MARKET WATCH 22ND FEB 2021

NATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

States’ GST revenue shortfall may be lower by up to Rs 40,000 cr this fiscal

The GST revenue shortfall faced by states is likely to reduce by about Rs 40,000 crore in the current fiscal on improved collections over the past four months, an official said. The sharp decline in GST collections was estimated to lead to Rs 1.80 lakh crore shortfall in GST revenues of states. This includes Rs 1.10 lakh crore revenue loss on account of GST implementation and Rs 70,000 crore on account of COVID-19 pandemic.

The centre had set up a special window to borrow funds and pass on to the states for meeting the Rs 1.10 lakh crore GST revenue loss. The official said that improved goods and services tax (GST) collections could bring down the total shortfall amount to around Rs 1.40 lakh crore.

“We have done some calculations which show that the shortfall could be lower by about Rs 30,000-40,000 crore in the current fiscal,” the official told PTI. The official further said that Rs 1.10 lakh crore would be borrowed through the special window as planned and higher mop-up would be utilised to compensate for the loss of revenue due to COVID-19.

The centre has already borrowed and releases to the states Rs 1 lakh crore under the special window. The official further said that for next fiscal beginning April 1, the GST council will decide on the mechanism for compensating states in its upcoming meeting in March.

“The revenue loss next fiscal would be much less compared to this fiscal. However, meeting the 14 per cent revenue growth would be difficult,” the official added. Under GST law, states were guaranteed to be compensated bi-monthly for any loss of revenue in the first five years of the GST implementation from July 1, 2017. The shortfall is calculated assuming a 14 per cent annual growth in GST collections by states over the base year of 2015-16.

GST collections, which directly reflect the state of economic activity, had plummeted to a record low of Rs 32,172 crore in April 2020, after the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Since then, collections started picking up; and the four straight months of October to January recorded over Rs 1 lakh crore mop-up. The revenues in January are at record high of Rs 1.20 lakh crore.

Source: The Financial Express

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India-UK bilateral relations to touch new high post Covid: Report

India-UK bilateral relations will touch a new high in the post-COVID world, as India is likely to be a priority country for the UK, leading to an enhanced economic partnership, according to a report. According to the Britain Meets India report, developed by CII and Grant Thornton Bharat, FDI inflow from the UK to India for a particular year increased from USD 898 million in 2015-16 to USD 1,422 million in 2019-20.

Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (Western Europe), Ministry of External Affairs, said, "Besides a free trade agreement, mobility and an interim trade deal, we are working on a 10-year 360 degree roadmap to strengthen our relationship with the UK. Going forward, we see investments in India's clean energy sector coming from the UK."

Pallavi Joshi Bakhru, Partner and India-UK Corridor Leader, Grant Thornton Bharat LLP said, "Our research identified 572 UK companies in India with a combined turnover of around INR 3,390 billion, tax payment of around INR 173 billion and employing 416,121 people directly.

This reflects the important contribution made by the UK companies to the Indian economy as a key ally in India's growth story."

The list of 'fastest growing UK companies in India' includes Dyson Technology, Aviva Life Insurance, Diageo Business Services, RMD Kwikform and FMC Technologies, among others, says the report.

The list of 'top 20 UK companies y revenue' includes Vedanta, Vodafone, Hindustan Unilever  NSE 0.53 %, United Spirits  NSE -0.05 % India, etc. Also, G4S Group, Vedanta Resources and HSBC Holdings feature in 'top UK employers in India'.

Among the states, Maharashtra tops as the leading investment destination for UK companies followed by Haryana, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka. Moreover, industrial and business services are top sectors being eyed by UK firms.

Gaitri Issar Kumar, High Commissioner of India to UK, said, "The governments of both India and the UK are committed to an enhanced trade partnership. We are developing a roadmap to a free trade agreement with an ambitious target of 100 billion pounds by 2030."

Alex Ellis CMG, High Commissioner of UK to India, noted, "Both India and the UK must think about coming together to create a global impact. Both the economies will have to create a lot of jobs in the next decade and build back in a more sustainable way."

For the purposes of this report, CII and GT Bharat identified 572 companies incorporated in India that are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly from the UK.

Additional benchmarks were an annual turnover of more than Rs 500 million, y-o-y revenue growth of at least 10 per cent and a minimum two-year track record of filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in India.

Source: The Economic Times

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India’s woven garment import from China surges 31% in 2020!

According to the provisional data released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India’s woven clothing import from China upped 31.14 per cent in pandemic-hit 2020 to US $ 165.67 million as compared to US $ 126.33 million in 2019.

However, the rise in the China’s clothing to India seems an exception as the total woven garment import of India in 2020 valued US $ 512.72 million, falling 22.84 per cent on Y-o-Y basis.

Bangladesh was the top import destination for woven clothing with US $ 196.90 million worth of shipment, declining 33.41 per cent from 2019.

The data further tells that overall garment imports of India (woven and knit) valued US $ 890 million in 2020 which was down by 24.12 per cent on Y-o-Y basis.

As far as knitted clothing is concerned, the import of India plunged 25.81 per cent in 2020 to US $ 377.28 million; China sharing US $ 136.10 million (down 33.45 per cent) and Bangladesh contributing US $ 102.52, falling marginally by 0.40 per cent.

