02, September 2016

Bilateral relations:

Source: PIB

1. Egyptian and Indian delegations:

Discussions on the shape and substance of our partnership:

An agenda that:

responds to our socio-economic priorities;

promotes trade and investment ties;

secures our societies;

helps build peace and harmony in our region; and

Advances our engagement on regional and international issues.

Agreed to sustain and strengthen the momentum of high-level political exchanges. Strong trade and investment linkages are essential for economic prosperity of our societies. Increased flow of goods, services, and capital between our two economies has to be among our key priorities. Finally the agreement on cooperation in maritime transport signed. It would also urge our private sector to take the lead in building new business and commercial partnerships between the two countries.

To diversify the portfolio of economic engagement, also deepen our cooperation in agriculture, skill development, small and medium industry and health sectors.  In view of that growing radicalization, increasing violence and spread of terror pose a real threat not just to between two countries, but also to nations and communities across regions.

Further defense and security engagement which would aim at:

Expanding defense trade, training and capacity building;

Greater information and operational exchanges to combat terrorism;

Cooperation on emerging challenges of cyber security; and

Working together to fight drug trafficking, transnational crimes and money-laundering.

India appreciates the good work that Egypt has been doing during its current term on the UN Security Council. Decision to consult more closely on regional and global issues, both at the U.N. and outside, will benefit of common interests

2. Paradip to be develop as World Class Smart Industrial Port City:

Source: PIB

Ministry of Shipping is planning to develop Paradip as a world class, globally competitive, smart industrial Port City. The rationale behind developing Paradip as a smart city is that Paradip already have a Major Port and strong mineral resource presence in the region, these factors will make Paradip a hub for Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).

The greening and road beautification works.  The smart city will also have a Solar Energy Park of 20 MW spread over 90 acres of land. 10 MW of this is proposed to be completed by March 2017 and the rest is to be completed by December, 2017. The total cost of the proposed Solar Power project is approximately 160 crores.

Cities will be rehabilitated through Pradhanmantri Awaas Yojana – housing for all by 2022

About Pradhanmantri Awaas Yojana:

Scheme is clear about its goals – affordable housing for All 2022, it does ensure that the benefits of the scheme are enjoyed by women, economically backward groups of Indian society and the Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Transgender and widows, members of the lower income groups and urban poor, and the scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes shall be granted preference when they try to avail the affordable housing scheme.

How Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojna (PMAY) will work:

PMAY Housing Scheme will work by providing central assistance to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) as well as other employed agencies through States/UTs for:

By providing Credit Linked Subsidy:

Each house provided under the scheme will involve a central grant of about INR 1 lakh which may go up to INR 2.3 lakhs. This will come as part of a 6.5 percent interest rate subsidy scheme (previous schemes had an interest rate subsidy of about 1 percent). This means that the applicants from lower income groups who avail of the housing scheme may apply for a housing loan with interest subsidy of 6.5 percent.

The tenure or term for these housing loans may go up to 15 years and the total benefit received by such loan subsidy will add up to INR 1 to 2.3 lakh each.

The ‘Housing for All’ scheme will replace all previous government housing schemes such as the Rajiv Awas Yojana.

3. Commerce and Industry Minister says fall in exports has been arrested and growth will steadily take place:

Source: PIB

Growth of manufacturing sectors:

Commerce Minister said that diversification of export product basket, diversification into non-traditional markets and conclusion of ongoing FTA negotiations and initiating new FTAs for promotion of exports.

About Industry, Minister said manufacturing sector grew at 9.3% in 2015-16, much higher than the 5-6% growth in previous 3 financial years and was the major contributor to the healthy 7.6% growth of GDP in 2015-16.

India was 3rd in the list of top prospective host economies for 2016-18 (World Investment Report 2016 UNCTAD),

Rank improved by 16 positions to 55th in the World Economic Forum’s -‘Global Competitiveness Report 2015-16’,

Rank in the ‘Doing Business Report 2015’ was 142 among 189 countries, which improved to 130 in the Doing Business Report, 2016 by World Bank.

The rank improved 19 positions to 34th in the World Bank’sLogistics Performance Index 2016’.

