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President Kovind inaugurates 'Enterprise India' exhibition in Yangon

Dec 14, 2018

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated 'Enterprise India' exhibition here on Thursday, bringing in the best of Indian products, services, innovation and know-how to business partners, start-ups, incubators and customers in Myanmar.
 
This exhibition has been set up by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), including about 45-50 Indian companies ranging from very large companies to small enterprises, to showcase Indian manufacturing capabilities and industrial technology.
 
The official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted, Harnessing Complementaries! While addressing the Fifth Enterprise India Show jointly organised by CII and Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce in #Yangon, #PresidentKovind asked companies from both countries to leverage each other competencies! @FollowCII
 
President Kovind said that India is focusing on fostering micro and small enterprises, driving financial inclusion and imparting skills. India's micro-credit scheme MUDRA has so far disbursed 128 million loans worth over USD 90 billion to start small businesses. This has unleashed entrepreneurship, self-employment and growth of micro-enterprises, President Kovind noted.
 
We, indeed, have important lessons to share with Myanmar in this regard, for both our countries face similar socio-economic challenges and have similar objectives to meet. I am, therefore, particularly happy that this Show is accompanied by a full-day conference on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector, President Kovind said in his statement.
    
Source: Business Standard



Boosting exports key to make India $5-tn economy by 2025: Amitabh Kant

Dec 14, 2018

NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant said that India's exports need to increase significantly if the country has to become a $5-trillion economy by 2025.
 
Kant also noted that the private sector will play a major role in pushing the country's economy towards the ambitious $5-trillion target.
 
 
In the last four years, we (Centre) have taken a series of measures to improve our rankings in ease of doing business, along with many structural reforms like Rera, GST and IBC. These measures will make India extremely efficient in the long run," Kant said at the India Economic Conclave organised by the Times Network.
 
He, however, noted that to address the real challenge of growing the GDP at 9-10 percent over the next three decades, India will have to increase its exports.
 
No country has grown without exports. Take the example of Japan, Korea and China, which have grown on the back of exports. So, India needs to push for exports, which would require size and scale of manufacturing and penetrating global markets, he said.
 
Kant further noted that to achieve this, it is necessary to create 100 champion companies like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), with proper support from the government.
 
Speaking at the event, LIC chairman VK Sharma said a robust insurance sector can add 1 percent to the GDP over the next five years if it grows at an annualised rate of 15 percent or more.
    
Source: Money Control



India’s merchandise exports to rise by 7% to $82 billion in Q3: Exim Bank

Dec 14, 2018

The Export-Import (Exim) Bank has said India’s merchandise shipments is expected to rise by 7 per cent to USD 82.39 billion during the third quarter this fiscal. Non-oil exports are projected to be increase by 7.2 per cent to USD 71.45 billion. Exim Bank forecasts India’s merchandise exports to witness a growth rate of 7 per cent, increasing from USD 77 billion to USD 82.39 billion, and non-oil exports to see a growth rate of 7.2 per cent, increasing from USD 66.65 billion to USD 71.45 billion, during the third quarter of 2018-19, it said in a release.
 
The forecasts, Exim Bank said, are based on its Export Leading Index (ELI), which continued to show a positive growth momentum. Exim Bank said it has developed an in-house model to generate an Export Leading Index (ELI) for India to track and forecast the movement in India’s exports on a quarterly basis. The next growth forecasts for India’s exports for the quarter January-March 2019 will be released during the first week of March 2019.
 
ELI gauges outlook for the country’s exports and is essentially developed as a leading indicator to forecast growth in total merchandise and non-oil exports of the country on a quarterly basis. It is based on several external and domestic factors that could impact exports of the country, Exim Bank said.
    
Source: Financial Express



Prabhu, US Commerce Secretary to discuss trade issues on Feb 14

Dec 14, 2018

 Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu will hold bilateral discussions on trade issues with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on February 14 here, an official said. 
 
Both the ministers would meet as part of the bilateral commercial dialogue. 
 
The talks assumes significance as officials of both the sides are negotiating a trade package to boost bilateral commerce. 
 
India is pressing for exemption from high duty imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to some domestic goods under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) as well as greater market access for its products from sectors like agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering. 
 
 On the other hand, the US is demanding greater market access through cut in import duties for its agriculture goods, dairy products, medical devices, IT and communication items, the official added. 
 
