Archive for ‘India alert’

27/08/2015

Why India Stands to Benefit From China Slowdown and Global Reaction – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s economy has been insulated from the turmoil in emerging markets by a long-standing handicap: It isn’t an export powerhouse. For years, growth in India has been fueled more by domestic demand—not, as in China, by manufacturing goods for sale abroad. Now India’s resilient consumer spending is an advantage as demand decelerates almost everywhere else. It is luring companies to produce in India and, the government hopes, can help spark a belated industrial revolution in the country of 1.2 billion.

Jayant Sinha, India’s minister of state for finance, said this week the Chinese slowdown and its world-wide fallout could provide a chance for India to “take the baton of global growth.” Mumbai’s benchmark stock index ended Wednesday down 1.2%, having slid 8.5% in total since the People’s Bank of China moved to devalue the yuan on Aug. 11. The rupee has lost 3.4% since then. India hasn’t been rattled as badly as Brazil, Russia or South Africa. Its international reserves are ample, and it isn’t highly dependent on foreign capital to fund imports.

Source: Why India Stands to Benefit From China Slowdown and Global Reaction – India Real Time – WSJ

27/08/2015

India’s Hard-Working Expat Army – The Numbers – WSJ

Compared with expatriates from other countries, expats from India are younger, better-educated, harder-working and much more likely to be male. A new survey of people working far from home by the expat social group InterNations also suggests Indian expats are much more likely to pick a partner from home and less likely to settle in the country in which they currently work. While there is debate about exactly how expats differ from other migrant workers, any definition would have to include many of the millions of Indians who help run companies, build software and erect buildings across the globe. Indians have proven to be the highest ranked group of migrants to the U.S., in terms of education and pay. Indian-born leaders now run everything from Microsoft Corp. to Google Inc.

The InterNations survey of 14,400  self-declared expats living in 64 countries  offers some interesting insights into what India’s world-wide web of non-resident road warriors looks like. Here are a few numbers from the survey.

80% Around 80%, or four out of five, Indian expatriates who responded to the InterNations survey are male. That’s really lopsided. The average for all countries combined in the survey was about 47% male.

36.5 years Indians that took part in the survey were 36.5 years old on average. That is younger to the broader expat populace, which had an average age of 40.9 years. 45.2 hours Indian expats said they worked an average of

45.2 hours a week. While that is probably not enough overtime to get you to the top of Google like Sunder Pichai, it’s 3.2 hours more than the average expat.

92% More than 90% of those surveyed had a college degree or higher. On average only 83% of the world’s expats graduated from university. Data on Indians enrolled in U.S. schools show they are often more likely to go for advanced degrees. The education of globe-trotting Indians is also seen in their language abilities.

Close to half (48%) of the people surveyed said they could speak four or more languages. 9 out of 10 Compared with other expatriates,

Indians were much more likely to pick a partner from home. Around 89% of Indians in the survey said they were with someone from their home country. On average, expatriates around the world are usually more likely not to choose someone from home. Only 43% of those surveyed said they had a partner from their countries of origin.

12% Nearly a quarter of expats say they would consider settling in the country where they are currently working. For Indian expatriate workers, however, the number is just around one in eight.

Source: India’s Hard-Working Expat Army – The Numbers – WSJ

23/08/2015

Spectacular Images of Mars From India’s Most-Ambitious Space Mission – India Real Time – WSJ

Next month, India’s mission to Mars is expected to complete a year in orbit around the red planet and its photo album so far is out of this world.

The spacecraft, named Mangalyaan, Hindi for Mars craft, has already completed more than 100 orbits since it arrived at the planet on Sept. 24, 2014.

At a cost of $74 million, the Indian Space Research Organization’s mission to Mars was the cheapest of recent missions to Mars mounted by other space agencies.

The satellite is healthy and continues to “glean data,” Debiprasad Karnik, a spokesman for ISRO, said Friday.

Apart from a few days in June when it lost touch with Earth after moving behind the Sun in a phenomenon called “solar conjuncture,” Mangalyaan has remained in contact and been sending photographs taken by the Mars Color Camera back to scientists in India.

The photo above, taken in July, is of the Ophir Chasma, part of what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration describes as the largest canyon system in the solar system, known as the Valles Marineris.

NASA calls the geographical feature the Grand Canyon of Mars. At a length of more than 1,800 miles, it is almost 3.5 times the length of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The walls of the chasma, that is described by the International Astronomical Union as “an elongate steepsided depression,” are multi-layered, the floor too contains large deposits of layered materials.

via Spectacular Images of Mars From India’s Most-Ambitious Space Mission – India Real Time – WSJ.

21/08/2015

India-Pakistan Talks Hang in the Balance Over Kashmir – India Real Time – WSJ

When rival neighbors India and Pakistan plan to meet, it often comes down to the wire – and this week is no exception.

