Category — Politics

India To Auction 100 GW of Green Energy Contracts

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced that it will award a 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind contracts by March 2020. 77 GW of the total will be awarded for solar power projects. Having set a target of 175 GW of clean energy capacity by March 2022, the government’s strategy is to complete the bid process by March 2020.

Image of wind turbines and solar panels

Of the targeted 175GW of clean energy capacity by 2022, 100GW will come from solar projects. Of this, 60GW will be from ground-mounted, grid-connected projects, and 40GW will come from solar rooftop projects, reports the Mint. Wind power projects will contribute 60 GW; 10 GW will be generated by hydro power; and 5 GW through biomass-based power projects.

December 12, 2017   No Comments

Arms Trade Arrangement Admits India

In a significant development for India, export control regime Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) admitted the country as its 42nd member of the organization. Admission into the WA is an affirmation of India’s position as a responsible nation in the arena of dual-use goods and technology, besides transfer of conventional arms. This step will raise New Delhi’s stature in the field of non-proliferation and also help it to acquire critical technologies for its defense and space programs. With the exception of China, all the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are signatories of the WA, which is headquartered in Vienna.

Per the Wassenar website, the goal of the Arrangement is to “promote transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.” Participants are required to “ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine the goal.” The aim, according to WA, is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.

Flag of India

 

In June last year, India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), another key export control regime, as a full member.

Since its civil nuclear deal with the U.S., India has been trying to get into export control regimes such as the NSG, the MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemicals weapons and technologies, reports the Financial Express.

France‘s Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler congratulated India on ‘joining” the Wassenaar Arrangement. “One more recognition, after MTCR, of the growing role India plays in today’s world,” he said.

December 9, 2017   No Comments

India To Invest $108 billion on New Roads

In the next five years, the Government of India plans to build 51,994 miles of roads at the cost of  $108 billion. This is the largest-ever outlay for road construction in India. The country has 59,813 miles of national highways, while the total length of all roads currently is 2 million miles.

The plan involves a highway network of 21,624 miles connecting India’s western border to the eastern end; while the state-run National Highway Authority of India and the ministry of road transport and highways will build another 30,370 miles of roads, reports Quartz.

National Highway No. 1 near Jammu

National Highway No. 1 near Jammu

The federal government decided to increase public sector spending to turn around the economy. Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman at Feedback Infra said, “The road sector has one of the highest economic and employment multiples in the country. In that sense, this is possibly the best stimulus that we can get.”

December 6, 2017   No Comments

India’s Telecom Regulator Strongly Backs Net Neutrality

TRAI, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, published recommendations backing net neutrality, supporting equal internet access for all.  If the recommendations are accepted by the communications ministry, India will be ahead of the curve in internet rights.

TRAI Logo

Given the overwhelming public support for net neutrality, the government is expected to accept the recommendations, though it’s not clear when they will become law, reports Reuters.

The new guidelines cover IoT or the Internet of Things. However, over-the-top (OTT) services – apps like Skype or WhatsApp that ride on top of telecom operators’ networks, as well as content delivery networks, which lets operators such as Netflix deliver content within their network have not been addressed by TRAI’s recommendations.

 

December 5, 2017   No Comments

Ten Most Significant Changes in India in the Last Decade

Forbes documents the top ten most significant changes that India has witnessed from 2010 to 2017. Read a lightly edited summary of these below:

1) Emerging as one of the largest economies

The recent economic expansion noted in India has brought a record number of people out of poverty. A growing middle class fuels its impressive consumer growth. Today, India is the world’s third largest market for smart phones and the sixth largest for cars; its software industry employs more than four million people directly and more than ten million indirectly.

With almost fifty percent of India’s population under the age of twenty-six, the country faces the challenge of finding jobs for one million citizens who enter the employment market every month.

2) Gaining diplomatic clout

With economic prosperity, India gained strategic importance. India’s Civil Nuclear Treaty with the U.S. in 2008 ushered India into the global nuclear elite. For the last three years, India has given more aid than it has received, with neighbors Bhutan, Afghanistan and Nepal topping the list of recipients. All of this has added up to give India much more power in diplomatic negotiations.

The current Indian government is the first one to consistently conduct diplomacy in the language of international business. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has undertaken more than 70 foreign trips since taking office in May 2014. Given his focus on trade and investment, Modi is widely promoting the fact that India jumped 30 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business list for 2018 to the 100th place.

3) Evolving federalism

Cooperative federalism of India’s 29 states has now morphed into a competitive federalism in which states – many with the populations of large countries – vie with each other for investment. Foreign investors need to assess the political and regulatory scenarios at both the federal and state levels and pay attention to the state-wise ease of doing business rankings that are published every year.

In the middle of 2017, India replaced dozens of state and federal taxes with a national one, called the Goods and Services Tax or GST. The federal government created a more unified national market which is expected to lead to greater efficiencies and a more attractive business environment.

4) Fighting corruption and “black” money

Prime Minister Modi’s government was elected on an anti-corruption manifesto, and in November 2016, Modi announced the immediate withdrawal of two high-value currency notes. In one stunning move, 86% of the currency was sucked out of circulation, to be gradually replaced by new bills. The declared aim of the move was to fight black money and counterfeiting.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, has recently been bolstered by an expanded Enforcement Directorate, the federal agency tasked with fighting money laundering. Between April and August of 2017, the Enforcement Directorate and the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the stock market regulator, acted against at least 331 fake companies and 100 brokerages charged with facilitating money laundering. This government has implemented Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric identification system, to root out duplication of identities and safeguard welfare plans from corruption-related leakages. Aadhaar was conceived during the previous government of Dr. Manmohan Singh but Modi’s team has fully embraced its power.

5) Forging a stricter compliance regime

The Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, has been given more power in 2017 to act against loan defaulter. The Companies Act of 2013, despite many problems, also brought clearer accountability to corporate anti-corruption and anti-fraud measures.

6) Emergence of the modern Indian  and Indian led multinational

Indian business groups began to extend their international footprint in this decade – India’s Tata Group bought Britain’s Corus Steel for $13 billion in January 2007. The next month, the Aditya Birla Group, announced the acquisition of Canada’s Novelis for $6 billion. The year after that, Tata Motors bought the Jaguar Land Rover car businesses from Ford Motor for $2.3 billion. These acquisitions have helped change the culture of corporate India, embedding international best practices in some of India’s top companies. During the same period, executives of Indian origin were appointed to lead Pepsico, Google. Adobe, Microsoft, Deutsche Bank and Reckitt Benckiser.

7) Tilting to the political right

India’s growing right-wing nationalism concerns business leaders who feel that a sense of nationalism is in the way of business decisions and policies. As the most populous democracy in the world heads towards another national election in the first half of 2019, this position is unlikely to soften anytime soon (“according to Forbes”)

8) Growing wealth of “godmen”

The fastest growing consumer company in the country today is Patanjali, which was founded just a decade ago by Baba Ramdev, a yoga evangelist whose religious sermons on his own television channel are watched by tens of millions every day. His diet-biscuit-to-dish-washer company is now a $1.6 billion behemoth whose success has forced several multinational giants to rethink their market strategies.

9) Changing security challenges

In  the November 2008 terrorist attacks, when Pakistani terrorists attacked four locations across Mumbai, India resolved to fight terrorism in a more coordinated way.

10) Leaping into a digital future

The Modi government has launched Digital India, a campaign to improve the country’s digital infrastructure and offer more government services online. Many Indian companies are leveraging artificial intelligence, data analytics and machine learning to disrupt their markets and deliver a competitive edge.

Indian flag

December 5, 2017   No Comments