But the main reason for India participating in the negotiations despite the threats to its domestic industry is the opportunity in store. The group of 16 countries, with a population of more than 3 billion people, has a combined GDP of about $17 trillionand accounts for 40 per cent of the world trade. “If you are talking of major economies in Asia, Australia and the Oceania coming together, India not being part of it would have been an unthinkable situation. We are also looking at RCEP as an opportunity for us to be more competitive. That is a challenge,” Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said at a recent seminar. Exclusion India’s exclusion from the RCEP would have isolated it completely in the region, with all other countries trading with each other on favourable terms. “Since staying out of RCEP is not an option at all, we have to focus on how to maximise our gains and minimise our losses. For that we want inputs from the industry and other ministries fast as negotiations are happening very frequently,” the official said.n

German tyre major Continental bets big on India

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erman tyre major Continental has said India will be a key focus market for the company for new investments as it expands here following the acquisition of Modi Tyres in 2011. The company said it is also open to fresh acquisitions in India to gain a sizeable foothold faster, though there are no immediate targets. "India is a critical market for Continental and despite shortterm challenges, I strongly believe that that it is a strong long-term prospect," said Nikolai Setzer, member of Continental's executive

board and head of tyre division. The company sells truck/bus radial and bias tyres, which are manufactured at its plant at Modipuram in Uttar Pradesh. Also, it is present in the passenger car tyre market, while making two-wheeler tyres in partnership with Metro Tyres. Setzer, who heads Continental's 9.6 billion euro tyre business, said India and other BRIC countries are crucial for registering growth as traditional strongholds in the West decline. "Europe and North America contribute 83% to our sales. But, these regions are only stable and not growing. Out of these mature markets, you can only get a growth of 1-2%.From emerging countries, you can still expect a growth of 4-5%. It can be more in a certain year." "Last year, we invested about 800 million euros in the tyre division... (and) it is fair to assume that a big portion has gone to BRIC countries." The company has similar investment plans for this year, and Setzer said a substantial portion will again come to BRIC countries. "BRIC will remain a big focus in 2014 as well." Speaking about the Indian market, he said that having local production adds strength to the company's product portfolio. "We have found the right set-up. We have an installed capacity for bias tyres and these are expected to be a substantial part of the market for some time. Installing radials in that plant also gives us great economies of scale and a leverage that we can use." Setzer conceded that competition in the Indian market is intense considering that there are strong local players like Apollo, MRF and JK Tyres apart from global biggies like Michelin. "I have not found even one market in the world that is easy to crack... But looking at the market here in India for us, we have now local production for our range. We have premium technology, we have a very experienced sales team that knows the market very well, and we have good dealers. We believe we have everything which we need and


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a very good package to be successful in the market and find our market place. We see there is room for us." Asked whether the company is open to fresh acquisitions after buying out Modi in 2011, he said there are no immediate plans, though the company is always open for the right opportunity."We just acquired Modi Tyres in 2011. We have invested 50 million euros which is substantial and which we are currently ramping up. The appetite right now for an additional acquisition is very limited. We have to ramp this up first and make it successful. However, we have the financial means and we are open, and do monitor the market. If there is a great opportunity, we will never rule it out."n

Tata Group to encourage and enhance innovation across business sectors and companies

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he Tata Group is planning to come up with a formal structure at the group level to foster innovation across all its companies, a top Tata Sons executive said. At present most of the group companies are pursuing innovation in isolation, said Mukund Govind Rajan, a member of the conglomerate's group executive council, brand custodian and chief ethics officer. The group had in 2007 formed the Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF) as a first step towards bringing all such activities together. "There is a thinking in the group to come up with something more concrete which would incubate new ideas. We have yet to decide on which route to take but the innovation agenda will become prime supreme in years to come," Rajan said while addressing a press conference here on Tuesday. Rajan said some group companies such as Tata Industries and Tata Capital have been taking the agenda of innovation ahead and providing risk capital to new ventures. "At present, the group together spends around 2.5% of total revenue on

R&D which will go up in the days to come." Sunil Sinha, Tata Sons' chief of group quality management services, said since the formation of the TGIF, more than 7,000 successful innovation had come up from the group involving 25,000 employees. "While till now the TGIF used to focus more on streamlining processes, cost reduction and improve productivity, we are trying to use it to create new product and services and foster B2C (business-to-consumer) innovation," he said. TGIF has also been organising a group-wide programme, called Tata Innovista, to foster innovation among employees. Tata companies from across the world have introduced 1,010 promising innovations in 2013-14. Of them, 43 ideas reached the final round of Tata Innovista. Sinha said Tata Consultancy Services BSE 0.29 %, Tata Motors BSE 1.74 %, Tata Steel BSE -0.41 %, Titan BSE 0.52 %, Tata Global Beverages BSE 1.09 % and Tata Chemicals BSE 0.27 % are leading the innovation pecking order in the group. Tata Sons has also created a team of chief technology officers across the group and it meets twice a year "to foster closer collaboration between group companies", he said. "All such efforts and initiatives will be intensified."n

India ranks No 3 on US’ Green Building Council list

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he US Green Building Council (USGBC) has ranked India No 3 among list of the top 10 countries for LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified buildings outside of the US. Canada tops the list followed by China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany and Brazil. The list of the top 10 countries for LEED reflects the global adaptability of the world’s most widely used and recognised system guiding the design, construction, operations and maintenance of green buildings.