Two days before Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz is scheduled to land in New Delhi for meetings with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, statements from India’s foreign ministry Friday morning cast doubt over whether the talks would actually take place.

The reason: another planned meeting between Mr. Aziz and separatists from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir at a reception at the Pakistan High Commission on Sunday.

Through a series of tweets, a televised interview and a media statement, India hardened its stand against Pakistan’s decision to consult with Kashmiri separatists. The Kashmir region lies at the center of decades of enmity between India and Pakistan. Both countries administer parts of the territory but claim it in full.

Vikas Swarup, spokesman for India’s foreign ministry, said in a tweet posted on his verified Twitter TWTR -6.19% account on Friday: “India has advised Pakistan yesterday that it would not be appropriate for Mr. Sartaz Aziz to meet with Hurriyat representatives in India,” referring to a group of Kashmiri separatists.

Pakistan says these men must be consulted before India and Pakistan hold discussions concerning Kashmir. India resists the involvement of groups that have clashed with the Indian establishment for decades, boycotting elections and stoking tensions in the Kashmir Valley. Security officials in New Delhi accuse them of facilitating militancy in the region and colluding with Pakistan-based terrorist groups.

If India cancels the hard-won meetings over the issue of Kashmiri separatists, it won’t be the first time. In July last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called off planned talks between the countries’ foreign secretaries after separatist leaders met with Pakistan’s ambassador to India, in defiance of New Delhi’s warnings not to do so. By cancelling the meet, Mr. Modi sought to set new ground rules of engagement between India and Pakistan – one Islamabad appears not to have been willing to accept.

Mr. Swarup repeated India’s concerns publicly Friday, taking a stand that could threaten the upcoming talks unless Pakistan yields. He said a meeting between separatists and Mr. Aziz “would not be in keeping with the spirit and intent” of an understanding between Mr. Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a meeting in July – when the NSA talks were firmed up — “to jointly work to combat terrorism.”

His statements are a second warning shot, after Indian authorities in Jammu and Kashmir temporarily detained separatist leaders on Thursday in an apparent signal of New Delhi’s objections. But Pakistan has so far given no indication it’s in the mood to compromise. Pakistani foreign ministry officials said the reception would go on as scheduled.

 

The meetings may also fall apart over another disagreement: What will the two sides talk about?

Pakistan has said the dispute over Kashmir will figure on the agenda when the countries’ top security officials get together. India says the meetings will focus only on terrorism.

India accuses Pakistan of harboring militants who launch attacks on India and wants to press Pakistan further to take stern action against such groups. Pakistan denies allegations it backs militants, saying it too is grappling with terror against its citizens.

In recent days, Pakistan has stepped up efforts to draw attention to the Kashmir dispute, raising hackles in New Delhi. It pulled out of organizing a conference of Commonwealth countries that was scheduled to begin next month saying it didn’t want to host lawmakers from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that Islamabad would “raise all issues during the meetings in India, including Kashmir.”

In an attempt to clarify its position, Mr. Swarup said in another tweet Friday that India has “sought confirmation of our proposed agenda for the NSA level talks” – a typically behind-the-scenes detail whose public declaration by Mr. Swarup points to the lack of trust and widening gulf between the two sides.

via India-Pakistan Talks Hang in the Balance Over Kashmir – India Real Time – WSJ.

20/08/2015

What Stands in the Way of Modi’s Digital India – The Numbers – WSJ

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has grand plans to expand the reach of the Internet to his country’s most far-flung citizens.  But some big numbers stand in his way.

1.06 billion

The number of Indians who currently don’t have access to the Internet. India’s offline population is greater than that of China and Indonesia–home to the next two largest unconnected groups–combined.

1 million

The number of miles of fiber optic cable needed to connect 250,000 village clusters in India to the Internet, according to a committee set up to get the project into gear. The original plan estimated that 370,000 miles of cable would do the job.

1%

The proportion of clusters of villages that up to June 30 were fully connected to Internet services in community centers, hospitals and schools under the National Fiber Optic Network that was launched in 2011.

2013

The original deadline for completion of the network. The date has since been shunted back twice and now stands at 2019.

$11.2 billion

The revised budget for the fiber optic network. Almost four times what was originally planned.

via What Stands in the Way of Modi’s Digital India – The Numbers – WSJ.

15/08/2015

Modi’s Independence Day Speech – The Numbers – WSJ

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second Independence Day speech on Saturday morning was peppered with numbers – most measuring the success of initiatives launched since he took office, and others earmarking targets that he hopes the country will reach in the future.

English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World E...

English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World Economic Forum in India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are some of the figures that Mr. Modi used in his one-and-a-half hour long speech at Delhi’s iconic Red Fort.

