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10 Sep 2017

Reduction in GST on supply of scrips to boost exports: FIEO

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"Welcoming the decision of the GST council of reducing the rate on supply of various scrips from 12% to 5%, FIEO said the move will give a boost to the exports sector Welcoming the decision of the GST Council of reducing the rate on supply of various scrips from 12% to 5%, the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) said the move will give a boost to the exports sector. “Reduction of the GST rate on supply of scrips like merchandise exports from India scheme (MEIS), service exports from India scheme (SEIS), duty free import authorisation (DFIA) from 12% to 5% follows the fitment formula adopted by the Council,” FIEO president Ganesh Kumar Gupta said in a statement issued here on Sunday. He said the decision will give a boost to premium on scrips which plummeted with restriction on utilisation of scrips in the GST regime. “Wider utilisation of scrips will also be looked by the new Committee as the government’s objective is to benefit the exporters through the grant of scrips rather than the importers,” Gupta said."

10 Sep 2017

Govt to promote exports in ‘shortest possible’ time: Commerce Minister,

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"The government will look at ways to promote exports in the shortest possible time by mitigating GST regime challenges faced by exporters and by providing support that could facilitate increase in both value and volume of outbound shipments, said Suresh Prabhu, Commerce & Industry Minister. India’s export-to-GDP ratio has to go up in order to increase capacity utilisation of existing manufacturing units. Exports have great ability to generate economic activity by its own steam. We have to work out what can be done to promote exports in the shortest possible time, Prabhu said in his first press conference after taking up charge as the Minister on Monday. GST issues The Minister said that he was aware of the issues that the exporters are facing in the GST regime and would work to mitigate them. There are certain challenges that the export sector is facing because of GST implementation. We are taking up these with the concerned authorities, Prabhu said. The Ministry will also work on a support package that could increase both value and volume of exports, he added. Policy review A mid-term review of the five year Foreign Trade Policy is scheduled to be announced this week. Fresh measures to boost exports could be part of the review. Although exports in 2016-17 posted an increase of 4.71 per cent to $274.64 billion after two years of continuous decline, growth has started decelerating again. In July 2017 export growth slowed down to 3.9 per cent to $22.5 billion. Agri export policy Prabhu has also asked his Ministry officials to prepare a agriculture export policy. Agriculture is the most important part of livelihood as well as employment. The paradox is that when production goes up, prices fall. For incomes to go up, you have to find markets for exports quickly as domestic market is not large enough to absorb increased production,the Minister added. Prabhu, who was earlier the Minister for Railways, said logistics was being added in the rules of business of commerce now, so the Ministry will work on this also. We will bring logistics to the forefront and work on that as there is a direct link between competitiveness of exports and logistics, he said. Industry policy A new industrial policy to support the Make in India initiative of the government will also be announced soon. On the Invest India initiative of the government, the Minister said that the focus has to be on districts and not States. He said that district-wise industrial plans need to be prepared as local situations like human resource availability, law and order situation and natural resources help attract investors more."

06 Sep 2017

India, Myanmar sign 11 agreements, including maritime security cooperation

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"The MoUs were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Nay Pyi Taw: India and Myanmar today signed11 agreements in a range of sectors, including one on maritime security cooperation, to further strengthen their multifaceted partnership. The MoUs were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. India and Myanmar signed a MoU to strengthen maritime security cooperation. The two sides also signed an agreement for sharing white shipping information to improve data sharing on non-classified merchant navy ships or cargo ships. The 11 MoUs also include one between the Election Commission and Union Election of Myanmar, the national level electoral commission of Myanmar. An MoU was also signed to organise cultural exchange programme for the period 2017-2020, according to a statement issued by Ministry of External Affairs. The two countries also signed agreements on cooperation between Myanmar Press Council and Press Council of India, extension of agreement on the establishment of India-Myanmar Centre for Enhancement of IT skill. They also signed agreements to cooperate in 'Medical Products Regulation' and in the field of health and medicine. They also signed a MoU on enhancing the cooperation on upgradation of the women's police training centre at Yamethin in Myanmar. Modi arrived here on the second leg of his two-nation trip during which he travelled to southeastern Chinese city Xiamen where he attended the annual BRICS summit and held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders. This is Modi's first bilateral visit to Myanmar. He had visited the country in 2014 to attend the ASEAN-India Summit. Myanmar is one of India's strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur."

