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India’s economy grows 6.3% in July-Sept quarter, up from 5.7% in Q1

NEW DELHI, Nov 30: Breaking a five quarters slump, a rise in the manufacturing sector’s output pushed India’s growth rate higher to 6.3 per cent during the second quarter of 2017-18, official data showed on Thursday.

On a sequential basis, India’s GDP growth for Q2 of the current fiscal went up to 6.3 per cent, from 5.7 per cent reported during the first quarter of 2017-18.

According to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the GDP for Q2 stood at Rs 31.66 lakh crore, or a growth of 6.3 per cent.

India’s GDP had grown at 7.2 per cent in the corresponding quarter last year.

On gross value added (GVA) basis, which includes taxes but excludes subsidies, India had registered a growth of 6.1 per cent during the quarter in consideration over the corresponding quarter last year, the CSO said. The GVA during the first quarter ending June came in at a lower 5.6 per cent.

“The economic activities which registered growth of over 6 per cent in Q2 of 2017-18 over Q2 of 2016-17 are ‘manufacturing’, ‘electricity, gas, water supply & other utility services’ and ‘trade, hotels, transport & communication and services related to broadcasting’,” the document on the estimates of GDP for the Q2 of 2017-18 said.

“The growth in the ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’, ‘mining and quarrying’, ‘construction’, ‘financial, insurance, real estate and professional services’ and ‘public administration, defence and other services’ is estimated to be 1.7 per cent, 5.5 per cent, 2.6 per cent, 5.7 per cent and 6 per cent respectively, during this period,” the data said.

Briefing reporters following the release of the data, Chief Statistician T.C.A. Anant said the reversal of the declining growth trend earlier is an encouraging signal.

“The latest GDP decline started in the fourth quarter of 2015-16. So the Q2 GDP coming in at 6.3 per cent, as compared to 7.2 per cent last year, is quite encouraging at this point,” Anant said.

He said the reversal of the previous declining trend was mainly on account of a jump in manufacturing activity during the second quarter, with GVA growing at 7 per cent, as compared to the measly growth of 1.2 per cent in the previous quarter.

Agriculture GDP during the quarter in question at 1.7 per cent registered lower growth.

“Agriculture in the quarter was held up by the non-crop segments, because crop production has done just a little bit poorly,” Anant said.

“Last year was very good because of the monsoons, although this year crop production is better than the five-year average,” he added.

The Chief Statistician also said the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July had introduced a number of uncertainties in the GVA calculations for the second quarter, and the revised estimates could show up higher indirect tax collections once the final GST figures came in.

“GST has brought in a number of uncertainties because of tax for the period not being paid on time. “In fact, the government has extended the deadlines for filing GST returns, so the tax data for the relevant period is still coming in,” he said.

“We don’t expect the tax issue to continue for long and hope it will be cleared once the final GST figures are made available,” he added.

Anant also said the construction sector continues to grow slowly as evident from the relevant rates for the steel and cement sectors.

Commenting on the GDP numbers Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters here that they showed that the impact of the two major structural reforms - demonetisation and GST - “are behind us”.

“The most significant aspect of the quarter’s reversal in GDP decline is that this has been impacted by growth in manufacturing,” Jaitley said.

“Also the figure for fixed capital formation means that actually investments are moving up,” he added.

Ivanka Trump: Reducing gender gap in labour force by half can give $150-bn boost to Indian GDP

HYDERABAD, Nov 28: Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, kicked off a global business summit in Hyderabad on Tuesday by calling for a level playing field for women entrepreneurs, saying it would not only help families but also countries improve their economy.

The 36-year-old Trump, who was accorded a warm welcome in the tech hub of Hyderabad, also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for building “India as a thriving economy – a beacon of democracy – and a symbol of hope to the world”.

“What you are achieving is truly extraordinary... From your childhood selling tea to your election as India’s Prime Minister, you’ve proven that transformational change is possible,” Trump said at the inaugural session of the three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).

She congratulated the people of India on 70 years of Independence. “Through your own enterprise, entrepreneurship, and hard work, the people of India have lifted more than 130 million citizens out of poverty – a remarkable improvement, and one I know will continue to grow under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi,” she said.

