"Make in India needs to be strengthened to make a 10 Trillion dollar economy"
- Sudhir Mungantiwar.

Mumbai 14th June 2019: The IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) concludes the 10th Banking & Finance conference. The audience and speakers comprising of veteran bankers, professionals from banking & finance sectors engaged in discussions in a daylong conference organized by The IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to chart a roadmap for "India a Ten Trillion Dollar Economy by 2030: Role of Banks" the theme of the conference. The discussions included Project Finance, Corporate governance in banks, transformation in Indian banking sector, and cyber security in banks, inclusive banking and stressed assets.

The chief guest at the event, Mr. SudhirMungantiwar, Minister (Finance and Planning, Forests), Government of Maharashtra at the event said "Family values contribute to national welfare. The minister suggested a change in mind-set in banking through inclusive innovation and financial inclusion. He said considering the current global economy, India is in a sweet spot for growth at a higher rate. He said diversification of resources of wealth is the key to the goal of Ten Trillion Dollar Economy by 2030. He further emphasised that Make in India needs to be strengthened decisively, along with upgradation of skills through the Skilling India initiatives.

Towards the end he said that India has to have a three pronged approach

  • Zero Import
  • Zero Affect
  • Zero defect

In his keynote address, Mr. M. Damodaran said "It is no rocket science as far as Corporate Governance is concerned. He said Banks should adopt a 'tripod' model wherein the Banks management should be empowered to take decisions, incentivise performers and are made accountable for their actions"

Earlier welcoming the Chief guests, speakers and participants, Mr. Ashish vaid, President Elect IMC spoke of the importance of the conference as it was the 50th year of Banks nationalisation and the vision with which banks in their contribution to national economy by taking it to a Ten Trillion economy by 2030.

Mr. Raj Nair, President IMC at the concluding session spoke of the various regulation and development which would help offer digital services at an affordable cost to vast populace. Mr Anand Sinha former DY Governor RBI, delivered the Valedictory address.


About IMC
Set up in 1907, IMC is an apex Chamber of trade & commerce with headquarter in Mumbai. It has about 2700 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 215 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India where, the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an honorary member.


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IMC organized its flagship event, "India Calling" Conference on Monday, March 25, 2019 at Hotel Taj Lands End, Mumbai. The Conference had inaugural session and then two break-out sessions – one on Artificial Intelligence and other on Retail Industry.

In his keynote address at the 15th Annual India Calling Conference of the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ambassador Manoj K Bharti Addl. Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, exhorted the captains of Industry from India and abroad to draw inspiration from ancient Indian wisdom for economic growth.  He said the Indian Diplomatic Missions are now tasked with the role to showcase to the foreign investors the new economic paradigm of Ease of Doing Business and other initiatives of Government of India for bringing foreign investments.He said these initiatives have started bearing fruit as is reflected by the increase in foreign investments across various sectors.  He opined that, at the current rate, India could re-achieve a double digit share in global trade, as was two centuries back.  He informed the Indian States are also being associated, to showcase their strength and get foreign investment. 

Mr. Vivek Sonny Abraham, Vice President, Invest India said the new India in the current times has assumed global leadership roles in the IT driven economic progression.  He said the demography of young Indian population and the increased economic and social aspirationshas made India a most favoured investement destination for global Investors.  He said investment in India is the most discussed topic in global boardrooms nowadays.

He further said the India's global growth story has just begun and sectors like software, electronics, power, constructions, and chemical and the most preferred ones.

Earlier, welcoming the delegates IMC President, Mr. Raj Nairsaid IMC organizes India Calling to show opportunities and capabilities in India in the areas of AI & Retail.

Outlining the importance and significance of the daylong conference Mr. Rajiv Podar, Chairman, International Business Committee, IMC said that IMC organized this conference to offer a platform for exploring global & local businesses of possibilities of collaborations and investments in AI & Retail.

Ajit Mangrulkar
Director General

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"SMEs are the vehicles of growth and prosperity - Piyush Goyal"

Mumbai : IMC's SME Conclave Industry 4.0, the Minister for Railways and Coal, Mr. Piyush Goyal said that such conferences add to the capacity building of the MSMEs and accelerate the growth job opportunities and prosperity of the economy.  He said Government's push for rural industrialisation will accelerate the speed and scale of making MSMEs integrate with the vision of manufacturing industry 4.0 through digitisation and IT enabled services. He mentioned that Indian railways have embarked on sourcing materials from all SME sector to the extent of 60% of their requirement. He also said that to integrate economy railways would be making 6400 stations wifi enabled by September 2019.

In his keynote address the Chief Guest Mr. Dinabandhu Mohapatra said that the banking industry is fully geared to meet the financing requirements of the MSME sector and the initiatives under the 59 minutes loan sanction mission has seen banks disburse 35,000 crores based on CIBIL and IT reports.  He called for the need to upgrade the skills, the trainings and the investments in R&D as pre requisite to meet the contemporary challenges. 

Welcoming the delegates to the conclave the President IMC, in his address appreciated the association of Indo German Chamber of Commerce, with IMC to display the latest developments of the 4.0 move in the MSME segment of Germany. He called upon the Indian SMEs to emulate the quality consciousness skill up gradation and effective training for a long term prospective which would help them to integrate them with the fourth industrial revolution currently underway. 

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IMC President Mr. Raj Nair viewpoint on RBI's Sixth Monetary Policy Announcement

The MPC cuts the repo rate by 25 bps to 6.25%. IMC lauds the move, which is based on the fact that the headline inflation is lingering below the central banks' projections. The Crude oil prices are stable, domestic growth momentum is slowing and thus needs a support in rate cut. The global rate cycle is peaking out, which gave enough room to MPC to go for rate cut. IMC however wishes, that to make a mark effective, the Repo rate should have been reduced by at least 50bps.

In a major move to increase agri output, RBI has enhanced the collateral free agri loans from Rs 1 lac to Rs 1.60 lacs which will benefit small farmers.

Given the high CD ratio and a tight liquidity conditions, it is to be seen whether banks would transmit these rate cuts to borrowers. RBI is confident to handle the liquidity crunch, if any, through OMO. IMC feels the transmission of the rate cuts by banks, would be dependent on every banks' cost of operations and risk perceptions of the borrowers, and thus cannot be a uniform rule. It has revised norms on risk exposure to NBFCs and is also planning to set up an umbrella body for the urban Coop banks.

In the previous policy announcement, RBI had indicated that in case upside risks to inflation do not materialize, there would be a room for appropriate action. Core inflation has moderated in the past few months and would do so again. US Fed has also taken a dovish turn in the past two months indicating global rates have peaked out. All the above thus calls for easier monetary policy.

IMC supports the central bank concern on the need to strengthen private investment activity and buttress private consumption, as even though investment activity is recovering, it is mainly supported by public spending on infrastructure.

RBI has factored the budget proposals into the inflation projection, especially the headline inflation, which is expected to remain below within the target of 4%, primarily due to fall in crude oil and food prices. IMC feels that the lower sowing acreage in the Rabi season, to the extent of 4% due to shortfall in NE monsoon, could put pressure on prices. However considering the reservoir levels for irrigation purposes, could make up for the less monsoon and also the favorable continuing of the winter climate, may make up the loss of less acreage.

Overall the Chamber is satisfied and supports the RBIs move on Neutral stance and rate cut.


Ajit Mangrulkar
Director General

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IMC acknowledged the outstanding services rendered by the Mumbai Police personnel and as a mark of its sincere appreciation and gratitude, during the "IMC Awards for Outstanding Public Service" established last year.

Speaking at the first IMC Awards Ceremony to recognize the police personnel for their outstanding public service, Shri Subodh Jaiswal said that the Police Force works day and night for the citizens and all they need is acknowledgement. He said, he is extremely glad that IMC has initiated an Award system like this which motivates and inspire the forces to do better.

Mr. Raj Nair, President IMC said the as citizens we are completely dependent on the police force for our safety and security. This is a platform where we can convey our gratitude towards the real life heroes.

IMC congratulates the finance minister, Mr Piyush Goyal to have presented a "directional" budget with a 10 year horizon, based on the strength of the structural reforms initiated in the past four years. The deft managing of the fiscal deficit will see only a marginal spillover to 3.4% as against the budgeted 3.3% of the GDP, which will keep the excess spending on a tight leash. It being a peoples budget, there were no overtones of a political agenda, which could have been demonstrable in the election year. All sections of the economy have been taken care of.

The budget supports the 12 crore small and marginal farmers with a direct income scheme of Rs 6000/- per year in their hands, with an aim to boost agriculture production and increase disposal income at their hands. The assured monthly pension of Rs 3000/- for 10 crore workers and laborers, in the unorganized sector, after the age of 60 is a step to improve the social conditions of the vast population. The income tax relief to the middle class with taxable income upto Rs 5 lacs, will also help them increase consumption, as in India the consumption to GDP ratio is low, and needs to be increased. The 300 odd point upward jump in sensex reflects the positive market expectation of consumption uptick due to these moves.

The capital gains tax relief increased from one to two residential houses, the TDS relief in rental income upto Rs 2.40 lacs, the proposed lowering of GST for housing sector, all - will help the unsold inventories come down significantly. The 59 minute loans upto Rs 1 crore to the MSMEs sector under the Mudra Yojana is a step to provide quick credit. Bank, until now had been wary of extending loans to MSMEs.

IMC welcomes the ease of dealing with the income tax authorities. The proposal to undertake tax assessment only electronically, and scrutiny being done under anonymity of the assesse, would help the cases being completed in a fixed time schedule. The Chamber however wishes, that specific tax recommendation ( like that on personal & corporate tax) which were likely to be unveiled for the large industries, could have been announced.

The women segment also have been taken care of by extending their maternity leave period to 26 weeks, supply of six crore LPG connections, to the rural women. IMC supports the women empowerment.

In the overall analysis, the chamber appreciates the government to have treaded a tough path to develop all sectors equally.

IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed an MoU with the Industries Department of the Government of Maharashtra, on January 2, 2019 whereby IMC will provide a platform for Small and Medium enterprises in Maharashtra to resolve problems faced by them.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Subhash Desai, Hon Minister for Industries and Mining, said that Maharashtra has been rated at the top amongst the various States for manufacturing according to a recent survey, but he does not want to stop at that. The Government would like to ensure that start-ups and businesses facing challenges that could lead to eventual sickness, be helped in as many ways as possible be it Government policy, timely access to finance, skills, etc. to help them succeed.

IMC with its vast membership base and very experienced leadership team which has experts from various fields such as manufacturing, finance and banking, marketing, HR, Taxation, Law, etc. will provide the enabling interface for this important initiative. Mr Raj Nair, President of IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who is himself a leading management consultant and Chairman of Avalon Consulting, said that "85% of start-ups around the world fail to complete 3 years because of various unanticipated problems, many of which could have been solved if there was a timely helping hand. IMC is in a very good position to work with the Government to be the enabler that MSME badly need".

The Government on its part has a good initiative, 'MAITRI' to help businesses in Maharashtra, which according to Mr S M Gavai, Additional Chief Secretary in charge of Industries, Energy and Labour, would be further strengthened through this initiative with the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry. By virtue of the MoU MSMEs across Maharashtra will now have a platform to get timely and effective help.

IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bombay Chartered Accountants Society, jointly organized a one day seminar on Burning Issues in Real Estate. The programme was inaugurated by Mr Sunil Gabhawala President BCAS who opined that the recent times is seeing the functions to CAs to move from auditing and accounting to more of a advising role. He said clients need to be informed of the recent developments and practices in areas of succession planning, digitization trends and the fast changing requirements in internal audits for better governance. He said industry associations, and bodies like CA need to work together for joint representation to the policy makers and tax authorities on issues of common good.

Earlier, welcoming the BCAS, President IMC, Mr Raj Nair, mentioned that the changing scenario in digitization of services, throws a big challenge to the CAs as it offers a huge new scope in adding value to the tax and real estate advisory. He said in real estate sector, the big data and AI is changing the entire scenario, in assessing consumers demand and preferences and creating marketing initiatives in capturing data, generating leads and processing customers queries.

Mr Pranay Vakil, Chairman of IMCs Committee on Real Estate also spoke on the occasion.

The full day event in form of speakers sessions and panel discussions saw developers and builders also sharing their views on the subject.

Bollywood Theme Park to Boost Tourism in Maharshtra - Principal Secretary, Tourism, Govt of
Maharashtra


Speaking at the World Tourism day, the Principal Secretary, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Department, Government of Maharashtra, Mr Vijay Gautam in his key note address, informed of a Bollywood theme park being set up by Mahindra & Mahindra Group, which will give the much needed boost to the Mumbai tourism in particular and the state in general. He said since the declaration of the states' Tourism policy in 2016, the state has attracted 6600/- crore worth of investments into tourism infrastructure and facilities. He said the state is endeavoring to add international flavor to the various tourism initiatives and the next big activity is being undertaken to promote and enhance facilities at the Elephanta. In a major step to put the state on global tourist map, he informed the world largest circus Cirque Du Soleil would be touring Mumbai in November - the first of its kind to ever visit India.

He said tourism has a great potential in generating employment with a multiplier effect. He said the digital transformation taking place is making it easy in "Do It Yourself" concept where the tourism has moved from destination to exponential tourism.

Earlier welcoming the Chief Guest, the Director General of IMC, Mr Ajit Mangrulkar, said the digital initiatives in the tourism and hospitality sector is making a paradigm shift in broad basing the activities and services of the sector. He said the increased usage of smart phones, internet and the launch of travel and hotel booking portals by specialized service providers is adding to the employment and to the country's GDP. He said innovative products such as medical tourism, rural and culinary tourism will open new vistas of economic growth and development.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Siddharth Bhardwaj, Chief Marketing Officer, UFO Moviez said "On the occasion of World Tourism Day, we are happy to be a part of this prestigious event organized by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Due to extensive technological transition and innovation, tourism sector in India and across the globe has become a high growth industry segment. Entertainment and Travel are part of discretionary spends and we at UFO strongly believe that cinema plays a major role in changing travel habits and driving travelers to explore different destinations and experiences

A panel discussion, with panelist from Indian Hotels Company Ltd., Rainmaker Ventures, MakeMyTrip.com, Booking.com, Facebook India & South Asia, Adobe was also organized on 'Tourism and Digital Transformation' during the event to talk about various new developments in customer expectation and digitization of the sector.

Mumbai: Speaking at IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Shri Nitin Gadkari said that the Ganga Rejuvenation is just not about cleaning the river, but also generating wealth out of waste. He said the project would also work on treatment of draining water to generate clean gas on which buses could be run, and also gave details of such other projects. He also spoke of the development of waterways which would support local economy and tourism through river traffic. He said the Ganga waterway is being developed to aid freight movement upto Bangladesh and Myanmar, through operationalizing 60 river ports along the four critical nodes in the entire Ganga route from Uttrakhand to Gangasagar.

He said his department is constructing an all-weather road linking the four Dhams making it possible for the countrymen to visit these religious places at any time of the year. He also has plans to develop motorable route to the nearest point of Indian border for the Mansarover Yatra.

He appealed for wider engagement and generous contribution from the business community and common man who could feel an emotional bonding to be associated with the Ganga Rejuvenation. IMC also made a contribution of Rs 25 lacs towards the Clean Ganga Fund.

Earlier welcoming the Chief Guest, Mr. Raj Nair, President IMC, offered to lend Chambers' services at the MbPT and JNPT for the development and growth of ports which would help India increase exports.

Raj Nair takes over as President of IMC


Mr. Raj Nair, has taken over as the President of IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the year 2018-19 at its 110th AGM held on Mumbai today.

The outgoing President Dr. Lalit Kanodia highlighted the achievements at the Chamber, notable, amongst others, was the instituting the annual police awards for men and officers of Mumbai police for performance. He also released a compilation of stories of the business journeys of eminent business icons.

The Chief Guest Mrs Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development spoke of the need to integrate the business with social obligations so that surpluses could flow for community development.

Message from the guest of honour Mr Jaykumar Rawal, Hon'ble Minister for Tourism and Employment Guarantee Scheme, Government of Maharashtra was broadcasted in absentia, on the occasion. The event also marked the felicitation of the IMC Staff for Long Service Awards for completing twenty years of service.

RBI Could Have Adpoted "Wait & Watch Policy" before affecting Repo Rate Hike - IMC Chamber of Commerce


IMC Chamber of Commerce opines that the RBI could have opted for a " wait & watch " approach.

RBI, by hiking the interest rates for the first time in four years, with an increase of 25 bps each in the benchmark Repo rate and the reverse repo rate, is trying to fend off the rising inflation pressures. RBI has sounded hawkish given the April headline ( i.e total inflation) and core inflation ( inflation excluding food and energy) have crossed its medium target of 4%. Key concerns of RBI stem from crop, crude and core inflation.

In the past, food inflation was fuelled by rising MSP. Presently, the impact of revision in MSP formula for Khairf crop is not possible to access. Also if the spread of the monsoon is well distributed - both temporally and spatially, it may help keeping food inflation at a benign level. These two factors allay the fears of rising food inflation.

As for crude inflation, the recent trends in the geo political and economic developments suggest that the high oil prices would not be able to sustain itself for long. Considering, OPEC restoring its supply, US augmenting its production, a pass through mechanism for petrol/diesel in India and that 12% of imported crude is re-exported by India, we believe that crude does not pose a serious threat to inflation or current account deficit.

The GDP forecast of RBI itself is that second half will see a loss of momentum in GDP growth. The PMI and IIP numbers have been inconsistent, ranging from muted to strong growth. Core sectors have been sending mixed signals too. At best, we can say we are seeing sectoral strong growth and not a wide based consistent growth as reflected in RBI GDP forecasts too.

Banks have already begun hiking lending and deposit rates. Any upward trend in rates will dampen the industrial growth momentum.

Overall, the today's policy announcement is ahead of the curve which potentially can negatively impact GDP growth.

IMC President Dr. Lalit Kanodia's viewpoint on
Plastic Ban in Maharashtra


IMC welcomes the ban on single use plastic bags, which will avoid the resource use and negative environmental impact. It is expected that alternates such as paper bags and cloth bags which are environment friendly, and with lesser degradable time period, would find acceptability amongst masses. IMC is aware that the ban would affect livelihood and urges Maharashtra government to introduce alternatives and incentivize affected industry and enterprises willing to adopt process change for alternatives.

IMC is confident that the manufacturers will try looking at this ban as an opportunity to produce biodegradable alternatives and create new line of business. It could also help aid plastic waste recycling industries, which could be linked to create an integrated plastic waste management system. Employment opportunities can be created within the recycling chain.

Chambers can be Rating Institutions for MSMEs - Additional Secretary,
Ministry of MSMEs.


13th June, Mumbai : In his keynote address, at the NBFC convention on Fueling Inclusive Growth, organized by IMC Chamber of Commerce and FIDC, Mr Ram Mohan Mishra, Additional Secretary & Development Commissioner, Ministry of MSME, Govt of India, said that NBFCs should offer customized services to the unbanked and non-inclusive customers. He said for such services goodwill of the customers should be criteria for lending. He suggested that Chambers of Commerce, like IMC, could consider offer credit rating services to the MSMEs and could be a recommending agency to the banks for the loan requirements of customers.

Earlier welcoming the dignitaries, Dr Lalit Kanodia, President, IMC Chamber of Commerce, said that these were the exciting times for NBFCs, which holds a great importance for the nation. He opined that the sector was "coming of age" with the introduction of new products and focus on digitization for enlarging financial inclusion for meeting the funding requirements considering the current state of NPAs in the banking sector. He complimented the government for easing many regulatory frameworks for the benefit of the sector.

The conference was addressed by Mr Ramesh Iyer, who opined that the new wave for NBFcs could now be termed as New bench Mark for Credit and would design products for lending to deeper pockets. He said success of NBFCs is based on the degree of understanding the pain point of the customers in offering solutions. The Chairman FIDC, Mr Raman Agrawal, complimented the government for bringing about encouraging changes in the regulations and introducing technology related initiatives for the sector. He suggested that the government could introduce level playing field for the various categories of NBFCs as well.

The CGM RBI spoke about the various pro NBFC regulatory issues that have been instrduced by RBI. Among others, was the setting up of an Ombudsmen scheme for the deposit focused NBFCs. He added that RBI is working on a Fit and Proper criteria for the Directors of the NBFCs for improving the governance standards of the industry.

A knowledge paper on the role of NBFC in fueling MSME lending was also released by PwC on the occasion .The day long seminar saw a number of panel discussions being deliberated upon by industry experts.

Capita and Interest Subsidy being enhanced to boost exports and employment - Dr Kavita Gupta,
Textiles Commissioner


13th April, 2018, Mumbai : Speaking at an interactive session on policies and facilities for the textile sector on Friday, 13th April at IMC Chamber of Commerce, Dr Kavita Gupta, the Textile Commissioner said that the government has enhanced the incentives for exporters of garments and madeups under MEIS to support the textile exports and the Union budget which raised the special package to Rs 7148/- crores was a step in this direction to generate employment for 10 million people, as this was a labour intensive sector. She exhorted the industry to make use of these benefits.

She said the government is working on ways and means to enhance the importance and contribution of the man - made fibres in the industry segment dominated by cotton. The government has also undertaken the technology upgradation and modernization in all the 108 powerloom clusters in a big manner and an integrated approach in terms of upgrading skills, along with financial benefits is being implemented.

Earlier speaking of the initiatives of the state government, Mr Atul Patne, Secretary ( Textiles) , government of Maharashtra, said that the government is strengthening the funding requirements of the sector. Special funds for hosting and participation at the exhibitions are being released and a subsidy regime, based on the stages of processing is being implemented by the state government.

Welcoming the dignitaries, Dr Lalit Kanodia, President IMC said the chamber is lending full support to the members associated with the textile industry and said that the chamber volunteers to be in the forefront for organizing and also leading trade delegation and suggesting policy initiatives to the government.

Mr. Raj Nair to be President Elect of IMC for 2018-19
Mr. Ashish Vaid to be Vice President Elect of IMC for 2018-19


Mr. Raj Nair, Vice-President of IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been elected as the Chamber's President for 2018-19. Mr.Ashish Vaid has been elected as Vice-President for the year.

Mr. Raj Nair will take over at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Chamber to be held in June 2018 while the current President, Dr. Lalit Kanodia, will step down from office after completing his distinguished one-year term.

Mr. Raj Nair has set up four professional services companies ( Avalon Consulting, Avalon Global Research, Germin8 Solutions and Ugam Solutions ) with 16 offices in US, UK, Singapore and Australia, which are known for innovation, quality and creative use of technology. Mr Nair is a B.Tech ( Hons) from IIT Mumbai and holds qualification in management from an IIM Ahmedabad. Mr Nair was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by IIT Mumbai. Mr Nair has delivered lectures at many national and international conferences spread across USA, UK, MEand Singapore on subjects as diverse as global economics to impact of technologies on business, entrepreneurship and education.

Mr Ashish Vaid is a CA and with qualifications in Law from the government Law College Mumbai. He is a real estate developer since 1982 and has completed projects in Mumbai, Thane and Lonavala. He has been the founder president of IMC's Youth Wing, and a managing committee member of Indo American Chamber of Commerce, apart from professional bodies like NAREDCO, Bombay Chartered Accountants Society. He has been the past president of the Rotary Club of Bombay during the year of 2008-09.

A half-day Seminar on 'Promoting Agri Startups in Maharashtra' organized by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry on February 21, 2018 brought together industry veterans and young entrepreneurs to brainstorm current challenges faced by the country's agriculture, agribusiness and food industry, and how technology infusion and digitization has the potential to transform the sector into a vibrant modern one.

Dr. Lalit Kanodia, President, IMC, highlighted the need to modernize Indian agriculture. "Agriculture needs to be de-risked to record sustained growth while off-farm and non-farm jobs should be created through adequate investment so as to reduce the large number of persons currently dependent on the sector", he emphasized.

In his keynote address, Dr. Sudhir Kumar Goel, former Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Marketing, Government of Maharashtra, highlighted various opportunities the farm and food sector provides for infusion of technology and promotion of innovative agri startups. He urged young entrepreneurs to study the multifarious issues of the sector microscopically and identify niche areas for business opportunities.

In the panel discussion that followed, nine young entrepreneurs representing startups from different sub-sectors of the farm and food sector participated. They covered a gamut of activities including role of venture capital, input supplies, quality testing, electronic marketing, data analytics, farmer producer companies and incubators.

They emphasized the need for a supportive operating ecosystem and argued for a policy environment that would encourage startups. The session was interactive.

IMC supports the Big Focus on Farmers in the Union Budget 2018


The IMC Chamber of Commerce supports the various initiatives of the Finance Minister in his attempt to focus on increasing farmers income and addressing the concerns on rural impoversihment and unemployment have been well taken care of.

IMC feels that the budget is an exercise in political statement of promoting rural economy. The emphasis on generating higher income for farmer, get at least 1.5 times of the cost of production and an attempt to consider agriculture as an entreprise to help farmers double their income by 2022. The setting up of agricultural market fund of Rs 2200 crores, the Gramin Agriculture Markets to enable farmers selling directly to buyers, cluster development model for agriculture and to exempt trade on e-NAM from APMC regulations is a welcome step. To boost farming the allocation of Rs 11 lakh crores through direct institutional leding is also welcome. The focus of rural livelihood spending of Rs 14. 3 lakh crores is to strengthen in generating rural employment . IMC welcomes the attractive initiative in health care programme which will entitle 10 crore families to avail hospitlisation treatment upto Rs 5 lakhs per year.

IMC welcomes the reduction of corporate tax rate to 25% for companies with turnover of upto Rs 250 crores. This is going to benefit the MSME sector a lot to boost employment and become competitive in global market. The postive features of the budget are the increase in threshhold limit for tax deduction on interest on bank deposits for senior citizens to Rs 50,000/- and the merger of 3 insurance companies into one entity.

IMC also welcomes the attempt to raise the competencies of teachers in schools and in revitalising the education system and research in the country. It also welcomes the move to spend Rs 1.48 lakh crores by railways in improving passenger amenties.

Tax on distributed income of equity based MFs at 10% and the introduction of LTCG could a dampner for the stock markets. The real estate sector was expecting relief through lowering of stamp duty and grant of infrastructure status to help bring down cost of finance and project cost. This has not happened. However the new proposal to put priority sector deficit to NHB for affordable housing is a welcome step.

IMC compliments the government in taking steps which is likely to see the GDP growing at 7.2 to 7.5% range, along with the fiscal prudence to keep the deficit to 3.3% of the GDP.

"CSR is an age old tradition amongst Indian industry" - says Dr. Mohan Bhagwat at an IMC event


Speaking at a function jointly organized by IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Bombay Stock Exchange on Nationalism and Ethics in Business, Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanchalak, RSS said that the concept of CSR was ingrained in Indian economic and business thought, since times immemorial. He said Indian industry has always stood for principle based value addition and if the country wishes to regain the eminent position in the global economic canvas, it would have to display Swabhimaani spirit and adopt latest technology to face the competition. He said all sectors of the economy - be in agriculture or be it the industry, have to work in tandem to increase the wellbeing of people. He mentioned that the Indian business has stood for good corporate governance practices, which forms the core pivot to business existence, needs to be strengthened.

He also mentioned that the Sangh lays more stress on developing ethos and principles rather than looking after one's personal needs and requirements. He said, that India has always looked about developing not only itself but also neighboring countries like China. He mentioned the need for the hour being inclusive development and appreciated the Prime Minister for having invited the World Economies to look at India as their most preferred destination of investment for prosperity and peace.

On the job front he mentioned, the need for decentralization of industries to local level which would increase employment and use local resources for growth and development.

Earlier, welcoming the dignitary Dr Lalit Kanodia, President, IMC mentioned to free up governmental regulations in the economy. He said IT was a shining example where regulations were flexible which today prides itself to be the largest exporter of services. He also sought more governmental initiatives to boost exports to bring about increased prosperity for the nation.

"US$ 900 billion annual exports can be achieved by 2020" say leading exporters at IMC's conference
on Export Promotion and International Trade


IMC successfully organized a high level conference "Export Promotion and International Trade" with support from Ministry of Commerce and Industry, today in Mumbai with an objective to boost India's stagnant export share which currently is about 2% of the global export basket.

The chief guest, Shri Suresh Prabhu, Hon'ble Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, in his valedictory addresses stated that Government is working towards addressing all issues related to exporters like GST, ease of doing business and logistics. India needs to have vision for exports and this forum has helped raise this for us. We assure you that the Government is committed towards the cause and we will see better days for the exporters very soon, as there is tremendous potential.

Earlier inaugurating the conference Shri Subhash Desai, Hon'ble Minister for Industries and Mining said "nine textile parks in the cotton growing areas of Marathwada, Vidharba and North Maharashtra are being set up in addition to the already existing Amravati to boost the textile manufacturing primarily for export markets. He said Maharashtra's share in all India's export basket stands at 30 percent and such steps will boost it further. He mentioned plans are afoot to set up logistic parks in the existing SEZ's for integrated approach for boosting exports. He also said an international container terminal catering to 2 lac containers is being built at Navasheva in association with Singapore.

Welcoming the dignitaries and the delegates, Dr. Lalit Kanodia, President-IMC congratulated the minister for effectively reducing number of Govt permissions from 76 to 35 under ease of doing business initiative. He said that for any country to increase the GDP, boosting exports were a time tested recipe.

The conference was attended by over 200 delegates comprising of exporters, corporate sector professionals, bankers and officials from various government departments including DGFT and ECGC.

"Government of Maharashtra and IMC to join hands for releasing a health tourism policy in 100 days"


With the objective to provide a major boost to health tourism in India, IMC organized the 2nd Health Tourism Conclave in Mumbai today.

The Chief Guest of the conference Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon'ble Minister of Tourism, said "Two recuperating centres of wellness spread across hundred acres of land to come up in Igatpuri for post surgeries. He urged requesting institutions to join hands in this initiative by opening their centres at Igatpuri. He also invited IMC to be a partner organization for the Mumbai Shopping festival starting today.

Guest of Honour, Dr. Deepak Sawant, Minister of Public Health and Family Welfare, Government of Maharashtra invited stakeholders to come together and facilitate the healthcare tourists coming into Maharashtra. He mentioned that there should be uniformity in the pricing of surgeries and the Government is forming a committee with experts from the Healthcare fraternity to provide the best services to the patients and their families.

Earlier welcoming the guests and dignitaries Dr. Lalit Kanodia, IMC President said "IMC taskforce is sincerely working since last one year towards making Maharashtra the hub of medical tourism in India and is happy to see the progress on Health Tourism for Maharashtra".

The conference was attended by about 150+ leading Doctors, Hospital Administrators, Travel, Trade and Hospitality professionals.

Mumbai Police thanks IMC for honouring Mumbai Police Personnel - Dattaray Padsalgikar, CP


Mumbai: IMC acknowledged the outstanding services rendered by the Mumbai Police personnel and as a mark of its sincere appreciation and gratitude, established the "IMC Awards for Outstanding Public Service" this year.

Speaking at the first IMC Awards Ceremony to recognize the police personnel for their outstanding public service, Mr. Padsalgikar said that the current trend of crimes are related to cybercrimes and to effectively tackle it, the Mumbai police have developed internally a world class communication and monitoring system. He said among other initiatives such as installation CCTVs which help in monitoring crimes, traffic, managing situations during floods and other natural disasters, police's own intranet system is turning to be extremely effective. He said that almost all police stations in the city have been connected in latest communication and this is making the police stations virtually paperless. He emphasized that the effort of force is to upgrade the knowledge and skill levels of its personnel in tackling crimes and in making policing technologically oriented. He also informed that the Mumbai's polices Twitter handler has a following of nearly million, which by all standards is world's largest. The awards instituted by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 10 categories, felicitated 12 policemen of the ranks of constables, Asst Police Inspectors, Inspectors and a DCP.

Earlier, welcoming the police personnel, Dr Lalit Kanodia, President, IMC, said it was a proud moment at IMC to recognize the personnel who display exceptional courage for making the city and lives of its citizens safe and secure. He said that these awards will be made an annual feature and would be an exercise to bring the police and citizens closer.

Kolhapur can be next IT hub, says Dr. Lalit Kanodia


President of IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dr. Lalit Kanodia said Kolhapur fulfils the basic criteria required to be an IT Industry after Mumbai and Pune.

He was speaking at the second export sensitization programme on enhancing export organized by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with Western Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce Industries, Agro & Education and Kolhapur Chamber of Commerce & Industries with the support of ECGC and EXIM Bank, held at Dasara Chowk, on Tuesday.

"Kolhapur has a suitable environment for being an IT sector. It has good connectivity with Konkan, Karnataka and Pune and is the leading industrial centre in engineering, agro-processing and textile sectors," Dr. Kanodia said while addressing the gathering. IT industry can boom here if other sectors put in the efforts. IMC will provide assistance to the setting up of industries in the IT sector as well as any new sector", he added.

Chief Manager of EXIM Bank of India, Samartha Chaturvedi said, "The central government has declared a number of schemes for promoting the export of goods. Industrialists and businessmen should avail the benefits these schemes offer, while exporting their products." A presentation on EXIM Mitra - an IT enabled online platform, a tool in enhancing exports, further motivated the audience.

Deputy General Manager of ECGC Ltd., Sristiraj Ambastha, in his presentation on Growth Opportunities & Risk Management explained on the various operational aspects of the schemes of the ECGC, available products and credit schemes for the exporters which can significantly reduce the risk. He also interacted with the participants on their suggestions and queries.

MP Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati said, "Kolhapur is lagging in industrial growth compared to Nagpur and Aurangabad. The local artisans and industrialists are talented but are not given the boost to excel and exhibit their skills. We are also lagging in the tourism sector. A special team of experts from various fields should be set up to address these issues and outline a plan for the development of the city."

Director General, Arvind Pradhan, familiarized the participants on various government incentives and schemes which can further give impetus to the exports.

Over 200 exporters and industrialists participated in the second export sensitization programme.

Dr. Lalit Kanodia, President IMC, asks Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to reduce corporate rates to 25% to create jobs

Mumbai: The IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry was invited to make a pre-Budget presentation and give its suggestions on the Union Budget. Dr. Lalit Kanodia, President - IMC, attended and made the Presentation on 6th December 2017.

Dr. Kanodia reminded the Finance Minister that he had repeatedly emphasized the need for a stable tax regime and had committed to reducing Corporate Tax to 25%. IMC hoped that the Finance Minister would honour his commitment.

IMC pointed out that the US Government had reduced Corporate Tax to 20% and that US Fed was going to raise the interest rates. This would have a significant impact on India, the dollar would strengthen and the rupee would weaken as a consequence. This is also likely to reduce our foreign exchange inflows.

IMC emphasized that the present need of our country is to accelerate growth and increase employment. Two recent studies by McKinsey and the Boston Consulting Group have pointed out that the country has created only 7 million jobs in 5 years, in contrast to the need to create 60 million jobs.

Both growth and job creation are contingent upon private investment. To encourage this, interest rates need to drop (though this is outside the purview of the budget). We have a paradox. Banks are flush with funds, Corporates need credit, but banks are not lending. There is a deadlock due to the fear of NPAs. Hence, the Finance Minister should encourage banks to lend on the basis of cash flow, rather than only on the basis of assets, as is done in the US. Another out of the box idea is to allow Corporates to depreciate assets at will, as was done in Germany, after World War 2. This will accelerate private investment.

IMC pointed out that jobs are created largely by the MSMEs and Start-ups. 60% of the jobs in Europe are by MSMEs. Hence, the budget must provide support to MSMEs and Start-ups.

IMC mentioned that virtually every country that has achieved rapid economic growth, post-World War 2, including Germany, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China, have emphasized the importance of exports. Hence, it is of paramount importance that India encourages export. Currently the difference between our exports and imports is about $100 billion. There is no reason why we cannot become current account surplus, if we are to pursue the right policies. As an illustration, IMC pointed out that the bold decision of Mr. Pramod Mahajan to exempt software exports from income tax for 10 years resulted in exports of $116 billion of Software last year.

SEZ policies should be reviewed. They result in employment, foreign exchange earnings and the import of technology into India. Unfortunately, SEZs in the past became land deals. MAT should not be levied on profits from exports from SEZs.

The impact of GST on exporters also needs to be examined. At present they have to pay GST and then claim refund. This results in a severe drain on their cash flow.

The Government should encourage exports of items where India has a competitive advantage. For instance, India is the largest exporter of motorcycles and milk in the world. Such items should be given appropriate tax incentives, to boost their exports.

IMC had earlier given the Finance Minister a list of several other suggestions relating to the forthcoming budget.

The Finance Minister gave a very patient hearing and IMC hopes that he will take IMC's suggestions into consideration while drafting the Budget.


About IMC


Set up in 1907, IMC is an apex Chamber of trade & commerce with headquarter in Mumbai. It has about 2700 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 215 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India where, the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an honorary member




Arvind Pradhan

Director General

Fiscal deficit is no hindrance for growth says IMC President.

The CSO has released the estimates of GDP for the second quarter of ( July to Sept ) Q2 of 2017-18 which shows an encouraging trend for the Indian economy, which grew at 6.3% over a three year low of 5.7% witnessed in June 2017 quarter.

The manufacturing sector has grown by 7.0% ( as against 1.2% ) in June quarter and this acceleration rides on the re-stocking of the inventories by the companies. Mining and electricity grew faster in the quarter, though the services sector slowed down at 6.0% from the 9.5% rate of last quarter. The CPI - Inflation growth at 3.0% is much lower than 5.2% witnessed in same period last year.