“The global community is increasingly recognising the imperative for action as we combat worldwide climate change,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. Project teams in over 140 countries have implemented LEED in their building projects taking advantage of its global, regional and local applicability to create structures that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, create healthier indoor environments for workers, students and community members, and lower utility bills for building owners through reduced energy and water use. The ranking is based on cumulative gross square metres (GSM) of space certified to LEED in each nation as of April 2014. India has 11.64 million GSM of LEED-certified space and has 1,657 certified and registered projects representing 66.22 million GSM.n

Air India to join Star Alliance in July

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n a major boost for national carrier Air India, the world’s largest airline alliance - Star Alliance said that Air India will formally join the alliance in July and become the first Indian airline to do so. “Air India has completed 45 of the 64 requirements already and the remaining will be completed in May,” said Air India chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan. Following the completion of the requirements, Star Alliance’s member airline CEOs would meet in London on June 23 for an endorsement vote, said Mark Schwab, chief executive officer Star Alliance. “The precise date is yet to be decided but it will be in July,” confirmed Schwab. He added that remaining work is mostly IT related to ensure Air India’s systems are integrated within the Star Alliance system. “There are also a few commercial agreements that need to be signed India Newsletter • 7


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with other member airlines relating to codeshares, but Air India is already in the advanced stages of those discussions,” said Schwab. The formal joining will mark the culmination of a three year wait for Air India after its precious attempt to join the alliance failed in July 2011. It was only in December 2013 that Star Alliance members unanimously voted for Air India to restart the integration process to join the airline. “It’s a different Air India,” said Schwab when asked what changed in the three years since July 2011. “They have been through a tough merger but they have a strong management team and they have improved their infrastructure and fleet.” After joining the alliance, Air India is most likely to tweak the schedule to align its flight timings with the 13 Star Alliance members flying into India. Schwab also said that while expanding internationally, Air India would benefit more from flying into existing hubs of the alliance. “The benefits will start coming from day one,” said Nandan. “There will be passengers flying on the Star

E-visas to boost inbound tourism by 15% initially: Madhavan Menon, Thomas Cook India

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he government’s decision to introduce the electronic visa facility (e-Visa) will give a much needed boost to inbound travel in India. In an e-mail interview with ET, Madhavan Menon, managing director of travel firm Thomas Cook India BSE 1.17 %, says that any delay in implementation of the facility may yield results only in the next tourist season, starting November. He also calls for relaxing taxes on tourism products and services. Edited excerpts: How will e-Visa or electronic travel authorisation boost inbound tourism in India? Introduction of electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is indeed welcome as it is vital towards building critical mass-momentum and infusing much-needed demand into the under-leveraged inbound sector. Destination India has tremendous latent potential, which the authorisation will help tap.

Alliance network using Air India boarding passes. The benefits will keep growing along time.” One of the added benefits of the alliance membership is Air India”s efforts to improve customer service. The airline has started to implement a Customer Service Improvement Programme in partnership with Star Alliance. Nandan added that Air India has now asked global airline body IATA to undertake customer satisfaction surveys to monitor the progress of its service improvements.n 8 • India Newsletter

As per a joint study by UNWTO and WTTC in 2012, India will benefit with an additional six million travelers and 1.8 million new jobs over a period of three years by easing visa restrictions, thus significantly boosting the economy. It will also drive success for businesses connected directly or indirectly with the tourism industry. Implementing the ETA for multiple entry visas with longer duration stays will increase its efficiency and appeal.

While the order has been passed by the government when is the e-Visa facility expected to be implemented? As per current industry dialogues, the e-visa facility is slated to be implemented this year. Will a delay in implementation of this facility affect the inbound tourism potential in the country? Enforcing the ETA before the next tourism season, which starts in November, will have a positive impact on inbound traffic and make India a more viable destination. Despite the inbound market operating with planning windows of at least one-two years prior season, we anticipate that ETA implementation (before the upcoming tourist season) will result in a clear jump of at least 15%, and this is only the start. However, a delay in implementation may push back the positive results of such a facility into the next season. There are also concerns about biometrics being included in the e-Visa process. What are the challenges facing the travel and tourism industry? Given that the travel and tourism industry is one of the key employers and contributors to the exchequer, the industry is handicapped today. Be it multiple taxation or varying tax levels imposed by state governments, the inbound business into India is rendered both expensive and challenging. What are the major areas in tourism where government intervention is needed? There is a need for more government initiatives and relaxed taxation policies on products and services. Combating negative publicity like hygiene, safety and security will be critical for Incredible India’s image.


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INDUSTRY The Indian Steel Sector

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ndia has become the second best in terms of growth amongst the top ten steel producing countries in the world and a net exporter of steel during 2013–14. Steel production in India recorded a growth rate of 4.8 per cent in February 2014 over February 2013. The cumulative growth during April–February, 2013–14 stood at 4.2 per cent over the corresponding period of the previous year. Steel contributes to nearly two per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and employs over 500,000 people. The total market value of the Indian steel sector stood at US$ 57.8 billion in 2011 and is expected to touch US$ 95.3 billion by 2016. The infrastructure sector is India’s largest steel consumer, thereby attracting investments from several global players. Owing to this connection with core infrastructure segments of the economy, the steel industry is of high priority right now. Also, steel demand is derived from other sectors like automobiles, consumer durables and infrastructure; therefore, its fortune is dependent on the growth of these user industries. The liberalisation of the industrial policy and other government initiatives have given a definite impetus for entry, participation and growth of the private sector in the steel industry. Allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) has been a positive step since India is heavily dependent on foreign technologies. These foreign technologies generally add life to the plant and production units, which ultimately lead to the country’s economic growth.n

Market Size

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ndia’s real consumption of total finished steel grew by 0.6 per cent year-on-year in April–March 201314 to 73.93 million tonnes (MT), according to Joint Plant Committee

(JPC), Ministry of Steel. Construction sector accounts for around 60 per cent of the country's total steel demand while the automobile industry consumes 15 per cent. India became net steel exporter in 2013–14 and is likely to maintain the momentum in 2014-15 as producers are looking to dock more overseas shipment to tide over subdued domestic consumption. Total steel exports by India during 2013–14 stood at 5.59 MT, as against imports of 5.44 MT. During the period, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) clocked a 30 per cent growth in exports and aims to more than double the shipments to 1 MT in 2014–15. Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), which exported 1 lakh tonne steel last fiscal, aims to treble that in the current fiscal. Iron ore export from India has showed a 253 per cent increase during the period October– December 2013, at 3.75 MT as against 1.06 MT in the corresponding period of the previous year, on the back of the opening of new mines in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, as per the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI).n