India’s Apparel Imports 2020

       

Country/Category

2019

2020

% Change

Value

Value

World

 

 

 

61

508.51

377.28

-25.81

62

664.46

512.72

-22.84

Total

1,172.97

890.00

-24.12

China

 

 

 

61

204.51

136.10

-33.45

62

126.33

165.67

31.14

Total

330.84

301.77

-8.79

Bangladesh

 

 

 

61

102.93

102.52

-0.40

62

295.68

196.90

-33.41

Total

398.61

299.42

-24.88

Source: Apparel Online

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J.Crew to produce collection with CGS certified cashmere

J.Crew has announced that 100 per cent of all cashmere sweaters and non-apparel pieces from the newly launched Spring 2021 collection and onwards, will be produced using The Good Cashmere Standard (GCS) certified cashmere. J.Crew is an internationally recognised omni-channel retailer of women’s, men’s, and children’s apparel, shoes, and accessories.

The Good Cashmere Standard (GCS) was developed by the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), a non-profit organisation aiming to improve the welfare of cashmere goats, the lives of farmers and farming communities, and the environment in which they live. Through its partnership with GCS, J.Crew is not only able to guarantee a sustainable cashmere supply chain but can also provide full traceability for certified cashmere pieces, J.Crew said.

J.Crew also announced it is extending its partnership with the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) to empower women herders in Mongolia to improve their economic and social standing. The SFA promotes the sustainable production of cashmere, minimises environmental impact, ensures high animal welfare, and safeguards herder livelihoods. As part of its multi-year programme with J.Crew, the SFA will support nearly 1,000 female herders (and their households) in Mongolia, according to J.Crew.

With SFA, female herders will be trained on how to better negotiate trades and contracts, handle cash, make decisions and secure higher economic returns for their cooperative.

Incentives will be provided to herding cooperatives that include females as their members and have a least one woman in their decision-making structure, and to those that develop social safety nets and offer collective support for vulnerable female-led families.

Increased economic return for female cooperative members will be achieved through a fibre sorting programme, which will create the opportunity for the herders to sell higher quality fibre at a premium price, according to a press release by J.Crew.

Source: Fibre2Fashion News

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Unleash animal spirits of growth, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tells India Inc

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday called on corporate India to awaken its ‘animal spirits’ and step up investments now that businesses are in a reset mode after a period of Covid-induced disruptions.

The government, she said, has already initiated steps, including a sharp cut in the corporate tax rate, and companies can take advantage of these.

“We need capacities to be ramped up, we need expansion, we need more production of very many such products, which are so required for the economy,” Sitharaman said at an event of All India Management Association. “(After the tax cut) I have been waiting to see expansion happening, I’ve been waiting to see greater investments from private sector in India,” she said.

The government in September 2019 drastically cut the corporate tax rate to just 15% for setting up new manufacturing units in a bid to spur elusive private investments. But the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic dashed its plans.

Investments remain critical to the country’s resurgence story, as private consumption has been badly bruised by income losses in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Although a contraction in gross fixed capital formation substantially narrowed from 47.1% year-on-year in the first quarter of this fiscal to 7.3% in the three months through September, it still remained far below trend. Private consumption, meanwhile, shrank at a faster pace of 11.3% in the September quarter.

With businesses going through the reset phase after the substantial lifting of the lockdown curbs, the government hopes to make a sustained push now to draw investors.

“I would now like to see private investors and private industry…coming forward with the so-called ‘animal spirits’ to show that it is possible to pull India up and keep it high as one of the fastest growing economies. It is now on your shoulder entirely,” she said.

The minister highlighted the latest, aggressive efforts towards disinvestment. The push for disinvestment in trickles has not really been so successful in spreading the ownership pattern, she said. “So, I want to have an efficient, more meaningful way in which our taxpayers’ money should be spent…The disinvestment of units or privatisation of units is not because we want them to be closed down,” she said.

She urged the industry to make the best of the disinvestment policy announced in the Budget. The government has set a disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore for FY22. For the current fiscal, it had budgeted disinvestment revenue of Rs 2.1 lakh crore but the pandemic disrupted its plans. Earlier this month, the minister presented a Rs 34.8 lakh-crore-Budget for 2021-22.

Source: The Financial Express

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Adidas joins global Fur Free Retailer programme

Adidas has announced to commit to a fur-free future and has joined the global Fur Free Retailer programme. While Adidas currently does not sell products made of animal fur, its pledge to permanently renounce fur sees the brand take a clear stand on animal welfare. Fur Free Retailer connects fur-free companies to consumers seeking ethical goods.

As one of the largest sportswear brands in the world, Adidas leads the way for more brands to switch to animal-friendly alternatives. Adidas is the 1500th apparel company to join the Fur Free Retailer programme and embrace animal welfare. The commitment of Adidas is a meaningful milestone of Fur Free Retailer, a programme run in more than 25 countries around the world, and builds on an avalanche of fur-free policies adopted by global fashion brands, including Prada, Gucci, Zara, H&M, and many others, according to Fur Free Retailer.

“Adidas is driving the topic of sustainability in all areas of its product range as well as across its entire business operations. We have already been exclusively sourcing more sustainable cotton since 2018, will only be using recycled polyester from 2024 and this year will be launching the first running shoe that is made to be remade.

Equally the number of vegan products with three stripes is growing; since last year, for example, the popular sneaker classics Stan Smith and Superstar have been available as vegan versions. The permanent renunciation of fur underlines our commitment in searching for and scaling up sustainable material innovations,” Frank Henke, senior vice president sustainability at Adidas said in a press release by Fur Free Retailer.

