INDIA NEWSLETTER Indian Embassy, Vienna
Published by the Embassy of India, Vienna Year 6 • Issue 65 • May 2016
MAKE IN INDIA ■■MINING
SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT ON MEDICAL TOURISM PAGE 25
India Newsletter • 1
Indian Embassy, Vienna
The Digital India programme is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy Digital Infrastructure as a Core Utility to Every Citizen
Governance and Services on Demand
Digital Empowerment of Citizens
www.digitalindia.gov.in 2 â€˘ India Newsletter
Indian Embassy, Vienna
The new Government has prepared a five pillar strategy to drive India’s growth, which offer multiple avenues of collaboration and investments
■■ Infrastructure Development
■■ Manufacturing Growth
■■ Skill Development
■■ Energy Sufficiency
■■ Improved Business Environment
www.makeinindia.com India Newsletter • 3
Indian Embassy, Vienna
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the ‘Startup India, Standup India’ initiative in his Independence Day address last year. Last January 16th, PM Modi unveiled the action plan for startups in the country. He announced a self-certification scheme in respect of nine labour and environment laws and said there will be no inspection during the first three years of launch of the venture. Addressing the first conference of start-up entrepreneurs, Modi announced an action plan to boost such ventures which are seen as key to employment generation and wealth creation. Around 40 top CEOs and startup founders and investors from Silicon Valley attended the event. Here are the top takeaways from the prime minister’s speech.
■■ 1. Compliance regime based on self certification The objective of compliance regime based on self certification is to reduce the regulatory burden on startups. This self-certification will apply to laws like payment of gratuity, contract labour, employees provident fund, water and air pollution acts. ■■ 2. Startup India hub A startup India hub will be created as a single point of contact for the entire startup ecosystem to enable knowledge exchange and access to funding. ■■ 3. Simplifying the startup process A startup will be to able to set up by just filling up a short form through a mobile app and online portal. A mobile app will be launched on April 1 through which startups can be registered in a day. There will also be 4 • India Newsletter
a portal for clearances, approvals and registrations
■■ 4. Patent protection The government is also working on a legal support for fast-tracking patent examination at lower costs. It will promote awareness and adoption of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) by startups and help them protect and commercialise IPRs. ■■ 5. Funds of funds with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore In order to provide funding support to startups, the government will set up a fund with an initial corpus of Rs 2,500 crore and a total corpus of Rs 10,000 crore over four years. The fund would be managed by private professionals drawn from the industry while LIC will be a co-investor in the fund. The credit guarantee fund for start-ups would help flow of venture debt from the banking system to start-ups by standing guarantee against risks. ■■ 6. Credit Guarantee Fund A National Credit Guarantee Trust Company is being envisaged with a budgetary allocation of Rs 500 crore per year for the next four years. ■■ 7. Exemption from Capital Gains Tax Currently, investments by venture capital funds in startups are exempt from this law. Now, the same is being extended to investments made by incubators in startups. ■■ 8. Tax exemption for startups Income tax exemption to startups announced for three years ■■ 9. Tax exemption on investments above Fair Market Value
■■ 10. Startup fests Innovation core programs for students in 5 lakh schools. There will also be an annual incubator grand challenge to create world class incubators ■■ 11. Launch of Atal Innovation Mission Atal Innovation Mission started to give an impetus to innovation and encourage the talent among the people ■■ 12. Setting up of 35 new incubators in institutions PPP model being considered for 35 new incubators, 31 innovation centres at national institutes ■■ 13. Setting up of 7 new research parks Government shall set up seven new research parks - six in IITs, one in IISc with an initial investment of Rs 100 crore each. ■■ 14. Promote entrepreneurship in biotechnology Five new bio clusters, 50 new bio incubators, 150 technology transfer offices and 20 bio connect offices will be established. ■■ 15. Innovation focused programmes for students There will be innovation core programs for students in 5 lakh schools. ■■ 16. Panel of facilitators to provide legal support and assist in filing of patent application ■■ 17. 80 per cent rebate on filing patent applications by startups ■■ 18. Relaxed norms of public procurement for startups ■■ 19. Faster exits for startups
Indian Embassy, Vienna
India’s wholesale price index (WPI)
retains top as world’s
Indian Railways capital expenditure
has declined for a 17th
largest remittance recipient
grew by 64.19 per cent
straight month by 0.85 per
in 2015 by attracting about
year-on-year to Rs 94,000
cent year-on-year in March
US$ 69 billion in remittances.
crore (US$ 14.13 billion)
in FY 2015-16: Ministry of
2016: Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
347.5% Growth in Tourists arrival on
e-Tourist Visa in March 2016.
sector has received sanctions of over Rs 71,200 crore (US$ 10.70 billion) in loans from 40 banks and non-banking
India retains top spot in Credit Suisse
emerging markets consumer survey.
India is the second largest producer
and largest consumer of #tea
in the last 13 months.
in the world.
India has been ranked among the
grew by 24 per cent in 2015
world’s top 10 countries
led by growing consumer
distribution and successful branded
Platinum Guild International (PGI).
Literacy rate in India increased to
pedestal of being the world’s top foreign direct investment
report from fDi Intelligence — a division of Financial Times.
Asus planning to make India its home
market for smartphones.
India surpasses solar energy target
for 2015-16 more than one and a half times.
from robust demand from
largest remittance recipient
in 2015 by attracting about
US$ 69 billion in remittances.
June 2014 as against 64.5
Survey Organisation (NSSO).
India has knocked China off the
sector is expected to gain
June 2008: National Sample
The material handling equipment
69 per cent during Januaryper cent during July 2007-
performance in 2015.
(FDI) destination, says a
financial companies (NBFCs)
Platinum jewellery retail sales in India
Electric Vehicles sales in India
retains top as world’s
India draws investor
increased by 37.5 per cent to
response; 140 agreements
22,000 units in FY 2015-16.
signed. India Newsletter • 5
Indian Embassy, Vienna
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR AUSTRIAN CITIZENS e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) for Austrian citizens The Government of India has extended e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) scheme to the citizens of Austria w.e.f. 26th February 2016. Under e-Tourist Visa scheme, citizens of Austria may now apply online (https:// indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa. html) four days in advance to obtain the Electronic Travel Authorisation for travelling to India.This facility is in addition to the existing Visa services. This facility is also available to the citizens of Montenegro as well.Queries related to e-TV; for any assistance call 24x7 Visa support centre at +91-11-24300666 or send email to email@example.com.
INDIA-AUSTRIA NEWS ARTICLES India Stall at Smart Automation Austria (May/16) Embassy of India is going to participate in the Smart Automation Austria Exhibition (http://www. smart-wien.at/en/) to be held in Vienna from May 10-12, by installing an “India Stall” with a view to further promote bilateral business between India and Austria, as well as to spread the awareness on the Government of India “Make in India” initiative.
6 • India Newsletter
The SMART Automation Austria is Austria’s only trade fair for industrial automation, their focus is on the factory automation and process automation. The range extends from the component level through to complete systems and integrated automation solutions and covers all product areas of industrial automation technology. The SMARTAutomation Austria is the platform for the Austrian automation industry and place on an annual basis alternately in Vienna and Linz.
It attracts more than 200 exhibitors from 14 countries, including many market and technology leaders. In the context of this event, a wide variety of publications issued by the Embassy as well as industry-related reports and company catalagues will be distributed. The Embassy looks forward to welcoming Austrian entrepreneurs in its India stall and discuss further possibilities to tighten the business ties between India and Austria.