Modi used the opportunity to invite investors to India. “To my entrepreneur friends from across the globe, I would like to say: Come, Make in India, Invest in India, for India, and for the world,” the Prime Minister said in his inaugural address.

If India were to close the labour-force gender gap by half, its GDP could grow by over $150 billion in the next three years, said Trump, who is also an adviser to the US president.

India is seeing a drop in women participation in the workforce. Only 27% of working age women were employed in 2015-2016, a World Bank report has said.

“When it comes to equitable laws, while many developed and developing countries have made tremendous strides, there is still much work to be done,” Trump said.

The theme of the conference Women First, Prosperity For All was appropriate as it was the key to future of any country, Trump, wearing a green floral dress, said.

There was a gender entrepreneurship gap world-wide and closing the gap would help grow the GDP by two per cent, she said.

“Women still face steep obstacles to starting, owning and growing their businesses. We must ensure women entrepreneurs have access to capital, access to networks and mentors,” Trump, who is fashion designer, said to loud cheers.

In her 15-minutes speech she mentioned three women, including Rajlakshmi Borthakur, an Assamese entrepreneur based in Bengaluru. “These women represent the vision, ambition and grit of every entrepreneur,” she said about the entrepreneurs who, too, were at the summit.

Borthakur is the founder and CEO of TerraBlue XT, a telemedicine platform for people fighting chronic disorders.

Trump also lauded Modi for his belief that “progress of humanity is incomplete without the empowerment of women”.

India always believed that empowerment of women was vital to development and they had made significant contributions in various walks of life, Modi said.

Trump is leading the US contingent at the summit, a brainchild of former American president Barack Obama. This is the first time that India is hosting the summit.

More than half of the 1,200 participants are women and all-female delegations are representing countries such as Afghanistan, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Complete Text Of Ivanka Trump's Hyderabad Speech

HYDERABAD: Ivanka Trump, advisor to the US President Donald Trump, today addresses the Global Entrepreneurship Summit here. Here is the full text of Ivanka Trump's speech in Hyderabad:

Thank you, Chief Minister Rao, for that kind introduction.

On behalf of the United States, and the 150 other countries represented in this room, thank you for hosting The Global Entrepreneurship Summit here in Hyderabad - a city that is quickly emerging as the innovation hub of India.

And thank you, Prime Minister Modi, for joining us here today - and for all that you are doing to build India as a thriving economy - a beacon of democracy - and a symbol of hope to the world.

What you are achieving is truly extraordinary.

From your childhood selling tea to your election as India's Prime Minister, you've proven that transformational change is possible. And now you are bringing that promise to hundreds of millions of people across your country. Thank you.

To the people of India, I want to congratulate you as you celebrate the 70th anniversary of your Independence.

You are celebrating it as the world's largest democracy, and one of the fastest growing economies on earth.

Through your own enterprise, entrepreneurship, and hard work, the people of India have lifted more than 130 million citizens out of poverty - a remarkable improvement, and one I know will continue to grow under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi.

All of you are helping India's middle class reach its goal of nearly 500 million people by 2030. You have opened new universities across the Country. Your doctors and scientists are discovering medical cures and life-saving technologies. Your engineers and architects have built modern wonders that grace your skies. And Indian spacecraft have traveled to the Moon and to Mars.

The people of India inspire us all.

This is the first time India has hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. It is a symbol of the strengthened friendship between our two peoples, and the growing economic and security partnership between our two nations. As President Trump said earlier this year: India has a true friend in the White House.

I would like to thank the State Department for co-hosting this incredible gathering. I also want to thank Governor Narasimhan and all elected Indian officials who are here tonight for welcoming us to your beautiful country.

It's wonderful to be in this ancient city brimming with transformative technology - now, your tech centers may even outshine your world-famous Biryani.

CEOs like Microsoft's Satya Nadella went to school right here in Hyderabad. Just a few kilometers away, T-hub's brand new facility is set to open next year - and will become the largest incubator in Asia.

In this "City of Pearls" the greatest treasure is YOU - the dreamers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders who never give up - never abandon your aspirations - and always strive for a better tomorrow.