4. Centre, states to probe e-trading violations

Source: The Hindu

The Centre, along with State governments, will soon initiate a probe into the operations of e-commerce companies. The move comes in the wake of complaints from consumers alleging that many of these firms are either selling inferior quality goods/services or flouting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms Which that the States would examine whether e-commerce firms were registered in their jurisdiction and if they were operating as fake companies.

The Consumer Affairs Ministry will take up complaints from consumers on poor quality goods and services of         e-commerce firms, while the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), will check whether the      e-commerce players are violating FDI norms.

The huge discounts on the e-platforms of these e-commerce firms amount to influencing the sale prices of goods or services, thereby flouting the FDI policy, according to a recent complaint filed before the DIPP by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).

What is DIPP?

It is working under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

This department is responsible for formulation and implementation of promotional and developmental measures for growth of the industrial sector, keeping in view the national priorities and socio-economic objectives. DIPP is responsible for the overall industrial policy. It is also responsible for facilitating and increasing the FDI flows to the country. And  also responsible for intellectual property rights relating to patents, designs, trademarks, and Geographical indication of goods and oversees the initiative relating to their promotion and protection.

5. Banks can sell stressed loans to other lenders

Source: The Hindu

Nowadays increase competition that could lead to better price discovery of stressed assets, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed commercial banks to sell such loans to their competitors as well as to non-banking financial companies.

Prospective buyers (of stressed assets) need not be restricted to securitisation or reconstruction companies.  Banks may also offer the assets to other banks/NBFCs/financial institutions, etc. who have the necessary capital and expertise in resolving stressed assets,” according to an RBI statement.

6. British Columbia first foreign government to issue Masala Bond

Source: Indian Express

Canada’s Province of British Columbia has become the first foreign government entity to issue a masala bond by floating Rs. 500 crore Rupee denominated overseas bonds on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

The bond raised USD 75 million (about Rs. 500 crore) with 6.62 per cent semi-annual yield, securing high-quality investor support from across Europe, Asia and America. It is a AAA rated bond by the three major rating agencies and will mature on January 9, 2020.

Masala Bonds are rupee-denominated bonds issued to overseas buyers, aimed at investments into India’s infra needs. The proceeds of the bond were immediately reinvested in Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC)’s second masala bond listing on the exchange.

The latest issuances bring the total number of masala bonds listed on the LSE to 33, raising the equivalent to about USD 3.86 billion for Indian infrastructure.

HDFC Ltd, one of India’s leading banking and financial services companies, had listed the world’s first masala bond by an Indian corporate.

What is MASALA BOND?

Masala bonds are Indian rupee denominated bonds issued in offshore capital markets. These will be offered and settled in US dollars to raise Indian rupees from international investors for infrastructure development in India. IFC (International Finance Corp) will convert bond proceeds from dollars into rupees and use the rupees to finance private sector investment in India. ( International Finance Corp. (IFC), an investment arm of the World Bank.)

IFC has named these ‘Masala’ bonds as ‘masala’ is a globally recognized term that evokes the culture and cuisine of India. This is not the first time that a bond has been named after the food or culture of a country. Chinese bonds, for example, are called Dim sum bonds, and Japanese ones as Samurai bonds.

What’s on offer?

This is a 10-year bond with a yield of 6.3% and a  AAA benchmark rating. This is not the first rupee denominated offshore issuance to be settled in dollars. IFC had earlier issued offshore rupee bonds with maturities up to seven years. Though there are other offshore rupee bonds, this issuance will be the first to be listed on a stock exchange.

IFC will support private investment in the infrastructure sector and sectors that contribute to economic growth and job creation. Hence, future Masala bond issuances may support other kinds of related private sector investments.

WHAT DOES THE ISSUE MEAN?

Issuances in overseas financial centers such as London give countries like India a chance to tap global investors for funding investment needs. The IFC Masala bonds are a boost for Indian rupee-denominated issuances as listing on LSE will provide visibility, and set a benchmark for yields in future issuances. It could also increase demand for similar products later as liquidity of these bonds goes up. This also shows the confidence of international investors in the Indian economy and its currency.