■■ Prize Petroleum, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), has acquired stakes in two Australian hydrocarbon fields for A$ 85 million (US$ 79.27 million). The company has entered into an agreement with Sydney-based AWE Ltd to acquire 11.25 per cent stake in T/L1 area and 9.75 per cent interest in T/18P area. ■■ McNally Bharat Engineering Co Ltd has entered Russia for the first time through a subsidiary, MBE Coal & Minerals Technologies GMBH. It received an order worth €5.95 million (US$ 8.21 million) from Eurochem Group of Russia for an iron ore mining project. ■■ Canada has invited Coal India Ltd (CIL) to explore mining opportunities in British Columbia, Canada. Mr Stewart Beck, Canadian High Commissioner met with Mr N Kumar, Director (Technical) of Coal India Ltd, to seek investments for coal assets in the Canadian province. CIL currently holds interests in two assets in Mozambique acquired through a concession agreement between the African and Indian governments.n

Investments

Government Initiatives

ndia needs investment of US$ 210 billion over the next decade to achieve the steel production capacity of 300 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) by 2025 from the current 90 MT, according to Mr C S Varma, Chairman and Managing Director, SAIL. Some of the major investments in the sector are as follows: ■■ India's third-largest steel maker, JSW Steel, plans to purchase Welspun Maxsteel for about Rs 1,000 crore (US$ 165.32 million). The acquisition will help JSW secure continuous supply of cheaper raw material as it plans to expand its capacity at Dolvi, Maharashtra, to 5 MT to supply in the western and northern markets.

he Government of India has allowed 100 per cent FDI through the automatic route in the Indian steel sector. It has significantly reduced the duty payable on finished steel products and has streamlined the associated approval process. The government is taking steps to increase industrial activity in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Addressing a Conference on ‘Demand for Steel in India: The End User Perspective,’ the Union Minister of Steel, Mr Beni Prasad Verma said, in order to increase supply of steel to rural consumers, companies like SAIL and RINL have set up 521 and more than 100 rural dealers respectively in remote parts of UP.

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India Newsletter • 9


Embassy of India, Vienna

In order to provide thrust on research and development (R&D), the Ministry of Steel is encouraging R&D activities both in public and private steel sectors, by providing financial assistance from Steel Development Fund (SDF) and Plan Scheme of the Central Government. Under the SDF scheme, 82 R&D projects have been approved with total project cost of Rs 677 crore (US$ 111.92 million) wherein SDF assistance is Rs 370 crore (US$ 61.17 million). Under the Plan Scheme, eight projects were approved with a total cost of Rs 123.27 crore (US$ 20.38 million) wherein Government assistance is Rs 87.28 crore (US$ 14.43 million). To encourage beneficiation and pelletisation of iron ore fines in the country, basic customs duty on the

plants and equipment required for initial setting up or substantial expansion of iron ore pellets plants and iron ore beneficiation plants has been reduced from 7.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Import of critical raw materials for steel industry, such as coking coal, non-coking coal and scrap are subject to zero or very low levels of custom duty.n

The future of the Indian steel industry is bright. The government plans to increase infrastructure spending from the current 5 per cent GDP to 10 per cent by 2017, and the country is committed to investing US$ 1 trillion in infrastructure during the 12th Five-Year plan. “Taking 15 per cent as steel component in

the total investment, then it can generate additional demand worth US$ 75 billion of steel in the next few years or US$ 15 billion worth of additional demand a year or in terms of quantity, an additional demand of 18.75 MT per annum,” as per Mr C S Verma, Chairman, SAIL. With urban population increasing globally, there is a greater need for steel to build public-transport infrastructure. Emerging economies will also continue to be a major driver of demand as these necessitate a huge amount of steel for urbanisation and industrialisation. The sector is expected to see an investment to the tune of about Rs 2 trillion (US$ 33.06 billion) in the coming years, as per domestic giant, Tata Steel.n

strategically located as regards proximity to customers, raw material and export infrastructure. It has three manufacturing units in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Orissa. The company is a source for vivid variety of products such as cold rolled closed annealed, galvanised coil and sheet, high tensile steel strapping, colour coated coils, hardened and tempered steel strips

and HFW/ERW Pipe. As one of the prime movers of the technological revolutions in the Indian Cold Rolled Steel Industry, the company has emerged as the country’s largest and the only cold rolled steel plant with an independent line for manufacturing cold rolled coil and sheet up to a width of 1700 mm, as well as galvanised coil and sheet up to a width of 1350 mm.

Road Ahead

ADVANTAGE INDIA

SHOWCASE - Vodafone India

Bhushan Steel is a leading integrated steel and power producer in India. It is India’s third largest Secondary Steel Producer Company with an existing steel production capacity of 2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). Its manufacturing facilities are 10 • India Newsletter


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LATEST INDUSTRY NEWS JSPL invests $800 million in Oman Steel Plant

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aveen Jindal's JSPL group has commissioned a greenfield 2 million tonne (mt) steel plant in Sohar, Oman at an investment of $800 million. The greenfield unit, part of Jindal Shaheed Iron & Steel, a wholly owned subsidiary of JSPL, is one of the largest steel plants in the Gulf region. With this, JSPL has gearing up to meet a substantial part of the shortfall in the North Africa and Gulf region, where steel demand is estimated at 12 million tonne per year.

JSPL had acquired Shaheed Iron & Steel's 1.5 mt gas-based hot briquetted iron (HBI) unit in 2010 for $500 million. With the commissioning of the new facility, Jindal Shaheed, is tipped to emerge as one of the largest steel plants in the Middle East & Gulf region. The steel melting shop, using stateofart technology from Danielli Italy, is Oman's first and largest such unit and was commissioned in 23 months from the start of work at the site. Commenting on the new facility, Naveen Jindal, chairman, JSPL said: "The commissioning of

Jindal Shadeed's - Steel Melting Shop represents one more step of our commitment to build a comprehensive steel manufacturing facility in The Sultanate of Oman. The plant will not only meet the growing steel demand of Oman but would also cater to the needs of entire Gulf region & Middle East." Earlier, Jindal Shadeed had set up a 1.8 mt direct reduced iron plant, which is operating at full capacity for the last two years. The facility is engineered by world-renowned Kobe Steel (Japan) and Midrex (USA), leaders in the field of direct iron technology.

