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India Infoline Weekly Newsletter – November 09, 2012

India Infoline News Service | Mumbai |

To begin with the fiscal cliff is top of the mind worry for the world and not just the United States of America. In his victory speech, Obama stressed that the Best Is Yet to Come add that the country lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

Top Stories 

Barack is Back...After winning Presidential election its fiscal cliff worries

Obama wins US Presidential election for the second term as 44th President after winning a key victory in Ohio. The Second coming of President Barack Obama has brought more worries than joy. To begin with the fiscal cliff is top of the mind worry for the world and not just the United States of America. In his victory speech, Obama stressed that the Best Is Yet to Come add that the country lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

"We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this - this world has ever known."

Yet, Obama will need to quickly secure agreement on avoiding the 'fiscal cliff' and raising the debt ceiling following Tuesday's elections, Fitch Ratings says. The economic policy challenge facing the President is to put in place a credible deficit-reduction plan necessary to underpin economic recovery and confidence in the full faith and credit of the US. Resolution of these fiscal policy choices would likely result in the US retaining its 'AAA' status from Fitch. As reflected in the Negative Outlook on the rating, failure to avoid the fiscal cliff and raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner as well as securing agreement on credible deficit reduction would likely result in a rating downgrade in 2013.

The fiscal cliff - some US$600bn of tax increases and spending cuts that come into effect on 1 January 2013 - and an increase in the debt ceiling are pressing issues that the President and Congress must address in the coming weeks if the US is to avoid a fiscal and economic crisis. Fitch estimates that the fiscal cliff would tip the US economy into an unnecessary and avoidable recession and result in an increase in the unemployment rate to above 10% in 2013. In Fitch's opinion, the tax increases and spending cuts implied by the fiscal cliff would not fully address the longer-term drivers of higher public spending and the relatively narrow and volatile tax base. Moreover, the fiscal cliff would likely be at least partially reversed by Congress as the economy slowed and unemployment began to rise, perpetuating the uncertainty over government tax and spending policies that has weighed on the economic recovery. Fitch is currently projecting substantial deficit reduction equivalent to around 1.5% of GDP in 2013 as part of a medium-term deficit reduction strategy.

Assuming that the fiscal cliff is avoided and there is a timely increase in the debt ceiling, Fitch expects to resolve the Negative Outlook on the US 'AAA' sovereign rating in late 2013. Failure to reach agreement on the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling would likely trigger a rating downgrade before then.

Remembering the famous ‘Yes we can’ by Obama

Mitt Romney congratulates President Obama on re-election

Best yet to come for United States of America: Barack Obama

Climate change should top President Obama's list: WRI

India, Canada have a common interest in stability of global financial system: PM

"It is my pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to Prime Minister Harper on his second visit to India. Since his last visit in 2009, our bilateral relations have seen a significant transformation. I am confident that our ties will be marked by increasingly beneficial cooperation in the years ahead.  Prime Minister Harper and I have conducted a comprehensive review of our wide-ranging partnership. We agreed to institute a Strategic Dialogue at the level of Foreign Ministers. We identified energy cooperation, particularly exports of Canadian oil and natural gas as well as renewable energy cooperation, as an area with enormous potential. A Ministerial-level energy dialogue will supplement the Strategic Dialogue and promote specific projects. We also welcomed the recent progress made towards concluding the modalities for the effective operationalization of the agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation that we had signed in 2010. There is active collaboration in high technology sectors between our scientific institutions. The Prime Minister and I agreed on the need to develop such linkages.

The MOU that has just been signed between DRDO and York University is a welcome foray into bilateral defence technology cooperation, where Canadian prowess is widely acknowledged. The large Indian origin community in Canada, and the people to people interaction this has fostered, has played a vital role in strengthening our relations. The Social Security Agreement that has been signed today will be of enormous benefit to many expatriate professionals in both countries.  Canada has traditionally been an important partner in our efforts to ensure food security. In this context, both sides have agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of agriculture. Our economic cooperation is below its potential. The establishment of a bilateral CEOs Forum, and the commitment to a structured dialogue between our Commerce Ministers, will help our trade and economic interaction. We resolved to conclude negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement within the next year. I assured the Prime Minister that India is committed to finalizing a Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement, on which negotiations are underway. I also conveyed that India hopes to attract more Canadian investment in India, just as there has been a steady flow of Indian capital into Canada...Read More

Signs of turnaround in Indian economy: Montek Ahluwalia

There are signals of a turnaround in the Indian economy and the second half of this fiscal year will see stronger growth, said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, India, during the closing plenary session of the World Economic Forum on India. "Next fiscal year, it’s not impossible to target a growth rate of 7%," he added, during a session in which participants remained optimistic and upbeat about India’s future prospects. The recent reforms in foreign direct investment have signalled the government’s intent to move forward even without political consensus, but they are just part of a huge agenda encapsulated in the latest five-year plan.  Ahluwalia recognized the frustration expressed at the slow pace of implementation but said, "Reforms are not the kind of thing where if someone signed an order, it would get done.

