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UP's Investor Conclave

India & China

New Delhi and Beijing on Monday signed three agreements, including the one for establishing Chinese industrial parks in India. “We expect Chinese manufacturers to establish production units in India to partially redress the existing trade imbalance,“ Union minister of state for commerce Nirmala Sitharaman said.
The Cabinet gave-in principle approval for the industrial parks last week. The agreement regarding this does not cite number of industrial parks that would come up. But Indian officials expect Chinese companies to establish four parks. They said there was no target for Chinese investments but they expected enhanced manufacturing to help reduce the adverse trade deficit. India suffered a trade deficit of $35 billion in the bilateral trade that stood at $65.47 billion last year.
Sources said Sitaraman told Chinese officials their manufactures could produce goods meant for China as well as third countries in India to eventually support Indian exports. “The proposed parks will host a wide range of industries and contribute to the new government's objective of employment-oriented growth,'' she said. She requested her Chinese counterpart, Gao Hucheng, to provide greater market access to Indian companies.

Emerging Markets : Performance

Somewhere in Chennai....

The Modi Effect

Monsoon Tracker


Online shopping by urban consumers will more than double over the next two years in India, a Boston Consultancy Group (BCG) report states. According to the BCG digital influence study 2013-14, online shopping is expected to rise to 14% by 2016 from 6% in 2013. It also said that 25% of travel and tourism-related sales are digitally driven.


Of Mutual Funds....

Getting ready to fight a Drought

MMRDA's Budget : Snapshotz

Maharashtra stares at a Water Crisis

DU scraps FYUP

Under pressure from UGC, Delhi University scrapped its controversial four-year undergraduate programme and reverted to the previous three-year structure.
Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh asked principals to start admissions for the new session. “In line with the UGC directive, the university has decided to roll back the FYUP. The admission process shall be conducted under the scheme of courses that were in force in the academic session 2012-13 in all the colleges of the University of Delhi,“ Singh said.
The decision puts an end to the uncertainty over the admission process for 2014-15 which was triggered due to the stand-off between DU and UGC over FYUP. Over 2.7 lakh students have applied for admission to more than 54,000 seats in 64 colleges of the varsity. The admissions were to begin on June 24 but have been delayed due to the stalemate.

Telangana's Harita Haram

The state government has decided to take up a massive tree planation programme `Harita Haram' in the next three years to bring entire Telangana, especially Hyderabad city , under green cover. It is estimated the entire Telangana state requires about 210 crore saplings to bring 33% of the area under greenery in the state.
Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao held a review meeting with forest department officials in this regard on Friday .
The chief minister said under the `Harita Haram' programme, a green week would be observed every month by involving people, people's representatives like MLAs, MPs, ministers as well as collectors and Superintendents of Police of the districts. He directed the GHMC to make tree plantation mandatory before giving building permissions. The chief minister has asked the officials to identify land, space availability in villages for nurseries.

India forgets Imphal

Not many in India remembered the 70th anniversary of the twin battles of Imphal and Kohima. There were no newspaper ads, no radio jingles, no special programmes on TV, save a few stray news reports. But the rest of the world isn't suffering from the same amnesia.
On Saturday , representatives from Britain, the United States, Australia and Japan, apart from a shrinking group of veterans, will take part in the closing ceremony of a three-month-long programme in Imphal remembering those brave souls who died fighting two of the fiercest battles in history. There will be representatives of the Indian Army too, who quietly hope that some day, the government will embrace these two battles as Indian, and acknowledge the role of 25 lakh soldiers who fought by the Allies in World War II.
The battles of Kohima and Imphal, in fact the whole of the Burma Campaign, was the swansong of the old Indian Army . It was for the first time that the Indian Army fought a foreign invader on Indian soil. And it was the first time the seemingly invincible armies of the Empire of Japan were decisively beaten by Indian soldiers.
Lieutenant Colonel (retd) Anil Bhat, former spokesperson of the defence ministry and Indian Army , laments, “Victory in the Second World War has been, by far, our biggest military achievement, yet nobody in India talks about it.“


Price War


Gas Price decision deferred

BlackBerry launches the Z3

Somewhere in UP....

A Month In Office....

