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PM Narendra Modi pitches India as favourite investment destination at Fintech Festival in Singapore

Nov 14, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday that financial inclusion has become a reality for 1.3 billion Indians as he pitched India as a favourite destination for investment at the Fintech Festival here. Modi became the first world leader to address the festival which was launched in 2016 and is in its third edition. Financial inclusion has become reality for 1.3 billion Indians. We have generated more than 1.2 billion biometric identities- Aadhaar or foundation- in just a few years, Modi said at the event.
 
The Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) is already the world’s largest event on financial technology – or fintech. In 2017, the event drew as many as 30,000 participants from over 100 countries. The SFF involves a three-day conference, and exhibition of FinTech firms and capabilities, a global competition of FinTech solutions and a platform for matching entrepreneurs and investment capital.
    
Source: Financial Express



US President Donald Trump prasise close ties to India, PM Narendra Modi; says trade deals ‘moving along’

Nov 14, 2018

United States President Donald Trump has complimented Indian trade negotiators as the best and said trade talks between the two countries were moving along. We are trying very hard to make better trade deals with India, he said during a White House Diwali celebration on Tuesday.
 
Showing the trade negotiators as highly skilled and making the talks sound difficult for the Americans, he said, They are very good traders, they are very good negotiators. And turning to India’s Ambassador Navtej Sarna, he said, You would say (that), right They are the best, and so we are working and it is moving along, he added.
 
The annual celebration was held a week later because Diwali fell on the day after the mid-term elections when the results were still coming in. He repeatedly spoke of his close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said, We love your country. And I have great, great respect, as you know, for your Prime Minister Modi. And he told Sarna, So please give him my warmest regards. We will be talking to him soon.
 
The United States has deep ties to the nation of India and I am grateful for my friendship with Prime Minister Modi, he said. He also recalled that his daughter had met Modi during a visit to India and he was now also her friend. He said, India is the world’s largest democracy. And the relationship between our two countries can act as a bulwark for freedom, prosperity and peace.
 
We are very close and I think closer than ever before, Trump said, and Sarna agreed, saying, Absolutely, sir.
    
Source: Financial Express



Pomegranate exports likely to run into EU roadblock

Nov 14, 2018

With a bumper pomegranate season in full swing, around 85,000 tonne is expected to be exported during 2018-19 season.
However, several countries including Europe, Russia, Indonesia and China have imposed stricter Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP) for pomegranate imports from India this year.
The Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP) for grapes in Europe is normally 75 mg per kg but for pomegranates it has been brought down to 2 mg per kg thus making it difficult for pomegranate growers in the country to export the fruit, said Prabhakar Chandane, chairman, Maharashtra Pomegranate Growers Research Association (MPGRA).
We have written to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) to intervene and seek concessions from the European Union (EU) for bringing down the limits to 10 mg per kg, Chandane said.
 
The association sought a similar concession last season without success. “Despite drought, pomegranate production is likely to touch 15 lakh tonne and exports should be around 85000 tonnes,” he said.
Out of 75000 tonne, nearly 10,000 tonne is likely to be exported to Europe, 30,000 tonne to Bangladesh, 40,000 tonne to West Asia and 5000 tonnes to other countries. The first crop of the season is likely to come up in July to September period.
 
Normally, the export season begins in November every year and is completed by March. This season is not considered conducive for export to Europe.
For the current season, pomegranates have been cultivated on some 1.80 lakh hectares of which 1.30 lakh hectares is in Maharashtra. However, on account of the drought, nearly 30% of the crop could be affected and still some 15 lakh tonnes should be available for consumption, Chandane said. Chandane however, complained that farmers were getting prices to the tune of Rs 50-60 per kg in the domestic market at an average of Rs 20-25 per kg in wholesale rates. Because of the drought, good size of fruit remains a challenge, he said.
Last year, nations including China, Indonesia and Russia, had decided to issue stricter Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP) norms on grape imports from India.
India however, is looking to make inroads into new export markets such as China, Russia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
    
Source: Financial Express



Building economic resilience for India: Reduce regulatory barriers and provide transparent digital platform

Nov 14, 2018

Amidst a still uncertain global scenario, the Indian economy has managed to grow at a healthy pace and is expected to clock growth in the 7.2-7.4% range in FY19. It is now the world’s sixth-largest economy, at $2.6 trillion, and is expected to become the fourth-largest by 2022, according to IMF. Even with domestic resilience, the economy continues to face certain risks largely emanating from global policy action and rising commodity prices. The rupee had earlier breached the 74 per dollar mark on the back of global monetary policy normalisation and strengthening dollar, which are likely to have negative inflationary and investment flow outcomes. Portfolio investors have pulled out close to $11 billion from the Indian market, and foreign investments can be expected to reroute to destinations with better prospects. The situation needs cognisance since fiscal and monetary policy may be insufficient to ease external risks.
 