“We are thrilled to welcome Adidas as the 1500th brand to join our Fur Free Retailer programme. Not only is the commitment to a fur-free policy compassionate, it is also forward-thinking. Today’s consumers support fashion brands that care about animals and the environment and Adidas’ move towards sustainable materials makes it a leader in that regard,” Brigit Oele, programme manager of the Fur Free Alliance said.

Source: Fibre2Fashion News

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Budget is about govt role as facilitator, private sector as key driver of growth: FM

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the Union Budget 2021-22 is about the role of government as a facilitator and the private sector as a key driver of economic growth, without which the country would be losing a big opportunity.

"The most important component or input required here is the participation of the private sector. Unless the private sector is energised enough, unless it is facilitated enough, India is just losing a very big opportunity," Sitharaman said here during the interactive session organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Sitharaman underlined that the nation's growing and aspiring needs and demands across the various sectors cannot be served just by the state government and central governments put together.

According to the Finance Minister, the coronavirus vaccine was a big example of government-private partnership.

"To be a world leader with that specific India touch, which is more humane, more about bringing everybody together, which is peaceful, which actually wishes that the world progresses for everybody's good.

If that is the way India approaches its responsibility, that will be incomplete unless the government plays the role, it is expected to play the facilitator and unless the private sector plays the role of a key driver. So that's the message this budget has talked about," the Finance Minister told the gathering.

Sitharaman noted that the budget was about setting the path for the decade.

She pointed out that the stimulus package, which largely depended on the governments borrowing, was aimed at sectors which provided the multiplying effect such as infrastructure, the budget funding, where public expenditure was going to be undertaken.

Observing that the Centre has clearly funded stimulus with the borrowed money, she said the government was aware of fiscal management.

"Debt to GDP, another indicators which are important for a healthy economy, has to be carefully managed in such a way that sooner in a sense, in a reasonable time frame, the fiscal deficit will also be kept under the healthy level and not let unattended for decades together," Sitharaman pointed out.

The Finance Minister said the government wanted uninterrupted yet sustainable growth.

The event saw a galaxy of tycoons and industry leaders such as Wipro founder Azim Premji, former director of Infosys T V Mohandas Pai, noted cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Prasad Shetty and president and chairman of Volvo Group India Kamal Bali

Premji, in his speech, emphasised on taking along the private sector in the COVID-19 vaccination drive to speed up the inoculation process whereas Pai said the nation wants the companies to set up their industries within the country instead of becoming a digital colony.

He also suggested giving away tablets to the children from weaker sections so that they were not left out in the 'Digital India' mission.

Source: The Economic Times

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8.50% fall in India’s cotton yarn exports in 2020; remain positive in several countries

India’s cotton yarn export was worth US $ 2.61 billion in 2020 and noted 8.50 per cent Y-o-Y fall, according to the official data.

However, there were countries where India witnessed significant increase in cotton yarn exports such as Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, Peru, Turkey, Oman, Malaysia, Brazil, Morocco and USA, amongst others.

Bangladesh remained the top destination for India as the country shipped cotton yarn worth US $ 657.27 million to the neighbouring country in 2020, rising by 21.84 per cent.

Shipment to China remained negative by 25.16 per cent to US $ 571.66 million, while it upped by 41.54 per cent to US $ 141.67 million as far as Vietnam – the 3rd top exporting destination for India – is concerned.

Y-o-Y % Change in Value-wise Cotton Yarn Exports from India:

(Only those countries are included which remained positive and have shipment value of over US $ 10 million)

Countries

2019

2020

% Change

Bangladesh

539.42

657.23

21.84

Vietnam

100.10

141.67

41.54

Peru

120.79

134.61

11.44

Turkey

48.69

64.42

32.32

Oman

6.05

29.17

382.28

Brazil

6.33

24.58

288.34

USA

13.74

15.82

15.17

Chile

7.12

10.66

 49.73

 

(Values in US $ million)

Source: Apparel Online

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FM Sitharaman says Centre, states must work together to lower fuel prices

Amid an outcry over record high petrol and diesel prices, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the Centre and state governments will have to together work out a mechanism to bring retail rates to reasonable levels.

As much as 60 per cent of the retail price of petrol, which shot above Rs 100-mark in some places in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and is at an all-time high elsewhere in the country, is made up of central and state taxes.

Taxes make up for about 56 per cent of the record high diesel rates.

Sitharaman, who had increased central excise duty on petrol and diesel by a record margin last year to mop up gains arising from international oil prices plunging to two- decade low, remained non-committal on cutting taxes to give relief to consumers.

"This is a very vexatious issue. An issue in which no answer except reducing the price (of fuel) will convince anyone. I know I am treading on an area and whatever I may say, to bring in the reality into picture, will only sound like I am obfuscating."

"I am avoiding my answer. I am shifting the blame," she said addressing a gathering at an event organised by the Chennai Citizens' Forum here.

She went on to explain the tax structure and how production cuts by oil cartel OPEC and its allies had led to a rally in the international oil prices, leading to a hike in retail rates in India.

She, however, said the answer may lie in bringing petrol and diesel under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, which will end the cascading impact of taxes and bring uniformity.

Currently, the central government levies a fixed rate of excise duty while states levy different rates of VAT. Under GST, the two would merge and bring uniformity, solving the problem of fuel rates being higher in states with higher VAT.

