05/02/2016

‘One family’ not letting Rajya Sabha function, Modi says – The Hindu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accused Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi of disrupting Parliament to avenge defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and hence blocking the passage of Bills aimed at benefitting the poor. Prime Minister Narendra Modi being presented Jaapi, a traditional hat from Assam at a meeting in Sivasagar district on Friday.

Addressing tea garden workers in Assam, Mr. Modi alleged that “one family” was indulging in “negative politics”, as he claimed that there are leaders in opposition parties other than Congress, who want Parliament to function even though they oppose him.

“Those who have lost the election (in 2014) and have come down from 400 to 40 have decided not to allow Modi to work. They have decided to create obstacles and difficulties. The conspiracy for the same is going on,” he said, referring clearly to Congress.

“They have now decided to take revenge from people, from the poor workers for voting the Congress out of power,” Mr. Modi said.

“There are many leaders and parties even in the opposition who oppose Modi, the BJP and the government but they want Parliament to run and carry out is business. But one family is so rigid that they do not allow the Rajya Sabha to function and let the nation’s agenda of development to be taken forward because people of the country have defeated them,” Mr. Modi said.

“The country is not going to benefit from this politics of negativism and obstructionism. There is only one family with such a thinking, which has brought this kind of destruction. Leaders in the other opposition parties are not like this,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Modi urged people to give a chance to the BJP to form a government in Assam.

He contended that laws for the welfare of the State can be put in place only when there is a government in Guwahati, which listens to Centre.

Source: ‘One family’ not letting Rajya Sabha function, Modi says – The Hindu

05/02/2016

Adani Power to sign deal to build $2 bln plant in Jharkhand – sources | Reuters

India’s Adani Power Ltd (ADAN.NS) will soon sign a deal to set up a $2.2 billion coal-based power plant in Jharkhand, two people with knowledge of the matter said, as its controlling shareholder aims to nearly double capacity this decade.

A technician repairs power supply lines at a power plant of Adani Power at Mundra Port in Gujarat April 2, 2014. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

The company’s shares, which were trading flat, rose as much as 4.4 percent to 26.35 rupees after the Reuters story.

The utility, controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani, plans to build two power units with a total capacity of 1,600 megawatts (MW) and construction could begin by December, one of the people said, adding there is a meeting scheduled in Jharkhand next week and a deal would be sealed this month.

The other person, a Jharkhand government official, said most government approvals were in place already.

An Adani Power spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The electricity generated from the Jharkhand units would be sold to power-deficient Bangladesh, where Gautam Adani is trying to expand as part of his goal to make the group a multinational energy and infrastructure conglomerate.

Flagship Adani Enterprises Ltd (ADEL.NS), which is fighting legal challenges to start a $7 billion coal mine near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, wants to take its electricity generation capacity in India to 20,000 MW this decade through Adani Power. ($1 = 67.6300 Indian rupees)

Source: Adani Power to sign deal to build $2 bln plant in Jharkhand – sources | Reuters

05/02/2016

This is How Domino’s Plans to Win the Pizza War in India – India Real Time – WSJ

 

Domino’s Pizza Inc. will add 150 new stores in India every year for the next two to three years, chief executive Patrick Doyle said, as the fast-food chain aims to expand its footprint in the South Asian nation that is already its largest market outside the U.S.

“We believe India is going to continue to be a terrific growth market for us,” Mr. Doyle said in an interview ahead of the opening of Domino’s 1,000th store in India on Friday. “I remain incredibly bullish on the Indian economy.”

India has been one of the bright spots in Domino’s portfolio, while most other big American fast-food chains derive their growth from China. Rival Yum! Brands Inc., which owns Pizza Hut and KFC, makes nearly half its revenue in China, for example.

Even so, Domino’s stores in India account for only 5% of the company’s sales; its outlets in the U.S. account for nearly half.

Mr. Doyle said Domino’s success in India was down to the power of localization and longevity.