1.25 billion Indians

It was hard to keep count on the number of times Mr. Modi invoked the unified power of India’s 1.25 billion people during his speech. “This is Team India, a team of 125 crore Indians. This is the team that makes our nation and take our nation to new heights,” he said in the first few minutes, using the Indian unit, crore, for 10 million. Mr Modi said that advancements made by his government in the 15 months since he took office as prime minister, were the “achievements of Team India.” He even set a target for the team: to make India a developed nation by 2022, the year that India celebrates 75 years of independence from British rule.

425,000 toilets

All schools should have toilets with separate amenities for girls, Mr. Modi said during his speech last year, setting a one-year deadline for the target. In his address on Saturday, Mr. Modi declared that 425,000 toilets had been built in over 200,000 Indian schools in the past year. It wasn’t immediately possible to verify this claim. According to India’s federal human resource development ministry, by 2014, about 91% and 85% of government-run schools had separate toilets for girls and boys respectively.

2 million cooking-gas subsidies

Since January, 2 million Indians have forfeited their cooking-gas subsidies–offered to all households–under a campaign called “Give It Up.” The initiative, launched by the federal ministry of petroleum and natural gas, urged affluent Indians to give up the perk—amounting to about $4 on every cooking-gas cylinder—if they could afford to. The government hopes the plan will make gas available as a clean energy for the millions who still rely on firewood and biomass for cooking. The poorest section of Indian society receives only 15 percent of this subsidy, according to a 2014 report by Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a Delhi-based non-profit. On Saturday, a website for the campaign, givitup.in, showed that 2,101,977 people had voluntarily surrendered the subsidy.

170 million bank accounts

Mr. Modi said his push to widen access to financial services for the poor through a program called Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana—or the Prime Minister’s People Money Scheme, announced in his Independence Day speech last year, had shown progress. He said 170 million new bank accounts have been opened under this program and that the total amount deposited in the accounts amounts to 200 billion rupees ($3.07 billion.) The amount reflects “the richness of the poor,” he said. The government said in April that 135 million new bank accounts were opened in the eight months since the scheme launched.

65 billion rupees

That’s the amount of unaccounted, or “black money,” sitting in international accounts held by tax-avoiding Indians that has been declared to authorities in the past two-and-a-half months, Mr. Modi said. In July, following new legislation aimed at combating tax avoidance, and combating so-called “black money,” the government opened up a three-month window for law breakers to disclose their foreign assets and incomes, pay due taxes and settle the steep penalties imposed for evading taxes, to avoid prosecution. The punishment for stashing “black money” to evade taxes is 10 years in prison.

18,500 villages

Despite a number of ongoing campaigns, Mr. Modi didn’t shy away from setting another target: to provide electricity to 18,500 villages that don’t have power supply in the next 1,000 days.

via Modi’s Independence Day Speech – The Numbers – WSJ.

15/08/2015

Modi Uses Independence Day Speech to Hit Out at ‘Termite-Like’ Graft – India Real Time – WSJ

At the end of a week in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to push broad measures aimed at boosting the economy through Parliament, the Indian leader sought in an Independence Day address to draw attention to his efforts to make the machinery of government more efficient and less corrupt.

In a 90-minute speech delivered from the ramparts of New Delhi’s Red Fort on Saturday, Mr. Modi didn’t focus on sweeping policy changes or big, new plans. Instead, he spoke of trying to enforce change in the Indian government bureaucracy, a system he characterized as riddled with “termite-like” graft and inertia and accustomed to inordinate delays.

“What government doesn’t make big declarations?” Mr. Modi said. “The test is whether we are able to implement the promises we make. We have stressed a new work culture.”

Under attack from political opponents who have tried to portray him as pro-business and anti-farmer, Mr. Modi didn’t once mention his “Make in India” campaign to encourage foreign and domestic investors to set up factories in India, nor did he directly address weeks of opposition protests that stalled a major tax overhaul in Parliament.

via Photos: Modi Uses Independence Day Speech to Hit Out at ‘Termite-Like’ Graft – India Real Time – WSJ.

13/08/2015

Politics Gets in the Way of Modi’s India Overhaul – India Real Time – WSJ

Political calculations and parliamentary gridlock are putting the brakes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s already-incremental plans for economic revitalization 15 months after Indian voters gave him an overwhelming mandate for change.

Following nearly a month of partisan bickering, lawmakers ended a parliamentary session on Thursday without passing a centerpiece of Mr. Modi’s agenda—a constitutional amendment to replace a thicket of differing state taxes with a more business-friendly nationwide levy.

 

The Indian leader, worried about political opposition and a backlash from rural voters, also effectively abandoned efforts to win approval for another development measure—legislation that would have made it easier for the state to acquire land for infrastructure and industry, government officials, some ruling party and opposition lawmakers said.