External trade is a vertical that can benefit substantially from improving global demand and weakening rupee, if opportunities are exploited optimally. Trade activity accounted for close to 12% of GDP as of FY18, and remains a major component for sustained economic growth. However, despite a significant jump in total merchandise trade, logistics infrastructure and services in India have remained below par. The logistics segment has suffered due to higher costs, lack of trained manpower resources, and lower adoption of technology in its processes. Logistics costs, in fact, make up for 14% of the product cost, compared to a low 6% global average. At the same time, skills gap in logistics stem from lack of trained personnel at both the operational and managerial levels. Some reasons for this are believed to be low compensation, lack of infrastructure facilities, and lack of necessary training institutions. A 2015 report by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) estimated that India will need around 28.4 million skilled workforce in the broader logistics industry while overcoming issues related to poor labour policies.
    
Source: Financial Express



India must become an integral part of the region

Nov 14, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Singapore today for the 33rd Asean Summit and Related Summits. His visit caps a year of sustained high-level engagement with the region, which started in January when all 10 Asean leaders came to New Delhi for the Asean-India Commemorative Summit to mark the 25th anniversary of relations. The leaders also attended India’s Republic Day celebrations as chief guests, an unprecedented honour.
 
In June, Modi became the first Indian prime minister to deliver the keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue. Laying out a vision for the Indo-Pacific, he presented a confident and resolute India ready to take on a greater role in the region.
 
This week, we look forward to further realising this vision. Modi will attend Asean’s year-end summits and the East Asia Summit (EAS) for the fifth consecutive year, a testament to his personal commitment to India’s Act East policy.
 
Singapore has long advocated for India to take up its role as an integral part of the region. It is gratifying to see how Asean-India relations have grown over the past 25 years. In 1991, when the Cold War ended and India began its economic liberalisation, we saw an opportunity to deepen ties and build on its historical and cultural links with our region. We pushed for India to become a full Asean dialogue partner in 1995 and join the EAS in 2005.
 
Since then, Asean-India ties have strengthened. We established the Asean-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA) in 2009, and elevated relations to a Strategic Partnership in 2012. Today, India contributes actively to Asean-led fora such as the EAS, the Asean Defence Ministers Meeting Plus, and Asean Regional Forum. All in all, around 30 platforms for cooperation exist, including seven ministerial dialogues and the annual Leaders Summit.
 
However, we can, and must, do more. For instance, there are tremendous opportunities in enhancing physical and digital connectivity between India and Asean.
    
Source: Hindustan Times



Modi Mantra: Expanding road, railway and river networks to help boost GDP growth via increased productivity

Nov 14, 2018

Given the various constraints the economy is facing right now, from slowing consumption expenditure to a weak pickup in investments, it is not surprising most analysts are sceptical about India’s immediate growth prospects; the slowing of lending by NBFCs due to the IL&FS crisis will only exacerbate matters. But what is heartening is the fact that the economy will get a big productivity boost due to the dramatic improvement in the country’s infrastructure over the last four years, though the exact timing of when this will show up in the GDP data is as yet unclear.
 
In the case of roads, for instance, Nitin Gadkari has more than doubled the rollout from the time he took over. In 2013-14, a total of 4,260 km of road networks were built and this rose to 9,829 km in 2017-18 and the 2018-19 target is 11,000 km. If this target is achieved, that means the per day road construction will rise 2.6 times, from 11.6 km in 2013-14 to 30.1 km in 2018-19. Along with the fact that, with the rollout of GST, since trucks no longer have to stop at each state border, this means there will be a sharp increase in the speed at which trucks travel across the country. Eventually, in terms of productivity, the impact will be seen in the lowering of transport costs and, with lead times reduced, this will improve the productivity of local manufactured products.
    