"What I am saying is that this is a vexatious issue and no Minister can ever convince anybody because Indians being Indians and I am one of them, (will not be convinced)," she said.

"It is a matter of fact that both Centre and States will have to talk."

Stating that the states levy ad valorem rates of sales tax or VAT which help them get more revenue whenever prices go up, she said it won't serve any purpose if the Centre were to take the moral high ground and bring down excise duty to zero.

"I can do that (cut taxes) if I have a certain guarantee that my revenue foregone will not be an opportunity for somebody else to get into this space and gain that," she said.

"If all of us are talking about consumer prices (on fuel to) come down (and the) tax raised by the Centre, tax raised by the states are not holier than one another." The taxes by centre and states equal, she said.

Fuel retailers, who were given pricing freedom over the years, daily decide on retail rates depending on benchmark international prices and foreign exchange rates.

"Technically, the oil prices have been freed and the government has no control over it," she said hoping international oil prices will come down.

India is 85 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs and so retail rates are linked to international prices.

"So long and short of it is (that) the states and the Centre have to sit together and see whether there is a way in which the retail price of fuel is at a reasonable level," she said.

Sitharaman said as a finance minister she cannot be one minister in the Union government to say how much the price can be decreased and whether that would not guarantee the States to earn more money.

"Because every government needs more money, needs revenue and at the same time I can see a relief that not one additional paisa is being demanded from the taxpayers (from the budget)," she said.

Asked whether bringing the fuel prices under Goods and Service Tax would lead to an answer, she said, "it can be."

"But to get it (fuel prices) under GST needs to be a thorough discussion in the GST Council (comprising Centre and the states)," she said.

The finance minister said if the GST Council agrees on one rate then all over the country there can be one fuel price rather than Chennai being more expensive than New Delhi or New Delhi more expensive than Mumbai.

"That anomaly can be addressed if it is under GST. And that can be just one tax which can be shared by both Centre and State," she said.

Petrol and diesel prices have been increased for 12 straight days, taking them to an all time high of Rs 97 per litre for petrol in Mumbai and over Rs 88 mark for diesel.

Retail pump prices differ from state-to-state depending on the local taxes (VAT) and freight.

Source: The Business Standard

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Why the moneyed aren't coming to India’s new international financial center in Gujarat

When Singapore set up an international financial hub in the late 1960s, the city-state was thinking both fast and slow — seizing an immediate opportunity, and opening a path to long-term economic development. Half a century later, India is attempting something similar in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. But without much thought going into what exactly it’s building, for whom and for what purpose, all it may get is a casino for the local rich.

For Singapore, the British  the British pound’s 1967 devaluation was the moment of reckoning. For one thing, it raised the profile of Dick van Oenen, a Dutch trader who had made a “significant windfall” for both his employer — Bank of America — and for the newly independent city-state from that abrupt 14% change. But beyond the immediate cash, Singapore saw a broader canvas.

The pound’s tumble had made countries in the Sterling Area, mostly former British colonies, painfully aware that the sun had finally set on the empire’s currency: They needed to switch to the dollar to lend and borrow.

The kind of rapid growth East Asia then imagined for itself could be more easily financed by inviting the rich overseas Chinese in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Manila and Jakarta to deposit their funds in dollars. Many of them had become extremely wealthy on assured cash flows from post-colonial monopolies and cartels in everything from gaming and racetrack-betting to flour-making and coconut-milling.

Channeling these regional savings into local investments and diversifying the Singapore economy was the longer-term impetus for starting a dollar-denominated banking hub, according to Oxford University historian Catherine Schenk. Bank of America’s local branch was the first to get the permission to open a separate set of books purely for international business.

India embarked on the project in 2007 with the ambitious goal of turning Mumbai, the country’s domestic financial capital, into an international hub after making the rupee fully convertible “by no later than the end of calendar 2008.” However, after a 14-year interlude that encompassed both the 2008 subprime crisis and a pandemic, there’s little enthusiasm left for financial globalization. Even trade liberalization, which looked irreversible in 2007, is being undermined by a misguided yearning for self-sufficiency. The venture was yanked away from Mumbai and taken to a patch of wilderness in Gujarat. Somewhere along the way, the original purpose was also lost.

All new stores need their early patrons. Had India pursued Singapore’s strategy, it would have begun by targeting nonresident Indians to keep some of their wealth with their banks’ branches in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City — more popularly known as Gift City — luring them with simple products not available  commercially in global markets, such as dollar-denominated sovereign Indian bonds. Corporate issuers would have followed. But banks are run by bankers, who need good schools and better pubs. Three high-rise buildings situated 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from Gandhinagar — the capital of a state where alcohol is prohibited — offer neither.

Since a bank-led approach wasn’t feasible, minders of Modi’s favorite project turned toward capital markets, in the hope that with sufficient inducement brokers would book trades in Gift City without having to set foot there.

As a result, the joyless place has spent years trying to become a marketplace for foreign currency-denominated contracts, hoping to capture some of the financial intermediation that now takes place in London, Singapore, Hong Kong or Dubai, but where the ultimate risk resides in India.

The Gujarat market offers a slew of tax breaks, but has very little customer liquidity. India’s two domestic exchanges — the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. and BSE Ltd. — are providing costly incentives to intermediaries to trade with one another there. At least 85%-90% of trades at Gift exchanges are proprietary trades, the news website Morning Context recently reported.

