Model Text for the Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty



Model Text for the Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty 
 The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the revised Model Text for the Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty. The revised Indian model text for Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) will replace the existing Indian Model BIT.  The revised model BIT will be used for re-negotiation of existing BITs and negotiation of future BITs and investment chapters in Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements (CECAs)/ Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) / Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).


The new Indian Model BIT text will provide appropriate protection to foreign investors in India and Indian investors in the foreign country, in the light of relevant international precedents and practices, while maintaining a balance between the investor's rights and the Government obligations.

A BIT increases the comfort level and boosts the confidence of investors by assuring a level playing field and non-discrimination in all matters while providing for an independent forum for dispute settlement by arbitration. In turn, BITs help project India as a preferred foreign direct investment (FDI) destination as well as protect outbound Indian FDI.

The essential features of the model BIT include an "enterprise" based definition of investment, non-discriminatory treatment through due process, national treatment, protections against expropriation, a refined Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision requiring investors to exhaust local remedies before commencing international arbitration, and limiting the power of the tribunal to awarding monetary compensation alone. The model excludes matters such as government procurement, taxation, subsidies, compulsory licenses and national security to preserve the regulatory authority for the Government.


Background

The first BIT was signed by India on March 14, 1994. Since then, till date, the Government of India has signed BITs with 83 countries. These BITs were largely negotiated on the basis of the Indian Model BIT of 1993.

Considerable socio-economic changes have taken place since 1993 when the Model text of BIT was first approved. The nature of government regulation concerning foreign investment has evolved. A wide variety of laws now regulate investments both at the central and the state levels. During the last few years, significant changes have occurred globally regarding BITs, in general, and investor-state dispute resolution mechanism in particular.
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Year End Review: Highlights of the Acheivements of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance 
During the current fiscal, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance has undertaken various initiatives for enhancing the Economic Growth and ensuring the Fiscal Stability of the economy.
 The major highlights of the achievements of the Department are as follows:

INFLATION

Wholesale Price Index (WPI): WPI inflation has declined from 6.0 per cent in 2013-14 to 2.0 per cent in 2014-15 and -3.5 per cent during April to October 2015. WPI has been negative since November 2014 and is placed at -3.8 per cent in October 2015. WPI Food inflation has also shown steady decline from 6.0 per cent in January 2015 to 1.7 per cent in October 2015. Inflation in Fuel & power stood at -16.3 per cent in October 2015 compared to -17.7 per cent in the previous month and -11.0 in January 2015. Inflation for Manufactured products decreased to -1.7 per cent in October 2015 as compared to 1.0 per cent in January 2015.
Consumer Price Indices (CPIs): CPI-New Series inflation for 2014-15 declined to 5.9 per cent from 9.5 per cent in 2013-14, has remained below 5.5 per cent since January 2015. During 2015-16 (Apr-Oct), average CPI inflation was 4.7 percent and stood at 5.0 per cent in October 2015. Inflation in terms of Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) has come down to 5.2 per cent in October 2015 from a high of 6.9 per cent as reported in February 2015.

Inflation based on CPI-Industrial Workers for September 2015 stood at 5.1 per cent as compared to 7.2 reported in January 2015. Inflation based on CPI-Agricultural Labour  and CPI-Rural Labour  declined to 3.5 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively in September 2015 as compared to 6.2 per cent and 6.5 per cent in January 2015.

Measures taken to control inflation

The measures taken by the Government along with decline in global oil and commodity prices have contributed towards achieving low inflation. The measures taken by Government include, advising states to allow free movement of fruits and vegetables by delisting them from the APMC Act, banning of export of all pulses (except kabuli channa and organic pulses and lentils upto certain quantity), zero import duty on pulses and onion, empowering States/UTs to impose stock limits in respect of onion, pulses, edible oil, and edible oilseeds under the Essential Commodities Act, modest increase in minimum support prices in last two years etc. The vigilant monetary policy stance by the RBI and adoption of a Monetary Policy Framework agreement between Government and RBI has also led to moderation in inflation by bringing in an element of certainty of action by the RBI.

