India-UK Free Trade Deal Nears Conclusion

Posted By: Vanshika Pathak Posted On: Aug 06, 2023

Protecting the interest of domestic players, India has kept demands of Britain on data-related issues and giving any kind of duty concessions on dairy sector out of the ambit of the proposed free trade agreement being negotiated between the two countries, sources said. However, India is looking at providing duty concessions on auto, and certain confectionery items, they said.

The negotiation for the agreement has reached a critical stage and in all likelihood, it could be concluded by October end or November. The talks received a great impetus due to the recent visit of Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal to London in July, where both held a series of meetings with different stakeholders including senior British officials.

The negotiation would get a further fillip during the meetings of trade ministers of India and the UK at the sidelines of G20 trade ministers meeting this month in Jaipur. “The visit of the Indian minister and secretary was very positive for the negotiations. Most of the issues are sorted out between the two countries,” one of the sources said.

To provide duty concessions in the automobile sector, several rounds of consultations have been held with the domestic players. In the dairy sector, India would not touch any product because of the sensitivities of the domestic players, they added.

As both India and UK are strong players in the services sectors, the two sides are negotiating hard for easing of norms in a number of sectors such as IT, healthcare, accounting, education, medical practices, banking, insurance, legal, and telecommunications. The UK has shown keen interest in areas like banking, insurance, legal, and telecommunications.

The UK firms have raised concerns over data localisations norms in India. Another official said that India and the UK are very close to concluding negotiations for a proposed free trade agreement as both sides are working to iron out differences on issues including investment treaty, intellectual property rights (IPRs) and rules of origin.

Out of the total 26 chapters in the FTA, 19 have been closed. In the rules of origin chapters, both countries are talking about product specific rules, value addition, and certification. The 'rules of origin' provision prescribes minimal processing that should happen in an FTA country so that the final manufactured product may be called originating goods in that country.

Under this provision, a country that has inked an FTA with India cannot dump goods from some third country in the Indian market by just putting a label on it. It has to undertake a prescribed value addition in that product to export to India. Rules of origin norms help contain dumping of goods. Investment is being negotiated as a separate agreement (bilateral investment treaty) between India and the UK and it could be concluded simultaneously with the free trade agreement.

The bilateral trade between the countries increased to USD 20.36 billion in 2022-23 from USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22. India's main exports to the UK are ready-made garments and textiles, gems and jewellery, engineering goods, petroleum and petrochemical products, transport equipment, spices, machinery and instruments, pharmaceuticals and marine products.

The main imports include precious and semi-precious stones, ores and metal scraps, engineering goods, professional instruments other than electronics, chemicals and machinery. In the services sector, the UK is the largest market in Europe for Indian IT services. In the field of investment, the UK is one of the top investors in India.

In 2022-23, India received USD 1.74 billion in foreign direct investment from the UK as against USD 1 billion in 2021-22. During April 2000 and March 2023, investments stood at USD 33.9 billion.

Under such pacts, two trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them, besides easing norms to promote trade in services and investments.

Source: News18
Related Posts: FTA,INDIA,UK

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White Paper of Congress Govt Blames Previous BJP Regime's 'Fiscal Mismanagement' for Himachal's Debt Distress Published 44 minutes ago

Posted By: Anita Mamgai Posted On: Sep 22, 2023

With the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh presenting a white paper on the state's finances, an acrimonious exchange was witnessed between opposition and treasury benches in the assembly after the report indicated a grim fiscal health with the state's financial liabilities mounting to Rs 92,774 crore. The white paper was presented by deputy chief minister Mukesh Agnihotri.

Agnihotri read the report amid a charged atmosphere, while blaming the previous BJP regime for fiscal mismanagement and Himachal being ranked fifth in the country in raising loans. He said Rs 92,774 crore liabilities were left behind by the Jai Ram Thakur government, resulting in every child being born with a debt of Rs 1.02 lakh as compared to Rs 66,000 crore in 2017, till the Congress was in power.