Since the government has made huge infrastructure investments, these spendings have resulted in a higher fiscal depicit but have spurred consumption demand and growth thus leading to overall growth in the economy. Coming on top of the upgraded sovereign rating by Moody's which raised the country's rating to Baa2, for the first time in 14 years, on the basis of the strong government initiatives in structural reforms - including Demonetisation and GST, this is an encouraging sign.

IMC strongly supports the continuation of economic reforms which will help the country look up to a higher growth trajectory in the 3rd and 4th quarter and hopes that annual growth rate in GDP would near the 7% mark in 2017-18

IMC is happy to note that International Rating Agency Moody's Investors Service has upgraded India's local and foreign currency issuer ratings to Baa2 from Baa3 and changed the outlook on the rating to stable from positive.

Moody's has revised the sovereign rating of India a score above investment grade after 14 years. This reflects that international agencies are taking a note of India's efforts in moving towards a reform process that will promote productivity and take the country to higher growth rate in its GDP.

The economic prosperity which will be brought about through unifying the pan India markets through GST, linking all vital disbursements through Aadhar and the DBT which shows the immense potential of various reforms.

IMC applauds the series of reforms, especially the Ease of Doing Business and Make in India initiatives by the Government, which will further spur economic prosperity, generate employment and create an atmosphere of confidence amongst Indian businesses.



Arvind Pradhan

Director General

Homeopathy is widely accepted across the globe says Dr Mukesh Batra Founder and Chairman
Emeritus of Dr Batra's Group of Companies at IMC's event on My Business Journey
or
Life is an echo all comes back the good the bad and the truth says Dr Mukesh Batra Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Dr Batra's Group of Companies at IMC's event on My Business Journey

Speaking at an IMC lecture on "My Business Journey" on Monday 6th November 2017 Dr Mukesh Batra, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Dr Batra's Group of Companies stated that food and health sector are the most regulated sectors around the globe. Homeopathy is 105 year old system of curing now and is widely accepted around the globe. Talking about his business journey Dr Batra stated that the biggest challenge for him was to get homeopathy regularized as a paid profession in India. Since initially homeopathy was not considered as a profession. He considers homeopathy as a science and 10% of the population is being treated through this alternate system of medicine. It is a perfect science to understand the psychological needs and support. He says take calculated risk and don't worry about the rest. His message to the audience is perceive, try and try till you succeed. Indian homeopathy has moved internationally with critical centers being opened in Mauritius, Middle East and Far East countries.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion Dr. Lalit Kanodia, President IMC stated Dr Batra is a profound proponent of the joy of giving; Dr Batra has set up the Positive Health Foundation, which has provided free homeopathic treatment to over 50,000 patients, through free clinics across 117 cities. He extends homeopathic care to animal welfare shelters, orphanages and old age homes.

The lecture was attended 150 young entrepreneurs students and professionals.

Exporters desire a uniform bank charges on LC in the Ease of Doing initiative of the Govt


At a meet to discuss various issues in enhancing India's export performance, various export houses and entities voiced their demand for a uniform bank charges in managing the LC. Currently banks charge differential rates based on varied parameters and risk perception.

The meet was organized by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Thane Belapur Industries Association (TBIA) on 21st Sept, 2017, to understand and sensitize export procedures, understand their issues and problems, and suggest remedial action to the policy makers for implementation. The event was supported by EXIM bank and ECGC who informed the audience of the various proactive steps to boost the foreign trade. EXIM bank for example has launched the EXIM MITRA service which takes care of the needs of the SMEs in handholding and advisory services of various kinds, including identification of new overseas markets and buyers and financing the sellers. Likewise the ECGC has taken steps to empanel recovery agents overseas to help the recovery of stuck amounts of the Indian sellers. The institution also informed that it has remodeled the premiums based on the contemporary economic and political risks.

Mr. Suresh Kotak, Chairman Kotok & Co, complimented the IMC and TBIA for organizing a sensitization programme which and reviewed the current FTP of 2015-20. He called upon the industry to be vocal about their issues to the government so that a meaningful dialogue and solution to the problems could be arrived at.

The meet was inaugurated by IMC President Dr Lalit Kanodia who in his inaugural address stressed upon the importance to create employment in the country and the natural corollary was the export markets. He also said the as about 25% of the nation's GDP came from exports it was imperative to look at their issues and problems.

Many of the participants also spoke of the need to quicken the process of the refunds to the exporters under the GST regime which have been stuck for the past 3 months.

The President of TBIA, the largest industrial belt in Asia, spread over 28 sq km and hosing more than 2500 industrial units; Mr. Bipin Shah moderated the seminar and discussions.

Speaking at an IMC conference on "Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act" 2016 on Friday, 15th September 2017 Mr. Gautam Chatterjee, Housing Regulator Maharashtra expressed happiness at the progress of Maha RERA in registering about 13000 of the on-going projects and 10000 estate agents since the launch of the Act on 1st May 2017. He said the Act has been introduced to bring about revolutionary changes in transparency, promotion & development of the industry and also redress consumer's grievances quickly. According to him, the Act will bring in accountability and fiscal discipline among the developers; uphold consumer interest and their mutual commitment.

Earlier, in his keynote address Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani, MD of Hiranandani Group congratulated the government for launching the path breaking law to usher in an all-round development in construction sector and applauded IMC for initiating today's conference. He opined that RERA will help country improve its GDP which had already come under strain due to demonetization. He said the recently launched GST and the thrust by the government on affordable housing will further enhance the growth of the sector and the country.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion Dr. Lalit Kanodia, President IMC stated "Housing sector now offers a great opportunity for citizens to invest in their dream homes. The revival of Mumbai's portland also offers the best bet for affordable housing, transport links, good quality public infrastructure & utilities such as health facilities, spaces for recreation, sports, arts & culture".

The conference was attended 150 leading professionals from the real estate and legal sector participating and deliberating on the issues and challenges of this new Act. Other speakers included Mr. Mohit Malhotra, MD Godrej Properties, Mr. Mayur Shah President Credai amongst others.

Government ready to partner with IMC and other bodies to facilitate GST issues affecting trade and industry - Rajiv Jalota, State Commissioner - GST,Mumbai

IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised a Conference "50 Days of GST'' to deliberate on the Practical Issues arising from GST implementation impacting Trade & Industry and some of the Key Sectors of our Economy and implications of Anti Profiteering Mechanism.

The Guest of honour Mr. Rajiv Jalota, State Commissioner - GST, mentioned that the department is conducting a series of workshops and trade meets across the state to explain GST procedures and address filing returns, related queries for small traders. He categorically stated that the Government is ready to partner with IMC and other bodies to facilitate GST issues affecting trade and industry.

Earlier welcoming the guests and the speakers, Dr. Lalit Kanodia, President IMC said Industry has embraced GST and striving hard to come on one platform and adapt to the GST arena. He stated that GST is the biggest tax & business reform post-independence and would, bring about a transformational change in the way business is conducted in the country and result in increased economic growth & development of India. A reform of such magnitude is likely to have severe impact on trade & industry on the legislative front as well as compliances. This conference has been conceived to deliberate on, practical issues arising from GST implementation impacting trade & Industry generally & some of the key sectors of our economy and implications of anti profiteering mechanism.

At IMC event - " BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta states "PPP Model imperative for implementation of new DCR"


Speaking at a panel discussion on "Reimagining Mumbai - Cleaner and Less Congested" held at IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry Mr. Ajoy Mehta, Municipal Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, said " BMC is working towards making the city more cleaner and greener. He also mentioned that parking and open defecation are two major issues that BMC is working towards.

Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani, MD of Hiranandani Group of Companies congratulated the State Govt and the Municipal Commissioner for their plans for the overall development of Mumbai city especially affordable housing scheme. He said he is hopeful towards the Govt's initiative of Housing for all by 2022 which the real estate developers are looking forward to.

Other speakers included Dr. Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group and Mr. Shishir Joshi, CEO, Mumbai First.

Earlier welcoming the guests and the speaker, Dr. Lalit Kanodia, President IMC said that as the premier commercial capital region of India, Mumbai's growth trajectory has an impact on the entire country. As a chamber with strong commitment of civic consciousness and social commitment, we desire that Mumbai's economy and infrastructure meets the challenges faced due to increase economic demands and aspirations of population seeking jobs and enhancing their skills for jobs. The city thrives only when there is a judicious mix of economic activity coupled with decent living. The city needs to be a cleaner and less congested place to live.

RBI's repo rate cut by 25 basis points will further push growth


This period of low inflation, gives the Indian economy, an opportunity, to study the adjustment phase in mirco and macro level economic condition that helps us build our capabilities to fight inflation if it re-surfaces, and work towards policy stances.

IMC is upbeat with today's development and congratulates the MPC. The chamber is of the opinion that the banks should quickly transmit these reduced rates so that the credit cycle picks up and the banks lend the surplus pools of cash lying with them. The reduced repo rate is likely to spur investments and increase industrial activity, especially in the MSME segment.

"Eastern Water Front in Mumbai will be country's tourist capital" - Sanjay Bhatia


Speaking at IMC Chamber of Commerce on new business opportunities that are emerging in Mumbai Port, Mr Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of Mumbai Port trust, informed that the eastern water front at Mumbai Port area, with an area of 350 hectares, is being developed as the tourist capital of the country. With marinas, promenades, gardens, floating restaurants, health district to boost medical tourism, the eastern landscape of the city will undergo a transformation. Unveiling the developments plans, Mr. Bhatia said a few international consultants have been engaged to suggest development of utilities in inland waterways, building museums, shopping arcades, business centres , water fronts , governmental complexes and such others. He said Mumbai has a huge potential in developing cruise related tourist activities, which can cater to 8 lac tourists. He said work has already started on these initiatives.

Earlier welcoming the guests and the speaker, Dr. Lalit Kanodia, President IMC said that "Development of Mumbai's portLand's offer great opportunity to ensure that Mumbai regains its place as a city that will attract entrepreneurs, investors and young people to invest their resources, energy and talent. The release of MbPT's excess land on the eastern waterfront is seen as a bonanza for the space-starved metropolis. Reviving portland's could be the best bet for affordable housing, transport links, good quality public infrastructure & utilities such as health facilities, spaces for recreation, sports, arts & culture.

500 stations can be developed under PPP mode says Suresh Prabhu, Hon'ble Union Minister for Railways at the 109th AGM of IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Mumbai


On the occasion of the 109th AGM of IMC, Dr. Lalit Kanodia took over reins from Mr. Deepak Premnarayen as the President of IMC for the year 2017-18.

Speaking at the fire-side chat at the event the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said that the government is working on a scheme to develop 500 railway stations with local tourism potential under the PPP mode. He said the railways is looking at methods and means to monetize the huge railway property and effective land usage for raising finances to offer better travel experience to the passengers. He said that world class stations are being developed at Gandhinagar, Surat and Habibganj (Bhopal). On being asked about the subject of the day, "Enhancing India's Competitiveness in a Rapidly Changing World" he stated that even though robotics and artificial intelligence are gaining more ground, the need to have human touch cannot be undermined.

Participating in the discussion, Mr. Babul Supriyo, Hon'ble Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises said that the benefit of land acquisition for setting up industries under Make in India is still not understood by the common man. While citing example of global brand Apple who will be shortly commencing their manufacturing operations in India, he appealed to the private sector to consider investments in the rural areas, so that it helps to generate employment for the locals throughout the year.

Government aims to make flying more affordable through UDAN - Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik states Mr. Jayant Sinha at IMC's Airports Investments Summit

  • UDAN
  • National Civil Aviation Policy
  • Digi Yatra
  • Safety and Security initiatives

IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry is organizing its Airport Investments Summit - Enhancing Public Private Partnership" on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at Hotel Taj Lands End, Mumbai.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the IMC organized two days international meet on Airport Investments Summit, Mr. Jayant Sinha said the current decade will drive India's growth through Aviation. He said India is at a take off stage wherein the entire eco system of the aviation sector is likely to see unprecedented growth. He said the sector is growing at 20% since past three years, with 170mn passengers flying.

He said the present government has taken four major initiatives in terms of stabilising policy decisions through a national civil aviation policy, which apart from other impacts has enlarged the scope of FDI in direct and ancillary segments. He said other initiatives are related to increasing customer delight thru customer centric approach for which they have launched a novel digital based Digi Yatra, safety initiatives to encompass entire gamut of safety and security arenas and the most innovative programme to make flying affordable through UDAN and connecting tier 3 and tier 4 cities through low cost aviation.

He said the government is keen to encourage further investments through FDI and is working on a favorable revenue model to suit both the investors for their returns and also for bringing new clients into the flying fold. He said the government is planning to expand the reach of UDAN through building 50 new airports to take the current number of 106 to about 175-200 airports. He exuded confidence that the new disposition will also create additional jobs much beyond the current level of 2 lacs. He said over all the target of the Ministry is to triple the activities.

Earlier, welcoming the Minister Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President, IMC complimented the various progressive steps taken by the government over the past three years. These helped in confidence building which made investments attractive for the foreign investors.

In the year 2014, due to a cloud burst, massive floods ravaged the State of Jammu & Kashmir in which numerous people lost their lives and were rendered homeless because the entire villages were swept away.

IMC, through its "Relief Foundation" decided to help the people who had lost their homes and supported the initiative of building new houses for them by requesting its members to donate for the cause. The members wholeheartedly supported this noble cause and an amount of Rs 51 lakhs was collected and donated to Jammu & Kashmir Study Centre for construction of new houses.

11 new houses have been built at the Seri Tanda Gaon, in Reasi district, around 63 kilometers from Jammu. These new houses were handed over to the flood affected people by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon'ble Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy, Space,Prime Minister Office, on Saturday,20th May 2017 at a ceremony held at Dera Baba Banda Bahadur Gurdwara in the village. The event was attended by IMC President Mr. Deepak Premnarayen and IMC Director General, Mr. Arvind Pradhan.

Speaking at a Seminar on the new Insolvency Bankruptcy Code organized by the Law: Review & Rationalization Committee of IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mumbai India the Chief guest Mr. B. S. V. PRAKASH KUMAR Judicial Member of the National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai Bench emphasized in his inaugural speech that the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code required a new approach and mind set and that unlike earlier statutes the Code did not envisage adversarial proceedings but sought to reconcile interests of all participants in a manner that all of them benefitted and assets and resources were not wasted for years and their realizable values destroyed.

Giving her Key Note address, Dr. Susan Thomas a member of the Committee which drafted the Insolvency Bankruptcy Code, explained the philosophy and intent of the provisions of the IB Code and clarified that this Code was not a legislation for providing a mechanism for enforcing legal rights but realizing the economic needs of creditors in a fair and equitable manner.

Mr. S. K. Amarnath Executive - Vice president of Asset Reconstruction Company of India said that the IB Code introduced a paradigm shift in approaches and recognized and highlighted an economic concept that as long as debt obligations are met equity owners have complete control and creditors have no say in how the business is run. When default take place, control is supposed to transfer to creditors, equity owners have no say. He said the need of the hour was to expand credit in the economy and the IB Code could achieve that as it may result in reducing risk perception by improving pace of recoveries.

Dr. Susan Thomas highlighted that the features of this IB Code envisaged setting up of four new independent agencies who would ensure completion of the resolution process namely; (i) A robust and efficient Adjudicating Authority to hear the cases. (ii) A regulated profession of Insolvency Professionals (IPs) like those operating in other jurisdictions such as Canada and the UK to manage the insolvency and bankruptcy cases. (iii) A regulated competitive industry of Information Utilities (IUs) to reduce information asymmetries in the insolvency resolution process and to provide conclusive evidence of default and (iv) a regulator - the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) - to perform legislative, executive and quasi-judicial functions with respect to the IPs, and IUs and draft regulations for the resolution procedures under the IB Code.

Chartered accountant Mr. Sailesh Haribhakti when explaining the role of the Insolvency Professionals (IP's) emphasised that one of the first things that IP's should do was to carry out a forensic audit and obtain and present two valuation reports to creditors, one valuation report of the business as a going concern and another on basis of it's net worth. These valuations and reports would assist the creditors to identify lumpy assets which could be utilised to pay off debts and also to decide whether the business of the company was well managed and fit to continue or be wound up.

In response to concerns expressed by some members in the audience about the performance of the Insolvency Professionals the Chairman of IMC's Law: Review & Rationalization Committee Mr Shaunak J. Thacker said that performance of the Insolvency Professionals was vital in ensuring the smooth and timely working of the Resolution process and the Chamber would be submitting a representation to the Government to expeditiously strengthen and expand the institutions of Insolvency Professionals (IPs) and Information Utilities (IUs) by evolving and specifying qualifications, selection criteria, fees and a code of conduct and a redressal mechanism. He said the Chamber representation would also emphasis the need to provide protection both to labour and facilitate managements for obtain necessary clearances from the Labour Commissioners' office to wind up and exit expeditiously and with greater ease.

Responding to a concern expressed by some participants that under that under the IB Code since the committee of creditors comprised of only Financial Creditors (who were secured) and they were entitled to vote for approving the Resolution process, the position of repayment of bond holders and unsecured creditors may be prejudiced or neglected, Dr. Susan Thomas clarified that under the scheme of the IB Code such an event should not happen as the Financial Creditors when approving the Resolution process would have to choose between keeping the company alive or to windup or realize the assets for benefit of all creditors. If secured creditors wanted to keep their securities intact and company alive, then they would have to either buy out the unsecured creditors or persuade the company management to ensure repayment of the dues of unsecured creditors.

Labour advocate Mr. Sundeep Puri highlighted the differences in protection given to Labour under the SICA and the IB Code. In response to a query form the audience during question hour, Mr. Ramnath Pradeep former Chairman and MD Corporation Bank said that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 is a landmark legislation in the history of financial sector to resolve financial stress in the system and for the benefit of all the stakeholder, Bank, Share Holders, employees and other Creditors of Entrepreneurs. Advocate Rashid Boatwala of Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co. and Advocate Ms. Dhwani Mehta also spoke at the seminar.

Mr. Suresh Kotak while making the concluding remarks said that the purpose and working of the Code was extremely well explained and highlighted by the participating speakers and ended his vote of thanks on an optimistic note that all concerned interests including lawyers would implement the new Code in it's true spirit to bring about the required changes for the country's economy.

title : Seminar on Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 May 4 Date : 2017-05-04

IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry bestows IMC Digital Technology Awards 2016

Continuing with its endeavor to recognize and encourage IT, ITES and software companies and also the end users of IT across Industry verticals, IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, institutes IMC Digital Technology Awards. Currently in its 3rd year, the award function was held on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the Walchand Hirachand Hall, IMC, Churchgate, Mumbai. Padma Bhushan Dr. F.C. Kohli, Former Deputy Chairman of TCS and Former President of NASSCOM was the Chief Guest at the function.

Providing an insight into what constitutes the award, Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President, IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IMC) said, "This is a great initiative by IMC to felicitate both IT industries and corporates who are adding in to the country's growth and economy through Digital transformation. Such awards encourage people to continue with their work in the sector. The IT industry has transformed India's image on the global platform and has also fueled economic growth by energizing the higher education sector especially in engineering and computer science. Future growth in the IT sector will be fueled by growing demand for new services such as Robotic Process Automation, Smart Process Automation powered by Artificial Intelligence and usual Digital transformations."

While announcing the 'IMC Digital Technology Awards', Dr. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman of Digital Technology Committee IMC said, "Digital transformation is the backbone of smart industries and smart cities that will create a smart nation. Keeping pace with the call made by our Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi for a Digital India, IMC considered it to be most appropriate to recognize and appreciate the work being done by IT companies in digitally transforming the industry and also the end users who have made the first move to adapt these transformations."

"The award winners include both IT companies and end users of IT alike from large as well as the SME sector. Moving forward, we intend to make the IMC Digital Technology Awards our annual flagship event and of a de facto National Standard" said Dr. Lalit S. Kanodia, President Elect of IMC for 2017-18.

The function kick started with a panel discussion on "Digital Transformation - Road Ahead" moderated by Dr. Lalit S. Kanodia, Chairman, Datamatics Group of Companies. The panelists included Dr. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman, 5F World, Mr. Gourav Jaswal, Founder and Director, Prototyze, Mr. Krishna Ramaswami, Digital Head, Cognizant, Ms. Sandhya Vasudevan, Group COO & MD, Deutsche Bank and Mr. Umar Ali Shaikh, Head - Technology Transformation Services (TTS) - Asia Pacific Vice President - Infrastructure & Data Management (IDM) - India, Atos India.

Speaking at the event, Dr. F.C. Kohli, said, "Adult illiteracy is a major issue that is stopping India from reaching its digital goals. He also mentioned that India as a country has much more potential to perform in the field of digital technology"

The jury for the IMC Digital Technology Awards 2016 comprised the following dignitaries from the IT industry:

  • Padma Shri Dr. Deepak B. Phatak, Professor Department of CSE, IIT Mumbai

  • Dr. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman 5F World

  • Dr. Lalit Kanodia, Chairman Datamatics Group

  • Mr. Anil Jaggia, Ex-CIO, HDFC Bank

  • Mr. Ashank Desai, Founder and Former Chairman of Mastek Ltd

  • Mr. Atul Nishar, Former Chairman of Nasscom

  • Mr. Harish Mehta, Former Chairman of Nasscom

  • Mr. Kushe Bahl, Partner McKinsey and Company Inc.

  • Mr. Manish Choksi, President Home Improvement International & IT, Asian paints Ltd.

  • Mr. Vijay Chandok, President ICICI Bank



There were 6 Categories of Awards presented as below:

Category 1 -

  • IT Product Award

SME :- Praxify Technologies India Pvt. Ltd.

Large :- 3i Infotech Ltd

  • IT Services Award

SME: Nelito Systems Ltd.



Category 3 - Emerging Technologies & Startup Companies

  • Emerging Technologies

Large :- Ugam Solutions

SME :- Wits Interactive Pvt Ltd

  • Most Promising Start-up

Vamaship



Category 5 - End Users of IT across Industry Verticals

  • BFSI

Large : - ICICI Bank Ltd

  • Manufacturing and Engg

Large : - Bajaj Electricals Ltd

  • Healthcare and Pharma

SME :- Nayati Healthcare & Research Pvt Ltd

  • Utilities

SME :- Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation

  • Education

SME :- Hansraj Public Schoo

  • Retail & Ecommerce

SME :- Virtuous Retail



Category 6b - Digital Transformation - Service Provider & End User

  • Large :- VFS Global Services Pvt Ltd


The sponsors for the awards were WNS, Atul Nishar Foundation, Dynacons, Atos.

Dr. Lalit Kanodia to be President Elect &
Mr. Raj Nair to be Vice President Elect of IMC for 2017-18



Dr. Lalit Kanodia, Vice-President of IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been elected as the Chamber's President for 2017-18. Mr. Raj Nair has been elected as Vice-President for the year.

Dr. Kanodia will take over at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Chamber to be held in June 2017 while the current President, Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, will step down from office after completing his distinguished one-year term.

Dr. Lalit Surajmal Kanodia is the Chairman of Datamatics Global Services Limited which he founded in the year 1975. He is a Mechanical Engineer from IIT, Mumbai, an MBA and Ph.D. from MIT, USA. Dr. Kanodia was awarded the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award in 2015 for outstanding and exemplary achievements in Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Kanodia is a Ford Foundation Fellow, National President of the Indo American Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Management Consultants' Association of India and Chairman of the Electronic & Computer Software Export Promotion Council. He has also been a Member of the Executive Committee of Nasscom. Earlier, he was Consultant to the Ford Motor Company and Arthur D. Little. He also taught at Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Bombay University and MIT. Dr. Kanodia is currently on the Executive Board of MIT (Europe, Asia and Africa). He was the Honorary Consul of Chile in Mumbai (2002-2014) Dr. Lalit Kanodia is the Founder CEO of TCS.

Mr. Raj Nair is an entrepreneur, having set up four professional services' companies in US, UK, Singapore and Australia. His flagship - Avalon Consulting is ranked 6th in Asia by Vault Ratings for Leadership. It is the only consulting firm from an Asian which is in the top 10 list. It serves clients in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and China.His other companies - Avalon Global Research, Germin 8 Solutions and Ugam Solutions - are known for innovation, quality and creative use of technology.

Mr. Nair is a B.Tech from IIT Mumbai and completed his management from IIM Ahmedabad. He writes extensively for newspapers and periodicals.

IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards & IMC Juran Quality Medal presented on 16 March 2017


In order to recognize Excellence, IMC's Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award (IMC RBNQA) Trust presented IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards & IMC Juran Quality Medal on 16 March 2017. The award ceremony was held at Y B Chavan Center from 6 pm onwards. The awards were presented by the Chief Guest for the ceremony, Dr R A Mashelkar, FRS, National Research Professor & President,Global Research Alliance.

IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards are possibly the most prestigious national quality Awards in the Country. The Awards were named after late Shri.Ramkrishna Bajaj, Past President, IMC and a leading Industrialist. The award process follows rigorous training and evaluation. All applicant organizations irrespective of winning an Award or not receive a detailed feedback report - beneficial to map the quality journey of the Organization.

Since the institution of the Award in 1996, over 650 organizations have expressed their intention to apply and over 500 of them have gone through the evaluation process.

The Award process covers seven categories namely manufacturing, service, small business, overseas, education, health care and NGOs.

IMC RBNQ Award process has multiple benefits to Indian organizations:

  • Implementing the criteria is a reward in itself. Organizations participating in the process go through a self-assessment exercise with emphasis on result-oriented performance measurements.

  • All applicants receive feedback reports commenting on their strengths and opportunities for improvement.

  • Unique aspect of this award is that its winners are recognized at an international platform too. The IMC RBNQA winners are eligible to participate in the Asia Pacific Quality Organization (APQO) World Class Global Performance Excellence awards.

'The IMC Juran Quality Medal' recognizes individual excellence and role models in the field of quality. The medal was named after late Dr. J M Juran - Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the reputed Juran Institute for Quality, USA. In 1996, Dr.J M Juran gave permission to the IMC Quality Awards Committee to use his name for a Quality Medal.


IMC JURAN QUALITY MEDAL 2016

Dr Anil Kakodkar

Chairman, Rajiv Gandhi Science & Technology Commission


Recognitions of 2016 IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards


IMC RAMKRISHNA BAJAJ NATIONAL QUALITY AWARD 2016

  • Aditya Birla Financial Services, Mumbai - Service Category

  • Global Indian International School, Kuala Lumpur Campus, Malaysia - Overseas Category

  • Marico Limited, Unit - Baddi, H.P. - Manufacturing Category

IMC RBNQ PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE TROPHY 2016

  • A J Hospital & Research Centre, Mangalore - Health Care Category

  • Aditya Birla Insulators, A Unit of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd, Hooghly - Manufacturing Category

  • Castrol India Ltd, Mumbai - Manufacturing Category

  • Drive India Enterprise Solutions Ltd , Mumbai - Service Category

  • Essel Propack Limited, Kundaim, Goa - Manufacturing Category

  • JSW Steel Coated Products Ltd, Vasind, Tarapur & Kalmeshwar - Manufacturing Category

  • National Payments Corporation of India, Mumbai - Service Category

  • Reliance Industries Limited, Nagothane Manufacturing Division - Manufacturing Category

  • UltraTech Cement Limited,Unit: Kotputli Cement Works, Jaipur - Manufacturing Category


IMC RBNQ CERTIFICATE OF MERIT 2016

  • Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Bangalore - Health Care Category

  • Crystal Marketing Corporation, Hyderabad - Small Business Category

  • Grant Medical Foundation, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune - Health Care Category

  • ISKCON Food Relief Foundation (Annamrita), Mumbai - NGO Category

  • Marathon Group, Mumbai - Service Category

  • Pushpalata Educational Centre, Tirunelveli, TN - Education Category

  • UltraTech Cement Ltd, Unit: Sewagram Cement Works - Manufacturing Category

  • Varroc Engineering Private Limited (VEPL-I), Aurangabad - Manufacturing Category

  • Vedanta Limited, Sesa Goa Iron Ore, Goa - Manufacturing Category

Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President, IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said, "It is with pleasure that we recall the role of Shri Ramkrishna Bajaj as a business leader. He was a crusader for ethics in business, social welfare and consumer protection. He established the Council for Fair Business Practices to facilitate his crusade. He believed in Customer-driven quality. The IMC RBNQA criteria for Performance Excellence is a great management tool to bring in organizational transformation and integration."

Speaking on the award, Mr.Niraj Bajaj, Chairman, IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award Trust, said, "The IMC RBNQA Criteria for Performance Excellence believes in a holistic approach towards achieving organizational excellence. We have completed two decades of the IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award. It has been a roller coaster ride of learning because the model for performance excellence is constantly evolving. This evolution is a reflection of the dynamic economic and social environments."

"Organizations are increasingly recognizing the critical role suppliers play in the success of their own operations and businesses. Indian organizations and suppliers must work as partners to provide the highest quality offerings created in the most efficient and effective manner. I recommend that IMC RBNQA applicant organizations must partner with their suppliers, and use the same criteria to grow their suppliers for achieving customer delight and world-class quality" says Mr.Suresh Lulla, Chairman, IMC RBNQ Awards Committee.

India needs urgent reforms in DTC, GST and FSLRC to push its GDP growth rates beyond 8% - P
Chidambaram


Speaking at an interactive session at the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 11th March 2017, the former Finance and Home Minister - Mr P Chidambaram, said the present economic situation requires the need to identify real reforms which would take the country to higher growth path. He said between the years 1991 and 2015, only 11 real reforms took place which laid the foundation for the country to move on higher growth trajectory.

In the current political milieu, he indicated four areas of reforms which will add to the jobs and the growth rates of the country. He opined that introduction of the GST would be the most transformational event for the country in improving transparency and the way of doing business in India. He opined that the reform in the Direct Tax Code which would help the country to revise, simplify and consolidate the direct tax laws. Another reform which is of utmost urgency and critical to India's growth rate is the FSLRC, which would rewrite the legal-institutional architecture of the Indian financial sector. He also exhorted the deconstruction of the bureaucracy to rise up to the challenge of changes in the global and domestic economic situations for efficient deliveries of the governments programmes.

He called for introduction of a free society where the governments interference would be minimal and would be restricted only towards interventions in case of failures. He cited the examples of public health systems and elementary educations where the government's role is decisive.

He mentioned that in the current situation of the economy, the main concerns are that of job creations for the vast millions who are entering the job market, taking care of the basic health needs of the teeming millions and a creation of civil society which is based on ethics and dignity for its citizens.

He hoped that the current government in the remaining period of the 24 months till 2019 would give a big push to the reforms which takes the country to higher growth levels and meet the expectations of the people.

Earlier welcoming the chief guest, Mr Deepak Premnarayen, President, IMC Chamber of Commerce, appreciated the role of Mr Chidambaram in bringing reforms in taxation and administrative machinery while serving as a Finance Minister and also the Home Minister for deftly handling the naxal issue through dialogues.

"The world is heading towards a new business trend"

by Mr. Uday Kotak, Executive Vice-Chairman & Managing-Director,

Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd


The fourth oration under the IMC's PVG Chair in banking and finance was delivered by Mr. Uday Kotak, executive Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank. Speaking on the topic " India and the New World Order" today at Mumbai University, Mr Kotak said that the country is rededicating itself to a new growth path of rejuvenating its economy, its financial systems and installing confidence in its teeming millions for a new dawn. With the entire world looking to India with hope in providing a new economic order, the task before the country is daunting. He mentioned the great strides made by the financial sector in integrating with the global economy and improving the governance standards of the banks.

He covered the world economic growth since the world war in form of Mega Trends .

He says India is at the crucial juncture in context of resurgency and protectionism in labour and resources. He gave the example of Brexit and the recent US election which reflects movement towards anti free global trade order. He however felt that this could be a passing phase and India would become stronger. India should thus adopt true globalization, and avoid protectionism.

India will be able to grow and sustain though there are concern of "jobless growth". He felt the need to upgrade skills and knowledge and the banking sector should adopt good risk management practices.

Earlier welcoming the chief guest, Mr Deepak Premnarayen President IMC, mentioned the growing unconventional challenges in the financial sector with the advent of artificial intelligence and the increasing usage of robotics and the fast growing of disruptive technologies. He called upon the need of increasing the digital interventions in the banking sector.

The PVG Chair was set up by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies in 2011 in honour of Padma Bhushan Pravinchandra V Gandhi, an eminent banker, financial advisor and a leading businessman. The chair undertakes research in microfinance and community banking, microcredit and micro insurance and promoting inclusive financing systems. The Chair also undertakes consulting in niche area of banking and finance to enterprises engaged in financial sector. The Chair has organized 3 lectures on previous occasions addressed by Mr. K.V Kamath, Mr. Deepak Parekh and by Nobel Laureate Prof Finn Kydland of the University of California.

The oration of Mr. Uday Kotak was attended by a large number of industry icons, professionals from the corporate world and the academic community.

Speaking at an interactive session at IMC Chamber of Commerce on Global economic dynamics and their implications for India, Dr Subir Gokarn, former Deputy Governor RBI and current Executive Director at IMF expressed concern at the deceleration of global trade which has become sluggish since 2008.

The increase in protectionism in various forms such as anti-dumping, countervailing duties and such, puts lot of stress on the emerging economies. Thus countries could look at increasing domestic demand and not depend on export led growth. He opined that the threat of rise in retreating of globalization, is also a matter of concern. The outcome of Brexit and the protectionism in US will further push down the global trade.

He was optimistic that India is a shining example in emerging markets and should do well this year with a 7.2% growth and also next year, with an increased growth of 7.7%. He said India's growth drivers in years to come would be the Ease of Doing Business and the investment in infrastructure.

Earlier welcoming Dr Gokarn, Me Deepak Premnarayen, President IMC complemented the government for its pragmatic policies announcements for MSME sector and also improving the banking sector with strengthening the Negotiable Instrument Act in handling cheque bouncing cases. He opined that the rate of interest for MSME sector could be brought down to 7% to help the sector to generate more employment and contribute to growth.

Union Budget 2017-18

The 2017-18 Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley in the Parliament today is a non-populist no-frills yet matter-of-fact budget with emphasis on strengthening policy framework and system-based governance.

IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the focus of the budget on agriculture, infrastructure and SME, the three sectors with potential for job creation. Rural India has received specific attention. In addition to increased allocation for poverty alleviation, the budget lays emphasis on development of rural infrastructure in the form of creating physical assets. The increased allocation for MNREGA (Rs 48,000 crore) will help generate employment in rural areas and help boost the rural economy.

The targeted approach with respect to agriculture is designed to benefit farmers by seeking to improve the marketability of agricultural crops. Expanding e-NAM, asking States to delist perishables from APMC laws and setting up an expert panel for integration of spot market with derivatives market are cases in point. These are likely to create an enabling environment for rural youth.

The humungous outlay (Rs 3.96 lakh crore) for infrastructure development - railways, roads, airports, multi-modal transport and so on - is sure to be a shot in the arm for the infrastructure sector that finds itself inadequate to meet the growing demands of the economy. It will have several spin-off benefits. Railways safety and infrastructure improvement have been recognized as critical going by the amount allocated (Rs 1.31 lakh crore). The grant of infrastructure status and allocation of funds for affordable housing (Rs 23,000 crore) is a welcome step.

IMC also welcomes the huge thrust being made towards the digitization of the payment mechanism in the primary agriculture cooperative societies and banking sector and, applauds the move towards a stringent legislation to curb cheque-bouncing. IMC supports the government's focus towards the SME segment. Reduced tax rate for SMEs up to Rs 50 crore turnover is sure to prove to be an incentive and help improve their competitiveness. At the same time, IMC desires that the corporate tax rate could have been brought down further from its current effective rate of 23%.

The contribution of donations to the political parties through digital mechanism would help advance transparency and is seen as a welcome step towards better governance.

IMC appreciates the lowering of income tax rates for individuals upto Rs 5 lacs category, which will give them the much needed relief.

Overall the chamber believes the budget is an excellent initiative towards furthering the reform process, bringing about more transparency and laying a solid foundation for GDP growth rates of 7.5 % and higher, in years to come.

  • Enhanced hedger participation is imperative for scientific price discovery

  • Options trading in gold will help deepen and widen the market

  • India can transform from a price taker to a price setter

  • Case for a national online Spot Exchange

Mumbai, December 22, 2016: India's ravenous appetite for gold consumption is well known. The country is the world's largest importer and second largest consumer. 'For India to be in a position to set global prices rather than be a price-taker, institutional and market reforms are necessary', according to a host of expert speakers at the national seminar jointly organized by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and India's premier commodity futures exchange Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX)

Speakers included Mr. Mrugank Paranjpe, MD & CEO, MCX; Mr. S. K. Mohanty, Executive Director, SEBI (the market regulator) and a host of domain experts including Mr. Rajesh Khosla, MD & CEO, MMTC-PAMP.

Suggesting that the consumption volumes justified a further widening and deepening of the gold derivatives market, speakers pointed out that expansion of hedger participation and introduction of new products and instruments is sure to help achieve the objective.

According to Mr. Paranjpe, "rationalisation of tax structure including Commodity Transaction Tax should top the policy agenda. In terms of institutional reforms, he said that a transparent gold leasing market, upgraded standards of gold refiners and encouraging gold mining deserve close attention."

In his welcome address, IMC President Mr. Deepak Premnarayen pointed out that the gold market faced issues such as high rates of customs duty, excise duty on gold jewellery and incidents of unauthorised imports. "The country's gold trade needs to be reformed and more transparency brought in. The important message is, for a vibrant consumption market such as India, long-term policy clarity in more critical than other parameters such as price and availability", he asserted.

Mr. S. K. Mohanty, ED, SEBI, urged the exchange and the market participants to work towards enhancing hedger participation. He said that new instruments, new products are being introduced by the regulator to bring new participants into the marketplace. Options trading is one such instrument, he remarked.