Indian Embassy, Vienna
India Stall at AUSTROPHARM Exhibition, Vienna
India and Austria, as well as to spread the awareness on the Government of India “Make in India” initiative. The AUSTROPHARM is the largest trade fair for pharmaceutical products in Austria. In this edition, the fair was a great success with 233 exhibitors and thousands visitors in three days. The exhibition
provided a comprehensive overview of goods and services in the industry, and was a highly efficient means of distributing and gathering information, and a hub of communication for exhibitors and trade visitors.
Reception in honour of H.E. Dr. Christoph Leitl, President of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce
Christoph Leitl, President of the
business delegation. Dozens of the
Austrian Chamber of Commerce. The
visiting delegates have been invited
event was a follow-up to Dr. Leitl’s
and attended the reception, where
visit to India earlier in 2016 along
all expressed a unanimous positive
On February 20th, 2016, H.E. Ambassador Rajiva Misra, hosted a reception in honour of H.E. Dr.
with H.E. Sebastian Kurz, Federal
Minister of Europe, Integration and
opportunities for business with
Foreign Affairs, along with a large
Embassy of India participated in the AUSTROPHARM Exhibitionheld in Vienna from April 21-23 by installing an “India Stall” with a view to further promote bilateral business between
Some impressions of the event:
INDIAN EMBASSY LIBRARY
■■ The Embassy’s library is opened daily from 10am to 1pm without appointment. ■■ Our collection contains more than 2000 titles in dozens of categories. ■■ For appointments outside the opening hours or other inquiries, please contact us under firstname.lastname@example.org or 015058666 33 ■■ Download our latest catalog of books under indianembassy.at/pdf/ EmbassyLibrary.pdf
India Newsletter • 7
Indian Embassy, Vienna
NEWS ARTICLES Indian travellers among biggest spenders abroad The Indian globetrotter has emerged as one of the biggest spenders who is being wooed aggressively by the world for his big bucks. Rajeev D Kale, Thomas Cook (India)’s president and COO, outbound tourism, said, “India is one of the largest outbound travel markets globally. World Travel & Tourism Council’s Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2014 (shows) that the total expenditure on outbound travel in India was Rs 75,000 crore in 2013 and (is) projected to be Rs 160,500 crore in 2024.” According to Cox & Kings, an average India traveller spends Rs 3-4 lakh on a US trip, which usually lasts for 1533 days. The travel giant says the corresponding figures for UK are Rs 4-6 lakh for 10-20 days; Rs 2-3.5 lakh for a 3-4 days visit to Fran ce and Italy which is part of an extended European trip; Rs 1-2 lakh for 4-5 days in Hong Kong or Singapore and Rs 2.5-3 lakh for a trip of 1012 days in Australia. This includes airfare, hotel stay , local travel and sightseeing. “On an average, Indians spend around $1500 on hotel, food, sightseeing and shopping as compared to Americans who spends $1,000 and Europeans around $700 on an average,” a senior Cox & Kings official said. With this kind of spend, it is no surprise that Indians are in the top spender list of many countries. Britain counts Indians as the 14th largest spenders in their beautiful island nation.And, the German National Tourism Office (GNTO) says Indians are the fourth largest spenders for them, in terms of expenditure per person, per trip. According to Visit Britain’s Ritushri Dhankher, Indian tra vellers spent £443.6 million or Rs 4,259 crore (at current exchange rate of Rs 96 to a Pound) in 2014. Their average spend per person, per trip was £1,139 8 • India Newsletter
(Rs 1.1 lakh). Tourists from Gulf and China were bigger spenders at £3,461 (Rs 3.3 lakh) and £3,024, (Rs 2.9 lakh) respectively. Fellow Commonwealth Australians were only marginally ahead at £1,179 (Rs 113,000). Romit Theophilus, director for India at GNTO, said Indians were at number four with an average spend per person, per trip of 2,741 euros (Rs 205,575 at current exchange rate of Rs 75 to a Euro) in Germany . Only travellers from Gulf, Australia and Japan were ahead at 4,344 euros (Rs 3.2 lakh), 4,160 euros (Rs 3.1 lakh) and 2,905 euros (Rs 2.2 lakh), respectively. However, in terms of total spend by travellers from a country , India was the seventh biggest contributor in Germany in 2014 with a revenue generation of 0.8 billion euros or Rs 6,000 crore. The Americans were at the top position at 4 billion euros or Rs 30,000 crore. But the reason for Indians being at number seven is the Schengen states’ insistence on giving short-term visas to Indian travelers, which is a deterrent to repeat visits. The US, on the other hand, generously doles out 10year, multiple-entry visas to Indian travellers. Tourism Australia’s Nishant Kashikar said in 2015, over 2.3 lakh Indian visitors went to the continent and “contributed over Rs 5,500 crore in the Australian economy .” Indians are the 10th largest spenders in Australia. Travel portal Yatra president Sharat Dhall said, “Indians typically love to shop which means that they are willing to spend that extra buck. Hence, they are benchmarked as some of the biggest spenders.” With this kind of money power at their disposal, tourism boards of several foreign countries regularly hold road shows here apart from organising India fests in their own nations.
Govt to make patent clearance process faster In a bid to clear the backlog of applications for patents, designs and trademarks, the central government has added 458 examiners to the existing 130. Besides, 263 examiners would be hired on contract basis, said Ramesh Abhishek, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). According to him, the government would bring down the time taken to examine applications from the current five-to-seven years to 18 months by March 2018. Speaking at an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) on the occasion of International Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) day, Abhishek said applications for trademarks would be cleared within a month by March 2017. Such applications currently take 13 months to clear. “We’ve appointed a panel of about 80 lawyers, who will provide free consultation and legal advise to start-ups. The rules will be notified soon.” Applications were now being reviewed on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis, he said. According to figures released by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, 237,000 patents and 544,000 trademark registrations are pending approval. Patent offices function under the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDT) under the commerce ministry. Sitharaman said certain measures were underway to make the application process more transparent. Sitharaman also said India continues to be placed on the US’ Priority Watch List on account of that country’s assessment of India’s IPR protection being inadequate.
Indian Embassy, Vienna
India has countered for long that the report constitutes a unilateral measure to create pressure on countries to enhance IPR protection beyond the agreement on TradeRelated Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The TRIPS agreement sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property regulations for World Trade Organization members. India has said since under the WTO regime, any dispute between two countries needs to be referred to the dispute settlement body of WTO, such unilateral actions are not in the spirit of the rules. Sitharaman said the government would fully utilise everything under TRIPS to protect the domestic pharmaceutical sector from the pressure exerted by foreign countries.
India overtakes China as top FDI destination: Report India has knocked China off the pedestal of being the world’s top foreign direct investment (FDI) destination, says a report from fDi Intelligence — a division of Financial Times. Citing the report, the Financial Times reported that India, with $63 billion of FDI announced in 2015, has taken the top rank in the list of countries in terms of greenfield capital investment. Additionally, according to the report, India’s project numbers increased by 8% to 697, although they still lagged behind China’s 789 projects. The report said: “For the first time in many years, China was a laggard on regional FDI growth rather than an engine: it saw a 23 per cent decline in capital investment and a 16 per cent drop in FDI projects due to plateauing economic growth and rising costs.” Citing the reason behind India usurping China’s position, the report said: “India replaced China as the top destination for FDI by capital investment following a year of high-value project announcements specifically across the coal, oil and natural gas and renewable energy
sectors.” The report comes even as the Indian government finally allowed 100% FDI in the e-commerce sector. The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) statement from earlier this month supports the report’s findings. The RBI, on April 11, said that FDI in the country increased to $42 billion during April-February in 201516, up 27.45% from the inflows in the corresponding period of the previous financial year. According to the report, in a comparison between Indian and Chinese states, Gujarat emerged as the top ranked state in terms of FDI — attracting $12.4 billion of capital investment in 2015. A comparative table, titled “FDI into Chinese and Indian states by capital investment”, from the report shows that Gujarat took the top spot ahead of China’s Shanghai Municipality — which attracted $10.57 billion in FDI in 2015. China’s Jiangsu came in third on the list with $9.53 billion, followed closely by Maharashtra at $8.28 billion. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Jharkhand were the other Indian states featured on the list.