Source: Financial Express



Pune: After bumper crop, sugar mills eye Chinese markets

Nov 14, 2018

Indian sugar mills are eyeing the Chinese market this year as a potential export destination for their raw sugar. Prakash Naiknavare, managing director of the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories, said plans were afoot to ensure 20 lakh tonne (lt) of raw sugar from India is exported to China.
 
As against its annual requirement of 150 lt, China produces 100 lt of sugar, while the rest is imported in the form of raw sugar from Brazil and Thailand. While logistically India has an edge over other sugar exporting countries, but apprehension about quality and sustainability of the export item has been a concern.
 
Faced with back-to-back bumper crop and large unsold inventory, sugar millers in India are eyeing the export market to reduce their stock. The Centre has, in fact, set 50 lt as the Minimum Indicative Export Quota (MIEQ) for sugar this year. India is set to produce 320 lt of sugar, with Maharashtra alone to produce more than 90 lt. Transport subsidies have been announced for mills to export sugar and bring a parity in the prices.
 
Naiknavare was part of a high-level delegation of government officials and millers, who had visited China earlier this month. Series of meeting were arranged between Chinese refiners, traders and Indian officials.
 
During the meeting, concerns were expressed on whether India would be a consistent export player,” he said. A delegation of Chinese refiners will visit India in the next few days. We will take them to the mills in Maharashtra to assure them of quality concern, he said.
 
After the initial hitches, the cane crushing season has started in Maharashtra with 93 mills starting their season. Mills in Marathwada have complained of severe drought, which has taken a toll on their cane acreage as well as recovery. Till date 57.39 lakh tonne of cane has been crushed and around 5 lakh tonne of sugar has been produced.
    
Source: Indian Express



Varanasi terminal: Modi's ambitious project to speed up economy

Nov 14, 2018

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a container vessel at Varanasi today, he scripted a significant chapter in India's economic history. It is India's first container movement on inland vessel post-independence. The first container vessel had sailed from Kolkata for Varanasi on October 30, carrying cargo belonging to PepsiCo (India) on the Ganga river. 
 
PM Modi's reception of the vessel launched the first multi-modal terminal on the Ganga river in Varanasi under a project aimed at promoting inland waterways as a cheaper and more environment-friendly means of transport. 
 
The multi-modal terminals are being built as part of the central government's Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) that aims to develop the stretch of the river Ganga between Varanasi and Haldia for navigation of large vessels weighing up to 1,500-2,000 tonnes. The JMVP entails construction of three multi-modal terminals (Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia); two inter-modal terminals; five roll on-roll off terminal pairs; new navigation lock at Farakka; assured depth dredging; integrated vessel repair and  .. 
 
The inland waterways will be a critical addition to the country's infrastructure and will boost economy. 
 
The terminal will help correct India's transport modal mix that imposes huge logistics cost on the economy. At 15 per cent of GDP, the logistics costs in India are about twice in the US, according to the shipping ministry. 
 
According to a ministry official, as reported, the cost of transportation by waterways is 30-50 paisa per tonne per km (PTPK) only, compared to Rs 1 PTPK for rail, and Rs 1.5 PTPK for road. That's an attractive offering for state governments as well as private businesses. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Make in Odisha: 'Agriculture Entrepreneurship Promotion Scheme 2018’ to train state rural-agri entrepreneurs

Nov 14, 2018

The State Government on Tuesday launched ‘Agriculture Entrepreneurship Promotion Scheme 2018’ to groom at least 1,000 rural Agriculture Entrepreneurs (AEs) in the next three years and set up enterprises to catalyse the revival of rural economy in Odisha.
 
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the scheme during Agri Business Management session at the Make in Odisha Conclave 2018 here.Naveen said, the State will take a leap-frog jump as quality inputs and technological services including modern farm equipment and marketing assurances can be strategically provided at farmers doorstep through AEs. Each of them will work with around 150 farmers in two to three villages and provide solutions to small and marginal farmers.
 
This will help smallholders in cost reduction, better production and more profit whereas the AEs will be able to earn in the range of `2 lakh to `6 lakh per annum. Agriculture Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha (APICOL) will set up a project monitoring unit to design, plan, implement and monitor this scheme.
 
Sources said the financial implications of the scheme will be around `18 crore. As per the scheme, candidates in the age group of 18 to 45 will be eligible to become AEs. Preference will be given to women and also those having one acre land and 2000 sq ft constructed area for taking up the activities.
    
Source: News india express



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