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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Planning commision gives nod for $ 5 billion loan for urban sector

(posted under - Planning commision news) - Planning Commission has given a go-ahead to a proposed $5-bn World Bank loan for India’s urban sector. The Bank is now preparing a detailed concept note indicating what should be the main components of the loan.

Though the Bank had originally proposed to provide $3.8 bn loan for the urban sector, the ministry of urban development requested the Bank to increase the amount to at least $5 bn, or about Rs 25,000 crore.

It has not yet been decided as to which cities will benefit from the Bank’s loan, but it’s believed that many of the 63 Mission cities under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) will get a share of the cake. The government has also decided to add 28 more cities to the list.

With the Plan panel giving its nod, and the finance ministry on board, the loan could be disbursed in 12-18 months, said the official.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Foreign investors bullish FDI increased to $2.58 billion in june

(posted under - FDI updates) - In June 2008, the FDI inflow was $2.39 billion. However, the total foreign investment inflows during April-June contracted by over 30 per cent to $7.02 billion over the same quarter of 2008-09. In the first quarter of the previous fiscal it was $10.07 billion.

India has attracted foreign direct investment worth $2.58 billion in June, an eight per cent increase over the same month last year. The FDI inflow in May was $2.1 billion.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No debt waiver for farmers this time - FM

With fiscal deficit increasing and adding to the government woes is deficit monsoon in almost entire country still Finance minister said that no proposal for farm debt waiver this time around.

"There is no such proposal," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said when asked if the government was considering a fresh debt waiver scheme to give relief to farmers.

The UPA government had last year announced a nearly Rs 71,000 crore farm loan waiver scheme to offer relief to small and marginal farmers and one-time settlement scheme for large ones.

Talking to reporters after holding a review meeting of Regional Rural Banks, he exuded confidence that the economy would clock over six per cent growth despite weak monsoon.

"No doubt, this year we are not expecting to reach nine per cent growth. This year we are projecting six per cent plus growth," he said, adding that the full impact of drought will be known to all as and when it is felt.

Meanwhile, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the poor monsoon will adversely impact farm production and eat into economic growth.

"The existence of drought by itself can lead to some shaving" off of the growth projections. - said Ahluwalia

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Indian exports might be +ve in december - FICCI

In a survey conducted by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, majority of respondents said exports are expected to be in positive terrain by December this year.

The chamber expects an improvement but only in terms of stemming the falling exports on a year-to-year basis in the months ahead.

"Exports are likely to register a reasonable positive growth but we will have to wait at least till the end of this year," the survey said.

Exports have declined by 26 per cent in June for tenth month in a row due to less demand from the global markets.

Countries like Hong Kong, Germany and France are showing fresh signs of global recovery, with the European economy recording marginal GDP growth of 0.3 per cent and Asian economy expanding 3.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2009.

The survey said, "While orders are not coming in thick and fast, still some foreign clients have started placing some new orders or at least reduced the pace of order cancellation."

Ficci surveyed 316 exporters in different sectors such as automotive, gems and jewellery, textiles, handicrafts, leather and marine IT products during June and July 2009.

However, in May exports declined to USD 11.01 billion, down 29.2 per cent year-on-year.

As such, sequentially there is a growth of about 16.4 per cent.

However, Prasad hastened to caution that it is too early to come to any conclusion about export growth.

"The next two months are deciding months. We have to see whether there will be real recovery in trade sector or only changes due to the base effect for the coming months," he added.

However, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Director-General Ajay Sahai said the declining trend is likely to continue for some more months.

The exporters' body acknowledged that the government cannot increase demand in the global markets but it should give incentives to exporters so that they do not lose orders.

"The government should take short-term measures first and then come out with long-term policies after the global commerce shows improvement," Sahai said.

The Government is slated to unveil Foreign Trade Policy, which spells out the segments of priority in external trade and also gives incentives and disincentives, depending on the country's needs.

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India's arms imports to touch $30 bn by 2012

India's arms imports are expected to touch $30 bn by 2012 even as the domestic defence market is poised to grow to $700 mn in five years, according to an industry lobby report.

The report submitted to the defence ministry by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) said: "India's arms imports alone would rise to $30 bn by 2012."

"The Defence Offset Facilitation Agency (DOFA) and the armed forces in consultation with India Inc should work out a comprehensive strategy to ensure that defence imports happen at extremely competitive rates," Assocham president Sajjan Jindal said.

DOFA, under the Department of Defence Production, is a single window agency to implement the government's defence offset policy.

Assocham has urged the government to allow India Inc to participate in defence deals as the domestic defence market would expand to over $700 million in four-five years.

According to the chamber, if the Indian economy grows at a steady rate of 7 percent, the defence spending would exceed 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in future.

"This could be used to finance additional capital outlays for modern equipment," the Assocham report said.

Currently defence expenditure accounts for around 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). India has upped its defence expenditure by 34 percent to Rs.141,703 crore ($28 billion) for the fiscal 2009-10.

India is the world's largest importer of defence articles with its armed forces buying over $6 billion worth of military hardware every year.

The paper also called for raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the defence sector to 49 percent from the current 26 percent.

Higher FDI will help procurement of latest technologies as per provisions of the latest defence offset policy, Assocham said.

Govt steps up efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investors (FDI)

(posted under - FDI updates - Economy updates) - Transport Minister Kamal Nath had said all impediments would be removed to get foreign investment in the roads and highways sector.

He added that the roads sector is expected to attract USD 10 billion of FDI in the next two years.

The government is also making efforts to bring in foreign investment in the textiles sector, the largest employer after agriculture in the country.

Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran had led a business delegation to Japan last month to woo foreign investors in the labour intensive sector.

FDI inflow in January-May period of 2009 was USD 10.58 billion compared to USD 19.56 billion in the same period previous year, a dip of 46 per cent.

The government also proposes to raise the FDI cap in private insurance firms from 26 to 49 per cent and a bill to give effect to the proposal is pending in the Rajya Sabha.

CRISIL Principal economist D K Joshi said by taking the steps government is building pipeline to attract FDI.