Narendra Modi declared that he was firmly in control of his government despite having spent just a month in office, but noted that he has failed to convince a “select group“ of people “both within and outside the government system“ about his commitment to bring about a positive change. Blogging his experience of the first month in high office, the PM wrote: “When we took over a month ago, I kept thinking that I am new to this place and some people believed that I would take at least a year or even two to learn the intricacies of the working of the Central Government. Fortunately , a month later that thought does not exist any longer in my mind. My confidence and determination has increased tremendously“.
Modi noted he was not given the allowance that new regimes have traditionally enjoyed, but acknowledged this was because of the failure to impress upon the “select group“ his sincere intent to bring in positive change. Every new Government has some thing that friends in the media like to call a `honeymoon period'. Previous governments had the luxury of extending this `honeymoon period' up to a hundred days and even beyond. Not unexpectedly I don't have any such luxury .
Forget hundred days, the series of allegations began in less than a hundred hours. I feel there are areas where we surely need to improve.“
However, Narendra Modi seemed to acknowledge that the application of a different yardstick in his case could also be because of a communication failure.
“There have been some instances in the last month with which our government had nothing to do, yet these controversies have persisted. I do not blame anybody . But I surely feel that we need to strengthen systems whereby the right things are communicated to the right people at the right time. Hopefully , things will change then,“ he wrote.
Though the PM did not elaborate on the instances, there is a sense of hurt in the government over the accusation that it tried to impose Hindi. Sources in the government have pointed out that the circular that sparked the allegation was a mere reiteration of an order issued by the UPA government in March, and was simply meant to stress that in Hindi speaking states, Hindi should be the preferred medium for official communication through social media.
Government leaders have also emphasized that the hike in rail fares marked an implementation of the decision taken by the UPA in February, and regretted what they call the inadequate appreciation of “economic mess“ they inherited from the UPA.
However, the blog was marked by an upbeat tone. “But when one is working with the sole aim of serving the nation determinately , these things do not matter. That is why I keep working and that is most satisfying“, Modi wrote, as he complained about the use of different standards to judge him. He continued: “The support and affection of the people has has been overwhelming and inspires us to work even harder.
Every decision we took has been guided solely by national interest“.
Indeed, Modi started by saying that he has been off to a good pace. “Sixty-seven years of previous governments is nothing compared to 1 month, but I do want to say that in the last month, our entire team has devoted every single moment for the welfare of the people. Every decision we took has been guided solely by national interest.“
He also dwelt upon the coincidence of the completion of one month of his government and the anniversary of Emergency: a defining experience for him.“26th of June is an important date for me. It marks the completion of one month of our journey to fulfil the aspirations of the people. This day is also another landmark day , when in 1975 I witnessed an important phase that taught me the significance of a vibrant democracy . 26th June was the day when the Emergency started, having been imposed an evening earlier,“ wrote Modi.

Constructive & Productive

Bangladesh has said it would not allow its territory to be used against India. The assurance, reiterated to Sushma Swaraj on her first foreign visit, came as the external affairs minister promised to put extra energy into bilateral ties.
After meetings with her counterpart, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, and other leaders, Swaraj also made it clear that while India would not agree to visa-free travel for Bangladeshis, India would extend multiple-entry visas for Bangladeshi citizens under 13 and over 65 years of age from the present one year to five years.
India is also willing to increase the frequency of the Maitree Express and the number of AC coaches.
Continuing with the Indian policy of keeping Bangladesh as a priority neighbour, Swaraj focused on connectivity in her first set of meetings, according to the MEA spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin. “It was a conscious decision to make this first stand-alone visit to Bangladesh to send a clear signal that India is keen to enhance our bilateral relationship.“
So India has proposed a bus service connecting Guwahati, Shillong and Dhaka.
Connectivity, he said, was the main theme of discussions between Swaraj and the Bangladeshi leadership. India has also decided to give additional 100 MW of power to Bangladesh from the gas-based power project at Palatana in Tripura.
Swaraj described the meetings as “constructive and productive“.

NaMu Airport update

City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) is optimistic about acquiring 671 hectares of land from 14 villages to develop the Rs.15,000-crore international airport project.
A government resolution (GR), outlining the new compensation model was issued last week. The positive response shown by the villagers following the new compensation plan has given a boost to the land transfer process. Cidco has received 127 consent letters, 27 of which were submitted on Thursday . It requires a total of 1,200 letters. A land acquisition officer has been appointed and a common facility centre has also been set up at Belapur to help villagers with procedures. Joint MD V Radha said Cidco will be assisting villagers with the paperwork. The development corporation has set July 23 as the deadline for submission of consent letters to get developed land at Pushpak Nagar under a lottery system. The first draw will held on August 15. Land development is also underway at Wadghar and Vahal for the rehabilitation process. Cidco officials said that the villagers can either accept its `best deal' or accept the deal under Central Land Acquisition Act.
Cidco MD Sanjay Bhatia said nearly all villages are keen about the land acquisition process. Koli village, though, is yet to give consent. “We will be able to convince them,“ Bhatia said. Villagers from Varsheovale on Thursday also agreed on a joint survey of their homes for the rehabilitation package. The new GR has incorporated the airport land compensation model for the first time. The Cidco land compensation model of 22.5% with 2 FSI also includes relief and rehabilitation package of houses three times the size, for project affected persons (PAPs) from the core aeronautical area.

