Archive for ‘India alert’

08/02/2016

GDP data to show economy racing, realities less rosy | Reuters

India will release data on Monday showing it remains one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but economists are struggling to reconcile that rosy picture with ground realities like weak exports, investment, and flat corporate order books.

Labourers works at the construction site of a residential building in Mumbai, India, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

The median estimate from a Reuters poll of economists put GDP annual growth at 7.3 percent in the quarter through December, just below 7.4 percent in July-September.

If the data comes in line with expectations, it would be faster than 6.8 percent growth posted by China in the same quarter.

However, very few economists are ready to take the official data at face value, reckoning that it overestimates the pace of expansion in Asia’s third-largest economy.

“There are inconsistencies between the picture presented by new GDP series and many other tried and trusted real activity indicators,” said Rupa Rege Nitsure, group chief economist, L&T Finance Holdings, Mumbai.

Until a year ago, India was struggling to break out of the longest stretch of below 5 percent growth in a quarter of a century. But a change made a year ago to the method GDP is calculated transformed the lumbering South Asian giant overnight into one of the fastest growing major economies.

Yet, merchandise exports have been falling for the past 13 months. Rural spending is subdued on weak wage growth and two successive droughts.

Corporate order books are flat. While finished goods inventory to sales ratio is showing no improvement, raw material inventory to sales ratio has worsened.

With factories running nearly 30 percent below their capacity, firms are not in a hurry to invest in new plants and machinery. Festering problem of bad loans, meanwhile, has impeded credit flow and delayed full transmission of interest rate cuts.

There are some encouraging signs, however. Robust growth in indirect tax receipts suggest a nascent revival in manufacturing sector. Foreign direct investment is up. Low inflation, thanks largely to a crash in global commodity prices, has helped bolster urban demand.

Source: GDP data to show economy racing, realities less rosy | Reuters

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

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

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

22/01/2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off Mahanama Express in Varanasi – The Hindu

In his fifth visit to his constituency, Varanasi, after assuming power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged off a new train, Mahanama Express, connecting the temple town to the national capital through Lucknow. Named after Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, the founder of the Banaras Hindu University, the train is fully equipped with modern facilities and boasts of bio toilets in every coach and has renovated and refurbished AC-coaches fitted with led screen. The train will run thrice a week and cover the distance from Varanasi to New Delhi in 14 hours.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with a physically challenged child while distributing assistive devices at a function, in Varanasi on Friday.

Attending the Divyangjan Sashaktikaran Samaroh in Varanasi, Mr. Modi also gave away assisting electronic devices, artificial limbs, tricycles, Braille kits, hearing aids, teaching-learning material kit and other equipment to 9,296 ‘divyangs’ or specially-abled persons.

“When I say let us use the word ‘divyang’ it is about a change in mindset,” Mr. Modi said while reiterating his plea for doing away with the word “viklang” (handicapped) and instead calling the differently-abled as “divyang” (those born with a divine limb/organ).

“Let us not think about what is lacking in a person, let us see what is the extra ordinary quality a person is blessed with,” said Mr. Modi, who personally distributed electronic devices to around a dozen persons.

The PM last visited his constituency in December 2015 along with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. In his address, Mr. Modi recalled the visit and even praised Mr. Abe for appreciating and mentioning his trip to Varanasi in a speech in Japan. “In one year of this government, 1800 such camps have been held. While in the two decades not even a 100 camps were set up,” Mr. Modi said taking a jibe at previous Congress government’s indifference to the differently-abled. On the way to the function, a bus carrying ‘divyangs’ met an accident injuring around 20 persons. Taking cognizance of the matter, Mr. Modi ordered swift action and officials reached the spot. “Most of the received minor injuries, but some will need to be hospitalized for a few days. The government will make all arrangements for treatment,” Mr. Modi said.

The PM also interacted with ‘divyang’ children who have overcome disabilities relating to speech and hearing with the help of the ADIP (Assistance to Disabled Persons) scheme of the Centre.