01 Sep 2017

India's eight core industries grow by 2.4% in July, 2017

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"The growth in production in eight major industries accelerated during July when total output grew by 2.4 percent in comparison with a 0.8 percent marginal increase during the previous month, official data showed on Thursday. The Index of Eight Core Industries (ECI), representing the output of major industrial sectors like coal, steel, cement and electricity, grew by 3.1 percent in the corresponding month of the previous year. ""The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stands at 119.8 in July, 2017, which was 2.4 percent higher compared to the index of July, 2016. Its cumulative growth during April to July, 2017-18 was 2.5 percent,"" the Ministry of Commerce & Industry said in the summary of the ECI for July. The ECI index carries 40.27 percent weightage of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). On a sector-specific basis, refinery production, which has the highest weightage of 28.03 percent, plunged by 2.7 percent in July 2017 as compared with the corresponding month of last year. However, electricity generation, which has the second highest weightage of 19.85, rose by 5.4 percent last month. Steel production, the third most important component with weightage of 17.92, increased by 9.2 percent during the month under review, whereas, coal mining, with a 10.33 weightage, inched up by 0.7 percent in July 2017. Extraction of crude oil, which has an 8.98 weightage, slipped by 0.5 percent during the month under consideration. On the other hand, the sub-index for natural gas output, with a weightage of 6.88, stood higher by 6.6 percent. Conversely, cement production, which has a weightage of 5.37, decreased by 2 percent in July 2017. Similarly, fertiliser manufacturing, which has the least weightage -- of only 2.63 -- dipped by 0.3 percent."

29 Aug 2017

"Fourth Session of the India-Tanzania Joint Trade Committee (JTC) "

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"The Fourth Session of the India-Tanzania Joint Trade Committee meeting was held in New Delhi, on 29th September, 2017. The Indian delegation was led by Hon’ble Minister for State for Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge) Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman. The Tanzanian delegation was led by the Hon’ble, Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment Mr. Charles John Mwijage. The Hon’ble Minister of State(C&I) Ms Nirmala Sitharaman in her opening remarks highlighted that India and Tanzania enjoy close and cordial relations and underscored the unwavering bonds of friendship and solidarity, underpinned by a shared history of struggle against colonialism and the growing strategic partnership, multifaceted co-operation and vibrant people to people contact existing between the two countries. During the meeting Hon’ble Prime Minister’s state visit to Tanzania on 9-10 July 2016 was recalled. During the visit, discussions were held on all aspects of bilateral cooperation. It was mentioned that Tanzania is one of the most important countries in Africa in so far as India’s bilateral co-operation in various sectors is concerned. With an investment of US $ 2.2 billion, Tanzania is among the top 5 investment destinations for India. The Indian side conveyed to the Tanzanian side that the potential areas for Tanzania in India include Light oils and petroleum or bituminous minerals, motor cars and vehicles, medicaments etc Similarly, Metals and Minerals, dried cashew nuts in shells from Tanzania are required in India. The Tanzanian side encouraged co-operation in the field of Fisheries, Industrial Development including Industrial Research and Development and SMEs Development, Information, Communication and Technology, Labour and Employment, Information, Culture, Arts and Sports. The Indian Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme of which Tanzania is a beneficiary has boosted considerably Tanzanian export to India in recent years. India and Tanzania agreed to enhance sectoral co-operation based on respective needs and comparative advantage for mutual benefit. In the sectoral co-operation Gems and Jewellery, energy (Hydro/Thermal/Gas/Diesel/solar power plants), Oil and Natural Gas, Mining, Transport, Agriculture, Water Supply Projects, Human Resource Development, Capacity Building and trade promotion were discussed. A liberal visa regime facilitates trade and investments. Visa on arrival is available in Tanzania though only for a three-month period. During the discussions, it was mentioned that long-term (at least one year visas) for reputed business companies with multi-entry facility will be helpful to promote investments and business collaboration between the two countries. The discussion concluded in a warm and cordial atmosphere reflecting the friendly relations between the two countries. The meeting concluded with the signing of the mutually agreed document."

