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    Avoiding cultural catastrophes

    April. 14 – Why do Indians have so many Gods? Why do they nod their heads when they mean 'no' and shake their heads when they mean 'yes'? Is it impolite to take a bottle of wine to your hosts house for dinner? ~ These and several other questions plague the thousands of expatriates posted in India.

    Reading volumes of books on India, does not seem to prepare most foreigners who are posted to this vibrant, dynamic, pluralistic country of paradoxes. Nothing it seems can prepare one for the reality that is India.

    Profiting from this latent demand are a host of companies that seek to culturally orient expats to the do's and don'ts of India. Each family is given a presentation on orienting themselves to the Indian way of life so that they are culturally aware and do not make any faux pases during their stay. From reading Indian body language, manner of speaking, hierarchy, negotiating business deals, cherishing family bonds, to learning to train household help, expats need to learn it all.

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    Wal-Mart tip toes into India

    April. 8 – Launched amongst mass protests to protect India's mom & pop retail stores, Wal-Mart has shipped its first consignment of Procter & Gamble’s personal-care products to Bharti-Wal Mart, a joint venture for the cash-and-carry and logistics initiatives, the Economic Times reported on Tuesday.

    In a desperate bid to enter the US$350 billion retail market in India, the US$340 billion retail giant entered into a 50:50 joint venture with the Bharti group’s retail arm in 2006. While the joint venture will focus on B2B business, the Bharti group plans to launch small-format retail stores shortly. The officials said P&G India is helping Wal-Mart understand the nuances of doing business in India.

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    India to invest US$300 bn in oil

    April. 7 – Foreseeing an energy crisis in the near future, India is expected to spend US$300 billion on oil exploration and production over the next five to seven years M.S. Srinivasan, the Oil Ministry's top official told Bloomberg on Sunday.

    The exploration and production business will become a US$5.2 trillion industry in the next five to seven years, Srinivasan told reporters in Mumbai. India, Asia's third-biggest oil consumer, is competing with countries such as Nigeria to attract exploration by global producers as domestic output falls.

    The South Asian nation, the world's fastest-growing major economy after China, depends on imports for 70 percent of its oil needs.

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    Shopping in international markets

    April. 3 – After Ratan Tata’s ambitious buy-out of Ford’s Jaguar and Land Rover for US$2.3 billion last week, its time for another ambitious Indian entrepreneur to take center stage. Venugopal Dhoot, Videocon’s 54 year old Chairman who bought French owned Thomson’s picture tube business for US$291 million has emerged as the front runner in bidding for ailing Motorola’s handset unit.

    Videocon, an Indian homegrown brand, manufactures appliances and electronics and also has interests in real estate, oil, and power. While they haven’t revealed how much they bid, the company did confirm to Indian media that they had contacted Motorola for the buy-out. "We learnt from a reliable source that they will be selling it and when they do we are sending an expression of interest," Venugopal Dhoot told Reuters. "Motorola's handset business dovetails well with my telecom plans," he says.

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    Revving up India’s auto Industry

    Apr. 1 – Two of India's heavy weight auto makers seperately announced on Monday that they would be pumping in Rs 75 billion (US$1.9 billion) into India's already booming auto sector.

    While Ratan Tata controlled Tata Motors pledged to invest Rs 60 billion (US$1.5 billion) into ramping up their existing manufactuing unit and building a vehicle testing facility over 4-5 years at Chakan, near Mumbai, Mahindra & Mahindra promised the Maharashtra government they would invest Rs 15 billion (US$375 million) in addition to to the Rs 25 billion (US$625 million) that they have already earmarked to make commercial vehicles at a greenfield site at Chakan. The total sum of Rs. 40 billion (US$1 billion) will be utilized towards the development and production of all vehicles slated to be rolled out from the proposed Greenfield.

    The investment by Tata Motors is the single largest investment by the automobile sector in the state.

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    India’s myriad faces

    Mar. 28 – Besides its booming economy, skyscrapers streaching their arms higher, bustling cities and zooming stock market, India has a lot of culture to offer the world.

    With Vande Mataram, India's national song as the background score, this video portrays modern day icons in India – monuments, beaches, sports persons, animals, film stars and food, giving an interesting and fascinating glimpse into the heart of this 21st century nation.

    To watch the video click on the picture –

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    Tata’s buy Jaguar, Land Rover for US$2.3 billion

    Mar. 26 – Making auto history yet again, Ratan Tata inked a multi-billion-dollar deal with ailing U.S. automaker Ford to buy luxury British icons Jaguar and Land Rover. Signed and seal on Tuesday the deal will be officially delivered to the press on Wednesday. Both Jaguar and Land Rover are expected to be sold to Tata Motors for US$2.3 billion.

    Tata Motors is India's top vehicles maker, controlling more than half of the country's truck market and nearly 20 percent of its passenger car market, and is keen to expand beyond Asia. With this latest acquisition Tata motors is positioned to cater to Indians across economic strata’s, placing himself in the unusual position of making two of the world's most prestigious brands along with its least costly cars (Nano).

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    India to be 2nd largest wireless network worldwide by next month.n

    Mar. 25 – Come April and India will surpass the United States to become the second largest subscriber base in mobile telephony. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday announced that on an average, India with 250 million subscribers adds eight-nine million subscribers per month, while the United States which has 256 million subscribers adds two-three million subscribers per month, at this rate, India will for the first time surpass the United States by the begining of April.

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