He said Himachal Pradesh's debt when the BJP assumed power in 2017-18 was Rs 47,906 crore and with an increase of 12 per cent (Rs 2,874 crore) it has reached Rs 76,631 crore in 2023-24. “The financial health of the state is so grim that a sum of Rs 9,048 crore would be required to repay the loan (Rs 3,486 crore) and interest component (Rs 5,262 crore) in 2023-24,” he stated.

Agnihotri was confronted with repeated interruptions by leader of opposition Jai Ram Thakur and BJP MLAs who trouped to the well of the house twice, while accusing the government of presenting false and misleading data of only the BJP tenure to get political mileage.

Agnihotri said the BJP regime has made a record of indulging in wasteful expenditure, with no focus on resource generation or fiscal prudence, making a mockery of government spending. “The BJP is harming HP's interest as they have told the Centre to not give us funds as we implemented the old pension scheme,” he alleged. “It is after exhaustive examination of the reports of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), and the past budgets that we have come to the conclusion that it was because of the fiscal mismanagement by the previous BJP regime that today the total loan liabilities of the state have reached Rs 92,774 crore.”

The loan liability left behind by the BJP regime for 2022-23 was Rs 76,631 crores, he added.

Agnihotri alleged that the previous BJP government had misused a loan amount of Rs 16,261 crore raised in the last election year for holding party functions. “This loan amount was mis-utilised for organising functions like Amrit Mahotsav, Pragatisheel Himachal and Jan Manch for party campaigns with an eye on the assembly polls,” he remarked.

He said even now Rs 8.50 crore bills of the State Transport Corporation were pending as buses were used to ferry people for these functions used for party campaigns.

Source: News18
Related Posts: BJP,CONGRESS,HIMACHAL PRADESH,JAI RAM THAKUR,MUKESH AGNIHOTRI,RBI

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Ukraine's Zelensky Arrives in Canada on Unannounced Visit Published 10 minutes ago

Posted By: Preeti Dabar Posted On: Sep 22, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Canada Thursday night from the United States on an unannounced visit to rally support for his country as it fights the Russian invasion.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greeted Zelensky as he stepped off his plane in Ottawa, as seen on Canadian TV, traveling from Washington for his first visit here since the war started in February 2022.

In Washington, Zelensky met with President Joe Biden and leaders of Congress.

Canada is home to a large Ukrainian community and Trudeau's government has pledged firm and lasting support for Ukraine as it battles Russian forces.

On Friday, Zelensky will hold formal talks with Trudeau and give a speech to the Canadian parliament.

He and Trudeau will also travel to Toronto to meet with business leaders and members of the community of Canadians of Ukrainian origin.

Source: News18
Related Posts: CANADA,CONFLICT,RUSSIA,UKRAINE

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Apple iPhone 15 Series First Look In India Published 52 minutes ago

Posted By: Anita Mamgai Posted On: Sep 22, 2023

Apple iPhone 15 sale in India started on Friday and people have definitely been excited to get the new iPhone 15 models. Apple Stores have seen huge lines at the Apple BKC and Apple Saket store with many people there to pick up their pre-ordered iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max. Some have even camped outside the Apple Store waiting to buy their favourite iPhone 15 series model in their preferred colours.

Here's your first look at the iPhone 15 series, its USB-C cable and the charging adapter that iPhone 15 buyers need to get separately.

Source: News18
Related Posts: APPLE IPHONE 15,APPLE SAKET,APPLE STORE INDIA

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R Madhavan owns

Posted By: Aditya Gogoi Posted On: Sep 22, 2023
Actor R Madhavan. (File Photo)

As the newly released iPhone 15 series from Apple is available for purchase starting today, Apple stores are already experiencing a significant influx of customers as they prepare to acquire the company's flagship product.

In the midst of this, actor, writer, and director R Madhavan recently revealed that he has bought the new device and expressed his pride and excitement in owning the “MADE IN INDIA iPhone 15."