The business sessions covered topics as varied as revitalization of Gold Monetization Scheme and Gold Bond Scheme; a reforms agenda for making India a price setter and case for establishing a Gold Spot Exchange.

The seminar concluded with a price and market outlook session where global and Indian market drivers were discussed.

(Mumbai, 6 December) Unveiling a new partnership, UN Women and the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IMC) today organised a high-level event to underline the critical link between women's economic empowerment and ending violence against women, and the need for urgent and adequate investment in the twin themes.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on a visit to India was the Chief Guest at the conference titled 'WeUNiTE: Investing in Planet 50-50'. Private sector leaders, UN officials, gender experts and activists explored how skill development, entrepreneurship and innovation could help achieve gender equality and women's economic empowerment. Indian film actress Katrina Kaif was a special invitee at the conference, held as part of the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, a campaign that aims to galvanize actions on ending violence against women around the world, from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day. During this year's 16 Days, the UN Women-led UNiTE campaign's "Orange the World" initiative is highlighting the urgent need to raise money to end violence against women and girls. The India visit is the culmination of UN Women Executive Director's tour during the 16 Days of Activism, which took her to Liberia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea in recent weeks.

Violence against women and girls affects one in three worldwide. A new study from ActionAid shows that in India, 73 per cent of have experienced some form of violence or harassment in the past month. Prevalent across the world in different forms, violence against women and girls also has a long term impact on economies. A recent study estimated that the cost of intimate-partner violence accounting in 2013 could be as high as 5.2 per cent of the global economy. Despite growing recognition that the pandemic of violence against women is a gross human rights violation and a serious obstacle to development, there continues to be a persistent funding gap, which impedes progress.

"Violence against women is a gross violation of rights for women and girls and a setback for society. There is also a clear and direct link between violence against women and their ability to participate effectively and productively in the economy, including lost workdays, lower income, increased public expenditure and lost opportunities for education, employment and political participation, " said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the event. "Under investment in both gender equality and ending violence against women comes at a high human and economic cost. To prevent and end violence against women requires all key institutions in society to work together, to provide services to victims and survivors of violence," she added.

IMC, is an apex Chamber of Trade, Commerce and Industry with a reach of over 250,000 business establishments in India. The partnership between IMC and UN Women will accelerate efforts towards women's economic empowerment through skill building, promoting entrepreneurship and innovation; and creating enabling environment for violence free work and public spaces.

"If our GDP has to grow, it has to be in tandem with gender equality. The WeUNiTe partnership addresses gender equality and violence against women. Today, to coincide with the partnership in the evening, heritage sites will be lit up. This is a broad partnership with UN Women which focuses on social entrepreneurship and skill building, and we look forward to working together with UN Women," said Deepak Premnarayen, President IMC.

A key highlight of the event was an 'Equality Dialogue' between Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka and Ms. Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director & CEO, ICICI Bank Ltd, India's largest private sector bank. Industry leaders, gender experts and celebrity advocates outlined various dimensions of violence against women and girls, the interventions that are showing results, and also the game changer that economic empowerment of women can be to ending the pandemic of violence.

"The SDGs are an ambitious agenda, a tough one to achieve. But I do believe we are all responsible for making it possible. If I do not act now and merely speak, I will be doing a disservice to women. I will be doing whatever I can in my capacity to create awareness about gender equality," said Katrina Kaif.

"I got threats when I filed the case against my attacker. I got a historical judgment in my case, he was given life imprisonment. I had become blind- handicapped, I didn't want to be a burden on my family. I became independent and empowered myself to move ahead in life. I finished my education and met NGOs working on acid attack survivors and I joined hands with them and fought for them," said Haseena Hussain, National Federation of the Blind, Karnataka, and acid attack survivor.

Accompanying the event and sending a strong signal against gender-based violence, iconic Mumbai monuments such as the Gateway of India were illuminated in orange to mark the 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women, attended by UN Women Executive Director and other dignitaries. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Western Railway building, and the University of Mumbai were also 'oranged' as part of the initiative. The Indian landmarks join a growing list of world monuments that are being "oranged" during the 16 Days fortnight, which include, in North America New York City's Gracie Mansion and City Hall and the BC Stadium in Vancouver, Canada; the Presidential Palaces in Ecuador, Chile and Colombia; the Minar-i-Pakistan monument in Pakistan, the UNESCO World Heritage Patan Durbar Square in Nepal, and Xi Hu Lake and temples in China; the Parliament of Uganda and the Gender Ministry in Liberia; the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the archaeological site of Jerash in Jordan; and the European Parliament, European Commission buildings and over 30 landmark buildings in Istanbul.


Quotes from Conference high-level speakers:

Chanda Kochar, Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Bank Ltd, India's largest private sector Bank: "We must step up skilling efforts, make women educated, but also employable. At ICICI we have put in place measures such as adoption leave, work-from-home, using technology to ensure safety of women staff during travels. Maternity leave and focus on women's safety are critical."

Lalitha Kumaramangalam, Chairperson, National Commission for Women, India: "All governments understand that women's empowerment makes economic sense. Governments realize that that cost of violence against women impedes economic growth. Women across India have varying child care needs, there no-one-size-fits-all solution, but a variety of solutions also exist. But we need reliable gender-disaggregated dataon crime, land recordsto address gaps in women's safety and empowerment."

Yamini Mishra, Gender-Responsive Budgeting Specialist, Asia-Pacific Region, UN Women: "There is global consensus on the need for financing for closing the gender gap. Many Asia-Pacific countries are doing costing of violence against women and the investment required. Human rights are unassailable--ending violence against women and investing is about smart economics but more important a basic question of human rights."

Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research: "Women have started questioning the narrativewhether it is questioning the personal laws or why should women be discriminated? We need to look at a transformative society and be partners to ensure a gender equal world."

Photos available at: http://ow.ly/mNhM306R3Iv

Medical tourism in India expected to touch US$ 8 billion from current US$ 3 million

Medical value travel in India is far more cheaper compared to other regions

IMC to establish a task force for state government to draft medical tourism policy

28th November 2016, Mumbai:Growing at 20-25% per annum, the medical tourism industry in India is one of the fastest growing healthcare markets across the globe and has caught the attention of several healthcare and hospitality providers. Medical Tourists from Asia, GCC, Africa and the SAARC regions are increasingly opting for India as the preferred destination for advances medical treatments and services.

"Maharashtra aims to become the no. 1 destination for medical tourism through state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, well-trained medical professionals and low cost of delivery as compared to cities like Tamil Nadu and Delhi" Smt Valsa Nair, Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Govt of Maharashtra said at her address at the Medical Tourism Conclave, organized by the IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Mumbai.

Speaking at the conclave, she said, "Medical tourism in India is seen as the next crown jewel that could shape the future of India's economy and health care. The Indian medical tourism industry is expected to grow from current US $ 3 million to US $ 8 billion attracting medical tourist from Bangladesh, Iraq, GCC, CIS region and Africa. Our objective is to provide infrastructure, hospitals and medical facilities in Pune, Nagpur and other centers around the state.

Maharashtra is planning to create a single web platform which will provide plethora of services and facilities to the global patients seeking assistance in India. With 100% FDI in medical and devices sector it will further give a boost to the Make in India initiative.

As a medical tourism destination, India is known for high-class treatment at affordable costs. The country's cost benefit gives it a definite edge over other countries like Singapore and Malaysia. Medical treatment in India enables savings of 30 - 70% on total expenditure.

Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President, IMC, said "Apart from the Medical Tourism Council, the IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry is also looking into creating a task force which will put together its suggestions for drafting the necessary and appropriate policies for the promotion of medical tourism in the state. While there are several challenges such as adequate insurance, complaint resolution mechanism, safety regulations, norms governing malpractices etc; the state also presents several opportunities which the government can extend its support to. We will also evaluate more engagement and associations with partner countries to provide a fillip to this growing industry"

He further added "Bangladesh and Afghanistan dominate the Indian Medical Value Travel (MVT) with 34 per cent share. Africa, GCC and CIS regions present the maximum possible opportunity for the Indian healthcare sector. Medical tourists from these regions currently favor the South East Asian medical corridors."

Leading doctors like Dr. S. Natarajan - Chairman and Managing Director, Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital, Dr. Darius Soonawala - Orthopaedic & Joint replacement surgeon, Jaslok Hospital, Dr. Vinay Jacob -Cosmetologist Bombay Hospital and Dr.Sumit Pal - Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgeon, Apollo Hospital, Mr. Rajiv Duggal - CEO, Lavassa Hospitality, Mr. Devendra Bharma - EVP, Oberoi Hotels, Dr. Hidayat Khan CMD Human Care Air Ambulance and Dr Parag Rindani AVP & Head Wockhardt Hospital participated in the panel discussions during the conference.

India currently garners no more than a minuscule percentage of the world medical tourists contributing to less than 0.1% of the nation's GDP. With a concerted effort India can target a GDP share of 2% from medical tourism. However, lack of unified pricing, visa policies, and the tussle between public and private hospitals present a challenge which needs to be addressed.


About IMC

Set up in 1907, IMC is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 2700 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member.

IMC Organizes an interactive session with Dr. Swadheen S Kshatriya, IAS, Chief
Secretary, and Maharashtra


  • Government taking initiatives to make Maharashtra more competitive

  • Reforms for agricultural sector such as e-auctions on the anvil

  • Labour law reforms, exemptions for low-risk industries from rigorous inspection

  • May consider The Shop & Establishment Act for 5-year renewal instead of 3-years online

22nd November 2016: IMC - Chamber of Commerce & Industry with IMC Young Leaders Forum organized an interactive session with Dr. Swadheen S Kshatriya, IAS, Chief Secretary, and Maharashtra, who was present today as a Chief Guest, speaking on "Enhancing competitiveness for growth of industries, job creation and enabling policies to encourage Young Entrepreneurs to set up startups in the state". The session was presented by Mr. Deepak Premnarayen - President IMC - Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Dr. Swadheen S Kshatriya, IAS, Chief Secretary, and Maharashtra, Chief Secretary, discussed several government policies that are to be initiated by the Government of Maharashtra to make the state investor and business friendly.

Speaking at the session Mr. Kshatriya said" Maharashtra's Infrastructure, Agriculture and Information Technology sectors are fast developing and the government plans to provide more funds for larger infrastructure projects. IT Sector has seen immense growth and will help our cities become even smarter. With the good monsoon this year, government is also planning to introduce revolutionary reforms for farmers".

Also, added Dr. Kshatriya in his speech "We can expect more reforms in the Labour Laws and more initiatives towards reducing corruption through digitalizing all the government services. All these efforts and initiatives are making Maharashtra a competitive state. Government is trying to provide more friendly services and policies like Right to Services Act, Electronics policy, Retail policy which will aid in ease of doing businesses. We may also consider the digital Shop & Establishment Act renewal for 5 years instead of 3 years. Government will be providing land provisions like reservation of 20% of land in MIDC areas for MSMEs and 2% Rental in IT parks. Low risk industries will be exempted from rigorous inspection as well".

Speaking at the session Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President - IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry said "We are certainly honored to have Dr. Swadhin Kshatriya at IMC and interact with our audience which includes young entrepreneurs' & aspirants from different arenas. It is very important to bring entrepreneurship at an easy reach for the youth. Healthy and constant competitiveness will certainly boost the growth of industries in Maharashtra and will thereby encourage the emergence of skilled labour".

  • Structural and credible reforms by government to eradicate black money in the system

  • Labour, capital and agricultural productivity needs to be enhanced

  • Demonetization will result in short term disruption in economic growth

18th November 2016, Mumbai: IMC - Chamber of Commerce & Industry today convened a panel discussion on "Achieving 10% GDP Growth by 2020". It was generally felt that the country has strong potential to achieve double digit GDP growth by 2020, even though the current move towards demonetization may cause some disruption of growth, especially for the rural economy in the short term.

The panelists included eminent political leaders like Shri. Pavan Varma - Former Ambassador & MP (RS), Shri. Dinesh Trivedi - Member of Parliament, TMC, Shri. Siddharth Nath Singh - Spokesperson, BJP & Shri. Milind Deora - Former Union Minister of State & MP, INC and the session was moderated by Mr. Sanjay Pugalia, senior journalist.

The panelists deliberated on the key factors which would enable achieve 10% GDP growth by 2020 for the country. In recent years, India has not only emerged as one of world's fastest growing economies, but has also successfully weathered global headwinds that slowed major economies. In 2015-16, the country registered a 7.6 percent growth rate which is expected to grow further over next few years.

To achieve an ambitious 10 percent GDP growth rate, it is imperative that the three major components, i.e., Agriculture, Manufacturing and Services collectively contribute with robust growth rate. The country needs to increase labor, capital and agricultural productivity which have been adversely affected by the black money in the ecosystem. This move towards a cashless economy is expected to reduce cost of money and is seen as a crucial driver for economic growth.

Speaking at the session Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President - IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry said "The political priority for the government is fourfold - accelerate economic growth; create more jobs; attract investment and contain inflation. Moving towards a 10 percent growth rate will address most of these priorities. I thank the eminent participants who helped bring together divergent views for a constructive debate aimed at the common objective of propelling further economic growth."

IMC whole - heartedly endorses the bold initiative taken by the Prime Minister to curb the menace of black and counterfeit money which was eating into the vitals of Indian economy. IMC is of the view that:

  • The demonetization announced on 8th Nov is a brilliant step to curb the parallel economy which by conservative estimates accounts for 30% of India's GDP.

  • With money being deposited in the banks, the banks will soon be able to reduce interest rates and thus all sectors of the economy - especially the MSMEs will be benefitted to a large extent. However, the speed at which the banks actually reduce rates and pass the benefits in the economy is to be seen.

  • The move will also reduce the artificially inflated real estate prices. We expect corrections in the real estate market especially in metros like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore to the extent of approx. -25% over the next six months. The housing sector will also get a boost due to reduced EMIs which will happen once the banks decide to pass on the benefits of lower interest rates to the consumers.

  • This measure will also help in India becoming a cashless society and give a push to financial inclusion. For example, the JAN DHAN YOJNA is encouraging people to open bank accounts and enter the mainstream of banking. To promote Digital India, and encouraging digital transactions, government has been advising banks to invest in digital banking and expansion to rural areas. Though this may take some time, the foundation for a near cashless society is well laid.

Reflecting on the issue, Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President IMC said that "while there might be small inconveniences in getting the currency exchanged by standing in long queues and at odd hours in front of banks and ATMs, it is only a transitory phenomenon. These inconveniences are due to the fact that around 10-12% of GDP is cash operated as against 4-5% in developed countries. Once the dust settles down on operational inconveniences, the economy of the nation is poised for a renaissance for all sectors"

16th November 2016, Mumbai: IMC endorses the bold initiative taken by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to curb the menace of black and counterfeit money which was eating into the vitals of Indian economy.

As a premiere chamber of commerce IMC interprets the demonetization announced on 8th Nov as a brilliant step to curb the parallel economy which by conservative estimates accounts for 30% of India's GDP. With money being deposited in the banks, the banks will soon be able to reduce interest rates and thus all sectors of the economy - especially the MSMEs will be benefitted to a large extent. However, the speed at which the banks actually reduce rates and pass the benefits in the economy is to be seen. The move will also reduce the artificially inflated real estate prices. This measure will also help in India becoming a cashless society and give a push to financial inclusion. For example, the JAN DHAN YOJNA is encouraging people to open bank accounts and enter the mainstream of banking. To promote Digital India, and encouraging digital transactions, government has been advising banks to invest in digital banking and expansion to rural areas. Though this may take some time, the foundation for a near cashless society is well laid.

Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President, IMC said "We expect corrections in the real estate market especially in metros like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore to the extent of approx -25% over the next six months. The housing sector will also get a boost due to reduced EMIs which will happen once the banks decide to pass on the benefits of lower interest rates to the consumers. Black money accounts for almost 30% of India's GDP today and as more of it comes into the banking system, in the next 3 years I expect Rs 400 Lakh crore coming to the system. It will help in reducing interest costs which will help the MSME sector. Prices in real estate and luxury goods segments are also expected to drop in the short term"

While there might be small inconveniences in getting the currency exchanged by standing in long queues and at odd hours in front of banks and ATMs, IMC feels that it is only a transitory phenomenon. These inconveniences are due to the fact that around 10-12% of GDP is cash operated as against 4-5% in developed countries. Once the dust settles down on operational inconveniences, the economy of the nation is poised for a renaissance for all sectors.

About IMC

Set up in 1907, IMC is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 2700 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member.

For further information please contact : Ms Eden Menon, eden.menon@imcnet.org , 9869810067

IMC organizes a lecture by Dr. Romila Thapar on 'Relations between Public Intellectuals
and Business'


11th November 2016, Mumbai: IMC today organized an analytical session addressed by Dr. Romila Thapar - renowned Historian and Writer. The session was attended by professionals from different arenas that had mutual interest in History and the current issues bothering society.

Speaking at the session Dr. Romila Thapar said, "Dual policy is the basic problem in our country, one side we have development and the other side its effects. 60's was the era where economic growth was the major problem, today we have different issues like money corruption and also corruption of morals. The country needs more empowerment".

Also, added Dr. Romila Thapar, "Today we have modern issues like Love Jihad, Valuation of churches, Ban on Beef, Ghar Vapsi, and TV Channels being banned Ban on Pakistani artists. All these things have made few communities scared. I hope we will have more concrete constitutional changes in future; we will need to control the influence of religion on democracy. Secularism is the co-existence of religion and we cannot have democracy without secularism". We need to overcome intolerance issues and now need to we grow up and have diverse views"

Also, speaking at the session Mr. Deepak Premnarayen President IMC said, "We were highly privileged to have Dr. Romila Thapar today at IMC, She is a scholar and a global citizen with a truly universal outlook; but quintessentially Indian with a deep insight into and understanding of ancient India".

IMC organises workshop on "Skilling for Rural Development and Creating Livelihood"


25th October 2016, Mumbai: IMC, organized a workshop on "Skilling for Rural Development and Creating Livelihood".

Skill development is India's foremost national priority. Only the ability to skill people holds the key to unlocking the demographic dividend, which is necessary for catapulting India from the emerging economy into a leading developed economy of the world. India requires global employability, as its national agenda to realize its potential and to make itself the skill capital of the world.

The objective of IMC for organizing this workshop was to bring together experts from the government, industry, academia and agricultural entrepreneurs and share their perspectives on various facets of Indian skill development industry to upgrade the skills in the agriculture and rural sector of Indian economy.

The focal discussion at the workshop was to highlight the various dimensions of the theme and to present expert perspectives. The motive of the session was to emphasis on the fact that since 70% of the Indian population is rural based and has agriculture as its means of livelihood; their income will receive a major boost if we can empower them with the right skills.

Speaking about the workshop Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President, IMC said "India is currently on the threshold of prosperity. Manufacturing will be a key driver of employment, especially in rural areas. Our demographic dividend could become our demographic disaster if we are not careful". He added "The right skillsets are often found lacking in India. Employability of the population is both a major opportunity and a major challenge for policymakers".

Also, speaking on the occasion Mr. Deepak Kapoor - Principal Secretary, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Department, Government of Maharashtra, said, "Farming income is decreasing every year due to prolonged droughts in rural Maharashtra, particularly in Marathwada. Thus, skilling the rural population remains the only option to ensuring that they have a reliable source of livelihood throughout the year". He added that "A lot of funds for skilling rural youth are available with the Government of Maharashtra. However, they need to be wisely utilized by entering into productive partnerships with the right stakeholders".

Some of the other eminent Speakers who contributed their inputs at the workshop were Mr. Bijay Sahoo, Chairman, IMC Skill Development Committee & Group President HR, Reliance Industries, Mr. Vilas Shinde, Founder & Chairman, Sahyadri Farmers Producers Co Ltd., Mr. Deepak Kapoor, Principal Secretary, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Department, and Government of Maharashtra. The workshop was also addressed by Mr. H. N Srinivas, CEO, TATA Institute of Social Sciences School of Vocational Education & Former Global HR Head, Taj Group of Hotels. The session was concluded by Mr. Prashant Khambaswadkar, Co-Chairman - IMC Skill Development Committee & MD & CEO - Universal Group.

More than 50 professionals from various business establishments attended the seminar.

20th October 2016, Mumbai: IMC successfully organized a seminar "Contribution of HR in Make in India vis-a-vis Employment Generation and its Challenges" for leading HR professionals.

Human Resources today is amongst the fast emerging, vibrant and dynamic sectors. In the year 2015, the Government of India declared "Make in India" programme wherein the Prime Minister had shared his vision that India is poised to become the human resources capital of the world. Today, HR sector aims to transform India into a global manufacturing hub whose share in GDP would rise to 25 per cent by 2022. India has the potential to emerge as a force multiplier to provide the emerging workforce with new livelihood opportunities and thus set to become a nation of job creators rather than job seekers.

The focal discussion was about key challenges and issues related to employment opportunities and the interaction witnessed interesting view points from HR professionals. The emphasis was on the exchange of creative ideas which could be implemented for making the leading sectors agile to the ever growing needs of the economy.

Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President, IMC said "People need to dream and make them a reality under 'Make in India' initiative and this is certainly possible. Services sector has immense potential and growth opportunities. Moreover, disruptive technology will shape up the future landscape of India."

Some of the eminent Speakers who contributed in the discussion were Mr. Vivek Patwardhan, Executive Coach and HR Consultant, Surjan Consultant, Mr. Rajendra

Ghag, Sr. EVP and Chief HR Officer at HDFC Standard Life, Mr. Saif Qureishi, CEO & MD, KRYFS, Mr. Bijay Sahoo, Group President - HR, Reliance Industries Ltd.

More than 150 HR professionals from various business establishments attended the seminar.

IMC organizes Seminar on 'Model GST Law: Critical Issues Impacting Trade and Industry'


IMC today organized a full day seminar on - 'Model GST Law: Critical Issues Impacting Trade and Industry' divided in 6 sessions. The seminar was initiated byMr. Deepak Premnarayen, President, IMC and Mr. Vikram Nankani, Chairman, IDT Committee, IMC.

Given that GST is the biggest post-independence tax reform in the country with wide ranging implications for trade, commerce and industry, IMC held this Seminar to deliberate on the challenges faced by the stakeholders in determining how this reform will unfold and its economic repercussions on them. An array of regulatory activities on the anvil will affect a range of businesses and permanently changing the rules of the game.

Some of the eminent professionals who addressed the discussion at the seminar were Mr. Badri Narayan Advocate, Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan, Mr. Parind Mehta, CA, KPMG, Mr. Amitabh Khemka, CA, Sthir Advisors LLP, Mr. Ritesh Kanodia, CA, Dhruva, Mr. Vipin Jain, Managing Partner, Tax Law Chambers, Mr. Udayan Choksi, Managing Partner, Voxlax, and Ms. Shilpa Sharma, Head-Indirect Taxes, Vaish Associates Advocates.

Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President IMC said "India is well set on the course of the Biggest Tax Reform since independence. The GST regime will replace a plethora of levies by the Central and State governments with a single nationwide Tax, thereby bringing immense benefits to the economy, to the Trade & Industry and eventually the consumer"

Mr. Vikram Nankani, Chairman, Indirect Taxation Committee, IMC, said "There is no doubt that GST will become a reality by April 1, 2017. However, there are some macro issues that need to be sorted out in the long run if they are to prevent a cascading effect on costs. Going by the experience of other countries, we also need to be cautious regarding the inflationary impact of GST".

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Badri Narayan, Advocate, Lakshmi Kumaran and Sridharan, said "GST will be smooth sailing for 95% of transactions. However, it is the other 5% where we need to devote the vast majority of our attention and ensure that the rules of the game remain as fair as possible for all players". He touched upon certain constitutional provisions and explained their impact under the new scheme of things".

More than 200 professionals attended the full day seminar.

Railway Infrastructure Fund supported by World Bank announced at International Conference
organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber


  • Drastic reduction in complaints for Indian Railways
  • 1 lakh 20 thousand crore rupees dedicated to Infrastructure sector in India
  • Railways Budget to be merged with the Indian Union Budget in 2017
  • World Bank at a very advanced stage for Railway Infra Fund

Indian Merchants' Chamber had organized an international conference today on "Indian Railways - A Trillion Dollar Opportunity" in Mumbai. The conference focused on understanding Indian Railways' contribution in economic progress and inter-economic linkages.

Key discussions centered on the theme of accelerating investments in Indian Railways, as an important growth engine for the Indian economy. The government is focusing on enhancing availability, quality and financing of infrastructure projects for railways. Several Policy and regulatory measures, along with issues related to the environment, sustainability and safety aspects were also highlighted. Special emphasis will also be given by the government to the role of MSMEs, need for employment generation and skill enhancement.

Also discussed were freight logistics capacity acceleration, improved customer services and security and developing railway stations into business and tourism - hubs. The participants at the conference were bankers, govt officials, private sector players, investors and Corporates.

Speaking at the conference Mr. Deepak Premnarayen - President, Indian Merchants' Chamber said" The conference was the first of a series of conferences, which our Infrastructure committee at IMC is planning to conduct in future. The conference was attended by a number of MSMEs. It was also wonderful to learn that Railways are creating a fund which would likely have investments from Global Pension & Sovereign Funds. The money from these would go towards the Railway linked projects; also, the biggest advantage would be that it will bring inexpensive sticky money."

Being invited as the Chief Guest at the event, Shri Suresh Prabhu, Hon'ble Union Minister of Railways said, "Railways is one of the most important infrastructure entity in India. It is our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's priority to transform Indian Railways. There are joint ventures with State governments which have also started by looking at new projects which are commercially viable. There is high priority on punctuality and innovative financing options. World Bank is supporting a Railway Development Fund, financed by pension and sovereign wealth funds. Another example is to develop stations and its infrastructure on commercial basis. We have our major emphasis on decentralization in decision making, which enhances transparency in tendering, safety and human resource functionalities."

"Suresh Prabhu's passion is unmatched compared to the other ministers in the past. A 90 year old practice of presenting Railway Budget will be changed in 2017 wherein it will be merged with the Union Budget, which will be presented by the Finance Minister. There have been various initiatives undertaken by the govt. of Indian in power, roads, renewables, metros. Interestingly, LIC is lending 1.5 lakh crores to the Indian Railways.", according to Shri Deepak Parekh, Chairman HDFC Limited.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Bibek Debroy, Member Niti Aayog "Railways is the only one sector which has a continuous interface with the citizens of India. Railway development is primarily driven by passenger fares, but till today it is largely dependent on passenger fares. Facilities and services in Railways need upliftment. In the north-eastern region, wherein there was no rail connectivity, the govt. has started developing rail network and connectivity "

The systemic changes brought within Indian Railways by the Govt. of India was the need of the hour. The perception of Indian Railways has changed from a slow moving behemoth to a responsive modern organization. The conference concluded on a promising note creating a positive environment on the future roadmap of Indian Railways.

Police Commissioner Mr. Datta Padsalgikar talks about the challenges before Mumbai Police at Indian
Merchants' Chamber


Indian Merchants Chamber organized an interactive session on the "Challenges before the Mumbai Police "with the Police Commissioner of Mumbai Mr. Datta Padsalgikar as the Chief Guest.

With the metropolis living perpetually under a potential terror threat, the challenges facing the police have risen exponentially. A key issue today is radicalization through the internet. Even though separate cells have been set up to keep a check on cyber-cafes and on several online platforms, with the advent of newer smartphone technology and the continuous streaming of content from strife torn areas, it is becoming difficult to keep tabs on indoctrination. The challenges facing the Mumbai police are therefore constantly increasing in their complexity.

Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President, Indian Merchants' Chamber said "Mumbai is India's premiere Financial & Corporate Capital. With the Reserve Bank, Bombay Stock Exchange, banks, insurance companies, corporate headquarters, thus any disruption would hurt the economy of the country. The job of a Police Commissioner is extremely critical to protect these institutions which create economic value for the country. I am confident that Mr. Datta Padsalgikar, our new Police Commissioner of Mumbai, will be able to do adequate justice to this onerous responsibility by taking all stakeholders into confidence"

'Cyber crime is the biggest challenge Mumbai Police is facing today.' Says Mr. D. Sivanandhan, IPS, Chairman, Anti-Corruption Cell, IMC.

According to Mr. Datta Padsalgikar, Police Commissioner, Mumbai 'Keeping Mumbai safe is the biggest challenge in terms of traffic control. To enforce rules and laws, police has to face several challenges. The most important of them are traffic congestion, vehicle population, illegal parking, pedestrian and hawkers issue, unnecessary honking done by people etc. There would be a hawking and parking policy, enhanced fines for traffic violations going forward to tackle the challenges faced by the traffic police. We would also appeal the people of Mumbai to come and volunteer with us for which in a span of a week, 12,000 people has already registered for the same.'

Big impact of Global developments on Indian markets, Indian Merchants' Chamber


  • Brexit offers a lot of investment option for Indian corporates

  • India UK should quickly resolve issue and move for new FTAs

  • Economies of west have not seen rise in real income for long and are facing tough and challenging times, like those of 1930s

  • Chinese economy has made the global economy to sit up

The Indian Merchants' Chamber today, convened a panel discussion on the "Global Developments and Indian Markets" under the aegis of Ms. Deena Mehta - Chairperson of the Capital Markets Committee at IMC. The discussion was addressed by eminent experts, such as Mr. NavneetMunot of SBI Mutual Fund, Mr. Andrew Holland of Ambit Securities, Ms. Daksha Baxi - Senior Partner, International Taxation- Khaitan& Co. and Mr. George Mathew - Country head of Haitong Securities India Private Ltd. The discussion was moderated by Mr. S K Mitra, Chairman, QSK Advisory Private Limited.

In her keynote address Ms Deena Mehta, Chairperson of IMCs Capital Markets Committee, opined that Brexit offers ample investment opportunities for Indian companies to move ahead towards working out new FTAs and other agreements.

The panel - comprising of MrNavneetMunot of SBI Capital , Mr Andrew Holland of Ambit Investment Advisors, Ms Daksha Baxi, ED Khaitan& Co and Mr George Mathew of Haitong Securities, spoke on the global developments and opined that as Indian markets are looking up, people needs to increase domestic investments in pension funds, Provident Funds, to gain impressive long term returns. Being considered as a bright spot amongst global economies, India can strategize and achieve further growth in view of the proactive initiatives being undertaken by the Indian government in areas like Make in India, Digital India, Skilling India and other major reforms that are underway.

On the developments in China, it was felt that reforms in state owned enterprises and Made in 2025 campaign will gradually help them to come back on growth rates as was witnessed earlier, though the issue of excess capacities in copper and steel production will continue to plague their economy.

Speaking on the capital gains tax for Indian corporates, the panel opined that April 2017 may be a watershed year as bilateral tax treaties with Mauritius and Singapore would be reworked. Based on which, the inflow of FII money would then depend on the degree of reforms in tax administration even though the tax rates in India are quite competitive. It was generally felt that next few years might witness depressed commodity prices, which India could take advantage of.

Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President IMC, complimented the Capital Markets Committee for taking a lead in organizing discussions of topical interest. He said "The world economy has been throwing up many surprises at regular intervals. It is not a very simplistic option to build opinion on the developments of the global economy and its impact. The inter linkages of vast intertwined factors make it a challenging effort to come out with a conclusion. In India especially, while the government is making all out efforts to put in place the reforms - both in policy making & administration, and in bringing about the desired changes which could give the Indian economy a big push to meet the challenges to growth, much of it also depends on the behavior and sentiments of the global economy and their leaders who view intensely these developments in India".

He further elaborated that to understand the Global issues; there wouldn't be a better platform, than such an interactive session with eminent panelists from the mutual fund and corporate industry sharing their vast experience on taxation, capital and commodity markets.

Indian Merchants' Chamber officially launches Operations of IMC International ADR Centre (IIAC)

Justice Sujata Manohar (Retd), Chairperson Advisory Committee of the IIAC unveils the Rules of Procedures to mark the commencement of the operations

IIAC is established with the state-of-the-art facilities on international standards

The centre to focus on cost effective and time efficient resolution for international & local commercial disputes

8th July 2016: IIAC launched its business operations, today by the release of its Rules of Procedure at the hands of Justice Sujata Manohar (Retd), Chairperson of its Advisory Committee. The Centre is located on the 3rd floor of the IMC Building at Churchgate, Mumbai, named "IMC Suresh Kotak International ADR Centre".

A separate company under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013 (erstwhile Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956) has been promoted by IMC to undertake activities of alternate dispute resolution, viz. arbitration, mediation and conciliation, with facilities of international standards, such as video conferencing, speaker system, projection system, etc.

Releasing the Commercial Arbitration procedures rules (CAP), Summary Claims Arbitration Procedures (SCAP) and Mediation rules (Code of Conduct), Justice Sujata Manohar complimented saying "IIAC has achieved a remarkable development by adding a new chapter to the history of ADR in the city and the country. India has had a past precedence of arbitration especially in trade and commercial disputes and the launch of operations of IIAC will open new vistas for industry to settle their disputes through alternative mechanisms. Arbitrators should command confidence of the parties in providing their advice on merits. The launch of the arbitration system will ensure professionals from various fields also to act as arbitrators. The Centre has all the necessary facilities, which will aid in speedy disposal of cases, and thereby meeting the timelines, which normal cases in the court do not. IIAC has introduced innovative aspects such as provision of emergency arbitrators and offering an option of a combination of mediation and arbitration to the parties".

At the launch of the IIAC, Justice Mohit Shah, (Retd) Chief Justice of Bombay High Court said "The major importance of this Centre is that it will provide arbitration which will ensure quick and effective resolution of disputes between parties. Institutional arbitration is today's need and has a bright future. Following the current trends, the importance of institutional arbitration, an increasing number of advocates are interested in this alternate dispute resolution mechanism".

ADR Centre will be the first centre of its kind to focus on resolution of international & local commercial disputes with a panel of internationally-respected arbitrators and/or mediators that includes legal luminaries such as Mr. Janak Dwarkadas, Ms. Rajni Iyer, Capt. Vinod Gupta, amongst others. Realizing the acute need for Institutional Arbitration and Mediation with fixed cost and time bound schedule of proceedings, IMC embarked upon establishing a comprehensive International Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre. With the commencement of operations, IIAC will not only benefit a number of Indian corporates and businessmen, who at present have to travel to Paris, London and Singapore for arbitration proceedings but also assist in early resolution of local contractual and family disputes. IIAC will consist of Board of Directors, Apex Advisory Committee, Governing Council and the Secretariat. IIAC is a political & a non - profit organization in nature with a purpose of serving as a neutral dispute resolution provider. The centre will have specially modelled rules to cater to different requirement of users. IIAC will play a key role in positioning Maharashtra as the premier destination for legal services and resolution of disputes in India.

Speaking at the launch Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Chairman IIAC said "Institutional Arbitration and Mediation are fast gaining popularity across the world as an efficient and effective way of resolving disputes. Mediation can be used on its own or as a complement to court litigation and arbitration to help the parties arrive at practical solutions that may be non-legal in nature, but which should be constructively suitable to their business interests and real needs. IIAC will provide a platform to help its users bridge the gaps between them and their business partners as well as navigates between other dispute resolution options". He further adds - "the present Government's policies and initiatives are expected to draw huge investments into India, in diverse sectors and trade and commerce will show a remarkable increase - with all this there is a need of speedy dispute resolution IIAC aims at providing commendable dispute resolution services for local and international entities."

Speaking at the launch Mr. Suresh Kotak, Director IIAC said "IIAC has embarked upon a path-breaking cultural revolution to treat the conflict into "resolutory settlements" institutionally. The alternate means of this resolutory process gets fast, just and fair solutions. It retains cordiality. IIAC has created state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities at IMC Suresh Kotak International ADR Centre on 3rd floor. The vital point is conscious efforts and commitment to resolve it through mediation, conciliation and arbitration. We draw inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi who successfully mediated in South Africa. Also, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, who always described institutions as Temples of India and technocrats as High Priests".

Global economy looks weak and directionless
Government is generally correct in its economic and political process
Create wealth with integrity


Speaking at a 108th Annual General Meeting of the Indian Merchants Chamber and a function to bestow lifetime achievement award to Mr Azim Premji, Mr Rahul Bajaj, the Chief Guest, said that the overall direction of the government in economic and political process was generally correct. The country was poised for good growth path in wake of good monsoon which will spur rural demand. The governments' spending on power and infrastructure was in the right direction and will lead to employment generation in a big manner . He however opined that the relationship between business and society is not satisfactory and for the economy to prosper greater cohesion and confidence measures are required between these two components of the Indian society. He said India needs private enterprises to prosper, reduce the inequality gap and take country to growth with social justice. On the international front he said the global economy looks weak and directionless and the recent issue of migrants crisis in Middle East, slow down of Chinese economy, the political developments in US and Europe - all are dampening factors. Added to it, is the shock of Brexit, which will put low sails of the world economy.

He complimented the business associations like IMC for helping the smaller enterprises with liasioning and putting their views across to the government. He appreciated IMC of being a credible institution for societal good.

Earlier welcoming Mr Azim Premji, Chairman, WIPRO , Mr S Ramdorai the Guest of Honour and Chairman National Skill Development Authority, spoke about the virtues of integrity to stay ahead in business and personal life. He stressed the need to develop skills in organized and unorganized sectors as engine for growth and entrepreneurship.

Mr Azim Premji, Head Wipro group, credited the Team Wipro and the Wipro Foundation for taking the company to greater heights by doing business in an ethical manner and imbibing the virtue of integrity as a corner stone. He informed the various developmental efforts being undertaken by WIPRO in improving the quality of education at school and university level through interactions and dialogues with the government. He said that the philanthropy activities of his group revolved around the theme of poverty alleviation, and creating skills for better governance for the deprived and vulnerable sections of the society.

