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Made in India to get preference in public procurement: Official
Source: PTI; April 29, 2017

The government is working on a policy to incentivise domestic manufacturing by giving preferential market access in public procurement to local manufacturers, a top official said on Saturday.

Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Ramesh Abhishek also said that the country can look forward to "a lot of FDI reforms" in this year.

To promote domestic manufacturing, Abhishek said the government would like to prescribe domestic value addition as a requirement for public procurement, as is being done for electronics items and by some other ministries.

The proposed policy, Abhishek said, is being worked on as the industry has pointed out that "many of the public procurements are being done with conditions which are discriminatory towards or against domestic manufacturing".

"We have identified a number of these practices," he said, adding that the government is working on a policy which "will not only remove any possible discrimination against domestic manufacturing but actually incentivise them by giving some preferential market access in public procurement".

Observing that foreign direct investment (FDI) is a key to boost growth, the DIPP secretary said there have been a slew of FDI reforms in the last two-and-a-half years.

"In the coming years, in this year itself, we can look forward to a lot of FDI reforms. We are seeing enormous amount of interest of foreign investors also," he said while addressing a CII conference here.

Govt Wants Apple to Consider New Policy for Local Manufacturing
Source: News 18; April 29, 2017

The government wants iPhone maker Apple to consider a new manufacturing scheme offering duty benefits to set up its plants in the country.

"Apple had asked for a set of concessions. For a period of 15 years all the components that Apple imports, they want them to be free of duty. We have a phased manufacturing programme (PMP) because we want more and more value addition to come to the country. We want them to understand how this PMP will work and how they can dove tail into that," Ministry of Electronics and IT Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told reporters on Saturday.

She was speaking on the sidelines of the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has approved PMP and the government set to notify it.

According to Indian Cellular Association, the PMP is expected to increase local value addition in mobile phone manufacturing to increase to 39-50 per cent in next 3 years.

Under PMP, the government has already imposed additional duty on import of mobile charger, battery pack and wired headset in 2016-17.

In 2017-18, key components like mobile microphone and receiver, USB Cable, key pads will attract duty benefits.

Components like camera module, mobile antenna etc will be given incentives or duty benefit in 2018-19 if procured locally by handset makers.

Domestic manufacturing to be given preference: DIPP Secretary
Source: ET Auto; April 30, 2017

The government is considering a proposal to give preference to domestic manufacturing in public procurement, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary Ramesh Abhishek said on Saturday.

"The government is considering a proposal to give preference to domestic manufacturing in public procurement. The Make in India Campaign has propelled significant changes in policies to strengthen the manufacturing sector," he said at the annual session of industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Abhishek said that the government is working on policies that include simplification of procedures and processes through ease of doing business, liberalising foreign direct investment, dismantling the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and reform in public procurement.

He futher noted that an investment facilitation agency is working on investments of over $70 billion during the year, which will synergise investment promotion events at the state level for better results.

BrahMos supersonic cruise missile’s air version ready for trial
Source: Defence Aviation Post; April 30, 2017

BrahMos Aerospace Limited is finally getting ready to conduct the maiden test of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile’s air version soon. This world class weapon system, which can surprise enemies with its manoeuvring capability, will be fired from an aircraft in June.

Defence sources said the integration of the weapon with Su-30MKI fighter aircraft is near complete. After a couple of drop tests, it will be fired against a live target.

“Sukhoi has successfully demonstrated its integration with the missile. If everything goes according to the plan, the missile will be launched from the aircraft in June. Two aircraft have been earmarked by air force for the initial trials,” said a BrahMos Aerospace official.

Startup developers are the heroes, even for the big boys
Source: The Economic Times; May 1, 2017

For Big Blue IBM, the developer is king. With decision-making in startups and organisations increasingly being shouldered by developers and with the growing influence of artificial intelligence, it has become important for technology behemoths like IBM to take developers seriously.

ET caught up with Prashant Pradhan, executive director, IBM Watson & Cloud, IBM IndiaSouth Asia on the sidelines of The Great Indian Developer Summit in Bengaluru, to discuss developers' role in the current innovation scenario.