We are trying to create new institutions, as well as empower institutions that already exist." He added that "almost two-thirds of what needs to be done is in the hands of state governments", and that the variation across states is enormous. Turning to the fiscal deficit, Ahluwalia said that the finance minister has made it plain the deficit is too high, and has formulated a programme to bring it down from 6% of GDP to 3% by 2016. He acknowledged, however, that when it comes to the implementation of large-scale projects, the government is struggling to put in place the necessary mechanisms to allow infrastructure projects to get the necessary clearances. Taking a global perspective, Ahluwalia said the global economic situation is better now than five months ago. European leaders have taken actions to avoid the break-up of the euro, while the recent political changes in the US have removed some of the uncertainties of the impending fiscal cliff faced by the world’s largest economy. Referring to the current round of multilateral trade talks, he asked: "Is the global economy going to simply let the Doha round fall by the wayside?" He said India has a very strong interest in Doha succeeding and called on global leaders to show the way forward.

RBI allows SIDBI to raise $500 mn

The Reserve Bank of India Tuesday has allowed Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to raise up to $ 500 million per annum through External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) to fund small and medium scale industry. "...it has been decided to include SIDBI as an eligible borrower for availing of ECB for on-lending to MSME sector," RBI said in a notification. Funds raised by SIDBI would be used for lending to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) either in Indian rupees or in foreign currency.

Monetary policy easing may be in January: Subbarao

RBI allows banks to undertake proprietary transactions in bond market

RBI issues guidelines on liquidity risk management

India signs loan agreement with World Bank for US$106mn

An agreement for loan of US$106mn (equivalent) for Phase-I of the World Bank assistance for the "ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP)" was signed at New Delhi between Prabodh Saxena (Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs) on behalf of Government of India and Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank. Representatives from Ministry of Women and Child Development and officials from the World Bank, among others, were present.

The overarching Goal of the proposed two-phased Program is to improve nutritional outcomes of children in India. The Objective of the Phase-I is to support Government of India and participating states to: 

  • Strengthen the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) policy framework, systems and capacities, and facilitate community engagement, to ensure greater focus on children under three years of age
  • Strengthen convergent actions for improved nutrition outcomes.
  • Project Component:
  • Institutional and systems strengthening in ICDS
  • Community mobilization and behavior change communication
  • Piloting convergent nutrition actions
  • Project management, technical assistance, monitoring and evaluation
  • The Phase-I of ISSNIP is for 3 years.

Special Stories

Female empowerment fundamental for India’s economic growth

A panel of experts in the session "Changing Mindsets: India’s Missing Women" at the World Economic Forum on India, addressed the widespread phenomenon of devaluation and marginalization of women in Indian society. Though legislation giving women equal rights and opportunities exists, it has not remedied systematic female discrimination. The problem of enforcement is related to deep-seated cultural perceptions of women in Indian society and ongoing disempowerment of the agents of change, namely the women themselves. Only a multi-level campaign involving political, economic, cultural, civic, education and media stakeholders can have sufficient reach and impact to break down commonly-held female stereotypes and provide women with the tools to assume an active role in shaping their own lives, panelists said.

Krishna Tirath, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Women and Child Development of India, said that the government has passed acts on protecting women from domestic violence, dowry prohibition and workplace quotas. It has also launched the Sabla scheme that provides adolescent girls with health, nutrition, education and life skills. Still, the preference towards boys is a deep-rooted cultural norm which places India at 105th among 135 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2012. The panellists agreed that legislation must be coupled with female empowerment. Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children International, United Kingdom, and Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum on India, proposed implementing "a multi-level sustained campaign" to break down gender taboos and create an environment of change. This would have to take place on many fronts – government (state and local), business, civil society, cultural institutions, educational systems and the media...Read More

FAO Food Price Index falls slightly in October

The FAO Food Price Index fell 1% in October 2012, and for the first ten months of the year food prices were on average eight percent lower than in the same period in 2011. The Index dipped two points to 213 points from September's revised level of 215 points. The decline was largely due to lower international prices of cereals and oils and fats, which more than offset increases in dairy and sugar prices. Meanwhile the FAO Food Outlook, a bi-annual global market report also published today, noted that lower international prices and freight rates, together with lower cereal purchases, could push down the world food import bill in 2012.  Global expenditure on food imports was forecast at US$1.14 trillion in 2012, 10% lower than last year's record level. "Despite tight markets, a set of conditions and measures have so far stopped international food prices from spiralling up as they did in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. Chief among those are the improved international coordination and market transparency brought about by the G20's Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) which has helped to prevent panic and to stop the worst drought in decades turning into a food price crisis as has happened in the past," said the FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. AMIS has its Secretariat at FAO. ""Droughts or floods are not what causes crises, it's lack of governance. In a globalized world, we cannot have food security in only one country or in one region. We need to strengthen the global governance of food security," added Graziano da Silva.

