April. 9 – Kashmir once called Paradise on Earth, is back to promoting itself as a tourist destination after a 20 year hiatus, when tourists flocked to it for its intricately latticed houseboats, lofty Himalayan mountains, green pastures, and fresh clean air.
The Northern Indian state is trying to attract wealthy tourists to play golf in its rolling hills in a bid to earn some revenue and change its image as a terrorist hideout. Certainly, the price is right — just US$20 for a round on the 18-hole course, US$10 for a golf cart rental and US$3 for a caddy
Excerpts from The New York Times say that the state is spending US$6.2 million to build a golf course in the winter capital, Jammu, to be completed later in the year, the fifth course in the region, and an international airport is scheduled to open in the summer.
April. 2 – Recently The Asian Development Bank (ADB), a major lender in Asia looked into the crystal ball, in a bid to predict India's economic future. What it found was that although growth might momentarily fall this year, and inflation is at a 13 month high of 6.68 percent, India's strong economic backbone would prevent the country from crippling over.
A report by Forbes noted that if India is able to keep food price inflation moderate, lower interest rates to sustain high levels of investment and contain the fiscal deficit, chances are we could be looking at an 8 percent growth in GPD, even in the face of a global recession. Asian markets are expected to expand by 7.6 percent in 2008 and 7.8 percent in 2009 while China is expected to grow by a solid 10 percent in 2008.
A report by the ADB says India's growth is expected to slow down to 8 percent in 2008-09, only to pick up momentum again at 8.5 percent in 2009. Previously, GDP stood at 8.7 percent in 2007-08 and 9.6 percent percent in 2006-07.
Mar. 31 – India's population might be rising, but food grain production is back to its pre green revoultionn level. The disparity in demand and supply is fueling a stark price rise driving a national and global food crisis.
“Yes, we have a problem,’’ admits Abhijit Sen, economist and Planning Commission member, “and it can be starkly put in the following way: roughly around 2004-05, our per capita foodgrain production was back to the 1970s level,” reported the Times of India on Monday.
The figures tell a stark story. In 1979, at the height of the Green Revolution euphoria, per capita availability of cereals and pulses had gone up to 476.5 grams per day. The corresponding figure in 2006 was 444.5 grams per day, according to provisional government statistics. In 2005, it was still lower at 422 grams. In the case of pulses, per capita net availability today is almost half of what it was five decades ago — 32.5 grams per day in 2006 compared with 60.7 grams per day in 1951.
Mar. 27 – Mergers and Acquisitions are dominating India’s phenomenal growth story. 2007 was the year when corporate India spent almost as much money acquiring global companies as international companies spent acquiring Indian ones. The Hindu Business Line reported that Domestically, 2007 saw another record year of deal activity, with total mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and private equity (PE) deals up 82 percent from Rs 865 billion (US$21 billion) in 2006 to Rs 1,576 billion (US$38 billion) in 2007. Comparatively, Indians bought up companies in Europe and the US, splashing out some Rs 1,367 billion (US$33 billion). The Teleom, finance, cement and building materials, oil and gas and metals sectors formed the bulk of India’s global M&A activity.
Major deals that were signed during the year are as follows:
Mar. 26 – After all we live in a flat world; and the U.S. sub-prime crisis, the plunging dollar, rising oil prices, bankrupt global financial institutions and inflation will take their toll on India too. India’s preparedness at such a time of crisis will impact the extent to which its India shining image gets tarnished.
In a freewheeling interview Chris Devonshire-Ellis, Senior Partner, Dezan Shira & Associates talks to India’s Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram. The cool, confident captain who led India to 9 percent growth explains mechanisms the India government has adopted to safeguard itself against such global downturns. The finance minister also tackles issues of India’s falling textile trade, foreign investment in energy and corruption. In separate conversations, Chris Devonshire-Ellis also talks to India’s State Secretary for Civil Aviation and Shri M Ramachandran, State secretary, Ministry of Urban Development.
Mar. 21: India's estimated 5.7 million Indian workers abroad sent home $27 billion in 2007 to make India the top receiver of migrant remittances while the US was the main remittance source, according to latest World Bank data, reported the Times of India. In contrast workers from China ($25.7 billion), Mexico ($25 billion), the Philippines ($17 billion), and France ($12.5 billion) made up the rest of top five, the bank’s new Migration and Remittances Factbook 2008 said. For 2007, recorded remittances flows worldwide are estimated at $318 billion, of which $240 billion went to developing countries.
The US was also the top immigration country in 2005, with 38.4 million immigrants, followed by the Russian Federation (12.1 million), and Germany (10.1 million). Among low-income countries, India had the highest immigration volume (5.7 million), followed by Pakistan (3.3 million).
Mar. 20 – The Senior Partner of Dezan Shira & Associates, Chris Devonshire-Ellis, who publishes China Briefing, India Briefing and the emerging Asia website 2point6billion.com, will meet next week with Kamal Nath, the Indian Minister of Commerce, and Mr. P. Chidambaram, the Minister of Finance, in New Delhi.
Mar. 19: Not everybody is hailing the rising rupee. Indian textile exporters are feeling the strain of falling profits. On Wednesday, The Hindustan Times reported Prime minister Manmohan Singh addressing concerns of the beleaguered textile industry.
Merchandise exports have come under some pressure due to the appreciation of the rupee and could fall just short of the target of $ 160 billion, although the growth rate was strong at 21.8 per cent during April-December 2007-08. India’s exports stood at $111 billion in April-December 2007.
The rupee has appreciated by 12 per cent in 2007 and is currently trading at less Rs 40 to a dollar leading to exports becoming costlier and less profitable.