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India Considers Expanding Tax Refund Scheme

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Nov. 23 – The Indian government is deliberating whether to expand the current coverage of its tax refund scheme to include export industries that have been severely affected by the global slowdown.

This could help alleviate hard hit export manufacturers like gold jewelery, glass art ware and handicrafts and to help them maintain competitiveness.

A government official told The Economic Times that the government will also not lower the existing tax credit rates until the sectors show improvement. As part of its stimulus plans, the government has already lowered excise duties for products and decreased service tax by 2 percent.

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India to Push for Development of Solar Power Industry

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Nov. 20 – India is taking a more aggressive stance in developing its solar-power industry by offering more subsidies for the production of renewable energy.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is scheduled to release a solar-power policy soon with details that will allow more solar projects to receive government funding.

Ministry director, B. Bhargava, told The Wallstreet Journal that the new policy will hopefully spur solar panel manufacturers to increase production to help reduce cost.

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New Issue of India Briefing: Investing in India’s Public-Private Partnerships

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ib-200911Nov. 19 – The new issue of India Briefing Magazine is online and can be downloaded by subscribers for free. (To apply for a complimentary subscription, please click here).

In this issue of India Briefing we examine India’s public-private partnerships. The Indian economy demands massive investment in infrastructure to sustain the country’s growth. To accomplish this, the government has announced a series of measures to encourage private investment in India’s public sectors. We look at the different sectors open to investment, including roads, rail, airports, ports, telecommunications and power, and also review some of the investment vehicles and financing options available for public-private partnerships in India. We then run through the procedure for tendering a public-private partnership and how to incorporate in the country.

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India to Consider Importing Rice from Thailand,Vietnam

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Nov. 19 – India is considering importing rice from Thailand and Vietnam to supplement the low kharif crop despite currently having surplus grains.

This will be the first time in two decades that India will need to import rice to meet its own needs. The kharif rice crop is forecast to be low this year by as much as 18 percent or 69.45 million tons because of the poor monsoon.

“We have started the rice season, which began in October, with surplus stocks. Even for wheat, the government has surplus stocks. Since there is a projection that there would be some shortfall in the kharif crop, to make it up we may have to make some imports, but exactly what quantum and at what point of time we will decide later,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was quoted by The Times of India as saying.

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Pranav Mistry Shows Off ‘SixthSense’ Technology

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Nov. 18 – Pranav Mistry, India’s IT wunderkind, demonstrated his “SixthSense” technology at the TED India conference this year. In a presentation to a packed house (video after the break), Mistry showed off tools that allow the physical world to interact with the digital one, including a paper “laptop” and a virtual camera.

It’s a fascinating look into the near future, made even more exciting by Mistry’s assertion that he will open-source the software behind the SixthSense technology, making its possibilities available to everyone.

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Eleven Percent Tax Rate Suggested for Software and BPO Services

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Nov. 18 – Accounting consultancy firm, Deloitte has suggested in a white paper that overseas software and BPO services companies should be allowed to pay tax on a presumed rate of profit on inter-company transactions.

Deloitte advises an 11 to 13 percent rate over costs for both software and BPO services. If adopted, the introduction of such safe harbor rules would be expected to improve the foreign investment climate in the information technology and IT-enabled services sector such as BPOs by providing clarity on tax liability and simplicity in tax administration.

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Enam: India a US$2 Trillion Economy in Five Years

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Nov. 17 – According to an  Enam Securities report India’s GDP is “likely to grow at (an) average 12 percent in nominal terms. Hence, India will be a US$2-trillion economy by 2014-15.”

The research report called “India Strategy,” led by research head, Nandan Chakraborty, and economist Sachchidanand Shukla said that India’s growth will be led by the huge consumption demand in sectors like FMCG, power, auto (small car hub), IT and pharmaceuticals.

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India is Top Source of International Students to the United States

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Photo by mckaysavage/FlckerNov. 17 – India has maintained its position as the top source of international students to America for the eighth consecutive year, with a record 103,260 students enrolled in various U.S. universities for the year 2008-09.

According to the Open Doors report, released today by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 8 percent to an all-time high of 671,616 for the 2008-09 academic year.

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