Booming and Bubbling India- XI

India and the United States have completed negotiations on civil nuclear cooperation and jointly announced they have sealed a deal as equals, and they consider it a “historic milestone,” set to “transform” the bilateral relationship. The 123 Agreement is “between two states possessing advanced nuclear technology, both parties having the same benefits and advantages.” The agreement is the proof of the emerging importance of India globally.

Forex reserves rise to $222 bn: Country’s foreign exchange reserves rose to a record $222.043 billion on July 20, from $218.956 billion a week earlier, according to the Reserve Bank of India’s weekly statistical supplement.

Moser Baer enters into $880 m tie-up: Optical storage maker Moser Baer India would purchase high quality multi-crystalline silicon wafers from Norway-based REC Group for $880 million (about Rs 3,563.12 crore) for an eight-year period beginning 2008.

Intel plans to tap rural India: Intel marketing veteran John McClure is at the helm of an Intel effort to take computers to the country’s 650,000 villages. Intel, which also unveiled a portable personal computer designed for school children on Saturday, will provide technology support, educational content and wireless connectivity to 100,000 rural community centres over the next year.

Bangalore all set to become `unwired`: Close on the heels of Pune and Baramati (a small city in Maharashtra), India’s infotech capital, Bangalore, too will provide seamless wireless connectivity as a part of its Rs 800 crore “Unwire Bangalore” project, while Delhi still remains planning to make the city “wireless”.

India’s High-Tech Fraud Busters: Bharti Airtel has aggressive technology systems in place to check against fraudulent activities. Every time a high-value call is made, the subscriber receives a phone call to ensure that particular call was indeed made by the mobile customer. India’s second-largest bank ICICI Bank also tackles the phishing menace through a complex IT setup that alerts the ICICI system every time someone puts up a Web site that looks similar to the bank’s official site.

Railways to select only global majors for manufacturing projects: The Railway Board has decided to restrict private participation in some important manufacturing units it wants established to international equipment majors such as General Electric Co., Bombardier, Siemens AG and Alstom.

FII investments past $10 bn this yr: Net investments by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) touched $10.16 billion from January to July 2007, much higher than $7.99 billion in the entire 2006 calendar year.

Rs 11,000-cr investments planned near Chennai: Investments of about Rs 9,000 crore, that will lead to creation of over one lakh jobs, are expected to be made in the Sriperumbudur-Oragadam region, near Chennai, within the next couple of years coming from the vendors of Nokia (Rs 3,300 crore) and Flextronics (Rs 2,500 crore) and the industries in the two Special Economic Zones promoted by the State Government, viz., SIPCOT Sriperumbudur Hi-Tech SEZ (Rs 1,976 crore) and SIPCOT Oragadam Hi-Tech SEZ (Rs 1,300 crore).

Rs1, 460 crore order for ABG Shipyards: India’s largest private sector shipbuilder ABG Shipyard Ltd has won a Rs1, 460 crore ($360 million) order from Thailand-based dry bulk ship owner and operator Precious Shipping Public Co. Ltd for building 12 ships of 32,000 tonnes each.

RIL in power sector: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is planning to set up 4,000 Mw of gas-based power generation capacity at multiple locations at an investment of Rs 10,000 crore, in addition to a mega fertiliser plant at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. Around 1,000 Mw capacity will come up at Jamnagar in Gujarat, where RIL is building a 27 million tonne per annum (mtpa) refinery alongside its existing 33 mtpa refinery.

Large dams power India’s growth story: The 3,000-Mw Debang multi-purpose project on the Debang river in Arunachal Pradesh that will serve two purposes – power and irrigation, will be the biggest dam in the country

Innovation can add another $50 bn to India’s IT kitty: Innovation can add an additional $50 billion to the revenue pools of Indian IT and ITES industry by 2012, according to the Nasscom-BCG Innovation Report 2007.

Government launches $500 mn national innovation project: The government has launched a $500 million (Rs2, 010 crore) National Innovation Project (NIP) to help more inventors make money off their inventions.

Infosys in global BPO deal with Philips: Infosys Technologies signed a multi-million dollar outsourcing contract with Netherlands’ Royal Philips Electronics. Infosys will also acquire three shared service centers located in India, Poland and Thailand from Phillips.

Every fifth Indian has a phone: One Indian in five now has a telephone connection. The tele-density in the country has increased to 19.86 in June 2007 from 19.26 in May, according to the subscriber growth report released by the Telecom regulator on Wednesday. The number of telephone subscribers touched 225.21 million at the end of June, up from 218.05 million in May.