Narayana Murthy to Partner Amazon

NR Narayana Murthy, who is stepping down as the executive chairman of Infosys, is giving finishing touches to his plans to make an entry into the e-commerce space with the global giant Amazon. NRN will route his investments through his firm Catamaran Ventures. When contacted Catamaran confirmed the development.
Arjun Ramegowda Narayanswamy who heads Catamaran Ventures said, “Catamaran is partnering with Amazon Asia to offer services that help offline sellers and SMBs in India to get online and to take advantage of the fast growing online customer base in the country .“ He also added, “NRN does not have a board role at any of our investments“.
Since FDI in e-commerce is not allowed in India, sources suggest that Amazon and Catamaran have consulted top legal firms and come up with a structure in which their venture does not fall under the ambit of FDI restrictions. Amazon and Catamaran are planning to form a joint venture for the back-end operations. This will be a holding company in which Catamaran will hold a 51% stake. Since this will be an Indian entity, its subsidiary will be called an Indian company too. That subsidiary will roll out the e-commerce business.
Amazon, which entered India last year operates as a third party marketplace operator, providing platform for others to sell, instead of selling directly . This is because of the FDI restrictions in the e-commerce sector. 

Food Security Law implementation deferred

The government has deferred the nationwide implementation of the food security law by three months, a day after it postponed a decision on raising gas prices by a quarter.
The food security law, which promises 5 kg of rice wheat and coarse cereals per month to people at prices of Rs.3, Rs.2 and Rs.1 per kg, was enacted by the UPA government, but so far only 11 states have implemented it. Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the deadline of July 4, was being extended to give more time for discussions with states that have not enforced the law yet. “After a meeting with the prime minister, agriculture and finance minister, we reached a consensus to extend this program which promises the right of food and living to the poor,“ he said.
The deadline for implementation of National Food Security Act would expire on July 4. So far only 11 states have partly or fully implemented the law. About 19 states and union territories are yet to implement the provisions of the Act. The interim budget had projected that the government's food subsidy bill would rise to Rs.115,000 crore in the current fiscal from Rs.92,000 crore in 2013-14.
The law aims to cover 75% of the rural and 50% of the urban population. “Different states have separate models of execution and identifying beneficiaries. There shouldn't be any confrontation between the states and centre. We are open for suggestions from all states,“ said Paswan.

Electronic Manufacturing Clusters

India will soon have eight new electronic manufacturing clusters as the new government gets going with its agenda of making India a hub for indigenous goods and reducing dependence on imports, telecom and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. “Eight clusters for electronic manufacturing have been approved,“ Prasad said at an interaction between the government and the American Chamber of Commerce in India, Wednesday.
India imports 90% of the electronic goods used by its citizens, which may well surpass the oil import bill of $400 billion soon. “I'm going to address this,“ Prasad added, underlining the criticality of local semiconductor wafer fabrication (FAB) manufacturing facilities, which will help in reducing the dependence on imports.
Inviting American companies to invest in fab manufacturing facilities in India and increasing employment opportunities here, Prasad said India is poised to become the global electronic manufacturing & IT product hub and it's a great opportunity for investors.
Further, the government is open to resolving any problems that foreign companies may encounter. “If you face any problems, please come to me,“ he said.
Prasad said the new government would provide a stable fiscal regime, good governance with integrity , clear policy initiatives and tax structures while exercising nondiscrimination and engagement with the industry . “We're willing to walk the extra mile.“
Prasad added that the Narendra Modi-led government will be known for creating broadband highways, as it plans to connect 50,000 panchayats by broadband or optic fibre by March, 2015, 100,000 by the year after that and another 100,000 by March, 2017. The project has special attention of the Prime Minister who also wants make e-governance available to all Indians countrywide.
“Soon, there will be an IT panchayat held in Bangalore,“ Prasad said while proposing a secondary focus on IT products alongside services.Touching upon the issue of lack of spectrum for telecom carriers in India, an industry where American telecom companies have looked at now and then, the minister said he was `working out' issues on spectrum trading, which could relieve stress on airwaves capacity. However, he did not share details of what was in store for telcos.
He added that the “days of lobbying“ were over and that decisions would be made only on merit, ensuring transparency and policy predictability for investors.