Hedge funds aren’t coming. Everything they want for risk mitigation or speculation is available within a one-mile radius in Singapore.

To arm-twist investors to come, India’s No. 1 stock exchange even picked a hissy fight with its long-term partner, the Singapore Exchange Ltd. The conflict has since died down, and there’s an agreement on setting up a pipe connecting NSE in Gift City with SGX after ensuring “member readiness.” Meanwhile, the city-state is still trading derivatives linked to Indian indexes and stocks with gusto:

Now comes another strategic wrong turn. Just last week, the central bank allowed resident individuals to open foreign-currency accounts in Gift City to invest in securities issued by overseas firms. This isn’t a step toward the original goal of capital-account convertibility.

India already permits all adults and minors an annual $250,000 quota for overseas remittances. Worse, if the money placed in Gift isn’t invested in 15 days, it returns home to a rupee account. Loose change of retail Indian cash parked temporarily in Gujarat is hardly going to entice a pedigreed global issuer to hawk equities or bonds there.

So who’s this for? Gift allows brokers to pool foreign customers’ money under omnibus accounts. Investors don’t need to register, only the brokers need to be satisfied that they’re legitimate. Even the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently ticked off broker-dealers for not doing enough due diligence on omnibus-account customers to prevent money laundering. The project’s regulator, which isn’t even one year old yet, will have to be on a serious watch against “round-tripping,” or local money escaping to evade taxes and then reentering as overseas investment.

Another plan is to bring trading in non-deliverable forwards — bets on the rupee that aren’t constrained by India’s capital controls because they’re settled in dollars — to Gift by luring overseas investors with tax breaks.

This, too, puts the cart before the horse. Among emerging-market NDFs, rupee contracts are the second-most-popular after the South Korean won, with a 19% share of the $250 billion-a-day market, according to a 2019 Bank for International Settlements survey.

The price signals these offshore derivatives emit tend to become a headache for a central bank trying to manage a controlled home currency in times of balance-of-payment stress, like during the 2013 taper tantrum.

Rather than wanting these  potentially destabilizing flows to come closer home, India ought to be deepening the onshore rupee market in Mumbai instead. It should also be paying more attention to interest-rate derivatives, like Mexico and South Africa have.

In hosting an international financial center, Singapore stole a march over rival Hong Kong, where the bankers were initially against more competition. But it wasn’t tall buildings that made the experiment a success.

A freely convertible currency, pragmatic regulation, a stable tax regime, rule of law and speedy dispute resolution played a huge role. (Good schools and pubs helped, too.)

Opening up after the pandemic, the Indian economy is awash in central bank-sponsored liquidity. What it lacks is capital, and the preconditions to establish a truly international financial center. Gujarat was never the right place to build a global mart. Bereft of any economic logic, Gift may only appeal to the local wealthy shopping for a bit of tax-free dollar riches.

Source: The Economic Times

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Robintex becomes ‘Textile Today Platinum Associates’ to steer with innovation in textile and apparel industry

Also present at the event, Robin Razon Sakhawat, Director, Robintex Group; Nasrin Jahan, Director, Sourcing, Robintex Group; Md. Eousup Novee, GM-HR & Strategy, Textile Today; Sanjoy Kumar Saha, Sr. Manager, Industry Engagement & Sub Editor, Textile Today Amzad Hossain Monir, AGM, Textile Today were also present at the event.

Textile Today, the leading global textile media platform appreciates Robintex Group for its contributions towards Textile Today Innovation Hub.

Sakhawat Abu Khair said, “I have always kept the environment in my mind in every aspect. Back in 1996, when I started the factory, I installed an ETP. Back then it was unthinkable.”

Robintex Group, a Germany-Bangladesh Joint venture, has internationally been renowned for its continual accomplishment in exporting quality knit apparel to the international markets from its establishment in 1996.

With the world-leading machinery, technology and expertise from Germany, the USA, UK, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Singapore and India, it has been resolutely shaped to qualify to be a full-fledged vertically integrated composite knit premise.

Besides all of the required utilities and about 0.71 million square feet of floor space for production, it has plenty of open space, lush greenery and necessary environmental protection measures as well. With 1864 sewing machines, here, about 7500 skilled workforce members are working in an ideal environment to produce about 0.1 million pieces of high-quality and diverse types of knit garments every day.

Conceding to its buyers’ increasing demands, Robintex has now committed an additional investment worth about US$28.20M in the same premise to strengthen and enhance its production capacity.

Robintex has taken initiative to put its footprint in the sustainability and water-saving process. Robintex recently signed a 20 Years Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) deal with Joules Power Ltd (JPL) to install facilities for generating 3.1 MWp (Mega Watt peak) rooftop solar electricity. This will be Bangladesh’s largest Industrial Solar Rooftop Project to be commissioned by Fiscal Year 2020-21.

The electricity will be generated on 32,886 square metres of rooftop area of several buildings of Robintex Group at Rupganj in Narayanganj district. The project will be implemented within nine months under the ‘Opex model’ where the builder will invest some $1.7 million.

Not to mention, Robintex installed a state-of-the-art digital printing machine which print over 70 meter fabric per minute.

Also, harvesting rainwater is one of the projects where Robintex Group invested not for making money rather to contribute to sustainability. To run the project Robintex Group divided it into three segments –

1.            Average normal rainfall calculation in Bangladesh (mm).

2.            Rainwater harvesting plan.

3.            Rainwater harvesting model.

The project designed and constructed based on the forecast and average rainfall of Bangladesh particularly in the Dhaka division area where the factory is situated.