MONETARY POLICY

During 2015, policy (Repo) rate has been cut by 125 basis points, signalling a period of easing of monetary policy.  Taking into account the continuous decline in inflation and with a view to spur growth, the last cut in the policy rates by 50 basis points to 6.75 percent was undertaken by the RBI on September 29, 2015.Overall, the RBI stance continues to be accommodative.


Government of India and RBI have signed a Monetary Policy Framework agreement in February 2015. The objective of this framework is to primarily maintain price stability, while keeping in mind the objective of growth. As per the agreement, RBI would set the policy interest rates and would aim to bring inflation below 6 percent by January 2016 and within a band of 4 percent with (+/-) 2 percent for 2016-17 and all subsequent years. The agreement has brought in an element of certainty for the market with regard to action by the RBI in managing inflation. 


BANKING
Permission has been accorded by RBI for setting up Payment Banks and Small Finance Banks to improve financial inclusion. RBI has accorded in principle approval to 11entities to form Payment Banks in August 2015 to 10 entities to form ‘Small Finance Banks’ in September 2015. The minimum paid-up equity capital for Payments Banks shall be Rs. 100 crore, of which the promoter’s contribution would be minimum 40 percent of paid-up equity capital for the first 5 years of commencement of the business.
·                     For recapitalizing the public sector banks, Government has already provided adequate funds in this financial year. An amount of Rs.12,000 crore has already been provided n the Supplementary Demand passed by the Parliament, in addition to Rs.7,940 crores already provided in the budget of FY 2015-16.
·                     Government announced Mission Indradhanush in August 2015, which attempts to revamp public sector banks and to address problems impacting their performance including governance, accountability and capitalization. This includes:

v  A seven-member Bank Board Bureau, which will oversee the appointments process at public sector banks and provide advisory services.

v  On the basis of best global practices, to separate the post of Chairman and Managing Director by prescribing that in the subsequent vacancies, CEO will get the designation of MD & CEO and there would be another person who would be appointed as non-Executive Chairman of PSBs. 
v  Government proposes to make available Rs.70,000 crores out of budgetary allocations for bank capitalization  in the next four years.

v  De-stressing public sector banks by strengthening risk control measures and NPA disclosures.
v  No interference from Government and Banks are encouraged to take their decision independently keeping the commercial interest of the organisation in mind.

v  New framework for measuring performance of public sector banks.

v  Continuing with the governance reforms.
FINANCIAL SECTOR
·                     Approval accorded   for setting up of the proposed Rs 20,000-crore National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

·                     Approval given for foreign investment in the Alternative Investment Funds (AIF). Foreign investment will now be permitted in AIFs, which are set up as registered trust, incorporated company or limited liability partnership.
·                     With the objective of having a more predictable regime for investment by the foreign portfolio investors (FPI), RBI has set out the medium term framework (MTF) for FPI limits in debt securities.  The limits for FPI investment in debt securities will henceforth be announced/ fixed in rupee terms. The limits for FPI investment in the central government securities will be increased in phases to 5 per cent of the outstanding stock by March 2018. In aggregate terms, this is expected to open up room for additional investment of 1,200 billion in the limit for central government securities by March 2018 over and above the existing limit of 1,535 billion for all government securities (G-sec).Additionally, there will be a separate limit for investment by FPIs in the State Development Loans (SDLs), to be increased in phases to reach 2 per cent of the outstanding stock by March 2018. This would amount to an additional limit of about 500 billion by March 2018.
·                     Forward Market Commission (FMC) was merged with Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on September 28, 2015 with a view to strengthen the regulation of commodity forward markets.