Somewhere in Maharashtra....

The Maharashtra government decided to extend job reservations to Marathas and Muslims, seeking to win over two important communities to claw back into the assembly contest after the rout in Lok Sabha elections. The assembly polls are to be held in October.
The state cabinet approved 16% quota for backward Marathas and 5% for Muslims in jobs and education.
However, the gambit -part of `quota politics' that Congress has resorted to in the recent past like the inclusion of Jats in the OBC list ahead of parliamentary polls -could face serious judicial challenge. The quota quantum in Maharashtra that stood at 52% earlier has shot up to 73%, way above the 50% ceiling fixed by the Supreme Court.
Also, reservation for Muslims, promulgated by the Centre during UPA-2 and the Andhra Pradesh government earlier, was shot down by the judiciary in the recent years after it refused to buy the argument that it was given on the basis of backwardness and not religion.
If the move is risky , it reflects the desperation in the ruling camp following the whitewash in the 2014 polls.
The NCP-Congress combo could win only six LS seats in Maharashtra, while Shiv Sena-BJP alliance walked away with the rest of the 48 seats.


Excise sops extended

The government extended excise duty cuts by six months in an effort to provide relief for the beleaguered automobile, consumer durables and capital goods sectors and revive demand in the economy , which is battling a slowdown.
The extension of duty relief up to December is likely to ensure that prices of cars, two-wheelers, mobile phones and other consumer durables are maintained at the current levels and may help trigger demand. The NDA government has vowed to revive growth and boost confidence after it swept to power on the promise of rescuing the economy .
The previous UPA government had decided to provide the relief for these sectors in the vote-on-account in February to spur demand and boost consumer confidence. The move had resulted in immediate price cuts.
The duty relief provided by the UPA would have lapsed on June 30 but the Narendra Modi government has moved swiftly to ensure that there is no uncertainty for consumers and manufacturers ahead of the July 10 Union Budget.
Excise duty on small cars, commercial vehicles, motorcycles and scooters had come down from 12% to 8%, while for larger SUVs, the duty was slashed by 6% to bring it down to 24%. Large cars, which used to attract 27% excise, had seen duty cut to 24%, while the duty on mid-sized cars had come down to 20% from 24% earlier.
Excise duty on capital goods and consumer durables will continue to attract a lower duty of 10% as against the pre-Budget rate of 12%.

Amma Marundhagam

After Amma canteens, Amma water and Amma salt, the ruling AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu is all set to launch “ Amma Marundhagam“ (Pharmacy) across the state on Thursday .
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, through video conferencing, will inaugurate 10 outlets in seven districts.
The scheme, which will include 100 such pharmacies across the state, promises to win goodwill for the CM by offering medicines at a subsidized rate. Sources in the co-operative department, which is in charge of the scheme, said that the stores would provide medicines at a subsidised rate.
“The pharmacies will have all the medicines one finds in a routine medical store. There will be a 10% discount on the MRP ,“ a senior official said.
According to officials, a detailed survey has been undertaken to identify areas for setting up the stores. “We've identified the localities where the demand is high and where there are few or no medical shops. We have also spoken to residents' associations before zeroing in on the localities, many of which will be on the city's periphery,“ the official added. Finance minister O Panneerselvam had announced the proposal in the state budget in February. The state government had announced Rs.20 crore would be used from the Price Stabilisation Fund for running the pharmacies.
Officials said 10 stores would be in Chennai. “The idea of opening medical shops is to ensure sale of medicine at a reasonable price to the public,“ another official said.

Uddhav asks for a clear mandate

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray indicated that he was not averse to becoming the chief minister provided his party got a clear mandate. Speaking at a function in Pune to launch his statewide campaign, Uddhav asked party workers to put in all efforts to win the state election.“You repeatedly say that I should become the chief minister. But do you promise to put in every possible effort? Individual ambitions do not matter. You should concentrate on winning the elections,“ he said.
“Shiv Sena supremo (Bal Thackeray) had sought power single-handedly in the state and at the Centre. He had said that he would solve the Kashmir problem in a day . Imagine what he would have done if people had given him a full majority?“ said Uddhav, asking Shiv Sainiks to fulfil the late Sena founder's dream.
Uddhav said he did not want those who had ditched the party to return to its fold.b Just a few days ago some people were targeting the Shiv Sena and ridiculing me. Now, the same people want to come back. I don't want people who make a beeline for posts and power,“ he added. The Sena president criticized NCP chief Sharad Pawar for saying that the state could build 26 lake cities. “Issues like drought, farmers' suicide and water scarcity need attention. But Pawar is only interested in lands and constructions,“ he said.
Uddhav asked party leaders to ensure that all voters register. “If we get the power, I promise to focus on improvement of rivers,“ he added.