PERSPECTIVES ON INDIA Internet of Things: A

universe in 2020, is particularly

power grid can greatly enhance

promising paradigm for

notable.

massive

the ability of utilities to address

opportunities for business in five

rapidly changing power demand.

core areas – development of new

Smart buildings managed remotely

value creating business models; real

through a centralised system can

time information on products and

greatly reduce energy consumption.

processes for faster response times;

In agriculture, opportunities are

diversification of revenue streams;

being explored in remote pump

global visibility across the supply

control, weather monitoring and

chain and efficient and intelligent

management of the food supply

decision making in areas like pricing,

chain.

logistics and sales and support

M2M initiatives are targeted at

deployment.

better management of the work

India

A

report by EMC and IDC estimates that the digital universe in

India is doubling every two years and is expected to grow nine fold between 2013 and 2020 – from 326 exabytes to 2.8 zetabytes. Currently, data created by an average Indian household is equivalent to 65 32GB versions of iPhones. By 2020, this is expected to grow to 318, taking India’s share in the digital universe

A

IoT

number

provides

of

far

reaching

of

Similarly

healthcare

in

healthcare,

professionals

in

development outcomes can be

remote areas, tracking the location

envisioned for India, which have

and condition of medicines and

been highlighted in a report by

equipment and remote patient

growth include proliferation of

PricewaterhouseCoopers.

monitoring.

wireless technologies and internet

transportation

can

These applications are just the tip

consumption, rise of digital TV and

greatly reduce traffic congestion

of the iceberg as IoT promises a

growth of ‘sensors’ based machine

by identification of bottlenecks

far reaching impact on how India

to machine (M2M) communication

and intelligent rerouting. Smart

progresses on its development

or what we also define as Internet

metering in water, electricity and

goals and also on businesses

of Things (IoT). The evolution of

gas usage can greatly improve

and consumers. And considering

IoT, which is expected to account

monitoring of consumption, losses

the pace at which technology is

for around 10 per cent of all data

and frauds. Sensors that allow

advancing, these changes may be

generated

two way communications on the

visible much earlier than expected.

from 3 per cent to 6 per cent. Key

components

from

driving

India’s

this

digital

systems

Smart

India Newsletter • 11


Embassy of India, Vienna

EXPERT BUSINESS ADVICE The article below was extracted from Dezan Shira & Associates’s publication entitled “India Briefing”. For further corporate assistance, consider contacting 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 Mrs. Gujan Sinha under gunjan.sinha@dezshira.com or visit www.dezshira.com

How to Set Up a Wholly Foreign-Owned Business in India

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stablishing a Wholly Owned Subsidiary Under Indian Law, foreign investors are able to establish wholly owned subsidiary companies (WOS) in the form of private limited companies if they operate in sectors that permit 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI). With India’s recent loosening of FDI caps, companies are now also able to establish WOS in the telecom services and asset reconstruction sectors. Establishing a private limited company can be a lengthy and complicated process involving multiple steps. First, a minimum of two directors must be appointed and registered through India’s e-filing system for Director Identification Numbers (DIN). Minimum requirements for the establishment of a private limited company include the existence of two directors, two shareholders (who may be the same person as the directors), and a minimum share capital of INR 100,000 (1 Lakh). Second, a suitable name must be selected that indicates the main objectives of the company, and submitted with the RoC along with a brief description of the business’s proposed functions to verify both the name’s appropriateness and availability. Upon successful name registration, the applicant company has 60 days to file its Memorandum 12 • India Newsletter

of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AOA), and proceed with formal incorporation filings. Both the MOA and AOA must be stamped with the appropriate duty after the needed RoC fees and stamp duty have been paid, and both forms signed by at least two subscribers with a witness. Within this 10-day time window, the following documents must also be filed with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs web portal along with the requisite filing fees: Form 1 - Application for incorporation along with the MOA and AOA Form 18 - Notice of situation for the registered office (proof of address, etc.) Form 32 - Details of the company’s board of directors Upon successful submission of the above documents, the RoC will issue a Certificate of Incorporation and a Corporate Identification Number (Corporate Identity). The process generally takes 7 to 8 weeks to complete, and private limited companies are permitted to commence business immediately following their successful incorporation. ■■ Applicable Taxes While India has been liberalizing its governing policies since 1991, the country’s tax structure remains among the most complex and difficult to navigate in the world.

Understanding the wide variety of laws, regulations and procedures can be confusing for even the savviest of business operators. Foreign companies that do not seek specialized advice often end up overpaying on taxes or on the associated penalties and interest that go along with them. What follows is a brief description of the various taxes which should be taken into consideration when incorporating a private limited WOS company in India. Domestic Company Taxable Income < INR 10 > INR 10 > INR 100 million million million 30% 32.45% 33.99% Foreign Company Taxable Income < INR 10 > INR 10 > INR 100 million million million 40% 42.02% 43.26% ■■ Tax on the Distribution of Dividends Corporate entities are subject to a tax on the distribution of dividends. However, in the case of shareholder dividends, the associated income is exempt from tax. The current effective rate of the Dividend Distribution Tax is 16.995 percent (15 percent plus a 10 percent surcharge and an education cess of 3 percent). No exemption from payment of the DDT is granted for the profits