ET caught up with Prashant Pradhan, executive director, IBM Watson & Cloud, IBM IndiaSouth Asia on the sidelines of The Great Indian Developer Summit in Bengaluru, to discuss developers' role in the current innovation scenario.

The developer is at the centre of the trends that are happening. On one hand, we have really valuable data coming at a rapid pace from all verticals, different industries. As more digitisation happens, this will only accelerate. Second, the big problems -the high impact things that AI (artificial intelligence) can enable. For developers to be able to innovate and crack those problems, you basically need the right kind of platform. Your ability to innovate increases, if you have the same AI that enables large projects.

One of the things that is clear to us is ¬¬ the innovation that is possible with AI -it can never come from one single entity.

Start-up foundation to be launched
Source: The Times of India; May 1, 2017

The city will host a 10-day start-up summit beginning June 1 to bridge the gap between budding entrepreneurs and investors.

The Sayaji Startup Summit is an initiative by M S University's Institute of Leadership and Governance and Startup Vadodara and is being supported by Yug Foundation.

The summit aims to create a common platform where young and aspiring entrepreneurs, developing startups as well as already established businesses can pitch their innovative ideas in front of investors and mentors and get investment and guidance from these experienced personalities.

"We will be also launching Startup India Foundation in which all those who will be participating in the summit will be registered as members," said Nikhil Suthar, co-pilot, Startup Vadodara,.

"A lot of start-ups fail to grow because of lack of mentorship, investment, pitching platforms and policy awareness," said Khush Brahmbhatt, co-pilot of Startup Vadodara.

The summit is expected to fetch Rs 20 crore worth investment. So far, 122 startups including 22 ideation based, 20 students startups and 80 mainline startups have registered for the summit.

Sign a free trade agreement with Taiwan, techie Taiwan can propel Make in India
Source: The Times of India; May 1, 2017

Following the launch of New Delhi’s Look East policy in the 1990s, India and Taiwan gradually moved towards building informal ties. The latter sought to develop military and strategic cooperation with India in order to counter mainland China, especially during the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government in 2001. India, however, opted for caution and preferred not to antagonize Beijing.

There are plans for setting up manufacturing bases in information and communication technologies, consumer electronics, automobile parts etc. India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) signed a memo with Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association to promote cooperation and investment between the two countries in electronic system design and manufacturing.

Taiwan has been pushing for an accord on the lines of a free trade agreement. For instance Taiwanese multinational Foxconn, which manufacturers the iconic Apple iPhones and iPads, proposes to set up manufacturing, research and development operations in India. The company signed a MoU with Maharashtra in 2015, pledging to invest $5 billion over five years. It was the first major FDI proposal after Modi launched his ‘Make in India’ scheme.

A simple initiative which will nonetheless immediately encourage Taiwanese businessmen and raise the profile of India-Taiwan commercial ties are separate visits by our HRD and commerce ministers. The focus on building economic ties should give no cause for offence to Beijing, which itself has hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese businessmen residing, working and manufacturing on its soil.

The other area where Taiwan can be of assistance is in education. It has good technological institutions and excellent facilities for teaching Mandarin. Taiwan is among the best China watchers and one willing to host Indian military students at its National Defence University (NDU). India can gain by strengthening educational ties with Taiwan, which already offers numerous scholarships to Indian students.

Don’t write off Indian software yet
Source: The Hindu Business Line; May 1, 2017

Digital India can throw up dramatic opportunities for its software sector. The companies must rise to the challenge. Despite the tumultuous happenings all across the world, India’s information technology sector is not condemned to a pedestrian existence henceforth. It has a good chance to return to its earlier stellar status, which is dependent on two factors.

Of these, one is in its own hands – transforming itself into a digital and innovative fighting machine. But the oxygen that it needs to sustain itself while it reinvents itself has to come in good part from the Indian economy by way of domestic demand, unlike the story so far in which it is global demand that powered the growth of this export driven industry.

There are takers

It is not as if global demand is doing badly right now. According to Gartner, global IT spending is likely to return to positive territory in the current year (2017) by recording a growth of 2.7 per cent. This, in itself, is heartening, particularly because IT spending fell by 0.6 per cent (2016) and a sharp 5.5 per cent (2015) in the two previous years.

