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BUSINESS | News Briefs | JULY 2010

India-U.S. CEO Forum Held in Washington
LEELA HOTELS: Environmental Award
JET AIRWAYS: Codeshare Deal
Working Group

India-U.S. CEO Forum Held in Washington

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the U.S.-India CEO Forum June 22 in Washington.

The India-US CEO Forum was held in Washington June 22. The forum was reconstituted last year with 12 CEOs from India and the U.S. nominated by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama respectively. This was the second meeting of the forum. The CEO Forum is co-chaired by Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Sons and Dave Cote, CEO of Honeywell Corp.

The Forum was attended by eight CEOs from each side. There was very high level government participation from both sides. From India, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia attended. From the U.S. side, there were six-Secretary level representatives who included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, USTR Ambassador Ron Kirk, National Economic Council director Larry Summers and Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg.

The CEOs met in a smaller format, before interacting with the government representatives. They presented recommendations to both Governments in four core areas viz., (i) Infrastructure; (ii) Clean Energy; (iii) Education and (iv) e-Health/Biotechnology. The Forum also discussed impediments and some breakthrough long term ideas.

The recommendations included some interesting and ambitious ideas such as creation of an Infrastructure Debt Fund of $10 billion for development of infrastructure in India, collaboration under the National Solar Mission of India, a long term initiative on diabetes research and treatment, linkages between educational institutions and joint research in clean energy, including bio-fuels.

To follow up on the ideas, the finance minister announced that a committee headed by the Ahluwalia, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, would be formed in India to carry forward the ideas with implementable action plans.


LEELA HOTELS: Environmental Award

The chairman of one of India’s leading luxury hotel groups, Capt. C. P. Krishnan Nair, received one of the country’s most prestigious environmental awards on World Environment Day June 5.  The Environment Cell of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee conferred on Capt. Nair, the chairman of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, the Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi Environment Award for his work in protecting the environment. The award was presented by Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashokrao Chavan.

While every Leela property is a welcoming oasis, Nair’s concern for the environment extends beyond the hotels. He is responsible for converting hundreds of adjacent acres into verdant havens.  Deploying a major part of his resources, he personally supervises the landscaping and planting of exotic and rare plants in all the Leela hotels.  The 87-year old hotelier did it years before other hotels in the country began to hop on the environment bandwagon.

Addressing the gathering on World Environment Day, Chavan stressed that all companies, industries, municipal councils and corporations must raise their awareness about the environment and actively participate in cleaning up the state. He was pleased that companies like The Leela were implementing green initiatives in the country.

Capt. Nair has replaced eyesores with gardens around The Leela Kempinski Mumbai in co-operation with the International Airports Authority of India, the Mumbai Municipal Corporation and other civic organizations. Road dividers and pavements have been transformed into islands of lush greenery.  In fact, signs reading “Gardens by The Leela” now dot several approach roads to Mumbai’s international and domestic airports.


JET AIRWAYS: Codeshare Deal

Jet Airways has entered into a codeshare agreement with United Airlines, giving guests access to the vast network connectivity between the United States and India. The new codeshare agreement between Jet Airways and United Airlines is valid on all travel starting June 30.

Under the new codeshare agreement, Jet Airways passengers will now have access to transatlantic flights between London and United's five U.S. hub cities (Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC), in addition to United's daily transpacific services between Hong Kong and Chicago and San Francisco.  The codeshare will further afford guests seamless onward connectivity via United's hubs to almost 40 cities across the US.

Similarly, United customers can now connect to Jet Airways' daily services between London and Mumbai, as well as between Hong Kong and Delhi and Mumbai. In addition, United will place its marketing code on Jet Airways' domestic flights to five major cities in India, thus offering customers seamless connectivity to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad and Kolkata via Mumbai.

Nikos Kardassis, chief executive officer, Jet Airways, said, "With this partnership, Jet Airways will offer its guests unmatched connectivity and seamless travel from India through to Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington in the United States, and onwards to almost 40 cities in North America. We are delighted to partner with a carrier of the global reach of United Airlines to help Jet Airways enhance its connectivity and reach in the American market."

"Establishing our codeshare flights with Jet Airways provides more destinations and more convenience for our customers," said Mark Schwab, United senior vice president. "We are pleased to bring our customers closer to destinations throughout India." 


Working Group

With a view to rationalizing the present arrangements relating to foreign portfolio investments by Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs)/ Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and other foreign investments like Foreign Venture Capital Investor (FVCI) and Private Equity Entities, etc., the Indian Government has set up a working group to look at various types of foreign flows, across the respective stand-alone regulations and generate recommendations to the government. The Working Group will consist of members from the government, the regulators and the private sector. Its composition and the office order is available at the following links: http://finmin.nic.in/ and http://www.nipfp.org.in/nipfp-dea-profram/misc.html.

The working group will review the existing policy on foreign inflows, other than Foreign Direct lnvestment (FDl), such as foreign portfolio investments by Foreign lnstitutional lnvestors (Flls)/ Non Resident lndians (NRls) and other foreign investments like Foreign Venture Capital lnvestor (FVCI) and private equity entities and suggesting rationalization of the same with a view to encourage foreign investment and reducing policy hurdles in this regard while maintaining the Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

It will also identify challenges in meeting the financing needs of the lndian economy through foreign investment. Foreign investment for this purpose to be understood broadly and can include investment in listed and unlisted equity, derivatives and debt including the markets for government bonds, corporate bonds and external commercial borrowings.

The working group will study the arrangements relating to the use of Participatory Notes (PNs) and suggest any change in the policy if required from KYC and other points of view and re-examine the rationale of taxation of transactions through the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) and stamp duty.

The group will suggest specific short, medium and long term legal, regulatory and other policy changes in respect of foreign investment.



Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

Bhopal: Anatomy of
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EDITORIAL: Bhopal Betrayed
CULTURE: Qawwali: Amjad Sabri
HERITAGE: Shanghai by the Bay
PERFORMANCE: Jai Ho? Sukhwinder
RECIPE: Cheese Veggie Pan Cake
SUBCONTINENT: The Maoist Challenge
TRAVEL: Tryst with a Bandido
AUTO REVIEW: 2010 Honda Element SC
ENVIRONMENT: No to Mining in Orissa
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: Raavan
BUSINESS: New Briefs
COMMUNITY: News in Brief

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