Partnering with Textile Today Innovation Hub will surely assist Robintex Group to decide on the best sustainable solution for their industry.

Textile Today is acting as an effective and efficient innovation hub’, which regularly supports, facilitates, innovates, and enhances factory suppliers, suppliers, professionals, apprentices, etc. factory suppliers, suppliers, professionals, learning, etc.

By partnering with Robintex Group, the ‘Textile Today Innovation Hub’ will expand to a larger scale. Textile Today Innovation Hub is working on various industry projects regularly to find solutions. As an innovation hub, it regularly supports, facilitates, innovates, and enhances factory suppliers, suppliers, professionals, apprentices, etc. factory suppliers, suppliers, professionals, learning, etc.

Robintex Group believes that the industry will experience a new change in the manufacturing process, strategy and sustainable development that would be brought by the Textile Today Innovation Hub.

Becoming a part of this ‘Innovation Hub’ Textile Today Associates will not only help the platform work effectively but also enable partners to place the platform’s knowledge, communication, and networking leverage on the market as their innovation-driven business.

Source: Textile Today

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Centre, states should come together to set up manufacturing hubs: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday stressed the need for creating manufacturing hubs across the country, and said if it is pursued on war footing, India can leave China behind in the sector, a Delhi government statement said.

Speaking virtually at the sixth Governing Council meeting of Niti Aayog, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he also said that attention was not paid to the manufacturing sector in the country over the last 70 years, enabling China to capture local markets, he said.

"We saw how China has been challenging us on the border, and on the other hand, it has captured our markets and Chinese products are replacing Indian products on a large scale. If we all work together, India can overtake China in manufacturing," he asserted in the meeting.

Kejriwal suggested large-scale creation of manufacturing hubs across the country with facilities and tax benefits for production of cost-effective goods, the statement said.

"The Central and state governments should come together to build manufacturing hubs across the country, to provide facilities, and give tax breaks to MSMEs, manufacturers, and industrialists, for import substitutes and exports," he said.

"This will help them make products that are cheaper than those made in China and create jobs. This will also help us in leaving China behind in the field of manufacturing and the growth of India's GDP," he said.

He also supported favouring small and medium industries in the country.

The youths in the country have new ideas and plenty of energy and they should be provided facilities and capital to start businesses, Kejriwal said at the meeting.

The Delhi Chief Minister stressed that it is necessary to "aggressively pursue" manufacturing for India's economic progress, creation of jobs, and GDP growth.

"In the last 70 years, our country has never given importance to the manufacturing sector, as a result of which people are leaving the manufacturing sector and are moving towards the trading and service sectors. Our country is lagging behind in the manufacturing sector," he said.

In the last one year, COVID 19 pandemic "hugely" affected the manufacturing sector and many jobs were lost, he claimed.

"We need to aggressively promote start-ups. It will help us in creating a huge number of jobs in the country."

Citing his IIT background, Kejriwal said back then a lot of people used to go outside the country after studying in IITs.

"This trend has declined in the last 10-15 years, and our youths want to stay in India and start their own business. If the Central and state governments come together and provide facilities to our youth, we will have a huge contribution to the progress of the nation," he said.

He expressed hope that all the stakeholders will take a resolve towards expanding the manufacturing sector in India, he added.

Source: The Business Standard

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Govt working on law to regulate social media: Ram Madhav

Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said that social media has become so powerful that it can even topple governments, leading to anarchy and weakening democracy, and solutions to tackle this are needed to be found within the constitutional framework.

Speaking at the launch of his new book 'Because India Comes First', Madhav said democracy is stressed and facing new challenges with the rise of "non-political" and "non-state" forces.

"Social media is so powerful that it can even topple governments and regulating them is difficult as they are borderless. These forces can promote anarchy, which will weaken democracy but solutions should be within the constitutional framework," he said at the event hosted by the Prabha Khaitan Foundation on Saturday evening.

The existing laws are not adequate for this, he said.

"We require new rules and laws to tackle and manage. The government is already working in this direction," he added.

Madhav's comments come amid a row between the government and Twitter over blocking of accounts with Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asking the micro-blogging site to follow the Indian law.

Besides, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre and Twitter on a plea, seeking to regulate hate content and to make a law as per which action can be initiated against Twitter and their representatives in India for willfully abetting and promoting anti-India tweets and penalise them.

Madhav said that in his new book he has penned his observations on several decisions of the Modi government.

Answering a question on Gandhi, he said the RSS does not undermine any leader's contribution.

Gandhi was a great leader and his mantra of Ahimsa has been adopted by many global leaders, he said.

"There may be differences of opinion, which we even find between Nehru and Gandhi from the letters exchanged between them but that does not mean we disrespect a national leader. In the RSS morning prayer, we have Gandhi's name along with other leaders," Madhav said.

On Kashmir, he said that with the abrogation of Article 370, grassroot leaders are coming up against the hegemony of a few families.

He also emphasised that it is the responsibility of the people of the country to make Kashmiris feel that they are part of the 1.3-billion-strong family.

"Kashmiris are victims of propaganda for long. Things are changing but may take some time," he said.