TAX-FREE BONDS
Government of India has allowed the issuance of Tax-free bonds of Rs 40000 crore during the Financial Year 2015-16, by Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) such as National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC), Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), Power Finance Corporation Limited (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC), National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC).The following categories of investors can subscribe to these Bonds:
Retail Individual Investors (RIIs),Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs),Corporates (including statutory corporations), trusts, partnership firms, Limited Liability Partnerships, co-operative banks, regional rural Banks and other legal entities, subject to compliance with their respective Acts, and High Networth Individuals (HNIs).These Bonds are issued for ten (10) or fifteen (15) or twenty (20) years. Further details of terms & conditions of Tax Free Bonds for the FY 2015-16 can be accessible at:


THE 11TH INDIA- SAUDI ARABIA JOINT COMMISSION
The 11th India- Saudi Arabia Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held during 26-28th May, 2015 at New Delhi. A wide range of issues, including cooperation in trade and commerce, higher education, health, communication, culture and IT were discussed. Both sides also acknowledged the need to explore investment opportunities in both countries.

ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS (PPPS)
 IN INDIA
Initiatives by Government of India for promoting PPPs: Government of India (GoI) has been placing strong emphasis on the use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as a strategy for expanding the provision of infrastructure services. Several initiatives have been taken to create an enabling framework for PPPs: 
Ø  The appraisal mechanism for the PPP projects has been streamlined to ensure speedy appraisal of projects, eliminate delays, adopt international best practices and have uniformity in appraisal mechanism and guidelines.
Ø   The Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) set up for the appraisal of PPP projects posed by Central Line Ministries and Departments has so far in 2015 approved 13 central projects proposal with TPC of Rs.21817.03crore (USD 3636.17 million).
Ø  The Government had created a Viability Gap Funding Scheme for PPP projects. Infrastructure projects are often not commercially viable on account of having substantial sunk investment and low returns. However, they continue to be economically essential. Accordingly, the Viability Gap Funding Scheme has been formulated which provides financial support in the form of grants, one time or deferred, to infrastructure projects undertaken through public private partnerships with a view to make them commercially viable. The Scheme provides total Viability Gap Funding up to twenty percent of the total project. The Government or statutory entity that owns the project may, if it so decides, provides additional grants out of its budget up to further twenty percent of the total project cost. Viability Gap Funding. During the current calendar year i.e. 2015, so far Empowered Institution has granted in-principle approval for 5 projects with a Total project cost of 901.00 crore (USD 150.16 million). Like-wise, EI also granted Final Approval to 9 projects of 1119.66crore (USD 186.61 million)[1] in various sectors with VGF component of Rs. 166.7 crore (USD 27.78 million).
Ø  Municipal Borrowing- Government has initiated a pilot project for developing a framework to build capacities of Urban Local Bodies ( ULBs) to raise financing through the Capital Markets for financing infrastructure projects (normally PPPs). The pilot initiative aims to develop a replicable model and related documents and demonstration of the model through a successful pilot transaction for an ULB. Guidelines for issuance of Municipal Bonds in India have been notified
Ø  Knowledge Resources: As part of wide ranging efforts for knowledge dissemination on PPPs, DEA has developed tool kits and knowledge products for use of PPP practitioners. These include:
(i)                 Post Award Contract Management: Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) has developed Post-Award Contract Management Guidance Material for Highways, Ports and Education sectors. The material is aimed at providing guidance and support to Project Authorities, especially in ensuring routine monitoring and also management of key risks that can emerge during the post-award phase of the project. Further, the Manuals are accompanied by user-friendly, interactive Online Toolkits that can be used by Project Authorities for practical application-oriented assistance in project management activities. The Guidance Material and the Online Toolkits will be available to users on the Department’s website for PPPs, i.e., www.pppinindia.com.
(ii)               Framework for Renegotiation of PPP Contracts: A report on a suggested framework for renegotiation of PPP contracts has been developed, which focuses on changes that may need to be made in the contractual and institutional arrangement post award of the projects. Work on the identification of the legal clauses in the concession agreement is underway. The well researched guidance note for Renegotiation Framework particular focus on the National Highway and Major Port concessions. The model clauses based on established thresholds for renegotiation are being drafted, to distinguish quantified bid percentages and qualitative “materiality” type considerations.