Scooters make a comeback

Somewhere in Telangana....

Telangana got its first big-ticket investment since it became India's 29th State on June 2.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao laid the foundation stone for aerospace project being set up by the Tata Group and RUAG Aviation of Switzerland to manufacture fuselages and wings for the new generation Dornier 228 aircraft.
This is expected to later mature into a bigger facility for manufacturing the full Dornier aircraft being used by the Indian armed forces.
RUAG is relaunching the aircraft with new engine and fully digital cockpit. "This facility will be the backbone of the new generation aircraft," Martin Buhlmann, vice-president, RUAG, said.
This is Tata Advanced Systems', the Tata Group company which spearheads the company's interests in global aerospace, fourth project in this sector in Hyderabad.
It has a joint venture with helicopter maker Sikorsky here, which has so far delivered 70 Sikorsky s-92 copter cabins. It has another joint venture with Lockheed Martin.


Somewhere in Pune....

The standing committee of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has given green signal for the light rail transport (LRT) between Shivajinagar and Hinjewadi for a stretch of 21.60 kilometres, which will help in connecting industrial area of Hinjewadi with the city.
The project of LRT will be set up in collaboration of Pune Municipal Corporation, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). The project will be launched with the help of Japan International Cooperation. Earlier, the civic administration had given negative remarks on the proposal mentioning that it will be a costly project. However, after a recent Japan tour of some of the elected members, the standing committee on Tuesday gave a green signal to the project with certain conditions.
The length of the proposed LTR is 21.60 kilometre and out of this a 6.35 kilometre area of Shivajinagar to Aundh Octroi post falls under PMC limit. The railway will be partly elevated and partly along the ground. The route from Shivajinagar to E-square will be elevated and from University of Pune to PWD office in Aundh will be along the road. The project cost is estimated is Rs.5.50 thousand crore.


Delhi Metro: Mandi House-C Sec line opens tomorrow

The Mandi House-Central Secretariat line will be thrown open to commuters from Thursday — cutting down travel time on the violet and yellow lines and decongesting Rajiv Chowk station, besides providing a one-point transfer to commuters headed for Vaishali and Noida.
Three months behind schedule, the 3 km-long underground corridor will have one station in between — Janpath — and is expected to benefit some 70,000 commuters. Once operational, Mandi House will be the interchange point for three lines — Noida-Dwarka Sector 21, Central Secretariat-Badarpur and Jahangirpuri-Huda City Centre.
Urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu will flag off the first train from Mandi House at 9.30 am on Thursday.
Earlier, commuters had to negotiate a bustling Rajiv Chowk station to change trains. Mandi House as an interchanging station will take away 40% of the crowd from Rajiv Chowk, says DMRC, easing the load on the busiest station on the network. “The Central Secretariat-Mandi House section has received the mandatory safety clearance from the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety and the line is expected to be opened for commercial services for the public this week itself,” Delhi Metro Rail Corporation spokesperson Anuj Dayal said on Tuesday.
The clearance comes months after Delhi Metro completed work on the station. It is among the first lines under phase III to be thrown open to the public.
The distance between Central Secretariat station--which is connected with the Badarpur-Central Secretariat (Violet line) as well as the Jahangirpuri-HUDA City Centre (Yellow line) — and Rajiv Chowk is 4 km. Once Mandi House becomes the transfer point, the distance will be three kilometres, shaving off several minutes of travel time. Metro officials say commuting from places like Nehru Place, Lajpat Nagar, Saket, All India Institute of Medical Science or Gurgaon to central and east Delhi will come down quite substantially.
“That one-kilometre distance is most crucial as it will save on travelling time by almost 7-8 minutes,” said a Delhi Metro Railway Corporation official.

INS Kamotra

India’s first indigenously-built anti submarine warfare corvette INS Kamorta is ready to be commissioned into the Indian Navy next month. Built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE), Kolkata, it will be the first warship armed with an indigenous rocket launcher for anti submarine warfare, they said.
The sophisticated front line warship with stealth features will also be the first warship armed with the new trainable chaff launcher — Kavach.

Of Investments in States....

