• CCI AD FROM 5th April 2021

MARKET WATCH 20 DEC, 2019

NATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

New textiles policy to help India emerge as manufacturing and exporting hub: Govt

"The entire effort is being made to realise the Prime Minister's vision of 'Make in India' for the country and for identifying one strong product with export potential from every district and cluster," the Textiles Ministry said. The government on Thursday said the new Textiles Policy 2020 being formulated by the Centre is aimed at developing in the country a competitive textile sector which is modern, sustainable and inclusive. This new policy will have a special focus on manufacturing of apparel and garment, technical textiles, man-made fibre products and exports. The Textiles Ministry has sought suggestions for formulating the much-awaited new Textiles Policy for the next 10 years, which will envisage positioning India as a fully integrated, globally-competitive manufacturing and exporting hub. The policy will entail the strategy and action plan for the country’s textile and apparel segments, while maintaining pre-eminent position in handicraft and handloom sectors. “The entire effort is being made to realise the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India’ for the country and for identifying one strong product with export potential from every district and cluster,” the Textiles Ministry said. In the statement, the Textiles Ministry said it is requesting substantive inputs and suggestions from all stake-holders including individuals and associations on various topics like wool, cotton, silk, jute, man-made fibre, handloom, handicraft, powerloom, infrastructure, investment, apparel, exports, branding and quality control, technical textiles, human resource, technology and machinery up-gradation to take forward various sub sectors of Textiles Industry to a level where production, exports and employment grows at faster pace. Inputs and suggestions for the New Textiles Policy 2020 may be given on the Textiles Ministry’s website till January 15, 2020. Last month, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said in the Rajya Sabha that the Centre is considering formulation of the National Textiles Policy after consultations with states. The formulation of the new policy has been under consideration for some time now. In 2016, then textiles minister Santosh Gangwar had said the new policy will envisage creation of additional 35 million jobs. The existing National Textile Policy 2000 was framed about 13 years ago. Since then, the industry has undergone various changes on the domestic and international front. The domestic textile industry has seen large-scale modernisation and technological up-gradation in the last decade and faces new challenges.

Source: Financial Express

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Industrial policy hikes SGST rebate from 30% to 75%

Jaipur: Chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday launched Rajasthan Industrial Development Policy, Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme, Chief Minister Small Scale Industries Promotion Scheme with the aim of creating inclusive, balanced and strong industrial development atmosphere to make Rajasthan as a favourable investment destination. Industry minister Parsadi Lal Meena said that Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme (RIPS) – 2019 has been further simplified and made easy. Eligible industrialists have been provided 100% rebate on electricity tax and stamp duty. Investment subsidy has also been increased from 30% to 75% of SGST. He said, “Doors of the state government are always open for industrialists. Problems of industrialists were listened by going to all the divisions and their problems were resolved with sensitivity.” Chief minister said to promote textile Industry in Jodhpur, Pali and Balotara all possible efforts are being made to solve the pollution related problems of industrialists. He said, “Subsidy up to Rs 50 lakh will be given on behalf of RIICO on setting up CETP. Earlier, this subsidy was of Rs 25 lakh. New industrial areas will be developed through RIICO in 11 districts.” To make the policy attractive to investors, the government has announced to investment subsidy of 75% of state tax for seven years, employment generation subsidy in the form of reimbursement of 50% towards employees EPF and ESI for seven years, 100% exemption on electricity duty, land tax mandi fees and stamp duty for seven years. Subodh Agarwal, additional chief secretary, Industries, said, “The incentives are most competitive for the industry. We did extensive analysis of policies and incentives offered by leading states and took views from large sections of the industry so that it reflects their interest. We are sure the policy is the best as of now, in the country and will be a trigger for many industries to set up base in the state and consequently, this will help create large number of jobs for the youth of the state.” The policy has also identified 11 sectors as thrust areas like agro-processing, bio-technology, dairy, defence, DMIC, electric vehicle, food processing sector, auto-component, electronic system design manufacturing, textiles, handicraft, chemical and petrochemical, pharmaceutical, leather and accessories, jewellery, mineral, and medical device manufacturing etc. The chief minister also awarded 42 industrialists under various categories with Rajasthan Udyog Ratna and Rajasthan export awards.

Source: Times of India

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Bangladesh to allow transhipment of Indian goods from January sans custom duties, transit fees

Bangladesh, notwithstanding its decision to cancel visits by foreign and home ministers to India last week in the aftermath of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill controversy, will allow transhipment of Indian goods via Chittagong and Mongla sea ports from January without charging customs duties and transit fees. The decision, considered a new phase in connectivity between the two countries, was agreed upon when Bangladesh shipping secretary Md. Abdus Samad met his Indian counterpart Gopal Krishna at the shipping secretary-level talks in Dhaka last week, officials told ET. Earlier, the Standard Operating Procedures to allow transhipment of Indian goods to and fro from landlocked north-eastern states was agreed upon during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Delhi in October. The move will give further push to India's Act East policy by connecting north-eastern states with SE Asia. Bangladesh expects that such connectivity between the countries will open up greater economic opportunities, strengthen infrastructure and boost business, according to Dhaka-based officials. “We are yet to decide the date of the first trial run, but it is likely to be in January next year. A container cargo is likely to operate either through Chittagong Port or Mongla Port to the Indian state of Tripura through the Agartala and Akhaura river routes,” said Abdus Samad. Customs fees are not applicable as it is a bilateral agreement between the two countries. But India will pay duties and taxes as per Bangladesh's tariff schedule for ports. It will also pay fees for using roads in line with the policy of the Bangladesh Road and Highways Division, officials said. Seven routes have been suggested for the movement of goods and passenger vessels between north-eastern states and two ports. These include Chittagong Port or Mongla Port to Agartala via Akhaura; Chittagong or Mongla port to Dawki via Tamabil; Chittagong or Mongla port to Sutarkandi via Sheola; and Chittagong or Mongla to Bibekbazar via Simantapur. Meanwhile, passengers travelling on cruise ships to India and Bangladesh will get on-arrival visas at the ports. It may be recalled that operations of cruise ships from Narayanganj (Bangladesh) to Kolkata began on a trial basis in March this year.