Today, we come together to celebrate what is happening here in India, what is happening in the United States - and all over the world: entrepreneurs are revolutionizing our economies, and improving our societies.

You are rewriting the rules.

You have the inspiration and drive to serve our communities through the projects you start and the businesses you build.

You have the grit - the perseverance - and the WILL to succeed.

Each of you started with an idea. You've worked long days and nights to code the next robot, create the next app, find the next cure, and discover the next breakthrough to improve millions of lives.

Some may have tried to convince you that the risk is too great - and the reward too small.

But you are here today because you are not afraid to fail. You want to OWN your future.

So before I go further, I want to congratulate you on all you have already accomplished.

And I especially want to congratulate the women entrepreneurs here today.

This year's Summit is focused on a theme that is key to our future: WOMEN FIRST, PROSPERITY FOR ALL. I am proud that for the first time ever, women make up the majority of the 1500 entrepreneurs selected to attend.

Only when women are empowered to thrive; will our families, our economies, and our societies reach their fullest potential.

As a former entrepreneur, employer, and executive in a male-dominated industry, I have seen firsthand that all too often, women must do more than their male counterparts to prove themselves at work, while also disproportionately caring for their families at home.

After my father's election, I saw an opportunity to leave my businesses for the privilege of serving our country and empowering all Americans - including women - to succeed.

Our administration is advancing policies that enable women to pursue their careers and care for their families, policies that improve workforce development and skills training, and policies that lift government barriers and fuel entrepreneurship so that Americans can turn their dreams into their incredible legacies.

In the last decade, women have made remarkable strides in starting new businesses.

Globally, between 2014 and 2016, entrepreneurship activity among women increased by 10 percent.

In the United States, within the last decade, the number of women-owned firms has grown by 45 percent. Even more promising, minority women have started nearly 8 in 10 new women-owned businesses.

Today, more than 11 million women in the United States own businesses. They employ nearly 9 million workers, and generate over $1 trillion dollars in revenue.

Many women become entrepreneurs and job creators out of necessity - some weren't given the flexibility they needed at work to care for their families. Others lacked professional sponsors, or they weren't given a fair shot at a promotion.

Instead, women, just like many of those here today, are charting their own courses and achieving incredible feats.

Fueling the growth of women-led businesses isn't simply good for our society - it's good for our economy. One study estimates that closing the gender entrepreneurship gap world-wide could grow our global GDP by as much as 2 percent.

The women in this room can help lead the way to closing this gap and ushering in a new age of greater prosperity.

Yet, despite the soaring rate of female entrepreneurs, women still face steep obstacles to starting, owning, and growing their businesses.

We must ensure women entrepreneurs have access to capital, access to networks and mentors, and access to equitable laws.

In developing countries, 70 percent of women-owned small and medium-sized businesses are denied access to capital. The result has been a nearly $300 billion dollar annual credit deficit for women entrepreneurs in the developing world.

In the United States, a Harvard Business Review report found that investors ask men questions about their potential for gains whereas they ask women questions about their potential for loss. This could in part explain why women entrepreneurs received less than 3 percent of venture capital funding in 2016.

We are working to reverse this trend. The U.S. Small Business Administration, for example, increased its lending to women by over $500 million dollars this year alone.

When it comes to networks and mentorship, roughly half of women in the United States say they have difficulty finding a mentor.

Yet, mentorship is critical to success. Entrepreneurs need professional guidance to help them start and grow their businesses.

In the United States, we are fostering mentorship through programs such as SCORE - a nationwide initiative where successful men and women coach those who want to become their own CEOs.

And when it comes to equitable laws, while many developed and developing countries have made tremendous strides, there is still much work to be done.

In some countries, women are not allowed to own property, travel freely, or work without the consent of their husbands. In even more countries, the cultural and family pressure is so great that women do not feel the freedom to work outside the home.

Our Administration is striving to promote greater opportunity for women around the world, both through our domestic reforms and our international initiatives.

This summer, at the G20 conference, the United States was a founding member of a bold, new initiative with the World Bank - the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or WeFi. This facility provides access to capital, networks, and mentorship for women in developing countries.

WeFi is the first facility to support women entrepreneurs at this scale, and we anticipate it will be able to leverage in excess of $1 billion dollars in public and private financing. This facility also seeks to address the legal and regulatory barriers that limit opportunities for women entrepreneurs.