Tight cereal balance

According to Food Outlook, the balance between global cereal supply and demand is forecast to tighten considerably in 2012/13, due mainly to likely declines in wheat and maize outputs. World cereal production is forecast to fall by 2.7 percent from previous year's record crop, leading to a 25 million tonne contraction in world stocks. While the FAO Cereal Price Index remained 12 percent higher than in October last year, it fell 1.2 percent from September, mostly because of slightly lower wheat and maize prices. Current wheat prices reflect reduced trade activity, while maize values are down, mostly due to slowing demand from the livestock and industrial sectors. For wheat, world trade in 2012/13 is forecast to fall below the previous season's peak. Prices are expected to stay above 2011 levels. For coarse grains, the market is also expected to remain extremely tight in 2012/13, with FAO's latest forecast for production in 2012 pointing to a 2.5 percent decline from the 2011 record level. Stocks are forecast to fall to historic lows...Read More

Can India, Pak put years of mis-trust behind them?

Jaswant Singh, India’s Former Foreign, Defense and Finance Minister & General Pervez Musharraf, Former President of Pakistan come face-to-face for a free-wheeling chat on Indo-Pak relations on THE OUTSIDER with Tim Sebastian. Mr. Jaswant Singh and Gen. Pervez Musharraf are the two men who dealt with each other in moments of high drama and conflict between the countries including the Kargil War. Mr. Jaswant Singh and Gen. Musharraf spoke about various issues that have been roadblocks in the smoothening of relationships between the two countries including the Kargil War, bureaucratic inter-state relations, interference of the USA and NATO in the sub-continent, stated policies of both countries, Human Rights issues, Extra judicial executions by the Army as well as the Pakistan’s support to militants and extremists. Mr. Singh accepted that in Kargil, while India was caught off-guard tactically by Pakistan, the situation had turned adverse for them and it was only a matter of time that they were evicted. Gen. Musharraf, with a tinge of sadness said, "A military victory was converted into a political defeat."

Mr. Jaswant Singh, speaking about the decision of releasing three terrorists in lieu of the 166 passengers in the Indian Airlines hijack drama at Kandahar said, "Governments in office don’t decide between absolute black and absolute white. Great many decisions have to be in shades of grey. We took a decision that saving lives is infinitely better for the Government to take as a decision than knowingly let lives be lost."

When further asked if he still believes that he had done the right thing, Mr. Singh said, "I think I am now completely clear in my mind, that if ever there is a choice between saving human lives and knowingly letting a 166 die, I will always opt for saving lives."

When Mr. Singh and Gen. Musharraf said that they were absolutely comfortable sitting and chatting with each other, Tim asked if they believed that Indian and Pakistan are on their way to a bright future.

In his answer to Tim, Mr. Singh said, "Yes, they are on the way to a bright future. It will come despite you, not because of you. Despite because you really are obstacles; you as in the USA and NATO."

Mr. Singh further added, "We are concerned and care about the innocent people in Pakistan being killed by the drone attacks in the foot hills of Hindukush and have even opposed it. The role that NATO and USA have today adopted in the sub-continent is actually that of an imperial power."

Tim Sebastian asked Gen. Musharraf if there was any possibility whatsoever of a permanent agreement about Kashmir with India. Gen. Musharraf emphatically answered saying, "Yes, I do believe it is possible...Read More

Imran Khan seeks new relationship between Pakistan and India

Corporates to cut gift budget by 50% this Diwali: Survey

India Inc. this Diwali is severely cutting back its corporate gift budgets by a whopping 45%-50% as costs balloon and earnings together with profit margins shrink by the day, according to a ASSOCHAM survey. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) carried out a survey during October to ascertain the ‘Diwali Gifting Intentions of India Inc.’ The ASSOCHAM representatives interacted with about 150 companies with an employee strength of 500 and plus operating in the domains of pharma, BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance), auto, hospitality, FMCG, manufacturing, energy and infrastructure sectors in 10 cities—Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune. "Just like the last year, this year too the business houses are bracing for a muted Diwali affair evidently as majority of respondents of ASSOCHAM survey have tightened their purse strings and have slashed their budgets for Diwali gifts significantly," said ASSOCHAM secretary general, D.S. Rawat.

Of the 150 companies interviewed, about 30 of them said they have decided to entirely do away with gifting concept this year and would use the extra funds to better use, highlights the ASSOCHAM survey. While about 90 respondents i.e. the majority of the total of those interviewed said they are going to spend less on gifts for their corporate connections this year and have drastically scaled down their budgets by about 45%-50% in this regard. Corporates blamed the prevailing economic slowdown both in India and abroad together with decelerating industrial growth leading to an upward spiraling inflation, high cost of credit, dropping operating profits and difficult trading conditions for going slow this festive season. Of the remaining, about 12 respondents said their company has shortlisted very selective list of clients to whom they would distribute personalized gifts. Digital cameras, branded watches, pens, wallets, affordable tablet computers, chocolates and sweets gift hampers and smart phones have replaced the large dry fruit packs, luxury gift items, gold coins, according to the ASSOCHAM survey...Read More