However, the commerce ministry is not in favour of cutting or eliminating customs duties on seven categories of ICT products, including high-end mobile phones and smart watches, as demanded by the US, citing revenue loss and adverse impact on Make in India initiative. 
 
 India's exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at USD 47.9 billion, while imports were USD 26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India. 
 
In Washington, Ross had Wednesday said: I am happy to report that I'm scheduled to visit India this coming February. I'll be co-chairing the US-India Commercial Dialogue and the US- India CEO forum with my Indian counterpart, (commerce and industry) minister (Suresh) Prabhu.  
    
Source: Times of india



Focus on MSMEs: RBI asks PSU banks to back small businesses

Dec 14, 2018

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das on Thursday sought to understand from heads of state-owned lenders whether there were any further steps that could be taken to lend more to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, a senior banker told FE.
 
For their part, PSU bank chiefs told the governor that they continued to lend to the sector. There is no restriction per se to lend to the MSME sector and we indicated that banks are doing what they can for these companies, a senior banker told FE.
 
According to bankers, the governor also asked for feedback on the effectiveness of central bank’s February 12 circular, specifically, the revised asset recognition norms as stipulated under the circular, with respect to borrower behaviour and improvement in credit discipline. Bankers said they responded saying the new rules relating to the recognition of defaults were working well.
 
Bankers indicated there was no specific discussion on the prompt corrective action (PCA) scheme introduced by the RBI in December 2002. Neither did the governor seek suggestions. The liquidity issues facing non-banking financial companies (NBFC) too were touched on only briefly, bankers said. The references to the resources crunch at NBFCs were few and no detailed discussions were held, a banker said.
 
The PCA framework allows the central bank to initiate structured or discretionary actions with respect to banks which hit the ‘trigger points’ in terms of capital to risk weighted assets ratio, net non-performing assets and return on assets. The governor did not give any directives or any suggestions though he did indicate he would continue to hold similar feedback sessions with stakeholders, he added. The meeting at the RBI headquarters on Mint Street lasted somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour and was attended by heads of State Bank of India, Bank of India, IDBI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India, Central Bank of India and Dena Bank. All four deputy governors of the RBI were present.
 
You could say it was more of a general conversation rather than a discussion on specific issues,” one of the bankers present at the meeting told FE.
    
Source: Financial Express



Tamil Nadu unveils own food processing policy

Dec 14, 2018

 With farm distress making headlines, the state government on Wednesday unveiled its own food processing policy keeping an eye on increasing farmers’ income, reducing wastage of food products and value addition of farm products, to ensure a healthy food processing industry. The objective is also to encourage setting up of food processing industries  by agro-entrepreneurs, availing financial assistance from Union government. 
 
 
Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami unveiled the ambitious policy note announced in the state budget in March. “The state will offer interest subvention of 3% per annum on the term loan availed for fixed capital investment, and 5% per annum for women or SC/ST entrepreneurs. There will be reimbursement of state goods and services tax paid for new industrial units with investment above 10 crore, excluding land cost for three years from the date of commencement of business, agriculture secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi said. This is to process medicinal plants, minor millets, poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables. 
 
The processing of agricultural commodities is less than 2% in the state. The state has planned to increase the percentage of processed food, especially that of fruits and vegetables to 10%. The food processing industries will be prioritized for allotment of SIPCOT/SIDCO land. Investment above 10 crore will get long lease up to 99 years, while outright or lease-based sale to small and micro enterprises as per SIDCO policy. Market fee will be exempted for fruits and vegetables purchased directly from farmers/farmer producer organizations and brought to food parks. 
 
Agriculture minister R Doraikkannu said, Single window clearance facility and other labour related concessions are the highlights. We expect large-scale exports and investments, he said. Department of agricultural marketing and agri-business will offer technical training assistance for branding and packaging, while training subsidy will be extended for employees of food processing parks under state skill building mission. Quality research and development labs and quality certification labs will be set up in food parks.
    
Source: Times of india



Continuing volume momentum puts Indian ports in a good position

Dec 14, 2018

While India’s export-import (exim) imbalance may be a cause for concern, the steady improvement in trade activity is brightening the prospects for ports and logistics firms. Overall container volumes related to exim trade grew 9.5% in the September quarter. In the preceding two quarters, they grew by 8% and 11.5%, respectively, shows data compiled by Kotak Institutional Equities.
 