The company entered India 20 years ago — among the first foreign fast-food chains do so — and has since topped its pizzas with local flavors from paneer or Indian cottage cheese, to tandoori chicken.

It also customizes its menu for different regions of the country. In 2014, for example, Domino’s rolled out a spicy banana pizza for consumers in southern India. Last year, it began delivering pizzas to passengers on India’s vast state-run railway network.

In China, Domino’s had blamed its struggles in part on the fact that cheese and bread aren’t staples of the traditional Chinese diet. It signed a new partner in China a few years ago in an attempt to fight competition from brands like Pizza Hut, which serves a selection of other Western fare, including ribs, spaghetti and steak in its casual dine-in restaurants.

Source: This is How Domino’s Plans to Win the Pizza War in India – India Real Time – WSJ

03/02/2016

China’s new wind power capacity hits record high – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China‘s newly installed wind power capacity reached a record high in 2015 amid increasing efforts from the government to boost clean energy.

The new wind power capacity jumped to 32.97 gigawatts last year, more than 60 percent higher than 2014, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said on Tuesday.

Wind power generated 186.3 terawatt hour of electricity in 2015, or 3.3 percent of the country’s total electric energy production, data showed.  (Editor’s note: worldwide average is 4% – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power)

Promoting non-fossil energy including wind power, China is in the middle of an energy revolution to power its economy in a cleaner and sustainable manner. The government aims to lift the proportion of non-fossil fuels in energy consumption to 20 percent by 2030 from present around 11 percent.

China’s energy mix is currently dominated by coal.

However, the NEA warned of the suspension of wind farms in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Jilin. The phenomenon occurs in the early stage of wind power capacity construction due to the mismatching of new installation and local power grid.

Source: China’s new wind power capacity hits record high – Xinhua | English.news.cn

01/02/2016

Another Type of Factory-Gate Indicator: Dumpling Sales – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Whether it is the cold drizzle, factory economics or the annual exodus of migrant laborers ahead of Lunar New Year, Lin Xinge is selling fewer dumplings.

Ms. Lin is chief dumpling wrapper, waitress, cashier and dishwasher for Fujian One Thousand Li Fragrant, a tiny restaurant she owns with her husband in an industrial zone of Shanghai. Just over a fence, her neighbors include iPhone maker Foxconn Technology Group and other giant industrial groups that employ legions of workers she counts as customers.

“The workers earn less salary so fewer people come here and our restaurant isn’t doing well,” says Ms. Lin. She says that during the three years she has run One Thousand Li Fragrant, she’s had periods when every seat at her eight tables has been filled. Not lately.

Like her customers who come for $1.50 bowls of noodles and dumplings, Ms. Lin is a migrant worker. On a recent day she was sitting on an orange chair in the restaurant gripping a hand-warmer and thinking of her native Fujian province, where as a young woman she sang opera in the local dialect.

“Our Putian is more comfortable,” she says referring to the ancient city in Fujian where she was born. Though only 34 years old, Ms. Lin said singing in a traveling opera troupe is for the young and made less sense for someone like her, a mother of two.

In the Shanghai factory zone called Songjiang, One Thousand Li Fragrant was among the few restaurants that remained open ahead of the Feb. 8 Lunar New Year. Wind and cold rain whipped across tables placed on the sidewalk that would have been inviting in balmier times. Ms. Lin said the other dozen or so restaurants, also run by migrants and for migrants, had shut a few days before, as their owners departed for the holidays.

China’s mass people movement for Lunar New Year officially began a week ago. Beijing predicts 2.91 billion trips between January 24 and March 3. Ms. Lin’s family will join the throng in coming days.

Economists will be watching how China’s slowdown affects the mass migration. During past years of economic boom in China, until the mid-2000s, cash-rich factory workers returned to interior villages for the holidays, but quickly flooded back to the industrialized east, often along with family members willing to work for low pay. But in more recent years, the monotony of factory work has proved less of a draw, leaving employers to scramble to hold workers, with higher salaries or benefits. This year, jobs themselves are the concern.