“The result of such camps is that middlemen will get eliminated-nut bolts are being tightened and the shops of these middlemen are shutting down. And due to this some people are getting worried but not me. If I am in pained, it is by the plight of the poor in the country,” Mr. Modi said.

Source: Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off Mahanama Express in Varanasi – The Hindu

20/01/2016

Apple seeks nod to open India stores amid concerns of slowing sales growth | Reuters

Apple Inc has applied to set up its own stores in India, one of the world’s fastest growing smartphone markets, as the iPhone-maker looks to tap new opportunities amid worries of slowing growth in its main markets.

An Apple logo is seen inside the Apple Store in Palo Alto, California November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Apple sells its iPhones, iPads and Macs in India through third party resellers, and industry analysts estimate that the Cupertino, California-based company has less than a 2 percent share in India’s smartphone market, dominated by cheaper brands.

The company has filed an application with India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion to open its own stores, Amitabh Kant, secretary at the federal trade ministry unit told Reuters.

Apple also confirmed the application filing, but declined to give details.

Its expansion plans in India come at a time when concerns about slowing growth in the United States and China, the world’s most important market for smartphones, have weighed on the company’s stock in the last few months.

Shares in Apple, the world’s most valuable company by market value, are down 28 percent from their peak in April last year. The company operates more than 450 stores in 18 countries. Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters in October that Apple had 25 stores in China and was opening a new one roughly every month.

Its plans for India have been held back due to restrictions on foreign investment in the retail industry, which require single brand overseas retailers to buy close to a third of the goods sold at their stores from local producers.

Apple representatives held talks with Indian government officials about a relaxation of the 30 percent local-sourcing norms before filing the application, said a source familiar with the company’s plans.

Apple’s plans come against the backdrop of initiatives unveiled by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met with Apple chief Tim Cook during his U.S. visit last year, to boost foreign investments in India.

In November, the government eased foreign investment norms in 15 major sectors, including relaxing the mandatory local-sourcing rule for foreign single-brand retailers in the case of “cutting-edge technology” products.

Kant said his department would examine Apple’s application in view of the changes made for local sourcing.

For years, India has been a low priority market for Apple as spending power is weaker than in China, where the company’s iPhones swiftly became must-have devices after their 2007 launch.

But Apple is now looking to boost its market share in India’s rapidly growing market, and the company’s recent growing spend on advertising in the country has indicated an aggressive campaign to sell more.

India is likely to overtake the United States to become the world’s No. 2 smartphone market in 2017, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. The local smartphone segment is dominated by Samsung Electronics and India’s Micromax.

Source: Apple seeks nod to open India stores amid concerns of slowing sales growth | Reuters

06/01/2016

Pathankot attack: Congress asks Modi to ‘fix responsibility’ – The Hindu

Scaling up the offensive against the government over Pathankot terror attack, the Congress on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fix responsiblity for the “grave security lapse” and suggested that some heads must roll.

People light candles during a memorial service for the Indian soldiers killed in a militant attack at Pathankot air base, in Mumbai on Tuesday.

“They should realize that it has gone wrong and resignations should happen. If there is a lapse, resignations should happen,” former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters at the AICC briefing when repeatedly asked whether Congress is demanding resignation of Home Minister Rajnath Singh or Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar into the matter.

“This government has totally failed. It has no system in place to protect the nation,” he added.

AICC Communication Department chairman Randeep Surjewala also said that the Prime Minister should fix the responsibility and take action against the Home and Defence Ministers.

“First responsibility is of the Prime Minister as he is the head of the government. Then Defence Minister and Home Minister are also responsible as they deal with the matter.

The Prime Minister should act decisively and not merely talk. “The Prime Minister should fix responsibility for this negligence and he reaches to the same conclusion that the nation has arrived at that there has been a huge lapse in the nation’s security, he should then take action against the Defence Minister and the Home Minister,” Surjewala said.

The party asked whether the Prime Minister and the BJP government would explain as to who was responsible for the “grave security lapse” as terrorists managed to reach Pathankot Air Base despite advance intelligence alert and reporting of prior incident.

Source: Pathankot attack: Congress asks Modi to ‘fix responsibility’ – The Hindu

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