Tablets and Smartphones are the latest shopping tools: InMobi survey

Domestic News

Transformational change in R&D promotion: Jaipal Reddy

"I would consider the launch of the Prime Minister’s Fellowship Schemce for doctoral research as a land mark event of high significance. When the Secretary spoke to me about this launch programme, I realized that a seed is being sown today for a transformational change in the way research and development is being promoted in this country. Therefore, let me congratulate both Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for this important initiative. I am certain that the seed being sown today will grow into a fruit yielding tree before long and contribute to a much needed transformation in our innovation ecosystem. The fact that the Hon’ble Prime Minister has agreed to lend the name of his office bears testimony to the fact that this UPA Government attaches high significance to translation of research into innovations and innovations to value creation.

Some concerns have been expressed at various levels that the connections between our knowledge and industrial application systems are weak. There are some pessimists who worry about such problems. I define a pessimist as one who sits in front of a chocolate cake and cashew bubies and worry about calories. I am optimist. The real change Indian S&T system needs is the transformational change in the mind set. No accomplishment would be possible by worrying about the challenges and problems. We must do something and that something must be defining and promote transformational change in the system. To me, this initiative is one such transformational change. There are huge emerging opportunities that are waiting to be tapped and converted into value for the country by bridging the disconnects between the knowledge and wealth creation sector. The present doctoral fellowship is indeed working in the area of national gap and is targeted to bridge the disconnects that pessimists are worrying about.

Our knowledge institutions (IISc, IITs, IISERs and Universities) are creating intellectual properties in the form of papers in peer valued scientific journals. I am happy to note that the annual growth of the number of publications emanating from India is about 13-15% lately. This is good news of course, but the challenge is in the conversion of such knowledge into products of commercial value to the industrial users. Our industries need reliable source of modern technologies which could offer them intellectual properties with commercialization potentials. While our public funded R&D systems are busy publishing papers, the industries are searching for technologies for commercialization...Read More

Airlines must ensure that passengers are provided basic amenities: Ajit Singh

Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ajit Singh has asked the concerned authorities to take all necessary steps in advance to meet eventualities arising out of fog during the winter season particularly at the airports in North India. He has specially instructed that the passengers should not be put to unnecessary inconvenience and flight cancellations should be minimised without compromising safety. He has said that the passengers should be provided timely information, food and beverages etc. in cases of flight delays. Singh has also advised Airports Authority of India (AAI) and other concerned authorities to make use of the best available technology for smooth navigation and landing of aircraft during fog.  Following instructions from the Minister, Director General of Civil Aviation today took a meeting of all stakeholders to review the fog preparedness at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi and other north Indian airports. It was attended by representatives of Airports Authority of India (AAI), scheduled domestic airlines, foreign carriers, DIAL, Indian Meteorological Department and CISF. The meeting considered the measures being taken with regard to airside, terminal-side and kerbside preparedness. The DIAL representative made a presentation on the preparations made by them to meet the contingency during fog period. AAI has also informed that they have issued instructions to alternate airports near Delhi to prepare for fog situation...Read More

Cabinet approves disinvestment of 10% paid up equity of Hindustan Aeronautics

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved to divest 10% equity in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) out of its holding of 100 percent through an Initial Public Offer (IPO) in the domestic market as per the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Rules and Regulations. Five percent discount on the issue price will be allowed for retail investors as well as to eligible employees of HAL applying under the employees reservation portion. The paid up equity capital of the company, as on 31st March, 2012 is Rs.120.50 crore. Currently, the company is unlisted. After the divestment of 10%, Government of India’s shareholding in the company would come down to 90%.   HAL is a Schedule – ‘A’, Navratna Central Public Sector Enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence. It is engaged in the designing and development of Fixed Wing Aircraft, Rotary Wing Aircraft and their systems/accessories/avionics, manufacturing of Aircraft (Fighter, Trainers and Transport), Helicopter and associated aero engines, accessories and avionics for both military and civil applications.

Govt. approves 3rd phase of Small Development Projects in Afghanistan

Infosys signs agreement with Ministry of Corporate Affairs

Infosys, a global leader in consulting and technology, announced that it has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Government of India, to implement MCA21 v2, a multi-year business transformation project. This latest agreement, which underscores growing traction for Infosys in its India operations, will deliver enhanced services to all of the ministry's stakeholders: businesses, citizens, and government employees. Infosys will revamp the existing application, after the transition from the incumbent vendor and manage the overall transformation to MCA21 v2. The company will provide services, application support, and infrastructure operations for at least five years in a contract valued at approximately US$ 50 million. The revamped application will cater to the rapidly changing needs of the industry in the new digital era. Through the MCA21 online portal, corporate sector stakeholders and investors alike gained secure access to an array of services provided by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The MCA21 project introduced electronic filing, doing away with the need for the filing of paper-based records among its Registrars of Companies and Regional Directors. The transformation to MCA21 v2 will future proof this program.