FINANCIAL STABILITY AND DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (FSDC)       

The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) under the Chairmanship of Finance Minister with Heads of Financial Sector regulatory authorities, and Secretaries of concerned Departments and Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) as members, monitors macro prudential supervision of the economy including functioning of large financial conglomerates, and addresses inter-regulatory coordination and financial sector development issues, including issues relating to financial literacy and financial inclusion.

From January 2015 to November, 2015 the Council had held two meetings on May 15, 2015 and 5th November, 2015. In these meetings, important issues concerning financial stability and development inter regulatory coordination and also challenges facing the economy were deliberated. The major issues include external sector vulnerabilities, focus on future financial sector reforms, Corporate Bond Market Development, Prevention & detection of Fraud in banks & building effective deterrence, rising bank NPAs and corporate sector balance sheet stress, and harmonization and convergence of regulations relating to securities market & commodity derivatives market.

The FSDC Sub-committee set-up under the chairmanship of Governor, RBI met two times and deliberated on issues such as Account Aggregation for Financial Assets, global and domestic developments impinging on financial stability, Corporate Bond Market Development, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), developing a comprehensive financial resolution regime etc. Various Technical Groups have been set-up under FSDC Sub-Committee such as Inter Regulatory Technical Group (IRTG), Technical Group on Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy (TGFIL), Inter Regulatory Forum on Financial Conglomerates (IRF-FCs) and Early Warning Group (EWG) met during the period to discuss issues in accordance with their mandate.

FSB Peer Review of India

As a part of FSB commitment, India has volunteered to undergo FSB peer review, for the first time, in 2015, the Terms of Reference (TOR) for which has been finalized. The topics being covered under the review are (i) macro prudential policy framework and (ii) regulation and supervision of NBFCs.

ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW DEVELOPMENT BANK (NDB)
New Development Bank has been established by BRICS countries in Shanghai, China. The Bank will mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS countries, other emerging economies and developing countries. It will complement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions. Mr. K.V. Kamath, has taken over as the first President of the Bank. NDB is expected to make its first lending by April, 2016.

ESTABLISHMENT OF BRICS CONTINGENT RESERVE ARRANGEMENT (CRA)
            Most of the foundation work for the establishment of CRA by BRICS countries has been completed in 2015. The Governing Council Procedural Rules and Standing Committee Procedural Rules were approved by the Governing Council in its inaugural meeting held on September 4, 2015. The establishment of a self-managed contingent reserve arrangement would have a positive precautionary effect, help BRICS countries forestall short-term liquidity pressures, provide mutual support and further strengthen financial stability. It would also contribute to strengthening the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements as an additional line of defense.


SAARC and SDF Meetings
(i)                 The 7th Meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers and Finance Secretaries were held on 19th and 20th of August, 2015. The Indian delegation for these Meetings were led by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State (Finance). Some of the major issues that were deliberated in these meeting were currency swap arrangements among SAARC member nations, facilitating greater flow of capital and intra-regional investment and developments in SAARCFINANCE.

(ii)               The 4th Meeting of the SDF Governing Council was held on 20th August, 2015. The meeting mainly discussed on the ways of strengthening SAARC Development Fund and establishing its ways forward.

(iii)             The 21st and 22nd Board Meetings of SAARC Development Fund were held in April and August 2015 respectively.

(iv)             The Union Cabinet on 18th of November 2015 has approved the extension of the validity of the Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC Member Countries with amendments for two more years up to November 2017.

INTRODUCTION OF SCHEME TO SUPPORT COMPANIES BIDDING ABROAD
Government of India has on 16th September, 2015 approved a scheme for providing a concessional financing scheme to support Indian companies bidding for strategically important infrastructure projects abroad.  This scheme is aligned with the ‘Make in India’ programme of Government.
 INDIA BECOMES A SIGNATORY TO AIIB
 India along with other countries signed the Articles of Agreement of the Bank on June 29th, 2015.   AIIB is a multilateral development bank proposed to be located in Beijing which will foster sustainable economic development, create wealth and improve infrastructure connectivity in Asia by investing in infrastructure and other productive sectors. The process of ratification of the Articles of Agreement is underway.