In the last decade, USAID has promoted women entrepreneurship through a number of programs, including providing micro-finance loans to women in Afghanistan, and bringing Internet access to women in Nigeria and Kenya.

USAID Administrator Mark Green is with us here today. I want to thank him and the entire U.S. delegation for their tireless work to improve the lives of millions, both domestically and abroad.

Further, as you can all attest, this Summit is yet another powerful example of a U.S. initiative that connects entrepreneurs around the world with investors who believe in your mission and will champion your success.

I want to thank the U.S. business leaders who have traveled all the way to Hyderabad for this inspiring event. I also want to congratulate the more than 350 American entrepreneurs who were selected to be here with us to represent America's brightest talent.

At home, our administration is committed to empowering women entrepreneurs through domestic reforms.

In the past 11 months, we have expanded apprenticeship programs and prioritized STEM education to ensure that women - and men - have more opportunities to master the skills that drive progress in the 21st century.

We have dramatically reduced job-crushing regulations, which disproportionately hurt entrepreneurs and small business owners.

And we are laser focused on passing long over-due tax cuts. This will provide much needed relief to working families and businesses of all sizes.

Also this year, for the first time ever, the President's Budget included a proposal to establish a nationwide program for paid family leave.

We are committed to supporting women, and men, who work, inside and outside of the home.

When women work, it creates a unique multiplier effect. Women are more likely than men to hire other women, and to give them access to capital, mentorship and networks. Women are also more likely to reinvest their income back in their families and communities.

Here in India, I want to applaud Prime Minister Modi for his firm belief that "The progress of humanity is incomplete without the empowerment of women."

Just consider, if India closes the labor-force gender gap by half, your economy could grow by over $150 billion dollars in the next three years.

As we kick off this three-day Summit, I encourage everyone here today to come together, to learn from each other, and to find new ways to lift the barriers in our societies so that women are free to innovate, empowered to succeed, and able to leave our children a brighter future. ---

As we strive for change, we must never forget that the best hope for our future is far greater than any single government policy - the source of our success is found in the spirit, the drive, and the talent of our people.

Here with us today from San Francisco is Dara Dotz. Dara spent over a decade working in underserved communities around the world. She witnessed firsthand that many times people need very simple items - a bucket for carrying water, a splint to treat an injury, or a part to fix a generator. Dara co-founded Field Ready to provide life-saving supplies through 3-D printing. Today, Dara's company responds to disasters all over the world and delivers humanitarian aid with cutting-edge technology.

Through her innovative solutions, Dara is saving lives and bringing hope to thousands of communities. Thank you, Dara. Please stand.
Rajlakshmi Borthakur joins us from Bangalore, India.

When her son began having seizures at a young age, she decided to create her own solution to better monitor his health. She invented a smart glove that predicts, manages, and detects different diseases and disorders using Artificial Intelligence.

Now her company, Terra Blue, aims to make specialty healthcare accessible in even the most remote places in India.

Rajlakshmi - your courage and determination is truly remarkable. Please stand.

Also here today with us is Reyhan Camalova from Azerbaijan. Reyhan is 15 years old. But that hasn't stopped her from founding a company that harvests energy from rainwater.

Reyhan has a powerful motto - "Light up one house at a time." Reyhan, each home you light up is illuminating the world. We are all inspired by your brilliance and hard work. Thank you. Please stand.

These women represent the vision, ambition, and grit of every entrepreneur here today.

You are saving lives, creating jobs, and bringing hope to our communities. You are transforming our societies one business, and one customer, at a time.

You prove to the world that we have the power to rise above the challenges of our day - to pioneer new pathways forward - and to leave our mark on this moment in history.

Just think how much better our world will be if ALL OF US, men and WOMEN, are empowered to dream big, aim high, and work together towards a more just and prosperous future. A future where all mothers and fathers can work hard and build a better life for their families - where all boys and girls can go to school, discover their talents, and pursue their ambitions - and where the people of all nations can live and work with one another in dignity and peace.

This is the future we can and will build together.

And this is the promise of the visionaries gathered here today.