Proposal for change in USOF schemes for creation of NOFN cleared

The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for change in funding arrangement for the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) schemes, including the funding of the scheme for creation of National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) from Non-Plan to Plan allocation in Budget. The proposal of Department of Telecommunications was based on the advice of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance wherein it was suggested that the funding of USOF schemes including the scheme for creation of National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) should continue to be financed out of the Plan allocation for better appraisal, monitoring and performance evaluation. Accordingly the Note dated 4th October 2012 was submitted for approval of the Cabinet, for reverting to the earlier arrangement for allocation through Plan Head, as implemented by the Ministry of Finance from the financial year 2011-12 onwards. Earlier the Department proposed to restore the budgetary allocations towards USOF expenditure under Non-Plan Budget to avoid procedural delays and ensure timely allocation of funds, while submitting the proposal regarding scheme for creation of the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) for Broadband connectivity to Panchayats, which was approved by Cabinet in October 2011.

We need today is to put in place a system designed for cyberspace: Sibal

Internet has evolved itself into a powerful, ubiquitous, empowering and liberating medium, even though only a fragment of its full potential is known and has been exploited by us so far. In its borderless cyberspace, internet provides limitless opportunities for freedom of speech and expression. Internet, perhaps is the nearest approximation to the utopian world of freedom, envisioned by one of our greatest poets, Dr Rabindranath Tagore. He said and I quote:

"Where the mind is without fear,

Where the head is held high,

Where knowledge is free,

Where the world has not been broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls,


Internet is greatly significant for India and, we believe, India is greatly significant for the Internet. These twin beliefs stem from two simple propositions. Firstly, Internet with its immense transformational potential, can provide the means for sustainable and inclusive development in a country of 1.25 billion people, in areas such as education, healthcare, financial inclusion and service delivery. Secondly, with an internet user-base of over 125 million, which is likely to grow to about half-a-billion over the next few years, and an established mobile base of 950 million, coupled with a large and talented pool of human resources, India will be a key player in the cyber-world of tomorrow. In view of these complementary and mutually-reinforcing positive externalities, India is deeply committed to the free and unbridled growth and development of the Internet, and is determined on its own and persuade others, to exploit this tremendous opportunity. At the outset, let me state that, in the true spirit of the vision outlined in the Tunis agenda, the issues of public policy related to the Internet have to be dealt with, by adopting a multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent approach. It is my personal belief that the term ‘Internet Governance’ is an oxymoron. Internet, by its very nature, can not coexist with the concept of ‘governance’, which relates to a system designed for dealing with the issues of the physical world. The term ‘Governance’, immediately invokes concepts of those who govern and those who are governed, which have no relevance in cyber-space. Semantics apart, what we need today is to put in place a system designed for cyberspace – a system which is collaborative, consultative, inclusive and consensual, for dealing with all public policies involving the Internet...Read More

TRAI’s recommendations on "Spectrum Management and Licensing Framework"

Highlights on telecom subscription data as on 30th Sept 2012

Gross Direct Tax collections up by 6.59% during Apr-Oct 2012-13

Gross direct tax collections during April-October of the Financial Year 2012-13 was up by 6.59 percent and stood at Rs. 3,02,810 crore as against Rs. 2,84,081 crore in the same period last year. Net direct tax collections was up by 14.63 percent and stood at Rs. 2,50,866 crore, as compared to Rs. 2,18,850 crore in the same period in the last fiscal.  Gross collections of corporate taxes showed an increase of 2.01 percent and stood at Rs. 1,93,679 crore as against Rs. 1,89,872 crore last year during the same period last year. Gross collections of personal income tax was up by 15.78 percent and stood at Rs. 1,08,569 crore as against Rs.93,769 crore in the same period in the last fiscal. Growth in net collections of wealth tax was up by 25.84 percent and stood at Rs.526 crore as against Rs.418 crore in the same period last year, while growth in Securities Transaction Tax (STT) was (-) 15.42 percent and stood at Rs.2, 502 crore as against Rs.2, 958 crore in the same period in the last fiscal.

Rapid growth in food processing turns farmers into entrepreneur: reports

If there is one sector that has been growing faster than agriculture as well as manufacturing sectors, has the potential to create jobs in the rural areas, bridge the gap between the price paid by the consumer and that received by the farmer and create value addition and earn foreign exchange by export of value-added farm produce, it is the Food Processing Sector. In addition, this sector does not only remain a bridge between farmers and entrepreneurs, it converts the farmer into an entrepreneur. This was stated by the Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Minister,Sharad Pawar after inaugurating NIFTEM, a world-class institution in food processing sector, at Kundli, Haryana, today. Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Minister of Water Resources Harish Rawat, Ministers of State Tariq Anwar and C D Mahant, Member of the Planning Commission, Arun Maira, and local Members of Parliament and Legislative Assembly were present on the occasion.

