Economy & Trade
By Bradley Dunseith
Bitcoin trading in India peaked to over US$3.5 million this September, following a steady rise in domestic usage. While a monthly trading volume of US$3.5 million may seem insignificant in juxtaposition to global trends – the U.S. bitcoin trading volume for the same month exceeded US$36 million – the figure demonstrates India’s growing interest in cryptocurrency.
India’s financial institutions are digitizing at a time when nearly 40 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion population own smartphones. Indians, furthermore, are becoming skeptical of keeping the entirety of their savings in banks – a sentiment exacerbated by the recent demonetization of 86 percent of the country’s paper currency.
These trends all make India ripe for a spur in cryptocurrency usage, and trading. Looming government regulations, however, may turn this boom into bust.
By Ramya Bodupalli
Over the past two years, Prime Minister Modi’s government has introduced a slew of measures to prevent money laundering, counterfeiting, hoarding, and tax evasion – all popular modes of operating in the black economy. Ending these practices was, at least partly, responsible for two of the government’s flagship initiatives – GST and demonetization.
Relatedly, making the Aadhaar biometric identification number mandatory for banking transactions and filing returns, also aims to bring transparency in the Indian economy.
As part of this crusade, the government is now actively targeting shell companies.
By Vasundhara Rastogi
It is festival season again in India.
Brick and mortar retailers and e-commerce platforms are gearing up with additional stock, hiring more employees, and launching attractive deals and offers.
Last week, the e-commerce giant Amazon and home-grown rival Flipkart rolled out their first round of pre-festival sales – the Great Indian Festival and the Big Billion Day, respectively – offering high discounts and deals across key consumer durable categories such as smartphones, home appliances, electronics, and fashion. In five days, the two e-commerce companies generated US$1.5 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) of sales, showing a 40 percent year-on-year growth in comparison to last year’s US$1.05 billion.
The numbers demonstrate the growing significance of festivals in India’s consumer market.
In this article, we provide an overview of some of India’s main festivals, and discuss how businesses can use the festive period to enhance their sales.
By Melissa Cyrill
India and Japan marked their 12th annual bilateral summit last week. A two-day blitz of investment pledges and the much hyped Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, it showcased a relationship that is fast maturing into a strategic economic partnership.
The timing is also all but expected.
Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have promised resurgent economies to their voters.
Further, both countries are increasingly uneasy over China’s naked ambitions, despite having flourishing trade and business ties with the mainland.
These common concerns have manifestly transformed current Indo-Japanese bilateral engagement.
Japanese aid and investments into India are not just filling critical infrastructure gaps in the country, but are also directly benefit Modi’s economic reforms programs: Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, as well as Startup India.
By Yogesh Dubey
Editor’s Note: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a brief official visit to Myanmar this week. This article was originally published in The Diplomatist Magazine, July 2017, and has been republished with the permission of L.B. Associates (Pvt.) Ltd., a contract publishing house.
Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 km (994 mi) with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Four northeastern states: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram share an international boundary with Myanmar.
Both India and Myanmar share a heritage of religious, linguistic, and ethnic ties. Myanmar has a substantial population of Indian origin (estimated to be around 1.5 to 2 million). Further, Myanmar is a gateway to Southeast Asia and East Asia – regions with which India is seeking greater economic integration through its ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ policy. In fact, Myanmar is the only Southeast Asian country India shares a land boundary with.
By Melissa Cyrill
The ninth annual summit of the BRICS countries – referring to the institutional coalition of major emerging powers Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – took place in Xiamen this Sunday through Tuesday.
Coming on the heels of a prolonged military stand-off between India and China over border tensions, the summit presented the best opportunity to showcase business as usual.
The Eurasian Economic Union and India will sign a deal this Saturday, paving the way for negotiations on a future free trade zone agreement, the Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Board Tigran Sarkisyan has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Sarkisyan stated, “We announce the start of a negotiation process with an eye on signing a free trade zone pact. Two ministers – the trade ministers of Russia and India – will sign a document on the issue.”
India is one of 112 countries to have ratified the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which took force on February 22 this year.
Intended to overcome the global slowdown in trade, the TFA introduces new best practices for member-states to ensure the easier movement of goods across international borders.
Nations who have ratified the agreement will be expected to implement changes to their customs infrastructure within two to three years. However, the basic set of provisions have to be implemented by the least-developed countries (LDC) within one year.