G20 SUMMIT 2015
The G20 Summit 2015 was held on 15-16 November 2015 in Antalya, Turkey. Prime Minster led the Indian delegation. The Summit marks the culmination of a year long process of inter-governmental meetings led by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Sherpa Dr Panagariya, and official representatives from Government of India. G20 focuses on issues of economic and financial cooperation. At this year’s Summit in Antalya, Leaders committed to undertake a number of concrete actions to strengthen the global economy, make global growth more inclusive, enhance the resilience of the international financial system, mobilize investment to raise long-term growth, strengthen multilateral trading system and implement previous commitments on economic reform and labour markets. 

GOLD SCHEMES

 Introduction of Gold Monetization Schemes
The scheme was announced in Budget 2015-16 with the aim of mobilizing the gold lying idle with households and trusts and deploying it for productive use. The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister of India on 5th November, 2015. The scheme will benefit the manufacturers of gold jewellery who are largely small and medium scale enterprises, by making gold available to them. It will also benefit the common man by allowing him/her to earn interest on their holdings of gold.

  Introduction of Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme

The scheme was announced in Budget 2015-16 with the view to provide a new financial instrument of investment to public at large and for reducing the demand for physical gold. The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister of India on 5th November, 2015.In the long-run, this scheme will help in reducing the country’s demand for import of gold, to a large extent. In the first tranche issuance of the bonds which was open from 6th November, 2015 to 30thNovember, 2015 approximately 250 crore worth SGBs were subscribed to.

Introduction of Indian Gold Coin
The scheme was announced in Budget 2015-16 with the view to promote indigenously minted   national gold coins. The scheme is aligned with the ‘Make in India’ programme of the Government. The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister of India on 5th November, 2015.



CREATION OF “NATIONAL INVESTMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE FUND” (“NIIF”)


The Government of India has put investment in infrastructure as one of the core elements of its economic programme. The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley made the announcement of setting-up of a National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) in his Budget Speech 2015-16 .To maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects, NIIF has been created with the aim to attract investment from both domestic and international sources.  The NIIF will be established as one or more Alternate Investment Funds (AIF) under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations. The initial authorized corpus of NIIF would be Rs. 20,000 crore, which may be raised from time to time. Government’s contribution/share in the corpus will be 49 per cent in each entity set up as an AIF and will neither be increased beyond, nor allowed to fall below 49%. The whole of 49 per cent would be contributed by Government directly.
NIIF would solicit equity participation from strategic anchor partners. The contribution of Government of India to NIIF would enable it to be seen virtually as a sovereign fund and is expected to attract overseas sovereign/quasi-sovereign/multilateral/bilateral investors to co-invest in it. Government’s funds, each year, to each entity set-up as an AIF for executing its functions based on its annual plan, would be provided as required. Cash-rich Central Public Sector Enterprises could contribute to the Fund which would be over and above the Government’s 49%. Similarly, domestic pension and provident funds and National Small Savings Fund may also provide funds to the NIIF.
The NIIF will be established as a Trust/other legal entity from both the point of view of taxation and flexibility. To oversee the activities of the NIIF, it has been decided to constitute a Governing Council with the following composition:-
 (i)           Finance Minister                                   -          Chairman
(ii)         Secretary, DEA                                     -          Member
(iii)       Secretary, Financial Services                -          Member
(iv)       Ms Arundhati Bhattacharya                  -          Member
(v)         Shri Hemendra Kothari                         -          Member
(vi)       Shri T.V. Mohandas Pai                         -          Member

The mandate of the Governing Council includes the approval of the following matters:
a.   Guidelines for Investment of Trust property/Corpus of NIIF;
b.  Parameters for appointment and performance of investment managers/ advisors;
c.   Any other matter related or incidental thereto.
Government recently invited applications for the post of CEO for NIIF who would be responsible for the overall management and operations of the Fund.
ODA PLUS LOANS – A new loan instrument namely “ODA Plus” was approved by the Hon’ble Finance Minister to meet additional financial needs for large infrastructure projects which do not fall within the agreed priority areas under Indo-German Bilateral Development Cooperation. Following two projects have been approved/posed to German side for funding under “ODA Plus”:
ü  Chennai Water Production and Demand Management Programme at Nemmeli, Chennai – Euro 100 million
ü  Nagpur Metro Rail Project – Euro 500 million