Source: Economic Times

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FM holds 6th Pre-Budget Consultation with prominent Industrialists

Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman held her 6th Pre-Budget Consultation with leading Industrialists here today in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2020-21. Along with the Union Finance Minister, the meeting was attended by Shri Anurag Singh, Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs; Shri Rajeev Kumar, Finance Secretary; Shri Injeti Srinivas, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Secretary; Shri Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, DEA; Shri Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary; Shri Tuhin Kant Pandey, Secretary, DIPAM, Shri Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT); Shri Amit Yadav, DG, Directorate General of Foreign Trade; Shri Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, CBDT; Dr K.V. Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser besides many senior officials of the Ministry of Finance. During interactive session lasting over 2 hours , prominent Industrialists spoke about improving regulatory environment to safeguard investments through Ease of Doing Business, increasing export competitiveness, reviving private investment and kick-starting growth of economy. Industrialists suggested many ways to boost the rural economy, especially ways to increase consumption. Other suggestions included ideas to improve IBC in relation to NCLTs and banks; faster mergers, acquisitions & demergers processes , ways to reduce time for FDI approval; structural changes in laws for effective and stable business environment; time-bound decisions for augmenting Ease of Doing Business both at Central & State levels; new investment of capital for building infrastructure; CAPEX for infrastructure to boost economy; preventing predatory pricing and dumping in India; facilitating R&D in India to boost Make in India; harnessing Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) by leveraging social funding through a new programme; ensuring liquidity for NBFCs with focus on rural economy and ways to increase consumption in economy. Leading Industrialists who participated in the Pre-Budget meeting included Shri Sunil Bhrati Mittal, Founder & Chairman of Bharti Enterprises; Shri B.V.N. Rao, Business Chairman, GMR Group; Shri Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director and CEO, Ashok Leyland Ltd.; Shri Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group; Shri Jatin Dalal, Global Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Wipro Ltd.; Shri Manoj Chugh, President, Group Public Affairs and Member-Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.; Shri Ravi Raheja, Group President, K Raheja Corp Group; Acharya Balkrishan , Chairman Patanjali Ayurved Ltd.; Shri Vikram Kirloskar, President, CII; Shri Sandip Somany, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI); Shri Balkrishan Goenka, President, ASSOCHAM among others.

Source: PIB

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Stakeholders Suggestions for New Textiles Policy 2020

The Ministry of Textiles is in the process of formulating a New Textiles Policy 2020 with a vision to develop a competitive textile sector which is modern, sustainable and inclusive with special focus on manufacture of apparel and garment, technical textiles, Man-made fibre products and exports while maintaining pre-eminent position in handicrafts and handlooms sectors. The Ministry of Textiles is requesting substantive inputs and suggestions from all stakeholders including individuals and associations on various topics likewool, cotton, silk, jute, man-made fibre, handloom, handicraft, powerloom, infrastructure, investment, apparel, exports, branding and quality control, technical textiles, human resource, technology and machinery up-gradation to take forward various sub sectors of Textiles Industry to a level where production, exports and employment grows at faster pace. The entire effort is being made to realize the Prime Minister’s vision of “Make in India” for the country and for identifying one strong product with export potential from every district and cluster. Inputs and suggestions for the New Textiles Policy 2020 may be given on Textiles Ministry’s website www.texmin.nic.in (in ‘What new’ section of homepage ) by 15th of January 2020.

Source: PIB

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Govt begins industry consultations

New Delhi: The government has set the ball rolling to bring back the lost glory of one of India’s largest employers - the textile sector – with an emphasis on generating jobs. The textiles ministry has started consultations on the New Textiles Policy, which will include a vision to position India as a “fully integrated, globally competitive manufacturing and exporting hub” and an action plan for the country’s textile and apparel sector. One round of consultations on manmade fibre has been held and the next round will begin soon, industry officials said. The country’s textile sector is under stress and the domestic industry faces competition from Bangladesh, Vietnam and Pakistan, among other countries. Exports of cotton yarn, made-up textile articles and handloom products declined 3.65% on year in November, while those of readymade garments fell 6.5%.“The second round of consultations will begin soon. The government plans to roll out the policy early next year,” an industry representative said. The ministry has sought suggestions for the policy. “The policy will be all-encompassing, looking at the entire spectrum of textiles, silk, handloom and exports but the focus is on employment generation and environment,” said another person aware of the development.

Source: Economic Times

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Relief for textile units in Maharashtra as state govt offers power subsidy