Highest-ever mobile subscriber growth in June: India added 7.34 million new mobile users in June. This is the highest ever addition of mobile subscribers in a single month according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

The Indian entrepreneur just won’t let go! Findings from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR) says only 10% of business owners in the country expect a change in the ownership of their companies in the next decade, compared to 28% of businesses worldwide that expect to see such a change.

Lenovo will manufacture desktops and laptops in Himachal: Lenovo has announced setting up of a second manufacturing plant in the country in Himachal Pradesh at a cost of $11 million with a capacity of two million units of desktops and notebooks that is expected to be operational in the third quarter of the year.

Geodesic develops messenger application for Apple’s iPhone: Geodesic Information Systems Ltd, a Mumbai company, has developed the instant messenger application-branded Mundu-to allow it to be downloaded and used on the iPhone, which runs on a high-speed data network of AT&Inc.

‘Our sourcing from India may increase ten times’: According to De Filipis Giovanni, 41, the Italian managing director of Fiat India, ‘Fiat is looking at India also as a hub for its global export of cars and centre for sourcing. Fiat currently source €5-6 million (Rs27.5-33 crore) worth auto components from India for manufacturing at our plants in Europe and other parts of the world. But from next financial (year) when Ranjangaon plant is fully operational, may be its sourcing will become ten times of what it is at present.

Reforms racing down country roads: India is shinning beyond Dalal Street, even in dusty small towns and distant villages. The rural folk are more than matching their urban cousins in spending as well as earning.

NRI scientist making chips for American space flights: Sandeep Shukla, an Indian American researcher on embedded computers said to be the “brain” behind many everyday mechanisms, is now developing embedded software code generation for space missions. Embedded computers are used in wireless devices, cars, climate control systems, traffic signals, washing machines, as well as complex systems including space mission controls, avionics and weapons systems.

Nasa’s much -awaited Phoenix mission to Mars will lift off from cape Canaveral in Florida on August 3. One of the engineers of this programme is Gujarat-born Prasun Desai, 40, an MS in astronautics with a Ph.D in aerospace engineering. Desai is mainly associated with the entry, descent and landing phase of the Phoenix that will tentatively take place on May 25, 2008. (Based on a report in Times of India)

Rural India to go hi-tech with knowledge centers: Around 8,000 villages will get the knowledge centres as part of Mission 2007. The project involves many organisations, including M S Swaminathan Foundation, ISRO, NASSCOM and IGNOU, and envisages creating knowledge centres in villages to provide information to people on various issues, including agriculture, other sources of livelihood, education, market trends and health.

India ranks higher than China: The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked and scored countries based on the strength of their information technology industries. Using a scoring methodology that included factors such as a country’s business environment, IT infrastructure, and efforts in research and development, the affiliate of The Economist scored each country on a scale of 1 to 100 for a study called The Means to Compete: Benchmarking IT Industry Competitiveness (PDF). Surprisingly, US are at the top and Iran at the bottom. India is at 46, while China is at 49.
MAN Industries to set up China plant:

India has 31.5 million taxpayers: In India of over a billion people, only 31.5 million people pay taxes, and this is after the number of taxpayers has grown by nearly 11 percent between March 2002 and March 2006.

More than 12,000 MW nuclear power generation by 2020: With eight more power plants sanctioned, the nuclear power generation in the country would cross more than 12,000 MW by 2020.

Last week, two of India’s largest automakers – Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra – shocked motown when they expressed interest in acquiring Ford’s marquee brands Jaguar and Land Rover. The acquisition that could cost them up to $1.5 billion (Rs 6,000 crore) will not only get the buyer two legendary vehicle brands, but also catapult it to the super league of SUV technology.

India is certainly booming: The agriculturists from Andhra Pradesh are moving to Ethiopia to grow flowers to meet the global competition. The fishermen of Kolathur village, just outside Chennai are making the village emerge as the capital of the ornamental fish trade in India and in turn, making their life better. Some 1,800 families run the ornamental fish business in Kolathur. It is really heartening, when a second generation pisciculturist in his 30s says, “In 1999, I was generating a turnover of Rs 50,000 a month. Now, it is Rs 5 lakh.” Almost every family in Radadhana, an obscure village near Delhi in Sonepat district is crorepati: ‘The total land of the village is 2,800 acres of which about 2,000 acres have been acquired by builders at an average rate of Rs 50 lakh per acre. The village has a population of 7,000 grouped in about 1,400 families. Barring some 200 families of backward classes who are landless, every family must have a net worth of over Rs 1 crore.”.

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