Under the leadership of then chief minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat emerged as the second most attractive state for the investors from 2004-05 to 2011-12. However, when it comes to implementation, the state has been ranked 20th with only 45.9% of the promised investment materializing. This is way below the national average of 57%.
According to the latest report by leading industry body Assocham, over 40% of the projects in Gujarat are yet to come out of the announcement stage. In addition, there is no information available on more than 7% projects, while 6.2% of the projects are stalled.
The information on the implementation status of investments in 20 states in India reveals that the rate of implementation of investments was the highest in Haryana (82.2%). The states of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Assam and Chhattisgarh are currently witnessing very high rate of implementation while states like Gujarat, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have recorded lower implementation rates.
On the other hand, the state accounted for highest share of investment (26-33%) in key product segments of non-metallic mineral products, textiles and food & beverages during the said period.
According to a report titled `Investments in Manufacturing Sector', Gujarat also acquired second highest share of about 25% and over 18% in investments attracted by transport equipment and chemicals industry respectively . Gujarat figures amid top five manufacturing investment centres in the entire product segment.
As of March 2013, the value of live investment projects in top 20 states was worth approx Rs.122 lakh crore. However, the distribution is highly skewed. Five of these 20 states -Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka, have clearly emerged as the most preferred investment destinations in that order. Their cumulative share is 51.3 % of the total live investments. Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab have got relatively lower share in total investments.

Somewhere in Gujarat....

Anandiben Patel, first woman chief minister of Gujarat, provided a shot in the arm to women empowerment when she declared that recruitment norms would be revised and relaxed for women to ensure 33% of jobs for them in the khaki force.
Gujarat will become the first state in India to have implemented such a provision, senior state police officials said. Currently , women constitute less than 7% of the state law enforcement agencies including police and state reserve police (SRP).
The announcement came after the CM presided over the passing out parade of 134 police officers including 96 armed police sub-inspectors (PSI) and 38 intelligence officers (IO) at Gujarat Police Academy (GPA), Karai. The officers included 25 women -15 PSIs and 10 IOs. The function was attended by top brass of state police and bureaucracy .“It is necessary to empower women for their uplift in the society. We have decided to provide 33% reserva tion to women in the police recruitments,“ Patel said while interacting with media.

S K Nanda, additional chief secretary (home), said that the provision for reservation was proposed some time back but male-centric recruitment rules like height, weight, capacity to high jump, running etc proved deterrent for women. “We aim to increase women presence in police force to 10% by the year end. Rules will be revised and relaxed for more women to be employed. Reaching up to 33% level will take some time,“ he said.

State director general of police (DGP) P C Thakur said the decision is historic and first in country . “In light of recent cases of crime against women and children, this step would ensure police officers are more approachable and sympathetic towards women victims,“ he said.

Eyeing Chinese Investments

Giving up its concerns over Chinese investors, the government is ready with a deal to attract investment from companies from across the border in “industrial parks“, which are expected to include special economic zones and manufacturing zones.
The proposed deal signals the Narendra Modi government's changing stance on economic diplomacy since the proposal has been in the pipeline for close to two years but is only making its way to the Union Cabinet now. Sources said the Cabinet is scheduled to discuss a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China on cooperation over industrial parks on Wednesday .
The move follows a proposal from China to invest in select zones, including some sector-specific projects.
While security clearances have in the past held up several projects involving Chinese investment, approvals will be required even with the MoU in place, officials said. “But it marks a big change as, for the first time, we are looking to cooperate on investments,“ said an official. Japan and South Korea are already in talks with the government to cooperate in investment in industrial enclaves and China will be the third country with which an arrangement is being finalized.
Commerce & industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that she did not look at China as a threat but instead viewed it as an opportunity. “Many things China wants to export to us can be produced here, whereby our employment will increase, production for our market will happen but with investments coming in. But, I am looking at commerce ministries to engage with China to make sure we are drawing more investments from them,“ the minister had said.
While several Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE have invested in India, the going has not been easy for them given the security concerns.
The proposed MoU is seen as the first step towards greater investment cooperation.
China has also proposed to fund 30% of India's infrastructure requirement, although government officials said a decision on the issue was yet to be taken since the details are missing.