Govt aims to remove poverty by 2032 Transforming India, an ambitious action plan finalised after two months of brainstorming shepherded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has recommended a slew of reforms to be implemented by ministries and departments if India has to grow by 10 per cent per annum until 2032. This, according to the action plan, will totally eradicate poverty from India in the next 16 years and also create 175 million new jobs. “Growing at 10 per cent will transform India - India will be a $10 trillion economy with no poverty in 2032,” the plan states. In 2015-16, the size of the Indian economy was a little over $2 trillion and the gross domestic product growth was around 7.6 per cent. As part of first steps in
this grand plan, the government has set out to implement WTOcompatible procurement norms by 2017-18, achieve 100 per cent rural electrification by May 2018, increase rural teledensity to 100 per by 2020, reach broadband connectivity through optical fibre to all gram panchayats by December 2018 and have 175 million broadband connections by 2017. The 23-page action plan also envisages reforms in the agriculture and allied sectors, including deregulation of genetically engineered (Bt) insect-resistant pulses by 2017-18, creation of buffer stock for pulses by 201718 and target 15 million metric tonnes of fish production by 2020. It also plans to implement seeding of Aadhaar number in 90 per cent of ration cards by the end of FY17. PAN (Permanent Account Number) is to be made mandatory for all businesses and entities and serve as unique business identifier also by the end of FY17. “The entire process from ideation to action took barely two months,” NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant said. The process was initiated with the PM holding a meeting with all the secretaries to the government in December. At the meeting, Modi called for radical thinking which could take India forward, cutting across the silos of line departments and ministries. The PM identified eight themes and decided to constitute eight groups of secretaries to come out with recommendations and a road map for each of the themes. The objective of the action plan was to foster development but with inclusive growth and efficiency. According to a secretary, the PM was happy with the finalised action plan. He told the secretaries that no expert group could have made such recommendations because these have come from people who think the plan is doable. However, not all agreed with the ambitious target of India achieving 10 per cent growth for the next 16 India Newsletter • 9
Indian Embassy, Vienna
years. “While desirable, 10 per cent growth is wishful thinking when we are struggling to maintain even 7.5 per cent increase in gross domestic product per annum,” a secretary, who was part of the process, said. Kant said the recommendations by the groups of secretaries were circulated among all ministries. “Every ministry examined it and prepared an action plan based on what can be implemented. Some of these actions were announced in the budget. The remaining we have put together in sub-themes which have target dates,” Kant said. NITI Aayog has been assigned the responsibility to monitor the implementation of these action plans and would be creating a dashboard for this. The eight themes identified by the PM were - accelerated growth with inclusion and equity; employment generation strategies; universal access to quality health and education; good governance; farmer-centric Issues in agriculture and allied sectors; Swachh Bharat and Ganga Rejuvenation; energy conservation and efficiency and innovative budgeting and effective implementation. The government plans to have proactive consultations with the states as they “have an important role in implementation of a number of these initiatives on pan-India basis.” CENTRE’S ACTION PLAN FOR TRANSFORMING INDIA ■■ Seeding of Aadhaar number in 90% ration cards by March 2017 ■■ Increase rural teledensity to 100% by 2020 ■■ 175 million broadband connections by 2017 ■■ Deregulation of genetically engineered (Bt) insect-resistant pulses by March 2018 ■■ WTO-compatible procurement norms by March 2018 ■■ Third-party scrutiny of road project execution agencies by end of 2016 ■■ VC funds for start-ups by end of 10 • India Newsletter
2016 ■■ PAN mandatory for all businesses - to serve as unique business identifier by March 2017
India retains top spot as world’s largest remittance recipient in 2015 by attracting about US$ 69 billion in remittances According to World Bank annual report ‘Migration and Development Brief’, India has retained top spot as the world’s largest remittance recipient in 2015 attracting about US$ 69 billion in remittances. Other countries which received large remittance in 2015 were China with US$ 64 billion, the Philippines (US$ 28 billion), Mexico (US$ 25 billion) and Nigeria (US$ 21 billion). Total remittances to developing countries increased 0.4 per cent in 2015 to reach US$ 431.6 billion. According to Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, remittances are an important and stable source of income for millions of families and of foreign exchange to many developing countries. According to the report, the growth of remittances in 2015 from Bangladesh slowed from eight per cent in 2014 to 2.5 per cent in 2015, from 16.7 per cent to 12.8 per cent for Pakistan, and from 9.6 per cent to 0.5 per cent for Sri Lanka while in Nepal it increased to 20.9 per cent from 3.2 per cent as a result of the earthquake.
India remains a bright spot in weakening global recovery: IMF’s Lagarde The International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde in her global policy agenda has said that, “India remains a particular bright spot with rising real incomes and confidence boosting domestic demand”. Expressing confidence in the Indian markets, the IMF chief said the country remains a bright spot amidst the weakening global economic recovery. “Some recent improvement in data releases, somewhat firmer oil prices,
reduced pressures on outflows from China, and actions by major central banks have all contributed to improving sentiment,” said Lagarde, but felt these needed to be built upon. “A three-pronged approach with monetary, fiscal, and structural actions can work as a virtuous trinity, lifting actual and potential growth, averting recession risks, and enhancing financial stability.”
India surpasses solar energy target for 2015-16 more than one and a half times India has surpassed its solar energy target for 2015-16 more than one and a half times, commissioning 3018 MW during the year against the 2000 MW it had set itself. Latest figures shared by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy with ET show that Tamil Nadu added the most capacity in 2015-16 at 887.19 MW, followed by Andhra Pradesh (433.24 MW) and Telangana (351.56 MW). At the end of 2015-16, the country’s cumulative solar capacity stands at 6753.38 MW, up from 3743.97 MW a year ago. Rajasthan, which has the best solar radiation among states, remains No. 1 in overall installed capacity at 1264.35 MW, while Gujarat, the earliest to start a solar programme, is in second place with 1105.15 MW. But Tamil Nadu, with its massive capacity addition this year, is rapidly catching up and is in third place with 1030.77 MW. Madhya Pradesh with 775.87 MW installed capacity and Andhra Pradesh with 571.09 MW are in fourth and fifth positions. The cumulative target for at the end of 2016-17 is much stiffer at 17,000 MW which means over 10,000MW will have be added in 2016-17. However the MNRE appears well set to meet it. “We are looking at tenders of around 20,900 MW,” said Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary. “Some of it has already been awarded and the rest will be done in the next few months.” The majority of projects completed during the year will be in the five southern states.
Indian Embassy, Vienna
Renewable energy sector received Rs71,200 crore finance in last 13 months. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on Monday said that in the last 13 months over Rs.71,200 crore has been sanctioned by 40 banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) for the renewable sector, mainly wind and solar projects. Of this, Rs.29,500 crore has already been disbursed (as on 21 March). This a part of commitment made by them during RE-INVEST 2015, the first Renewable Energy Global Investors Meet and Expo organised by the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), which held in February 2015. During the event, 40 major banks (public, private sector banks and foreign banks operating in India) and NBFCs had committed to provide debt funding to renewable energy projects aggregating to over 78.75 GW during the span of next five years. RE-Invest 2015 saw renewable energy capacity commitments of over 283 GW from stakeholders. There was also a commitment to manufacture in India renewable energy equipment for 62 GW. “Loans sanctioned by these banks and FIs (financial institutions) for RE (renewable energy) projects are 18.63% of the commitments made,” said an MNRE statement, adding that it is expected to boost the growth of the Indian renewable energy sector.