Migrants interviewed outside factories in southern Shanghai and northern Zhejiang province this past week provided a mixed picture. Some suggested the economic slowdown is hitting factories. Some noted that workers were sometimes being encouraged to leave for holidays earlier this year while some factories shut outright. Truck traffic in the zones appeared light and some facilities were shut.

Speaking outside some factories, many veteran workers used the word for nothing special, “chabuduo,” to dismiss any suggestion they see dramatic changes this holiday season.

As heavy rain fell in the Zhejiang province industrial city Jiaxing on Friday, a group jostled and pushed an assortment of fancy suitcases, canvas bags and industrial buckets into the hold of a bus. The group was embarking on a 10-hour drive back home to the Henan province city of Nanyang. The mood was upbeat.

One woman, who works in a garment factory, said she was toting gifts for her family, including 100 rice balls. A worker, who said he drives on a construction site, reported he had a pretty good year. They said bonuses had been paid as usual.

Source: Another Type of Factory-Gate Indicator: Dumpling Sales – China Real Time Report – WSJ

30/01/2016

China set to participate in India’s smart city mission starting from Solapur – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Solapur, which bore witness to Sino-Indian friendship in history, will soon see a new chapter of cooperation between both countries as China will get actively involved in the city’s smart city mission.

From January 27 to 28, a group of Chinese delegates led by Chinese Consul General Zheng Xiyuan, including representatives from two Chinese high-tech companies, paid a visit to this city.

They saw different projects including sewage treatment plants, textile mills, and sugar mills, and held meetings with local officials and entrepreneurs, exchanging ideas on the smart city planning and progress of Solapur and sharing experiences of both sides in sewage treatment.

The Chinese delegates received warm welcome from the Solapur people. Officials of Solapur showed great interest in the technology of the Chinese companies, and invited them to participate in the sewage treatment projects.

Jiang Konghua, marketing director of Guangdong Sino-Israeli Water Treatment Innovative Industrial Park Co., said he is determined to conduct a comprehensive survey based on the projects he has seen in Solapur, and find the best solution for the development of this city.

Solapur is a city located in the southeastern region of Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the hometown of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis, who fought with the Chinese people in WWII, and died in China.

On January 28, Solapur is declared as among the first group of twenty Indian cities to receive funds from the central government to start the smart city mission.

Ever since Narendra Modi took office as prime minister of India and proposed the smart city mission, the enlisted Indian cities have invited various countries to join their mission, including France, Germany, Sweden and the United States.

At the end of last year, Zhu Xiaodan, governor of China’s Guangdong Province, led a group of delegates to visit Maharashtra. During Zhu’s meeting with Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister of Maharashtra, they both agreed on the cooperation in the smart city mission, which led to this visit to Solapur.

Source: China set to participate in India’s smart city mission starting from Solapur – Xinhua | English.news.cn

28/01/2016

Grossly Deceptive Plans (GDP) | The Economist

ON JANUARY 19th China declared that its gross domestic product had grown by 6.9% in 2015, accounting for inflation—the slowest rate in a quarter of a century.

It was neatly within the government’s target of “around 7%”, but many economists wondered whether the figure was accurate. Online chatter in China about dodgy GDP numbers was fuelled a week later by the arrest of the man who had announced the data: Wang Baoan, the head of the National Bureau of Statistics. The country’s anti-graft agency accused him of “serious disciplinary violations”, a euphemism for corruption. But beyond all the (justifiable) doubts about the figures lies another important question. That is: why does China have a GDP target at all?

It is the only large industrial country that sets one. Normally central banks declare specific goals for things like inflation or unemployment. The idea that a government should aim for a particular rate of output expansion, and steer the economy to achieve that, is unusual. In the case of China, which is trying to wean its economy off excessive reliance on GDP-boosting (but often wasteful and debt-fuelling) investment, it is risky. It is inconsistent with the government’s own oft-repeated mantra that it is the quality of growth that matters, not the quantity.