While highlighting the huge potential of this ‘sunrise sector’,Pawar also spoke about the challenges the sector faces and how NIFTEM will help the sector to grow.  One important aspect of its functioning is that it has ‘theme centres’ on different sectors such as dairying, cereal-based products, animal protein, beverages, confectionery, and fruit and vegetable based foods. There are also themes cutting across these sectors, e.g. management, packaging, food standards and testing, Pawar said. Earlier, Minister of Water Resources,Harish Rawat expressed the hope that NIFTEM will bridge the serious shortage of skilled manpower in this sector.  The MOS,Tariq Anwar emphasised the need for modernising the complex distribution system of farm commodities. Chancellor of the institute,Rakesh Kacker gave details of the state of art facilities created at the institute. NIFTEM or the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management has recently been conferred Deemed University status. The institute has begun its first academic session this summer. It confers B. Tech. (Food Technology and Management), M. Tech. and Ph. D. in the area of Food Technology and Management. The Minister informed that the first academic session, which began this summer, has 115 students in B. Tech and 88 in M. Tech, and these students ranked quite high in competitive examinations.

Govt takes action against 54 sugar mills : reports

The Central Government in its endeavour to streamline and computerise the data management system in sugar sector, has created a platform which facilitates all the sugar mills in the country to submit online data on sugarcane crushed, sugar production, dispatches and available stock of sugar etc. This platform is expected to become the backbone in future for the management of sugar sector. In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 read with Clause 10 of the Sugar (control) Order, 1966, the Central Government has made online system operational to all sugar mills from the last sugar season 2011-12. During the last sugar season 2001-12, 527 sugar mills were engaged in cane crushing operation, out of these, 484 sugar mills have furnished up to date data up to August, 2012, while remaining 53 sugar mills have not yet submitted up to date online details despite repeated reminders. Due to failure on the part of these sugar mills, the Government penal action has taken against 28 sugar mills of Maharashtra, 08 sugar mills of Uttar Pradesh, 02 sugar mills of Madhya Pradesh, 05 sugar mills of Andra Pradesh, 09 sugar mills of Karnataka and 01 sugar mill of Odisha...Read More

Hiring activity for Media and Dotcom indicates bleak sentiment: Naukri Job Speak

Hiring activity for the Media and Dot com sector indicates bleak sentiment. The Naukri Job Speak index shows a 3% dip in recruitment in Oct-12 when compared to Sep-12 and 7% lower than what it was a year ago. The matter of worry is that a dipping hiring trend has been continuously witnessed for the last two months and Oct-12 hiring is 13% lower than Aug-12.Commenting on the trend Hitesh Oberoi, CEO, InfoEdge India says "Most employers are cautiously optimistic about their hiring plans. Recruiters will continue with selective hiring for the next few months."...Read More

Hiring activity for October 3% higher than Sept: NaukriJobSpeak

India’s growth must be inclusive with reforms for an equitable society: WEF

India is growing at the expense of the poor and must introduce reforms to its welfare state if it is to become a more equitable society, panellists said in a session on growth at the World Economic Forum on India. "In the name of the poor, the consumption levels of the rich are increasing," said Harish Hande, Managing Director, SELCO Solar Light, India. Ajay Chhibber, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, and Assistant Administrator and Director, Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), pointed out that, "There was this growth and it wasn’t equal. We had to set up a welfare state, then we decided that the way to keep this growth was not to keep growing but to dole out help to the poor."

"But we could do it in a much more efficient and a much more targeted way. Our main effort should be to get these people in to the growth story," he said. But in the panel discussion in partnership with Time magazine, Arvind Mayaram, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance of India, argued that the government does have a plan for faster growth and said India was a victim of the global economic slowdown. "There is method in our madness," Mayaram said. "If everyone thinks there is no plan, that is not correct. We are working on growth, but there is a very large area of poor people which needs to be taken care of." An estimated 35% of people in India live below the poverty line. "Should we be looking only at growth or helping these people?" Mayaram asked. He added that in the next two years, India would be back to its former growth trajectory.

Quantum Mutual Fund’s view on Equity, Commodities and Debt

IFC, Tata Group partner to drive water efficiency in Indian Industry

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with Tata Quality Management Services to develop strategies to improve water efficiency and promote sustainable water use at 11 Tata plants across India, setting a paradigm of water conservation for industry in the country. Based on Water Footprint Network’s globally acknowledged water footprint methodology, Tata Quality Management Services is using IFC’s expertise in developing a water sustainability framework for Group companies Tata Steel, Tata Power, Tata Motors, and Tata Chemicals. Staff members across the chosen facilities have been trained in water footprint assessment and strategies to play the role of water "champions".