In his welcome address Mr Dilip Piramal, President IMC, observed that the current times are creating a need for knowledge based economy and thus the need to develop skill sets to meet the growing aspirations of people in the job market. He mentioned the challenging times where the country and the world are facing uneven economic growth coupled with geo political disturbances.

The Century old Indian Merchants' Chamber compliments the government and the entire business community of the country for contributing to robust economic growth. The optimistic outlook for FY17 and beyond is strengthened by the government's growth-oriented policies in addition of course to favourable demographics and natural endowments.

  • Good economic policies of the current government could see India overtaking China and US as the world's largest economy by 2050 on PPP basis - Mr. Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group.

  • Godrej group adopts a 10x10 model of growing 10 times every 10 years

Speaking at an interactive session, Mr Godrej thanked IMC for the opportunity to share his thoughts, on Indian economy which has demonstrated good growth in terms of controlling inflation and deficits, stabilizing the rupee and creating an environment of confidence whereby a double digit growth rate could be possible in years to come. Projections of a continued good monsoon, could lead to a pick up of rural and urban demand. He was confident that the implementation of the long pending GST shortly, will further boost the country's GDP by 2 basis points. He also felt that good economic policies of the current government could see India overtaking China and US as the world's largest economy by 2050 on PPP basis. With India's demographies of young population also being a positive factor, the growth trajectory could be unimaginably strong at a time when China's population would be on a decline.

On his groups strong performance all through the years, Mr Godrej felt that the measure of financial growth was based on a concept of Economic Value Added, which was enabled by progressive HR practices in recruitment, and policies of trainings and good remuneration. He said that the group strongly felt that people were the best assets and vehicles to high growth. On the future plans, he said that Godrej group adopts a 10x10 model of growing 10 times every 10 years with a CAGR of nearly 26% through acquisitions and organic growth. This growth comes from domestic as well as overseas businesses which are spread across continents of Africa, Asia and South America.

He also spoke of the intertwining of the CSR activities which went beyond the philanthropy. The Group invests major amounts in training and developing skills amongst the constituents , while doing in CSR activities. The Groups' major thrust areas are in enhancing education levels and protecting environment.

Earlier, Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC termed 31st May as a historic day for the Chamber while welcoming Mr. Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group which is associated with decades of trust and quality to every Indian.

The session ended thereafter with the question and answer session.

Mumbai's Portlands - from Vision to Action
Indian Merchants' Chamber provides a platform to urban developers to address various issues pertaining to the restructuring of
Mumbai City


Mumbai has a real opportunity to be developed as an international cruise terminal, said Mr. Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman MbPT at a day-long conference organized by the Urban Development Committee of the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) in association with Apli Mumbai titled "Mumbai's PortLands - from Vision to Action" on 23 May 2016 at the BSE in Mumbai.

Addressing the gathering Mr. Bhatia said that complete transparency in functioning and consultation with all stakeholders as well as coordination of all government bodies involved had to be maintained at all stages of the development of the Portlands. However, many issues pertaining to the ease of doing business also need to be simultaneously resolved. There is a need to generate financial resources from within the system rather than looking outside it. The creation of a separate department of Portland development was being considered. Based on the draft plan for the development of the Portlands, MbPT will prepare an economic and financial project report. In this context, the monetization of land as in CIDCO projects may be considered. The development of infrastructure may take two to four years, depending on the speed of receiving the necessary clearances.

In his remarks Mr. Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD, BSE, said that tourism and fisheries is an important part of the Indian economy today, which contributes to the GDP even more than the manufacturing sector. There is a need for it to be developed in a systematic manner. If well developed, the PortLands area can even compete with the BKC as a leading office centre in Mumbai. With some planning and vision, London and New York have converted themselves into leading tourism centres and there is no reason Mumbai's can't do the same.

Speaking on the theme of the Conference, Ms. Meera Sanyal, Chairperson Urban Development Committee, IMC, said that just two years ago Mumbaikars thought that the PortLands were the dark spots of the country. However, the dark veil over the PortLands has been gradually lifted with progressive public policies. However, a lot more needs to be done. In this context, the Rani Jadhav document is very well done and needs to be made more available in the public domain. We need to integrate the development of the PortLands with that of Mumbai city via physical connections. The development of fisheries, tourism, wellness and recreation are all interlinked and they all can be simultaneously achieved through the development of the PortLands. The Conference would attempt to combine all inputs and present them to the policymakers.

In his welcome remarks IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal said that both the Urban Development Committee of the Indian Merchants' Chamber, and the APLI Mumbai citizens' forum have been constantly championing the redevelopment of the PortLands, as a unique opportunity to revive and rejuvenate Mumbai city. Young entrepreneurs from Mumbai are migrating to the rest of the country and the world. The development of the Portlands would help stem some of the flow of this talent. He added that Mumbai needed bureaucrats like Mr. Bhatia to make a tangible difference to the socioeconomic conditions of the metropolis.

  • 'Maharashtra will be drought-proof in five years', CM Devendra Fadnavis
  • Maharashtra's huge infrastructure thrust including Trans Harbour Link, Coastal road, new Airport at Navi Mumbai, multi-modal transport for Mumbai city set to transform lives through jobs and incomes

Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Hon'ble Shri Devendra Fadnavis, asserted that the State is witnessing a paradigm shift from drought-related relief and rehabilitation work to one of investment in real assets for water conservation for long-term benefits.

"We have created water storage facilities for six lakh hectares in just one year", the CM pointed out adding that the State government is in talks with the World Bank on agricultural projects that would transform the landscape.

He was speaking at the meeting organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber on 'Resurgent India: Maharashtra leads the way', here today.

"We will make Maharashtra drought proof in five years", Mr. Fadnavis told the IMC members adding that the State is indeed creating structures to conserve water through various programs including watershed development, distributed water structures and so on.

Talking about the need to link farm with secondary and tertiary sectors, the CM said the State has created a value chain for cotton that goes from farm to fashion. Maharashtra is the country's second largest cotton producer. "An Apparel Park is being considered for ensuring further value addition", he added.

On ease of doing business, the CM pointed out that the 'license raj' was coming to an end with the introduction of electronic platform. Infrastructure development has become a thrust area for the State. Giving time line for various infrastructure projects, the CM said, "All permissions for Trans Harbour Link have been received in the last one year and work order will be issued before October 31".

In the same vein, Navi Mumbai airport, coastal road project, elevated corridors for Mumbai have also received appropriate clearances. Contracts will be awarded and work will start before the end of the year, according to him.

Port-led development is another area the CM highlighted. A 800 km Nagpur-Mumbai Communication Superhighway will help connect the State's 20 districts with ports like JNPT, he pointed out.

Earlier, welcoming the Chief Minister, Mr. Dilip Piramal, IMC President remarked that under the dynamic leadership of the CM, Maharashtra continues to make rapid strides in the field of economic growth and social development. The state has facilitated 'Ease of doing Business' and the results are showing.

The State has attracted large investment including overseas investments, the highest in the country. Maharashtra remains a premier industrial state contributing to 15% of national GDP. Most socio-economic indicators are robust. Labour reforms, infrastructure development are all progressive steps which are likely to contribute to an even more vibrant economy, Mr. Piramal added.

On behalf of IMC, the CM felicitated and gave away citations to two Emerging Manufacturing Giants of Maharashtra namely Varroc Group and Endurance Technologies, both of which have carved a special niche in automotive components in the competitive marketplace.

'Mumbai's infrastructure development efforts are progressing rapidly and changes are visible', top
officials of various development agencies assert

Infrastructure development in the country's financial capital Mumbai is currently progressing at an accelerated pace and the city has already been witnessing dramatic changes in the status of infrastructure in recent years, top officials from Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority, Mumbai Metro Rail corporation and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai told a gathering at the Indian Merchants' Chamber here today. They were part of a panel discussion on 'Mumbai's Infrastructure - What is needed?' organized by IMC in association with Free Press Journal.

Mr. Ajay Mehta, Municipal Commissioner, pointed out that infrastructure development must create more employment which in turn would create demand for housing as well as transport facilities to connect. The quality of life must improve with the provision of schools, hospitals, open spaces and places of leisure, he added.

"The quality of life would be evaluated by social equity in terms of gender equality and facilities for the disabled", he asserted. To a comment about mangroves, he assured the house that mangroves will continue to remain a part of Mumbai and will be protected.

Listing various infrastructure projects that were completed recently including the Worli- Bandra sea link, the Eastern Freeway, Monorail and Metro I and II, Commissioner of MMRDA, Mr. U.P.S. Madan categorically stated that a lot is happening to make Mumbai a world class city.

"Several elevated corridor projects covering over 120 kilometers are starting simultaneously and in the next four years, the entire city will be covered by Metro", he assured.

Managing Director of MMRC, Ms Ashwini Bhide pointed out that Metro 3 which is a Rs. 23,000 crore underground railway project from Colaba to Andheri via Bandra would be completed in about five years and work order for civil works will be awarded in three months.

'Our Metro network is intended to provide uninterrupted connectivity to the citizens just like in cities like New York", she remarked.

The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. R.N. Bhaskar, Consulting Editor, Free Press Journal.

Earlier, welcoming the officials, Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, said there was huge pressure on the city's civic services as the existing infrastructure was unable to cope with rapidly expanding demand. "Affordable housing should be a priority", he remarked.

Panel Discussion on "Should Gambling be Legalized?"

'Gambling should be legalized and properly regulated so that the State exchequer can earn large revenue': claim experts Social impact assessment necessary; and a national law against corruption in sports is needed

"Gambling or betting is an innate human instinct and cannot be wished away. Therefore, legalizing gambling or betting with an appropriate regulatory mechanism will help meet people's risk appetite as well as generate revenues for the State exchequer".

This was the broad consensus among a high level panel of experts at the panel discussion on 'Should gambling be legalized?' organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) on Thursday, 28 April 2016.

Terming gambling as the oldest pastime since the time of the Mahabharat, moderator of the discussion Mr. Maneck Davar, CMD, Spenta Multimedia said attention to social issues is important given the socio-economic status of large sections of our country's population.

Mr. Y.P. Singh, a leading criminal lawyer, argued that gambling may be legal in western countries, but in India there is need for a social impact assessment especially because of pervasive distress among the poor. "What will happen if poor people gamble away all the money?, he queried.

Lawyer and gaming expert Mr. Jay Sayta pointed out that gambling was a 'State' subject under the Indian Constitution and many State governments have legalized lottery, horse racing, running of casinos and so on. "The betting industry creates large number of jobs", he said adding that it is necessary to distinguish games of skill and games of chance. The position of law is not well settled in country, Mr. Sayta remarked.

"Sooner or later the government will have to permit betting in sports of skill", according to Mr. Vivek Jain, industrialist and chairman of Race course, who estimates the potential revenue from the gambling industry could be Rs. 60,000 crores going by ballpark numbers in the western world.

Technology has made betting possible even though there is an official prohibition, he observed and added that Lodha Committee report recommended legalized betting in the game of cricket.

Joining the debate, well known sports journalist Mr. Ayaz Memon said fixing was rampant in sports as evidenced by reports from tennis, football and cricket circles. "Legalizing and close monitoring will reveal betting patterns and thereby identify fixing", he argued. "We need a national law against corruption in sports", he asserted.

Earlier, welcoming the panelists and members present, IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal said that we need to recognize gambling was an innate human instinct; and when prohibited, it would surface in a plethora of ways, particularly through generation of black money which will deprive the government of a lot of revenue as well as create unnecessary socioeconomic tensions.

"By legalizing gambling, we are making society safer in the long run. This is particularly so as the illegal betting market puts gamblers at added risk by exposing them to the criminal elements in society. That is why the legalization of gambling assumes added importance and should be done at the earliest', he asserted, adding that the government of the day needs to change laws in accordance with the prevailing socioeconomic realities. However, he cautioned, the social ramifications of legalized gambling ought not to be overlooked.

IMC is a Century old chamber of commerce to promote trade, commerce and industry. With a membership of 3,000 business houses and over 200 trade and industry associations, IMC reaches out to nearly 250,000 business establishments across the country The theme for the current year is ' job creation through skill development'.

Round-Table
Repositioning of Mumbai as a Destination of the Future


Indian Merchants' Chamber provided a platform to the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality industry to address a poignant issue of repositioning Mumbai as a Destination of the Future through Skill Development and Job Creation

The Indian Merchants' Chamber's Round-Table on Repositioning of Mumbai as a Destination of the Future was held on Tuesday, 26 April 2016. The Round-Table was organized by IMC's Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Committee to discuss & deliberate on policy framework on enabling eco systems and to promote tourism in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Discussion covered e-governance, infrastructure, connectivity, communication, promotion strategy, sustainability, infrastructure, implementation and accountability.

Addressing the august gathering Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President Elect, IMC enthusiastically stated that though Make in India is important, India growth story will be mainly by contribution of agriculture, manufacture, services and tourism.

Mrs. Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Government of Maharashtra, the Chief Guest of the Round Table was optimistic in her address when she stated that in the last two years, tourism has got its recognition with the government closely working on a National Tourism Policy. She spoke about the opportunity of Mumbai being one of the biggest Event Capital and in order to attain the same, the government was working towards creating Adventure Tourism, MICE Events, & convention centers. Mrs. Nair plans to make Bollywood the Jewel of Mumbai's crowd & develop film city on international standards. Government of Maharashtra is working towards establishing 40 new studios & to maintain archive of both Hindi & Marathi movies.

According to Mrs. Nair, 2.5 lakh Mumbai tourists enter Mumbai for medical tourism. Exploring the possibilities, the government is working on e-medical visa and medical reimbursement, and tying up with insurance companies overseas to facilitate reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by tourists. Furthermore, she opines that Mumbai has heritage value with its Elephanta Caves & Wild Life sanctuary (Sanjay Gandhi National Park) right within the Mumbai City limits. She briefed the gathering about the positive climate for tourism investment through tax exemptions in luxury tax and stamp duty, and about the Hunar Se Rozgar Tak scheme, a training programme initiative of the Ministry of Tourism to create employable skills in youth. Novel & niche areas in tourism like culinary tourism, to be taken across the globe were talked about. Mrs. Singh also requested the gathering to share their best practices in hospitality, which can enhance the city of Mumbai as the tourism destination of the future.

Promotion of Mumbai city as the most happening tourist destination loomed largely in every one's mind; Mr. Paraag Jaiin Nainuttia, IAS, Managing Director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation LTD had interesting initiatives to share, specifically the Helicopter Mumbai Darshan, yacht facility via Mumbai harbor and casinos. To enhance these initiatives he suggested for a tie-up with private companies.

Mr. Farhat Jamal, Senior Vice President - Operations (West-India) & Africa, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, the moderator of the Round Table kept the discussion open to all members in the expert panel on how best to promote the city of Mumbai. Mr. N R Srinivas, Vice President - Corporate Relations & Administration, GVK wanted the International Airport, a landmark by itself to market Mumbai's award winning & state-of-the-art Museum at the airport as a tourism product by showcasing its grand & beautiful infrastructure and artifacts adorning its interiors.

The Mumbai City could be best promoted by projecting it as a positive brand stated Mr. Sheldon Santwan, Editor, Saffron Media, who also suggested to organize a round table with the main line media, so as to raise the image of the city and to make it more appealing to the next generation from the career perspective. Mr. Yoshiaki ITO, Consul General of Japan was forthright when he said that the congestion was unbearable and was a problem that needed the intervention of the government. If tourism was to be given a boost, Ms. Rosimar da Silva Suzano, Consul General of Brazil, Mumbai, who has been living in Mumbai praised it for its friendly people and safe surrounding as compared to other cities in the World. Ms. Saroja Sirisena, Consulate General of Sri Lanka wanted NGO's to get involved in the tourism sector and enhance it through skill development. Mr. Jagdish Parekh, Proprietor, ETPL Tours & Travels ideated to organize a Maharashtra Week with its cuisines and promote the medical tourism.

Mr. Pradip Madhavji, chairman, Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Committee, IMC made comparisons in his statement when he distinguished the tourism in India and other countries. He spoke about key issues for deliberations, namely repositioning Mumbai as the future destination, long term promotion & job creation in tourism industry through skill development ways & means to increase tourism in Mumbai.

The research work on "Repositioning of Mumbai as a tourism destination of the future" was presented at the Round Table. Dr Satish Jayaram, Principal, Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad" and his students - Ms. Tashya Cyrus Madan & Mr. Nikil Karunakaran, presented this work, which was widely appreciated for its content.

  • 'We are an early stage of a long-run bull market; Invest in the market and expect reasonable returns' - asserts Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
  • Higher tax collections provide evidence of growth - Dilip Piramal

"There is absolutely no doubt about the future of Indian equity market; and if earnings go up, the market will go up too", according to Mr. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Partner, Rare Enterprises and India's best known investor in the market. He was addressing members of Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) here today on the future of equity market.

Highlighting that the Indian growth story is just beginning to unfold, the speaker pointed out several of India's traits including traditional and modern skills, tolerance, ability to foresee and accept change, savings habit, demographics and entrepreneurship are expected to go a long way in unleashing growth impulses in the coming years.

"The combination of several special and specific traits means that the country will soon have double-digit growth. India has grown robustly in every decade since independence and it will continue", Mr. Jhunjhunwala argued.

India's huge savings are needed to flow into the stock market so that savers will enjoy the benefit of high returns, he said adding that the growth rate can accelerate with reduced bureaucracy and cutting down on unrewarding social expenditure.

The ace investor advised the participants to investment in the market, stay invested, but not to expect unreasonably high returns. Mr. Jhunjhunwala said he was bullish on the real estate sector as well as on pharmaceuticals and information technology.

Earlier, welcoming the special guest, Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, said Mr. Jhunjhunwala is recognized as a legendary investor and is an inspiration to a very large number of investors including young Indians.

Commenting on the criticism that there is no on-the-ground feel of India's GDP growth numbers, Mr. Piramal asserted that buoyant direct and indirect tax collections provide sufficient evidence of healthy economic activity.

Addressing the 8th Banking and Finance conference, Mr. Jayant Sinha, Hon'ble Union Minister of State for Finance and Chief Guest said that the key objectives of the government are the need for financial inclusion, the efficient allocation of capital and thinking about the future. The manner in which the financial sector is currently structured is creating tension and this needs to be resolved at the earliest. His government has increased the number of new entrants into the sector (23 new banking licenses issued) and has also raised FDI in insurance to 49%. In terms of technological changes, he highlighted particularly on the unified payment interface, which is making possible the digital transfer of money. There is in place the development of a range of products tailored to the base of the pyramid.

The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), in association with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), had organised this Conference on Monday, April 18, 2016. The theme of the Conference was "Changing Contours of Banking and India's Growth Aspirations".

Mr. Sinha further stated that the government has to play the regulator's role by understanding policy gaps and trying to close them. He also informed that his government is also working closely with the RBI and other stakeholders to understand where the stress in the system lies and is trying to alleviate it. His government has restructured policies to change the appointment system to top positions in PSUs. They are working hard with banks to build up talent and capabilities. The development of risk management and surveillance mechanisms are top priorities for them.

Indian banks need sufficient scale to become globally competitive. The government is making concrete efforts in this area. As the government continues to work on policies, the issues confronted when they took charge in 2014 are now rapidly being closed.

Mrs. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, State Bank of India was the Guest of Honour at the inaugural session. She opined that there is a sharp rise in NPAs in banks' due to which the sector is going through a period of stress. Two successive droughts have exacerbated the situation. Some questions asked in the early 1990s are now being asked again. The performance of public sector banks has deteriorated in the past, but of late it has converged with that of the private sector banks. In the long run the CAGR of both public and private sector banks is almost identical. Further more, she reiterated that competition and technology are interacting with each other as never seen before. Mobile banking is leading to a revolution and it is going to particularly benefit the youth and techno savvy sections of society. The biggest gain from technology adoption by banks is that it helps attract and retain younger and more affluent customers.

Mrs. Bhattacharya further spoke about the changes that need to be meted especially on the narrative in the media. She quoted "Mistakes have been made by all stakeholders and we need to find and fix them. Banking remains one of the most regulated sectors in the world. However, the challenges ahead of us will end up strengthening the sector".

Mr. Dilip Piramal, IMC President said "Technology is changing the banking landscape and it is heartening to see a strong commitment of the government to interact with business leaders. The development of risk-management techniques are becoming increasingly necessary to deal with an increasingly uncertain financial landscape. Digital banking and financial inclusion go hand in hand, and the adoption of technology will help resolve many issues facing the sector. However, resolving the NPA issue should be a top priority for all stakeholders. He congratulated Mr. Chandan Bhattacharya and his team for putting together a very successful event.

Mr. Dilip Piramal, IMC President's viewpoint
on RBI's First Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement for 2016-17


It is heartening to know that the RBI has cut interest rates given that inflation is under control and the government is committed to its fiscal consolidation path, said IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal. We do hope that the monetary transmission mechanism becomes more efficient and banks pass on the RBI's rate reductions to borrowers, he added.

The Reserve Bank has made a serious attempt to improve transmission of interest rate reduction and improve liquidity in the system. In the context of the current NPA scenario and banks not quite ready to lend, this is a step in the right direction. By reducing gap between the repo and the reverse repo rate and reducing daily maintenance requirement of CRR from 95% to 90%, the Reserve Bank is trying to discourage banks to keep deposits with it and instead, lend to productive sectors of the economy.

The Chamber expects that this transmission of interest rates - coupled with a supportive reform process initiated by the government - will enable investments in the economy. With the government's focus on the rural economy, its determination to walk the path of fiscal consolidation, and the prospect of a better monsoon, there is a strong feel good factor becoming increasingly visible.

The Indian Merchants' Chamber's Private Equity Committee, chaired by Mr. Dushyant Dave organized a seminar 'Meet the Investors' on March 23, 2016 with leading investors on raising private equity for their businesses. The Seminar included sessions on Venture Capital funding and Growth Stage funding.

The speakers included ndustry experts, namely Ms. Sangeeta Modi, Partner, Access Asset Managers, Mr. Sasha Mirchandani, Founder & Managing Director, Kae Capital, Mr. Vikram Gupta, Founder & Managing Partner, IvyCap Ventures, Mr. Sachin Karnik, President, Mumbai Angels, and Mr. Amit Patni, Co-Founder & Chairman, Nirvana Venture Advisors, Mr. Dinesh Tiwari, Managing Director, Multiples Alternate Asset Management, Mr. Akhil Awasthi, Managing Partner, Tata Capital Private Equity, Mr. Vinod Murali, Managing Director, Innoven Capital India, and Mr. Shrenik Khasgiwala, Director, Brand Capital, Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd.

Mr. Diliip Piramal, IMC President in his welcome address referred to the recent Mckinsey report on Private Equity and stated that it has injected more than $100 billion of capital into India in the past 13 years. It has played a pivotal role in the development of MSME sector and critical industries, spurred job growth, and have played major contributors to the India's economic development. He further reiterated that "Private equity's contribution to fund-raising has increased from 20% of total capital in 2001-05 to 46% in 2011-14. Private-equity capital has proved to be a more stable source of equity funding than FII and IPOs funding.

It was opined by Mr. Vikram Gupta, Founder & Managing Partner, IvyCap Ventures that lot more work needs to be accomplished over the next 5 years in the Healthcare, Agriculture, Technology, Data Analytics and IT sectors. He observed that in the next 15-20 years things will move towards personalization, namely in the education sector, which will see customized content. According to Mr. Sasha Mirchandani, Founder & Managing Director, Kae Capital, due diligence is critically important to the healthy growth between Venture Capitalists and Seed Funding investors.

The venture capitalists noticed an increasing change in the business proposition trend with customization being the key focus and the availability of instant information with just a click of a button that has attracted investor's interest in a big way.

Private equity and venture capital is an increasingly important source of finance for India's high-growth potential companies. The goal of private equity and venture capital is to help numbers of businesses achieve their ambitions for growth by providing them finance, strategic advice and information at critical stages of their development.

The discussion provided an excellent opportunity to interact with well-known Private Equity Funds & Fund managers.

The Indian Dairy Industry and its Relevance to the Economy


The Indian Merchants' Chamber and The Free Press Journal jointly organised their monthly panel discussion under FPJ-IMC Forum on 'Indian Dairy Industry and its Relevance to the Economy' this Tuesday. IMC President, Mr. Dilip Piramal in his inaugural address stated that the demand for dairy products in India is likely to grow in the coming years. It has been considered as one of the activities aimed at alleviating poverty and unemployment especially in the rural areas. Dairy, in effect, could become a great tool for equitable growth and income distribution. Thus, it is necessary to give impetus to this industry to continue reaping its economic benefits.

The panel comprised Mr. T. Nanda Kumar, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB); Mr. R. S. Sodhi, Managing Director, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF which markets products under the Amul brand); Mr. Mahesh Pathak, Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development & Fisheries, Govt. of Maharashtra and Mr. Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE. The panel provided an insight into the competitive landscape of the dairy sector.

Mr. Nanda Kumar pointed out, that the cooperative sector of this industry has been growing over 19.6% CAGR, while the processed milk industry has been growing at 22%. The Dairy industry currently contributes to around 33% of the value of agricultural production in India. He also stated that the prime minister's vision of doubling the farmers' income by 2022 was possible only if dairy income were added to his other agricultural income sources.

Mr. Sodhi spoke about the tremendous relevance of the Amul model in this country. He pointed out how the milk cooperatives in Gujarat remain the only industry in the world which gave back almost 80% of the market price of milk, back to the farmer, as against 30% globally. Other milk cooperatives also ensured that the farmer got a return of around 70% of the market price. This way the farmer earns more and is incentivised to produce more milk. This in turn helps meet the rapidly growing demand for milk, thanks to the nutritional needs of much of India as also the gradual shift from cereals to milk products on account of growing affluence of people on an average.

Mr. Pathak said that Maharashtra was confronted with the urgent need for good quality fodder and the need to promote integrated dairy plants. He bemoaned the poor quality of milk being supplied in some urban areas on account of malpractices like adulteration, by some unscrupulous elements.

Mr. Sabnavis spoke about the 4 pillars which made the Milk industry both unique and relevant to India. The first pillar was milk output which has been growing at a healthy pace. The second pillar was the surging demand for milk, which in turn went hand in hand with increased milk production. Demand had been growing both because of increasing population on one hand, and increasing prosperity on the other, which made people focus more on nutritional intake. Milk remained one of the primary sources of nutrition in India. The third pillar the enormous employment that the backyard cattle rearing model provided in India. This in turn provided livelihood to countless millions. The fourth pillar is that even though milk prices have kept increasing, it has been done in a planned manner -- gently and consistently -- which in turn has ensured that there is little consumer resistance against such price increases.

The panellists talked about how the cooperative milk industry would soon spread to Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and to East and Northeast India. Technology is bound to play an important role in bringing transparency and improving the quality of management at the collection centres. Technology would make milking of cattle easier and more hygienic for farmers. More remunerative prices would in turn encourage more production of milk. Unlike other agricultural crops where income is largely seasonal, milk provides a regular cashflow on a daily or fortnightly basis. What is needed is good procurement, remunerative pricing of milk for farmers, and good distribution of milk to consumption centres.

The panel also believed that milk could play a significant role in the coming months and years towards enhancing rural prosperity.

Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, Vice-President of Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) has been elected as the Chamber's President for 2016-17. Dr. Lalit Kanodia has been elected as IMC's Vice-President for 2016-17.

They will take over at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Chamber to be held sometime in June 2016 when the President, Mr. Dilip Piramal, will step down from office after completing his distinguished one-year term.

*Mr. Deepak Premnarayen is the Non-Executive Director of the FirstRand Bank (FRB) (South Africa) in India. FirstRand was voted globally as the 'Most Innovative Bank' in 2013. He is actively associated with FRB and is a member of FirstRand's Directors' Affairs and Governance Committee and the Chairman of FirstRand Bank India Advisory Board.

Mr. Premnarayen has had a diverse, illustrious career spanning four decades across the Indian corporate sector. He is the founder of the ICS Group, focusing on real estate, asset management, financial services and hospitality. He is the Convenor of the India-South Africa CEOs forum, Co-Chair of CII National Committee on GCC and MENA countries and member of CII India - Qatar CEOs Business Forum. He has led CII's business delegations to Libya, Norway and Sweden in 2014 and to South Africa in 2015. His other Directorships include Triangle Real Estate India Fund LLC, a FDI compliant fund for India raised in conjunction with Old Mutual Property in South Africa (listed on the Mauritius Stock Exchange).

On the philanthropic front, Mr. Premnarayen is closely associated with Miraclefeet, an NGO based out of New York, USA, working towards eradicating disability as a result of children being born with clubfoot. Miraclefeet works across the 14 countries in the developing world. Miraclefeet is supported by Google, Bajaj Foundation and the Oak Foundation amongst others. There is also the Premnarayen Education Trust, which has been created to help underprivileged children have easy access to education. He is also on the India advisory board of Perkins School for the blind.

Mr. Premnarayen has recently been conferred the 'Business Leader of the Year' award by Horasis Global India Business Meet in June 2014 at Liverpool, UK.

He has been an active sportsman and has played National level badminton and University level cricket. He is a keen golfer.

*Dr. Lalit Surajmal Kanodia is the Chairman of Datamatics Global Services Limited which he founded in 1975. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT, Mumbai. Subsequently, he obtained an MBA and Ph.D., both from MIT, USA.

Datamatics was adjudged the Fastest Growing Indian Company at the International Achiever's Summit in Bangkok in 2014. Dr. Kanodia was awarded the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award in 2015 for outstanding and exemplary achievements in Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Kanodia is a Ford Foundation Fellow. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award of IIT, Mumbai. He is one of the 10 persons included in the Hall of Fame, published by Dataquest alongwith our late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and late Bharat Ratna Mr. JRD Tata.

While in the US, he was Consultant to the Ford Motor Company and Arthur D. Little. He has also taught at Jamnalal Bajaj and MIT.

Dr. Kanodia is the Founder CEO of TCS.

He is the National President of the Indo American Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Indian Merchants' Chamber and Chairman of its IT Committee. He has served at the Past President of the Management Consultants' Association of India and Chairman of the Electronic & Computer Software Export Promotion Council (Western Region). He has been a Member of the Executive Committee of Nasscom.

Dr. Kanodia is currently on the Executive Board of MIT (Europe, Asia and Africa).

He was the Honorary Consul of Chile in Mumbai (2002-2014).

  • Air India suffered because of inaction and years of neglect
  • PSUs must have accountability

"There was a time until the 1970s when Air India as the national carrier was soaring high; but the country's pride has been on a downhill ride for nearly thirty years now" according to Mr. Jitender Bhargava, former Executive Director, Air India. He was addressing the members of Indian Merchants' Chamber here today.

Speaking on the topic 'Do government companies have a future in today's competitive business environment', Mr. Bhargava quoted from his book 'The Descent of Air India' which succinctly captures the numerous failures of the airline in recent decades.

The running of India's top notch airline in a competitive environment left much to be desired, the speaker pointed out, adding there was no succession plan, no training and no visionary leadership.

Although problems were identified, no strong action was initiated for a turnaround. The airline industry continued to expand business, but Air India's market share continued to steadily decline or showed very modest improvement occasionally.

Describing Air India's fall as victim of inaction and long years of neglect, Mr. Bhargava rued the fact that Air India offered the market on a platter to private airlines. "Air India is the victim of many pliable chairmen, weak management and aggressive union", the speaker remarked adding that unions were uncooperative and got away with favourable wage agreements without ensuring productivity gains.

Suggesting that the future of many government companies in the country was doubtful, he said competition and changing dynamics of business environment called for more progressive and modern business ideas. Lack of accountability in Indian public sector undertakings is a bane, according to Mr. Bhargava.

Earlier, welcoming the speaker, IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal said in recent years the business environment across the world has become competitive and in India there has been a transformation especially after the process of economic liberalization was kicked off in the 1990s. He said policymakers must rethink whether government should remain in business.

In order to recognize Excellence, IMC's Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award (IMC RBNQA) Trust presented IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards & IMC Juran Quality Medal on 4 March 2016. The award ceremony was held at Y B Chavan Center from 5 pm onwards. The awards were presented by the Chief Guest for the ceremony, Mr. F C Kohli, Former Dy.Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services.

IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award is possibly the most prestigious national quality Awards in the Country. The Awards were named after late Shri.Ramkrishna Bajaj, Past President, IMC and a leading Industrialist. The award process follows rigorous training and evaluation. All applicant organizations irrespective of winning an Award or not receive a detailed feedback report - beneficial to map the quality journey of the Organization.

Since the institution of the Award in 1996, over 600 organizations have expressed their intention to apply and over 450 of them have gone through the evaluation process.

The Award process covers seven categories namely manufacturing, service, small business, overseas, education, health care and NGOs.

IMC RBNQ Award process has multiple benefits to Indian organizations:

  • Implementing the criteria is a reward in itself. Organizations participating in the process go through a self-assessment exercise with emphasis on result-oriented performance measurements.

  • All applicants receive feedback reports commenting on their strengths and opportunities for improvement.

  • Unique aspect of this award is that its winners are recognized at an international platform too. The IMC RBNQA winners are eligible to participate in the Asia Pacific Quality Organization (APQO) World Class Global Performance Excellence awards.

'The IMC Juran Quality Medal' recognizes individual excellence and role models in the field of quality. The medal was named after late Dr. J M Juran - Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the reputed Juran Institute for Quality, USA. In 1996, Dr.J M Juran gave permission to the IMC Quality Awards Committee to use his name for a Quality Medal.


IMC JURAN QUALITY MEDAL 2015

Dr Rani Bang & Dr Abhay Bang


Founders, SEARCH, Gadchiroli


Recognitions of 2015 IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards


IMC RAMKRISHNA BAJAJ NATIONAL QUALITY AWARD 2015

  • Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai - Health Care Category

  • Max Life Insurance Co Ltd, Gurgaon - Service Category

  • Overseas Spinning Business (Indonesia), Purwakarta - Overseas Category

  • Reliance Industries Limited, Hoshiarpur Manufacturing Division - Manufacturing Category

  • Shree Vasu Logistics Pvt Ltd, Raipur & Bilaspur Depots - Small Business Category

  • Thakur College of Engineering & Technology, Mumbai - Education Category


IMC RBNQ PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE TROPHY 2015

  • Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Sathyamangalam - Education Category

  • Essel Propack Ltd, Unit: Kundaim, Goa - Manufacturing Category

  • Global Indian International School, Kuala Lumpur Campus, Malaysia - Overseas Category

  • JSW Steel Ltd, Salem Works - Manufacturing Category

  • Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd, Powai, Mumbai - Service Category

  • UltraTech Cement Limited, (Unit: Rajashree Cement Works), Gulbarga - Manufacturing Category

  • UltraTech Cement Limited, Unit: Rawan Cement Works, Chattisgarh - Manufacturing Category

IMC RBNQ CERTIFICATE OF MERIT 2015

  • A J Hospital & Research Centre, Mangalore - Health Care Category

Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, said, "It is with pleasure that we recall the role of Shri Ramkrishna Bajaj as a business leader. He was a crusader for ethics in business, social welfare and consumer protection. He established the Council for Fair Business Practices to facilitate his crusade. He believed in Customer-driven quality. It is therefore appropriate that the IMC Quality Award is christened after him, one of the most trustworthy captains of Indian Industry. At the Chamber, we view the IMC RBNQA performance excellence initiative as a catalyst for nation building. It is also the most engaging offering from IMC. "

Speaking on the award, Mr.Niraj Bajaj, Chairman, IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award Trust, said, "The IMC RBNQA Criteria for Performance Excellence believes in a holistic approach towards achieving organizational excellence. The universal standards and best practices embedded in the IMC RBNQA criteria have transformed Indian leaders into accepting the pivotal roles of customers and workforce in driving world-class processes."

"Winning the IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award is a sterling achievement. However, it is a benchmark achievement only when the metamorphosis leads to trilogy of results: customer delight, employee delight and community delight", says Mr.Suresh Lulla, Chairman, IMC RBNQ Awards Committee.

Union Budget 2016-17 presented by Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley

  • Budget lays emphasis on the rural sector;

  • Social sector spending up;

  • New fiscal initiatives to boost affordable housing

As widely expected on basis of indications available in recent days, Mr. Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister, in his Union Budget 2016-17, has sought to give a fillip to the critical area of agriculture, education, health and infrastructure, according to Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, Indian Merchants' Chamber.

Close to Rs 36,000 crore has been allocated during 2016-17 for strengthening the agriculture and allied sectors. Crop insurance (Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana), acceleration of Soil Health Card scheme, expansion of irrigation facilities (irrigation fund of Rs 20,000 crore under NABARD), agri-infrastructure and linking farm to market through a unified agricultural platform are some of the key features of the Budget.

"We need to think beyond food security and ensure income security for growers", the FM has asserted adding that the government aims to double the income of farmers in five years. To this end, Rs 15,000 crore has been set aside for loan subvention for agricultural loans taken by farmers and arrangements will be made for procurement of pulses, an essential commodity of mass consumption.

The Budget's rural focus including digital literacy scheme is intended to step up expenditure in that part of the economy which in turn is expected to create a virtuous cycle of growth, advance rural welfare and exert a multiplier effect on the overall economy, Mr. Piramal said.

The FM's focus on infrastructure, especially roads and highways, is sure to go a long way in creating jobs and accelerating connectivity. It is heartening that 85% of the stalled road projects are now back on track.