Textile units, mostly small and medium, are struggling to raise working capital owing to weak balance sheets. In a major relief to textile units in Maharashtra, the state government has started disbursing power subsidy of up to Rs 3.77 per unit to powerlooms, spinning mills, and garment units in the state. Textile units, mostly small and medium, are struggling to raise working capital owing to weak balance sheets. Many of them had shut down part of their operating capacity due to weak demand from domestic markets and sharp fall in exports. Energy accounts for nearly half the production cost in the textile value chain. While spinning mills across India are struggling to pass on the elevated cotton prices to consumers, textile manufacturers are facing falling exports. The ongoing economic slowdown in the country has lowered the domestic demand of fabric and readymade garments, resulting in a continuous squeeze in profit margins. “We have started releasing up to Rs 3.77 per unit of power subsidy to powerlooms and also to other units in the textile value chain as announced by the government. The release of funds would certainly benefit textile and garment units in the state,” said Madhvi Khode Chaware, commissioner of textiles, Government of Maharashtra, on the sidelines of a garment and fabric manufacturers’ fair. “Solapur in Maharashtra has emerged as the world’s only uniform hub. But, manufacturing units in this hub need to focus on exports,” said Ajit Chavan, additional commissioner, textiles ministry, government of India. Amit Kumar Jain, director, Solapur Garment Manufacturers Association (SGMA), said: “The uniform manufacturing industry is growing at a faster pace and may become a Rs 25,000-crore sector by 2024 from Rs 18,000 crore now.” With a budget provision of Rs 150 crore, the state government has announced Rs 3 per unit of power subsidy for cooperative spinning mills and Rs 2 per unit for large knitting, garment, and hosiery units in the state. Meanwhile, an ICRA study said spinners were likely to register revenue de-growth of ar-ound 6 per cent, with both volumes and realisations having come under pressure in the first half of FY20 due to weak export demand amid increasing competition from other producing countries and sluggishness in domestic consumption levels. Higher domestic raw material cost, with Indian cotton prices trading at a premium to international cotton, also contributed to the loss of export competitiveness. Buoyed by the improvement in exports witnessed since October 2019, the industry is hoping for a gradual recovery in cotton yarn exports over the coming quarters, aided by the softening of domestic cotton prices. Domestic spinners expect performance in FY20 will be affected by tepid volumes and weak earnings in the first half of the financial year. According to the findings of a recent ICRA survey on the domestic cotton spinning industry, this is the likely scenario even though the industry is recovering from the slowdown. “While export volumes have seen some uptick in recent months, as against the sharp de-growth witnessed in May-September 2019, they remain lower than the levels seen in the preceding fiscal year. The survey participants expect revenues to fall by more than 5 per cent and operating profitability to contract by around 3 per cent for FY2020,” said Jayanta Roy, senior vice-president and group head, Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA. He said the spinners’ performance was likely to improve gradually in the coming quarters, driven by an uptick in exports and favourable cotton prices with the onset of the new season.

Source: Business Standard

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India Inc seeks steps to stimulate consumption, revive investment

India Inc has made a strong pitch for converging corporate tax rate to 15% over three years, ease of doing business and improving regulatory environment to safeguard investment as part of its budget wish list. At a pre-budget meeting with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman Thursday, industry captains sought measures to stimulate consumption, revive private investment and boost growth. “I made some suggestions around mergers and acquisitions and demergers, about NCLT processes and about certain sections of income tax that are coming in the way of M&A or are slowing them down,” Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal told reporters after the meeting. “The idea is to create more freedom for the industry for them to perform. What we look forward to in this budget is that it unleashes the energy of the Indian entrepreneurs to do more.” Industry body CII sought policy stability for restoring investor confidence in sectors like retail, mining, auto and renewable energy. CII president Vikram Kirloskar talked of applicability of redu-ced corporate tax rate of 22% for existing firms in limited liability partnerships and partnership firms. “This will in turn offer relief to the MSME sector,” he said. FICCI president Sandip Somany suggested that income tax for those earning over `20 lakh should be halved to boost consumption. “Banks need to lower interest rates and pass on rate reduction announced by RBI.” The government has set up a Rs 25,000-crore fund to support under-development projects in the real estate sector. The industry seeks more relief for homebuyers to drive growth. “The government should allow homebuyers to get a family tax deduction on home loans,” said Ravi Raheja, group president of K Raheja Group. The government should relook at the import duty structure to rationalise taxation, CII suggested, pointing out that export competitiveness needed equal costs of higher logistics and electricity and lifting of cross-subsidisation. “Import duties should be structured in such a manner that they are the highest for final goods, lower for intermediate goods and lowest for raw material, which will strengthen Make in India,” it said. GMR Group business chairman BVN Rao, Ashok Leyland MD Vipin Sondhi, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group chairman Sanjiv Goenka, Wipro’s global CFO Jatin Dalal, Patanjali Ayurved chairman Acharya Balkrishan and ASSOCHAM president Balkrishan Goenka were among the representatives of Corporate India at Friday’s meeting.

N Chandrasekaran skips meeting

Tata Sons executive chairman N Chandrasekaran skipped the pre-budget meeting with the finance minister on Thursday, a day after the NCLAT restored Cyrus Mistry as executive chairman of the holding company of the Tata Group.

Source: Economic Times

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To avoid RCEP-like stalemate, India to go slow on FTAs

India will not sign any free trade agreement (FTA) in a hurry or to the disadvantage of the industry and exporters, according to commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, who recently told the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Exports Summit that New Delhi is talking to the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom regarding trade pacts. “I can assure all of you that going forward, none of the FTAs will be settled in a hurry or will be settled to the disadvantage of Indian industry and exporters,” he said. Even the first leg of India’s trade deal with the United States is for the benefit of both sides equitably, he was quoted as saying by a news agency. As the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which India opted out of last month after negotiating it for seven years, has been reduced to an India-China FTA, nobody wants it, he said. He clarified that walking out of the RCEP does not mean that India does not want to be a part of the global value chain. He urged the industry to focus on becoming part of the value chain with Europe, the United States, ASEAN nations, Japan and Korea. Goyal said that Indian business and industry have been put to disadvantage over the years and instead of addressing some of the real issues that industries face, more and more distress was caused to them. Simultaneously, India's export faced huge trade barriers in other countries, he said. After 2011 when FTAs were finalised, India's exports barely inched up while imports shot up drastically and therefore the country's trade imbalance became manifold, he added. CII has identified 18 developing economies that hold the promise of sustained growth over the coming few decades based on current gross domestic product (GDP) levels and population indicators. These are: Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, South Africa, Malaysia, Philippines, Egypt, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Ghana, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Cote D’Ivoire, Cambodia and Guinea. The report titled ‘India’s Exports to Emerging Economies: Targeting Prospects and Chasing Opportunity’ was released by Goyal. CII’s research also pinpoints to 53 products at the 4-digit HS code level which hold strong prospects for greater inroads into the identified emerging economies. These products were identified based on a multi-tier analysis including the top imports of the identified countries, India’s current export competitiveness in each of the products (revealed comparative advantage) and current global export volumes. Of this list, the products have been further sub-divided into three lists to indicate levels of export potential from India based on existing competitiveness and other factors.

