The 2015 budget "will further reignite our growth engine, signaling the dawn of a prosperous future," wrote PM Modi on Twitter, referring to his government's recently unveiled budget, widely viewed as business-friendly. On February 28, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a host of new measures in the government's first full budget, including increased spending in infrastructure, a universal social security scheme and an unprecedented corporate tax cut to 25 percent over the next four years. Jaitley said India was "about to take off" and it was time for a "quantum leap" on reforms. The finance minister also said he expects the country's GDP to grow between 8 and 8.5 percent year-on-year, adding that a double digit growth rate may be achievable soon. The announcement comes a month after India's Statistics Office unveiled changes in the way it calculates the country's GDP. There were high expectations on the newly released budget as Modi's ruling BJP party swept to power nine … [Read more...] about India budget ‘a step in the right direction,’ but ‘no quantum leap’
Ease of doing business india
The internationally-respected head of India's central bank, 53-year-old Rajan, is lauded for effectively steering the Indian economy and controlling runaway inflation after he took over the job in 2013. This was a time when the nation's economy was in poor shape, with a burgeoning trade deficit, soaring inflation and concerns over worsening fiscal position. But under his watch, India's currency has strengthened and foreign-exchange reserves have surged to an all-time high. India is now regarded as the world's fastest growing major economy, with growth in 2016 expected to be over seven percent. However, Rajan's refusal to cut interest rates rapidly for fear of stoking inflation and his tough stance on cleaning up India's troubled state-controlled banks, have been disliked by sections of India's business and political elites - including some within Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Willingness to speak out Unlike his predecessors at the RBI, Rajan … [Read more...] about Why India’s central banker is a matter of hot political debate
Following their first formal meeting on September 30, Obama praised the Indian PM for his energetic approach to addressing India's challenges since taking office. Modi, who swept to power in May after a landslide victory at the polls on promises to revive the flagging Indian economy, told reporters in the Oval Office: "We already have the foundation of a strong partnership. We now have to revive the momentum and ensure that we get the best out of it for our people and for the world." Modi received a warm welcome in the United States, despite being denied a visa in 2005 over deadly riots in his home state of Gujarat three years earlier. During his five-day visit to the country the Indian leader gave dozens of speeches, attended meetings with top CEOs, addressed the UN General Assembly and an Indian-American community reception at Madison Square Garden, and had a private dinner with President Obama. The trip also provided the opportunity to improve bilateral trade ties, especially … [Read more...] about Modi’s US trip ‘set the foundation’ for stronger partnership
Singapore was ranked first by the World Bank in terms of the ease of doing business, with the lender measuring national stipulations and obstacles and their impact on entrepreneurial activity. "Regulations determine how easy it is to start a business, the speed and efficiency with which contracts are enforced and the paperwork needed for trade," World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu said in a statement while explaining some key factors in the ranking . Another Asia-Pacific nation, New Zealand came in second in the ranking, with Hong Kong, Denmark, the US and the UK also among the leading 10 nations this year. Red tape a key factor The survey pointed out that in Singapore, entrepreneurs need an average of two and a half days to set up their companies, while in Eritrea - the nation doing worst in the ranking - investors usually required an average 84 days to launch a business. While praising Germany's infrastructure, Europe's biggest economy did not make it into the top 10, … [Read more...] about Singapore world’s top business location
While the crisis in Japan has led some European nations to rethink atomic power, energy-hungry India is determined to keep on track its ambitious plans to ramp up nuclear power production. India currently has 20 nuclear power plants, among them the world's oldest operating boiling water reactor at Tarapur in the western state of Maharashtra. General Electric, which built the Tarapur plant, also designed the reactors at the stricken Fukushima plant in Japan. Most of the existing reactors are built locally with some Russian help. So far, India gets only a tiny fraction of its electricity from nuclear power. That is set to change. The country plans to spend around $150 billion (106 billion euros) on building new reactors in the coming years. By one estimate, nuclear power is projected to supply about a quarter of the country's electricity needs by 2050 - a tenfold increase from now. "Ours is a very power-hungry country," Srikumar Banerjee, the chairman of India's Atomic Energy … [Read more...] about India’s ambitious nuclear expansion plans face setback