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relating to SEZ developers. To avoid a situation of double taxation being created by the DDT, it is permitted that, for the purpose of computing the tax, any dividend received by a domestic company during any financial year from its subsidiary shall be allowed to be deducted from the dividend to be distributed. This is provided the dividend received by the domestic company has been subject to DDT and the domestic company is not the subsidiary of any other company. ■■ Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) All companies declaring low or zero profits are subject to the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT). Presently, MAT is levied at 18.5 percent of book profits plus the applicable surcharges and education cess. The MAT is levied on companies whose tax payable under normal income tax provisions is less than 18.5 percent of book profits. Additionally, MAT is applicable to SEZ developers/units for income arising on or after April 1, 2012. ■■ Taxation of Royalties/Technical Fees Under domestic tax law, the royalties/technical fees that are payable to non-residents with a permanent establishment in India are taxed on a different basis compared to non-residents without permanent establishment in India. Concessional tax rates apply if the agreement relates to a matter that has been approved by the government of India. The payments made are subject to tax avoidance agreements entered into by the non-resident’s country. ■■ Wealth Tax Wealth tax is calculated on March 31st of every year (referred to as the valuation date). Wealth tax is charged to both individuals and companies at the rate of 1 percent of the amount by which the “net wealth” exceeds INR 3,000,000. The term “net wealth” is basically defined as the excess value of certain

assets over accumulated debt. Assets include guest and residential houses, motorcars, jewelry/ bullion/ utensils of gold and silver, yachts, boats, aircraft, urban land and cash in hand. A debt is an obligation to pay a defined sum of money arising from the assets included in “net wealth.” Indirect Taxes ■■ Customs Duty Customs duty is levied by the central government on the import and export of goods from India. The rate of customs duty applied to imported and exported products depends on its classification under the Customs Tariff Act. (CTA) In the case of exports from India, duty is levied only on a very limited list of goods. The Customs Tariff is aligned with the internationally recognized Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System of Tariff Nomenclature promulgated by the World Customs Organization. The Indian central government has the power to exempt any specified goods from the whole or part of the customs duties. In addition, preferential/ concessional rates of customs duty are available under the various bilateral and multilateral trade agreements entered into by India. Customs duty is levied on the transaction value of the imported or exported goods. Under the Customs Act 1962, transaction value is the sole basis of valuation for the purposes of import and export. Although India has adopted general principles of valuation for goods that are in accordance with the World Trade Organization’s agreement on customs valuation, the central government has established independent Customs Valuation Rules applicable to the import and export of goods. India has no uniform rate of customs duty, thus duty applicable to any product is based on a number of components. The types of customs duties are as follows:

Basic Customs Duty (BCD) BCD is the basic component of customs duty levied at the effective rate stipulated in the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act, 1985 (CTA) and applied to the landed value of the goods. Countervailing Duty (CVD) - CVD is equivalent to, and is charged to counter the effect of, the excise duty applicable on goods manufactured in India. CVD is calculated on the landed value of the goods and the applicable BCD. Educational Cess (EC) - EC at 2 percent and Secondary & Higher Education Cess (SHEC) at 1 percent are also levied on the CVD. Further, EC at 2 percent and SHEC at 1% are also levied on the aggregate customs duties. An Additional Duty of Customs (ADC) at 4 percent is also charged. ■■ Duties of Excise Central Value Added Tax (CENVAT) is a tax levied by the central government on the manufacture or production of movable and marketable goods in India. The rate at which excise duty is leviable on the goods depends on the classification of the goods under the Excise Tariff. The Excise Tariff is primarily based on the eight digit Harmonized System Code. The excise duty on most consumer goods is charged based on the MRP printed on the good’s packaging. Abatements are admissible at rates ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent of the MSRP for the purposes of charging Basic Excise Duty (BED). Goods other than those covered by an MSRP assessment are generally charged based on the “transaction value” of the goods sold to an independent buyer. In addition, the central government has the power to fix tariff values in order to charge ad valorem (“according to value”) duties on specific goods. Occasionally, notifications granting partial or complete exemption to specified goods from payment of excise duties are also issued. EC at 2 percent and SHEC at 1 percent are India Newsletter • 13


Embassy of India, Vienna

applicable on the aggregate excise duties. The central excise duty is a modified form of Value Added Tax (VAT) where a manufacturer is allowed credit on the excise duty paid on locally sourced goods as well as on the CVD paid on imported goods. The CENVAT credit can be utilized for payment of excise duty on the clearance of dutiable final products manufactured in India. In light of the integration of the goods and services tax initiated in 2004, manufacturers of dutiable final products are eligible to apply CENVAT credit to the service taxes paid on input services used in or in relation to the manufacture of final products as well as on clearances of final products up until the point of removal. In addition, CENVAT credit is allowed on the following input services: 1. Services used in relation to setting up, modernization, renovation or repairs of a factory, the premises of a service provider or an office relating to such a factory or premises 2. Advertisement promotion services 3. Services relating procurement of inputs

or

sales

On April 1, 2005, the state level sales tax was replaced by VAT in the majority of the states in India. The states of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Uttar Pradesh have all replaced the state sales tax regime with a VAT. Under the VAT regime, the VAT paid on goods purchased within the state is eligible for VAT credit. The input VAT credit can be utilized against the VAT/Central Sales Tax payable on the sale of goods. This ensures that only the value addition is taxed. Currently, there is no VAT on imports into India. Exports are zero rated. This means that while exports are not charged VAT, VAT charged on inputs purchased and used in the manufacture of export goods or goods purchased for export is available to the purchaser as a refund. State VAT is charged at varying rates: 1 percent, 4 percent , 5 percent and 20 percent. Turnover thresholds have been implemented so as to keep small traders out of the VAT regime. A tax under a composition scheme, at a lower rate, may be levied on small traders in lieu of the VAT. ■■ Service Tax

to

the

4. Activities relating to businesses such as accounting, auditing, financing, recruitment and quality control, coaching and training, computer networking, credit rating, share registry and security, inward transportation of inputs or capital goods, and outward transportation A manufacturer of dutiable and exempt goods, using common inputs or input services and opting not to maintain separate accounts, may choose between reversing the credit attributable to the inputs and input services used for manufacture of the exempted goods, to be worked out in a manner prescribed in the rules, or paying a percentage of the value of the exempted goods. 14 • India Newsletter