According to Mr. Piramal, an outstanding feature of the Budget, outside of the rural economy, is the exemption of Dividend distribution tax on REITs which will provide a shot in the arm for affordable housing in particular, and infrastructure in general. Consensus is emerging that the country can hope to garner $ 10-15 Billion in FDI.

Rates of income tax, service tax, customs duty and excise duty are all stable and there is no justification for tinkering with them at this stage, according to IMC President.

'On the whole, the Budget is well-balanced and is one that focuses on sectors that cry for attention. The rural push should be seen as positive for the nation struggling to overcome global headwinds", Mr. Piramal remarked.

Mr. Dilip Piramal, IMC President's viewpoint on RBI's Sixth Bi-Monthly Policy Statement for 2015-16

Mumbai, February 2, 2016: Given the subdued state of the world economy, RBI's decision to keep interest rates unchanged in its sixth bimonthly monetary policy statement is in line with expectations, said IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal. It appears that RBI is waiting for the forthcoming Budget to provide more clarity on the fiscal consolidation roadmap ahead, before making any further changes with the interest rate structure, he added.

The overall tone of this policy statement is similar to the previous one and the RBI's liquidity management policy will be closely watched by all market participants. Lead indicators of food inflation remain mixed. Prices of cereals rose modestly despite the adverse monsoon while pulses inflation continued to remain an issue. As far as inflation is concerned, the RBI is clearly taking no chances and it prefers to maintain the status quo on interest rates until some structural reforms are announced in the forthcoming Budget.

'Oil prices are based more on speculation rather than market fundamentals of demand-supply' -
Experts

The fall in crude oil prices below $30 a barrel will lead to a substantial saving of foreign exchange for India, but the benefit of the global price decline may not reach Indian consumers fully.

While crude oil prices have collapsed since late 2014 and are currently trading at below $ 30 a barrel, there is strong possibility that towards the end of 2016, the market may begin the process of rebalancing when prices are likely to break out on the upside towards $ 40 a barrel.

This was the general refrain at the Panel Discussion on Crude Oil Market Outlook and Implications for India by the Economic Training Research Foundation of the Indian Merchants' Chamber here today.

According to Mr. S Raghunath, President, Oil Division, Trafigura India Pvt. Ltd., production cut by any producer will be quickly compensated by others producing more. Pointing out that it was difficult to analyze China and its impact on the global energy market, the expert said that India is a natural refining hub and this advantage should not be lost.

Joining the discussion, Mr. Sukrit Vijaykar, Trifecta Consultants, said that despite falling crude prices, producers or suppliers seemed unwilling to cut production. Given the large number of players today, the market will never be in short supply, he asserted. Any cut by OPEC may be offset by an increase in Iranian production. The biggest question he posed is whether prices bottomed out.

According to Mr. Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE Ratings, it is not only crude oil but all commodity prices which are falling. The biggest beneficiary of this is the Government of India since this unexpected windfall enables them to reduce the subsidy burden on the economy, particularly that caused by fuel subsidies. The net impact on inflation - both CPI and WPI - seems to be unclear, he said adding that the current account deficit may be marginally positive but a turnaround in exports seems unlikely for now.

In his remarks Mr. G. Chandrashekhar, Director, ERTF, said that non-OPEC producers will experience a decline in output in 2016. As the break- even price for oil production varies among various countries, all producers will not be affected equally by the ongoing price decline. In the current year global oil production is expected to decline by a million barrels per day through non-OPEC sources. In the third and fourth quarter of this year a rebalancing of the market will take place which will be slow, delayed and painful. He saw year-end prices at around $ 40 a barrel.

Moderating the discussion, Mr. R. N. Bhaskar, Consulting Editor, Free press Journal, said as India is a large beneficiary of remittances, a steep fall in crude prices threatens jobs for Indian abroad. The prices of both our principal imports, gold and oil, are based on speculation and do not follow supply and demand logic, he remarked.

Earlier, welcoming the participants, Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, said that the fall in crude oil prices would result in substantial savings in foreign exchange outgo for India. The question was how long the low price environment will continue.

IMC is a 108 year old premier Chamber of Commerce, Trade and Industry and reaches out to over 225,000 business establishments through its membership base.

"Optimistic about India's future, economic interest to engage with India is sharply rising among many European and
other countries"

Many European and other countries are keen to engage with India at an elevated level with conditions ripe for enhanced two-way flow of goods, services, investment and skilled human capital. This was the essential conclusion at a high level panel discussion on 'Slowdown of Global Economy - Implications and International Perceptions about India" organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber here today.

Consul Generals of as many as six countries - Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, Hungary and Israel - participated in the panel discussion and expressed optimism about India's growth prospects in the coming years, especially given its recent history of robust growth notwithstanding global economic slowdown.

Indian skills in the areas of Information and Communication technology and software development emerged as a great attraction, especially for the European countries. Specifically, Hungary and Israel highlighted opportunities in the field of electronics, water management and pharmaceuticals, while France was keen to take part in infrastructure development. Focus area for Sweden was renewable energy and transport solutions.

Consul General for Germany Mr. Michael Siebert pointed out that as many as 350 business entities from his country were already operating in Pune alone and many more across India, all whom have long-term interest in the burgeoning market here. The Consul General of Canada Mr. Jordan Reeves said his country would be happy to service the Indian market with various technologies being developed.

The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Shailesh Haribhakti, Past President IMC and Group Chairman, DH Consultants. Suggesting that the views of panelists converged on several Indian government initiatives like Digital India, Make in India and so on, he asserted that the growth momentum was in India's favour.

Earlier, welcoming the diplomatic corps, Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, said the mood around the world was one of depression with alarming fall in commodity prices under the lead of crude oil and economic slowdown. He said India was facing its own set of internal issues - weakening rupee, falling exports, slowing growth and so on; yet, India was registering a relatively healthy rate of growth, attracting the attention of the world.

Mr. Gul Kripalani, Chairman, IMC Diplomacy and Governance Partnership Committee and past President, in his theme address said the panel discussion was organized to understand the current trends in the global economy and its implications for India as viewed by the diplomatic community.



Consul Generals who participated were:

Mr. Jordan Reeves, Consul General of Canada

Mr. Bernard Duffresne, Head, Department of Economics, French Consulate

Mr. Michael Siebert, Consul General of Germany

Dr. Nobert Reval Bere, Consul General of Hungary

Mr. David Akov, Consul General of Israel

Ms. Frederika Ornbrant, Consul General of Sweden

Promote Design/Innovation more aggressively, says Exim CMD

India needs to promote manufacturing abroad more aggressively, as it will open up unprecedented opportunities to take our trade and investment relations to the next higher level. Even though India has many strengths - particularly in the financial sector - project management remains our weak spot and it needs to be addressed forthright, asserted Mr. Yaduvendra Mathur, Chairman and Managing Director, Export-Import Bank of India.

Addressing a meeting of the Indian Merchant's Chamber here today, Mr. Mathur said that India was the first country to open up a duty-free market for less developed countries and so was very progressive in its financial outlook. The key was to manufacture partly in India, partly abroad and then sell our products competitively in the global markets.

Mr. Mathur said that India had to tread carefully as far as the TPP was concerned. The major gainers from this arrangement would be Peru, Vietnam and Malaysia. However, it would be a good idea for India to gain admission as an APEC member. These regional pacts, now mushrooming all over the world, are undermining the strength of the WTO.

Mr. Mathur urged IMC members to take advantage of all the facilities offered by Exim Bank and aggressively expand their business overseas, while simultaneously making a concerted effort to understand global value chains.

He remarked that intellectual property was where a lot of value addition took place today. Indian companies need to be more careful about where they are putting their money.

Earlier, welcoming the Exim Bank CMD, IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal said that even though the problems facing our economy were complex and interconnected, they were not insurmountable given the right policy framework.

Without doubt, Delhi's elevated air pollution levels that choke the citizenry and lead to health problems demand quick and effective action as well as medium to long-term sustainable solutions. Seized of the matter, the country's apex court has decreed a series of measures including a ban on registration of new diesel SUVs and top-end vehicles with engines of more than 2,000 cc capacity in Delhi until March 31, 2016 and a hike in the 'green cess' on commercial vehicles entering the capital. Additionally, goods vehicles not bound for Delhi are barred from entering the capital as also all commercial vehicles more than 10 years old.

Expert opinion is divided on the efficacy of the directive. Reasons for pollution are many and varied including burning of wood for fuel, burning of fields in adjoining regions and rapid accumulation of dust, in addition to vehicular exhaust. With utmost respect to the judiciary one must say, while the Supreme Court's serious concern over air pollution and intention to address the issue is completely understandable, the verdict raises troubling questions over the efficacy and sustainability of the measures spelt out.

Belief is gaining ground and rightly so that the series of measures for pollution control enunciated by the Supreme Court are far from adequate to solve the problem in its entirety administratively, economically and environmentally. For instance, the positive effect of an embargo on specified diesel vehicles on ambient air quality would at best be limited. On the other hand, the complex nature of the problem demands medium to long-term sustainable solutions that would seek to finely balance environmental and economic concerns on the one hand with larger public welfare on the other.

Without going into the question whether or not there is judicial overreach in the instant case, it may be said that if the judiciary were to dictate legislation (possibly after running out of patience with executive inaction), there is risk that the government and its executive wing may abdicate its responsibility of ensuring 'clean life' for its citizens and stay smug on the ground of abiding by judicial pronouncement. Worse, instead of taking umbrage, the government may begin to increasingly rely on the judiciary for directives, something best avoided.

As a nation, we need to catch the pollution bull by the horn. To address the serious environmental issue, instead of fiats that look like knee-jerk reaction or short-term fix, it is important to examine medium to long-term sustainable solutions that are environmentally, economically, technologically and socially acceptable or at least least-disruptive.

While pressuring the executive to act quickly and effectively to control air pollution, it may be worth the Supreme Court's while to consider a suo moto review of the recent decision. The government must ensure that the right of every citizen in every part of the country to breathe unpolluted air is not compromised. Hopefully, the Supreme Court's tough stand will send a strong message to policymakers.



Dilip Piramal

P R E S I D E N T



December 21, 2015

IMC welcomes the Real Estate Bill

Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) welcomes the decision of the Union Cabinet to approve the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015.

The regulation and development of the Real Estate sector will help protect long-term interests of consumers, promote fair play in transactions in the sector, and also ensure the timely execution of projects, which is often found lacking.

IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal said, "This is a good initiative of the Government and we do hope that the same will be ratified at the earliest by the Parliament. It is certainly a step in the right direction which will help promote transparency and ease of doing business in this increasingly important sector."

The provision for insurance of land title (a big confidence booster for buyers), increase in the duration (from two years to five years) of liability of promoters for structural defects, and the promotion of single-window system of clearances for real estate projects will have a salutary impact on the real estate sector, which is in a rather bad shape today, added Mr. Piramal.

Given the state of affairs in the sector, this step will go a long way in positively impacting and benefiting the consumer. As a matter of fact, it will lead to a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

'Improve city governance by overhauling BMC', says Sanjay Nirupam

Mumbai has all it takes to become a Smart City and self-reliant in every respect; but for advancing citizen welfare it is essential to grapple with and streamline basic civic amenities such as water supply, garbage disposal and road maintenance on a priority basis, asserted Shri Sanjay Nirupam, President, Mumbai Congress.

He was addressing an interactive meeting on 'Mumbai City Development: Issues and Opportunities' organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) here today.

Conceding candidly that for long Mumbai city was not getting the focus it deserved despite its sizeable contribution to the national revenue, Shri Nirupam argued with facts and figures that Mumbai does not need any external assistance as its finances are in fine fettle with adequate reserves and large budgetary outlay.

"I think, Mumbai is self-sufficient as it has enough funds - over Rs 35,000 crore reserves and nearly Rs 40,000 crores budgetary outlay - but these are not properly applied', he added. It is well known that the city's municipal corporation is among Asia's top cities in terms of annual budget.

For improving the enervated city governance, the 3-time Member of Indian Parliament listed a few critical issues that he said deserved the full attention of the administrators. These included improving water supply and water quality, garbage disposal including management of solid waste, desilting of rivers and water bodies, strengthening primary schools for better education as well as municipal hospitals for better healthcare.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Shri Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, said there was a prevailing sense that Mumbai city was neglected by policymakers and administrators. He strongly argued in favour of rapid infrastructure development to improve the living conditions in the city.

Shri Nanik Rupani, Chairman, Mumbai Development Committee, said IMC is a pressure group to address issues of the city's infrastructure and acts as a catalytic agent to bring about progressive developments.

Ms. Meera Sanyal, Chairperson, IMC Urban Development Committee, pointed out that contrary to assurances, port lands are being misused for dumping millions of tons of coal which pollutes the atmosphere and creates health hazard for Mumbai residents.

IMC is a Century old chamber of commerce engaged in promoting trade and commerce. IMC's theme for 2015-16 is 'Job creation through skill development'.

Mr. Dilip Piramal, IMC President's viewpoint
on RBI's Fifth Bi-Monthly Policy Statement for 2015-16

Mumbai, December 1, 2015: IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal said that RBI's decision to maintain the status quo on interest rates in its fifth bimonthly Monetary Policy Statement announced this morning is justified keeping in mind the evolving economic situation. Given that the RBI gave a 50 basis points rate cut in the previous monetary policy and a cumulative 125 basis points rate cut so far this year, no further reduction was expected. Furthermore, CPI, on account of rising food prices, especially of pulses, rose to a four month high of 5% in October 2015.

In the July-September 2015 quarter, India's GDP grew at 7.4% and the manufacturing sector by 9.3%, the highest since July-September 2012, surpassing market expectations. Signs of recovery in the GDP, from a growth rate of 7% in the previous quarter (April-June), have reinforced RBI's case to hold on to the existing rates. The RBI seems to be taking into account the inflationary impact of a falling rupee (which recently hit a two-year low vis--vis the dollar), despite falling crude oil and commodity prices.

The Indian Merchants' Chamber organized an Interactive Meeting with Mr. Ahmad Javed,Police Commissioner of Mumbai on "Safety of Citizens of Mumbai & Cyber Safety". Also present to speak at the event was IMC President, Mr Dilip Piramal and Mr. Vijay Mukhi, Cyber Guru.

Mr. Ahmad Javed is the former Director General of Police (Home Guards) and a 1980 batch IPS officer. He was appointed as the commissioner of Mumbai Police on 8 September 2015 by the Maharashtra Government. Mr. Ahmad Javed has adorned many prolific titles namely Superintendent of Police in Buldhana and Nanded before being posted as Deputy Commissioner of Police, Intelligence, in Mumbai. After being promoted as Additional Director General of Police, Mr. Ahmad Javed was posted with the state reserve police force and with the Maharashtra Police Headquarters as ADG Establishment, and then he took over as Commissioner of Police, Navi Mumbai in 2010.

Welcoming Mr. Javed to the interactive meeting, President of Indian Merchants' Chamber, Mr. Dilip Piramal said that, "On behalf of IMC, i extend a warm welcome to Shri Ahmad Javed, and Shri Vijay Mukhi, Cybercrime expert and MD of Vijay Mukhi Computer Institute. We are grateful for them for accepting our invitation to interact with our members on a topic that is very vital to the people of Mumbai. Mumbai is one of the most populated cities in the world and in terms of population density of around 29650 persons per sq km, 2.8 million households and 2.5 million vehicles, it is probably the worlds most dense city. The city is also the lifeline of Indian economy and home to the countrys major ports and airports, important financial institutions like Reserve Bank of India, Bombay Stock Exchange, National Stock Exchange, headquarters of most of India's banks and insurance companies , corporate companies, multi nationals and media and entertainment industries. Policing such a dense city spread linearly is not just difficult but a Herculean task. With increasing threats of terror attacks, the Mumbai Police always remains on the edge. On behalf of the Indian Merchants' Chamber, I must compliment Mumbai Police for keeping Mumbai relatively safe despite challenges and inadequate force. We often do not realize how stressed police personnel would be when they put in rigorous work hours, and face constant risks to their lives to keep us safe. I am sure this meeting will help citizens understand Mumbai Police better and will go a long way in developing mutual understanding between the people and the police force."

Mr Javed alerted the audience as to what the cyber world is doing and what can be done. Ahmed Javed affirmed that, "Let me start with a few examples . A man made a friend online and and talked to him and was cheated out of 37 lakhs. Woman registered on a matrimonial site met a man and slowly became friends and they became close. The man ran into mishaps and the woman was cheated out of 27 lakhs . Few days after I became commissioner. Man at work was fooled into giving up bank information and lost 30,000 INR. These were working professionals, an engineer, a banker and a simpleton liftman. This can happen to anyone and everyone in society. This happens more often then you would think. The less aware/initiated/alert fall for it easily.How do we solve this? We Indians are not security conscious. Whether it is terrorist or financially related. Our efforts are focused on making people aware and sensitized to the situation. Certain things need to be taught. One is traffic and civic sense, the other is to be alert.In cyber financial is not the only thing. Identity theft is not in heard off and these are dangers are becoming more enhanced due to the ease of access people have to others photographs. Girls need to be very careful because once it is out there in the open there is nothing that can be done. Cases of blackmail come from this. An alert parent goes a long way. A 17 year old girl in France got attracted to an ISIS site and French police stopped her by cautioning the parents. Parents took away her passport AS A PRECAUTION but the girl took her sisters passport and got through European immigration. Hacking many of us have experienced some big and some small issues. The biggest culprits are the business world as you always want to cut your budget. Second problem is that minor aberrations are tried to be pushed under the carpet giving the criminal the notion they are getting away with it. Why do we not take these things seriously? We all keep falling prey to it. Today the threat we face from all activities in the cyber world including terrorism are very real and in abundance. Precautions are fairly commonsensical. Keep looking at your electronic and physical security systems and ensure they are continuously upgraded. Technology moves very fast so things become redundant very quickly. We must have a strong security system in place to safeguard your personal and business life. Cyber crimes have been on the rise in terms of case numbers. We are one of the first in the country to have a cyber police station in Mumbai but even still that is falling short.You will all agree that the public transport system is used extensively both in the day and late at night. 18 million people in this city there is bound to be crime. 95 percent of violent crime is detected within 2 days in Mumbai alone. The ambience of security in India is hight but that is eroded if certain parameters are not adhered to.We have things to make things easier for citizens. For example major railway stations if anyone is alone and feels unsafe they can contact police and precautions are taken to ensure their safe travel. Our response in terms of sending a patrol van is 5 minutes. The electronic part sees the CCTV network and command center which will be inaugurated in a few weeks time, May 2016 is the target and it will be in place by then. We continue to work toward making our city safe despite huge challenges. Other countries have things a lot easier to manage be in infrastructure, traffic etc. We have to deal with these issues on an everyday basis but the consistency to working toward better traffic conditions is unwavering. There is much more to say but I'm sure there will be other occasions. I would like to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. "

"Lawmakers must be alive to ongoing changes in the society and move with the times" - experts say

It is for the Parliament or the Legislative Assembly to make laws and for the Executive to implement it effectively; and therefore, courts should stick to their traditional role of interpreting the law and not overstep it, according to Hon'ble Mr. Justice (Retd) B.N. Srikrishna.

He was among the panelists to discuss Judicial Activism at the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) here today. Other panelists included senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, D.M Popat, solicitor and Subodh Kumar, former bureaucrat. Maneck Davar, publisher and legal expert, moderated the discussion.

Tracing the roots of judicial activism to the US, the former Supreme Court judge the Theory of Separation of Powers delineates the role of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. He regretted the fact that currently courts force the executive to act or even legislate.

Suggesting that judicial initiatives had their roots in history, Mr. Popat said that judicial activism was good but suffers from its own drawbacks. "Today, the drawbacks have become more burdensome", he said adding that certain elements seek to misuse the judicial process and waste courts' precious time.

In his remarks, Mr. Jethmalani stoutly defended judicial activism in its present form. He said whenever there is inaction by the executive or the legislature or occasionally excess action, courts are forced to intervene to normalize the situation. "Judicial activism has helped improve peoples' lives by giving directions on issues such as pollution and roads and so on", he remarked.

Mr. Subodh Kumar conceded that executive inaction forces judicial inaction.

Earlier, welcoming members present, Mr. Dilip Piramal, IMC President said the chamber is a century old institution for promotion of trade, commerce and industry. Through 2,700 members and over 200 associations, IMC reaches well over 250,000 business establishments, he pointed out. He said, judicial activism is not an easy concept to define and it means different things to different people.

Mr. Shaunak Thacker, Chairman, IMC Law Committee referred to the pro-active role played by the judiciary and said that lawmakers must be alive to change.

Higher education in India is a huge challenge and opportunity at once, but a paradigm shift in the mindset is necessary, according to Dr. Sanjay Deshmukh, Vice Chancellor, University of Mumbai. He was addressing the members of Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) here today.

Arguing that the purpose of educational institutions is to 'reach the unreached', Dr. Deshmukh rued the fact that there was little uniformity in the approach to education among different institutions of higher learning including courses in agriculture, medicine and so on.

"International universities are unable to come to India due to stringent regulations", he said adding that Indian graduates completing post-graduate course abroad are unable to pursue a Ph.D. degree here due to weakness in the system.

In order to deliver higher education for the young and growing population, the Vice Chancellor made out a strong case for more teachers as well as programs with compressed timeframe with no change in contact hours - for instance, a Masters degree in 1 years. He also appealed for integrated Masters and Ph.D programs.

Recommending a dual degree program as is in vogue in advanced economies, Dr. Deshmukh pointed out that Distance Education was another opportunity to reach the unreached and deliver educational services to the needy. He also argued for greater focus on technical education including arts, architecture, interior design and so on.

The VC regretted the fact that about 80,000 seats were going vacant in engineering colleges and such colleges have become financially unviable. Introduction of non-conventional courses such as sports management would become popular if such courses are offered, he remarked.

Dr. Deshmukh mentioned that he believed the way forward was steps such as setting up industry academia interface and incubation centres so that education is designed keeping future growth prospects n mind.

Earlier, welcoming the Vice Chancellor, Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, pointed out that India needed to ensure that public-private-partnerships in higher education are encouraged and that an enabling legislation to create them is put in place.

"It will help narrow the demand and supply gap and impart more meaning to higher education", Mr. Piramal said adding if we really want the best of the global players to join us in this noble endeavour, we need to lay out more incentives, including providing our top universities free (or highly subsidized) infrastructure and facilities to enable them to set up world class campuses at different locations.

IMC is a Century old chamber of commerce for promoting trade, commerce and industry. Its theme for the current year is 'Job creation through skill development'.

Speed Dating with Venture Capitalists - IMC's investment platform brings top VCs face to face with
young entrepreneurs bubbling with ideas and expansion plans

Creating a unique platform to foster private equity investment in small and medium business establishments including startups seeking capital for their business plans, the Indian Merchants' Chamber today brought together a dozen Venture Capitalists (VCs) and Private Equity funds to interact with scores of entrepreneurs bubbling with innovative ideas for business startup or expansion plans.

The investors included top names such as Tata Capital and IDFC. VC and PE funds represented wide ranging interests covering IT, e-Commerce, E-mobile, Solar and Energy renewal technology, pharmaceuticals and education.

Inaugurating the event - Speed Dating with VCs - Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, pointed out that the favourable climate for PE activity over the last one year has been backed by strong macroeconomic fundamentals. PE activities last year accounted for 53 percent of FDI inflows and showed a robust increase over 2013.

"Entrepreneurs should view private equity as not only a source of funding but also an opportunity for learning and adopting best practices", Mr. Piramal remarked adding that rather than focusing solely on valuations, entrepreneurs should consider partnering with a fund to draw from the latter's right expertise.

"The Government has set high expectations amongst investors with its pro-business pronouncements. Policy makers should ensure that their words translate into action, as this is critical to maintaining investor confidence. PE can be pivotal in setting India on its desired growth trajectory", he added.

Looking at the year ahead, General Partners (GPs) in India expect a further increase in deal activity, propelled by macroeconomic conditions, positive investor sentiment and an improved exit environment. However, GPs remain concerned about a mismatch in valuation expectations and the tough competitive environment for good-quality deals.

According to Mr. Piramal, India needs to work on improving the ease of doing business in the country, a large part of which involves developing a regulatory environment that is more conducive to business growth to attract investment. With 'Make in India' as one of its top priorities, the new government has already taken steps in this direction, including reforms in labour laws and concrete plans to introduce a Goods and Services Tax (GST).

There is general consensus that healthcare, technology and consumer products are expected to be the most attractive sectors for investment over the next two years due to underlying secular growth and dollar-denominated cash flow. IT and ITES have also shown good returns on the invested PE capital, and are sectors holding out a lot of promise and potential.

Set up in 1907, IMC is a century old Chamber of trade, commerce and industry in the country, with headquarters in Mumbai. It has around 2,700 direct members, comprising a diverse cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies, and over 220 trade and industry associations. It has a vibrant Ladies' Wing of around 2000 members, an Economic Research & Training Foundation, the Ramakrishna Bajaj National Quality Award Trust and a Young Leaders' Forum. Overall, it reaches out to around 2, 50,000 diverse businesses in the country.

IMC believes in broad-basing economic growth to make it truly more inclusive and socially distributive for every Indian. IMC's theme for the current year is 'Job Creation through Skill Development', which reflects the chamber's concern for ensuring that the unique demographic dividend does not morph into a demographic disaster, but leads the nation on to a double digit growth path.

Lokayukta says, "Don't be a silent spectator to corruption or negligent service"

The Office of the Lokayukta of Maharashtra is set to initiate the process of accelerated grievance redressal by making grievance registration online, Hon'ble Justice Mr. M.L. Tahiliyani, Lokayukta of Maharashtra said. He was addressing a meeting of the Indian Merchants' Chamber here today.

Regretting the fact that people, especially honest citizens, suffer due to deficient services of various government agencies, the Lokayukta asserted that his office was working on a more efficient grievance redressal mechanism that would be characterized by three features namely quick access to redressal, making redressal less expensive and less timing consuming.

The Lokayukta while pointing out how delay and corruption feed on each other said, "Delay (in rendering services) causes corruption and corruption causes delay". He wanted prosecution and punishment to happen in time and highlighted that any inordinate delay would defeat the ends of justice. "The Lokayukta has adequate powers to act", he asserted.

Flagging two issues namely allegations (that are corruption prone) and grievances (that reflect deficiency in service), Justice Tahiliyani remarked that corruption can be reduced if those involved are made more accountable.

Earlier, welcoming the Lokayukta of Maharashtra, Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) said that the chamber was more than a hundred years old working for promotion of trade, commerce and industry. IMC's theme for the current year is 'Job creation through skill development'.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. J. F. Rebeiro, Head of IMC's Anti-Corruption cell said corruption in public life has reached such depths that ordinary citizens find it hard to tolerate.

Mr. Dilip Piramal, IMC President's viewpoint
on RBI's Fourth Bi-Monetary Policy Statement for 2015-16

The Indian Merchants' Chamber congratulates the RBI for lowering the repo rate by 50 basis points in the fourth bimonthly Monetary Policy Statement announced this morning. IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal welcomed the rate cut which was expected by the market. After the Federal Reserve postponed the rate hike, and the benign inflation data for August 2015 became available, industry was anxiously awaiting appropriate action on the part of the RBI, which has materialized, Mr. Piramal added.

IMC believes that this will signal an interest rate cut as also enhance liquidity in the system, promote capital inflow and investment, and facilitate the economic recovery already underway. With a deficient monsoon and uncertainty in growth prospects, the RBI's move is certainly a step in the direction of restoring the "feel good" factor in the economy.

'Bilateral trade between Mexico and India has potential to reach $ 10 Billion' - Mexican Ambassador to India

'Like India, Mexico is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Together with Canada and USA, Mexico is part of North America with a combined GDP of $ 19 Trillion", Ms Melba Pria, Ambassador of Mexico to India said. She was addressing a meeting of the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) here today.

Stating in her presentation that Mexico's competitive advantages included human capital and conducive macro-economic environment, the ambassador asserted that her country will become one of the Bix Six by 2025 from the current rank of 15.

Ms Pria said the Mexican economy was a sophisticated with a strong manufacturing base for high-end technological products including electronics, transportation and information and communication technology. Mexican aggregate exports have risen to $ 397 Billion and current foreign exchange reserves were $ 194 Billion.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Kavita Gupta, Additional Director General of Foreign Trade said that bilateral trade between the two countries was expanding at a healthy rate.

In his welcome address, Mr. Dilip Piramal, IMC President, talked about the commonalities between the two nations including age profile of the population and food habits that can be leveraged to boost bilateral trade and investment. "a number of Indian investments have been made in Mexico", he pointed out adding that the balance of trade was in Mexico's favour because of India's large oil imports.

IMC is a 108 year old chamber for promoting trade, industry and commerce with a network of international relationship spanning 140 countries.

  • Governor of Maharashtra upbeat about India's economic prospects
  • Seeks IMC help to make Maharashtra a 'Start Up' capital

"The government has created conducive policy environment and it is for chambers such as Indian Merchants' Chamber to take advantage of it", Mr. Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, Hon'ble Governor of Maharashtra said. He was the chief guest at the IMC's 109th Foundation Day celebrations here today.

Complimenting the IMC on the momentous day, the Governor said the world was looking up to India as an emerging superpower even as World Bank and OECD have projected a GDP growth rate in excess of 7 percent for the current year.

Urging the century old IMC to work towards turning the youth of the country into productive human resources, Mr. Rao pointed out that Maharashtra State has the target of skilling about five crore persons and urged the chamber to play a catalytic role.

On emerging economic opportunities, the Governor opined that Maharashtra should emerge as a Start Up capital on the lines of Delhi and Hyderabad. The chamber should bring about informed discussions on the current state of the economy, markets and so on, he urged.

Earlier, in his welcome address IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal highlighted how successive generations of the chamber's Office Bearers contributed to the monumental effort of nation building over the last one hundred years. Listing a series of landmark initiatives of the chamber over several decades, he said, "IMC now seeks to play a proactive role in ensuring transparent and good governance as well as working to coordinate, cooperate and co-create appropriate policy environment and conditions for sustainable economic growth and social development".

Highlighting that scientific water management including water harvesting and other saving methods will go a long in ameliorating the water shortage across the State, he said, "Public money should be used to deliver maximum benefit to the public". Environmental issues are critical too, he added.

Start-up India will facilitate scale-up India: Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister

"Indian economy has all the resources - human, financial and natural resources; yet we are not rated among 'developed countries' because we blindly follow 'western models'. We have to find indigenous solutions to address the economic and social issues of our country and become a teacher to the world", said Union Home Minister Mr Rajnath Singh.

He was addressing members of Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) here today on the occasion of the inauguration of an arbitration room at the IMC Suresh Kotak ADR Centre in memory of Shri Ved Prakash Goyal, former Union Minister of Shipping and a staunch activist for social causes.

Emphasizing that the biggest blemish for any government is corruption, the Home Minister asserted that the present government was fair, transparent and non-corrupt. He referred to the huge revenue generated in coal block allocation made recently contrasting with losses shown by the previous government in the same activity.

Shri Rajnath Singh suggested that the ongoing Make in India campaign will provide livelihood opportunities not just in urban areas but also for rural India. "Growth and development will happen only when the rural economy improves and contributes to higher GDP". Rising inflow of foreign direct investment is a measure of confidence that the government has generated among overseas investors, he pointed out.

Paying rich tributes to Shri Ved Prakash Goyal, Shri Rajnath Singh said that Shri Goyal followed an austere lifestyle and was neither enamoured by wealth nor affected by it. Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy is the son of Shri Ved Prakash Goyal.

Earlier, welcoming the guests present, Mr. Dilip Piramal, IMC President, said that the Chamber's rich tradition of over a hundred years goes back to promoting the Swadeshi movement and contributing to the economic growth and social development of the country. IMC reaches out to over 2.5 lakh business houses through a wide network of membership and affiliations.

India and United Kingdom currently have an unprecedented opportunity to enhance trade and investment relations to the next higher level even as India is now one of world's fastest growing significant economies and the UK's economic growth is the highest in the European region, asserted Mr. Kumar Iyer, British Deputy High Commissioner in India and Director General, UK Trade and Investment India.

Addressing a meeting of the Indian Merchant's Chamber here today, Mr. Iyer, a British official of Indian origin, said some of the nations' strengths - like, UK being the world's second largest in aerospace and second largest automobile maker in the European region - are not much known. Education is also a sector of immense strength for the UK with four of the world's top ten universities located there.

He described how the policymakers in UK evaluated new policies based on their cost to the economy and sought to replace them with 'lower cost' policies, a move that has paid rich dividends and facilitated business processes in the country.

Mr. Iyer urged IMC members to take advantage of the impending visit of Indian Prime Minister to the UK because for a week India will be in a position to occupy the mind-space of the British.

"The upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has the potential to further widen the Indo-British trade and investment relations", he pointed out adding that flow of foreign direct investment between the two countries has been growing on a healthy scale.

He remarked that removal of policy uncertainties especially relating to taxation and further improving the 'ease of doing business' in India deserve to be the priority item on the bilateral agenda.

Responding to a question on high cost of a 5-year UK visa, Mr. Iyer pointed out that the process of obtaining a UK visa was uncomplicated and a six month tourist visa that cost around Rs 5,000 was comparable to fees charged by the US or European countries.

Earlier, welcoming the British Deputy High Commissioner, IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal said the both India and UK enjoyed a natural fit in trade and investment relations, and that IMC members were keen to take them forward. The Chamber was established more than a 100 year ago in 1907 and has been working for advancing economic growth and social development.

Congress losing ground due to hysteria and immaturity as evidenced by Madhya Pradesh local
elections - M.J. Akbar, MP

"Creation of jobs is at the heart of the government's current economic policy", Mr. M. J. Akbar, Rajya Sabha Member said. The veteran journalist and political commentator was addressing an interactive meeting organized here today by the Indian Merchants' Chamber, the premier chamber for promotion of business, commerce and industry, on 'current economic and political trends'.

Suggesting that Make in India campaign covering, among other major initiatives, defense production and building of 100 Smart Cities would help create employment and income for 500 million Indians who still live at the subsistence level, Mr. Akbar said that he found the youth of the country were deeply perturbed by corruption and denial of opportunity early 2014 which resulted in dramatic results in the general elections.

'Development for all' is the credo of the new government; but the expression has attracted different interpretations, he said. According to Mr. Akbar, development for all simply means no discrimination whatsoever and the fruits of economic growth would be shared equitably by all.

Mr. Akbar remarked that the Prime Minister's recent clarion call to 125,000 bank branches to provide loan on easy terms to one dalit, one tribal and one woman will go a long way to ensure inclusive banking for the underprivileged.

Admitting that promoting health and education is a key challenge for the country, he said that the wide gap that existed between allocation and actual expenditure has begun to narrow.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, pointed out that government policies must ensure ambitious outcomes in four major thematic areas namely: accelerating economic growth, attracting investment, creation of jobs and inflation control. 'Job creation through skill development' was IMC's theme for the current year, he said.

  • No more extension for unused plot - Dr. Bhushan Gagrani
  • E-tendering and online approval is the way forward, says MIDC chief

 

Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) is among the most ambitious projects of its kind that seeks to establish industrial cities and transform them into smart cities, according to Dr Bhushan Gagrani, Chief Executive Officer, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). He was speaking at an interactive meeting organised by Indian Merchants' Chamber, the premier chamber for promotion of business, commerce and industry here today.

Commenting on the potential of DMIC, he said, "The idea is to bring convergence between the needs of the city and what can be delivered under the project". Together with other projects such as the Navi Mumbai airport as well as Pune and Nagpur metro rail projects, DMIC has the potential to transform the industrial landscape of the State, MIDC chief asserted.

Presenting 'Magnetic Maharashtra' to IMC gathering, Dr Gagrani remarked that MIDC's business process is rapidly becoming business-friendly with shortening of approval timeline, reduction of number of documents and so on.

Importantly, Maharashtra contributes to about 15% of India's GDP and accounts for 30% of total FDI inflows even as the government is keen to increase the State's economic contribution to the nation. Because the State has a wide range of industrial sectors, any downturn in one or two sectors will have limited impact on industrial activity, he pointed out.

Asserting that MIDC was keen to put all the land in its possession to productive use soon, the CEO said that a 'sunset clause' will come into operation soon as a result of which there may be no more extensions if the plot is unused for specified period of time. No transfer of open plot will be permitted either, he added.

On the contentious land acquisition, the MIDC chief said that it was one of the strengths of the corporation as there is a special provision for land acquisition. "We will go in for consent acquisition rather than compulsory acquisition, and that the compensation will be three times as per the new law", he said.

Earlier, Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, remarked that even as Maharashtra is making strides in attracting investment as well as promoting trade and commerce, more remains to be done for fostering an ecosystem that encourages the manufacturing sector which in turn can help the 'Make in Maharashtra' as well as the 'Make in India' campaigns register success.

'Swachh Sassoon Dock" Campaign

Indian Merchants' Chamber initiates arejuvenation program to give a makeover to the Sassoon Dock,
the iconic landmark of the city, to maintain its heritage value and economic importance

Mumbai, August 12, 2015:The Indian Merchants' Chamber will, on Friday, August 14, 2015 inaugurate its "Swachh Sassoon Dock" Campaign initiated by the Urban Development Committee (UDC) to support efforts by the Government to improve and modernise urban facilities and to raise awareness about the importance of this dock. This public event will be inaugurated by the *Chief Guest, Mr. R M Parmar, Chairperson, Mumbai Port Trust and *Guest of Honour, Mr. Ajoy Mehta, Municipal Commissioner, MCGM and Mr. Dilip Piramal,IMC President.