Indian economy likely to grow over 8% in FY17 Forecast of above-normal monsoon raising hopes of the agriculture sector’s revival, says Panagariya. The economy is expected to grow over 8% this fiscal with the forecast of above-normal monsoon raising hopes of the agriculture sector’s revival after two successive drought years, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya said today. “The economic growth rate will be more than 8% during the current fiscal. There is a forecast of above-
normal monsoon this fiscal,” Panagariya said after delivering a lecture organised by the Central Vigilance Commission here. He said the economic growth in the current fiscal could be even higher in view of policy and monetary interventions by the government and the Reserve Bank, which will ultimately push the sluggish industrial growth. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also expressed hope that good rains will propel India’s economic growth to 8.5% during the current fiscal, higher than Central Statistics Office advance estimates of 7.6% for 201516. Earlier this month, Indian Meteorological Department has forecasted above-normal monsoon during this kharif season raising hopes of buoyancy in the economy this fiscal. According to IMD, there are 94% chances of country receiving “normal to above normal” rainfall while there is only 1% probability of “deficient” rainfall. Agriculture, which contributes 15% to India’s GDP and employs about 60% of the country’s population, is heavily dependent on monsoon as only 40% of the cultivable area is under irrigation. Due to poor monsoon in 2015-16 crop year (July-June), 10 states have declared drought and the Centre has sanctioned a relief package of about Rs 10,000 crore to help farmers. In 2015, the monsoon deficiency was 14% with Northwest India recording a deficiency of 17%, followed by 16% in Central India, 15 per cent in Southern Peninsula and 8% in East and North-east India. In 2014, the monsoon deficiency was 12.3% of the Long Period Average. The interest regime is also conducive for the economic growth now as the Reserve Bank has cut the key interest rate by 0.25% to and introduced a host of measures to smoothen liquidity supply so that banks can lend to the productive sectors and indicated accommodative stance
going ahead earlier this month. The repo rate, at which RBI lends to the financial system, has come down to 6.5%. This will also push economic activities.
Indian economy: Combine prudence with growth It is a no-brainer that we must live within our means. What is true of individuals is true equally of nations. Fiscal responsibility emanates from this principle, which also influences inter-generational and distributional choice. The saying ‘blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt’ is a curse. One of the more sagacious features of the Union Budget has been to revisit the flawed Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, which was a contextual response to a deteriorating fiscal situation. The prescriptive ceilings in the Act have a dubious rationale. We need an approach that focuses on multiple variables, particularly debt. It would also be appropriate to suggest a range than a fixed number. For long, the focus was on the budget deficit and not the fiscal deficit, which is of more recent origin. The recommendations of the Sukhamoy Chakravarty Committee on Monetary Policy (1985) talked of the need for fiscal discipline. In the initial years, India adopted a somewhat conservative fiscal policy approach and public debt was controlled. It was during the 1980s that both debt and the fiscal deficit started rising. By the 1990s, the economy was in a deep balance of payments (BoP) crisis with the fiscal deficit of the central government exceeding 8% of GDP compared to the 6% of the 1980s. The deficit had to be met by enhanced borrowing. As a result, the internal public debt rose to 55% of GDP. Interest payments, alone at 4% of GDP, constituted 20% of the expenditure. The reforms of 1991 were a major stabilising factor in the enveloping fiscal and BoP crises. The Asian meltdown of the 1990s India Newsletter • 11
Indian Embassy, Vienna
could have unsettled our macroeconomic parameters, but the economy not only weathered the crisis but grew at 8.8% in 1999-2000. Debt service as a proportion of the current account deficit dropped from one-third to less than onefifth, although the fiscal imbalance remained worrisome. The large revenue deficit was a recurring annual feature and worsened from 3.3% in 1991 to 4.4% in 2002-03. It was against this backdrop that a committee headed by EAS Sarma was constituted and the FRBM Bill was presented in Parliament in December 2000. It was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and the panel objected to stipulating specific numerical ceilings and inflexible timeframes for attaining the levels prescribed in the Bill. The committee believed that these would induce rigidity in decision-making. Nevertheless, Parliament passed the FRBM Bill in 2003 and notified it in 2004. The Act set the target of reducing the fiscal deficit to 3% of GDP by 2008-09 with an annual reduction of 0.3 percentage points. It sought to eliminate the revenue deficit by 2007-08 (later revised to 2008-09 through an amendment) through an annual reduction of 0.5% percentage points. In February 2005, regrettably then Union finance minister P Chidambaram pushed the pause button, alluding to the 12th Finance Commission’s recommendations. There was also the burden of the Sixth Pay Commission, an aggressive farm loan waiver and expansion of the NREGS to all the districts. Revenue deficit elimination was postponed to February 2008 and in the context of the global meltdown, the FRBM targets were again relaxed. In February 2012, the FRBM Act was amended to postpone the targets to 2015 and subsequently to 2018. Thus, the FRBM has had a chequered history of repeated amendments rather than adherence, of exception rather than compliance. Perhaps the 3% fiscal deficit target mentioned in the original FRBM Act is opaque 12 • India Newsletter
in its intellectual persuasion. It is reiterated elsewhere that the idea originates in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 and not in an analysis of India’s socio-economic conditions and other related factors. The Maastricht Treaty had outlined five convergence criteria including the budget deficit target of 3%, a debtGDP ratio below 60%, an inflation rate of 1.5% or less, and interest rate changes. The Budget’s announcement of a committee to review the FRBM Act is therefore timely. Fortunately India’s debt-GDP ratio is significantly lower at 66.1% from the historic high of 83.3% in 2003-04. Private investment remains subdued. Enhanced public expenditure and capital-creating assets is the path forward. With improved implementational capability, private investment invariably piggybacks on enhanced public outlays. The Act replacing the FRBM law may be called the macro-economic stabilisation Act. The focus must be on debt sustainability. This review committee must consider multiple indicators of fiscal stability, beyond the revenue and fiscal deficits. An absolute limit must be replaced by a flexible/optimal limit for debt levels. By fixing optimal debt levels, the revenue and fiscal deficit targets should suggest a band. They need to be circumstance- and countryspecific, rather than replicate variables adopted elsewhere. The IMF Staff Position Note of September 2010 states that “prudence dictates that countries target a debt level well below the limit, the limit delineates the point at which fiscal solvency is called into question”. Importantly in the Indian context, the review committee must consider the fiscal deficits of the state governments. While the combined fiscal deficit of the states has stayed at 2.5% of GDP or less, there are significant differences among them in fiscal prudence, and the fiscal health of the power utilities constitutes a key vulnerability. The new law is an opportunity to
reposition India’s macro-economic strategy. We need to combine prudence with growth. It takes less imagination to incur expenditure than create income. Fiscal fixation is less relevant than meeting debt obligations even though they are inextricably related.