Source: The Economic Times

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INTERNATIONAL

Brooklyn Bedding expands with new manufacturing facility

US-based mattress manufacturer and retailer, Brooklyn Bedding, has launched plans to expand its footprint in its home state, breaking ground on a new state-of-the art manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters in Glendale, Arizona. The 648,165-square-foot building will be located on 42.8 acres at the crossroads of West Bethany Home and 52nd Avenue.

The new manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters will merge the capacity of both the company’s current factory and warehouse. The plan entails an investment of more than $72 million to make Brooklyn Bedding nearly 100 per cent vertically integrated. The company again tapped long-time partner Brydant Real Estate to spearhead the project. The latter brought together two locally operated companies, the development team of Alston Construction and the architectural team of Ware Malcomb, for the design-build phase, Brooklyn Bedding said.

Pending completion of the new construction, Brooklyn Bedding will continue operations at its manufacturing facility at 4455 West Camelback Road and its warehouse at 4524 North 44th Avenue in Phoenix, according to Brooklyn Bedding.

At present, the company employs more than 250 employees in the Phoenix valley. With the completion of the new build slated for December of 2021, owner John Merwin hopes to add up to 150 employees over the next two years. Recognising the limits of brick-and-mortar in Phoenix, they sought a way to expand nationally.

In 2008, John pioneered the bed-in-a-box concept in the US, selling his first roll-packed mattress on Amazon. By 2015, Brooklyn Bedding had developed and constructed a 150,000-square-foot, full-scale factory in partnership with Brydant Real Estate. Less than four years later, with the hyper growth of the brand in both retail and wholesale channels, Brooklyn Bedding had reached maximum capacity and acquired a secondary warehouse, the company said in a media statement.

“Our relationship with Brooklyn Bedding was founded on John Merwin’s passion to be the best, coupled with his uncompromising integrity. At the end of the day, that's a vision we not only appreciate, but also live by.

As a real estate consultant and developer, I get excited about working closely with a partner who is truly a pioneer. We've created extraordinary synergy and value over the years because we both know what it takes to build from the ground up,” Scott Backes, president of Brydant Real Estate said in a press release by Brooklyn Bedding.

Source: Fibre2Fashion News

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Sudan floats currency, part of measures to overhaul economy

Sudan took the unprecedented but expected step of floating its currency Sunday, meeting a major demand by international financial institutions to help transitional authorities overhaul the battered economy.

The floatation is the boldest economic measure taken by the transitional government that has ruled Sudan after a popular uprising led to the military’s overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

Sudan’s currency will now fluctuate according to supply and demand, according to a statement by the Central Bank. It said the floatation is part of measures the transitional government has embarked on to help stabilise the country’s economy.

Sudan has for years struggled with an array of economic woes, including a huge budget deficit and widespread shortages of essential goods and soaring prices of bread and other staples. The country is USD 70 billion in debt and its annual inflation soared past 300 per cent last month.

Source: The Financial Express

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€150 mn in Portugal's recovery plan for textile, footwear, resin

Portugal recently released for public consultation its Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), which provides for €150 million to promote incorporation of bio-based materials in the textile and clothing, footwear and resins sectors. The planned investment aims to support 30 research, development and innovation projects and 40 industrial property registration applications.

In the textile and clothing sector, the aim is to develop new production processes for textile articles, “from bio-based raw materials, incorporating forest biomass (cellulose and lignin) and alternative natural fibres from the agri-food sector (fibres from pineapple and banana leaves, hemp, rice cane, among others)”.

The plan plans to contribute to 55 members per year joining the resin tappers programme and providing financial support for the improvement of 8,000 hectares of maritime pine woods with potential for resin tappers.

“The main purpose of this investment, which the Environmental Fund will implement, will be to incorporate biobased materials (as an alternative to fossil-based materials) in three sectors of national economic activity, ensuring greater competitiveness and contribute to the transition to carbon neutrality fairly and cohesively, essential for the achievement of environmental and economic goals in a sustainable way,” the document said.

It is also intended to improve that sector in terms of circularity, “promoting innovative business models based on the reprocessing of biological, recycled and reused raw materials.”

In the footwear sector, the investment is based on promoting the use and recycling of “agro-food or industrial by-products and bio-waste” and the “development of new concepts of bio and eco products with higher added value”.

Regarding the resin sector, the aim is to foster the production of natural resin, with initiatives to increase its production and ensure “levels of self-supply to the industry and catalyse sustainable forest management, reduce the risk of fire and contribute to the development of the rural world”.

Source: Fibre2Fashion News

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Britain’s Cairn hopeful of solution in $1.2 billion-plus tax tussle with India

Cairn Energy Plc said on Sunday it had discussed multiple proposals with Indian government officials in recent days in an attempt to find a “swift solution” to a long-drawn-out tax dispute with the South Asian nation. In December, an arbitration body awarded the British firm damages of $1.2 billion-plus interest and costs, after ruling India had breached its obligations to Cairn under the U.K.-India Bilateral Investment Treaty.

This month, Cairn filed a case in a U.S. district court to enforce the arbitration award, taking an initial step in its efforts toward recovering dues. The U.S. court this week issued electronic summons to the Indian government to file its response to the lawsuit within 60 days or face a judgment by default. In a release on Sunday, Cairn said it had held “cordial and constructive discussions” with officials from the Indian finance ministry.

“We remain hopeful that an acceptable solution can be found, in order to avoid further prolonging and exacerbating this

negative issue for all parties,” the company said, adding it is also ready to take all necessary steps to protect the interests of its shareholders.

