CBI India Update September 2017
The CBI India office was delighted to host Mr Rajesh Agrawal, London’s Deputy Mayor for Business and Chair of London and Partners for a breakfast roundtable in Delhi. Mr Agrawal interacted with a senior group of CBI members in India on 14 September 2017.
It has been quite an eventful month.
In a CBI coordinated effort, more than 100 firms employing over one million people in the UK and elsewhere in the EU, have written to the UK government, underlying the importance of making urgent progress in the next round of Brexit talks. Read more here.
Meanwhile back in India, as the GDP growth rate fell to 5.7%, a 3-year low in the quarter ending 30 June 2017, Prime Minister Modi effected a major cabinet reshuffle weeding out non-performers, rewarding good performers with senior and wider portfolios and adding nine new faces to the cabinet. Four out of the nine new ministers are ex-bureaucrats, expected to implement key government programmes and achieve good results ahead of the 2019 general elections. See the entire list of the new Council of Ministers here.
One of the main highlights of the new cabinet was that India got its first ever full-time woman defence minister. Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, who was till now, the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry with independent charge, assumed this new role. She joins Ms Sushma Swaraj, India’s Foreign Minister as the second woman in India’s most senior Cabinet Committee on Security. Read more on her here.
Her position has now been taken over by Mr Suresh Prabhu, who previously held the Railway portfolio. Read his profile here.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Modi welcomed his Japanese counterpart Mr Shinzo Abe to flag off his dream bullet train project which is slated to be completed by 2022. The high-speed train will run between Ahmedabad in Gujarat to Mumbai in Maharashtra. It comes with a 50-year yen loan amounting to £ 10.6 billion (Rs 88,000 crore) at 0.1% interest rate. Read more here.
Here are some of the other highlights of the past month
Economy and policy
DIPP seeks views on new industrial policy
Aimed at making India a global manufacturing hub, the Indian commerce ministry is in the process of formulating a new industrial policy. Read more here.
A new exit policy for industrialists
Now, for the first time, India has an exit policy for owners that allows workers to survive and flourish. Read more here.
Start-ups find mention in new FDI policy
To resonate with Prime Minister Modi’s Start Up India programme, in a first, the new FDI policy has included a chapter on start-ups. Read more here.
EU-India summit likely next month
Despite the failure to kick start free trade agreement discussions, the EU is preparing a strategic action plan with key deliverables ahead of a likely bilateral summit next month. The areas to be covered include climate change, clean energy, maritime security, naval cooperation, space research, combating cybercrime and smart cities. Read more here.
Data protection legislation to be ready by year-end
Data protection, one of the main challenges in the EU-India FTA talks will now be addressed by the Indian government. A new data protection legislation is expected to be ready by the end of the year. Read more here.
Regulatory reforms fail to cut red tape
A recent research conducted by the NITI Aayog and the IDFC Institute reveal that not much has changed on the ground as far as the business environment is concerned. Read more here.
GST council to meet on Oct 24; rates of 60 items likely to be cut
Revision of around 100 items were on the agenda in the Council’s meeting on Sep 9 of which only 40 items could be taken up for discussion. Read more here.
India sees 10% rise in UK visitor visas
As many as 414,000 Indians obtained visitor visas between June 2016 and June 2017, a rise of 10% over the previous corresponding period. This figures, along with the 536,000 visas given to Chinese visitors constitute 50% of total UK visas given out during this period. Read more here.
The States of India
24% of Indian states account for 62% of new projects in last five years
Only 7 out of 29 states received 62% of new investment projects in the last five years, reveals latest data from the Reserve Bank of India. Read more here.
States’ performance in ease of doing business below mark
India’s central government has called out most of the states in India for poor results related to efforts made to improve ease of doing business. Read more here.
Vodafone India Launches New Unlimited Calling, Data Plan for 18 Countries
Vodafone India has launched an unlimited international plan across the UK and Europe. International travellers can now easily activate a pack and use their number overseas from the UK and other popular travel destinations of Europe like Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary. Apart from Europe, travellers can also use unlimited calling and data in the US, the UAE, Singapore and Malaysia with the same pack, Read more here.
Shell to set up vehicle recharging stations in India
India is one of the four major countries where Royal Dutch Shell aims to expand marketing operations. This is part of the plan that 20% of sales from its fuel stations worldwide would come from recharging electric vehicles and low carbon fuels by 2025. Read more here.
Jaguar Land Rover cars to be electrified from 2020
Every new Jaguar Land Rover model launched from 2020 will have an electrified variant. The move means that all new JLR models will offer either a fully electric, plug-in hybrid or a 48V mild-hybrid option within their individual line-ups. Read more here.
GSK to invest £100 million in manufacturing facility in Bangalore
Read an interview of GSK Pharma's VP South Asia and MD Annaswamy Vaidheesh here.
On the radar
Mr Rahul Gandhi, the Vice-Chairman of the Congress Party, India’s main opposition party recently spoke at the University of California Berkeley in the United States about the current political scenario in India. See the YouTube video here.