Source: Fibre2fashion

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MPC pitches for close coordination with govt to address growth challenges

Other MPC members include Chetan Ghate, Pami Dua, Ravindra Dholakia, RBI executive director Micheal Patra and RBI deputy governor BP Kanungo. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das cautioned about several uncertainties clouding the growth-inflation outlook, and called for close coordination between measures taken by the central bank and the government to address the current slowdown, minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) released on Thursday showed. All six members of the MPC had voted in favour of the pause in the December policy review meeting, leaving the repo rate unchanged at 5.15%. Other MPC members include Chetan Ghate, Pami Dua, Ravindra Dholakia, RBI executive director Micheal Patra and RBI deputy governor BP Kanungo. The repo rate was lowered by 135 basis points in five back-to-back cuts between February and October. The MPC also decided to continue with the accommodative stance as there was room for rate cuts going ahead, but it would also monitor inflation data in coming months to get more clarity on movement in prices. On food Inflation and particularly the surge in onion prices, Das said the surge in food inflation in last three months, driven up by a spike in onion and other vegetable prices, could be transitory. “It is likely to reverse gradually as late kharif output comes to the market, ” Das said during the MPC meet. Das also said there is a need for greater clarity as to how the overall food inflation path is going to evolve, as there is some uncertainty about the outlook of prices of certain non-vegetable food items such as cereals, pulses, milk and sugar. It is also not clear at this stage as to how the recent increase in telecom charges will play out even as CPI inflation, excluding food and fuel, has moderated. Das said while improved monetary transmission and a quick resolution of global trade tensions could push the growth above the projected trajectory, a delay in revival of domestic demand, a further slowdown in global economic activity and geopolitical tensions could pull it down below the projected path. Acknowledging that the impact of recent counter-cyclical measures taken by the government is playing out, he also said “The next Budget is due for presentation in about two months and it will provide greater clarity about measures that the government may initiate. It is imperative that monetary and fiscal policies work in close coordination.” While there is policy space for a future rate reduction, the cuts need to be appropriately timed to ensure optimal impact, Das said. He mentioned that overall liquidity in the system remains in sizable surplus.

Source: Financial Express

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Business fears hit to cash flow from new GST input tax credit restriction

Industry fears that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council’s decision to further restrict input tax credit (ITC) on invoices not uploaded in the relevant form would block the cash flow of businesses, says the latter, at a time when they’re struggling on finances due to economic slowdown. On Wednesday, the Council approved a proposal to restrict ITC to 10 per cent of eligible credit, against the current 20 per cent, for such invoices. The mechanism works this way: Suppose you paid Rs 1,000 as taxes to your suppliers and claimed this as ITC on your summary input-output form, GSTR 3B. You have to also ensure all your suppliers upload these invoices in their supply-side return, GSTR 2A. Now, if invoices amounting to 20 per cent of the ITC claimed are not so uploaded by your vendors, then your eligible credit would be only Rs 800. You can claim further ITC of Rs 80 (10 per cent of Rs 800) after the GST Council’s decision is notified. Earlier, you could have done so for Rs 160. In fact, before October, whatever was claimed as ITC in GSTR 3B, was being released by the authorities. In October, the government restricted this to 20 per cent of eligible credit. And, now, to 10 per cent. Archit Gupta, chief executive at fintech service platform ClearTax, says the new restriction will be challenging for businesses. "They will have to do regular follow-ups with their suppliers." M S Mani, partner at consultants Deloitte India, said the restrictions on ITC increase the blockages of working capital. Rule 36 (4) under the Central GST Act, which enables such restrictions, is already under challenge at the Delhi high court. "Businesses would welcome the elimination of such restrictions which are not in consonance with key GST principles which mandate seamless credits across the value chain," said Mani. Abhishek Rastogi, partner at Khaitan & Co., said the restriction on credits due to the fault of the vendors will have to cross the constitutional test. "Further, even the percentage of either 10 or 20 per cent is not based on any logic and hence is completely arbitrary," he said. Harpreet Singh, partner at consultancy KPMG. He says many multinational companies have completely forgone the 20 per cent or 10 per cent credit, on account of the hassle of month-on-month reconciling of credit. Abhishek Jain, tax partner at consultancy EY, says the new restrictions are due to falling tax collections and to plug fraudulent credits. "It is imperative for businesses to ensure timely credit reconciliation, including follow-up with vendors, timely correction and maintaining of adequate date for the said compliance. Wherever proper reconciliations are not done, it may lead to cash flow issues,” he said. Gupta of ClearTax feels further reduction in credit could have been considered later, with the new return filing process. In the latter, there is the concept of invoice matching — ITC cannot be claimed on invoices not reconciled. These returns would come into effect from April 1.

Source: Business Standard

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Govt plans to implement all four labour codes in one go, likely in 2020

The government is yet to issue a separate order notifying the date of its implementation. The government is planning to implement all the four labour codes on a single date later next year, a senior labour and employment ministry official said. “The thinking within the government is that a single date for the implementation of all the four labour codes will be fruitful because it will ensure uniformity and will lead to an efficient execution,” the official said. After being re-elected in 2019, the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has expedited its plans of reforming the labour laws. While the labour code on wages has already become a law, the remaining three codes each on industrial relations, social security and welfare, and occupational safety, health and working conditions have been introduced in the Lok Sabha. After all the four codes become law, industry will have to apply for a single registration for labour laws, instead of the need to do eight separate labour law registrations. However, the government’s latest move towards a uniform date for the implementation of labour laws will mean that the implementation of the Code on Wages Act, 2019, could face delay by at least one year from when it became a law. Though the code has become an Act in August, the government is yet to issue a separate order notifying the date of its implementation. The code’s main feature was to ensure minimum wages to workers across sectors. The previous minimum wages law was only applicable to a few industries and establishments. A later date of implementation of the Code on Wages Act will also imply that the industry may get some relief from a rise in its wage bills due to any possible hike in the minimum wages. The official explained that the consolidation of 36 labour laws into four codes will result in the harmonisation of various key definitions related to wages, employees, employers, and workplace, among others. "If basic concepts such as what will constitute wages vary across labour laws, it may lead to confusion and arbitration," the official said. However, some industry representatives criticised the move and said it would “postpone the labour law reforms”. “All good moves do not have to happen together. I don’t agree with the government’s myopic view. The code on wages Act clearly defines wages, overtime and other such concepts so why should it wait for other Bills to become a law?” Pradeep Bhargava, president of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce said. Bhargava added that the intent of the government to push for labour law reforms would be nullified as some labour Bills may even take more than a year to become an Act. It took exactly two years for the code on wages Bill, which was introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2017 and subsequently referred to a standing committee, to become a law. The standing committee had submitted its report in December 2018.