The Indian government welcomes Cairn’s move to reach out for a resolution but plans to file an appeal against the arbitration award and contest its sovereign right to tax, said a government official in New Delhi, who asked not to be identified.

Cairn took the case to arbitration in 2015 to fight a demand from Indian authorities in 2014 for 102 billion rupees ($1.4 billion) in taxes that India said it was owed on capital gains related to the 2007 listing of its local unit.India lost another major international arbitration case last September against telecommunications giant Vodafone over a $2 billion retrospective tax dispute.

Source: The Financial Express

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Pakistan’s Textile Export Witnessed a Growth of 8.23% in FY21

During the first seven months of FY21, the textile exports of Pakistani witnessed an increase of 8.23% compared to the same period of FY20.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), textile exports were at $8,765.739 million during July-January (2020-21) against the exports of $8099.095 million in July-January (2019-20).

According to data, the textile commodities contributing a positive trade included:

Knitwear  : exports increased from $1831.758 million to $2175.021 million

Yarn          : exports (other than cotton yarn) increased from $16.286 million to $17.040 million

Bed wear : exports increased from $1392.020 to $1613.509

Towels     : exports increased from $444.685 million to $533.207 million

Tents, canvas, and tarpaulin  : exports increased from $49.611 million to $73.897 million

Ready-made garments          : exports increased from $1680.897 million to $1773.054 million

Art, silk, and synthetic textile : exports increased from $199.790 million to $200.687 million

Made-up article (excluding towels and bed wear): exports increased from $378.680 million to $446.878 million.

On the other hand, the commodities witnessing a negative growth, included:

Raw cotton: exports declined from $15.885 million to $0.593 million

Cotton yarn: exports declined from $639.770 to $486.426

Cotton cloth: exports declined from $1188.990 million to $1086.333

It is further said that on a year-on-year basis, the textile exports increased by 10.79% during Jan’21. The export value during this period was $1323.324 million.

Whereas, on a month-on-month basis, the exports witnessed a dip of 5.54% in Jan’21 compared to the exports of $1400.269 million in Dec’20.

Source: Textile Value Chain

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China urges US to lift trade restrictions, stop interference

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the US on Monday to lift restrictions on trade and people-to-people contacts while ceasing what Beijing considers unwarranted interference in the areas of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet. Wang’s comments at a Foreign Ministry forum on US-China relations come as Beijing is pressing the administration of President Joe Biden to drop many of the confrontational measures adopted by his predecessor Donald Trump.

Among those are pressure over trade and technology grievances that prompted Trump to hike tariffs on Chinese imports in 2017 and impose bans or other restrictions on Chinese tech companies and academic exchanges. Trump also upgraded military and diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy claimed by China as its own territory, while sanctioning Chinese officials blamed for abuses against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and a crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong.

“We know that the new U.S. administration is reviewing and assessing its foreign policy we hope that the U.S. policymakers will keep pace with the times, see clearly the trend of the world, abandon biases, give up unwarranted suspicions and move to bring the China policy back to reason to ensure a healthy steady development of China-U.S. relations,” Wang told diplomats, scholars and journalists at the Lanting Forum.

While Biden has pledged re-engagement and a more civil tone in U.S. diplomacy, its unclear whether he will make any fundamental changes in Washington’s policies toward Beijing. China faces more opposition than ever in Washington due to its trade record, territorial disputes with neighbours, and accusations of technology theft and spying. Taiwan enjoys strong bipartisan support, as do criticisms of China’s human rights record, especially on Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.

Wang said China had no intention to challenge or replace the United States” and was ready to peacefully coexist and seek common development. Wang urged the U.S. to “stop smearing” the reputation of China’s ruling Communist Party and to stop conniving at or even supporting the erroneous words and actions of separatist forces for Taiwan independence and stop undermining China’s sovereignty and security on internal affairs concerning Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.

” Wang said the U.S. should reactivate all levels of dialogue which he said the U.S. had effectively halted under the Trump administration, and boost cooperation on major bilateral and international issues. The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the global economic recovery are the three biggest issues on which the sides can cooperate, he said.

On trade, Wang said China would defend the rights of U.S. companies while hoping the U.S. would – adjust its policies as soon as possible, among others, remove unreasonable tariffs on Chinese goods, lift its unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and research and educational institutes and abandon irrational suppression of China’s technological progress.”

The U.S. should also lift restrictions on media, educational and people-to-people exchanges to reverse sharp declines in numbers of Chinese studying in the U.S. and visits by Chinese for tourism or business, Wang said. “I hope that the two sides will work together to steer the giant ship of China-U.S. relations back to the course of sound development toward a bright future will boundless prospects,” Wang said.

As is usual in Chinese foreign policy, Wang put the onus for improving relations squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. and offered no direct proposals for major breakthroughs, even while encouraging increased dialogue. While the tone taken toward the U.S. by high-ranking diplomats such as Wang, senior foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi and Xi himself appears more positive than under Trump, China’s Foreign Ministry spokespeople have remained combative.

At a briefing on Friday, spokesperson Hua Chunying contrasted the freak winter weather striking Texas with the robust social and economic interactions seen in China over the just-passed Lunar New Year holiday, without offering any show of sympathy.

“All this has given us a deeper understanding of what human rights truly mean and how to better protect them. We are more convinced that we are on the right path and have every confidence in the future,” Hua said

Source: The Financial Express

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