The catch is that this rise in spending will be powered by the move towards digital, cloud and artificial intelligence. To take advantage of this Indian IT vendors will have to technologically transform themselves into deliverers of digital and innovative solutions for clients.

India Innovation Growth Programme 2.0 To Provide Funding, Incubation, Business Development Support To Indian Start-ups
Source: BW Disrupt; May 1, 2017

Strengthening its commitment to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, the Department of Science and Technology jointly with the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Tata Trusts has recently launched the India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP) 2.0. The programme that has been running since 2007, much before the Startup India campaign in 2015, with the support of Lockheed Martin Corporation, has supported close to 500 innovators, start-ups, to boost technologically driven minds.

Startups recognized by IIGP have made an impressive contribution to the economy. So far, over 500 startups have been able to generate an economic value of US$900 million, thus, scaling their ventures to the next level.

With administered support by the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, the programme has been implemented by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) through a wide outreach campaign spreading to over 100 cities across India over the last 10 years and over 350 commercial agreements signed. The Programme has received and evaluated over 7000 ideas so far.

This year, under IIGP 2.0, Tata Trusts have come on board to support and scale social innovations. The programme will have two separate tracks viz. University Challenge and the Open Innovation Challenge to support innovations across industrial and social sectors.

Govt. eyes 2 mn jobs in mobile phone units
Source: The Hindu; May 2, 2017

The government expects its ‘major new policy’ of a phased manufacturing programme for mobile phones to create two million jobs and half-a-billion dollars’ worth of manufacturing activity in the country over the next five to seven years, Electronics and Information Technology Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told The Hindu. “The basic chipset (for mobile handsets) is, of course, imported,” she said. “But the rest of the manufacturing can happen in India. So the phased manufacturing programme is our roadmap for the next ten years as to how value addition should happen in India.

This is a very major policy declaration which we believe will incentivize large-scale mobile manufacturing.”

The Centre will initiate fresh talks with Apple Inc which will now have to calibrate its plans to manufacture its iconic iPhones in the country, in line with a new phased manufacturing programme for mobile phones notified on Friday.

When asked how Apple’s plans could fit in with the new programme, Ms. Sundararajan said, “That’s exactly what we are examining to see if their roadmap can be aligned with ours.

“We have some challenges because right now, the manufacturing program we had drawn up doesn’t cover all the components they want. So that’s why we are sitting down together to see how they can work with it.”

GST policy: Here’s how to dial the right policy
Source: The Financial Express; May 2, 2017

More than 110 million phones being produced in the country in FY16 is a big deal when compared to the fact that the number was 60 million just a year before this. While this is a sign that the government’s Make-in-India scheme is catching on, with barely 6% of the total value of the phones —Rs 54,000 crore, according to a study by Ernst & Young—coming from local value addition, it will be many years before higher ‘production’ of phones in India will mean a reduction in the import bill even though the number of plants ‘producing’ phones is up to 40, from a mere three in 2014. One of the reasons for the ballooning import bill for electronic products is, in fact, due to the demand for mobile phones.

Genuine manufacture, as opposed to assembly of imported components, is a time-consuming task, which is why the government had come out with a phased plan for value addition. While the government had been tweaking the incentive structure for several years, the big break came when the budget for FY16 raised the countervailing duty (CVD) to 12.5% if a phone was being imported but would be just 1% if ‘produced’ locally.

Over a period of time, the phased manufacturing programme (PMP) was to bring a similar differential duty regime for various components. So, in the current phase, chargers/batteries/earphones are to get an 11.5% CVD advantage if they are produced in India as opposed to the current practice of importing them and just assembling them; over a period of time, this PMP would be extended to other components and, as per the plan, around a third of the value addition will be done in India by 2020.

Asian factories get off to solid start in second quarter
Source: The Financial Express; May 2, 2017

Factories across much of Asia got off to a solid start in the second quarter, buoyed by strong global demand, particularly for hi-tech gadgets which are leading a sizzling rally in electronics. Though China’s manufacturing growth eased more than expected in April, business still improved and there were no hints of a sharp loss of momentum despite risks from a growing regulatory crackdown and fresh measures to cool its heated housing market. Indeed, analysts chalked up much of the softening in China to recent falls in commodities prices, noting its official factory activity gauge at the weekend was still not far from a near five-year high.