■■ VAT

Service tax was initially introduced in 1994 and was based on the positive list of services, wherein the specified services were made taxable. During the announcement of the 2012 budget, a new service tax regime was introduced wherein all services will be taxed unless they are specified within the negative list or are otherwise exempted. The negative list of services means that all services, excluding those specified in the negative list, will be subject to service tax. However, in addition to items included in the negative list, there may be certain exemptions, abatements and composition schemes issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).The Mega Exemption Notification issued by the CBEC and the guidance paper on the new

approach to service tax mentions 38 services that will be service tax exempt. All the other services, except those in the negative list, will be subject to service tax. ■■ Services in the Negative List Category 1. Services relating to agriculture by way of: • Agricultural operations directly related to production of any agricultural produce including cultivation, harvesting, threshing, plant protection or seed testing • Supply of farm labor • Processes carried out at an agricultural farm and such like operations which do not alter essential characteristics of agricultural produce but make it only marketable for the primary market • Renting or leasing of agricultural machinery or vacant land with or without a structure incidental to its use • Loading, unloading, packing, storage or warehousing of agricultural produce • Agricultural extension services • Services by any Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee or Board or services provided by a commission agent for sale or purchase of agricultural produce 2. Transmission or distribution of electricity by an electricity transmission or distribution utility. 3. Services by way of transportation of goods: • By road, except the services of a goods transportation or courier agency • By an aircraft or a vessel from a place outside India up to the customs station of clearance in India • By inland waterways


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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 marketingofficer@indianembassy.at to get more information about possible assistance/subsidies.

India Newsletter â&#x20AC;˘ 15


Embassy of India, Vienna

ITM Poland is the biggest machinery fair and the widest offer of the Polish and world industry. It is a synergy of professional exhibitions. Six different exhibitions make it possible to show the stages of creating a modern product - from its conception and design, through various processes.

The India Show is an initiative of Ministry of Commerce, Government of India to promote Brand India across the globe and provide a platform to Indian Exporters to showcase their strengths and capabilities in emerging markets and developing countries. EEPC India takes \\\’The India Show\\\’to the economic capital of Poland, Poznan. The India Show, a part of the Innovations Technologies Machines (ITM) is being organised at Poznan International Fair - Miedzynarodowe Targi Poznanskie from 3rd to 6th June 2014.The large no. of Indian companies showcasing their products and services at ITM will help them tap newer business opportunities. India is not just participating, but would be a partner at the ITM Poland 2014.

16 • India Newsletter


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INVEST INDIA Federation House, Tansen Marg New Delhi—110 001 0091-11-23765085, 23487278 investindia@ficci.com www.investindia.gov.in

I

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.

India Newsletter • 17


Embassy of India, Vienna

TOURISM

The Backwaters by Hugh & Colleen Gantzer We gave ourselves a break. After a hectic year of flights, tours, conferences, deadlines that had us as taut as cables in an electric storm, we screamed “Halt!” Enough was enough. We flew down to the lush green of God’s own country, Kerala; hired a houseboat, and floated down the Backwaters on a blissfully long week of leisurely Sunday afternoons! If you’ve been hooked by the our first sentence, you clearly deserve a break. on the Backwaters. They are unique. These slow, flowing, webs of rivers, canals, lakes and estuaries that have given us some of the most effortlessly, leisurely, holidays we have ever experienced. All this in our own houseboats, with our on-board chefs, guides and boatmen, to cosset us as we cruised through an enchanting water-world. We boarded our houseboat from a jetty in the cool backwater resort of Coconut Lagoon: a lot of coconuts, plenty of lagoon. We checked out that the bedroom in our boat: had all the mod.cons. including a shower. Then we relaxed in our 18 • India Newsletter

woven-bamboo lounge and allowed ourselves to be cosseted . Fast food and hurried snacks are a taxing part of many of our lives. Here, on a slow, hassle-free water holiday we found the time to return to the almost forgotten days of leisurely meals relished with unhurried contentment. In fact the day is punctuated by the almost forgotten delight of slow foods. Breakfast arrived as the backwater widened into a canal threading through the fat, emerald fields of the Kuttinad. This is rich polder land, a little below sea level, and reclaimed from what used to be lakes. ‘Kuttinad’ is, literally, ‘the land of the little men’: farmers standing knee-deep in their paddy fields gave the impression of being dwarfs! If the pumps of the Kuttinad stop working for too long, the water will return and silver lakes will spread again, as they have in some places. Now we spotted little sailing boats from which fishermen cast their nets, like spun cobwebs; black cormorants sitting hunched on fishing poles, drying their spread wings like icons from a horror movie; and Kerala’s famed Chinese fishing nets dipping their extended

bamboo fingers into the water and emerging carrying flashing silver harvests of fresh sea-food. The best houseboat meals are seabased with the tangy taste of coconuts, but Kerala does have a strong vegetarian tradition and its unpolished rice has all its goodness locked in as do its steamed iddlis and substantial dosas. Coconuts, bananas and pineapples come straight from the trees and fields to your table as the panorama of the backwaters drifts past.

A tiled cottage in its own coconut grove had a wind-catching prowgable, drying a mound of coconuts in the attic using the venturi effect to draw cool draught into the house: pragmatism pre-empting physics. A long, slim, boat carried passengers from one bank to the other. A busy,


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bustling, powered ferry, the water bus of these wet lands, surged past, laden with commuters to the high-rise offices of the coastal cities. A housewife did her laundry at the water’s edge, unmindful of the hurrying world around her. The people of the backwaters are governed by their own complex cadence like the currents that swirl, eddy and interact under the placid surface of the flow. We stopped when a skiff paddled alongside and our chef bought fish: hopping fresh. “Karimeen” said the fisherman, “Pearl-spot. Caught just now only, by using toes!” We had seen his wife, immersed in the canal up to her neck, a terracottapot floating beside her. When her toes located a Pearl-spot hiding in the mud, she bobbed under the surface, grabbed it, emerged, popped it wriggling into the pot. Who needs a cold store with God’s Own Larder streaming all around us?