India leveraging hannover messe for transforming manufacturing; Make in India big hit As a part of its ambition to integrate itself with the global manufacturing industry, India is participating in the Hannover Messe 2016 with participation of the country’s top firms in the private and public sector along with a high level official delegation , led by Mr Girish Shankar, Secretary in the Department of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises Among the participants M/s Apex engineering export organisation, EEPC India is the lead agency for ensuring a measurable success for the country’s participation in the world’s leading technology fair. India had participated in the Hannover Messe last year as the ‘Partner Country’. Having emerged as the fastest growing economy in the world, India is transforming its manufacturing industry with a clear objective to become an essential part of the global supply chain and is leveraging the renowned Hannover Messe for yet another time for promoting the ‘Make in India’ programme, being steered by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Briefing the media at the Hannover Messe last evening, Mr Shankar said India has to take part in the development of a globalised manufacturing environment. “ The ‘Make in India’ is a strategic initiative to reform the manufacturing industry in the country ”. Reaching out to the global technology majors to invest in India with strategic collaborations with Indian industry, the Secretary , Department of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises, said the country is working with a
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clear vision and strategy to be the world’s preferred manufacturing destination by a series of initiatives like improving ease of doing business, liberalising foreign direct policy in most of the industries, including defence production. The country has recently announced new policy initiatives like pricing freedom for hydrocarbons found in the deep waters. He said with a strong domestic demand, India provides an excellent alternative for the global industry with Chinese economy slipping into painful slowdown. A lot of interest is visible at the Hannover Messe for India’s new initiatives in the manufacturing sector. As part of strengthening and deepening relationship with the German technology giants, a new progamme ‘ Industry 4.0’ has been unveiled . It is a meeting of real and virtual worlds in manufacturing and involves the full integration of manufacturing technologies and systems to make a ‘smart factory’. The smart factory is a highly flexible manufacturing set-up that is digitally
interlinked with every aspect of the manufacturing ecosystem, from suppliers to customers. Speaking on the occasion, EEPC India Chairman, Mr T S Bhasin said, the Indian engineering industry is taking several steps to move up the value chain and is now getting increasingly into areas like spacecraft components, aero-space, defence production, automobile and railways , among others. “There is a realisation that with prices of commodities like steel and iron ore remaining subdued and subject to cyclical fluctuations, Indian engineering has to invest in R and D and forge new tie-ups with global majors from countries such Germany. India attaches a great importance to Hannover Messe as a global platform which was used last year with India being the Partner Country”. India will leverage its reputed IT industry to transform manufacturing not only in India but also at the global scale with the new concepts such as smart factory, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things
which itself is projected to be USD 15 billion for India by 2020. On this occasion, 2 important MoU were also signed. An MoU was signed between Department of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Industries & Public Enterprises, Government of India & Steinbeis GmbH for desiring to develop cooperation in manufacturing sector. The second MOU was signed between Department of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Industries & Public Enterprises, Government of India, Hannover Milano Fairs India Pvt. Ltd. & FICCI for promoting technology & innovations through WIN India series of events. The Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) India is the premier trade and investment promotion organization in India. It is sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India and caters to the Indian engineering sector. As an advisory body it actively contributes to the policies of Government of India and acts as an interface between the engineering industry and the Government.
INDIA PERSPECTIVES MAGAZINE ONLINE
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MAKE IN INDIA Summary ■■ 50 year mining leases. ■■ 302 Billion Tonnes reserves.
■■ The number of operational mines were 3025 during 2014-2015. ■■ India is the 6th largest iron ore reserve in the world. India is 8th largest bauxite ore reserve in the world. ■■ India is 4th largest iron ore producer in the world and 5th largest bauxite ore producer in the world.
Reasons to Invest ■■ India has vast minerals potential with mining leases granted for longer durations of 50 years. ■■ The demand for various metals and minerals will grow substantially over the next 15 years. ■■ The power and cement industries also aid growth in the metals and mining sector. ■■ India’s strategic location enables convenient exports. ■■ India’s per capita steel consumption is four times lower than the global average. ■■ India has the world’s 8th largest reserve base of bauxite and 6th largest base of iron ore, accounting for about 5% and 8% respectively of total world production. ■■ India is 4th largest iron ore producer in the world and 5th largest bauxite ore producer in the world.
Statistics ■■ India produces 88 minerals – 4 fuel-related minerals, 10 metallic minerals, 50 non-metallic minerals and 24 minor minerals. ■■ In 2014-15, India had 3025 operative mines – excluding mining areas for minor minerals, crude petroleum, natural gas and atomic minerals. 14 • India Newsletter
■■ India is slated to become the second largest producer of steel by 2015. ■■ Crude steel production increased at a CAGR of 8.2% between 2008– 2011 to result in 76.7 Million Metric Tonnes.
Growth Drivers ■■ With the Indian economy expected to grow by approximately 7% in the years to come, sectors such as infrastructure and automobiles will receive a renewed thrust, which would further generate demand for power and steel in the country. This is expected to provide a major thrust to the demand of minerals like coal and iron ore. ■■ Minerals like manganese, lead, copper, alumina are expected to witness double digit growth in the years ahead. There is significant scope for new mining capacities in iron ore, bauxite, and coal. ■■ India has an advantage in the cost of production and in conversion costs of steel and alumina. ■■ Sustained growth in India’s automotive sector has been driving demand for steel and aluminium. ■■ The power sector accounts for a large share of the consumption of aluminium and coal in the country.
■■ Infrastructure projects continue to provide lucrative business opportunities for steel, zinc and aluminium producers. ■■ Demand for iron and steel is set to continue, given the strong growth expectations for the residential and commercial building industry. ■■ India has the 301.56 Billion Tonnes coal reserves as of April 2014. Production of coal stood at 540 Million Tonnes and 557.7 Million Tonnes in 2012 and 2013, respectively. ■■ India ranks fourth globally in terms of iron ore production. In 2013, the country produced 136.02 Million Tonnes of iron ore.
FDI Policy ■■ FDI up to 100% is allowed in exploration, mining, minerals processing and metallurgy under the automatic route for all non-fuel and non-atomic minerals including diamonds and precious stones. ■■ Mining and mineral separation of titanium-bearing minerals and ores, its value addition and integrated activities fall under the government route of foreign direct investment up to 100%. ■■ FDI in coal mining is allowed for captive consumption only.
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Sector Policy ■■ As per Mines & Minerals Development and Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2015 all mining leases for major minerals shall be granted for the period of 50 years. Mining leases in respect of notified minerals such as bauxite, iron ore, limestone and manganese ore shall be granted through auction. ■■ THE NATIONAL MINERAL POLICY 2OO8 : ■■ The NMP enunciates measures like assuring rights to next stage mineral concession, transferability of mineral concessions and transparency in the allotment of concessions in order to reduce delays which are seen as impediments to investment and technology flows in the mining sector in India. The policy also seeks to develop a sustainable framework for optimum utilisation of the country’s natural mineral resources for the industrial growth in the country and at the same time improving the life of people living in the mining areas, which are generally located in the backward and tribal regions of the country.