Mr. Modi shot to prominence with a landslide electoral victory and impassioned vows during visits to world capitals to reset India’s economy. But blocked by the opposition and reluctant to take risky political steps, his liberalization project is languishing.

“The slowdown in the reform momentum has taken away the type of optimism we saw when Modi was elected in 2014,” said Chua Han Teng, an India specialist at London-based BMI Research. “It hurts investor confidence.”

via Politics Gets in the Way of Modi’s India Overhaul – India Real Time – WSJ.

12/08/2015

India’s Smartphone Market Is Booming – Especially at the Low End – India Real Time – WSJ

Xiaomi Corp., which announced Monday that its some of its phones are now being assembled at a factory in India, isn’t the only Chinese smartphone maker with its eye on the subcontinent.

With the Chinese economy slowing and demand for smartphones picking up in India, Chinese handset makers including Lenovo Group Ltd.0992.HK +1.70%, Huawei Technologies Co. and Gionee Communication Equipment Co.  are looking to produce and sell more phones in the world’s second-most-populous nation.

But Indian consumers prefer cheaper phones than their Chinese counterparts. Roughly half of smartphones sold in India for the three months ended in June cost less than $100. In China, these low-end smartphones accounted for about 20% of the market over the same period, according to research company International Data Corp. IDC predicts the average selling price of Indian smartphones will fall to $102 in 2018 from $135 in 2014.

The $100 Galaxy J1 and other inexpensive handsets drove sales for Indian smartphone market-leader Samsung Electronics Co.005930.SE 0.00%, helping to increase its share of sales to 23% of the smartphones sold during the quarter ended June 30. In other markets, including China, sales are driven by its flagship Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, which sell for around $600 and $700, respectively, in the U.S.

Smartphone penetration is growing rapidly. While Internet penetration levels in India resemble China’s numbers from six years ago, smartphone penetration is only four years behind, according to a Credit Suisse report. The skyrocketing growth has even caught the attention of Apple Inc.AAPL -5.49%, which recently started offering financing to make its iPhones more accessible to Indians.

That might be bad news for smartphone manufacturers who operate on already razor-thin margins, but it’s potentially good news for Indian consumers and the Indian economy.

It also helps explain why contract manufacturing giant Foxconn says it intends invest billions of dollars setting up factories in India, and why Xiaomi recently announced its first made-in-India smartphone, the $107 Redmi 2 Prime. Changes to tax rules now make it cheaper to manufacture electronics in India. It also shortens the supply chain, meaning phone-makers can get their products to consumers faster and reduce inventory costs.

via India’s Smartphone Market Is Booming – Especially at the Low End – India Real Time – WSJ.

10/08/2015

5 Things to Know about Foxconn’s Overseas Ambitions – WSJ

Foxconn, Apple Inc.’s major assembler, has signed a preliminary deal with India’s Maharashtra state to invest $5 billion in factories and research facilities in coming years. But the company, officially known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., has a history of making ambitious statements and floating investment ideas that haven’t materialized. Here are five things to know about Foxconn’s overseas ambitions.

Deutsch: Foxconn Logo

Deutsch: Foxconn Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1 India isn’t its first billion-dollar bet

In 2011, Foxconn agreed to invest $12 billion in Brazil to create a new supply chain that it had hoped will generate jobs. But four years later, Foxconn’s investment in Brazil has been much smaller than the pledged amount. It is still struggling to improve the manufacturing operations at its plants for iPhones and iPads there citing its inefficient labor force. The company has also been in talks for a new plant investment in Indonesia for years.  The Indonesian government once said that Foxconn would invest up to $10 billion, but plans remain in limbo due to political snags.

2 Why India?

While China remains the world’s largest smartphone market by shipments, India has the biggest growth potential for the next 5 years, says Bernstein analyst Mark Li. India recently raised taxes on mobile phones imported to the country to 12.5% from 6%, spurring global handset makers to look at ways to manufacture devices locally.

3 Sign of shift in manufacturing to India from China?

Analysts say it is unlikely that India will overtake China to become the company’s main production base in the next few years as China has an well-established supply chain ecosystem. India still lacks good infrastructure and favorable tax and labor policies, making it a less attractive destination for tech manufacturing.

4 Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou always aims for the best deal

The agreement with the Indian government is non-binding. Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou usually gives a rosy picture about the company’s potential investments when he negotiates with government officials. But only a few investment plans materialize as he wants favorable terms including big tax incentives and free land that most governments can’t accommodate.

5 Foxconn seeks other investment opportunities in India

The company and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. are in talks to jointly invest about $500 million in Snapdeal.com, a five-year-old Indian e-commerce startup. The deal would give Foxconn a retail foothold in India where it has experienced booming demand for smartphones. Foxconn is also setting up a new production site for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. in India.

via 5 Things to Know about Foxconn’s Overseas Ambitions – WSJ.

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