Source: Business Standard

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GST compensation required by 9 large states could double to Rs 70,000 crore in FY'20: ICRA

GST compensation payment of nine select states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra and Kerala, is expected to double to Rs 60,000-70,000 crore in 2019-20, according to a report. The timing of release of such grants by the Government of India (GoI) to these states would critically affect their cash flows, ICRA said in a report. The states are Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the report said. ICRA also expressed apprehension that "the central tax devolution (CTD) to these states in 2019-20 could be Rs 595-770 billion (Rs 59,500-77,000 crore) lower than what the GoI has budgeted, which has emerged as a key revenue risk for the states in this fiscal." Accordingly, a reduction in capital expenditure below the budgeted level appears imminent in the current fiscal. Subdued economic growth and reductions in GST rates have resulted in a muted 3.7 per cent rise in the headline GST collections in April-November 2019. ICRA expects the actual SGST collections in the current fiscal to be considerably lower than the level of revenues protected under the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017, which is calculated based on a 14 per cent annual growth rate on the base year (FY2016) revenues subsumed into the GST. This would necessitate a significant rise in the GST compensation grants required by the states from the Centre, it said. The CTD to all the 29 states has recorded a YoY contraction of 2.7 per cent in April-October 2019, it said, adding, this is likely to reflect a portion of the adjustment for the higher-than-warranted devolution that was made by the GoI to the states in FY2019. "The CTD to the states in FY2019 was presumably based on the GoI's FY2019 Revised Estimates (RE) of gross tax revenues of Rs 22.5 trillion. However, the provisional data for FY2019 had pegged the GoI's gross tax revenues at Rs 20.8 trillion, Rs 1.7 trillion lower than the RE for that year," it said. Accordingly, the tax devolution to all the 29 states was higher than mandated by Rs 0.6-0.7 trillion, it said. Additionally, the report expects the GoI's actual gross tax revenues to trail the FY2020 revised budget estimates (RBE) of Rs 24.6 trillion by a considerable Rs 3.0-3.5 trillion. "After factoring in the shortfalls in gross tax collections in FY2019 and the estimated gap in FY2020, the aggregate CTD to all the Indian states may be as much as Rs 1.7-2.2 trillion lower in the current year than what was budgeted by the GoI," it said. Based on the combined inter-se share in Central taxes of the nine states of 35.3 per cent, it estimates the shortfall in CTD to these states in the range of Rs 595-770 billion in FY2020, posing a key revenue risk in the current fiscal.

Source: Economic Times

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Soon, spinning mills in Kerala to be powered by solar energy

In line with this, Cannanore Cooperative Spinning Mills Ltd and Malabar Cooperative Textiles Limited (Malcotex) in Kannur have sought the government’s formal nod for switching to solar power. After the solar-powered airport, now the state government is planning to use solar energy to power spinning mills since power has been a major area of concern for textile mills in the country. A feasibility study by textile mills — the sector is one of the biggest consumers of power — found that switching to solar energy will significantly slash operational costs. In line with this, Cannanore Cooperative Spinning Mills Ltd and Malabar Cooperative Textiles Limited (Malcotex) in Kannur have sought the government’s formal nod for switching to solar power. “We have submitted a proposal to generate 400 kW of rooftop solar power from Cannanore Cooperative Spinning Mills and a 2 mW solar power project on Malcotex premises,” said Ramesh C R, managing director, Cannanore Cooperative Spinning Mills Ltd. The 2-mW project at Malcotex is estimated to cost around `8 crore, with the 400 kW project expected to cost `1.8 crore. Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) will be the implementing agency. But the agency for implementing the solar power project at Cannanore Cooperative Spinning Mills is yet to be finalised. On an average, a spinning mill in Kerala runs up a monthly power bill of `30-40 lakh. In the case of Malcotex and Cannanore Cooperative Spinning Mills, their monthly power consumption comes to around six lakh units which leave them with a `40 lakh-bill. A spinning mill spends around 18-20 per cent of its revenue on energy costs. Since it emerged that the idea is feasible, the Alleppey Cooperative Spinning Mills Ltd and Malappuram Cooperative Spinning Mills Ltd have decided to turn their spinning mills into solar-powered ones. According to Industries Minister E P Jayarajan, spinning mills have been facing some financial hiccups and the state government has decided to convert the spinning mills into solar-powered ones in a phased manner.

Source: Indian Express

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Global Textile Raw Material Price 19-12-2019