Last year, IMC's Urban Development Committee took up the cause of a holistic development of the city's Eastern front following the decision of the Ministry of Shipping of the Government of India, to free Mumbai Port Trust Land for development to add civic amenities for citizens of Mumbai. This year, there is another welcome announcement from Hon'ble Minister Mr. Nitin Gadkari of the sanction of Rs.52 crore for Modernization Project of Sassoon Dock, one of the most important docks for the city's Economy. The upliftment of this dock with greater and cleaner facilities will certainly help project a positive image of the city.

The refurbishment initiative of the Indian Merchants' Chamber will include cleaning the entire Sassoon Dock complex, as well as repairing and painting of the outer wall of Sassoon Dock which abuts the SB Singh Road.

In his observations, IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal said The "Swachh Sassoon Dock" Campaign will be starting point for the renovation of the entire Sassoon Dock complex, which will include creating toilet blocks within the complex. The outer wall of Sassoon Docks that abuts the main S B Singh Road will also be repaired and painted to harmonize with the magnificent entrance that has been newly renovated. The Committee also envisions to liven the coastal space as one of the major tourist attractions of our City, with sea food restaurants ‎and other attractions, which will in turn provide jobs to the local community and empower their future, he added.

Mr. Dilip Piramal, IMC President's viewpoint
on RBI's Third Bi-Monetary Policy Statement for 2015-16

Mumbai, August 4, 2015: The Indian Merchants' Chamber is in agreement with the decision ofRBI to keep the key policy rates unchanged in the third bimonthly Monetary Policy Statement of this year. The Chamber feels that need of the hour is for banks to more effectively transmit the benefits of the 75 basis points reduction in rates which has already been done by RBI in the past. Inflationary expectations arising primarily from the base effect and an increasingly uncertain monsoon seem to have prompted the Governor's decision to maintain the status quo.

IMC President Mr. DilipPiramalsaid the Chamber held the RBI in high esteem, and felt that the action is appropriate, even though, the industry would wish for reduction in rates for its growth and competitiveness. He hoped that a rate cut would take place by the end of the year.

"Adoption of GM technology - Many unanswered questions; but no one can stop the march of
science": IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal

Set up Biotech Regulatory Authority of India' - experts demand

Mumbai, July 31, 2015: A passionate debate 'for' and 'against' adoption of technology to grow genetically modified (GM) crops by an industry expert, a grower, a civil society representative and a recently retired civil servant, with intervention from participants, brought out various shades of opinion about the controversial technology at the panel discussion organised by Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) and IMC Economic Research and Training foundation here today.

IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal referred to the tardy growth rates in the country's agriculture in recent years and asserted that India needed resurgence in agriculture. While the country may not be food insecure today, there are ominous signs of threat to food and nutrition security by way of newer challenges such as land constraints, water shortage and climate change faced by the farm sector, he cautioned.

Dr. S. K. Goel, Additional Chief Secretary (Retired), Government of Maharashtra said that pro- and anti-GM arguments are equally forceful, and it was for the stakeholders comprising growers, consumers and policymakers to take a practical call on the issue. It is known that that the Government's ambivalent policy stand on adoption of GM tech has meant research advances are forced to standstill.

Bringing out the economic, social and environmental benefits of GM tech, Mr. Ram Koundinya, Director General, Association of Biotech Led Enterprises (ABLE-AG), pointed out that not just the private sector, but even the Indian public sector and government-funded institutions are engaged in developing the technology. "Biotech is safe and is most widely and intensively tested", Mr. Koundinya asserted.

Ms Dilnavaz Variava, a civil society representative working on socially relevant issues in the fields of environment, agriculture and sustainable development, questioned the claimed benefits of GM tech and demanded a study on GM and non-GM crops under identical conditions. She pointed out that 17 of the 20 developed nations did not grow GM crops while China was going slow. "The economic impact of GM is adverse', Ms Variava asserted.

Sharing his first hand experience, Mr. Govind Joshi, a practicing farmer from Parbhani said that use of Bt.Cotton reduced crop losses and delivered comparative advantage. He argued that flattening of cotton yields was the result of a break in crop rotation.

While much might be argued on both sides, the panel discussion concluded that instead of emotionally charged debates, a more nuanced, objective and science-based approach to the issue in the long-term interest of the country was necessary to break the policy impasse.

MONSOON INFLATION and STOCK MARKETS

"India's growth path seems uninterrupted irrespective of monsoon"

Mumbai, July 27, 2015: Speaking at a panel discussion - Monsoon, Inflation and Stock markets - organised by IMC, Mr U R Bhat of Dalton Security, Mr Prabhat Awasthi of Nomura India Pvt Ltd and Mr DK Joshi, Chief Economist CRISIL, observed that India is on a good growth path . Though the monsoon has progressed well, rain of the next two months, of Aug and Sept is to be observed. Any short fall in monsoon has a tendency to push up inflation, moreso the food inflation. However Mr Joshi, observed that huge buffer stocks of food grains in our warehouses, will even out the decline in agri production and control food inflation. He was of the view that the growth trajectory of Indian economy was good and the IIP was encouraging. He said the government was doing well by clearing bottlenecks for the economy. Full impact of the governments measures are likely to be seen in 2016-17.

Mr UR Bhat spoke of the Greek crisis and the threat it poses on cross country movement of capital. India however sees favorable growth in its bond markets and as an emerging market, it is expected to attract international funds in a big manner. India is also expected to do well when compared to China, which is witnessing market reforms over the past few months.

Mr Awasthi also spoke of the Chinese slowdown and the opportunity for Indian markets to catch up. He was confident that the current bull run in Indian markets is likely to continue and reach greater heights in the next couple of months. On the role of Indian banking in development process, Mr Bhat was concerned at the high level of NPAs at PSU banks and called for steps to tackle them.

On the need to increase exports, boost the economy and the markets, the panelists opined that the Make In India programme could see a surge in our exports, as its main focus is to become competitive in both domestic and foreign markets.

The discussion was moderated by Ms Deena Mehta , Chairman of IMC's Capital Markets' Committee.

'No need to despair, despite somewhat grim situation' - Ajoy Mehta's message to Mumbaikars


At the Indian Merchants' Chamber for an interactive meeting on MCGM's Initiatives on Education,
Healthcare and Infrastructure, Mumbai Municipal Commissioner allays fears of Mumbaikars

Mumbai, July 16, 2015: The Indian Merchants' Chamber on Wednesday hosted the Municipal Commissioner, MCGM, Mr. Ajoy Mehta at an interactive meeting on MCGM's Initiatives on Education, Healthcare and Infrastructure. The interactive evening, moderated by the IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal, also included Mr. Nanik Rupani, Chairman of IMC's Mumbai Development Committee.

Speaking candidly, Mr Mehta outlined the hurdles facing the administration in dealing with the City's many problems. He put the issues facing the system in three broad categories - what the MCGM does in the long term, what it does in the short term, and the experience of the citizen in dealing with the administration. He admitted that there were issues regarding the Development Plan, but everything would be sorted out with time and effort. Patience was the key, since results could not be expected overnight. There was a huge housing backlog in the City and the MCGM was doing its best to address the issue. A clear option was to make the City denser by enhancing FSI, but it could compromise the quality of life in the metropolis.

Clarifying that MCGM had recently launched a Twitter handle, he said that there was a pressing need to infuse a professional culture into the working of the MCGM. Stating that Mumbai has the cleanest water supply sources of any Indian metro, he said that the Damanganga-Pinjal interstate river link project to give Mumbai's water woes a permanent fix was well on track and would benefit the City tremendously. Regarding education, parents had to feel that the school was giving them a service, he mentioned.

Mr Mehta also said that our focus on land management ensured that Mumbai's long and beautiful coastline got a short shrift. People don't segregate waste in the City and 40% of untreated sewage is dumped in the sea, thus irreparably damaging such a beautiful natural resource and degrading the ocean front. Countries like Singapore and Hong Kong took great care of their coastlines and there was no reason we could not do likewise. The technology was in place, but to get the system going, it was of utmost importance to change the tendering process, he added.

In his observations, IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal said the Chamber had high hopes from the MCGM and was certain that they would be able to deliver results. However, they needed to have the unstinted support of all stakeholders, he added.

IMC's panel discussion on southwest monsoon and farm prospects 2015 throws up interesting ideas for mitigating weather risk

"Let the government be ready to deploy instruments of policy response - fiscal, monetary, trade, tariff and administrative - in the event of sub-normal rains", Dilip Piramal, President, IMC

Weather stations under PPP model - Dr. S. K. Goel, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt of Maharashtra


Mumbai, June 29, 2015: At the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), one of country's premier chambers of commerce and the largest in western India, held its annual discussion on Southwest Monsoon and Farm Prospects on June 29, 2015.

The high profile panel included Dr. S. K. Goel, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra; Mr. Samir Shah, MD & CEO of National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange; Mr. Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE Ratings; and Ms Rajni Panickar, Vice President, Philip Capital. The discussion was moderated by G. Chandrashekhar, Chairman, IMC Expert Committee on Agribusiness, Food Processing and Commodities.

In his inaugural address Mr. Dilip Piramal, President, IMC, highlighted the importance of southwest monsoon for farm prospects. He said, "Although India Meteorological Department has forecast deficient rains, spatial and temporal distribution hold the key to agricultural output in the kharif season".

Mr. Piramal urged the government to be ready with various instruments of policy response - fiscal, monetary, trade, tariff and administrative - to be deployed as and when necessary in the event monsoon played truant in the coming months.

Dr. S. K. Goel strongly urged the private sector to partner the policymakers in the country's endeavour to make the economy drought-proof. He suggested use of the country's strengths in ICT (information and communication technology) to develop appropriate applications (apps) to deliver information relating to rains for the benefit of farmers.

He asserted that in the next one year more than 2,000 weather stations will be set up under the PPP model with a budget of Rs 100 crores. Dr. Goel said creation of private network for food supplies would go a long way in infusing efficiency in supply chain.

Mr. Samir Shah highlighted the critical role of warehousing and pointed out that even if the rains turned out to be below normal, adequate stocks were available. He said that market access has improved for farmers in recent years making them more resilient.

Mr. Madan Sabnavis remarked that the fundamental issues of the country's agriculture sector have not been addressed adequately. He demanded that farmers should be compensated through direct cash transfers.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Chandrashekhar remarked that the robust onset of southwest monsoon has brought cheer to worried stakeholders; but cautioned that the looming threat of El Nino - dry conditions - can potentially damage yields. Pointing out that the timing and intensity of El Nino was uncertain, he said it makes sense to be alert and closely track the monsoon's progress.


About Indian Merchants' Chamber

Set up in 1907, Indian Merchants' Chamber is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 3200 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member.

IMC welcomes the Power Tariff Reduction in Maharashtra


Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) welcomes the Maharashtra Government's decision to lower electricity rates.

In January of this year IMC wrote to the Hon'ble Chief Minister Mr. Devendra Fadnavis requesting for a reduction in the power charges in Maharashtra. We are glad that our suggestion has been accepted.

Power is a key ingredient for the growth of manufacturing and the economy in general, and access to reliable power supply at a competitive price is a prerequisite for the entire development process. It is gratifying to note that the lower power tariff is not just for industry, but across the board.

IMC President Mr. Dilip Piramal said, "It is heartening to note that the Government of Maharashtra has addressed the issue of rising costs of power in the State. After taking some measures for enhancing the ease of doing business in the State, this is certainly another step in the right direction, which will help promote Make in Maharashtra, and thus, Make in India. It is imperative that the State retains its competitive edge".

Given that Maharashtra contributes over 14% of India's GDP, this measure will go a long way in positively impacting both the State and the national economy in the coming years.

"SEBI, stock exchanges and intermediaries must jointly convince investors about safe investment
ecosystem in India" - Mr. U. K. Sinha, Chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)


SEBI Chairman inaugurated the Indian Merchants' Chamber's seminar and shared an optimistic view on 'Investment Outlook for 2015'

  • Insights followed on initiatives towards creating a robust domestic infrastructure across market slivers including SME, pension funds, mutual funds and FIIs
  • The Chamber felicitated UTI for promoting investments and equity culture in India
  • Debt panel and Real Estate panel brought industry experts to discuss sector specific outlook

Mumbai, April 28, 2015: The tone of this Tuesday morning at the International Convention Hall in Bombay Stock Exchange resembled the current sentiment prevailing in India, upbeat and full of hope. An Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) seminar dedicated to discussing the 'Investment Outlook for 2015' opened with an impassioned inaugural address from Mr. U. K. Sinha, Chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). IMC along with co-organiser Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) brought together the who's who of the financial market world all under one roof to deliberate upon the modern outlook of different asset classes - Debt, Equity, Commodities, Real Estate and Currencies.

While touching upon various avenues of the financial market, Mr. U. K. Sinha presented a bullish investment outlook for 2015 backed with focused initiatives in progress. "There is a new sense of optimism and confidence all across India. A successful implementation of targeted steps such as SME platform initiative and building institutional trading platforms gives us a sense of triumph, but there is more to be accomplished. Endeavours such as electronic IPO, electronic KYC, setting up institutes to address existing skill gaps in the securities market and many others are being pro-actively addressed."

Commending India for being a diversified economy, SEBI Chairman added, "That the IMF has projected India to be the fastest growing economy in 2015 leaving even China behind is an encouraging sign. Besides the renewed impetus from the FIIs, improved Mutual fund performance especially from cities beyond the top 15 is noticeable." He also urged the business leaders, intermediaries and all the financial market participants to collectively have a fresh outlook, aimed at encouraging the young investor base and safeguarding their interests. "Let's convince the investors that we are jointly working towards building a healthy and safe ecosystem, and the investment outlook for not only 2015 but the next 100 years will look fantastic," he assured.

IMC also felicitated UTI for promoting investments and equity culture in India. The recognition was received by Mr. Leo Puri, Managing Director, UTI Asset Management Co. Ltd. "UTI is deeply honoured for being recognized by IMC and is constantly thinking hard how to remain relevant. In our 51st year, we remain committed to fuel India's financial inclusion and growth which is embedded in UTI's mission," he expressed.

Mr. Ashish Kumar Chauhan, Managing Director and CEO, BSE was also present among the dignitaries. "Thanks to our honourable PM and SEBI's initiatives, the world market is looking at India with a stable outlook. Though India is becoming a safe investment haven, we have a biggest task at hand, that of growing the 2.75 crores strong investor base to 27 crores over next 20 years," he shared.

Mrs Deena Mehta, Chairperson, Capital Market Committee, IMC was lauded by the SEBI Chairman for her perseverance in making this seminar increasingly compelling every year. While introducing the sessions in store, she added," We have approached this year's seminar with a modern outlook. Besides targeted sessions on various asset classes, you will hear discussions on smart cities, out-of-the-box solutions to jumpstart retail participation and a lot more."

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President, IMC extended gratitude to Mr U.K. Sinha for gracing the seminar. He also thanked seminar sponsor BSE and co-organiser Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) for supporting this pertinent endeavour. "Given the infectious optimism within India and outside in the FII community who are acknowledging India's potential, India is truly unstoppable. Addressing roadblocks such as short supply of skilled labour and creating a culture of mentoring in India with a custom-made approach, would ensure India's economic growth is inevitable." he added.

An invigorating inaugural session gave way to two pre-lunch panel discussions. The Debt panel was studded with industry luminaries comprising Mr. Ananth Narayan, Regional Head Financial Markets, South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank; Dr. Rupa Nitsure, Group Chief Economist, L & T Financial Services; Mr. Hitendra Dave, Head-Global Markets, HSBC; Mr. Ashish Parthasarthy, Head of Trading, HDFC Bank and Mr. Navneet Munot, CFA, Chief Investment Officer, SBI Funds Management Pvt. Ltd. as the moderator. Panelists agreed that there are vulnerabilities and an inherent sluggishness in the economy despite upward moving macro-economic indicators. However, RBI's series of initiatives coupled with its cautious approach in projections, and FIIs' confidence at an all-time high indicates that India is well poised for growth.

A livewire Real Estate panel brought together Mr. Milind Joshi, Partner - Infrastructure , IDFC Alternatives Ltd; Mr. Rajesh Krishnan, MD & CEO, Brick Eagle Group, Mr. R K Jha, MD & Group CEO, GIFT City; Mr. Pranay Vakil, Founder & Chairman, Knight Frank Ltd.; and Mr. Nipun Mehta, FCA, Founder & CEO, Blue Ocean Capital Advisors as the moderator. The session offered some futuristic insights in the areas of affordable and social housing. While social housing as a CSR opportunity is waiting to be harnessed, the key for real estate players to emerge front runners in affordable houses lies in three basic essentials - money, mindset to run low margin-high volume operations and a realistic outlook to be able to operate in India with all its uniqueness.

'Build trust with government to seek more' - Yashwant Sinha's advice to Indian corporate


At the Indian Merchants' Chamber for a panel discussion on Ease of Doing Business, former Finance Minister outlines current hurdles, puts onus on corporations

Mumbai, June 9, 2015: The Indian Merchants' Chamber on Monday hosted former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha at an engaging panel discussion on Ease of Doing Business. The interactive evening, moderated by Mr G Chandrashekhar, Associate Editor of the Hindu Business Line included the distinguished voices of Mr Ramesh Subramanyam, CFO, Tata Power Ltd. and Mr Sanjay Shah, Group CFO, Future Group.

Headlining the evening with an honest address, Mr Sinha outlined the hurdles in today's business environment with regards to legislations and ease. "The government is taking a number of initiatives to heighten the ease of business today, but there are hurdles in implementation at a policy level," he said, adding that some of these have unscrupulous corporations to blame.

"A major hindrance in implementing these initiatives is the lack of trust between the business community and the Centre. We have had numerous cases where even top corporates have tried to take advantage of policies and regulations and even snoop and peek into an upcoming Budget. The onus to create ease of business is on companies too, for they must build trust first," he mentioned.

Mr Sinha also said that unlike the 90s, it is now not just the Centre's job to facilitate ease of business. "We are slowly becoming a federal state, the state governments must also work hand-in-hand with the Centre in matters such as land allocation, water and infrastructure for its businesses to grow," he added.

Closing his address by talking to India's new breed of entrepreneurs, he spoke of risks. "All businessmen, especially first-timers, must know beforehand that risk will be inherent. If a first generation entrepreneur is willing to take risks, things can move further, otherwise he/she should remain a salaried professional!" Mr Sinha concluded.

Retorting to the former minister on this, Mr G Chandrashekhar said, "Businessmen are certainly willing to take risks, but how do they tackle policy risk is the bigger question."

Mr Subramanyam of TATA Power drew a parallel with Asian tiger Singapore's business ecosystem and mentioned areas where India could improve vastly. "When the entry (of a new business) is easy, the rules are simplified and the exit is equally simple, the whole value chain becomes efficient," he said, adding, "A big hurdle for Indian businessmen is the number of tax points they face that are immense and time-consuming. Why don't we put our Information Technology resources to better use and streamline matters?"

Having imbibed the annual theme 'Growth with Governance' at yet another successful event, IMC President Mr Prabodh Thakker said the Chamber was doing all it can on behalf of the industry in this regard. "Enhancing the ease of doing business will not only generate huge interest among domestic and foreign investors but contribute substantially to the 'Make in India' campaign. Recent measures such as labour reforms, dilution of inspector raj, deregulation of diesel prices and coal sector reforms have been pointed efforts though we have a long way ahead."

Indian Merchants' Chamber Institutes IMC IT Awards
~Narayan Murthy and S. Ramadorai felicitated with Lifetime achievement award ~


Mumbai, June 9, 2015: In a first of its kind, Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) instituted the IMC IT Awards to recognize and encourage all small and large software and end user companies last year. Currently in its 2nd year, the award presentation was held today at the Palladium Hotel. Mr. Arvind Sawant, Member of Parliament, Loksabha, was the Chief Guest at this function.

Providing an insight into what constitutes the award, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President, Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) said, "The Indian economy underwent significant economic reforms in 1991, leading to a new era of globalization and international economic integration. Indian Merchants' Chamber, as a premium Chamber, is delighted to contribute towards the growth of knowledge and technology by initiating the institution of the IT Awards from last year onwards. IMC has always served with ever increasing zeal, the cause of Indian trade, commerce and industry, especially in terms of global trade and investment. India has been known to churn out one of the best quality of IT in the world today. Our Awards are the first step to recognize this fraternity of industry, which has made IT synonymous with India. This is our humble effort to acknowledge all those who are working silently behind the scenes, and whose sterling efforts often go unrecognized. I extend my heartiest congratulations to all the Award winners and wish the event all success."

Apart from felicitating IT Companies, IMC also felicitated those who have transformed business via changing the game, working on IT technological solutions and building smart applications in the end user companies.

The award winners included both IT Companies and end users of IT alike. Moving forward, IMC intends to make the IMC IT Awards as their annual flagship event, added Mr. Thakker.

While announcing the 'IMC IT Awards', Dr. Lalit Kanodia, Chairman of IT Committee at Indian Merchants' Chambers said, "IT constitutes over 6.5% of our GDP. It is our largest exporter and directly employs about 4 million professionals. Currently, the need of the nation is to create 1 million jobs per month for which IT can be a major contributor. We need a winning backing of the IT & BPO to create employment for the weaker sector in Tier 2 cities and villages. This award is to acknowledge and motivate all small & big and all 3 sectors (Services, Products, BPO) apart from end users who have made the IT sector, a star performer in our economy. This award was exclusively held in order to bring out the best of talent and resource by doing the right things while taking India to newer heights".

At this year's IT Award Function, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mr. Narayana Murthy, an Indian IT industrialist, the co-founder and Chairman Emeritus Infosys and Mr. S Ramadorai, Chairman, National Skill Development Agency. Apart from this, the event included a panel discussion on "Corporate Governance" moderated by Mr. Ketan Dalal, Managing Partner, PwC. The panelists were Mr. Abhijit Joshi (Head - Veritas Legal), Mr. P.B.Balaji (CFO - Hindustan Unilever Ltd.) & Dr. Lalit Kanodia (Chairman - Datamatics Group).

The jury for the IMC IT Awards constituted the following dignitaries, who have been clearly identified for their great contribution in the IT industry:

Mr. Ashank Desai, Non-Executive Director of Mastek Ltd, Former Chairman of Nasscom,
Mr. F. C. Kolhi, Padma Bhushan, Former Chairman of Nasscom, Former Deputy Chairman of TCS, Mr. Harish Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director of Onward e-Services Ltd, Former Chairman of Nasscom, Mr. Ganesh Natarajan, Vice Chairman & CEO of Zensar Technologies, Former Chairman of Nasscom, Mr. AtulNishar, Chairman of Hexaware Technologies Ltd, Former Chairman of Nasscom, Mr. ShirishGariba, Chief Information Officer at DIESL, President CIO Klub.


There were 5 Categories of Awards as given below:
Category 1 - IT Services, IT Products, BPO
Category 2 - Quality, CSR, Lifetime Achievement
Category 3 - Emerging Technologies (SMAC, etc.)
Category 4 -MNC Captive Unit
Category 5 for End Users of IT - End Users - BFSI, End Users - Mfg. &Engg, End Users - Healthcare & Pharma, End Users - Education, End Users - Utilities, End Users - Others

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, IMC President's viewpoint
on RBI's Second Bi-Monetary Policy Statement for 2015-16


The rate cut is in line with the general expectation of the economy of doing well, albeit slowly, but steadily. The recent reports of industrial activity picking up in April, are an encouraging signal for the RBI to cut the repo rate. The industry was hoping that the cut could be to the tune of 50 basis points, but nonetheless 25 basis cut is also a very positive direction in the confidence building measure. Corporates could take advantage of cheaper money and onvest in businesses. It should also help Indian exporters' good become more competitive in international markets. Higher exports, coupled with more profits, could also help increase corporate tax revenue and, thus ease pressure on fiscal deficit. It is also expected that more inflows to infrastructure sector will help investments, employment and an overall growth in this much talked about sector.

The lowering of the inflation to 4.27% - the headline inflation has evolved along the projected path and is likely to have a positive impact on economy.

Banks have started passing through the previous rate cuts in their lending rates. This gives hope that today's cut will also be passed on to the retail consumers in form of lower EMIs on housing and auto loans resulting in enhanced purchasing power in their hands.

However, one point to be concerned is news / forecast of delayed monsoon, which may hold back RBI of further cuts this entire year. Delayed monsoon could also have an adverse impact on inflation, though it is too early to comment.

Notwithstanding this, today's move is welcome and IMC congratulates the RBI on this move - the third cut in this year.

OROP is our promise, will happen soon', Parrikar says, discusses 'Make In India' for defence


At Indian Merchants' Chamber, Union Defence Minister urges for more CSR initiatives for welfare of war widows, collects over 61 lakhs from IMC

Mumbai, May 29, 2015: Union Minister of Defence Mr. Manohar Parrikar on Friday addressed businessmen, industry leaders and foreign dignitaries gathered at the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) for an interactive session on 'Make in India for Defence Production.'

Discussing the possibilities of outsourcing by public sector defence units and steps taken to indigenize army purchases, Parrikar explained that these processes are long drawn out one. "We talk about a lot of changes, but not all of them can happen in one shot. Defence production decisions, such as private sector participation in the aero industry, will not start showing results before two-three years," he said.

Citing the instance of guns, he mentioned that new, advanced guns sourced from private players will only begin showing up in 2016. "BOFORS guns were good," he admitted, adding, "but unfortunately due to the corruption cases in its deals, it meant 30 years of no new guns for us. We are trying to achieve fairness and transparency in all our transactions - and that will be known to the public."

On being pressed for announcing a date for the much-awaited One Rank One Pension (OROP) initiative, Parrikar replied, "OROP is part of our government's promise towards our forces, and it will be implemented soon."

Discussing with the IMC members the need for CSR initiatives for welfare of war widows, the Defence Minister quipped that these must be encouraged, although sacrifice of defence personnel cannot be counted in terms of money.

Adding to the subject of indigenous production for the defence sector, IMC President Mr. Prabodh Thakkar said, "Our objectives are to urge the government to make clear policies that prefer to 'Buy and Make Indian', to simplify these procedures and provide for maintenance TOT to Indian industry partners."

The Indian Merchants' Chamber, which hadtaken up the cause of the welfare of the widows of the defence personnel, the President, Mr. Thakker, handed over a collection of Rs.61 lakhs to the Defence Minister as IMC's contribution to the National Defence Fund.

Integration, Dignity, Inclusion - IMC's National Conference on Skill Development makes right noises


At event titled 'Mission Skill Development - Leveraging CSR and Education', eminent academicians, corporate heads and leaders in CSR field convened to discuss issues of vocational training, skill development and role of industry

  • 'Vocational skills must be respected, critical to integrate them with mainstream academics'
  • 'Important that educational system promotes critical thinking and innovation'
  • 'Industry must invest to create infrastructure for specialised training'

Mumbai, May 7, 2015: The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) on Thursday hosted a National Conference on 'Mission Skill Development: Leveraging CSR and Education' at the Bombay Stock Exchange's International Conventional Hall. The conference was attended by eminent educationists, Human Resource heads and a cross-section of industry representatives.

The day's tone was set with an insightful address by IMC's President - Mr Prabodh Thakker who spoke about the need of having skill development embedded into the ethos of the companies. He cited the example of his recent visit to Germany where he witnessed various skill practices being implemented in world renowned companies such as Mercedes Benz and Siemens, which have a seamless system of integrating apprenticeship into long-term commitment with the companies.

Bijay Sahoo, the Chairman of IMC Skill Development Commitee, who is also the President (HR) of the Reliance Industries, mentioned the need to scale up the concept, especially in rural areas where there is an aversion to work hard or add to their skills. "The challenge is that while many countries, rich in raw material have poor economies. India, rich in manpower, lags behind in skill development. Educational and CSR initiatives must go hand-in-hand to improve this If we can skill India, we can't kill India," he said.

The morning sessions also witnessed striking keynote addresses by Jyotsna Sitling, Jt Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development& Entrepreneurship (Government of India); Dr Mukund Rajan, Chief Ethics Officer of the Tata Group; Atul Bhatnagar, COO of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) who laid down the Skill India policy roadmap and SS Sandhu, Principal Secretary, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Maharashtra, who elaborated on the roadmap for the state.

The soul of the Conference, however, was in the engaging panel discussions, which touched upon issues such as integrating vocational education with academics, developing industry-relevant specialised skills and providing gainful employment to skilled workforce.

While Samir Somaiya, President of Somaiya Vidyavihar spoke of dignity and respect for vocational education, it was Sociologist Manju Nichani, Principal of KC College who gave striking examples: "Yesterday's 'hajaams' are today's hair-stylists, and the 'darzi' is a fashion designer. It makes a huge difference if occupations get social acceptance. She opined that if educationists promote critical thinking and innovation, it will inspire confidence in the workforce.

In a discussion about the role of industry, James Raphael, COO of Retailers Association's Skill Council of India (RASCI), put forth a pertinent point. "The first step to build capability is to enable capacity. To create a national impact, there is pressing need for infrastructure development with special emphasis for developing training centres and specialisation institutes. For this it is imperative that industry must step forward and invest, even though without being mandated to do it," he said.

Earlier, Prof Rupa Shah, former VC, SNDT University had opined that the industry must step forward and begin development programmes in association with academics.

Perhaps the standout panel, moderated by Sanjiv Saraff, Senior VP, ICICI Securities, was about providing employment opportunities to persons with disabilities. Attended by the CEO of Essar Foundation, Deepak Arora; Dr Vaishali Kohle of TISS and CharudattaJadhav, a visually challenged chess grandmaster and an Innovation Strategy Head at Tata Consultancy Services, the discussion charted out important must-dos for the industry such as inclusion and equality.

Commenting on the day-long conference and panel discussions, Mr Prabodh Thakkar, President, IMC offered: "The task of imparting vocational training and creating a skilled workforce is daunting - with only five per cent of our students taking up vocational education. The issue of low industry interface with academic/skill development councils too must be bridged. IMC is committed to interact with various stakeholders to make a meaningful impact to the sector."

The IMC's National Conference could not have happened at a better time with PM Narendra Modi's recent declaration in Germany of putting efforts in creating an environment where skill development occupies centrestage of all industrial activity.

IMC writes to key ministries for urgent action on Section 8 exemption under the new Companies Act


Mumbai, April 20, 2015: Indian Merchants' Chambers (IMC) has written a letter addressed to the Ministry for Finance, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Ministry of Corporate Affairs, requesting to notify exemptions for companies falling under Section 8 of new Companies Act 2013, corresponding to Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956.

As an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry, IMC is spearheading the cause and serving as the voice of companies formed for the promotion of commerce, art, science, sports, education, research, social welfare, charity, etc. Such companies also include chamber of commerce, trade and industry and fall under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. These companies are the same as Section 25 Companies under the Old Companies Act, 1956.

Until Sub Section (2) of Section 8 came into force, the abovementioned companies were granted exemptions or non-applicability from certain provisions that apply to other public and private limited companies. However, introduction of Sub Section (2) of Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 has become a bone of contention since it mandates all the privileges as well as obligations of a limited company upon the non-profit companies in question.

A number of exemptions were granted to the companies formed under Section 25 the Companies Act, 1956, by issue of various notifications or by mentioning the non-applicability of certain sections under the sections themselves. For example, provisions for requirement of having minimum paid-up share capital, notice of meetings, number of directors, independent directors, audit committee etc, were not applicable to Section 8 Companies and therefore the same exemptions should be granted to Section 8 Companies under the new Act.

The letter addressed to Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Mr Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry (Independent Charge), Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman and Secretary for Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ms. Anjuly Chib Duggal suggests the need for an urgent action from the ministries through issuance of exemption notification for non-profit companies on the lines of the draft that has already been prepared by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

'India is a happening place with the world's attention on us' -
Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (Independent charge)


Dr. Jitendra Singh addressed the Indian Merchants' Chamber and shared a valuable perspective on 'Economy Poised for a Turnaround'

  • Offered insights on initiatives underway towards development in north-east and J&K, invited creative ideas from society and non-government organizations
  • The Chamber handed over donations worth INR 50 lacs received for the Jammu & Kashmir relief and rehabilitation.

Mumbai, April 07, 2015: Turnaround was the buzzword when Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (Independent charge), Personnel-Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, Prime Minister Office, addressed the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) on Tuesday and outlined his Governments' strategies to reignite the growth sentiment in the country while sharing the blueprint of the economy's turnaround especially in J&K and the North-Eastern States.

The session began on a unique note when Dr. Singh right at the outset let the audience express their concerns and questions. After lending a patient ear, he stressed upon participation from society, social groups, and trade and business community to sustain the long term economic well being of the states in question. "Government packages should be taken as a solution for a specific problem but not as a long term change agent, which is only possible when non-government organizations as well as individuals come together for the benefit of a state," he added.

Presenting his upbeat outlook for the Indian economy, Dr. Singh said, "There could not be a better time than now to carry forward Swadeshi movements such as Make in India, the coveted Mars mission, and lately, helping countries such as France reach out to space with our knowledge. They go on to show the openness of our Prime Minister towards innovative and creative ideas in diverse areas such as entrepreneurship, space etc."

Dr Singh took pride in India attracting the world's attention with its growth potential and said, "India is a happening place at the moment. The world is watching us and this feeling of interest generated in the rest of the world about what India is doing, indicates that we are on the right path."

While sharing some specific initiatives underway such as Make in East as an extension of Make in India, revival of handicrafts in J&K among others, he went on to invite members of non government bodies to contemplate ideas that can help shape up a series of targeted endeavours for the North-Eastern States and J&K. Out of the box ideas such as 'rotational secretariat system' across eight North-Eastern States, 'maximum governance - easy governance', acceptance of 'single self attested certificates' by individuals are underway to bring efficiency and impact in the overall functioning and growth of the states. Growth needs to be coupled with easy governance, he added.

IMC President Mr Prabodh Thakker proceeded to hand over a cheque of INR 50 lacs on behalf of IMC and its members, collected on a short notice for the Jammu & Kashmir relief and rehabilitation. "IMC as an oldest Chamber feels deeply connected to J&K and shares the state's agony as a result of this catastrophic calamity."

While thanking Dr Jitendra Singh for his valuable time and inputs, Mr Thakker, commended the Honourable Minister for shouldering the dual responsibility of development of North Eastern Region as well as managing the reins of a crucial aspect of Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space. "Accepting challenges like Swachh Bharat and cleaning the Ganga to be able to hand over a healthy life to the coming generations shows PM Modi's and his Government's deep commitment towards India's all-round progress," he added while appreciating the Government led by Prime Minister Modi.

Mr Prabodh Thakker also made an appeal to provide the Mumbai-based Indian Merchant's Chamber, the long-due recognition of a National Chamber. "IMC has been the source of a majority of other eminent trade and commerce Chambers in the country. Bereft of the national status we feel left behind and would look forward to our deserved recognition as a National Chamber with the cooperation from the concerned authorities at the Centre," he expressed.

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, IMC President's viewpoint
on RBI's First Monetary Policy Review for 2015-16

The RBI has maintained the status quo on the interest rate structure, as was largely expected.

Considering that the rate was already cut twice earlier by 25 basis points each, outside the regular policy announcements, RBI is clearly taking no chances. This is considering the fears of creeping inflation, particularly due to uncertain monsoon and its impact on food prices. Given the current inflation scenario, the expected growth in the economy, the likely increase in the US interest rates and the probability of large foreign inflows into India, RBI thought it prudent to keep the rates unchanged.

IMC supports the RBI in its attempt to develop an ecosystem that will focus on growth with equity.

IMC wishes that the earlier rate cut, now gets passed on to the customers and consumers in terms of lower EMIs. IMC also hopes that RBI will also find encouraging economic indicators to reduce the rates further in near future.

Dilip G. Piramal to be IMC's President,
Deepak Premnarayen Vice-President for 2015-16

Mumbai, April 02, 2015: Mr. Dilip G. Piramal, Vice-President (2014-15) of Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) has been elected as the Chamber's President for 2015-16. Mr. Deepak Premnarayen has been elected as IMC's Vice-President for 2015-16.

They will be ushered into their new offices at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Chamber to be held sometime in June 2015 when the President, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, will step down from office after completing his distinguished one-year term, according to a press release issued by the Chamber today.

*Mr. Dilip G. Piramal, Chairman of VIP Industries Ltd., began his business career in Morarjee Mills, a Piramal family concern.

His career as an industrialist in his own right began with his takeover of VIP Industries Ltd. An erstwhile ailing company, it was turned around in three years through professional management and innovative marketing. VIP Luggage, which had a modest beginning, has today gone on to become one of the most famous Indian consumer brands. VIP has consistently retained a market share of more than 50% in the organized sector of the luggage market, in spite of stiff competition from leading multinational companies in this field. Today, VIP is one of the largest luggage companies in the world.

Mr. Piramal is also involved in various professional and social fora. He is a former President of The All India Plastic Manufacturer's Association, The Organization of Plastics Processors of India and the Rotary Club of Bombay Mid-Town.

He takes active interest in social and philanthropic activities. He is involved with the Piramal Education Trust in Bagar, Rajasthan, which runs a School and College for deserving students. Piramal Senior Secondary High School is regarded as one of the best schools in Rajasthan, serving the most economically backward students.

*Mr. Deepak Premnarayen is the founder of the ICS Group, focusing on real estate, asset management, financial services and hospitality. He has led the Group's ventures into diverse sectors and continues to serve as the Executive Chairman of the Group.

Apart from his Executive Chairmanship of the ICS Group of companies, Mr. Premnarayen also serves on the board of FirstRand Limited, a leading banking and financial services group from South Africa listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (market capital approx. USD 30 bn and profit after tax USD 2 bn as of 30th June 2014). He is also a member of the Directors' Affairs and Governance Committee.

