Posts tagged ‘Cabinet of India’

28/07/2016

With eye on China, India doubles down on container hub ports | Reuters

Indian conglomerate Adani Group has started building the country’s first transshipment port, conceived 25 years ago, and the government will construct another $4-billion facility nearby to create a shipping hub rivalling Chinese facilities in the region.

New Delhi will grant billionaire Gautam Adani 16 billion rupees ($240 million) in so-called “viability gap” funding to help the new port at Vizhinjam in Kerala win business from established hubs elsewhere in Asia.

Once Vizhinjam is operational the central government will start building the port of Enayam in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, said a senior shipping ministry official. Enayam alone will save more than $200 million in costs for Indian companies every year, he said.India’s 7,500-km (4,700-mile) coastline juts into one of the world’s main shipping routes and Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to capitalise on that proximity by developing ports that can shift freight on to huge vessels capable of carrying up to 18,000 20-foot containers.

By bringing onshore cargo handling now done at entrepots in Sri Lanka, Dubai and Singapore, Modi’s government expects cargo traffic at its ports to jump by two-thirds by 2021 as India ramps up exports of goods including cars and other machinery.

The lack of an Indian domestic transshipment port forces inbound and outbound containers to take a detour to one of those regional hubs before heading to their final destination.

New Delhi expects the new ports to save Indian companies hundreds of millions of dollars in transport costs, as well as ease concerns over the growing strategic clout in South Asia of rival China, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Sri Lankan ports at Colombo and Hambantota.

Adani wants the Vizhinjam port, which an arm of his Adani Group is building at a cost of around $1 billion, to be operational in 2018. The port lies hard by the Gulf-to-Malacca shipping lane that carries almost a third of world sea freight.

“The port can attract a large share of the container transshipment traffic destined for, or originating from, India which is now being diverted primarily through Colombo, Singapore and Dubai,” said an Adani Group executive who declined to be named.

But officials acknowledge that it would be difficult for the new ports to win international clients unless they offered discounts.”A major part of transshipment is happening at nearby ports. We can win some of that business,” said A.S. Suresh Babu, who heads a government agency set up by Kerala to facilitate the construction of Vizhinjam.

“There’s a viability issue in the first few years. Already the Chinese are operating there. So unless you give some discount you can’t attract these ships. So that’s why the government of India has approved the viability gap funding.”

Source: With eye on China, India doubles down on container hub ports | Reuters

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01/01/2016

Launching of odd-even scheme in New Delhi: Overwhelmed by response of odd-even scheme, says Arvind Kejriwal – The Hindu

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said he was “over-whelmed” by the response of people towards the odd-even scheme in New Delhi.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejrwal The scheme has been successful so far, the Aam Aadmi Party convenor said. “I am truly overwhelmed by the response we have received so far. There are very less even-numbered cars on the roads. The plan seems to have been successful,” Mr. Kejriwal told the media. He said the people of Delhi have accepted the scheme “whole-heartedly”, adding “I am confident that in next five years people will show the way to rest of the country”.

The odd-even scheme for private vehicles started in New Delhi on Friday. The move aims at reducing air pollution levels.

Source: Launching of odd-even scheme in New Delhi: Overwhelmed by response of odd-even scheme, says Arvind Kejriwal – The Hindu

24/11/2015

Modi woos investors in Singapore – The Hindu

Promising more reforms to make India more attractive for foreign investments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday assured investors that he would “carefully hold” their hands and expressed hope that the GST would be rolled out in 2016.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Institute of Technical Education College in Singapore on Tuesday.

Speaking at the India Singapore Economic Convention, Mr. Modi said India is exploring a potential partnership with Singapore’s Changi Airport for developments of two Indian airports and invited companies to join in building smart cities.

“In the last 18 months, the runways for the take-off of the economy have been made. Reforms are happening in a big way. They are now reaching to the last mile. Reform is to transform the system so that they perform. They aim at helping people realise their dreams. It means more charm on the faces and less forms in the offices. Efforts to deepen financial markets have been made,” he said.

‘Most open economy

The Prime Minister said his government began to liberalise FDI laws soon after coming to power last year and the latest round of FDI reforms have made India the “most open economy” in the world.

“We are also conscious of last mile operational issues in such matters and we are fine tuning the norms. Recently, we further eased FDI norms, after which India is the most open economy in terms of FDI,” he added.

