Cautioning the Opposition against dampening the spirit of the economy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the Government has taken a number of steps to return to the robust growth path in the next two to three years.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, the Prime Minister admitted that there has been a slowdown in the economy which has been reflected in the GDP figures.
“Nothing is achieved by dampening the spirit…We have taken steps and in two-three years we will return the economy to the robust growth path,” Singh said as members of the BJP and Left parties voiced concern over the slowdown in the economy.
Shahnawaz Hussain (BJP) and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) had demanded that the Prime Minister reply to questions on the slowdown of economy and not Minister of State for Planning Rajiv Shukla as he was “not an economist”.
Read more: Business Line
Committed to bilateral investment treaty with India: US
The US has said it is committed to a bilateral investment treaty with India, but suggested that setting a time-frame for the same may not be possible due to time-taking and complicated nature of negotiations.
“We remain committed to a bilateral investment treaty with India and look forward to holding additional positive and productive technical discussions on a treaty with the Indian Government as quickly as possible,” Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson of the National Security Council, said.
“These are complicated issues that will take some time to work through, but both sides have committed ourselves to doing so in a thorough manner,” she said, adding the Obama Administration attaches importance to its economic ties with India.
She said the US views economic relationship with India as one of its “most important”, and is “actively working” to ensure that both countries are able to lay the groundwork for future opportunities.
Her remarks gain significance in view of the recent news reports that the Obama Administration has set in motion an ambitious global round of trade talks covering Europe and much of Asia, which is bound to influence countries such as China, India and Brazil.
Read more: Business Lines
Index Outlook: Bulls back in business
Bulls who were fighting with their backs to the wall could wrest advantage from the bears. This was largely due to some soothing statements from the Finance Minister that foreign investors investing through Mauritius need not worry about the taxman putting them under the microscope. Moody’s prophesy that the worst may be over for the Indian economy and that it could grow at 7 per cent from 2014 also helped improve the sentiment on the street.
Cues from overseas were also supportive with most global benchmarks etching gains. Indian investors’ worries about flow of foreign portfolio funds into the Indian markets appear overdone since a large chunk of these funds are linked to the India allocations of global emerging market funds.
According to EPFR Global, Emerging Markets Equity funds posted inflows for the 26th time in the past 27 weeks in early March. Flows into Asia ex-Japan Equity Funds continued to be strong last week. It is, therefore, not a surprise that benchmarks of countries such as Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand have been hitting new life-time highs regularly this calendar. Indian equities have also received close to $9 billion so far this calendar though stock prices have been on a roller-coaster ride.
Read more: Business Line
NHB’s tax-free bonds issue opens tomorrow
National Housing Bank (NHB) will tap the market on Monday with a public offering of tax-free bonds.
The housing finance regulator will use all the funds mobilised in the nature of non-convertible debentures to promote low-income housing in the urban areas, R.V. Verma, Chairman and Managing Director, NHB, told Business Line.
The Centre allowed NHB to raise Rs 5,000 crore through tax-free bonds during 2012-13, of which it can mobilise up to Rs 3,750 crore through this public issue, which will close on March 15.
In January, NHB had raised Rs 600 crore out of the Rs 1,250 crore allowed through the private placement route.
Verma also indicated that NHB would go in for more private placements of tax-free bonds before March-end.
Each bond will have a face value of Rs 10,000 and a tenure of 10 years. For qualified institutional buyers, corporates and high networth individuals, the interest rate offered is 6.82 per cent. For retail investors (those investing under Rs 10 lakh), the rate is 7.32 per cent. Interest will be paid annually.
Read more: Business Line
Road developers may get easier exit options
The finance ministry has agreed to a proposal by the road ministry and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to allow developers easier exit options.
Once the proposal gets a Cabinet nod, it would allow concessionaires to exit road projects at any point of time.
For instance, concessionaires would be able to leave the project whenever they think it has turned unviable or are unable to handle them due to financial reasons.
However, concessionaires would need to get the lender’s clearance before exiting the project if financial closure has been achieved.
Another condition placed on the concessionare is that it would have to get a replacement in the project. Once this mechanism is put in place, the NHAI would not forfeit the performance bank guarantee and the concessionaire would not drag the government into any litigation. The model concession agreement (MCA) for road projects, which is currently in force, allows pre-2009 concessionaires to exit 74% of their stake in any road project only after completing two years of commercial operation date.
Read more: Financial Express
Bosch & Siemens manufacturing plant coming up near Chennai
Aiming to make India as its export hub, home appliances manufacturer Bosch and Siemens on Thursday announced company’s first manufacturing plant in the country, to be set up at a cost of Rs 350 crore.
The facility, aimed at making India as an export hub for the South East Asian region, is expected to start operations by the second half of 2014, a company statement said.
Initially, the plant would have a production capacity of about six lakh units and would create 400 direct jobs.
“The expansion is in line with the company’s vision to further strengthen its presence and offerings in the Indian market which has tremendous scope for the home appliances segment.
“The Chennai facility is also one of our future key export hubs, to cover the entire South East Asian market”, Bosch and Siemens Home, Household Appliances Manufacturing Ltd., Managing Director and CEO, Marc Hantscher said.
Bosch and Siemens Home Appliances would expand its factory footprint in line with the growing demand for appliances in the domestic market. The plant would also serve as Research and Development Centre to develop future generation of products for India and South East Asian region.
Source: The Economic Times