In the past, setting a target may not have made much difference. For all but three of the years between 1992 and 2015, China’s growth was above target, often by a big margin. A rare period when targets seemed to affect the way officials tried to manage the economy was from 2008 to 2009, when growth fell sharply (see chart). It would be hard to argue that targets themselves have been responsible for China’s overall (impressive) record of growth in recent decades.

Now, however, the economy is slowing. This is inevitable: double-digit growth is no longer achievable except at dangerous cost (total debt was nearly 250% of GDP in the third quarter of 2015). But the government is worried that the economy may slow too fast, and that this could cause a destabilising surge in unemployment. So it has been ramping up investment again, and goading local governments to do the same by setting a high growth target.

For a while there were signs that the leadership itself had doubts about the merits of GDP target-setting. In 2013 Xinhua, an official news agency, decried what it called the country’s “GDP obsession”. By the next year, 70 or so counties and cities had scrapped their targets. In 2015 Shanghai joined them, becoming the first big city to break with orthodoxy (each level of government sets its own GDP target, often higher than the national one). Liu Qiao of the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University says the central government ought to follow suit.

Last year there were hints that it might. The prime minister, Li Keqiang, said the government would not “defend [the target for 2015] to the death”. And in October, talking about the government’s work on a new five-year economic plan (which will run from 2016 to 2020), President Xi Jinping avoided mentioning a number. That raised expectations that targets might at least be downplayed, if not abandoned.

They have not been, however. An outline of the five-year plan, unveiled in November, contained the usual emphasis on growth. And Mr Xi appeared to change his tune, saying expansion must average at least 6.5% a year until 2020. Many economists believe that will require yet more debt-inducing stimulus. A GDP target for this year is all but certain to be announced, as usual, at the annual session of the legislature in March (when the five-year plan will also be adopted). It will probably be higher than 6%. Speculation that the government might set a target range in order to give itself more policymaking flexibility (as the IMF and the World Bank have urged) has ebbed. In December some national legislators complained that local governments were busting their debt ceilings because there was “still too much emphasis on GDP”.

So why is there still a target? The reasons are political. In a country so large, central leaders are always fearful of losing their grip on far-flung bureaucrats: setting GDP targets is one means by which they believe they can evaluate and control those lower down. Local officials are also judged by environmental standards, social policies and what the Communist Party calls “virtue”—that is, being uncorrupt and in tune with the party’s latest interpretation of Marxist doctrine. But GDP is usually the most important criterion, having the attraction of being (roughly) measurable.

Source: Grossly Deceptive Plans | The Economist

28/01/2016

George Soros in China’s Crosshairs After Predicting Tough Economic Times Ahead – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China is putting a face on the economic pessimism it accuses of helping weaken the yuan and the economy: billionaire investor George Soros.

A front-page commentary published in some editions of People’s Daily on Tuesday appeared to warn Mr. Soros would lose any bets he made based on a recent prediction that hard economic times for China are “unavoidable.”

Other state media followed suit. Denouncing “radical speculators,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency dismissed the famed currency trader’s view as “the same prediction several times.” The Global Times, in its English edition, asked, “So why are so many Western pundits and media outlets so intent on talking China down?”

The rhetorical shots come as China is making broader efforts with market interventions and rule adjustments to offset the impact of its slowest growth rate in a quarter century, shore up grinding stock markets and stem surging capital outflows. China’s state-run media regularly note concerns the economy is cooling, but they tend to highlight positive aspects of what the government describes as a broad economic restructuring.

The uniformity and prominent placement in government-run media of the challenges to foreign critics, including economists quoted by Western newspapers, appear to suggest growing concern in Beijing that negative sentiment is spreading.

State media warnings directed at private individuals like Mr. Soros are rare. But his legend as an investor stems from a career making profitable currency bets – both real and rumored – that are widely studied in China. It comes just as China’s central bank is taking steps to limit flight from the Chinese yuan by its huge middle class.