On both banks of the backwaters, the world was a busy place. In the small teashops, the chaikadas, fluttering with newspapers reflecting the entire political spectrum, fishermen and farmers, factory workers and toddy-tappers spoke knowledgeably about the wide-spectrum range of Indian and world politics. Politics is the hotly contested sport of Kerala and the Argumentative Indian is in his multisyllabic element here. The evenhanded, informed, voters of Kerala change their government at every election ensuring that political competition to achieve is honed to knife-edge sharpness. The sun was high overhead when our chef … our exclusive chef ..... served golden karameen fried with onion rings and tomatoes, along

with parboiled rice with all the nutrients locked in; and olen which is a coconut-milk curry with ashgourd and beans; also avail a dry vegetable delicacy with diced jack-fruit seeds, banana, drumstick, green mango, grated coconut and yoghurt; and assorted other delectable viands including a juicy pineapple. And an innocuous sambar which could help digest a whole Blue Whale. Kerala is the home of the world’s oldest science of wellness, Ayurveda. Its cuisine naturally detoxifies and rejuvenates without giving you the hunger pangs of a diet-martyr! We settled back on our lounge deck as contented as purring cats. As the drowsiness of afternoon set in, we glimpsed the original matroofed rice boats being poled past. Before Backwater houseboats were created, affluent old families often left their mansions in summer to take extended cruises in such riceboats, opting for day-long picnics on the cool backwaters. Today, thanks to their growing popularity, houseboats have increased in complexity, size and… sadly.. ugliness. The best, however, are still the smaller, one-or-two room, ones where privacy is assured and you set your own routine. You can even stop and visit one of the small riverine communities, if you wish, and see them building a boat, weaving coir ropes and mats, spear-fishing or loading sheaves of paddy on boats to be floated down to the markets of Kochi, Kottayam or Alleppey. We preferred to unwind on board our floating home. In the long, still, drowsy afternoon, the sun gentled on one of the great backwater lakes. Three patch-sailed boats streamed by in a brisk wind that back-combed the heads of the palms on the far bank. A skiff poled past, laden with green fodder. A brindled cow placidly chewed its cud in a homestead yard alive with waddling, quacking, ducks. Duck farming is popular in the aqueous backwaters. White egrets flew on silent wings heading for their roosting trees after a day on the

flooded fields. A church bell tolled the angelus, from a temple came the repetitive gongs of an early aarti, a muezzin called the faithful to prayer, a stirring Marxist anthem blared from a loudspeaker. The four faiths of Kerala were in audio competition. Sunset is a very serene time on the backwaters. Kerala has the most spectacular sunsets we have seen anywhere. At times the whole sky seemed to have been plated with gold, at other times it was as brilliant as the oleographs that oldfashioned barber shops once carried. Then when clouds built up on the dusks oftened sky, it almost seemed as if we were sailing with a great armada of white galleons across a high ocean smeared with vermillion dust. And when a flight of ducks winged across such a sky we recalled the legend of a seer who had an ecstatic seizure when he saw a similar vision.

Night fell gently but swiftly on the backwaters. At one moment the sky was ablaze with sunset; at the next, bright stars had thrust silver lances into the black waters; frogs have begun to croak; and the put-put of our outboard motor had slowed to a gentle throb as the boatmen tried to find a suitable landing to berth for the night. The boat nudged into the soft mud of the banks and then settled down. The moon rose and hung like a burnished gong over the dark backwaters, resting on the silver spear of its reflections. Frogs sang a softly guttural chorus and, on the opposite shore, a flute wove a filigree of sound while a plopping fish left silver circles of light. But we were asleep, before the bright ripples could break on our gently rocking boat. India Newsletter • 19


Embassy of India, Vienna

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INDIA PERSPECTIVES MAGAZINE India Perspectives is now available on all mobile platforms The flagship magazine of the Ministry of External Affairs,India Perspectives, is

now available on all mobile platforms and App Stores through Magzter Mobile App, in 14 languages. in addition to web at www. indiaperspectives.in it can also be found at Apple, Google Play, Windows

8, Samsung, Amazon and Huawei platforms An exclusive webpage of the Ministry of External Affairs, has been created on Magzter.com. ( One of the biggest Digital Magazine Stores)

www.magzter.com/publishers/meaindia

India Newsletter â&#x20AC;˘ 21


Embassy of India, Vienna

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

Tanu und Manu trauen sich | Tanu weds Manu

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ondon-based Dr. Manoj Sharma returns home to Delhi, and in the company of his parents, Kishan and Anju, as well as several others, travels to Chaman Ganj, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh to meet his prospective bride, Tanuja Trivedi. He approves of her, informs his elders and they begin preparations for the marriage. Subsequently he gets a rude awakening when Tanuja tells him that she already has a boyfriend and plans to marry him even against her parents’ wishes. Manoj informs his parents, and they set about to see other girls for their son - albeit in vain as he has his heart set on Tanuja, and is all set to return back unmarried. Manoj and Tanuja are fated to meet again in Kapurthala, Punjab, while attending the marriage of Jaspreet Singh Jassi and Payal Sinha. While Manoj hopes to win Tanuja’s heart - he will face more rejection when she enlists his assistance to elope with another male. ■■ Director: Aanand Rai ■■ Stars: Madhavan, Kangana Ranaut, Jimmy Shergill ■■ Genre: Comedy / Romance ■■ Duration: 115 min ■■ Release Year: 2011 ■■ Language: Hindi / English ■■ Subtites: German

Showtime May 23th, 18:00 Indian Embassy Business Centre (1st Floor, Kärntner Ring 2, 1010 Vienna) 22 • India Newsletter


www.indianembassy.at

INDIA IN AUSTRIA - AGENDA The Mahabharata Everyone in India knows this great epic by heart but the rest of the world seems to be quite ignorant about it. Many people here in Austria don’t know the story and often have never even heard about it. Theater 7, a group of professional stageartists, would like to change that. The Mahabharata is not only an essential part of India´s cultural heritage, but it is also an important part of art and culture of the world - world heritage. Theater 7 is producing a version of the Mahabharata for an audience from the age of 15 and above. The play will be performed in German. Two actors are going to embody all the main characters of the story in rapid

changes of scenes and with powerful virtuosity – all within 99 minutes. They are going to build a bridge between the ancient culture and the world of today, between the deep spirituality of India and the philosophical questions of the West. And they are going to prove that drama can be funny sometimes as well.

