News Archives

Tata Motors to Export the Nano to Asian Neighbors

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Jan. 28 – Tata Motors plans to export the world’s cheapest car—at a wallet-thanking US$3,000—to countries such as Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh this year as the small vehicle’s popularity begins to rebound in the domestic Indian market.

“We will go after these markets one after another,” said Tata Chief Executive Officer Carl-Peter Forster yesterday at an auto-industry event in Germany. “The Nano is a raw diamond that needs polishing.”

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Pretty Much as You Were in Cabinet Reshuffle

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Jan. 25 – Some changes in portfolios, but nobody was dropped in India’s latest Cabinet reshuffle. After much speculation about whether there would be drastic changes, what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seems to have implemented is a game of musical chairs.

While some had speculated that the prime minister would use the shake-up to return assurance in a government rocked by a series of scandals, the changes were seen as quite minor. The major impact has been on economic and infrastructure ministries like petroleum, roads, and rural and urban development, but ministers have swapped their places – so it’s the same old faces donning new attire. No minister was dropped according to the prime minister and more expansion would follow after the budget session.

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RBI Relaxes Lending Rules for Bank Loans to Microfinance Institutions

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Jan. 20 – The Reserve Bank of India temporarily relaxed lending rules for bank loans to microfinance institutions, allowing banks to continue offering loans to the ailing sector.

The RBI will, for a short period of time, permit banks to classify loans that might be delinquent as standard to introduce some liquidity into the industry.

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Delhi High Court Upholds ICC Decision Favoring American Company

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Jan. 19 – In a recent ruling, the Delhi High Court upheld the enforcement of a decision made by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, a body that arbitrates disputes between international firms.

The dispute was between the American firm Penn Racquet Sports and an Indian company, Mayor International Limited, and ICC’s decision awarding money to the American firm was enforceable in India under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act signed by India in 1996.

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Monopoly Concerns May Lead to FDI Restrictions into India’s Pharmaceutical Sector

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Jan. 14 – The Indian government may issue new polices to only allow 49 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country’s pharmaceutical market through the automatic avenue due to concerns that the increasing foreign market control may cause a price monopoly on drugs. Currently India allows 100 percent automatic FDI into the sector.

An official report circulated in August 2010 reveals a growing dominance of multinational corporations in India’s pharmaceutical sector. DG Shah, director general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) says MNCs have already expanded their market share to 25 percent from 15 percent five years ago.

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India’s Export Volume Reaches New High in December

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Jan. 10 – India may be able to reduce its trade deficit this year following an optimistic performance of the country’s exports in December.

India’s exports reported an annual increase of 36.4 percent last month, reaching a new 33-month high. The country exported US$22.5 billion worth of goods in December, while the monthly imports decreased by 11.1 percent to US$25.1 billion. The trade deficit reached the lowest in three years to US$2.6 billion.

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Despite Blockage, Oil Continues to Flow Freely Between Iran and India

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Jan. 5 – In a piece published on India Briefing last week, we discussed the suspension of Indian payments to Iran through the ACU (Asian Clearing Union). As a temporary fix, Iran has promised uninterrupted crude oil supply to India this month while India arranges its payments through a German bank based in Hamburg. A more permanent solution will be explored at a meeting in Tehran next week.

“There was no disruption in supplies and a payment mechanism for January crude imports is already in place,” Secretary of India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas S. Sundareshan told reporters at a press briefing.

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India Resumes Sugar Futures Trading

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Jan. 4 – The Indian government decided to lift the ban against sugar futures trading on December 27 as a result of a bumper cane crop during the year. The policy change comes at a time when prices of some commodities such as onions and other vegetables have surged in the country.

A Bloomberg report on December 28 pointed out that it might be time for the Indian government to realize that stopping futures trading on agricultural commodities may not be working effectively enough to contain local prices.

The Indian government started to forbid sugar futures trading in May 2009. However, during the eight months in the wake of the ban, sugar prices grew by 75 percent, reaching a record high in January 2010.

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