Source: Live Mint
Related Posts: IPHONE 1,IPHONE 15 PRICE IN INDIA,IPHONE 15 PRICE IN DUBAI,IPHONE 15,APPLE IPHONE 1,IPHONE 15 PRICE,IPHONE 15 PRICE INDIA NEWS,R MADHAVWN,APPLE SMARTPHONE,APPLE NEWS

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Trai issues pre-consultation paper on inputs for National Broadcasting Policy

Posted By: Jogendra Kumar Posted On: Sep 21, 2023
A National Broadcasting Policy stipulating the vision, mission, strategies and the action points could set the tone for a planned development and growth of the broadcasting sector in the country. (File Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has issued a pre-consultation paper on inputs for formulation of a ‘National Broadcasting Policy.’ This July, the ministry of information and broadcasting had requested the regulatory authority to give its considered inputs under the TRAI Act, 1997, for formulation of the policy.

In its letter, the ministry said that the broadcast policy needs to identify the vision of a functional, vibrant and resilient broadcasting sector which can project India's diverse culture and rich heritage and help the country's transition to a digital and empowered economy. “In the light of the potentialities and intersection with national goals, a National Broadcasting Policy stipulating the vision, mission, strategies and the action points could set the tone for a planned development and growth of the broadcasting sector in the country in the era of new and emerging technologies," a statement from Trai said.

Hence, a pre-consultation is being done with all stakeholders to elicit the issues which are required to be considered for formulation of such a policy, Trai has said. Written comments from stakeholders have been invited by 10 October.

Last month, Trai had released a consultation paper on issues faced by the broadcasting sector, seeking responses to 32 questions, ranging from tariff, interconnection, and quality of service to financial disincentives.

The authority had sought response on whether the network capacity fee (NCF) of ₹130 should be reviewed and if distribution platform owners (DPOs) should be allowed to have variable NCF for different bouquets or plans within the same location.

Trai also sought views on whether it should revise the current provision that NCF for second TV connection and onwards in multi-TV homes should not be more than 40% of declared NCF per additional TV, and in case of such homes, whether the pay television channels for each additional TV connection be also made available at a discounted price.

Source: Live Mint
Related Posts: TRAI,BROADCASTING,TELECOM REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA,PRE-CONSULTATION PAPER,NATIONAL BROADCASTING POLICY,TRAI ACT,MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING

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Manipur Violence

Posted By: Vishal Maurya Posted On: Sep 21, 2023

More than 10 people were injured when Manipur security forces fired tear gas shells on protesters for trying to storm police stations and court arrest demanding the unconditional release of the five arrested youths on Thursday.

As a precautionary measure, the state government cancelled curfew relaxations in the twin districts of Imphal from 5 pm, officials said.

Responding to a call by six local clubs and Meira Paibis demanding the release of the five village volunteers, hundreds of protesters holding placards and shouting slogans tried to enter the Porompat police station in Imphal East and Singjamei police station and Kwakeithel police outpost in Imphal West district.

However, police and RAF personnel deployed at strategic positions fired several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the crowd.

A protester, identified as Th Bimola at Porompat said, "We were left with no option but to court arrest as the government failed to release the five village volunteers. If such village volunteers are arrested, who will protect the Meitei villages in the periphery of the hills and the valley Kuki Zo militants." Similar attempts to enter the Mayang Imphal police station in the Imphal West district and the Andro police station in the Imphal East district were also reported.

All Langthabal Kendra United Clubs Coordinating Committee president Yumnam Hitler said, "The decision to launch the 'voluntary mass arrest' agitation was taken after the government took no steps to release the five arrested youths." On September 16, Manipur Police arrested five persons for carrying sophisticated weapons and donning camouflage uniforms. In a statement, police said the five had been produced before the judicial magistrate and remanded to police custody.

In the evening, the state government cancelled curfew relaxation in the twin districts of Imphal in the wake of the violence.

According to an official order by the district magistrate of Imphal West, "Curfew hours, which was relaxed from 5 am to 9 pm on September 21, stands withdrawn with effect from 5 pm and restriction of movement of general public outside their residences is enforced in all areas of Imphal West district." Similar orders were also imposed in Imphal East district, officials said.

Source: News18
Related Posts: MANIPUR,VIOLENCE,INDIA

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What If They too Block Visas

Posted By: Vishal Maurya Posted On: Sep 21, 2023

The escalating diplomatic tension between New Delhi and Ottawa is giving anxious moments to families of about five lakh Indian students studying in various colleges across Canada. Almost 70 per cent of the students in Canada come from Punjab, forcing parents to make frenetic calls to immigration agents and local politicians inquiring about the safety of their children.