"By collaborating with IFC, we have accelerated the uptake of water sustainability measures within and outside our industrial operations," said Prasad Menon, Chairman, Tata Quality Management Services. "This augmented internal capacity will help us replicate the framework across the other Tata group of companies." Indian industry is facing business disruption risk due to competition over scarce resources and degradation of water quality. Water Resources Group forecasts that India will experience a water shortfall of almost 50 percent by 2030. Therefore, there is a pressing need for industry to use scarce water resources judiciously. "This initiative is calibrating water usage at the facilities, introducing best practices in water efficiency, and facilitating investments in water conservation technologies and solutions for all the stakeholders," said Jeeva A. Perumalpillai-Essex, IFC Manager for Sustainable Business Advisory in South Asia. "Our partnership with the Tata Group will push faster adoption of international best practices in water efficiency in India." Water scarcity is expected to grow significantly in coming decades. IFC plays a leading role in identifying and implementing solutions to meet the challenge, both through its work with client companies and through multi-stakeholder forums. IFC is an initiating sponsor of the 2030.

MCX adopts Bloomberg Symbology for all Commodities Contracts

Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited (MCX) announced that it has adopted the Bloomberg Global Identifier ('BBGID') across all MCX traded contracts on its website. MCX joins a number of exchanges globally in supporting Bloomberg's Open Symbology (BSYM) to lower data management costs and promote data transparency and information exchange. MCX will display Bloomberg's global ID protocol for all MCX traded contracts on its website, www.mcxindia.com. In addition, real-time pricing from MCX is tracked on the Bloomberg Professional Service at {EPRX MCX <GO>}. "Bloomberg’s Open Symbology is gaining adoption because it is user friendly, globally relevant and supportive of the user's need to gain access to data quickly," said Shreekant Javalgekar, MD & CEO, MCX. "This will be very useful for all commodity trackers especially those who trade on MCX, who can leverage this service for a wide array of functions including, trading, research, mapping, and many others", he added. "With its integration of Bloomberg's Open Symbology, MCX joins a global list of exchanges and third parties that are helping to make BSYM an industry standard," said Peter Warms of Bloomberg’s Data License and Symbology Business. "BSYM is especially useful for tracking derivatives securities within emerging markets where comprehensive and open identifiers are lacking." Bloomberg's Global Identifier, BBGID is a 12-digit alphanumerical identifier that covers more than 75 million active and inactive securities globally. It is available free of licensing fees, restrictions or commercial terms and is non-changing and unique to the listing level.

Angelprime receives funding from Social+Capital Partnership

AngelPrime, a hands-on startup incubator focused on India-first, technology-based services, announced that The Social+Capital Partnership, a Silicon Valley-based Venture Capital firm, led by former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, has invested in AngelPrime. The investment will be used to finance the startup companies that AngelPrime will incubate and seed during the next 3 years. Despite the recent uptick in technology-led entrepreneurship in India, truly world-class companies differentiated by high-end technology and serving India and other emerging markets are yet to emerge. The Social+Capital Partnership is a stage agnostic, multi hundred million dollar fund focused on backing exceptional entrepreneurs in the areas of healthcare, education, financial services and Internet technologies. The Partnership’s investors are comprised of some of the world’s most renowned philanthropists, technologists and capitalists. The Social+Capital Partnership is based in Palo Alto, CA. "Entrepreneurs can truly drive transformative change in society by innovative use of technology", said Chamath Palihapitiya, Managing Partner of the Social+Capital Partnership. "The AngelPrime team has a track-record and ambitions of incubating great companies – and I’m pleased to support them in this quest".

"AngelPrime was formed with our passion for big, high-risk, high-reward plays", said Shripati Acharya, Managing Partner of AngelPrime. "Having a partner like Chamath and Social+Capital gives us an important connect into the epicenter of technology startups, Silicon Valley. We’re delighted by his backing us." AngelPrime is a Bangalore-based technology startup incubator. Led by seasoned entrepreneurs and former volunteers of India’s prestigious Unique Identification initiative, Bala Parthasarathy, Shripati Acharya and Sanjay Swamy, the team has set out on an ambitious mission to build 3 great companies every year. AngelPrime offers entrepreneurs a combination of hands-on expertise, 1-4 crores (USD 200,000 to 600,000) of seed capital and physical and operation support infrastructure. The AngelPrime team has already incubated three companies including Ezetap, a mobile payments company, Unamia, a children’s apparel company and ZipDial, a leading mobile marketing company.

SKS Microfinance announces securitisation of Rs 2bn

SKS Microfinance Limited today announced the first substantial microfinance securitisation of Rs 200 crore post the issuance of revised securitisation guidelines for Non-Banking Finance Companies by Reserve Bank of India on August 21, 2012, stipulating Minimum Holding Period (MHP) of three months and Minimum Retention Requirement (MRR) of 5%. SKS Microfinance Limited has downloaded the receivables from microloans extended to more than 2,60,000 rural women entrepreneurs to a Special Purpose Vehicle, and Pass Through Certificates (PTCs) have been purchased by a major public sector bank. Notably, the entire pool qualifies for the weaker section treatment as per RBI's priority sector lending guidelines.