DMIC snippets

Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) is seeking Rs.7,500 crore for three smart city projects, an ambitious experiment, which is expected to get a boost from the Narendra Modi government as it embarks on revamping infrastructure projects in the country.
The demand for funds in the Budget is expected to be discussed on Wednesday , when the DMIC Trust meets, amid concerns from the finance ministry about the slow implementation of the project and questions over some of the agreements signed by the company executing the massive project that entails setting up of seven greenfield smart cities between Delhi and Mumbai. The investment in the project is estimated at over $100 billion, with the Japanese government agencies providing cheap financial support, while the Centre and the states will chip in with equity and land.
Sources said the equity will be used for the special purpose vehicle in Dholera in Gujarat, where a new city is planned, and a similar project in Shendra, 17 km from Aurangabad, in Maharashtra. DMICDC had sought the Rs.7,500 crore funding when the interim Budget was presented but the finance ministry turned down the plea, arguing that it can't be raising funds from the market when the projects are not ready . “The government can't be borrowing at 9% and let someone sit idle with that cash,“ said a senior finance ministry official.
The company , however, countered it by saying that the Centre needs to chip in with equity since the states had already provided their share by way of land. “The projects are ready but they are getting delayed because the Centre is yet to provide its share of capital. This equity will be leveraged to raise debt and set up the projects,“ said an official, who did not wish to be identified. Officials also said that the finance ministry had been raising unnecessary concerns over projects that had been cleared by it earlier. In the 2014-15 interim Budget, the government had provided about Rs.650 crore for imple mentation of the project.

Mega infrastructure projects, such as the DMIC, are expected to get a push from the Modi administration, which has vowed to shore up the creaky infrastructure in the country and has promised to build 100 new cities. The government is expected to fast-track the DMIC and other industrial corridor projects as it aims to boost manufacturing and attract investments in the infrastructure sector. The Modi government is also expected to ensure that contracts are rolled out swiftly and will keep a close eye on project implementation.

Monsoon Tracker

The monsoon has weakened over the past few days after a brief spurt of activity last week and a revival can be expected only by the first week of July.The hiatus means monsoon is unlikely to reach Delhi by its normal onset date of June 28. The northern limit of the monsoon has remained static since last Thursday and passes through Veraval and Surat in Gujarat, Nashik (Maharashtra), Damoh (MP) and Sultanpur (UP).
Meteorological officials said attributed monsoon's weakening to lack of low pressure systems forming in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea -systems that push inwards into the mainland, bringing rain. “We see early indications of some formation in the Bay of Bengal. But it will take four-five days to develop. If it forms into a low-pressure system, it will start reviving the monsoon sometime next week. We can expect monsoon to enter fresh areas by first week of July ,“ said B P Yadav, head of the National Weather Forecasting Centre at IMD Delhi.
Meanwhile, Yadav said, monsoon rains are likely to be confined to the east and northeast India, and the western coast. There has been a dip in overall rain activity across in country since Monday , after a spurt in the previous four days that saw the monsoon deficit reduce to 36% from 45% on June 18. The deficit currently stands at 38%.
Earlier last week, the monsoon covered considerable ground in two days, riding on a cyclonic circulation that formed over Bay of Bengal. However, the circulation moved over land without gaining enough strength, leading to a halt in the monsoon's advance.
“The monsoon's progress is likely to pick up only around the first week of July,“ said D Sivananda Pai, the lead monsoon forecaster at IMD Pune.
While rains are expected to be below normal this year due to the likelihood of an El Nino occurrence, latest forecasts show the onset of the weather anomaly over the Pacific Ocean may be delayed enough for the monsoon to be over.
“While the Pacific continues to heat up in line with an El Nino event, the changes in wind patterns that lead to a weak monsoon in India have not yet taken place,“ Pai said.

Rolled back!

In a massive relief for lakhs of Mumbai's suburban railway commuters, the Modi government announced a partial rollback of the unprecedented rail fare hike. Besides not hiking second-class daily ticket fares up to 80 km, first-class daily tickets and first and second-class season tickets will now be increased by a flat 14.2%.
The unprecedented hike announced on June 20, ranging between 100% and 187%, had drawn a barrage of criticism from over 75 lakh Mumbaikars who commute by local trains. The new fares will be effective starting Saturday .
The rollback was announced by the Railway Board after a delegation of BJP and Shiv Sena MPs from Mumbai met railway minister Sadanand Gowda in the capital urging him to cancel the hike. With Maharashtra set to go to the polls in October, the Centre took note of their criticism that the hike was too steep.
The increase of 100%--in some cases, nearly 200%--had generated widespread anger among Mumbaikars and led to a huge rush to buy season tickets before the new fares kicked in. The Railways had decided to tweak the formula for computing the season ticket fare, saying the monthly fare would, from now on, be charged on the basis of 30 single journeys instead of the earlier 15-journeys formula. With the rollback, this revised formula stands discarded. However, the increase of 14.2% in passenger fares for long-distance travel and 6.5% in freight services remains unchanged and would be effective from Tuesday night. The Railways hoped to garner around Rs.9,200 crore from the fare hike. The rollback comes as a setback, officials said, as the major loss in the passenger segment is due to highly subsidized suburban fares.
A Railway official said a chance to bring in reforms had been lost, and populism had won again.
The Bombay high court on Tuesday refused to stay the hike in the local train fares, observing that it was a policy matter and interim relief was out of the question.
A bench of Justices Abhay Oka and A S Chandurkar was hearing a PIL filed by consumer group Mumbai Grahak Panchayat through its chairperson Shirish Deshpande to challenge the “exorbitant“ rail fare hike. “This is a policy decision. Where is the question of granting interim relief? Let us hear the matter on July 3, when it is fixed for regular hearing,“ it said. It will take up Ketan Tirodkar's PIL also that day.