ONE WORLD WITHOUT HUNGER – A SPECIAL INITIATIVE launched by G/o Germany was approved to support the eradication of malnutrition and hunger and the securing of long-term food security for a growing global population, and this initiative will be implemented through bilateral/multilateral development cooperation and through partnerships with private sector and civil society. Under this initiative total four projects, totaling Euro 21.05 million, have been identified, 3 projects (euro 11.05) million are under technical cooperation and 1 under financial cooperation (euro 10 million on grant basis).

SOLAR ENERGY PARTNERSHIP : A Memorandum of Understanding was facilitated and signed between MNRE and German government to support Solar Energy Partnership based concessional loans in the range of 1 billion euro over the next five years.
LOAN/ AGREEMENT SIGNED DURING THE YEAR:
a)                  ‘Green Energy Corridors’ project in r/o Himachal Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Limited (Euro 57 million)–Loan Agreement – with KfW (German Development Bank)
b)                  ‘Green Energy Corridors’ project in r/o APTRANSCO (Euro 68 million) – with KfW (German Development Bank)

c)                  ‘Promotion of Microfinance and Micro Enterprises’ (Euro 55 million without sovereign guarantee) – Signed b/w SIDBI and KfW (German Development Bank)

d)                 Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II  (Euro 200 million) – with AFD (French Development Bank)

BILATERAL TECHNICAL AND FINANCIAL COOPERATION :
Annual Negotiation Meetings with Germany and France (AFD) were successfully held respectively on 28-29 September, 2015 and 8-9 October, 2015. Germany has committed EUR 1,490.60 million (approx. Rs. 11,000 crore) for bilateral Technical and Financial Cooperation for the period of 2015. French assistance would be around 250 million for this year.
Extension of the Indian Development and Economic Assistance Scheme:
The Government of India has been extending Lines of Credit to Africa and other developing countries since 2005-06.   The scheme has been granted second extension for another five years i.e. from 2015-16 to 2019-20 with the approval of CCEA.
Review of Policy on Bilateral Official Development Assistance for Development Cooperation with Bilateral Partners:
India has a requirement to accelerate growth through creation of additional infrastructure which requires extensive capital investment.  It has therefore been decided that Official Development Assistance may be accepted from other countries also besides the existing bilateral partners.  Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister, with the approval of Prime Minister, are authorized to accept any such proposal.   It has also been decided to accept offers for bilateral assistance in the form of special loans in addition to the assistance on the normal route.

Agreement on Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH):
An agreement in this regard was signed between Department of Economic Affairs and U.S. Government (through USAID) on 30th September, 2015.   Under this agreement, the Govt. of India and USAID will work together to share expertise, best practices, innovation and technologies in support of India’s efforts to strengthen access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in urban areas.
MoU on Financial Inclusion:
A Memorandum of Understanding to support ‘Financial inclusion’ under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was signed between Department of Economic Affairs and U.S. Government (through USAID) on 4th November, 2015.  The MoF and USAID are now working towards signing of an agreement in this regard.  Under this agreement, the Government of India and USAID will work together to support financial inclusion through expanded payments acceptance networks and other efforts.
Grant Agreements signed with U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA):
Following three (03) grant agreements were signed recently with USTDA:-
(i)                 USTDA grant to Airports Authority of India to partially fund the technical assistance cost of goods and services required for a technical assistance on the ‘Provision 2 Body Scanner System Pilot’ project in India.

(ii)        USTDA grant to partially fund the cost of goods and services required for feasibility study on the ‘Bottom Upgrading Project of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. at Mumbai Refinery in India’.
(ii)               USTDA grant to partially fund the cost of goods and services required for developing PPP framework in Indian Railway.