Financial Support ■■ NEW AMENDMENTS TO MMDR ACT, 2015 : ■■ Mineral concessions will be granted only through auction. ■■ Auction for mining leases for bulk minerals; auction of prospecting licences-cum-mining leases for deep-seated minerals. ■■ Uniform lease period of 50 years; no renewals; auction at the end of lease period. ■■ Transition period of minimum 15 years for captive mines and 5 years for other mines; Central Government empowered to prescribe deadlines for various processes and to issue binding directions to States. ■■ The previous approval of the Central Government will not be required for grant of mineral concession except for Atomic Minerals, Coal and Lignite. ■■ Enabling powers for reservation
for the public sector to continue. ■■ Higher penalties and jail terms for offences; special courts may be constituted, if necessary. ■■ District Mineral Foundation to take care of people and areas affected by mining. ■■ Nationals Mineral Exploration Trust to be set up for impetus to exploration. ■■ Easy transferability of concessions obtained through auctions so as to attract private investment and FDI. ■■ Powers to Central Government to intervene even where State Government do not pass orders within prescribed time lines; this will eliminate delay. ■■ KEY PROVISIONS OF THE 2O152O16 UNION BUDGET: ■■ Changes, if necessary, in the MMDR Act, 1957 to be introduced to encourage investment in the mining sector and promote sustainable mining practices. ■■ The Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on ships imported for breaking up is being reduced from 5% to 2.5%. ■■ Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on coal-tar pitch is being reduced from 10% to 5%. ■■ Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on battery waste and battery scrap is being reduced from 10% to 5%. ■■ Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on steel grade limestone and steel grade dolomite is being reduced from 5% to 2.5%. ■■ Full exemption from basic customs duty is being granted to pre-forms of precious and semiprecious stones. ■■ The variation level and the parameter of measurement with respect to re-import of cut and polished diamonds after certification/grading from a foreign laboratory/agency are being increased as a trade facilitation measure. ■■ Under the existing provisions of Section 35 AD of the Act, an investment – linked tax incentive is available by way of allowing deduction of the whole of any
expenditure of capital nature (other than expenditure on land, goodwill and financial investment) incurred wholly and exclusively for purpose of the “specified business” during the previous year in which such expenditure was incurred. ■■ In order to promote investment in new sectors, few more businesses have been added under the above section. Those related to the mining sector are: ■■ 1. Laying and operating a slurry pipeline for the transportation of iron ore. ■■ 2. The above business shall begin operations on or after 01.04.2014. It also has the condition of lock-in period of 8 years for use of assets. ■■ FISCAL INCENTIVES: ■■ One-tenth of the expenditure on prospecting, extraction and production of certain minerals during five years ending with the first year of commercial production is allowed as a deduction from the total income. ■■ Export profits from specified minerals and ores are eligible for certain concessions. ■■ Minerals in their finished form are exempt from excise duty. ■■ There is low customs duty on capital equipment used for minerals on nickel, tin, pig iron and unwrought aluminium. ■■ Capital goods imported for mining under the EPCG scheme qualify for concessional customs duty subject to certain export obligations. ■■ STATE INCENTIVES ■■ Each state in India offers additional incentives for industrial projects, related to specific sector. Incentives have been provided in areas such as subsidised land cost, the relaxation of stamp duty on the sale or lease of land, power tariff incentives, a concessional rate of interest on loans, investment subsidies and tax incentives, backward areas subsidies and special incentive packages for mega projects. India Newsletter • 15
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Investment Opportunities ■■ IRON & STEEL: ■■ The iron and steel segment offers a product mix which includes hot rolled parallel flange beams and columns rails, plates, coils, wire rods, and continuously cast products such as billets, blooms, beams, blanks, rounds and slabs as well as metallics and ferro alloy. ■■ COAL: ■■ The coal market consists of primary coal such as anthracite, bitumen and lignite. ■■ ALUMINIUM: ■■ The aluminium segment includes alumina chemicals, primary
aluminium, aluminium extrusions and aluminium rolled products. ■■ BASE METALS: ■■ The base metals market consists of lead, zinc, copper, nickel and tin. ■■ PRECIOUS METALS & MINERALS: ■■ The precious metals market includes gold, silver, platinum, palladium, rhodium and diamonds.
Foreign Investors ■■ BHP Billiton (Australia) ■■ Rio Tinto (Australia) ■■ Vedanta Resources (UK) ■■ Indian Resources Limited (Australia)
■■ JFE Steel Corporation (Japan) ■■ Australian (Australia)
■■ China Steel Corporation (Taiwan) ■■ NSL Consolidated (Australia) ■■ Kolar Gold (Guernsey)
Agencies ■■ The Ministry Government of India
■■ Federation of Indian Mineral Industries ■■ The Geological Survey of India ■■ The Indian Bureau of Mines ■■ The Aluminium Association of India
PERSPECTIVES ON INDIA India pips China as top FDI destination in 2015. Doordarshan News -”India was the highest ranked country by capital investment in 2015, with USD 63 billion-worth of FDI projects announced,” according to fDi Intelligence, a division of The Financial Times Ltd. Also there was an 8 per cent increase in project numbers to 697. Major companies such as Foxconn and SunEdison have agreed to invest in projects valued at USD 5 billion and USD 4 billion, respectively, in India in 2015, it said. “India replaced China as the top destination for FDI by capital investment following a year of high-value project announcements specifically across the coal, oil and natural gas and renewable energy sectors,” the report said. It said the biggest change in greenfield FDI in 2015 was the near tripling of greenfield FDI into India, with an estimated USD 63 billion. “In 2015, India was for the first time the leading country in the world for FDI, overtaking the US (which had USD 59.6 billion of greenfield FDI) and China (USD 56.6 billion),” the report noted. In a tweet, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said: “India emerges on top in attracting FDI”. 16 • India Newsletter
Of the top 10 destination states for FDI in 2015, India claims five places, with the top place going to Gujarat, which attracted USD 12.4 billion. Maharashtra has been one of the strongest performers across the years attracting USD 8.3 billion, respectively, in 2015. According to FDI Markets, the motives cited by companies investing in India and China are quite similar in nature. For both countries, companies identify domestic market growth potential and proximity to markets as the main two reasons for investing. “The rapid growth of greenfield FDI
in India shows that while economic development organisations try to attract FDI for the contribution greenfield FDI can make to employment and GDP, FDI is strongly attracted to high-growth economies. “Success breeds success and to attract high volumes of FDI, locations need to create the conditions for strong economic growth and development to take place,” the fDi report said. It said the Make in India campaign and the resultant boost in FDI has resulted in a whopping increase in FDI job creation from 1.16 lakh new jobs in 2013 to 2.25 lakh in 2015 the highest number in the world.
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INDIAN STATE ECONOMIC PROFILE TAMIL NADU Tamil Nadu is the fourth largest state of India and contributed 7.9 per cent to India’s overall gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014-15. It has a diversified manufacturing sector and features among the leading states in several industries like automobiles, components, engineering, pharmaceuticals, garments, textile products, leather products, chemicals, plastics, etc. It ranks first among the states in terms of number of factories and industrial workers. Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (TIDCO), State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT), Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation Limited (TIIC), and Tamil Nadu Small Industries Development Corporation Limited (TANSIDCO) are jointly developing industrial infrastructure in the state. Between 2004-05 and 2014-15, Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) expanded at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.67 per cent to US$ 161.2 billion whereas the Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) expanded at a CAGR of 12.94 per cent to US$ 145.9 billion. Tamil Nadu Industrial Guidance & Export Promotion Bureau has been set up with the objective of attracting major investment
proposals into Tamil Nadu. Some of the major initiatives taken by the government to promote Tamil Nadu as an investment destination are: ■■ In 2015, the state government announced plans to set up four mega food parks in the state. The state government of Tamil Nadu has released an amount of US$ 5 million for this project. ■■ In the 2015-16 budget, the state government announced plans to invest US$ 2,253.82 million for the development of power infrastructure in the state. ■■ In the 2015-16 budget, US$ 13.76 million was allocated for the Information Technology Department. ■■ Tamil Nadu Vision 2023 envisages an investment of US$ 27.7 billion for improving highways. Chennai is slated to get 17 new projects worth US$ 334.8 million. ■■ The Government of Tamil Nadu has unveiled an automobile policy which would focus on future development and consolidation of the automobile and components industry, where the state enjoys a comparative advantage. ■■ TIDCO has proposed to set up a sector-specific SEZ for the engineering sector on about 280 acres of land, at an estimated cost of around US$ 219.0 million in Phase-1
of the project. ■■ TIDCO has proposed the development of solar power parks for setting up 1,000-MW solar power projects in association with public and private organisations. ■■ SIPCOT has planned a new industrial park spread across 1,127 acres for the development of an industrial complex at Thervoy Kandigai. Land development work has started for the same. SIPCOT has taken possession of 125 acres of land in Thiruvallur district for creation of a new complex. ■■ Upgradation of ~145 km road to 4 lanes has been planned to be undertaken under PPP (PublicPrivate-Partnership) mode. In 201516 budget, an amount US$ 209.35 million has been allocated for this work. ■■ Tamil Nadu Government has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with five auto companies – Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, India Yamaha Motor, Ashok Leyland-Nissan, Eicher Motors and Philips Carbon Black – for an investment of up to US$ 1.7 billion in the state. ■■ In order to attract more investment in hardware manufacturing, the state has set up an expert committee with representatives from the industry to evaluate the potential and advise the government on the way forward.