Item

Price

Unit

Fluctuation

Date

PSF

1009.31

USD/Ton

0.57%

12/19/2019

VSF

1416.18

USD/Ton

-0.20%

12/19/2019

ASF

1998.64

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

Polyester    POY

1009.31

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

Nylon    FDY

2112.85

USD/Ton

1.02%

12/19/2019

40D    Spandex

4097.21

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

Nylon    POY

1984.36

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

Acrylic    Top 3D

2184.23

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

Polyester    FDY

1156.36

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

Nylon    DTY

2369.82

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

Viscose    Long Filament

5396.33

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

Polyester    DTY

1263.43

USD/Ton

0.57%

12/19/2019

30S    Spun Rayon Yarn

1991.50

USD/Ton

-0.36%

12/19/2019

32S    Polyester Yarn

1613.19

USD/Ton

2.26%

12/19/2019

45S    T/C Yarn

2398.37

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

40S    Rayon Yarn

2169.95

USD/Ton

-6.75%

12/19/2019

T/R    Yarn 65/35 32S

1884.43

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

45S    Polyester Yarn

1770.22

USD/Ton

1.64%

12/19/2019

T/C    Yarn 65/35 32S

2184.23

USD/Ton

0%

12/19/2019

10S    Denim Fabric

1.26

USD/Meter

0%

12/19/2019

32S    Twill Fabric

0.69

USD/Meter

0%

12/19/2019

40S    Combed Poplin

0.97

USD/Meter

0%

12/19/2019

30S    Rayon Fabric

0.53

USD/Meter

-0.27%

12/19/2019

45S    T/C Fabric

0.67

USD/Meter

0%

12/19/2019

Source: Global Textiles

Note: The above prices are Chinese Price (1 CNY = 0.14276 USD dtd. 19/12/2019). The prices given above are as quoted from Global Textiles.com.  SRTEPC is not responsible for the correctness of the same.

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Bangladesh: Govt drafts rules for DoT registration of textile, RMG factories

The government has taken an initiative to formulate the textile (industry registration) rules under the Textile Act 2018 in an effort to bring the country’s textile and clothing industries under the regulation of the Department of Textile. The textile and jute ministry has prepared a draft guideline for the registration of all types of clothing and textile factories and has sought recommendations from stakeholders on the draft. As per the draft, the apparel and textile industries would have to fulfil a number of criteria, including environmental and workplace related compliances, to obtain licence from the DoT. It said that the factories would have to submit updated versions of all the required documents, install fire extinguishers in premises while discharge of industrial wastage into rivers or other water bodies has been disallowed. The draft also said that factory authorities were not allowed to employ child workers and were required to provide for day care centres and maternity leaves with benefits to female workers to ensure a decent work environment. In order to obtain licence, establishments would have to harvest rain water to reduce the use of ground water, the draft added. The textile ministry sent the draft rule to the respective trade bodies on November 25 and will hold a meeting with the stakeholders on it on December 23. In the draft, the ministry has proposed a registration fee for the factories based on their investments. According to the draft, a licence fee of Tk 5,000 has been proposed for factories with investments of Tk 1-10 crore, Tk 10,000 for factories with investments of Tk 10-25 crore, Tk 25,000 for factories with investment of Tk 25-50 crore, Tk 50,000 for factories with investment Tk 50-100 crore and Tk 1,00,000 for factories with investments of above Tk 100 crore. DoT director general Dilip Kumar Saha told New Age on Thursday that the ministry had initiated the move as all textile and apparel companies were required to obtain registration with the department under the Textile Act 2018. He said that although the provision to become registered had been there for a long time, the formulation of the rule would ensure maintenance of regulation in all sub-sectors of the textile industries, including primary textile, readymade garment, allied textile, packaging and accessories manufacturers. According to the draft, entrepreneurs needed to file applications with the DoT along with the documents of the updated trade licence, income tax certificate, certificate of incorporation as limited company and bank solvency certificate, factory layout plan approved by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, fire licence and environmental clearance. After the application is filed, the registrar would issue an inspection order within three days following which the inspector would submit his report within 10 days. The registrar would issue a registration certificate to the entity a period of three years based on the eligibility criteria fulfilled during inspection, the draft said.

Source: New Age Business

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Donald Trump impeached by US House of Representatives for abuse of power

The House voted 230 to 197 largely along party lines to adopt the first of two impeachment articles, alleging he misused the power of his office to withhold military assistance. The US House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress, the culmination of an effort by Democrats that further inflamed partisan tensions in Washington and deepened the nation’s ideological divide. The historic votes on Wednesday evening, which won the support of almost all Democrats in the House chamber but not a single Republican, leave Trump as only the third president in US history to be impeached -- and the only impeached president likely to win his party’s nomination for re-election. The Senate will hold a trial early next year to decide whether the president should be convicted on the charges and removed from office, though the Republicans who have the majority in that chamber will almost certainly acquit him. House Democrats took depositions from more than a dozen witnesses, held weeks of hearings, and wrote hundreds of pages documenting Trump’s efforts to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Yet public support for Trump’s impeachment and removal rarely went much above 50% in polling, and there is little evidence that the proceedings left him in a worse position politically on the eve of the 2020 election. After more than six hours of debate, the House voted 230 to 197 to adopt the first of two impeachment articles, one alleging he misused the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The House voted 229 to 198 on a second article accusing him of obstructing Congress. The final vote left all sides dissatisfied. Republicans fumed at what they called a rushed process, accusing Democrats of ignoring their demands for witnesses and trying to tarnish Trump heading into his campaign. Democrats received a momentary boost in September when the details of Trump’s controversial call with Ukraine’s president first emerged. But they failed to inflict lasting damage to the president, even as the evidence mounted that Trump had indeed done exactly what Democrats charged: Tried to strong-arm an ally to investigate a prominent political rival by holding back military aid and an Oval Office visit. Minutes before the House began voting, Trump took the stage for a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, a state that was crucial to his victory in 2016 and his chances for re-election next year, to provide a real-time rebuttal to the impeachment debate. “After three years of sinister witch hunts, hoaxes, scams, tonight, House Democrats are trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans,” Trump told the crowd.

Shift to Senate

The drama will now shift to the Senate for a trial next month that will be presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts. With a two-thirds vote required to convict the president, Trump’s acquittal in the Republican-controlled chamber is all but assured. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already declared that he is “not an impartial juror” and is setting a course to bring the proceedings to a swift conclusion. The historic debate and vote took place in the same chamber where presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached. The arguments on the House floor mostly replayed those made in Judiciary and Intelligence committee impeachment hearings since last month, and on Tuesday as lawmakers set the ground rules for Wednesday’s floor action.