According to Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, India’s growth figures are significantly higher than the estimated global containerized demand growth of 3-4%. The sharp depreciation in the rupee is making Indian products more competitive, helping exports, even as imports continue to rise.
 
India is emerging as a favorable trade destination due to competitive pricing, Steve Felder, managing director of Maersk Line-South Asia, said in a statement. Local data corroborates this view. Container cargo growth at major ports increased by about 8% in April-November this year, data compiled by JM Financial Institutional Securities Ltd shows.
 
Apart from the exim container traffic, port operators are also witnessing an increase in trans-shipment volumes. These (trans-shipment volumes) now account for more than 5% volume share for all-India ports based on October 2018 data, versus a negligible share earlier, analysts at Kotak said in a note.
 
With a dominant portion of these volumes being captured by the Mundra and Hazira ports, the volume resurgence should benefit port operators such as Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, which operates the Mundra port.
 
The steadily growing traffic should also benefit container rail operators such as Container Corp. of India Ltd (Concor), which has seen a steady increase in volumes in recent quarters.
 
These stocks are reflecting some of the optimism, though the performance has been mixed till now. Against a 6.6% loss in the BSE 500 index, shares of Concor rose 2.7% in the last three months. Adani Ports, on the other hand, is down 0.5%.
    
Source: Live mint



Sri Lanka emerges the largest sugar importer from India; UAE distant second

Dec 14, 2018

Sri Lanka has emerged as the largest sugar importer by contributing nearly half of India’s total sweetener exports during the current season beginning October 2018.
 
Data compiled by the apex industry body All India Sugar Trade Association (AISTA) shows India’s total sugar exports to Sri Lanka at 84,536.90 tonnes. With 16,801 tonnes and 15,340 tonnes, United Arab Emirates and Somalia have become the second and third largest importer of Indian sugar, respectively. Total exports between October 1 and December 5, 2018 stands at 179,849 tonnes.
 
Apart from this, a quantity of 155,830 tonnes is in pipeline (waiting to load) to move in December 2018/early January 2019, out of which 113,360 tonnes are raw sugar to be dispatched to port-based sugar refineries for shipment. During this period, India exported sugar to 20 countries, of which Sri Lanka has emerged as the largest buyer, said Praful Vithalani, Chairman, AISTA.
 
The government of India through a notification in September allowed 5 million tonnes of sugar exports during the current crushing season under the Minimum Indicative Export Quota (MIEQ) with an aim to reduce supply glut in the domestic market.
 
With a sugar production of 32.25 million tonnes against the estimated consumption of 25.5 million tonnes, total surplus for the current season is estimated at nearly 7 million tonnes. Additionally, with the carryover stocks from the last season estimated at 10 million tonnes, the supply scenario is likely to remain bleak with expectation of another bumper year of around 32 million tonnes in 2018-19.
    
Source: Business Standard



Climate-resilient rice spells brighter future for farmers

Dec 14, 2018

 In what can ideally come as a solution when it comes to the disastrous drought and flood cycles in the state, the National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) has invented flood and drought-tolerant rice varieties for cultivation in disaster prone areas. 
 
 
The rice is called ‘Climate Resilient’ rice or CR. The two varieties are called CR Dhan 801 and CR Dhan 802. In areas prone to floods, the rice can re-grow once the waters recede. In land that sees drought, the rice can go without water for days.
 
We have tested these varieties of rice over three years in several paddy fields of the country. The climate of Assam, Tripura, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand is favourable for its growth. A Central identification team under the Union ministry of agriculture and farmer welfare approved the rice varieties of 801 and 802 a year ago, said NRRI director Himanshu Pathak.
 
The institute has selected several districts of the state like Bargarh, Balangir, Mayurbhanj, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur for farmers to receive training in cultivating the rice. We are providing awareness training to village-level workers and educating them about the need and benefits of cultivation of these varieties, said Pathak.
 
The institute’s senior scientist A K Nayak said the NRRI will provide ‘breeder seeds’ to the Union ministry of agriculture and farmer welfare. State governments will collect these breeder seeds and multiply them in their seed farms. These farms will provide rice seeds to farmers by certifying them, said Nayak. 
    
Source: Times of india



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