While talking about 40 per cent increase in FDI and improvement in rankings like ease of doing business and world competitiveness index, Mr. Modi said, “Perceptions are turning into positive outcomes”.

“We are hopeful to roll out GST regime in 2016. The company law tribunal is being set up. FDI inflows have gone up by 40 per cent compared with previous year’s comparative period. Perceptions are turning into positive outcomes. FDI commitments are translating into reality,” he noted.

Modi also outlined 14 decisive steps taken to address regulatory and taxation concerns and said that India offers tremendous opportunities for investments, ranging from affordable housing to smart cities, railways to renewable energy.

Source: Modi woos investors in Singapore – The Hindu

21/10/2015

India’s Bharat Petroleum Wants to Use Gas Stations to Bring E-Commerce to Rural India – India Real Time – WSJ

Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd., India’s lumbering state-run fuel company, is planning use its nationwide network of 12,800 gas stations to deliver online retail to rural India.

The oil refiner and retailer is hoping it can leverage its outlets and logistical staff across India to succeed as a latecomer to India’s ongoing online retail boom. It is upgrading its technology and logistics network to be able to sell farmers everything from fertilizer to smartphones.

The e-commerce push will begin December, with BPCL’s rural gas and cooking gas distributors starting to accept orders and payments online, said BPCL Chairman and Managing Director S. Varadarajan.  As early as next year, the company is also considering using its urban branches to sell and distribute groceries.

While the early movers in e-commerce in India such as Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd.’s flipkart.com, Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd.’s snapdeal.com and Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd.’s amazon.in are still struggling to find cost-effective ways to reach the hundreds of millions of Indians who live outside the biggest cities, BPCL already has employees and properties throughout the country.

“About 30% of our retail outlets are in rural India,” Mr. Varadarajan said. Rural customers can shop online then “pick up stuff when they fill fuel at their local gas station.”

India’s state-run oil refiners are desperate to find new sources of revenues as the fall in oil price as well as increased competition from the private sector weigh on their sales.

BPCL’s retail ambitions are “a response to competition by improving margins,” said Deepak Mahurkar, head of PwC’s Oil & Gas Industry practice in India.

Analysts say that while BPCL does theoretically have unique access to much of India’s middle class, which uses its stations to refuel their cars and motorcycles, whether this traditionally slow-moving company can capture a corner of the rapidly-evolving online retail business remains to be seen.

BPCL has prime properties on the main streets and highways across the country, but few of its gas stations have the facilities or the staff to do more than pump gas. Many don’t even have running water in their bathrooms, much less the Internet connections, storage facilities and delivery technology a vibrant e-commerce company would require.

Diving into e-commerce would necessitate a big change in mindset for BPCL which is not used to worrying much about competition or consumers, said Anand Kumar Jaiswal, who heads the Centre for Retailing at IIM Ahmedabad, an Indian management school.

“I am really skeptical about it,” said Vishnu Kumar, an assistant vice president for research at Chennai-based broker Spark Capital Advisors (India) Pvt. Ltd.  “If I am a consumer I am not going to check with BPCL for a microwave.”

Even people within BPCL’s own network doubt the company can pull it off.

Sachin Shah, the manager of a company that delivers BPCL cooking gas cylinders to more than 20,000 customers in the southern city of Hyderabad, said the company will have to radically improve its logistics system to guaranteed delivery if it wants to sell more than gas cylinders and gas stoves

“If Bharat Petroleum doesn’t deliver, I will lose face,” he said.

BPCL’s Mr. Varadarajan said the company is confident it can deliver because it will use its best dealers and a new distribution system to get products to customers.

Source: India’s Bharat Petroleum Wants to Use Gas Stations to Bring E-Commerce to Rural India – India Real Time – WSJ

25/07/2015

Should Britain Pay Reparations to India? Shashi Tharoor Says Yes, Narendra Modi Praises Him, What Do You Think? – India Real Time – WSJ

Should Britain pay reparations to its former colonies, including India? An articulation of why the former holder of empire should make amends, or at least say sorry, for two centuries of colonial rule, has sent a video of Indian law maker Shashi Tharoor viral and opened up a debate in India.

