China tops India’s trade deficit list of 25 countries in 3 yrs: Sitharaman

India’s trade deficit with China is a matter of concern and the government is working for greater access of Indian goods and services into the Chinese market, Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.

“Trade deficit with China is a matter of concern. We are discussing the issue with China for greater access for Indian products and services in the Chinese market,” Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said during Question Hour.
Sitharaman said even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised the issue with the Chinese authorities at the highest level and the government was working to reduce the trade deficit with China.

The minister said China tops the list of 25 countries with which India has a trade deficit in last three years.
The other countries with which India has trade deficit include Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and South Korea.

Among the countries with which India has favourable trade balance include the United States, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom besides read more

Advertisements

Airfares in India may rise over 8% in 2018, highest in Asia-Pacific: Report

Airfares in India are likely to increase by around 8.7 per cent next year amid increasing domestic demand, says a report.
The Global Travel Forecast report has been prepared by the Global Business Travel Association and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
According to the report, India is projected to see an airfare increase of 8.7 per cent in 2018, the highest for any country in the Asia Pacific region.
India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and has been witnessing double-digit growth for more than two years.
Domestic demand is increasing, particularly in China and India, putting additional pricing pressure on key markets in both, the report said.
“India remains the healthiest of the major emerging Asia Pacific markets with robust growth anticipated given pro- market economic reforms,” the report said.
“Last fall, India’s government surprised many, cancelling 86 per cent of its circulating read more

Google, Microsoft’s new mission: How to kill disease-carrying mosquitoes

American technology  companies are bringing automation and robotics to the age-old task of battling mosquitoes in a bid to halt the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne maladies worldwide.
Firms including Microsoft Corp and California life sciences company Verily are forming partnerships with public health officials in several US states to test new high-tech tools.
In Texas, Microsoft is testing a smart trap to isolate and capture Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, known Zika carriers, for study by entomologists to give them a jump on predicting outbreaks.
Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences division based in Mountain View, California, is speeding the process for creating sterile male mosquitoes to mate with females in the wild, offering a form of birth control for the species.
While it may take years for these advances to become widely available, public health experts say new players brings fresh thinking to vector control, which still relies heavily on traditional defenses such as larvicides and insecticides.
“It’s exciting when technology companies come on board,” said Anandasankar Ray, an associate professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside. “Their approach to a biological challenge is to engineer a solution.” The Zika epidemic that emerged in Brazil in 2015 and read more

India is a great place for innovation: Microsoft

India is a great place for innovation and there is a lot of opportunity for Indian firms and start-ups to work with Microsoft and develop cloud-based tools and platforms for a global marketplace, according to a senior official of the software giant.
Alyssa Fitzpatrick, general manager of Microsoft’s worldwide channel sales, on the sidelines of the ongoing annual partnership meet of Microsoft ‘Inspire’, said that some of the great things have been happening in the Indian market from an innovation perspective.
She said that Microsoft was going to market with solution maps.
“That’s gonna give us an opportunity to bring some of the innovation from India into those solution maps and really highlight it for the rest of the world’s consumption,” she said.
A recognised leader for transforming global direct and indirect sales in the software industry, Fitzpatrick has carried responsibility for over 50,000 global partners, encompassing management consultancies, global systems integrators and services partners.
Fitzpatrick, a frequent traveller to India when the Indian IT sector was in its infancy stage, cited the example of a small time app developer in India, which now has global presence.
“India is a great place of innovation, she said.
“I think there is a lot of opportunity in the Indian market to join together with Microsoft, as READ MORE

Books on Modi to help people develop Modi-like traits: Mohan Bhagwat

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an able thekedar‘, or contractor, of welfare but cautioned people not to leave everything to him and go off to sleep.

 

“Society has got a good and able thekedar (contractor) in Narendra bhai for its welfare but the danger is that people will leave everything to him and go to sleep. It should not happen. Books (on him) should help people develop attributes like him,” Bhagwat said at the launch of a coffee table book, ‘The Making of a Legend’, on the PM.
In his address, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah indicated the Modi government was confident of its return not just in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, but had put in place programmes and policies that should keep it in good stead for the subsequent 2024 elections as well.

 

Enumerating the achievements of the Modi government, Shah, who spoke before Bhagwat, said: “The government has set a target of giving 50 million LPG connections to poor women by 2019 and to every household by 2024.”
The RSS chief praised Modi the PM for his hard work, courage, patience, wisdom, strength and valour, but most of all his ability to do whatever needs to be done. “What should be done has been discussed in the country for the last 70 years. But it is happening now. Why? Because it is being done now,” Bhagwat said.

 

The RSS chief said all should endeavour to make India a greater country than it was before its “decline” in the last 1000-1500 years. “It seems to me that (BJP chief) Amit bhai has given a safe estimate of 2024,” he then said read more

Gifts up to Rs 50,000 by employer, free club membership exempt under GST

The government on Monday clarified that gifts worth up to Rs 50,000 by an employer to its employees as also free membership of clubs, health and fitness centres will not attract the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Also, the services by an employee to the employer in the course of or in relation to his employment is outside the scope of the new indirect tax regime, it said.
Any club, health and fitness centre membership provided by an employer to its all employees free of charge will not be subject to the GST.
The same would hold true for free housing as part of cost-to-company (C2C) package.
Commenting on reports of gifts and perquisites supplied by companies to their employees being taxed under GST, the finance ministry in a statement said gifts up to a value of Rs 50,000 in a year by an employer to his employee are outside the ambit of GST.
“However, gifts of value more than Rs 50,000 made without consideration are subject to the GST, when made in the course or

furtherance of business,” the statement said.
While the GST law does not define gifts, the ministry said for tax purposes gift is something that is made without consideration, is voluntary in nature and is made occasionally.
“It cannot be demanded as a matter of right by the employee and the employee cannot move a court of law for obtaining a gift,” it said.
On the issue of taxation of perquisites, the ministry said

read more

Modi’s strongman economics

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has strong views on economics. Speaking to a big crowd of tycoons, investors and journalists in New Delhi, Mr. Modi once admitted that he is “not a big economist.” Yet he promptly set out an economic vision for India to be a global manufacturing power. Investors should rush to “make in India,” he said. He claimed that his strong leadership would usher in economic revival and 100 million new manufacturing jobs by 2022.
During the prime ministerial campaign in the 2014 national elections, Mr. Modi mocked the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, for supposedly presiding over economic failure. He jeered that Mr. Singh — who has a doctorate in economics from Oxford University and was the architect of the liberalization of the Indian economy in the early 1990s — could not stop onion prices rising and that economic growth was jobless, both popular concerns.
Later, as prime minister, Mr. Modi told me that India’s economic performance had been embarrassing under Mr. Singh. (In fact, Mr. Singh’s record was pretty good: In his full decade as prime minister, economic growth was on average 7.8 percent a year.) The world, Mr. Modi told me, saw that “the ‘I’ in the BRICS had become a burden,” meaning India had fallen behind Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa. He bragged he was restoring India’s image.
Parts of India’s $2.3 trillion-strong economy are in better shape today than they were three years ago. Onion prices are down. Deficits are lower. Businesses face somewhat less red tape. Foreign investment has come — over $160 billion in the first three years, compared with just $38 billion in the first three years of Mr. Singh — even if Indian firms are reluctant to spend.
Continue reading the main story
Local business leaders quietly grumble there is no dynamism on the ground, little consumer demand. Much infrastructure, such as wobbly roads and slow freight trains, needs improving. Indebted banks — state-run and READ MORE