Last year alone, about 2.5 lakh students moved to Canada from India, most for a two-year study course, out of which over 70 per cent are from Punjab. Estimates by various Punjab-based groups indicate that about Rs 50,000 crore is spent on the education of the children in Canada annually. The suspension of visa services in Canada has also come as a shocker for the families.

Prospective students looking to move to Canada in the coming months are expressing deep concerns about the potential disruption of their plans if Ottawa reciprocates with similar visa restrictions.

Canada boasts a substantial Indian diaspora, with statistics from the 2021 census revealing that individuals of Indian origin make up approximately 3.7 per cent of the country's population, while Sikh-Canadians constitute around 2 per cent.

Immigration agents fear that any reciprocal action by Canada can prove disastrous. “What if Canada takes a similar step? What will the students who are waiting for visa clearance for studies there do?" remarked Manjit, an immigration agent from the Doaba region.

Also, uncertainty revolves around the visit of Punjab-origin Canadians back home. “Many of them traditionally visit India between November and January for various reasons such as weddings, family functions, medical treatment, etc. What will they do now?" he added.

The diplomatic row has worried those parents who have already paid the fees for their children to go to Canada on study visas. “My daughter has been admitted to an institute in Abbotsford, Canada. Her academic session will begin in January. I have paid nearly Rs 22 lakh, including fees and other expenses. However, her visa is awaited. Now, I am worried as the situation is turning grim every day. Our family is just praying for the situation to turn normal," said a worried parent in Punjab's Gidderbaha town.

Many worried parents are rushing to their immigration agents and making enquiries about the worsening diplomatic situation. “It's a fluid situation. After all, Canada was one of the preferred destinations for people from Punjab, be it for studies or work. Now a big question mark hangs over it," commented a Chandigarh resident planning to immigrate to Canada.

Source: News18
Related Posts: CANADA,INDIA,PUNJAB,VISA

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Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale 2023 coming soon

Posted By: Preeti Dabar Posted On: Sep 21, 2023
For representation purposes

Walmart owned Flipkart has teased its upcoming Flipkart Big Billion Days 2023 Sale on the platform. The sale is often considered a high time revenue generation chance for the e-commerce platform and potential customers in India also wait for it. As per the track record, interested buyers can expect bank offers, discounts, cashbacks and price cuts in broadly all categories.

According to Flipkart, the date and schedule of the sale is not out yet. However, as per a report by Jagran, the sale is likely to begin in India from October 3 onwards.

As per the previous sale trends, Flipkart usually offers heavy discounts on several categories, including home appliances, furniture, electronics, gadgets, fashion apparels and more. Interestingly, the sale will also offer heavy discounts on OnePlus, Samsung, and Apple.

Moreover, Flipkart has launched its official landing page for the sale. As per the page, electronics and accessories are expected to get up to 80 per cent off. Similarly, TV and appliances can also get up to 80 per cent off.

The Flipkart also announced that it will reveal the deals from Apple products on Oct 1, 2023, whereas the deals on Samsung will be revealed on Oct 3, 2023.

Apple India is now accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 15 series, with the official release date set for September 22. Customers in India can take advantage of substantial discounts of up to ₹6000 on the iPhone 15 series. These attractive offers can be accessed on the Apple India website as well as at their retail outlets in Delhi and Mumbai. Apple India is currently offering an immediate discount of up to ₹6,000 when you make a purchase on their website using an HDFC Bank card.

It will be interesting to note how much discount Flipkart will offer on the newly launched iPhone 15 Series. With the rising demands for iPhone 15 series devices, it is possible that the smartphones can quickly become out of stock. Hence, it is advisable to add the desired smartphone in the cart before the sale begins and the card details are also saved prior, in case the payment mode will be the bank cards.

Source: Live Mint
Related Posts: APPLE INDIA,APPLE INC.,FLIPKART,FLIPKART SALE,FLIPKART SALE 2023,IPHONE 15 SERIES,FLIPKART BIG BILLION DAYS SALE 2023,FLIPKART BIG BILLION DAYS SALE,BIG BILLION DAYS SALE 2023

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