Thank you.

Nikki Haley lauds Ivanka Trump for promoting female entrepreneurs at GES

WASHINGTON, Nov 29: US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley today applauded Ivanka Trump, US President Donald Trump’s daughter and his advisor, for promoting female entrepreneurs during her ongoing visit to India.

Ivanka is currently in India leading a high-profile US delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad being co-hosted by the two countries. This is her first visit to India in this capacity also that of a member of the First Family.

“Thrilled to see Ivanka Trump in India promoting female entrepreneurs. At home, that means improving workforce development and cutting government red tape,” Haley said in a tweet.

“Globally it means creating an environment where women- across the world-have access to the capital & mentorship they need to succeed,” said Haley, who is the highest ranking Indian-American in the Trump administration.

In recent weeks, Haley said that she was planning to visit India this year but could not go because of her other pressing engagement, but hopes to travel soon.

US President Donald Trump also praised his daughter for promoting women entrepreneurs at the ongoing summit.

“Great work Ivanka,” Trump said in a late-night tweet as he retweeted State Department which said that Ivanka’s comments on US efforts to fuel entrepreneurship so that Americans can turn their dreams into incredible legacies.

Speaking at the 8th annual GE Summit, Ivanka said, reducing gender gap in the labour force by half can help boost Indian economy by over USD 150 billion in the next three years and reiterated her father’s words that “India has a true friend in the White House”.

“We are certainly proud of what she’s been able to accomplish, and I can think of no better representative for the US Government to talk about women’s entrepreneurship than her,” she told reporters at a news conference.

The GES is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and supporters from around the world, she said.

“And we are excited about the focus that this year’s GES puts on the US-India bilateral relationship,” Nauert said.

GES 2017 participants will empower innovators and entrepreneurs, particularly women, to utilize new skills and resources to achieve success through plenaries, workshops, and a pitch competition, she asserted.

Noting that it was the first time the GES has taken place in South Asia, she said, “ It reflects the region’s strong entrepreneurship achievements and future as well as the rapid growth of the US-India strategic partnership.”

Ivanka Trump discusses women’s empowerment with Sushma Swaraj ahead of GES

HYDERABAD, Nov 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday met Ivanka Trump who is the leading the US delegation at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad as government laid out a red carpet welcome to the adviser of the US President.

Trump, who arrived in Hyderabad early in the morning, confined to her suite in Hotel Trident till afternoon, before heading to the International Convention Centre (HICC), the venue for the three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).

Just ahead of the inaugural ceremony of the summit, Swaraj met with Trump. The meeting was attended by US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster and other officials.

“….They had a productive discussion on women entrepreneurship and empowerment”, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet. Swaraj, who was not a speaker at the summit, went to Hyderabad to meet Trump.

Later, Prime Minister Modi met Ivanka. The GES is an event conceived by former US President Barack Obama. But this year’s edition is the first under the Trump administration.

The theme of the conference this year is “Women First, Prosperity for All”.

More than half the participants at the summit are women, and all-female delegations are representing countries such as Afghanistan, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“Entrepreneurship, creating jobs and empowerment of women are common themes of both US and India. Two sides are working together on this”, said an Indian official. There was no official read out about the meeting till the filing of the copy.

After addressing the inaugural session of the GES, Ivanka remained in the HICC to take part in a panel session on opening up opportunities for women entrepreneurs in their countries and communities.

It was attended by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, John Chambers, Chairman Emeritus, Cisco, Sibongile Sambo, Managing Director, SRS Aviation and SRS Petroleum and Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB).

Manmohan Singh says economy not out of the woods yet

NEW DELHI, Nov 18: The NDA government should not be “lured into false belief” that the economy is out of the wood, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday, reacting to the Moody’s upgradation of India’s sovereign credit rating.

The US-based agency upped India’s rating to Baa2 from Baa3 and changed its rating outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘positive’, saying the reforms will help stabilise rising levels of debt.

“I am glad that Moody’s has done what they have done but we must not be, I think, lured into false belief that we are out of the woods,” he said, reacting to a query on Moody’s rating, here.