‘Duty’

Opening the debate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump an “ongoing threat to our national security,” and declared that, “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty.” Republican Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, a leading defender of the president during Judiciary Committee hearings, said in rebuttal that the president did nothing wrong. “The people of America see through this,” Collins said. “The people of America understand due process and they understand when it is being trampled in the people’s house.” The House vote culminates a nearly three-month investigation into Trump’s Ukraine dealings by Democrats led by Pelosi, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff. The inquiry was set off in September by a still-unnamed whistle-blower’s complaint and the White House’s release of a July 25 transcript of phone call between the US President and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Impeachment Momentum

Trump and his Republican backers accuse Democrats of hurtling toward impeachment of the 45th president since the day he won election. In fact, at least a few the most liberal Democrats had been calling for his impeachment since the first reports by US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the 2016 election to Trump’s benefit. But Pelosi had staved off those demands, until the Ukraine revelations dramatically shifted the sentiment among Democrats, drawing support from more centrist members of the party who were wary of paying a political price with angry Trump voters in their districts. Even if Trump evades conviction and removal, the House vote will leave a stain on Trump’s time in the White House and his place in history.

Political Impact

With polling heading into the vote showing the country as sharply divided along party lines on impeachment as were the House members in their votes, Trump and his allies are vowing to make it an issue in coming elections. On Tuesday, the president sent an angry and rambling six-page letter to Pelosi saying the impeachment vote would backfire on Democrats. “Any member of Congress who votes in support of impeachment -- against every shred of truth, fact, evidence and legal principle -- is showing how deeply they revile the voters and how truly they detest America’s constitutional order,” he wrote. Although anger surrounding impeachment has animated voters in both parties, it’s not yet clear that it will be the central issue when they cast ballots next November in an election to decide control of the White House and Congress. The cost an availability of health care and the state of the economy remain the top issues mentioned by voters in most polls. There also may be events over the next 10 months that reshape the campaigns. “Things move so fast we can’t just assume that things that seem very important now are going to matter later,” Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Chrystal Ball website at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said last week.

Source: Bloomberg

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ZDHC reports ‘most’ targeted chemical groups no longer intentionally used

In its first impact report, the apparel and textiles sector’s ZDHC group has set out its progress in eliminating certain chemical groups, as well as those that are still a challenge. Launched in 2011, the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals has 30 signatory brands, 101 value chain affiliates and 19 associates – all organisations in the textile, apparel, leather and footwear industry. The programme was launched in response to Greenpeace’s Detox campaign, which pushed for apparel brands to phase out 11 groups of chemicals of concern. The ZDHC’s report says that wastewater results show that most of the 11 priority chemical groups are "no longer intentionally used by the ZDHC Community".However, it highlights three chemical groups that members are still finding a challenge to substitute. These are alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEOs), phthalates and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). "While some manufacturers have already phased them out, others are finding it particularly challenging to come up with equally effective substitutions," the report says. But it adds, with "continued effort and innovation these three remaining hazardous groups are likely to be replaced soon."

Achievements

The ZDHC says it has created a "mind shift" by developing and jointly implementing an industry aligned manufacturing restricted substance list (MRSL), which sets out chemical substances banned from intentional use in the facilities that process textiles, leather and footwear. "Before the ZDHC was formed in 2011, brands typically managed product safety through a restricted substance list (RSL) which only addressed chemicals that may be present on finished products." This wasn’t the best approach, it adds, because it meant that hazardous chemicals could be used in the manufacturing process, as long as they weren’t present above a certain concentration in the final goods. The ZDHC has also "laid the groundwork" by developing the roadmap and tools to enable the sector to "advance towards the phase out the intentional use of hazardous chemicals by 2020".Its Roadmap to Zero programme originally set 2020 as a milestone for the phase-out of hazardous chemicals. "We haven’t yet accomplished everything we set out to achieve back in 2011. But we are going to continue with an increasing number of brands, a rapidly growing community, and a firm commitment to advance towards zero discharge," said the organisation's executive director, Frank Michel. It is a moving target, he added, as the 11 groups of chemicals are not the only ones of concern, which is why the MRSL has many more substances and will continue to add them as information becomes available. The report does not provide specific figures on the amount of hazardous chemicals that have been avoided or phased out since the ZDHC's inception. Mr Michel told Chemical Watch that such figures are difficult to obtain because of the sector’s fast growth since 2011 and lack of traceability over that time. In addition, chemical suppliers have only just started to upload information on the chemicals they provide for the textiles sector to the ZDHC’s reporting tools. "The chemical industry is now on board and they are endorsing our tools, such as the Chemical Gateway where they upload their products. And this will really kick off the ZDHC community’s ability to record better data on input chemistry," the report says. Greenpeace Germany’s consumption and toxics campaigner, Viola Wohlgemuth, told Chemical Watch that the ZDHC’s 2020 target was originally set to shape the level of urgency and ambition, but is not an "achieve or fail" cut off timeline. "Detox committed brands have not only laid the ‘groundwork’, action has been taken that has led to significant progress," she said.

Source: Chemical Watch

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BRICS Countries Make Strides Towards Digital Sovereignty

BRICS is an international association made up of five countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Taken together, their population forms about 42% of the world's overall population. It's therefore little surprise that the five countries, albeit some more intensely than others, are becoming major economic and political influences. They are also becoming more focused on innovation, which was the subject of the last BRICS summit last month in Brazil: “BRICS: Economic Growth for an Innovative Future”.

Indeed, the focus of the summit seemed to be strengthening the mutual co-operation in innovation, and the digital economy. The latter is particularly relevant because of the population statistic mentioned earlier – almost half of the world's population logically generates almost half of the world's data. This data is undoubtedly viewed as an asset – and it is. And like any assets, it needs protection from newly emerging threats like cybercrime. That is, at least, the point of view of some BRICS countries – we'll explore the examples below.

These governments are, of course, not alone in this approach – the adoption of the GDPR's strict rules on data protection, for example, shows that the European regulators see the value of, and the risks posed to, personal data circulating in the digital space.

