Jul. 31 – Japan has agreed to invest in US$1.6 billion worth of projects in India’s power, steel, construction and engineering special economic zones, reports the Business Standard.
The deals are set to be formalized soon and were part of India’s Assocham week-long trip to Japan to drum up interest for its special economic zones.
In addition to those projects, another US$1 billion worth of investments are in its advanced stages. Another deal worth US$1 billion was between a Japanese investor and one of India’s largest steel companies, JSW Steel.
Jul. 30 – India’s capital, New Delhi, is set to host the Doha Development Round from September 3 to 4 that will gather ministers from the G20 countries.
Since 2001, the trade-negotiation round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has aimed to increase and liberalize global trade and more importantly allow developing countries to export more by negotiating to lower trade barriers.
Regular global meetings have so far been hampered by unresolved issues between developing and rich countries when it came to the topic of agricultural and industrial products. India has been fiercely guarding issues that could affect the food and livelihood of its marginalized farmers but is hopeful that the September meeting will lead to a final deal since it was already close to formalizing one last year.
Jul. 29 – The British Council has announced that it would outsource 100 IT and finance jobs to New Delhi and other parts of India in an effort to streamline costs.
The British Council will cut its staff by 500 in the coming months to save £45 million of taxpayer’s money. The announcement has created a furor within the government and union groups.
The civil servant group, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), panned the decision saying it was against Brown’s principle of “British jobs for British people,” reports Indian business publication, Live Mint.
Jul. 28 – As expected, the Reserve Bank of India yesterday kept its base lending rate at 4.75 percent, the lowest in a decade.
A spokesman for the bank stated: “It is worth reiterating that the Reserve Bank will maintain an accommodative monetary stance until there are definite and robust signs of recovery.” The news of an extended bank policy was welcomed by the business community.
According to The Times of India, the banks lending policy would remain unchanged and focus on the following areas:
a) Bank rate retained at 6 percent
b) Repo rate unchanged at 4.75 percent
c) Reverse repo rate unchanged at 3.25 percent
Jul. 27 – India’s largest private sector lender, ICICI Bank, has announced that it will soon be allowed to request companies to deduct money from an employee’s salary to cover credit card debts.
The new terms and conditions of banking with ICICI are effective starting July 23 and and is expected to be adopted by other banks as well to make it easier for banks to seek out repayment.
An ICICI spokesman told The Times of India: “This clause is applicable only for customers who default on their credit card payments. Prior notice has already been sent out to all customers to make them aware of this clause.”
Jul. 24 – India’s audit regulator, the ICAC, has recommended new changes to audit procedures in India in the wake of the recent Satyam scandal.
These include the appointment of joint auditors for large businesses, and the rotation of auditing partners assigned to specific clients every five years.
The changes are recommended due to the current state of India’s accounting and audit professions which have until recently restricted the size of audit practices and led to a gap between the size of corporations subjected to audit and the resources of the firms authorized to audit them.
Jul. 21 – Short Eats – a roundup of small tasty bites of Indian news straight from the nation’s dailies.
Solar Eclipse in India
The longest eclipse of the 20th century will pass over parts of India and China. In India, it will occur during sunrise on July 22 and can be viewed from Surat in Gujarat and towards parts of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, then covering Gaya in Bihar with clearest view and culminate in Dibrugarh in Assam, till 10.30 am, according to the Express India. The longest period of the eclipse will happen at Surat and will last about 3 minutes and a few seconds.
Jul. 20 – Readers of the magazine, Travel + Leisure, has ranked the exotic Udaipur City in India as the world’s best city for travelers.
Udaipur is also called the City of Lakes and is located in the western Rajasthan state famous for its Rajput-era palaces; some of them now converted into luxury hotels.
This is the first time the city figured in the magazine’s annual survey. Last year, the survey was dominated by Bangkok City, Thailand.