Globally, continued strength in Asia and expectations for upbeat PMI readings from Europe later on Tuesday could help offset a recent soft patch in the U.S. economy, though many economists believe that weakness will be temporary. “We expect global growth to pick up in the second quarter,” said Krystal Tan, Asia economist at Capital Economics in Singapore. “Firmer global growth will lend strength to the ongoing recovery in Asian manufacturing.” After six years of disappointing growth, the world economy is gaining momentum, fuelled by a cyclical recovery in manufacturing and buoyant financial markets.

ICICI plans to make about 600 villages in India digitally-enabled this year
Source: Firstpost; May 3, 2017

The ICICI Group on Tuesday said it has made 100 villages digitally-enabled in 2017 and plans to transform 500 more by the year-end. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while inaugurating the 100 ICICI digital villages here said: “The ICICI initiative should be followed by other banks in rural areas.” Financial inclusion programme was the first major step undertaken by the government and now the country was moving towards a scenario where every household should have a bank account, Jaitley said.“People are extremely flexible in adopting to technology. Movement towards digitisation has created newer technologies,” the Finance Minister said. The advantages of economic reforms are now reaching the villages, he added. ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar said, “We have transformed 100 villages across the country in 100 days. We have created a less cash ecosystem in these villages. We intend to expand the number of such villages by another 500 by December 2017.“The programme encompasses digitisation of transactions and other commercial activities, besides providing vocational training, credit facility and market linkage to help villagers earn a sustainable livelihood. “I am confident that this project will significantly contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’…,” Kochhar said.

Need to focus more on manufacturing sector: Arvind Panagariya
Source: Defence Aviation Post; May 5, 2017

India needs to work simultaneously on manufacturing and services, but the focus should be more on manufacturing as it creates more jobs, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya today said. Panagariya also said that deployment of robots by companies need not be a big concern as the exercise won’t take away jobs, at least not in the next 20 years.

“India needs to work on both manufacturing sector leg and services sector leg…Manufacturing leg is more important because it creates more jobs,” he said while addressing the 4th National Standards Conclave here. Noting that companies like Maruti in India still employs large number of workers, the NITI Aayog vice-chairman said there were perception that robots are going to steal jobs. In my view, robots won’t steal jobs in the next 20 years. We still have time. We have to use all instruments at our disposal,” Panagariya said. On setting of quality standards for products, he pointed out that in an economy like India’s, where there is a large informal sector, the imposition of safety standards is going to be very difficult for several informal sectors.“And also from regulation point of view, to implement the regulation becomes very difficult,” Panagariya said.

Citing the example of Indian carpet industry, he said that unless it is housed in larger factory organisation, it will be difficult to implement safety and labour regulations as the bulk of the Indian carpet industry is spread out.

Italy Plans To Support Government's 'Make In India' Campaign
Source: Businessworld; May 5, 2017

In an exclusive interview, Michele Scannavini, President of the Italian Trade Commission talks to BW Businessworld's Brij Pahwa on Italy's support to India on the latter's Make in India campaign. Scannavini was a part of a large Italian delegation that visited India to ramp up ties with the country. Indo- Italian ties had suffered during the last few years due to Enrica Lexie and Augusta Westland corruption controversies.

What is the purpose of this delegation visiting to India?

This is the biggest delegation to come to India from Italy. We are here with more than 60 companies, 7 banks, 4 research universities and with six associations of more than 150 people. Our idea is to give more visibility to Italian companies, products and technologies to participate in the big Industrial Development that is underway in India today. We are going to do this through a forum in Delhi and an Industrial Forum in Dubai. We will have more than 800 bilateral business-to-business meetings in which Italian companies will meet with Indian companies. We are really hoping to find a way to cooperate together.

Is it something to do with the trade balance between India and Italy, as India has always been on the positive side of the trade. Is this a measure to take up Italy's exports to India as well?

Yes, we want to take up the challenge. It is a very important opportunity for Italy to explore more of India and also for India to explore Italy. It is going to be a bi-lateral opportunity.

Compiled by IESA Research

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