He is the Convenor of the India-South Africa CEOs forum, Co-Chair of CII National Committee on GCC and MENA countries and member of CII India - Qatar CEOs Business Forum. Apart from these, Mr. Premnarayen is a member of CII National Council Committees for Banking, Public Policy, Financial Inclusion and Services. He has led the CII business delegation to Libya, Norway and Sweden in 2014. He is also a member of the Managing Committee of the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC).

Mr. Premnarayen has recently been conferred the 'Business Leader of the Year' award by Horasis Global India Business Meet in June 2014 at Liverpool, UK.

He has been an active sportsman and has played National level badminton and University level cricket. He is a keen golfer.

Quote by Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President, IMC
on the Five Year Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20

The Government's emphasis on developing a framework for facilitating exports of goods and services, as well as promoting employment generation is laudable. The introduction of two new schemes viz. Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) are steps in the right direction to promote the country's sagging exports. However, we hope that the Government continues to have regular interactions with all stakeholders to meet their objectives.

It is gratifying to note that the strategically important MSME sector has been given due recognition. Clusters have been identified based on the export potential of the product for improving the country's trade balance. Besides, DGFT will be implementing the Niryat Bandhu Scheme for mentoring new and potential exporters on the intricacies of foreign trade. All these are welcome developments which our Chamber heartily endorses.

All in all, the IMC congratulates the Government for making a serious attempt to beef up Indian Foreign Trade over the next 5 years.

Clean water, clean air, clean energy will be made possible in 10 years', Union Minister of State for Environment Forests and Climate Change, 

Prakash Javadekar

 

Addresses the Indian Merchants' Chamber at an event on 'Balancing Environment with Development'

 

  • Highlights development and environment protection that were traditionally considered opposing each other, can work together 
  • Guarantees Indian rivers will be as clean as US and Europe by 2025
  • Urges for participation by stakeholders in the ministry's mission

  • Mumbai, March 24, 2015: Honourable Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change (Independent Charge), Shri Prakash Javadekar addressed at the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) on Tuesday and outlined the blueprint on policy measures by his ministry and the government while also addressing the balanced growth concerns. 

     

    Addressing the session on 'Balancing Environment with Development', that comprised stakeholders such as industrialists, environmentalists, NGOs and others, Shri Javadekar emphasised the importance of topical projects such as building coastal roads in Mumbai to decongest traffic, reforestation and many others. "The mission of Clean water-clean air- clean energy and environment will be made possible in 10 years", he announced.

     

    Stressing upon optimum use to advancing technology, the honourable minister stated, "We want to incorporate latest technology to change environment protection via focused regulatory mechanism through three pertinent measures - 24X7 pollution monitoring of 3026 industries in 7 critically polluting sectors; leveraging satellite technology to monitor as-is coordinates of projects such as sand excavation etc.; and thirdly GPS based management monitoring and compliance regime to ensure implementation." 

     

    While touching upon the array of initiatives being undertaken by the current government towards maintaining a balance between development and ecology, he assured, "We are in mission mode, not commission mode. With clean water-clean air-clean energy mission, a clear plan, transparent practices and people's participation, we are determined to change and allow growth and protection at the same time." 

     

    "We will be going to the upcoming Paris agreement on climate change in December 2015 with a positive agenda with a view to increasing the energy efficiency by 20-25% in all sectors", he added.

     

    Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President of the IMC commented, "Today's enlightening session in the presence of the honourable minister offered great insights into government's efforts towards environment protection and sustainable development. I assure that IMC will be a proactive partner with Shri Javadekar's ministry in raising the bar for eco-sustainable initiatives." He also took the opportunity to suggest each member of this ecosystem to respect mother-nature and value the resources bestowed upon us. 

Mumbai, 21 March, 2015: In order to recognize Excellence, IMC's Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award (IMC RBNQA) Trust presented IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards & IMC Juran Quality Medal on 20th March 2015. The award ceremony was scheduled at Y B Chavan Center from 6 pm onwards. The awards were presented by the Chief Guest for the ceremony, Mr.Viswanathan Anand, Five times Chess World Champion.

IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award is possibly the most prestigious national quality Awards in the Country. The Awards are named after late Shri.Ramkrishna Bajaj, Past President, IMC and a leading Industrialist. The award process follows rigorous training and evaluation. All applicant organizations irrespective of winning an Award or not receive a detailed feedback report - beneficial to map the quality journey of the Organization.

Mr. Prabodh Thakkar, President, IMC, said, "It is with pleasure that we recall the role of Shri Ramkrishna Bajaj as a business leader. He was a crusader for ethics in business, social welfare and consumer protection. At the Chamber, we view the IMC RBNQA process as a catalyst for nation building. It is also the most engaging offering from IMC. The IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards promotes Performance Excellence focusing and encouraging a system oriented approach in Indian organizations."

Since the institution of the Award in 1996, over 600 organizations have expressed their intention to apply and over 400 of them have gone through the evaluation process.

The Award process covers six categories namely manufacturing, service, small business, overseas, education and health care.

IMC RBNQ Award process has multiple benefits to the Indian industry as mentioned below:

Implementing the criteria is a reward in itself. Organizations participating in the process go through a self-assessment exercise with emphasis on result-oriented performance measurements.

All applicants receive feedback reports commenting on their strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Unique aspect of this award is that its winners are recognized at an international platform too. The IMC RBNQA winners are eligible to participate in the Asia Pacific Quality Organization (APQO) World Class Global Performance Excellence awards.

This year the IMC Juran Quality Medal was awarded to Mr. Bunker Roy, Founder, Barefoot College.

'The IMC Juran Quality Medal' recognizes individual excellence and role models in the field of quality. The medal was named after late Dr. J M Juran - Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the reputed Juran Institute for Quality, USA. In 1996, Dr.J M Juran gave permission to the IMC Quality Awards Committee to use his name for a Quality Medal.

Mr. Roy, the winner for IMC Juran Quality Medal 2014 said, "We wanted to bring difference between literacy and education. Not necessarily if you can't read or write you can't be a professional. When I built my college it was the only college in India which was fully solar electrified and has solar operated ATM machine."


Highest Recognition for Organizations


IMC RAMKRISHNA BAJAJ NATIONAL QUALITY AWARD 2014

  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., Mumbai Refinery- Manufacturing
  • Global Indian International School, East Coast Campus , Singapore- Overseas
  • JSW Steel Ltd., Vijayanagar Works- Manufacturing
  • Sankara Eye Care Institutions, Unit of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust, Coimbatore- Health Care
  • Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai - Education
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next level of recognitions

IMC RBNQ PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE TROPHY 2014

  • Aditya Birla Chemicals (Thailand) Ltd, Chlor Alkali Division, Thailand - Overseas
  • Birla School, Kalyan - Education
  • Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai - Health Care
  • Indelox Services Private Limited - Bengaluru - Small Business
  • Kamalsons, Head Office: 48-A, Hazratganj, Lucknow- - Small Business
  • Madura Clothing (Unit of Aditya Birla Group), Bengaluru- Manufacturing
  • Numaligarh Refinery Limited, Golaghat, Assam- Manufacturing
  • P D Hinduja National Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Mumbai- Health Care
  • UltraTech Cement Ltd, Unit: Narmada Cement - Jafarabad - Manufacturing
  • UltraTech Cement Limited, Unit: Hirmi Cement Works - Manufacturing
  • Vidya Devi Jindal School, Hisar - Education
  • UltraTech Cement Ltd. Unit: Vikram Cement Works. Khor Dist: Neemuch. - Manufacturing

IMC RBNQ CERTIFICATE OF MERIT 2014

  • Aditya Birla Financial Services Group, Mumbai - Service
  • Bharat Aluminium Company Limited, Plant-II, Korba Chhattisgarh- Manufacturing
  • Reliance Infrastructure Ltd., Mumbai Transmission Business, Mumbai- Service
  • National Stock Exchange of India Limited- Mumbai- Service
  • SIES College Of Arts, Science & Commerce, Sion(W),Mumbai - Education

IMC RBNQ COMMENDATION CERTIFICATE 2014

  • Kasturba Hospital, Manipal - Health Care
  • Kohinoor Hospitals Pvt Ltd, Mumbai - Health Care
  • VPM's B N Bandodkar College of Science, Thane - Education

Speaking on the award, Mr. Niraj Bajaj, Chairman, IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award Trust, said, "The IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award (IMC RBNQA) criteria provide a proven framework as well as best practices for achieving world-class quality. Over the past eighteen years, Indian organizations that have adopted these criteria have grown from strength to strength. The USP of the IMC RBNQA process is the high quality of certified examiners in our mega pool. More specifically, the competencies of the examiners with respect to fundamentals, as well as their adherence to a code of ethics. They are adept at harvesting best practices of applicant organizations."

"Organizations are increasingly recognizing the critical role suppliers play in the success of their own operations and businesses. Indian organizations and suppliers must work as partners to provide the highest quality offerings created in the most efficient and effective manner. I recommend that IMC RBNQA applicant organizations must partner with their suppliers, and use the same criteria to grow their suppliers for achieving customer delight and world-class quality" says Mr.Suresh Lulla, Chairman, IMC RBNQ Awards Committee.

The chief guest of IMC Bajaj National Quality awards, Mr. Vishwanathan Anand, said, "Failures motivated me to be better each time and it's not over till you finish a job. I became a world champion then. Failure can teach you some very important lessons. New challenges, new ways of learning adaptability to technical changes etc. should be accepted well. I would like to congratulate all the winners for making a mark."

Indian Merchants Chamber gives a" thumbs up "to the surprise, but much needed, cut in repo rate from 7.75% to 7.50%. The cut - the second in two months signals pragmatic approach of the RBI, which has realised that "still - weak" indicator of production and credit off take, need a pre-emptive policy action to utilise the available space for monetary accommodation.

The cut comes just days after the government and the RBI agreed to formally adopt inflation targeting. It also reflects that RBI rate cut, is an approval to the government's 2015-16 pledge to contain fiscal deficit to 4.1% and to further 3% progressively.

IMC hopes that the banks will pass the benefit of this rate cut to the consumers. It is also hoped that the cut will spur growth and development cycle in the industrial sector further and that further reduction in rates could be brought about.

At the CH Bhabha Memorial Endowment Public Meeting to discuss the implications of the Union Budget, IMC's experts laud some moves, while giving a thumbs down to others

Mumbai, March 2, 2015: At that time of the year when the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) is a beehive of activity, its event on the first working day after the Union Budget attracted industrialists, finance experts and the media. It was the CH Bhabha Memorial Endowment Public Meeting and it invited a cross-section of financial experts to discuss threadbare the implications of the Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last Saturday.

Sharp inputs were provided by senior Bombay HC counsel and Chairman of the Indirect Taxation Committee of IMC, Mr Vikram Nankani. Explaining the CENVAT credit scheme, he said, "The period to avail credit has been extended to one year, which is a big relief for service recipients. It also means you will pay credit interest if there is 'deemed utilisation' of CENVAT credit. The government seems to have gone back on its earlier promise - there is a potential landmine here in 'Rule 14.' It needs re-drafting or else the tax-payer might be subject to a huge cost: The scheme has not been made comprehensive and the construction industry will 'suffer badly.'

Mincing no words, Mr Nankani said that the Finance Minister lacks confidence to introduce GST by April 2016 and as regards Service Tax rules, "It wants its pound of flesh from the e-commerce retailers."He was however appreciative of the new FEMA provision: "If you have any concealed asset outside India, the government can attach and seize property equal to the same value here in India," he clarified.

Chairman of DH Consultants Pvt. Ltd and Past President of the IMC Mr Shailesh Haribhakti's view on government's efforts to bring back black money was hopeful: "This will only reduce borrowing and more importantly, the rate of borrowing," he said. Calling the FM's speech 'inspired,' he was in awe of the Budget, saying, "What the Government is effectively saying is 'We will create an environment, get the clearances and empower the businessmen and entrepreneurs. It puts the onus back on us -We should collaborate and create not just jobs but help in nation-building too." He also praised the Atal Dhan Pension Scheme, implying that it will now enable people from the bottom of the pyramid to access a pension that clearly defines benefits.

Mr Atul Joshi, MD & CEO, India Ratings & Research had more criticism than praise for the FM's Budget. "The implications are positive for the banking sector - and the large bank stocks have risen. But we don't know what will happen to the credit policy for small and mid-size banks, on whom the Budget has been harsh," he said, also adding that the Budget had been 'absolutely negative' for the Bond market.

Moderated by Mr Ketan Dalal, Chairman, Direct Taxation Committee, IMC, the discussion also focused on spending on infrastructure. "The Government kept talking about 'smart cities', but there's no mention of it this time. It needs to look practically at foreign cities and learn how to spend smartly - the national infrastructure fund is one such way," quipped Mr Joshi, however adding that the said fund's arithmetic did not add up. "Also, the divestment target of 70,000 crore is very aggressive. But if they restrict expenditure, the Modi government will not catch the bus number 8!" he added, hinting at the GDP figure.

Reflecting on an engaging analysis of an important Budget, Mr Prabodh Thakker, President of the IMC, said, "The Direct and Indirect Taxation Committee of IMC have been actively taking up issues on behalf of the industry and plays a pivotal role in providing inputs for policy formation. I'm glad we have had contrasting views from our panelists today."

President IMC, Prabodh Thakker, sees an inspired and responsible Budget

Mumbai, February 28, 2015: Indian Merchants' Chamber has extended a welcome to the Union Budget proposals.



In a press statement issued in the wake of announcement of the Budget today, the IMC President, Mr. Prabodh Thakker said that the Finance Minister focused on simplification, a future roadmap, stability and the use of electronic information systems with the onus of moving the subsequent responsibility on to the citizens of India. GST, GAAR deferral, black money elimination proposals and pension reforms are absolutely welcome proposals. The financial sector will gain significantly through reclaiming of NPAs and the REIT pass through will be beneficial. The major Government programs would receive a big boost. Make in India, Reskilling India, Swacch Bharat, Dispute resolution and ease of doing business were all touched on and will all benefit. Technology has been adequately harnessed - the economically weaker sections of society will soon start seeing money flowing into their Bank Accounts through their Aadhar numbers using their mobile phones. This will be transformational. Investment in Infrastructure will get a big boost for economic growth. The long pending issue of social security for Indians has also been adequately addressed. All these measures point in the direction of progressive Government policies, ready to usher in a modern India.



Prima facie, there is something for all sections of society in this Budget - employees, investors, corporates, senior citizens, weaker sections, farmers etc. However, the fine print will need to be carefully read to determine the exact impacts on various sections.


Sector specific quotes on Union Budget 2015-16


Mr. Prabodh Thakkar, President IMC

Insurance

"This budget through Personal account policy & Life Insurance policy, The Finance Minister has tried to address social security issues added by pension. This step will take India forward towards a enhanced social security. This will give the economically weaker section a health solution and a much needed helping hand. This will also benefit the Insurance sector, which is the biggest investors in the market & infrastructure."



Taxation



The Union Budget has focused quite significantly on the Government's themes of "Make in India", Swachh Bharat, employment, and skilling and several of the Direct & Indirect tax proposals converge into that theme.



On the direct tax front, the phased reduction of corporate tax from a headline rate of 30% to 25%over 4 years is welcome, as indeed is the reduction in withholding tax rate on royalty and technical service fees from 25% to 10%. There is an encouraging reference to going deeper into issues on tax administration recognizing that a large number of issues emerge from administration, rather than the law.



The burial given to the Direct Tax Code, the deferment of GAAR by 2 years and abolishing of wealth tax are also laudable. However the much expected relief on MAT rate of 20% and / or abolishing MAT on SEZ, and no reduction on dividend distribution tax rate (which is also 20%) are disappointments. The reiteration of introduction of GST from 1st April 2016 is very encouraging.



Real Estate & Infrastructure 



"

There are laudable announcements concerning Real Estate & Infrastructure, but we see very few ground-level changes by way of amendment to important laws and concessions aimed at achieving those intentions. Having said that, the major change concerns REITS where tax past through is extended to rental income earned by the SPVs. Also, some exemption in Capital gains, tax is announced when assets are transferred by a developer to the REITS.

"

"

Introduction of GST will eliminate multiplicity of taxes for the construction industry. However, the increase in service tax will affect the real estate industry with immediate effect. For the super rich, having multiple houses today wealth tax is attracted. With the abolition of wealth tax, the rich will not be taxed on their second or third house. In effect, the emphasis is shifted from wealth to income where income over Rs.1 Cr will attract a surcharge of 2%.

"

"

In respect of infrastructure, an allocation of 75,000 crores seems small and inadequate. The funding is expected to come from entities owned and controlled by the government through increase in paid up capital of those entities.

"

Passenger safety, public amenities, and network improvement/expansion are the highlights of the maiden Railway Budget, presented by Mr. Suresh Prabhu.

The Minister's emphasis on technology as a key enabling factor enhancing the efficiency of the Railway network, as well as thrust on environmental management, is welcome. Extending rail connectivity to the relatively inaccessible North-East region of India as well as introducing more high speed trains in 9 key corridors of the country is also a welcome step. However, nothing much seems to have been done for Mumbai's suburban system is far from expectations.

The Minister has provided an answer to an obvious question, 'Where will the funds come from', by enumerating some novel ideas regarding fund-raising for his plans to materialize. A part of the funds would be generated through savings in cost by achieving operational efficiency (the operating ratio for 2015-16 is targeted to be lowered to 88.5 percent from as high as 91.8 percent in the current year).

The Budget bears the imprint of Mr. Prabhu's ideas, as each of these drivers is backed up by concrete steps for achievement of targets in a time-bound manner. Overall, the Indian Merchants' Chamber congratulates Mr. Prabhu for making a serious attempt to change face of the Indian Railways and remaining away from fanfare.

Addresses the Indian Merchants' Chamber at an event on Indian MSMEs, releases research report on their global competitiveness

Indian MSME sector affected by funding gap and lack of transparency, expert panel agrees

Industry heads from top financial institutes hold panel discussion on helping country's MSMEs achieve greater success


Mumbai, February 09, 2015: Honourable Minister of Industries, Government of Maharashtra, Shri Subhash Desai, addressed the seminar "Indian MSMEs - Looking Beyond and Further' organised by Indian Merchants' Chamber's Economic Research & Training Foundation (ERTF). This seminar was based on the primary research study having the same topic as of the seminar, conducted by IMC-ERTF along with the research partner BiG Strategic consultants having objective of study i.e export competitiveness of MSMEs.

Shri Subhash Desai made his presence felt by giving a knowledgeable address enthralling the audience and was most punctual at the seminar. He outlined the State and Central Governments' strategies to support India's Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). At the conference that comprised of MSME sector players, MSME association representatives and heads of major financial institutions, Shri Desai expressed that it was now time for his team to deliver on their promises. "The business and enterprise environment in the state has been shrouded in bureaucracy and we're trying to change that - we've already taken steps to reduce substantially the number of permits required to set up a enterprise in the sector, from 76 to 25," he announced.

"The scope of growth of both large and small industries in Maharashtra is huge - MSMEs contribute 40 per cent of our exports, with over two lakh units in the state. We are aware of their potential to boost the state and country's economy and are hence in the process of introducing new, progressive policies as regards the IT sector, food and education. By creating 20 lakh new jobs, we plan to bring in investments up to Rs 5,000 crore," he added.

Citing last year's instance of the UK rejecting consignments of alphonso mangoes hailing from Konkan for hygienic reasons, Shri Desai said that our entrepreneurs must be more equipped with technology so as to meet the international standards. He also added that "The MSME sector creates more jobs than large-scale industries, so any Government in Maharashtra must take it seriously."

Shri Desai then proceeded to release the research report 'Indian MSMEs -Looking Beyond and Further', by the IMC- Economic Research and Training Foundation done along with the research partner BiG Strategic consultants. The research was conducted by chief researchers namely Dr Yadnya Pitale of IMC-ERTF and Mr Makarand Patil of BiG Strategic Consultants and their team which undertook a sample study in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and gives an overview of MSMEs in India and the core problems affecting them such as lack of statistics and structure, absence of effective financial support, and inefficient government policies. It also shares industry-wise findings and macro level recommendations. Dr Yadnya Pitale urged the Ministry for Industries to take note of the suggestions and recommendations and take measures to remove the obstacles.

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President IMC commented, "Today's event was the result of an extensive study by our Economic Research and Training Foundation, and the very interesting findings have been shared with the State Government's ministry. At the panel discussion, we had representatives from South Korea, Argentina as well as top industry experts. I hope today's event helps propel India's potentially great MSME industry to the world."

IMC's knowledge-sharing event also included a panel discussion on the subject of Indian MSMEs, which threw up engaging points about the sector's challenges. Among the panelists were Mr. Major Singh, Deputy Director (Electronics), Ministry of MSME, Government of India; Mr. Sanjeev Gupta -Deputy General Manager of SIDBI; Mr. Ajay Thakur who heads BSE's SME vertical; Mr Prahlathan Iyer, Chief General Manager, EXIM Bank, Mr. Janesh Nair, Regional Director of the Gyeonggi Business Centre of South Korea; Mr. Alejandro Meyer, Deputy Consul General, Consulate General and Promotion Centre of Argentina , Mr. Umesh Nihalani, Head Strategy and New Initiatives, SMERA Ratings Limited and Mr. Sankar Chakraborty, CEO of SMERA Ratings Ltd., who also delivered the valedictory address. Mr Tanil Kilachand Co -Chairman IMC ERTF gave the vote of thanks and concluded the seminar.

Encapsulating the panel's perspectives and driving home critical points was Mr. Umesh Nihalani, Head Strategy and New Initiatives, SMERA Ratings Limited. "There is a large funding gap that thwarts the progress of Indian MSMEs-let's say out of every need three rupees; they struggle to get two rupees. If we close even 50 per cent of this gap, India can become a global powerhouse in five years!" he said, adding his advice for Indian SME players: "Please specialise, diversify and be transparent about it! Also, expose yourself to globally accepted benchmarks and see your export competitiveness."

About Indian Merchants' Chamber

Set up in 1907, Indian Merchants' Chamber is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 3200 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member.

After a surprise cut of 25 basis points effected on January 15, 2015 (outside the policy announcement), the RBI has chosen to keep the interest rate structure unchanged, as was by and large expected. Nevertheless, with a view to create more liquidity with banks to expand credit, the RBI has reduced SLR by 50 basis points to 22%. In reality, however, given the actual investment in Government securities by commercial banks of around 26%, this cut is unlikely to have any effect on the liquidity situation in the economy.

It is clear that the RBI is keenly awaiting the Budget to be presented by the Union Finance Minister on February 28 and the likely fiscal consolidation to determine the further course of monetary policy. The business community looks forward to a Budget that will appropriately guide the allocation of liquidity in the coming financial year, and thus, help to vindicate RBI's stand on the economy.

At event also attended by Vice-President of India, Hon'ble Shri Hamid Ansari, Indian Merchants' Chamber honours six firms including Citibank and TCS for having improved country's economic and social canvas

Mumbai, February 2, 2015: The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) hosted a Symposium at Hotel Taj President, Cuffe Parade, on Monday, attended by Chief Guest- Vice-President of India Hon'ble Shri M. Hamid Ansari and Guests of Honour- Governor of Maharashtra, Hon'ble Shri C. Vidyasagar Rao and Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Hon'ble Shri Devendra Fadnavis. Titled 'Wealth and Value Creators', the Symposium recognised and honoured companies that have contributed to nation-building and helped eliminate poverty. 

IMC, currently celebrating its annual theme of 'Growth With Governance', has already hosted events with great knowledge sharing value, but this Symposium on 'Wealth and Value Creators' was its maiden attempt of its kind.

IMC's Symposium, Wealth and Value Creators, felicitated representatives of the following companies:

Largest Wealth Creator (mid to mid category)

  • Strides Arcolab
  • Shree Cements
  • HCL Technologies

Largest Emerging Job Creator

  • BVG Ltd.


Highest Corporate Tax Contributor
  • Tata Consultancy Services
  • Citibank

The honoured companies were selected by a panel of judges chaired by Dr Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group, the other members of the panel being:

  • Mr Atul Joshi, MD & CEO, India Ratings & Research (Fitch Group)
  • Mr Gautam Trivedi, CEO, Religare Capital Markets Ltd 
  • Ms Bhavna Doshi, Sr Advisor, KPMG

Outlining the Government's plans to develop a sustainable environment for business, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis said, "I am trying to do my best to enhance the quality of governance in Maharashtra in a manner that promotes both inclusive and sustainable development, meeting the requirements of a pluralistic society such as ours." While mentioning his recently launched 'AapleSarkar' initiative, he also added: "Along with the Department of Information Technology, the government of Maharashtra is proposing a state-wide programme to redefine the way citizens of Maharashtra connect, collaborate and participate in helping build a better Maharashtra."

Speaking with eloquence on 'Growth with Equity and Inclusion,' Vice-President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari said, "Rapid growth produces inclusiveness through a larger expansion in total income and production which directly raises living standards of a large section of our people by providing them with employment and other income enhancing activities," before adding that just CSR activities will not help in the wider objective of development. "The answer doesn't lie in making it (CSR) mandatory, but we will need more voluntary commitment from companies to witness social and educational development -more resources and greater efforts must be allocated."

Taking the opportunity to communicate to the new Maharashtra government the concerns of the business community, President of the IMC, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, presented to the CM a memorandum of suggestions to improve the economic environment in Maharashtra and to help regain its glory. Among the suggestions were removal of LBT, easier trade regulations, traffic decongestion and faster trains to long-distance destinations.

Explaining the motive of the Symposium, Mr. Thakker said, "The IMC wants to promote the idea among Indian industry that both manufacturing and services sectors are 'wealth and value creators', and they make a lasting impact on India's economic and social canvas. We have accurately identified and honoured the top firms who have contributed to nation-building."

With the new Maharashtra government committed to move decisively in improving the investment and manufacturing climate in the State, IMC members evoked hope for a progressive and more inclusive business environment in Maharashtra in the coming years.

About Indian Merchants' Chamber

Set up in 1907, Indian Merchants' Chamber is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 3200 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member.

IMC welcomes the move of first repo rate cut since May, 2013 by 25 basis points to 7.75. The move augurs well for economy and corporate, which will be able to reduce cost of borrowing, albeit marginally.

More than anything else, it adds to the 'confidence levels' of corporate and industry and fuels the 'feel good factor' for a revival of the Indian economy. It marks an 'inflection' point after a long period and high rates of interest and will act as a fillip to the economy. It gives a hope of further rate cuts, if other macro economy parameters continue favourable- the most important being inflation, which has been kept on a strong leash. We can expect cheaper loans, lower EMI's, more disposable income for retail consumers. Share markets have already timed up as sign of positive developments in the interest rates.

'Believe in your dreams before we give you wings'


At Indian Merchants' Chamber, high profile fund managers and venture capitalists converge at seminar with entrepreneurs and discuss the dos and don'ts of private equity fund-raising

Mumbai, December 19, 2014: Knowledge sharing is a constant process in the calendar of the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), and this was proven yet again with an engaging event at its headquarters on Thursday. A seminar titled 'Meet The Investors' brought together high-profile fund managers, venture capitalists and private equity firm representatives to meet a cross-section of entrepreneurs.

Split into two interactive sessions, each with a moderator and different guests, the seminar did a fabulous job of hand-holding the potential businessmen as they listened to valuable advice from industry heads. The first session, considering seed and venture capital, was moderated by Ms. Sangeeta Modi, Partner, Access Assets Managers Pvt Ltd, and it included Mr. Sasha Mirchandani, Founder MD of Kae Capital and Mr. Vikram Gupta, Founder MD of Ivy Cap Ventures.

Laying bare the challenges to Indian entrepreneurs, the 'early stage' session among other things discussed the process of a fund/PE firm evaluating the hundreds of opportunities they come across today. "We receive applications from over a thousand to fifteen hundred potential entrepreneurs a year and only five to ten of them make the cut. The core element we see first is a great team, as we believe successful businesses are run by great people. Another factor is a very large market opportunity, which definitely helps the case. We also test their determination, if the potential entrepreneur has a burning desire, he will not stop believing in his idea,perhaps even for years- those are the guys we want to bet on," offered Mr. Mirchandani, who is also one of the brains behind the project MumbaiAngels.com.

"We also evaluate ideas for differentiation, which may not exist today, but might be there five years hence, leading to growth opportunities - because even we might want to sell our stake to a potential investor," added Mr. Gupta, advising the attendees that they shouldn't take 'no' in a disheartened manner, but keep knocking doors with belief.

In the second half of the seminar, moderated by Mr. Dinesh Tiwari, MD, Multiples Alternative Asset Management, the conversation moved to the 'Growth Stage.'"The best deals are always those where investors and promoters have a single direction," said Mr. Sachin Johri, Partner, IDFC Alternatives, adding, "To avoid things going wrong, both parties must be pragmatic from the outset, and the entrepreneur must be careful and patient with documentation, especially if the corporate is big."

Ms. Nandini Chopra, MD of Alvarez & Marsal, also tapping on her experience with AT&T Corporate Finance, was blunt in her interactions, saying the journey is brutal and requires a lot of energy. "Private equity as a capital raising option has only grown in the last five-six years. If as an entrepreneur you don't borrow funds from family or banks, you have a clear, five-year outlook and raise capital only when you know it is the right time. PE companies can be the bridge that could leverage your business to the IPO level," she added.

The session was also attended by Mr. Akhil Awasthi, MD of Tata Capital Private Equity, who agreed with his panelists that PE funding can change the growth trajectory of a company.

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President, IMC, expressed much satisfaction at the seminar. "With a stable government at the Centre, more and more investors are looking at India. PE firms had invested 8.4 billion here between January and September. 2014 has already seen a 38 per cent jump in volume of deals compared to last year. That said, investors must also consider sectors other than e-commerce and technology, and I am sure such knowledge sharing sessions will bring out potential entrepreneurs and fire their dreams of big ideas."

"Exploration is the Engine that Drives Innovation, Innovation drives Economic Growth"

Indian Merchants' Chamber announces the winner for IMC Inclusive Innovation Awards 2014 for Category A & Gen Z

Mumbai, December 20, 2014: Mr. Nitin Sisodia, of Category A, was declared winner of the prestigious IMC Inclusive Innovation Awards 2014 for his innovative product- Sohum and Ms. Shalini Kumari was declared winner of Category Gen Z for her innovative product- Modified Walker with adjustable legs. The award was presented by Dr. Ramesh Mashelkar, Former Director General, CSIR, on December 20, 2014 at a function organized by IMC at Palladium. The Award recognizes the product or service innovations which are inclusive, capable of commercial exploitation, sustainable and scalable. Mr. Nitin Sisodia, the Category A winner developed the product- Sohum, a non-invasive, medical device and a system solution to do mass screening of newborns for hearing loss to prevent speech loss. It uses brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER or ABR) technology which is the gold standard in auditory testing.

Shalini, an inspiring teenager and winner of Gen Z Category, has conceptualised an innovative Modified Walker with Adjustable Legs. It is a pair of spring-loaded self-locking front legs which can adjust to all sizes of stairs and can be used by the person regardless of their height or weight. The Walker can also be used for walking on inclined planes and climbing and descending stairs as compared to other walkers which can be used for walking only on leveled surfaces. The walker also reduces the dependence of the user to any external help.

The Awardee of Category A received the financial support of Rs. 20 lakhs and Category Gen Z (Age Group 13 to 23 years) received the financial support of Rs. 2 lakhs. The other short listed finalists were presented Certificate of Recognition. The Award is sponsored by R Jhunjhunwala Foundation. So exciting were the innovations and enthusiasm of the Gen Z nominees that Catholic Syrian Bank, spontaneously announced a cash prize of Rs 25,000/- for the nominees of Gen Z Catrogry and Aon Global Insurance, Mr. Prabodh Thakkar also, the President of IMC also announced cash prize of Rs 25,000 for each of the nominees.

On the occasion, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, IMC President, said, "It is widely accepted today that, innovative solutions will impact not only competitive advantages in business and markets, but will also provide answers to the most significant challenges facing the world we live in. The aim of the Award is to recognize the contribution of such inclusive innovators, provide them mentoring support, and enabling them to network with senior entrepreneurs and fund providers to take their innovations to the next level."

Giving the perspective on Inclusive Innovation Awards, Ms. Bhavna Doshi, Chairperson, Inclusive Innovation Awards committee, said, "We are very enthused by the response to the Awards which seek to recognize the work of the inclusive innovators as also provide them mentoring support and link them to entrepreneurs and fund providers to take their innovations to the market."

Last year, the Main Award in the Category A was won by Mr. Bhargavan Mohanlal from Kerala. His innovative product- 'Marine Reversible Reduction Gearbox & Manually turnable Z drive system', is a diesel based outboard engine for fisher boards which lowers the fuel cost by around 75%. He has been able to efficiently develop his product with the funding and help from IMC.

This year the key innovations from Category A, B, C and Gen Z are as follows:

Category A

1)      Jaipur Belt which supports up to 80 percent of load from waist and spine for people who work continuously in a crooked position.

2)      iBE (iBreast Exam) which enables breast cancer detection under 100 INR/test through a painless and radiation-free method.

3)      Sohum, which is a non-invasive, safe medical device and a system solution to do mass screening of newborns for hearing loss in resource poor setting to prevent speech loss.

4)      Low cost portable water purification system which can be easily fitted in hand-pumps and taps and remove up to 98% arsenic and 99.99% bacteria from water.

5)     Bio - Organic Plant Nutrients which is 100 % Bio-available, 100% Eco-Promotion and 50% water saving and results in increased yield, improved quality of output and finally improved soil health, fertility and vitality.

Category B

 

1)      Reliance Industries Ltd. for their product -Soil nutrient with multi-functional activity and introduces their product.

2)      Department of Sales Tax, Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai, for the COMPUTERIZED DESK AUDIT (CDA) System which Enables Direct Website Compliance of Audit issues for Dealers.

3)      Tata Consultancy Services Limited for their Financial Inclusion Solution Suite - Kiosk Banking solution.

 

Category C

 

1)         Mr. Ravi Kumar Arun, a Scientist from CSIR - Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), to receive the Certificate of Recognition in Category C on their behalf, for their product Paper-pencil micro-fuel cell.

2)         Dr. Nandini Nimbkar, from Nimbkar Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), to receive the Certificate of Recognition in Category C on their behalf for their product Kerosene Lanstove for Rural Areas.

 

 

Gen Z

 

1)      Modified Walker with adjustable legs- The product is a modified walker having spring-loaded self-locking front legs. While climbing stairs when the user pushes the front legs on the upper stairs and the rear legs rest on the lower stairs, the walker is stable enough for one to climb stairs.
2)      Vegetable Chiller- The product is a food chiller which consists of three units - evaporative cooler, sub cooler and a food storage cabin.
3)      Anemia Monitoring Device- The product is an inexpensive, portable and invasive Anemia monitoring device that can be used to quantify the hemoglobin content of a person especially where infrastructural and medical facilities are not available.
4)      Comprehensive Protection From Electrocution- LIFE HELMET- The product is a contactless voltage detection device which is small enough to be installed on security helmets and is capable of detecting the electric field caused by low, medium as well as high voltage transmission & distribution power lines from a long distance
 

The Final Award winner was selected from five short listed entries through the Q&A session conducted by the Jury on the same morning. .  The Jury is chaired by Dr. Ramesh Mashelkar, Former Director General, CSIR and early thought leaders on the subject of inclusive innovation.  Main Jury includes Mr. Anil Gupta (Prof.), Executive Vice Chair, National Innovation Foundation, Mr. M L Bhakta, Senior Partner, Kanga & Company, Mr. Ravi Pandit, Chairman & Group CEO, KPIT Technologies Ltd, Dhanpal Jhaveri, Partner and CEO, Everstone capital Advisors Pvt ltd, Mr. Manish Gupta, Founder and Chief Investment Officer, Solidarity,Mr. Santhanakrishnan, Chairman, Catholic Syrian Bank and Mrs. K J Udeshi, Former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India.

Wisdom before the war

At a seminar in the BSE, Indian Merchants' Chamber inspires the next-gen finance professionals with panel discussions by industry leaders

Mumbai, January 8, 2015: The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) kicked off the New Year at the mecca of Indian business, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Wednesday. At a seminar titled 'Careers in Financial Market' held at the haloed International Conventional Hall of the BSE, the Chamber hosted a packed house of students and young professionals.

The pitch for an inspirational evening was well set up first by the MD and CEO of BSE Ltd, Mr Ashish Kumar Chauhan. Stressing on technological changes in the financial sector, he said, "The change has been phenomenal in the last 30 years, Information Technology has fundamentally changed our lives," before suggesting that the students who excel in fields such as robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and bio-tech will dominate the sector in the coming years."

Split into two engaging panel discussions, the seminar discussed threadbare the opportunities in the financial sector for Commerce students, aspiring MBAs and accountants. The first panel, moderated deftly by Mr Ambarish Datta, MD & CEO, BSE Institute, brought together top representatives from the mutual fund, broking, investment and FII sectors.

Discussing the importance of ethics, Mr Navneet Munot, Chief Investment Officer, SBI Mutual Fund, said, "The line between ethics and fraud is very thin, only a solid foundation can help you achieve integrity. If you have integrity, nothing else matters! It's more important than hard work and knowledge!" The youngest member on the panel, Mr Aditya Mehta, National Retail Business Head of Asit C Mehta Investment Intermediaries, upped the need for the finance professional to be also a good salesman: "We market products, so to excel in a retail broking firm, one must be extroverted and willing to slog it out before reaching newer highs," he said, adding that while hiring, he didn't look at scores, but at 'maturity, curiosity and a can-do attitude.'