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INDIAN 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 email@example.com to get more information about possible assistance/subsidies.
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INVEST INDIA Federation House, Tansen Marg New Delhi—110 001 0091-11-23765085, 23487278 firstname.lastname@example.org www.investindia.gov.in
policy and Promotion, Ministry INVESTMENT of Commerce & Industry) and State Governments of India (0.5% The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund(NIIF)
■■ Objective: ■■ To maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both Greenfield and Brownfield, including stalled projects. ■■ Other nationally important projects in manufacturing, if viable commercially ■■ Structure: ■■ The NIIF will be established as one or more Alternate Investment Funds (AIF). It refers to any fund established or incorporated in Indian in the form of a Trust or a Company or a LLP or a body corporate. AIF shall raise funds only through private placement 22 • India Newsletter
nvest India is the country’s official agency dedicated to investment promotion and facilitation. Set up as a joint venture between FICCI (51% and cannot accept from any equity), DIPP (35%funds equity held investor (Indian or Foreign) whose by the Department of Industrial value is less than 1 crore Indian Rupees and is prohibited from making application to public for subscription to its securities. AIF can be of three categories; ■■ Category I: Investment in Start-ups, SMEs, infrastructure or social ventures ■■ Category II: Investment in private equity and debt funds
■■ Category III: Primarily for hedge funds, which use complex strategies or leverage to invest in unlisted derivaties and trade with a view to make short-term returns
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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TOURISM Amarkantak: Birthplace of the flowing twins by Hugh & Colleen Gantzer. We have met them, often, at the height of their power: leaping over cliffs with a titanic roar, thrusting their way through rocks, sweeping everything in their path, engorged with fury, awesome to behold. One dominates 54,000 sq kms of terrain; the other’s reach stretches over 93,000 sq kms. And in the areas over which they rule, few can question their authority over the life and death of their subjects. This is why the Sone and Narmada rivers have, for millennia, been worshipped as omnipotent deities. No one, however, told us that they are, in fact, twins born out of the same geological womb in the Vindhya Mountains where north India ends and south India begins. We discovered this for ourselves when we visited Madhya Pradesh’s unassuming little town of Amarkantak. Happily, unlike most of our rather grotty and teeming pilgrim towns, Amarkantak looks like a quiet resort spread over a green and watered valley. Forests arise around and meander through the valley, stepping back only when they encounter shimmering water-meadows. Soon, possibly, the meadows and forests will go, giving way to the grimy sprawl of
religious industrialisation but, when we visited it, the hamlet was still clean, green and very pleasant at an elevation of 1,065 meters. We drove out of the settlement, stopped at the edge of a forest. Near the top of a flight of steps, winding down, was a brightly coloured hermitage. At its base stood five mango trees. A small, cemented, pond had been built at the foot of these trees and, from a tiny hole in the wall of this pond, water bubbled out. From here it flowed into a stream gushing alongside the flight of steps descending through the forest. This was the young Sone which was fed, a few hundred meters from its birth, by tributary rills. We scrambled down the steps, the chortling baby Sone keeping pace with us. At the end of the stairs, a small bridge spanned the stream leading to a little temple and another hermitage. An old mendicant sat in that thatched hut, reading. His young companion spread his saffron robe to dry in the sun and the breeze. Beyond the hermitage the forest ended in a sheer cliff and the Sone tumbled off it into a densely wooded valley below. This was the first waterfall of this great river, and an iron and concrete platform thrust out over the cliff giving dizzying views of the cascade. When we were standing on the platform, looking at the playful Sone,
in all her infant aggressiveness, a group of mendicants came. They were carrying staves, backpacks of rolled blankets, and were accompanied by two dogs. They stopped, cupped water from the stream, in their hands, drank it, spoke briefly to us, then hurried up the steps, the dogs trotting happily behind. They were on a Narmada Parikrama, a circumambulatory of the river; and they could cross it only here or at Baraoch where it flows into the Arabian Sea. This religious trek would take them three years, six months and thirteen days: a hiking schedule which would have to be as rigidly controlled as a motor rally! All religious places, the world over, are fertile grounds for the germination and growth of traditions and legends. We learnt an unfounded legend-in-themaking when we visited a group of old temples built in the Khajuraho style. Most of them were in a rather dilapidated state, some leaning askew presumably because the ground on which they had been built had become water-logged and soft. We were looking for good angles for our cameras when a man walked up and said that photography was not allowed because these temples had been built by the Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata. Clearly, suitable lubrication would have removed his objection. We’ve encountered
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many such parasites in our travels. Since these temples could not have been built before the 10th century AD, we brushed him aside. He then pointed to a signboard which, he said, would bear him out. That was another bit of misinformation. The sign merely proclaimed the temples to be ‘Protected Monuments’. Later, we learnt that archaeologists had, indeed, dated the temples as belonging to the 10th century. No one, however, could tell us who had built them or why they had been built at this spot. We believe, however, that these monuments had been sited here because it was close to the legendary source of the Narmada. In fact, just across the road from this group of abandoned shrines rose the walled complex of the Narmada Udgam. We walked into the complex. “All are welcome” said the pujari, hospitably. We found that a number of shrines had been built around two tanks. Water from the basement of a single-celled temple trickled into the little tank, filled it up, and then overflowed into the larger one. From there it emerged as a stream which, eventually, becomes the Narmada.
Pilgrims bathed, drank water from the small pond, consulted pundits sitting on little platforms or under a shed with a corrugated-iron roof. Some devotees, after their bath, even had themselves massaged by professional masseurs. It was all rather informal and relaxed. The idol of Narmada Devi was dressed in a white sari with a red boarder.. Curiously, it had the large, almondshaped, eyes often associated with tribal deities. This is significant. The Ganga, at Varanasi, apparently marks the boundary between Aryan cultural mores and the more ancient ones of the earlier inhabitants of India. Virtually all the idols on the tribal side have such eyes. It is quite likely, therefore, that Narmada Devi was the Mother Goddess of the first people to colonise this fertile valley of the Narmada and that she had retained her physical attributes when she was absorbed into the Hindu pantheon. Amarkantak has grown around the Narmada, and the river burgeoned in size and stature as it flowed out of its place of birth. We followed it through watered green meadows, where brooklets added to its strength, and into a forest where,
according to another legend, the sage Kapil once had his hermitage. Now the path began to get a little tacky underfoot and there was a distant roaring as if an enormous steam engine was exhausting its built-up pressure. We trod, gingerly, around the forest path and were surrounded by a cloud of drenching spray. There, ahead of us, the Narmada, full of power and fury thundered down a 45-meter cliff, filling the forest with its foaming anger. “Yes” said a middle-aged man collecting herbs freshened by the spray, “the river is angry. Kapil Muni had ordered her to stop but she had broken through these cliffs and plunged down. She still roars her rage after all these ages!” There is a certain compulsive logic in the view that, since living creatures cannot grow as quickly as the Narmada had then, it must be divine. And these roaring falls are a manifestation of her implacable power. It, therefore, follows that this green bowl in the old Vindhyas must, certainly, be a place of great virtue: especially as not one, but two, holy rivers flow out of the fertile, earthly, womb of Amarkantak.