The economy needed strong purposeful guidance to move forward at the rate which the government itself says they want the country to move eight to 10%, Singh said on the sidelines of a national seminar on ‘Macro Economic Developments in India: Policy Perspectives’ organised by the Economics Department of St Teresa’s College, Ernakulam.

His comments came in the wake of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley terming the Moody’s upgrading India’s sovereign rating after 13 years as “belated recognition” of reforms undertaken.

Singh also cautioned that the soaring prices of the crude oil could “hurt the fiscal system” of the country.

“Now the crude oil prices are $62-64 whereas few months ago, they were about 40-45. So it can hurt balance of payment. It can also hurt the fiscal system as well,” Singh said.

Asked how different he would have implemented the GST, Singh said there was “undue haste” in implementing the new taxation system and blamed the bureaucracy for its lack of preparedness.

“Both in administration and implementation, I think there is much to be desired and the very fact that the council has met so many times, they have now reduced rates of 211 items.” That showed that there was undue haste in implementation and the bureaucracy had not done its homework, he said.

Moody’s backs Narendra Modi’s policies, lifts India’s rating after 14 years

NEW DELHI, Nov 17: Moody’s Investors Services upgraded India’s sovereign rating for the first time in nearly 14 years on Friday, saying the country was poised for fast growth because of wide-ranging economic and institutional reforms by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

The US-based agency lifted ratings on India’s sovereign bonds to Baa2 from its lowest investment grade of Baa3, and also changed the outlook for the country’s rating to stable from positive.

Sovereign credit ratings are a barometer of a country’s credit profile and regulatory climate. A favourable rating helps governments and companies raise capital in global financial markets. Also, institutional investors rely on ratings for an indication of a country’s socio-political environment before making investment decisions.

The rating upgrade is seen as an endorsement of a range of bold economic decision made by Prime Minister Modi, including the rollout of a landmark Goods and Services Tax that forged India into a unified market. It comes just weeks after the World Bank moved India up 30 places in its annual ease of doing business rankings.

The good news will help the ruling BJP-led government tackle the narrative around the economy, which is growing at its slowest in three years, as it heads into a series of elections over the coming months. All markets including stocks, bonds and rupee rallied on the upgrade.

“We believe that it is a belated recognition of all the positive steps which have been taken in India in the last few years, which has contributed to strengthening of Indian economy,” finance minister Arun Jaitley told a press conference.  

“Many who had doubts about India’s reform process would now seriously introspect on their position.”

Shortly after the announcement, Modi led a chorus of ministers and policymakers who tweeted their reaction to the upgrade.

“Moody’s believes that the @narendramodi government’s reforms will improve business climate, enhance productivity, stimulate foreign and domestic investment, and ultimately foster strong and sustainable growth,” Modi tweeted.

Moody’s downgraded China in May, followed by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) which also cut the Asian giant’s sovereign rating.

But Moody’s warned that India’s rating could be downgraded if the management of government finances slipped.

“The rating could also face downward pressure if the health of the banking system deteriorated significantly or external vulnerability increased sharply,” it said.

The other two key global rating agencies—Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings—have assigned India the lowest investment grade rating with stable outlook.

“The decision to upgrade the ratings is underpinned by Moody’s expectation that continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will, over time, enhance India’s high growth potential…,” Moody’s said about India, hoping to see a gradual decline in government debts over the medium term.

“In the meantime, while India’s high debt burden remains a constraint on the country’s credit profile, Moody’s believes that the reforms put in place have reduced the risk of a sharp increase in debt, even in potential downside scenarios.”

Credit Suisse in a statement said the rating upgrade for India is positive for bonds, especially for near term sentiment which has been weak.

“But it might not translate into large inflows with most foreign investors already actively investing in India and bond market inflows limited by quotas,” it added.

Among other things, Moody’s acknowledged improvements to the monetary policy framework; measures to address the overhang of non-performing loans (NPLs) in the banking system; and measures such as demonetisation, the Aadhaar system of biometric accounts and targeted delivery of benefits through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system.

“Other important measures which have yet to reach fruition include planned land and labor market reforms, which rely to a great extent on cooperation with and between the States,” it said.

However the rating agency maintained that most of these measures will take time for their impact to be seen, and some, such as the GST and demonetisation, had undermined growth in the near term.