In a 15 minute speech given during a debate at the Oxford Union in the U.K., telegenic and floppy-haired Mr. Tharoor, who is a former foreign minister and a onetime under-secretary-general at the United Nations, argued that “Britain’s rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India.”

Speaking in favor of the motion, the opposition Congress party politician said that India’s share of the world economy when the British arrived was 23% but by the time they left it had slipped to 4% because “India had been governed for the benefit of Britain. Britain’s rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India.”

“In fact, Britain’s industrial revolution was actually premised upon the de-industrialization of India,” he added.

The YouTube clip of the Congress politician’s oration has been watched more than 1.5 million times since it was uploaded last week, making it one of the most-viewed clips from the Oxford Union, a prestigious debate chamber at the University of Oxford.

A video of Jack Gleeson, an actor explaining to the chamber why he left the Game of Thrones, has over two million views as does one of Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, impersonating Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Others to have appeared at in the red-walled debate chamber in the recent past include Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, former U.S. Senator John Edwards, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and onetime South African President F.W. De Klerk.

Indian social media lit up with praise for Mr. Tharoor’s eloquence and ability to take on the British establishment: Opposing speakers in the debate included Sir Richard Ottaway, a politician with the United Kingdom’s right-wing Conservative party.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who belongs to Congress’s rival the Bharatiya Janata Party, praised Mr. Tharoor for the speech.

via Should Britain Pay Reparations to India? Shashi Tharoor Says Yes, Narendra Modi Praises Him, What Do You Think? – India Real Time – WSJ.

22/07/2015

India’s Labor Force – WSJ

India’s urban women are four times less likely to be in paid work than their male counterparts with the most educated being the least likely to participate in the workforce, the latest figures from India’s labor ministry show.

Meanwhile in rural India, women are marginally more likely to have a job – the ratio of male to female participation in the workforce is 2.6 to 1.

Here are some more findings from the survey.

39%

The proportion of women who have received vocational training were not part of the workforce in 2013/14.

Although women were not asked to give reasons in the survey, Jayan Jose Thomas, an assistant professor of economics at the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi and an expert on India’s labor market and industry, said women often face discrimination at work in rural and urban India, including unequal pay.

In urban India, there were also concerns for women’s safety, traveling to and from work and in the workplace. Pushing the figures higher, women who chose to be homemakers were counted as unemployed.

“When you look at the figures for women, you understand the real employment situation in India. You see a huge mismatch,” said Mr. Thomas.

Indian women’s participation in the workforce falls as their education level rises, according to research by Mr. Thomas.

Labor-force participation by women in 2009-10 showed nearly 55% of women with post-graduate level education had not joined the workforce. Most women who didn’t join the workforce said “they are attending to domestic duties.”

524 rupees

The average daily wage for a man educated beyond high school working in an Indian city. That is the equivalent of $8. For women, average earnings were 391 rupees a day.

12 million

The number of people who enter India’s workforce each year. Some argue India’s rigid labor laws, which make it harder to fire employees, may be the reason employers are reluctant to hire full-time staff but Mr. Thomas says, despite official figures showing otherwise, the growth of India’s workforce has stagnated from lack of investment in infrastructure.

Government investment in basic infrastructure, like setting up power plants, needs to take place before the country can realize Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make In India” drive, which seeks to supercharge the country’s manufacturing growth, according to Mr. Thomas.

“India’s infrastructure shortage is so high that you cannot expect private investment to kick-start industrial growth. You need public sector to do the work first,” Mr. Thomas said. “Major initiative has to come from the government.”

5.5 million

Jobs created in India every year. Even though 12 million people join India’s workforce every year, the number of new jobs is much lower. Mr. Modi’s government has set a target of creating 400 million jobs by 2020 to try and narrow the gap.

6.8 %

The proportion of India’s population signing up for vocational training in the country. Among those who successfully train, a large proportion – 75% – find employment.

via India’s Labor Force – WSJ.

12/04/2015

Drugs for malaria, osteoporosis, diabetes: Harsh Vardhan – The Hindu

‘The “candidate drugs” for malaria, osteoporosis and diabetes were currently undergoing clinical trials’

The “candidate drugs” for malaria, osteoporosis and diabetes were currently undergoing clinical trials. Photo: V.V.Krishnan

The Indian pharmaceutical sector would soon be showcasing ‘candidate drugs’ for malaria, osteoporosis and diabetes, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday.