29 Aug 2017

"Indian Register of Shipping Develops Class Rules and Cyber Safety Guidelines – Addresses Cyber Risks of Emerging Technologies"

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"Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass), leading classification society, in a bid to address the cyber risks of emerging technologies that are being introduced to the Indian maritime industry, has developed class rules based on guidelines set by International Maritime Organization (IMO), as well as appropriate standards such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology – US Department of Commerce (NIST). With the rise of cyber attacks on information and operational technology systems, cyber security is critical not only for data protection but also for safe and reliable operations. Executive Chairman Mr. Arun Sharma said today: “Cyber attacks on ship’s control systems, IT, navigational and other critical systems can result in damage or even losing course of the ship – which can drastically affect the safety of the ship, port facilities and marine property.” “As the industry continues to introduce new technologies, IRClass as a classification society, plays a significant role in ensuring that the safety of a vessel and its crew are not compromised by such attacks,” he added. The implementation of these rules help IRClass to identify the cyber risk issues from as early as the design stage of the vessel. A final verification then takes place once the vessel is built, and periodically during annual surveys. A vessel, together with its shipping back office, that is certified for Press Release – Indian Register of Shipping 2 cyber safety is one that complies to the class rules as well as additional class notation. A member of International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), IRClass actively participates in the association’s forums like ‘Cyber Systems Panel’ and ‘Joint Working Group with Industry on Cyber Systems’ to exchange views and knowledge on cyber risk management. In addition to the class rules, IRClass has also developed the first edition of ‘Cyber Safety Guidelines for Port and Shipping Company Facilities’, a guide to safeguarding technology systems from internal and external cyber threats. These guidelines would help a company to identify gaps and mitigate risks and IRClass is in a position to offer end to end solutions."

25 Aug 2017

Maritime Board plans to start sea plane service in a year

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" The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) has chalked out a plan to make the Sea Plane Project operational within a year. The plan is to make the city a nodal centre and link it with Shegaon, Tadoba, Koradi and five more locations. Along with tourism, the project aims to facilitate joyrides, emergency services, charter plane services, etc. Chief executive officer of MMB Atul Patne told TOI the project could be launched by March or April next year, if there is a good response from sea plane operators. ""MMB has floated expression of interest inviting applications from private operators on August 19. Inquiries are coming from some reputed private operators. We are hopeful of a good response from private operators as this will be the first of its kind in the entire nation,"" he said. MMB has planned the project and is taking all efforts for its success following directives of union minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari. Therefore, MMB has proposed the project first from the city. Patne said the plan is to launch sea plane services from city to three tourism locations — Shegaon, Tadoba and Koradi. ""Nagpur Improvement Trust has been appointed as nodal agency for developing Seaports at Ambazari Lake, Irai dam near Tadoba, and Koradi lake. Similar seaport will be developed in a dam near Shegaon. NIT is planning to execute memorandum of understanding with Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC), Mahagenco (controller of Koradi Lake and Irai dam), Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and other departments. Support of several departments is required to make the project feasible and successful,"" he said. As per MMB's expression of interest, it will develop all infrastructure for the project. The operators will have to just operate the sea planes. Also, MMB has offered operators central government schemes like Regional Connectivity Scheme/Udaan to make the project viable. The operators will have to take clearance from Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which is a major requirement for the project. Patne added the sea plane may be of 8-14 seating capacity. ""We are also planning to permit operators to utilize sea planes for joyrides, emergency services, travel in the form of charter plane services etc, to make the project viable."" NIT chairman Deepak Mhaisekar along with MTDC managing director Vijay Waghmare held meeting with owners of hotels, tours and travel companies on Tuesday seeking their support for the project's execution. Representatives of these fields were delighted with the project, and said it could boost tourism in Vidarbha and also save time and cost for tourists. Private operator MEHR, in association with MTDC, had conducted trial of sea plane from city to Khindsi on November 15, 2014, but could not begin services. "

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