Moody’s expects real GDP growth to moderate to 6.7% in the fiscal year ending in March 2018.

“However, as disruption fades… real GDP growth will rise to 7.5% in 2018-19, with similarly robust levels of growth from 2019-20 onward,” it said.

“Longer term, India’s growth potential is significantly higher than most other Baa-rated sovereigns.”

IKEA Buys Land In Gurgaon For Over Rs 800 Crore in Record Deal

GURGAON, Nov 2: The Haryana Urban Development Authority or HUDA today said it has sold a 10-acre plot to Swedish furniture maker IKEA for Rs. 842 crore in its single largest property auction till date.

HUDA sold approximately 10 acres of commercial land for a whopping Rs. 842 crore in Sector 47 of Estate-II of HUDA Gurgaon, an official said. The site was put for e-auction on October 6 this year and was up for bids on October 31.

"The site was successfully auctioned to IKEA, a multinational group, that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture," said HUDA Chief Administrator J Ganesan said today.

"It will augment our efforts in ensuring steady revenue stream for HUDA. This is not a one-off deal as we have planned out auctions of other institutional and commercial properties across the city in the next few months," Mr Ganesan said.

"Gurgaon has seen a reduced demand mainly due to rapidly changing investments scenario in real estate, especially in commercial sector. However, we are hopeful to sell more properties and gather handsome revenue for HUDA from the estates of Gurgaon," an official statement quoted Mr Ganesan as saying today.

IKEA marking its arrival in Gurgaon highlights the importance of this city and its position in the global marketplace as a business- and investor-friendly destination, the officer said.

The site was put up for e-auction three times earlier, but had no takers until October 31 when the furniture maker finally participated and emerged successful.

On its website, the furniture maker says its concept starts with the idea of providing a range of home furnishing products that are affordable to many people, not just the few. "It is achieved by combining function, quality, design and value -- always with sustainability in mind," the company says.

The company plans to target India's untapped "functional furniture" market in which demand is high from upwardly mobile younger consumers.

India jumps into top 100 in World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings

A raft of policy reforms has helped India significantly improve its business climate, an annual World Bank index showed on Tuesday, burnishing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reformist credentials that could help him win big-ticket investments.

For the first time, India jumped a record 30 places to 100 in the Ease of Doing Business report for 2018, which is an influential 190-country barometer of competitiveness that many businesses likely consider for investment decisions.

India’s impressive performance also signals a possible turnaround in the country’s economic narrative after months of sluggish growth, helped largely by reforms in taxation, insolvency laws and access to credit that Prime Minister Modi pushed to boost investment and jobs.

“Evaluation for the ease of doing business ranking is very tough. The ranking does not reflect the reform measures unless the outcome is visible on the ground,” finance minister Arun Jaitley told a press conference.

The benchmark, based on data from New Delhi and Mumbai for the year to June 2017, puts India among the top 10 “improvers” globally, having done better in eight of 10 business indicators. But India still lags in areas such as starting a business, enforcing contracts and dealing with construction permits, the report said.

The latest findings help India close the gap on its arch rival China whose ranking remained unchanged for a second year at 78.

The report, which has often attracted criticism for not being representative enough, excluded the impact of the government’s shock withdrawal of high-value banknotes last year.

“This report takes into account only Delhi and Mumbai. To get a true picture of doing business in India, manufacturing hubs such as Tamil Nadu and Gujarat should have been looked at,” said former Indian chief statistician Pronab Sen.

“Also, the report only looks at processes and not at numbers, so disruptions such as demonetisation go unnoticed.”

The opposition Congress party too wasn’t impressed.

“Ease of doing business has become cease of doing business for MSME’s under Modi government,” said Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, referring to small and medium businesses that hurt from last year’s demonetisation and a new goods and services tax rolled out in July.

“The BJP government is clutching at straws to stay afloat as it sinks the economy and hurts trade and businesses.”

Analysts say the next paradigm shift to the top 50 on the global benchmark is still a long way ahead and will require India to maintain strong momentum.

“There is a need to continue to work on other areas including starting a business, trading across borders as well as land reforms,” Nilaya Varma, a partner at KPMG India, said.

 

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