Suspicion in China that Mr. Soros is now placing bets against the yuan follow comments he made last week at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. “A hard-landing is practically unavoidable,” Mr. Soros told Bloomberg Television. “I’m not expecting it, I’m observing it.”

“Declaring war on China’s currency? Ha,” said the People’s Daily commentary, which appeared in the overseas edition, a newspaper aimed at Chinese living outside China. The paper serves as the official purveyor of Communist Party views, and the commentary was authored by a researcher at China’s Commerce Ministry. It wasn’t published in the domestic editions, though it did appear online.

Source: George Soros in China’s Crosshairs After Predicting Tough Economic Times Ahead – China Real Time Report – WSJ

27/01/2016

With China weakening, Apple turns to India | Reuters

As China sales show signs of cooling, Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is touting India’s appetite for iPhones, betting that rising wages and an expanding middle class will pull consumers away from the cheap alternatives that currently dominate the market.

In an earnings call in which the company reported meager iPhone growth and forecast its first revenue drop in 13 years, the Indian market stood out as a rare bright spot for Apple.

Sales of the company’s flagship smartphone climbed 76 percent in India from the year-ago quarter, Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said.

According to data compiled by Counterpoint Technology Research, Apple sold an estimated 800,000 iPhones in India in the fourth-quarter, its highest ever amount but one that is a fraction of the 28 million smartphones sold during that period.

Growth in India is a tantalizing prospect as Apple grapples with the economic downturn in China, its second largest market. While revenue in Greater China rose 14 percent in the last quarter, Apple is beginning to see a shift in the economy, particularly in Hong Kong, Maestri told Reuters in an interview.

But with nearly 70 percent of smartphones selling for less than $150 in India, Apple’s high-end phones remain out of reach of most consumers. The basic iPhone 6S sells at just under $700 in India, or nearly half the average annual wage.

“In many ways India is very similar to what China was a few years ago, but the middle class here is still very small and it can be two to three years before Apple gets a similar level of success in India,” said Counterpoint Technology Research analyst Tarun Pathak.

Apple CEO Tim Cook struck a more optimistic note, saying the company was “increasingly putting more energy” into India, citing a largely youthful population with rising disposable income as more people join the workforce.

With faster 4G coverage expanding, Apple has already asked Indian government for a license to set up its own retail stores just as the market seems to be turning in its favor.

As in China, Apple products are a coveted status symbol in India, a market that analysts say is likely to overtake the United States next year to become the world’s second largest smartphone market. “The love for the iPhone is there,” said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research and head of U.S. business at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, a consumer research firm.

Source: With China weakening, Apple turns to India | Reuters

27/01/2016

India to build satellite tracking station in Vietnam that offers eye on China | Reuters

India will set up a satellite tracking and imaging centre in southern Vietnam that will give Hanoi access to pictures from Indian earth observation satellites that cover the region, including China and the South China Sea, Indian officials said.

The move, which could irritate Beijing, deepens ties between India and Vietnam, who both have long-running territorial disputes with China.

While billed as a civilian facility – earth observation satellites have agricultural, scientific and environmental applications – security experts said improved imaging technology meant the pictures could also be used for military purposes.

Hanoi especially has been looking for advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies as tensions rise with China over the disputed South China Sea, they said.

“In military terms, this move could be quite significant,” said Collin Koh, a marine security expert at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. “It looks like a win-win for both sides, filling significant holes for the Vietnamese and expanding the range for the Indians.”

The state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will fund and set up the satellite tracking and data reception centre in Ho Chi Minh City to monitor Indian satellite launches, the Indian officials said. Indian media put the cost at around $23 million.

India, whose 54-year-old space programme is accelerating, with one satellite launch scheduled every month, has ground stations in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Brunei, Biak in eastern Indonesia and Mauritius that track its satellites in the initial stages of flight.

The Vietnam facility will bolster those capabilities, said Deviprasad Karnik, an ISRO spokesman.

Source: India to build satellite tracking station in Vietnam that offers eye on China | Reuters

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