To an extent, some provisions of the GDPR hint at personal data sovereignty – references to countries without adequate personal data protection in place as “third” countries, for instance. Some efforts taken by BRICS' are, however, much more significant, as we'll see in due course – in fact, the phenomenon is referred to as “digital sovereignty”.

What is Digital Sovereignty?

The earliest definition of the concept was provided by the CEO of a French radio station Pierre Bellanger, who stated in 2011 that “Digital sovereignty is control of our present and destiny as manifested and guided by the use of technology and computer networks”.

Whether this definition still applies today is another matter. GDPR is an example of an attempt to standardize digital sovereignty – arguably one of the first of its kind. However, it is hard to imagine the definition still being valid in the age of surveillance capitalism, data brokering and some states trying to regulate the internet to their gain rather to the gain of the people for whom it was intended in the first place.

We'll now take a look at whether the BRICS countries are doing exactly that.

Brazil

The countries aren't opposed to innovation – far from it, in fact. Co-operation in the field of cybersecurity and combating threats has been discussed more than once. Brazil, for instance, is on its own cybersecurity strategy at present. It has also signed into law last year the LGPD – the country's GDPR counterpart. Its provisions related to the extra-territorial application are even wider than GDPR's – primarily aimed at protection of data of Brazilian citizens, whenever they may be located – but in other ways, the two laws are quite similar. It also imposes strict information security standard.

Set to apply from 2020 onwards, the LGPD is the only standard in the BRICS countries for data protection that could come close to the European Regulation. It remains to be seen whether it'll be the subject of discussion at the next BRICS summit in Russia.

Russia

This year, the Russian Federation has adopted a package of laws commonly referred to as the “sovereign internet” legislation. Many media outlets have been speculating about whether the country could really “create its own internet”. In fact, the stated purpose of the law is to ensure the sovereignty of Russia's internet in the event of it being disconnected from the global network and counteract cyber threats. All traffic within the country must pass through checkpoints controlled by the communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor.

The law has been heavily criticized by activists for being aimed, in reality, at restrictions of civil liberties. At present, it's only a framework of federal-level laws, and secondary legislation is expected to follow. It's expected that these legal acts will follow the same top-down approach to Internet regulation so common for Russia.

For instance, in 2015, Russia has passed a law requiring personal data operators to store that data on a Russian server. Cross-border transfer is permitted, provided that the data was initially stored on a server inside Russia.

The case of LinkedIn blockage on Russian territory was probably the most famous example of the authorities exercising that law. Facebook and Twitter still haven't complied, and Roskomnadzor threatens them with blockage from time to time. Until last month, it wasn't an issue because the fines for non-compliance were only about $40. Today, they are over $200k high, so the Internet companies ought to perform a good risk assessment of working and localizing in the country.

India

Similarly to Russia, India has also recently been considering a data localization policy. Currently, it only affects payment systems. However, the draft Personal Data Protection Bill of 2018 requires storage of personal user data within Indian territory. It will most likely be considered by the Parliament soon.

Both the Personal Data Protection Bill and Russia's localization law have faced criticism from the tech industry players. That's to be expected, given how much a lot of them profit from surveillance capitalism. In addition, it is on the surface contradictory to the idea of the Internet as a “global” phenomenon. However, it's also a way to give the companies at home a competitive advantage – if they own the commodity that is the citizens' data on the country's territory, they can use it internally to develop their business.

China

Out of all BRICS countries, the People's Republic of China is arguably the biggest investor in 5G and other tech innovations. However, it currently also has the most restrictive Internet policies.

A few years ago, PRC has announced in a white paper that it will emphasize digital “sovereignty” over a global Internet. The justification for that was concern about cyber-attacks from outside. China has since become known as the pioneer of cyber sovereignty – government-controlled Internet and data streams. There's also a localization requirement for the data to be stored in China and made available at the authorities' request. So, unlike Brazil, which has implemented a data protection policy that seems to benefit the citizens, China is using the concept of sovereignty to focus more on control.

The Russian plan for the sovereign Internet and the general approach to digital sovereignty has been compared to China's more than once. At present, however, it's hard to say whether it'd work in the same way since it has only just entered into force, with no precedents to back it up.

South Africa

The South African Republic's privacy is governed by the common law and the constitutional principles and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). Unlike its BRICS counterparts, this country doesn't place an emphasis on digital sovereignty as such. Indeed, the POPIA was the first codification of the common law principles related to data privacy, and not all of its provisions are in force yet.

The ones in force aren't as strict as the GDPR or the LGPD. For example, there's no data localization requirement, although there's an article about secure cross-border transfer of personal data. South Africa is generally less enthusiastic than Russia or China about the BRICS Internet idea.

Is digital sovereignty about data protection or control?

On the one hand, the protection of an important asset like personal data of its citizens is a must to foster a digital environment that is both strong and sustainable. GDPR's influence hasn't just been prevalent in Europe – people all over the world have gained more awareness of their rights related to personal data and are demanding better protection as a result. BRICS countries are no exception.

However, governments need to maintain the balance between the protection of citizens and their data and controlling it. For that reason, policy alone isn't sufficient – relying on it alone could lead to a phenomenon known as the internet Balkanization. It can only go so far if people don't actually know what's being done to their data. Educating the citizens of BRICS countries about the digital space at a wide scale is hard to do, given that they make up almost half the planet's population, but it's a big step towards ensuring proper sovereignty of their data.

Source: infobrics.org

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Myanmar plans to raise apparel exports to Turkey

Myanmar is now planning to hike apparel exports to the Turkish market to further boost investments in education, insurances and airlines, according to the country’s ministry of commerce, which said Myanmar’s exports of cut-make-pack (CMP) garments and textiles rose up to four times within five years along with exports of rice, beans and corn.The deputy commerce minister Aung Htoo and Turkish Ambassador to Myanmar Kerem Divanlioglu recently met to discuss conducting capacity building training courses for workers, creating job opportunities in the investment and trading sectors, holding of trade fairs between the two countries and boosting trading sector, according to a report in an English-language daily in the country.

Source: Fibre2fashion

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