"The present transaction generates liquidity of Rs. 2bn for SKS Microfinance Limited and also brings in the concomitant capital relief," said S. Dilli Raj, Chief Financial Officer, SKS Microfinance Limited. "This corroborates the structuring skills of SKS Microfinance and the impeccable credit quality of its non-Andhra Pradesh portfolio. Notably, 26% of the pool is from Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe entrepreneurs, 16% from minorities and the remaining 58% from women belonging to the Other Backward Castes. This is a credible affirmative action and the most satisfying aspect of this transaction." The pool is rated CARE A1+(SO) signifying 'Highest Safety' by CARE Ratings. The pool is structured with geographical diversity as the pool comprises receivables from 14 non-Andhra Pradesh states. SKS Microfinance Limited has completed 16 assignment/ securitization transactions worth Rs. 18.5bn since October 2010, when Andhra Pradesh promulgated its Andhra Pradesh Micro Finance Institutions (Regulation of Money-lending) Ordinance, 2010 (which became an Act in December 2010). All transactions have been rated CARE A1+(SO), signifying 'Highest Safety' by CARE Ratings. Credit enhancement has not been invoked in any of the structures.

In addition, the Company has accessed incremental debt of Rs.20bn in the last 3 quarters. SKS Microfinance Limited has been attracting renewed credit on account of its steadfast policy of meeting all stakeholder commitments without any delay including gross repayment of over Rs 59bn to the banking system during the two-year Andhra Pradesh crisis. The Company also completed Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) of Rs. 2.3bn and Preferential Issue of Rs. 335mn in Q2-FY-13.

Deutsche Bank India announces opening its 17th branch in India

Deutsche Bank India announced the opening of its 17th branch in India. The branch is located at Ghod Dod Road, Surat and is the bank’s second branch in Gujarat after Ahmedabad. The branch was inaugurated by Shrinath Bolloju, Chief Operating Officer, Deutsche Bank India. Deutsche Bank’s branch at Surat will offer customers a full suite of personal and business banking products and services. These include deposit products like current, savings and fixed deposit accounts; wealth management advisory including insurance, investment, and financial planning; locker facilities; home loans and loans against property. The bank will focus on the needs of small & medium sized businesses and offer customized cash management, trade and forex services as well as both secured and collateral-free business loans. Customers will also have access to Deutsche Bank’s Phone Banking, Internet Banking and ATM channels for banking convenience. Speaking at the launch, Shrinath Bolloju, Chief Operating Officer, Deustche Bank India, said "Surat is one of the premier cities of Gujarat and it has been our long standing desire to be a full service provider in this vibrant market. We will offer appropriate solutions to meet the increasingly sophisticated financial needs of discerning clients based in Surat." Prashant Joshi, Head, Private & Business Clients, Deutsche Bank, India, said, "Surat has historically been a thriving trading and commerce hub and that tradition is alive even today as the city’s entrepreneurial class continues to drive trade & industry. We are proud to be part of this market and offer clients services of a global financial powerhouse."

International News

Sailing through rough waters: EU's autumn forecast 2012-14

On an annual basis, GDP is set to contract by 0.3% in the EU and 0.4% in the euro area in 2012. GDP growth for 2013 is projected at 0.4% in the EU and 0.1% in the euro area. Unemployment in the EU is expected to remain very high. The large internal and external imbalances that built up in the pre-crisis years are being reduced, but this process continues to weigh on domestic demand in some countries, and economic activity diverges significantly across Member States. At the same time, competitiveness lost in the first decade of EMU in some Member States is being gradually restored, so that export growth is projected to increase progressively as global trade starts reaccelerating. Further progress in consolidating public finances is underpinning this rebalancing process. The structural reforms undertaken should begin to bear fruit over the forecast period, while advancements in the EMU architecture continue to strengthen confidence. This should pave the way for a stronger and more evenly distributed expansion in 2014. GDP growth in 2014 is projected at 1.6% in the EU and 1.4% in the euro area. Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro said: "Europe is going through a difficult process of macroeconomic rebalancing, which will still last for some time. Our projections point to a gradual improvement in Europe's growth outlook from early next year. Major policy decisions have laid the foundations for strengthening confidence. Market stress has been reduced, but there is no room for complacency. Europe must continue to combine sound fiscal policies with structural reforms to create the conditions for sustainable growth to bring unemployment down from the current unacceptably high levels."...Read More

A visa policy to spur economic growth in the EU

With a total of 18.8 million jobs in 2011, tourism has become one of the biggest generators of employment in the European Union and a key driver for economic growth and development. In 2011 foreign visitor spending amounted to €330.44 billion. According to recent estimations these figures are likely to increase up to 20.4 million jobs and €427.31 billion in 2022. If fully exploited, the current visa rules could ensure that the EU remains an attractive destination for more tourists/third country nationals, while at the same time boosting EU's economic activity and job creation. Indeed, tourism has a considerable impact on the economy as a whole, through spending in accommodation, food and drink, transport, entertainment, shopping, etc. "Given the current economic downturn we should strive to increase tourist flows to Europe while continuing to ensure the security of our borders'' said the Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström. ''Facilitating opportunities for legitimate travellers, who do not pose a security risk, to visit Europe can only reinforce our position as the world's number one tourist de



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