Five of the top 10 largest importers of major weapons are in Asia: India, China, Pakistan, South Korea and Singapore, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). They accounted for 30 percent of the global volume of arms imports in the past five years. But India stands out in this category as it alone accounted for 15 percent of global arms imports during this time. In fact, India imported more than three times more weapons than China, which has now become a significant weapons producer and supplier. And although Saudi Arabia is currently the world's largest arms importer, India is projected to be ranked second in 2015 and 2016 based on existing contracts, according to global analytics firms IHS. In a DW interview, Amit Cowshish, a former financial advisor to India's Ministry of Defense, explains why India has become such a huge arms importer, why the indinegous arms industry is not able to meet the demands, and what this has to do with India's regional … [Read more...] about India’s weapons imports meant to ‘strike regional balance’
DW: The US version of the Templeton Russia and East European Fund has recently announced its closing and liquidation . What are the reasons behind this decision? Mark Mobius: Based on the recommendation of the investment adviser and on other factors, including small size and declining shareholder interest in the fund, the board of directors of the fund believes that liquidation of the fund is in the best interests of the fund and its shareholders. Does this reflect a shift in your assessment of Russia's economic outlook? Will Templeton's other Russia funds be affected as well? No. This is a fund-specific event. Other funds will continue to be managed pursuant to each individual fund's investment objectives. The Shanghai stock market just recorded its biggest one-day loss in eight years . The Chinese government has announced new interventions, but seems unable to calm markets. Is the stock market a major test for the Chinese government? Regarding the Shanghai stock market, … [Read more...] about Mobius: ‘We have seen the worst’ in China
"The Chinese 'normal' has now changed. It is no longer the nine percent, 10 percent, 11 percent growth rate. So the world needs other engines to carry the growth process. And in a slow-down environment in the world, an economy which can grow at eight to nine percent like India certainly has viable shoulders to provide the support to the global economy." These are the words of Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who recently spoke to the BBC on the impact of China's recent stock market plunge. Although many economists argue that the panic about the state of China's economy is overblown, there have been a string of reports and comments suggesting that India could be ready to "take the baton of global growth" from China, as Deputy Finance Minister Jayant Sinha put it. And there are strong arguments to support that claim. While both Brazil and Russia are in the midst of a recession, India's economy has been growing at impressive rates, with last week's release of GDP figures showing … [Read more...] about China’s economic slowdown – India’s opportunity?
Persistent underdevelopment has afflicted the Indian subcontinent since the region was unshackled from the chains of British colonial domination seven decades ago. South Asia's growth and development have been underwhelming compared to those of places like Northeast and Southeast Asia. The region's independence from British rule was marked by its partitioning along religious lines, giving birth to a Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan as two independent countries. At the time of their independence in 1947, they both found themselves at a similar level of socio-economic development. The two newly formed nations were desperately poor and desiccated, home to hundreds of millions of destitute, illiterate and malnourished people. India started its independent journey with an advantage by inheriting public institutions set up by the British during their rule. It also had a bigger share of the urban population, industry and transportation infrastructure. Pakistan, on the … [Read more...] about How have India and Pakistan fared economically since partition?
The leaders of the most populous and powerful developing countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) - are meeting in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen from September 3-5 for their ninth annual gathering since the club's formation. The occasion presents an opportunity for Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Michel Temer and South African President Jacob Zuma to project gravitas and statesmanship. Under the theme of "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future," they will likely attempt to send a message of unity and hope to the rest of the world. It underscores their countries' growing significance and clout amid the widely perceived ongoing shift of power from the industrialized Western nations to the developing world. Originally a term coined by economists working for the US investment bank Goldman Sachs in 2001, BRIC has since then evolved … [Read more...] about BRICS strive to flourish amid rivalries, suspicions