With further R&D, important breakthroughs could be on the horizon for these diseases, he said following a visit to the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, a wing of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Addressing scientists, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed to making India one of the world’s leading destinations for end-to-end drug discovery and innovation by 2020.

“I am confident that the drug laboratories under the CSIR are capable of backing up the Swasth Swachh Bharat Mission. Our scientists are focussing on both infectious and lifestyle diseases. We are developing next generation drugs, biologics, biosimilars, gene therapeutics, stem cell therapeutics, personalised medicine and multifunctional nanomedicine,” said Dr. Vardhan.

Indian R&D efforts in government laboratories like CSIR-CDRI, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad) and CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (CSIR-IICB, Kolkata) have a track record in making drugs for kala azar, filaria, leprosy and tuberculosis available at affordable rates to the common man, he said.

via Drugs for malaria, osteoporosis, diabetes: Harsh Vardhan – The Hindu.

08/04/2015

Cabinet amends real estate bill to stamp out illegal practices | Reuters

The cabinet has amended a bill to regulate the real estate sector, protect home buyers and curb undeclared “black money” in property markets that costs the exchequer billions of dollars in lost taxable income.

Labourers work at the construction site of a residential building in Mumbai's central financial district April 6, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

The decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government to amend the bill, which was submitted by the previous government in 2013 but not passed by the upper house, aims to boost investor confidence and stamp out illegal practices.

The new rules, applicable to residential and commercial developments, will make it mandatory for all projects and brokers to be registered with the real estate regulator who will oversee transactions and settle disputes.

“The bill seeks to ensure accountability and transparency, which will in turn enable the real estate sector to access capital and financial markets essential for its long-term growth,” the government said in a statement on Tuesday.

During recent years sluggish economic growth and delays in getting approvals stalled several real estate projects, leaving buyers waiting for their homes and developers holding high debt.

“This will be a game-changer for the sector,” Rajeev Talwar, executive director at DLF Ltd, India’s top real estate developer.

via Cabinet amends real estate bill to stamp out illegal practices | Reuters.

08/12/2014

Rs 5,160cr given to states to clean rivers – The Times of India

Centre has released Rs 5,160 crore to various states for implementation of pollution abatement works in rivers, Parliament was informed on Monday.

Minister of water resources, river development and ganga rejuvenation Uma Bharti said in Rajya Sabha that Rs 5,159.81 crore has been released by the Centre to states for implementation of pollution abatement works and a sewage treatment capacity of about 5,005 million litres per day has been created so far under NRCP and NGRBA programmes.

National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) and National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) programme cover polluted stretches of 42 rivers spread over 21 states at a sanctioned cost of Rs 11,362.85 crore.

To another question, the minister said conservation of rivers is an ongoing process and cleaning of Ganga and other rivers is taking time mainly due to the “large gap between sewage generation and availability of sewage treatment capacity…”

She said it is the responsibility of the state governments and local bodies concerned to set up proper facility for collection and treatment of sewage generated and ensuring that it is not discharged into the rivers.

The new NDA-government has set up an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission — ‘Namami Gange’ for for rejuvenation of Ganga and its tributaries.

via Rs 5,160cr given to states to clean rivers – The Times of India.

04/12/2014

Modi seeks to draw line under row over minister’s pro-Hindu comments | Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought on Thursday to draw a line under a row sparked by a ministerial colleague’s derogatory comments about non-Hindus, urging angry parliament deputies to accept her apology and move on.

A supporter of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holds a placard with a picture of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he attends a rally addressed by the party president Amit Shah (not pictured) in Kolkata November 30, 2014. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

The opposition, led by the Congress, has demanded the dismissal of Niranjan Jyoti, the junior minister for food processing industries, for telling voters this week that they must “decide whether you want a government of those born of (Hindu god) Ram, or those born illegitimately”.

The saffron-clad minister apologised a day later after her remarks drew outrage and calls that she be prosecuted for violating the secular spirit of India’s constitution.

Critics say that Modi’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has a deep-seated bias against Muslims and that it is pursuing Hindu-dominant agenda.

Modi urged the upper house of parliament to accept Jyoti’s apology amid a third straight day of protests.

via Modi seeks to draw line under row over minister’s pro-Hindu comments | Reuters.

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