New loans negotiated and signed with the World Bank and ADB during 2015
With a view to providing a fillip to the infrastructure sector, several new loans have been negotiated and signed with the World Bank and ADB during 2015.  This includes IBRD loan of US$ 650 million negotiated with the World Bank for the third phase of the EDFC project.  The total loan committed by the World Bank for the 3-phased EDFC project is US$ 2725 million.  This project will augment freight carriage throughout the eastern dedicated freight corridor between Ludhiana and Kolkata. Another project negotiated and signed is the Tamil Nadu Road Sector Project for World Bank loan of US$ 300 million. Besides the Tamil Nadu Sustainable Urban Development Project for World Bank loan of US$ 300 million has been signed on 3.6.2015.


PROJECTS INCLUDING NATIONAL INITIATIVES  SWACHH BHARAT AND SMART CITIES MISSIONS


(i)         A strong pipeline of urban projects fully aligned with the Government of India’s strategy in Power, urban and Solar sector and national initiatives like Swachh Bharat and Smart Cities Missions have been developed. These projects once delivered will significantly strengthen urban service delivery and power sector in project States, such as UP, MP, Jharkhand and Karnataka. 
(ii) The World Bank would provide financial assistance to Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) to the tune of US $ 1500 million. It would help the country in reducing open defecation in rural areas, achieving and sustaining Open defecation Free (ODF) status of villages, and enhancing access to solid and liquid based management. The project has been negotiated with the World Bank, and is likely to be implemented in a few months.
(iii)             There has been significant focus on Education and Skill Development sector.  A robust pipeline for education projects, particularly in the areas of skill development has been developed with National level programme like Skill and Employability Enhancement Programme (SEEP), Nai Manzil programme for minority youth and State level Skill Development programs in Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. Projects for providing Solar infrastructure & installation at rooftop PV has also been posed to World Bank and ADB.
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Change in Tariff Value of Crude Palm Oil, RBD Palm Oil, Others – Palm Oil, Crude Palmolein, Rbd Palmolein, Others – Palmolein, Crude Soyabean Oil, Brass Scrap (All Grades), Poppy Seeds, Areca Nuts, Gold and Silver Notified 
    In exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962), the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC), being satisfied that it is necessary and expedient so to do, hereby makes the following amendment in the notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), No. 36/2001-Customs (N.T.), dated the 3rd August, 2001, published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part-II, Section-3, Sub-section (ii), vide number S. O. 748 (E), dated the 3rd August, 2001, namely:-

In the said notification, for TABLE-1, TABLE-2 and TABLE-3, the following Tables shall be substituted namely:-

TABLE-1
Sl. No.
Chapter/ heading/ sub-heading/tariff item
Description of goods
Tariff value US $
(Per Metric Tonne)
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
1
1511 10 00
Crude Palm Oil
553
2
1511 90 10
RBD Palm Oil
587
3
1511 90 90
Others – Palm Oil
570
4
1511 10 00
Crude Palmolein
599
5
1511 90 20
RBD Palmolein
602
6
1511 90 90
Others – Palmolein
601
7
1507 10 00
Crude Soya bean Oil
770
8
7404 00 22
Brass Scrap (all grades)
2874
9
1207 91 00
Poppy seeds
2722

TABLE-2

Sl. No.
Chapter/ heading/ sub-heading/tariff item
Description of goods
Tariff value
(US $)
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
1
71 or 98
Gold, in any form, in respect of which the benefit of entries at serial number 321 and 323 of the Notification No. 12/2012-Customs dated 17.03.2012 is availed
347 per 10 grams
2
71 or 98
Silver, in any form, in respect of which the benefit of entries at serial number 322 and 324 of the Notification No. 12/2012-Customs dated 17.03.2012 is availed
448 per kilogram 

TABLE-3

Sl. No.
Chapter/ heading/ sub-heading/tariff item
Description of goods
Tariff value
(US $ Per Metric Tons )
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
1
080280
Areca nuts
2558”


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