■■ Where

■■ The Team

29th of May

7.30pm

Concept, Skript: Tilmann Schillinger, Vanessa Payer Kumar

30th of May

7.30pm

Director, Supervisor: Anselm Lipgens

www.mahabharata.at

Stage: Gunter Thurner

www.startnext.de/mahabharata

Costumes: Marianne Schulz

www.dschungel-wien.at

Music: Emanuel Schulz

Theater 7 is supported by the international Theatre Group TEVTheatre of Eternal Values

Actors: Vanessa Payer Kumar, Helmut Schuster

Dschungel- Theaterhaus für junges Publikum ■■ When 26th of May 27th of May

10am 10am

7.30pm 7.30pm

28th of May

10am

7.30pm

■■ More Information

India Newsletter • 23


Embassy of India, Vienna

NOTICE BOARD

■■ Admissions under DASA Scheme 2014-15 From time immemorial, India has been a centre for learning. Indian universities and institutes of higher education and research have made a significant contribution in science and technology and have played a lead role in transforming the country into a knowledge society. India can claim its position as one of the leading countries providing affordable higher education to its people as well as to students and scholars from countries all over the world. Students can be assured of experiences rich in traditions, heritage, and exposure to diverse culture which would enable them to acquire the necessary skills to succeed in today’s global economy without geographical barriers. The Technical Institutions which are participating in DASA 2014-15 have established themselves among the top ranked institutions in the country in both teaching and research and the graduates are assured of a rewarding professional career. A degree from any of these institutions is among the most competitive of its kind when pursuing 24 • India Newsletter

an international career in architecture, engineering or technology. The admission to Foreign Nationals/ Persons of Indian Origin/ Non-Resident Indians to undergraduate programs in Premier Technical Institutions is being offered under DASA scheme of MHRD from the academic session 2001-02 onwards. MHRD has entrusted the coordination of the admission process under DASA scheme for the academic year 2014-15 to NITK, Surathkal. ■■ Academic Eligibility Candidates must have passed the qualifying examination, i.e. Senior Secondary [10+2] or equivalent from any system of education as recognized by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU). Candidate should have completed successfully Mathematics, Physics and any one of the subjects from (Chemistry, Bio-technology, Computer Science, Biology) - in 11th AND / OR 12th, as applicable in the respective boards. AND Must have secured a minimum of at least 60% aggregate marks or 6.75 CGPA (on a 10 point scale)

or equivalent in the qualifying examination. Candidates appearing for the qualifying examination with the above-mentioned subjects in the academic year 2013-14 and expecting their final results latest by September 15, 2014 may also apply. AND Candidates should have a minimum total valid score of 1440 in SAT Subject Tests (Subjects: Mathematics Level 2, Physics and Chemistry). For more details on SAT Subject Tests visit website: www.collegeboard.com. SAT subject test score has to be sent directly through CollegeBoard to NITK (Institute Code: 6530). SAT subject test scores received till May 31, 2014 only will be considered for preparation of the first, second and third merit lists. ■■ Residential Requirement Candidates must be Foreign Nationals/ Persons of Indian Origin who have completed the qualifying examination in any country (including India) OR Indian Nationals studying abroad. In case of Indian Nationals, they must have completed their 11th and 12th standard or equivalent from outside India.


www.indianembassy.at

SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE COMPETITION

T

ell us about your trip to India. How was it? What aspect of the Indian Culture left an impression on you? Did you relish on the Indian cuisines? Did you spend time trekking in the Himalayas? Did you take an elephant ride in Kerala? Did you explore the beautiful northeast India? Did you participate in the any of the colourful festivals of India? Did you explore the jewels of Indian architecture? Did you spend a romantic evening at the Taj Mahal? Did you get an opportunity

to immerse yourself into the Indian Spirituality? We are sure you did much more than this….. “Share your Experiences’ is a unique opportunity for you to share your experiences in India. The Embassy of India, Vienna encourages you to be creative and to submit us a small write-up and few photos of your last visit to India. ■■ What are we looking for? Original and creative write-ups describing your experiences in India and some photos of your tour.

■■ Who can participate? Nationals of all countries who have visited India and are currently residing in Austria. ■■ What do you get in return? The authors of the best three writeups would win exciting prices. Selected best 20 write-ups and the photographs of their visit will be published in a magazine, which the Embassy will bring out later this year. All participants would receive certificates of appreciation.

Competition Instructions • Each participant may submit only ONE write-up about his/her own experiences in India; • The write-ups should be written in English or German, approximately 500 words long (max 700) and saved in Microsoft Word format in following form: namelastname.doc; • Each entry may be submitted with digital photographs (maximum 3) with the image files containing the name and last name of the author and number of the photograph in following form: namelastname01.jpg; The submission of the photos is optional and doesn’t affect the evaluation. • Together with your write-up and photo you should submit a document containing a short biography (100 words) and contact information. • E-mail you write-ups and photographs to infoasstt@indianembassy.at . The write-ups should reach us not later than 15 June 2014. * By submitting your entry you guarantee that YOU are the author of the writeup/photograph, and you are giving permission for us to publish your write-up and photographs. • For any queries: please contact: Pawan Badhe, Third Secretary | Email: cpolitical@indianembassy.aT | Tel: 01 505 8666

India Newsletter • 25


Embassy of India, Vienna

NOTICE BOARD EMBASSY’S LIBRARY ■■ The EMBASSY’S library is opened DAILY from 10am to 1pm without appointment. NEW OPENING HOURS! ■■ For scheduling an appointment outside the opening hours, please contact the information assistant under infoasstt@indianembassy.at or 01 505 8666 33

BUSINESS CENTRE ■■ The EMBASSY’S Business Centre is opened DAILY from 10am to 1pm. NEW OPENING HOURS! ■■ For scheduling an appointment outside the opening hours, please contact the commercial wing under the contacts given below. ■■ Marketing Officer: marketingofficer@indianembassy.at or 01 505 8666 30 ■■ Marketing Assistant: marketingassistant@indianembassy.at 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 cpolitical@indianembassy.at

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!

www.facebook.com/IndianEmbassyVienna 26 • India Newsletter

India newsletter 05 2014  
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