Of India's Top 10 Universities....

Centre to hike import duty on Sugar

India will raise the import duty on sugar to 40 per cent from 15 percent and will consider other incentives for mill owners if they clear dues owed to farmers, the food minister said on Monday.
The government will to provide additional interest-free loan of Rs.4,400 crore to cash-starved sugar mills to make payments to cane farmers.
“We have reached a consensus to raise the import duty to 40 per cent and to consider other incentives provided mills clear Rs.110 billion ($1.84 billion) in dues to farmers,” Ram Vilas Paswan said after meeting the sugar industry officials.
Paswan also told reporters the subsidy of Rs.3,300 per tonne on raw sugar exports would be extended until September. India increased the subsidy for raw sugar earlier this month to boost output and exports.
The government has also decided to raise the mandatory blending of ethanol in gasoline to 10 per cent from 5 per cent.

Of 26 possible Lavasas in Maharashtra....

Maharashtra has 26 sites with ample water and land which could be developed on the lines of Lavasa lake city to attract tourists, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said.
Pawar was speaking as the chief guest at a function organized to celebrate 80 years of the Mahratta Chamber Of Commerce Industries & Agriculture (MCCIA).
“I spotted backwaters and hills (near Pune) while travelling in a helicopter and the idea for a lake city came to my mind. England has many such cities,“ Pawar said.
He added that a construction company had invested in the project but lost three to four years because of “futile opposition“. He said that there were no issues regarding land acquisition and no opposition from the farming community, but some people still created an issue out of it. “At least 26 sites in the state have ample water and vacant land which could be developed. But there is a need for a positive mindset. The media should not give publicity to those who create obstructions to projects,” Pawar said.
He said that the Enron power project was halted because of similar opposition.
Pawar added that there are sections in the state which “oppose every development project“ and create hurdles.
He added that there are infrastructure problems in Pune, which need immediate solutions. “The city needs an airport and the matter has been pending for years. Here, there is again the same issue.
Some people are opposing land acquisition and are not allowing the project to take off,“ Pawar said.

Air India set to be part of Star Alliance

Air India is all set to join the world’s largest airline grouping, Star Alliance, on July 11, bringing a host of benefits to desi flyers like earning-and-burning miles on any member carrier, apart from seamless connectivity across the globe and access to lounges at all airports. The CEOs of Star’s 26 member airlines met in London on Monday for an “endorsement vote” and decided to end AI’s over five year-long wait to join the group — making AI the first airline from India to join a global alliance.
A formal announcement is expected to be made in Delhi on Tuesday jointly by AI and Star. AI flyers can expect immense benefits from the move as Star Alliance is the largest network in the world with 26 member airlines having 22,000 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries.
Star is followed by OneWorld and SkyTeam. Kingfisher was to join OneWorld but the airline is now grounded. Air France-KLM combine-led SkyTeam is keen on having IndiGo as a member.
Star's move represents two things — improvement in AI’s operations in past two years and the desperate need for Star to have a member carrier from the country to counter the growing influence of Gulf carriers with Emirates regarded as India's de facto national carrier.
Three years back Air India's entry into the alliance had been put on hold by Star as other airlines were not confident about the Maharaja's eligibility to join the group. Star members include some of the world's finest airlines like Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa.

In a boost to its sagging fortunes, cash-strapped Air India can expect its revenue to rise by at least 5% once the airline joins Star Alliance on July 11. Aviation minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju confirmed that the airline's seven-year-long wait to join the world's largest alliance was finally over and that it will be in the fold next month.
“We are happy that AI has become part of the Star Alliance. This is one of the biggest alliances in the world. AI's revenues may increase by 4-5% by joining the alliance,“ Raju told reporters on Tuesday afternoon, a day after the alliance's chief executive board (CEB) unanimously approved AI's membership in London.
“The integration teams at Air India, Star Alliance and its member carriers will now complete the last necessary work in order to ensure that Air India can offer all Star Alliance customer benefits from July 11, 2014, onwards,“ a statement by the alliance said.