AIR INDIA launched new Delhi-Vienna flight on April 2016
International Airport on 06.04.2016. Air India has introduced dreamliner plane on the route. Ambassador Shri Rajiva Misra , Commercial Director of Air India, Shri Pankaj Srivastava, senior officials of the Vienna Airport Authority and other senior officers
were present at the Airport on the occasion. The Flight, which will be operated thrice a week, is expected to provide better connectivity between India and other central / eastern European destinations as well.
Air India has started direct flight from Delhi to Vienna. The inaugural flight from Delhi landed at the Vienna 24 • India Newsletter
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SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT - MEDICAL TOURISM India- the rising global healthcare destination Medical Tourism is on rise in India. Among the global medical travel destinations, India is becoming a leading healthcare destination for patients seeking world class treatment at affordable prices. The overall Indian healthcare market today is worth US$ 100 billion and is expected to grow to US$ 280 billion by 2020. Healthcare delivery, which includes hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostics centers, and pharmaceuticals, constitutes 65 per cent of the overall market. With the best infrastructure, qualified Doctors and best possible Medical facilities, India has become a leader in Medical tourism. The cost of treatment is comparatively 60-70% less than in the developed countries. India offers wide variety of procedures, technology and infrastructure which are at par with those in USA, UK and Europe. The Medical Tourism Market Report 2015 constitutes about India as “one of the lowest cost and highest quality of all medical tourism destinations”. Despite the fact that India is a land of many languages, the patients from other countries do not face problems with the language as English is widely spoken and many hospitals have also hired language translators to make it easier and comfortable for the foreign patients. According to the latest reports, in 2015 the medical tourism sector in India was worth US$3 billion which is projected to grow to $7 billion by 2020. The cost of treatment in India is the lowest in South East Asia compared to Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore. The major source of patients coming to India is from Bangladesh and Afghanistan compromising of 34 percent of the total foreign patients. The other major sources of patients coming to India include Middle East and Africa. India has become the top destination for Russia for medical treatment. Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh,
Chennai and National Capital Region (NCR) are the most favored medical tourism destinations. The city of Chennai has been termed “India’s health capital”. It brings in an estimated 150 international patients every day. Chennai attracts about 45 percent of health tourists from abroad arriving in the country and 37 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. The government of India has also removed visa restrictions on tourist visas that required a two-month gap between consecutive visits for people from Gulf countries. A visa-onarrival scheme for tourists from select countries has also been instituted which allows foreign nationals to stay in India for 30 days for medical reasons. Ayurveda in India Ayurveda, a 5000-year-old traditional medicine system, got its name from, Ayur (means life) and Veda (means knowledge). Ayurveda gives medical solutions for even the most lifethreatening diseases such as cancer. This medical system is inspired by the elements of nature and has no sideeffects. Roots of Chinese and Tibetan system of medicines are found in Ayurveda. Ayurveda focuses on treating and eradicating the problem right from the root cause of it, by taking account of lifestyle ,diet, routine, exercise and circumstances of a patient. It works on the principle of not only treating and curing the main disease but completely the root cause from your body. Ayurveda in India keeps its focus purifying the mind, body and soul. Ayurveda and Yoga have become a crucial part of lifestyle and treatment all around the world. Since it was born in India, it’s apparent that one gets world’s best Ayurvedic treatment in India. Indian Spas are mostly inspired from Ayurveda and use its techniques and principles to rejuvenate. Whether you are looking to brighten your skin or for a cure for your joint pains, these spas are the best place for cure . Indian
Ayuerveda puts into use only natural ingredients such as seeds roots, herbs, bark, leaves and fruits to make their oils and pastes. The treatment isn’t confined to massages; it is made effective by laying focus on diet and workout progress and lasting for minimum week’s time. People from all over the world visit India for Ayurveda treatments and therapies. Generally the best time for Ayurveda treatment in India is in the Monsoon season between June and September because the weather is suitable with moderate temperature. But one can avail such therapies and treatments all round the year. Kerala is known for its Ayurveda medicine because of the availability of natural herbal products and moderate weather throughout the year. Kerala is a great choice to enjoy original treatments with natural surroundings. Kerala offers many natural attractions such as the famous backwaters, sandy beaches, waterfalls and picturesque hills. It is known as the most developed state of India with high quality travel and tourism infrastructure, Kerala is especially attractive for Ayurveda enthusiasts as it is more peaceful than many other popular destinations in India. India Newsletter • 25
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26 â€˘ India Newsletter
Indian Embassy, Vienna
India Newsletter â€˘ 27
Indian Embassy, Vienna
INDIAN MOVIE EVENING AT THE EMBASSY 27th May, 17:30 HINDI OV WITH GERMAN SUBT.
24th June, 17:30
29th June, 17:30 HINDI OV WITH GERMAN SUBT.
HINDI OV WITH GERMAN SUBT.
Seat reservation and further Infos: www.indianembassy.at Indian Embassy Business Centre/Library Kärntner Ring 2, 1. Stock, 1010 Wien 28 • India Newsletter
Indian Embassy, Vienna
INDIA-RELATED EVENTS IN AUSTRIA
a..arti summer festival
a..ar ti cercle uniting the worlds
© Ajay Lal
© Pandit Kushal Das
© Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia
10.–12. Juni 2016 im Odeon Theater, Wien 3 Tage klassische Musik und Tanz aus Indien
Freitag, 10. Juni, 19:30 Klassischer indischer Tanz Arushi Mudgal und Truppe = Odissi
Samstag, 11. Juni, 19:30 Klassische indische Musik Pandit Kushal Das = Sitar Sri Sandip Ghosh = Tabla
Sonntag, 12. Juni, 7:30 Klassische indische Musik Morgenkonzert Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia = Bansuri-Flöte Sri Niti Ranjan Biswas = Tabla
10.–12. Juni 2016 Odeon Theater, Taborstrasse 10, 1020 Wien
Karten ab sofort erhältlich unter: oﬃce@aarti-cercle.org
Karten: EUR 44/EUR 25 (Polsterplatz) StudentInnen bis zum 27. Lebensjahr –10% Festivalpass: EUR 120/EUR 65 (Polsterplatz)
Tel: 01 / 216 51 27 (Odeon) email@example.com www.odeon-theater.at
SafeDon Hygiene SystemTM
Stand: 1. April 2016, Änderungen vorbehalten Impressum: a..arti cercle – Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur e.V. / www.aarti-cercle.org / Gestaltung: Katharina Gattermann
India Newsletter • 29
Indian Embassy, Vienna
NOTICE BOARD BUSINESS CENTRE ■■ The EMBASSY’S Business Centre is opened DAILY from 10am to 1pm. ■■ For scheduling an appointment outside the opening hours, please contact the commercial wing under the contacts given below. ■■ Marketing Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 505 8666 30 ■■ Marketing Assistant: email@example.com or 01 505 8666 31
STUDENTS WELFARE OFFICER ■■ Mr. Brijesh Kumar, Second Secretary (Press, Info. & Protocol) 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 17 and firstname.lastname@example.org
FACEBOOK & TWITTER ■■ Our Facebook and Twitter pages target 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 9000 followers mark on Facebook! ■■ ‘Like’ our facebook page and be the first to know!
www.facebook.com/IndiaInAustria www.twitter.com/IndiaInAustria 30 • India Newsletter