The discussion was also highlighted by inputs from Ms Jyoti Tandon, Head Compliance, Nomura Financial Advisory & Securities: "The competition and complexities of today's financial market don't allow us the luxury to hire complete freshers. Those who have learnt the ropes with relevant certification courses have an edge," she said.

The seminar's second panel discussion witnessed some brilliant insights from Mr Sandip Ghose, Director of NISM, on attitudes and curiosities. "We have free access to information, but to turn that into knowledge and then turn that to wisdom is uncommon. We Indians must shed our 'agrarian attitudes' and work smart," he said, before explaining an ideal professional's journey as beginning from 'Parshuram (hard-worker) to Ram (leader) to Krishna (mentor) and ultimately Buddha (visionary),' holding the young audience in rapt attention.

At the same discussion, Ms Revati Kasture, Chief GM, CARE ratings, emphasised on wholesome knowledge. "Candidates must be aware of not only their sectors but also the overall economic environment. How many young aspirants are reading business dailies these days?" she questioned.

President of the IMC, Mr Prabodh Thakker, expressed gratification at the seminar's outcome, saying, "India's financial sector is poised for wonderful times ahead, but not without its share of technological, economical and social challenges. With our guests giving an informed, sharp view on the careers-to-be, I couldn't have asked for a better start to 2015!"

To support the Mumbai Portland revival plan, Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) organized a public exhibition on the Portlands, on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Rampart Gallery, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai. Apart from IMC, many other leading industries have been forthcoming in their support for saving the Port Lands. This exhibition is a part of the IMC's initiative under the auspices of Urban Development Committee of which Ms. Meera Sanyal is the Chairperson. The event is held by IMC in association with Studio X, APLI (A Port Land Initiative) Mumbai and Columbia University.

Representing the youth of Mumbai, renowned Bollywood actor Imran Khan extended his support by inaugurating the "Let's Look East: Embracing the Eastern Portlands" Exhibition. In order to encourage this initiative, Imran came to voice his opinions for the youth to recognize the importance of Portlands for the future of all young Mumbaikars.

Speaking of this occasion, President of the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) Mr. Prabodh Thakker added, "We extend every possible support to Portland initiative movement and work towards bringing Mumbaikars together to realize this shared dream of making our city a sustainable and sought after megacity. We are humbled and glad to have a youth icon like Imran associated with this initiative & coming all out to support this to encourage the youth for understanding the importance of preserving the Portlands"


About Indian Merchants' Chamber

Set up in 1907, Indian Merchants' Chamber is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 3200 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member.

Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) offers its deep condolences at the passing of Mr Murli Deora, a well-known industrialist and a social worker - turned politician. He was a prominent member of the Congress party, a Rajya Sabha member and a Cabinet Minster at the centre from 2006 to 2011.

Mr Deora was a known crusader for improving the quality of public life and will always be remembered for getting the Supreme Court judgment on banning smoking in public places like hospitals, auditoriums, educational institutions, public offices and public conveyances, including railways. The judgement brought about a greater consciousness on the ill effects of smoking.

Mr Deora was closely associated with Indian Merchants' Chamber since last 40 years. He was actively involved in espousing IMC's initiative on prevention of arbitrary use of power under the provision of Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 by Public Sector Units. He also visited the Chamber on a number of occasions.

Mr Deora was connected with the Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan and Indian Red Cross Society as part of his social work for bringing about improvement in the society.

The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) on Wednesday moved to the hallowed Sir Cowasji Jehangir Hall i.e. the Convocation Hall of the University of Mumbai for a much-awaited lecture by Professor Finn Kyland, Nobel Laureate, from the University of California, a renowned economist and researcher.

Opening his lecture titled 'Economic Policy and Growth of Nations' under the IMC-Pravinchandra Gandhi Chair in Banking and Finance, Prof. Kydland mentioned that "innovation and technological change is the main driving force for economic growth of nation."

Prof. Kydland, a Nobel Prize (2004) winner for research on business cycles and the time inconsistency of economic policy, asserted that innovations in technology and labor productivity are the key factor for the long term growth.

The speaker gave the example of Ireland and Argentina as two cases of diverse economic growth and policies. He emphasized on the economic policies to be based on citizen welfare maximization as propounded under over all government policy.

While elaborating further on the long term GDP rates in America, Prof. Kydland gave the reasons of Business Cycles especially of the depressions of the years 1982 and 2008. Comparing with China, he brought 0ut a novel fact that consistent policy regime need not be sufficient. Inspite of China having state run banks, state run companies and easy access to funds and labor, its growth story was a marred by bad economic policies.

While concluding his speech, Prof. Kydland talked about risks that exist for continuation of low growth in many important nations, uncertainty about government policies and suggested that there was a need avoid Time Inconsistency Disease. There by implying that policy design should be aimed for long run rather than shorter duration and extra government uncertainty was bad for economics.

The evening at the South Mumbai hub of education also witnessed the release of the book- 'Real Estate Financing' written by Chair Professor, Dr. Balkrishnan Parab of JBIMS. The event, of course, took IMC's theme of 'Growth with Governance' further ahead.

Commenting on this latest instance of IMC's knowledge sharing objective, IMC President, Mr. Prabodh Thakker said, "This topic of economic policy and growth of nations could not have come at a more opportune time than today, when India is rededicating itself to a path of rejuvenating its economy, its financial systems and installing confidence in its teeming millions."

The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) along with the Apli (A Port Land Initiative) Mumbai have encouraged Mumbai's citizens, urban planners, young architects, and environment enthusiasts to come together to chalk out a potential future of the megacity's Port Lands. The 'Citizens' Hackathon', organized by IMC was flagged off at Sewri on November 9, 2014.

Speaking about the initiative, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, IMC President, said, "IMC is happy to see many Mumbaikars sharing a common dream and making efforts toward developing the Port Lands a reality. With the new state government enthusiastic too, we're sure our plans will come true."

Led by renowned social activist Ms. Meera Sanyal, Chairperson of IMC's Urban Development Committee and founder of APLI Mumbai, the event witnessed discussions on reclaiming Mumbai's port lands to revitalize and breathe life into the city. "The port lands comprise 1,000 acres of non-operational land along the eastern water front and give us the unique and perhaps the only opportunity to redesign Mumbai as a smart city," said Ms. Sanyal.

Historically the fulcrum of Mumbai's industrial growth, the Port Lands now only have derelict warehouses while some large plots have turned into dumping grounds for coal, a toxic ship-breaking yard and hubs for polluting activities. Reclaiming these vast areas has been on the political agenda of late, but much has to be done by citizens themselves, Sanyal felt.

"The Port Lands are located between the suburban harbour line and the Eastern waterfront, and hence lend themselves seamlessly to coastal water transport. We could have the much needed East-West and trans-harbour connectivity," Sanyal explained, adding, "Besides, we could have a critical green lung for the city, that could offer public utilities such as schools, colleges, vocational training centers, hospitals, libraries, playgrounds, sports facilities, arts and crafts zones and open spaces."

On Sunday's Citizens Hackathon, the IMC and APLI worked further on the proposals, and the organizers hope it will create huge public interest and generate informed opinion.


About Indian Merchants' Chamber

Set up in 1907, Indian Merchants' Chamber is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 3200 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member.

IMC's 108th Foundation day celebration with His Holiness THE
14th Dalai Lama

Gracing the celebration of 108th Foundation Day of the Indian Merchants' Chamber, His Holiness reflected upon 'inner wealth', importance of detachment and the need to re-seek ancient knowledge in his talk on "Secular Ethics"

Mumbai, September 18, 2014: On the occasion of its 108th Foundation Day Celebrations, The Indian Merchants' Chamber and its Ladies' Wing organised a spiritual discourse with His Holiness- the 14th Dalai Lama on 'Secular Ethics' on September 18, 2014 at Y.B. Chavan Auditorium, Mumbai. The global spiritual leader and messiah of peace enlightened the audience with his thoughts and charmed every listener with his inimitable humour and hearty laughs.

Spontaneously leaving his special seat to stand at the podium to talk, the Dalai Lama started off by saying he doesn't consider himself to be above anyone else. "I am a human being! These layers of titles, religion, nationalities and incomes only create quarrels. If we all begin understanding each others as human beings first, we can be happier!" he said.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner showered India with praise, going back to its history of knowledge and philosophy. "The Indus valley civilization has produced remarkable thinkers - all the Nalanda masters are Indian! Even Tibet was dark before India's light touched it. India is our Guru, we are its chelas, and reliable chelas at that!" he said.

Addressing the subject of secular ethics in modern society, he expressed his disappointment at dwindling morals. "So many Indians are religious - everyone's home has an idol of Ganesha or Vishnu. But if you lead a corrupt life, of what use are your prayers? Among religious people too, there is a lack of conviction towards moral ethics," he said.

He advocated the creation of inner peace to tide over today's ethical dilemmas. "Practice of inner peace is not a religious subject. It must be taught from the kindergarten," he advised, adding, "Only then will we develop an 'inner wealth' which would keep us safe from negative energies. Look toward ancient knowledge, and reduce attachment!"

Always eager to listen and take questions, the Dalai Lama addressed two important issues. On the current visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, he asserted faith in his working style, especially him tackling corrupt leaders. "When Hu Jintao (previous Chinese premier) visited India, I asked him to borrow India's practices," he said, referring to democracy. "I admire and support Xi Jinping, he uses more common sense - unlike some hardliners who function like machines! I believe that good Sino-Indian relations, based on mutual trust and harmony are very important, not only for Asia but for the world, as we have a combined population of around 2.5 billion!". He hinted that China must take a cue from India on free information and free media.

Answering a question on the ISIS crisis in Iraq and Syria, he reminisced how he had written to President Bush after the 9/11 attacks to respond to the situation in a non-violent way. "There was one Bin Laden then, maybe today there are hundreds. They are all too attached towards their own faith, creating a biased attitude of anger and hatred," he expressed, adding that 'jehad' must be against one's own negative emotions and not for the outward world.

Expressing gratitude to the affable spiritual leader, Mr Prabodh Thakker, President, IMC said, "IMC has crossed its journey of 107 years and we are almost at the end of the 11th Decade as an ever growing Chamber with an objective to serve the cause of its members without compromising the interest of other stakeholders, and always keeping the country's interest first. Today is a very special day when we are celebrating our 108th Anniversary which is loaded with glory and a list of achievements. I am thankful to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, for agreeing to be with us on this auspicious occasion and sharing his thoughts."

Mrs Arti Sanghi, President, IMC Ladies' Wing proposed the vote of thanks.

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

Indian Merchants' Chamber organizes a seminar on Challenges of Sustainable
Growth and Development with Dr. Nirupam Bajpai

Dr. Bajpai expresses optimism at IMC & underlines importance of aggressive reforms for India's growth at IMC

Mumbai, October 22, 2014: At the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) on Tuesday, Dr. Nirupam Bajpai, Special Advisor to the Executive Vice-President for Global Centers and Global Development, Columbia University, brought up key challenges and imperatives of 'Sustainable Growth and Development in India'for the Modi government through a thought-provoking address and interaction.

Dr. Bajpai put forth a three-pronged approach in context of promoting sustainable develoepment in developing countries - to attain and sustain growth, to ensure equity and inclusion and third, to be cognizant of environment sustainability in the global context. "There is no dearth of challenges for the new Indian government. But the key lies in infusing out-of-the-box, alternate forms of government and more IT-based solutions that efficiently reach the masses."

Stressing on the potential of the manufacturing sector Dr. Bajpai said, "Manufacturing can become a significant pillar of India's overall growth strategy if labour, land and exit policies are suitably addressed. Also, agro-based industrialization is imperative to create jobs in the hinterland." He also highlighted the need for a conducive exit policy for foreign investors to make India a preferred investment destination.

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President IMC, lauded the academician by saying, "Our theme this year is 'Growth with Governance, and no growth is worth it if it's not sustainable for its people and environment. The Indian Merchants' Chamber will channelize Dr. Bajpai's emphatic suggestions to the government for improving sustainable growth and development."

Sharing his deep concern for the public health system, Dr. Bajpai said, "Health has been a neglected sector irrespective of governments in power. Empowering the district collector with decision making powers on key areas such as health, nutrition, sanitation, water etc. in villages can go a long way in solving this issue. A performance based framework that assesses district collectors based on health outcomes will ensure that everyone gets invested in the development process."

Furthering his impetus on out-of-the-box thinking, he mentioned the need to identify sectors that can propel growth. "Railways can be an engine of India's growth along with new avenues of value creation such bio tech, IT and health tourism," he said, adding that there is a need for a second green revolution in India. "Major crop producing states - Eastern UP, Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan and MP register significantly low agricultural productivity. Ideas around setting up universities, employing the right faculty, initiating agricultural R&D are in place, but this needs more drastic reforms to reap results over the next 5-7 years," he explained.

Taking a global view on the issue, Dr. Bajpai suggested India initiate a dialogue about climate change for its predominantly agrarian economy. "We must negotiate with the G8 countries to provide us new environment-friendly technologies and the financial support to implement them," he said.

The thought leader concluded his address by stressing that the answer to sustainable development lies in pushing reforms. "The current government has access but achievement is yet to come. It should identify such reforms in Delhi that send welcoming signals to foreign investors. Besides, devolving decision making to states in a manner similar to China can help the Centre focus on key issues of Law and Order, External Affairs, Primary Health, Primary Education and Infrastructure," he added.

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, IMC President's view point
on RBI's Fourth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Review

Even as the policy repo rate under the LAF and the CRR have been left unchanged, the RBI Governor deserves compliments for virtually stable currency and short-term liquidity management. Even as CPI inflation has remained below 8 per cent and WPI inflation at a 5-year low, the RBI has left policy rates unchanged as it is worried about inflationary expectations on account of turbulent developments in West Asia. Inflation in coming months may rise on account of the base effect also.

RBI has reduced the liquidity provided under the Export Credit Refinance (ECR) from 32 per cent of eligible outstanding export credit to 15 per cent. This reduction is unlikely to have any adverse impact on exporters as the recourse to ECR has declined substantially in view of the general improvement in liquidity conditions in the economy.

The average rate of interest on Government securities has gone up from 8.20 per cent in 2013-14 to 8.84 per cent in the first half of 2014-15. The biggest beneficiary of interest rate reduction, therefore, would have been the Government itself. This would have helped reduce interest burden of the Government and, in turn, the fiscal deficit.

It seems the interest rate reduction can be expected only by March 2015.

SEBI's new capital market instruments 'REITs & InvITs' slated to raise investor confidence & boost india's real estate


At Indian Merchants' Chamber, Ananta Barua, Executive Director, SEBI interacts with eminent real estate players and draws up potential of the new capital market instruments

Mumbai, October 18, 2014: At the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) on Friday, some of the brightest minds of India gathered to showcase the potential of the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) and pointed out key areas that need fine-tuning before these new capital market instruments take off.

The evening, co-sponsored by Hiranandani Constructions Pvt. Ltd and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), indicated the collective enthusiasm of real estate players, regulators and investment advisors in bringing the REITs and InvITs model to India and their inherent potential that can revolutionize India's real estate development and overall liquidity framework.

The session on 'REITs, including tax issues' started with moderator Mr. Ketan Dalal, Chairman, Direct Taxation Committee, IMC calling REITs 'a compelling measure that will institutionalize infrastructure and real estate in a tangible manner.' "Successful application of the REITs in US coupled with high real estate density and lack of Grade A space in India, and the ability REITs can offer investors to participate in real estate in a more structured manner, making it a highly promising instrument for India," he said.

Regarded as the father of the REITs regulation, Mr. Anantha Barua, Executive Director, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) seemed upbeat about the model. "We have built a unique model catered to the Indian market, keeping in mind needs of both the issuer and the investor. Successful application of REITs in four-five Asian countries helps us believe that it will work in India, especially since this year's budget for the first time ever has recognized the concept of a business trust, which can also operate as a business entity. There are some caveats that must still be addressed but this is a significant beginning."

Mr. Niranjan Hirandani, Managing Director, Hiranandani Constructions Pvt. Ltd, commended Mr. Barua for spearheading the REITs regulation and emphasized, "If large-scale real estate investment is to be pulled to India immediately, REITs is the answer. However, some key issues such as transfer of asset to REIT, levy of stamp duty at the state government level etc need attention, upon which it shows potential benefits to the tune of USD 1o-15 billion over the long term. Whoever I have met in the international investment market is very excited to see how these can be converted into a reality."

Mr. Nehal Vora, Chief Regulatory Officer, BSE Ltd., gave the exchange standpoint, saying, "It is an exciting opportunity that will serve the macro objective of ensuring transparency and corporate governance as we move to the 'exchange traded model' from what was an 'over the counter (OTC) model' so far."

Lauding REITs as a big step in the right direction, Mr. Rajesh Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Shapoorji Pallonji Investment Advisors, touched upon its value proposition for investors. "REITs have introduced a new sliver within India's limited investment options. This will deepen and broaden the market for an Indian investor and invoke a comeback of foreign investors who'd invested in India in '06-07 with lesser confidence," he said.

At a separate session on 'Infrastructure Trusts, including tax issues', industry experts comprising Mr. Siddharth Shah, Partner, Khaitan & Co, Mr. Gautam Mehra, Executive Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd and Mr. Milind Joshi, Partner, IDFC Alternatives, shared valuable viewpoints on how InVITs can expedite the existing infrastructure projects and address inefficiencies of increasing debt finance costs, locked up equity of private investors, lack of international finance etc.

Mr Dilip Piramal, Vice-President of the IMC said, "Through InvITs, the government is aiming to create a new avenue for raising funds to meet infra investment requirements of Rs 65 lakh crore for the 12th Five Year Plan. Small investors are allowed to invest too, with minimum amount starting at Rs 2 lakh. These new norms would enable listing and trading of REITs and InvITs as any other security on stock exchange platforms."

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

'TAX AUTHORITIES AS AVERSE TO UNCERTAINTY AS TAX'- 'CBDT Chairman K. V. Chowdary shares Government's view on tax issues in India at a roundtable organised by Indian Merchants' Chamber


October 14, 2014, Mumbai: The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) on Monday played host to a day of deliberations on vital tax compliance issues. Key stakeholders of the finance sector, CEOs, CFOs and senior tax practitioners engaged with the recently appointed Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman, Mr. K.V. Chowdary to discuss the big picture of longstanding tax issues such as ambiguity in law, resulting disputes, compliance burden and dispute resolution and the on-ground reality of business concerns.

Stressing upon the need for tax payers to understand the tax department's prerogative to ensure tax realization at the earliest, Mr. Chowdary emphasized, "The Government is conscious of the need for flow of capital. At the same time, the business community must acknowledge that the flow of capital goes hand-in-hand with compliance of taxation laws of the country where businesses earn substantial gains, and hence it must contribute to the national revenue."

Touching upon various issue-based taxation dimensions, Mr. Chowdary drove home a pertinent argument on the inter-dependence between compliance, transparency and uncertainty. "Higher the compliance, better the furnishing of data, more the transparency. Only then, the tax department can achieve its goal to make resources available for nation building. Businesses need to know that the tax department is as averse to uncertainty as the tax payer."

Highlighting the issues on the pending disputes, Mr. Chowdary said, "The Central Board of Direct Taxes has speeded up the process of promoting more than 200 officers to the commissioner level for redressing appeals piling up before the department. Currently, there are 2,50,000 appeals pending before commissioners. We have already disposed of 25,000 appeals during the first six months of the current fiscal. The prime reason behind the department's move is to speed up reddressals after it was asked by the Government to dispose of appeals within one year, but it is unable to do so with existing resources."

"We are likely to appoint 204 commissioners from among existing officials. Most of them will be deputed to the appeal section, since a number of appeals are piling up and the department is unable to dispose them within the suggested period of one year. The file is pending with the department and shortly they will be promoted," he added.

On refund of its assesses initiative, Mr. Chowdary said, "We have got an electronic banking refunding system as per which refund to the tune of Rs 50,000 will be directly transferred to the assesses account. The Government has set a target of Rs 7, 36,000 crore this fiscal from income tax alone. In the first half of the fiscal, the Government collected Rs 3, 46, 144 crore as against Rs 3, 10,063 crore in H1 of last fiscal."

Elaborating further, Mr. Chowdary added that a demand of Rs 6, 00,000 crore has been generated at his department and a substantial portion of which has not been collected as yet.

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President of the Indian Merchants' Chamber, expressed, "On one hand, we say that it is the citizens' and business community's duty to pay taxes. But we also seek more co-operation and an environment where compliance becomes friendly and enjoyable. Differences do take place between tax payers and authorities across the world. Eventually, the 'Growth with Governance' paradigm, which is also our theme this year, should drive businesses."

Senior selected CEOs ,CFOs and senior tax practitioners who participated in the roundtable discussion were Mr. Suresh Kotak, Chairman, Kotak & Co. Ltd, Mr. Rajan Vora, Partner, Ernst & Young Pvt. Ltd, Ms. Deena Mehta, Managing Director, Asit C Mehta Investment Ltd., Mrs. Bhavna Doshi, Senior Advisor, KPMG, Mr. Kishor Karia, Proprietor, K B Karia & Co., Mr. Sanjeev Galvankar, Sr.General Manager (Finance), Tata Consultancy Services, Mr. S. Gayathri, Sr. Vice President - Direct Taxation, Essar Investments Ltd, Mr. Nihar Jambusaria, Sr. Vice President- Taxation, Reliance Industries Ltd, Mr. Chetan Desai, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd., Mr. Ajay Lalvani, Head-Taxation, Hindustan Unilever Ltd., Mr. Sunil Pai, Director of Finance, Aon Global Insurance Brokers Pvt. Ltd, Ms. Kruti Bhadresh Shah, Associate, Tax & Regulatory Services and others.

At a separate event exclusively for the Ladies' Wing of the IMC, the CBDT Chairman addressed the IMC Ladies' Wing members on issues pertaining to tax. The talk highlighted concerns regarding taxation incentives for women entrepreneurs, wealth tax on jewellery inheritance, taxation issues regarding gifts of properties to children living abroad, and several other issues relating to income and wealth tax issues for women.

Elucidating various areas of tax incidence for women and the available incentives, he highlighted, "When you inherit wealth, it comes with certain responsibilities. A primary duty for every woman is to clearly know the municipal tax and wealth tax they are liable to pay."

Indian Merchants' Chamber felicitates Gujarat CM Smt. Anandiben Patel on its 108th anniversary


In her maiden address in Mumbai after assuming office, the first woman CM of Gujarat assures Modi's legacy of governance is still on the rise in the state


Mumbai, September 27, 2014: Chief Minister of Gujarat Smt. Anandiben Patel was felicitated by the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) on occasion of their 108th Foundation Day celebrationsat a suburban hotel on Saturday. The evening, co-hosted by Mr. Rajju Shroff, President, ASMECHEM (Association of Small and Medium Chemical Manufacturers) and Chairman and Managing Director of United Phosphorus Ltd, was part of IMC's annual theme of 'Growth with Governance.'

Addressing businessmen, foreign dignitaries and industry leaders, Smt. Patel made a pitch for Gujarat as an attractive investment destination not only for Mumbai's business community but for the world. Quoting figures of development from her state, she claimed to have carried forward the legacy of governance left behind by Mr. Modi. "Our manufacturing sector contributes hugely to the Indian economy. We aim at taking towardcontributing 32 per cent of our GSDP in the future. The MSME sector, which has contributed to over 70 per cent investment during Vibrant Gujarat summits,is bullish too. Our target is to create one MSME lakh units in the next three years, all following Modiji's 'Zero Defect, Zero Effect' motto," she announced.

Mentioning that she was reflecting only her government's achievements so far and not lofty promises, she said, "We have invested highly in skill development initiatives - in our focus to increase employability of our youth. We want to work in-sync with Narendra bhai's 'Make in India' initiative and create unprecedented opportunities for direct and indirect employment in the country. 'Make in India' would be as phenomenal as the Mars Mission!" she announced.

"With our award-winning e-governance model, we will continue to make ourselves a robust business destination and at the same time, create infrastructure to ensure last mile connectivity in Gujarat," she further said. But changing her tone to express pain at the lack of sanitation in Gujarat, she promised a better future: "I've been born and brought up in a village so I understand the anguish of our sisters and mothers today - when they have to wait for sundown to defecate. In the next three years, I aim to equip 100 per cent households in Gujarat with toilets."

Reiterating PM Modi's plan to 'gift Mahatma Gandhi a clean India' on his 150thbirth anniversary in 2019, Smt. Patel reminded the attendees of her mission of slum-free cities, as also trusted the PM in quickening the pace of the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor.

She concluded with the thought, "The 21stcentury belongs not only to India but also to women," and thereafter received a standing ovation.

Impressed by the Gujarat CM's address, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President of the IMC said, "Ms. Patel is a strong administrator and innovator. She represents a state which has a per capita income that is nearly 50 per cent higher than the national average. She is pro-development and also contributes to the NGO Akshay Patra, which collects food grains and feeds hundreds of children. IMC is willing to work with the government of Gujarat in areas of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) centers, developing GIFT City (Re-Insurance Hub) and Commodity Exchange as also partner in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit."

Putting forth the perspective of the chemical industry, Mr.Rajju Shroff, President, ASMECHEM, said, "Our chemical industry has large plants in Gujarat but we can still make the state an international hub for chemicals. Anandiben has always been approachable and pro-active in her demeanour. Now with Narendra bhai's leadership at the Centre, files are already moving fast, and I'm confident of a bright and prosperous future in Gujarat."

Inspired by the CM's initiative, the IMC also donated Rs 3,51,000 toward buying 108 quintals of wheat for Akshya Patra.

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

Quote by Mr. Prabodh Thakker, IMC President on PF portability scheme

"IMC welcomes the launch of friendly PF portability scheme through Universal Account Number (UAN). The portability allows an aadhar - linked - PF Account to be retained by an employee throughout his career and he can check his PF accounts online. The move will lead to transformation and facilitation towards better industrial relationships and working environment, so opined Mr Prabodh Thakker, President, IMC."

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President, Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) viewpoint on Coal Allocation

"IMC welcomes the move of the Government to clear the clouds on issues related to coal supply to companies in cement, steel and power sector and also commencement of reallocation of cancelled coal blocks. We are happy to see a light at the end of the tunnel and IMC supports the e-auctioning system which brings about total transparency in coal marketing, is fair in its treatment to all the categories of customers without any discrimination, buyers get leverages to buy coal of their choice in matters of source, grade, size etc. To reduce costs of transportation, IMC hails the move of e- auctioning in which buyers can purchase coal from anywhere in the country. The system will plug in loop holes to a very large extent, of the tendency to divert coal to secondary market at a premium."

"IMC hopes that the proposal to allot coal mines to NTPC and the State Electricity Boards will bring in efficiency, especially to the crisis ridden SEBs and also increase uninterrupted supply especially crucial for the industry and citizens."

IMC Opposes Government decision to continue with Octroi/LBT

It appears that LBT/Octroi is not going away, and IMC is extremely disappointed with the stand that the State Government has taken, leaving options to the Municipalities.

IMC may remind that Surcharge on VAT was levied with the assurance and intention to abolish Octroi and, therefore, instead of abolishing Octroi and LBT both, giving an option to the Municipalities is a backward step.

IMC has been against Octroi, which we inherited from British time. Maharashtra is a very forward state but for the exception of continuing with the system of levying Octroi.

IMC will once again urge the Maharashtra government to reconsider their decision to continue Octroi/LBT which will add to corruption, loss of fuel, harassment to traders and would also fuel inflation.

'In seminar on International Expectations and Reality on Relations with India, Consul Generals of UK,
Germany, China and South Africa express their hopes on trade reforms and more'

Mumbai, August 12, 2014: At the Indian Merchants' Chamber on Monday, Consul Generals from UK, South Africa, Germany and Canada represented their strategic viewpoints about the foreign investments from their countries to India. The knowledge-sharing seminar titled 'International Expectations and Reality on Relations with India' was part of IMC's annual theme of 'Growth with Governance.'

Talking about investment relations between UK and India, Mr. Philip Sydenham, Deputy Head of UKTI, Western India Consul General of the UK highlighted his country's belief in India as an investment destination and the expectations they have from India. Stressing upon parameters such as 'ease of doing business' to reduce time to obtain license permits and clearances, he lauded the Modi government for its renewed approach. "There is lot of excitement at the Centre but much power is with the states. It is necessary tocreate a one-stop shop for all licenses and permits to enable foreign businesses, similar to some initiatives underway in Gujarat and Maharashtra," he stated.

Mr. Michael Ott, Deputy Consul General, Germany, puts forth India's importance as an investment destination to the world and stressed upon the need to create a welcoming business atmosphere. "There is significant change in the business atmosphere after the new government, but what's needed is reform action and not reform talk," he expressed. He added that when Indian investors choose to invest outside India, it is a discouraging signal for investors abroad who are assessing to invest in India. Germany attracts a lot of business by hosting and participating in trade fairs and India too can leverage trade fairs to explore and build business possibilities with the outside world, he suggested.

Sharing a compelling perspective to leap beyond the 'Growth through Governance' argument, Mr Pule Malefane, Consulate General of the Republic of South Africa expressed his view, "We live in an interconnected world where what happens in one country has a profound impact on other countries." He emphasized on the need to come up with realistic solutions for pertinent challenges facing humanity at large.

Dr. Liu Youfa, Consul General of the People's Republic of China, shared his unequivocal perspective, saying "India and China have every reason to take their bilateral relationship to the next level.We have companies that are ready to move out but how India will welcome them is yet to be seen," he said while sharing the potential areas where the two countries can collaborate.

According to Mr. Youfa, while the political trust between the two countries needs to surge, there is a need to address the USD 40 billion trade deficit from India's side. "For this, the business community should jointly venture projects to produce in India, China or the third world countries." He left everyone with a compelling departing thought and said, "In India, the policy measures for foreign companies to imply their funds are in place but there is a need to make a commitment to carry out its commitment and back it with prompt action."

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President IMC, too offered his inputs on boosting India's image as a lucrative investment destination. "The Chamber will forward suggestions emerging from today's discussion for improving foreign investment sentiments to the government," he said.

'At Indian Merchants' Chamber, India's top voice on legal issues delivers a bold talk on
Black Money in Public Life'

At the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), former Indian Law Minister and senior advocate Mr. Ram Jethmalani provided rich insights over black money issues currently plaguing the economy, particularly those pertaining to lecture series on the politicians. Speaking in a talk titled 'Black Money in Public Life', he was yet another guest in IMC's lecture series on - Growth With Governance.

Mr. Jethmalani evoked Professor R Vaidyanathan's 2009 revelation that kicked off a storm in Indian politics - that Indians had nearly USD 1.5 trillion as black money stashed in foreign banks. "This is remaining untouched thanks to the provisions of 'customer confidentiality,' which I feel is just another name for dacoity!" he said.

The 91-year-old took on the Congress and especially the Gandhi family as he revealed several facts in his booming voice: "In 1991, a reputed Swiss magazine had published names of 14 international thugs who had bank accounts with huge sums of money. At number 12 was Mr Rajiv Gandhi, with 2.2 billion dollars in his account."

He alleged that the Gandhi scion too has had discreet links with foreign institutions to stash his funds. "Rahul Gandhi has regularly been receiving money from the KGB, which is secured in tax havens," he said, adding, "Practically all members of the family have been beneficiaries of black money."

Showing newfound hope in this regard after the BJP government came into power, Mr. Jethmalani explained that the German authorities have paved the way for the 'customer confidentiality' element to go, but the onus now lies on our current leaders. Calling himself an expelled BJP leader, he made no qualms in saying that until now, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and MEA Minister Sushma Swaraj haven't done much to get the black money back.

"The BJP's manifesto mentions 'recovery of black money' but we need to see efforts to execute this. The International Convention Against Corruption of 2004 gave clear provisions for governments wanting to recover the black money of their citizens. Whether we follow suit or not will decide how serious our government is," he asserted.

Commenting on the latest edition of IMC's knowledge sharing sessions, IMC President IMC, Mr. Prabodh Thakker said, "We've heard some startling revelations from the eminent Mr. Jethmalani today. The new government and at its behest, the Special Investigating Team,are sniffing all across to get leads to the quantum and destination of money that can be brought back. But as citizens and businessmen, we must become vigilant too."
Arvind Pradhan
Director General

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'At Indians Merchants' Chamber, Director of the Jammu Kashmir Study Centre presents on-ground realities and integration possibilities'

At the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), Mr. Arun Kumar, Director, Jammu Kashmir Study Center delivered a thought-provoking address revealing on-ground realities of the state of Jammu &Kashmir (J&K) and the way forward for its development and integration into India.

Clearing the long-drawn mist on realities about J&K, Mr. Kumar explained, "Three myths surround J&K which we must do away with - separatism, dispute and social status. Large sections of people in the state today are strong nationalists, not in support of separation. Secondly, majority of J&K has been terrorism-free from over two decades. And thirdly, Article 370 cannot supersede the Indian Constitution and hence the 'special status' is not an effective reality."

Explaining the need to look beyond Article 370 to reach a concrete solution for integration, he declared, "The matter calls for an independent and open debate in the country. Who hasbenefitedfrom Article 370? It had undermined the efficacy of all other Articles of the Indian Constitution and has divided the Indians."

He held the controversial Article responsible for depriving the 120 lakh J&K residents of economic and business integration. Indicating that the state lacks transparency and accountability and features high on the corruption index, he questioned, "Why is it that only 260 articles of Indian Constitution are applicable in the state? Despite high levels of corruption, why can't the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 is enforced in J&K?"

Mr. Kumar then addressed the business community to view J&K as a land of diverse opportunities. Giving compelling facts and figures, he asserted why despite being a large producer of apricots, walnuts, saffron and other herbs, fruits and spices, J&K lacks branding initiatives from a trader or investor. "Due to its bio-diversity, J&K is suited for many businesses such as sericulture, horticulture, textile and bio-medicine. Tourism has huge latent potential, but lacks attention from the business sector," he added. To unleash this potential, he appealed to IMC's prominent members to encourage investments into the state.

He concluded his address by saying, "2014 is the year for taking action for J&K and giving its inhabitants the rights to education, employment, property and to vote.This is only possible when all the stakeholders i.e. the government, the business community, individuals and the society come together."

IMC President, Mr. Prabodh Thakker lauded the academician for his emphatic address, saying, "Mr. Kumar's perspective is extremely pertinent for resolving the J&K matter and ensuring development in the state. IMC will commence a study along with Jammu Kashmir Study center and conduct further seminars on this subject."

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

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IMC supports India's stand on WTO

Mumbai, August 1, 2014: Indian Merchants' Chamber extends its support to the stand of the Indian Government on the WTO.

India has been maintaining that it will not adopt the protocol on the trade facilitation agreement at the WTO until a permanent solution is found on the public stock holding for food security purposes. Our country needs to adopt this stance taking into account its unique socioeconomic environment as well as inflation and currency fluctuation. This signals a bold and welcome move of the Government to indicate to the developed world a determination to protect its interests. India's stand does not, in any way, jeopardize the recently concluded Bali deal. After all, many developed countries give their agricultural sector far more subsidies than India give to ours.

Given the hundreds of millions of poor people in India who require some form of food security, the Government is justified in its concern for them. Our country needs a clear intent on its food security programme and the Government is fully justified in sticking to its guns, even if it conflicts with that of the developed world. Now that the USA considers India an equal partner in major international negotiations, as evinced by the current visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to New Delhi, this is the right time for India to assert itself.  IMC fully supports the Government's stand on the issue.

Mumbai, July 17, 2014: The IMC delegation led by President Mr. Prabodh Thakker met Mr. 
Chandrababu Naidu, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, on Monday, July 14, 2014.

The delegation included the following delegates:

  • Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President IMC
  • Mr. Rahul Vishwanath Karad, Founder & Convenor, Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad, VicePresident, MAEER's MIT Group of Institutions, Chief Initiator & Dean, MIT-SOG
  • Mr. Abhishek Lodha, Managing Director, Lodha Group
  • Mr. Atul Joshi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at India Ratings and Research - A Fitch Group Company and Chairman of IMC Economic Policy Committee
  • Mr. Mahesh Thakkar, Director General, Finance Industry Development Council
  • Ms. Rajyalaxmi Rao, Director, Rewas Ports Ltd. & Chairperson of IMC Consumer Protection Committee
  • Mr. Saurabh Verma, Principal Officer & Director, Aon Global Insurance Brokers Pvt. Ltd.
  • Mr. Arvind Pradhan, Director General, IMC

IMC delegates discussed the following points with Mr. Chandrababu Naidu:

  • IMC offered its expertise on raising resources by the State for economic development by securitization of assets and issuance of bonds.
  • In the education field, IMC offered its expertise for setting up an Institute for Governance as well as other niche areas which are useful to the State.
  • For planning modern smart cities, IMC offered its expertise.
  • Since, Hyderabad has a strong IT industry base, IMC proposed that there should be a reinsurance hub that can be set up there.
  • IMC offered to organize a road show in Mumbai to showcase the various opportunities available in Andhra Pradesh. 
  • IMC invited the Chief Minister to the IMC India Calling Conference held overseas and to address its members in Mumbai.

During the discussion, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu informed the delegates that, "A long coastline will be crucial for the development of Andhra Pradesh, and he was keen on developing several ports in the State."

Recalling that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had developed a number of ports in Gujarat, Mr. Naidu said that he would also like to promote ports in Andhra Pradesh. These ports would be useful for transportation of goods to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar upon completion. The state government is also keen on developing temple towns like Simhachalam, Srisailam and Annavaram as tourism centres.

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

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At the Indian Merchants' Chamber, veteran journalist and new
Chief of The India Today Group gives engaging talk to businessmen and media students on 'Media and Governance'

Mumbai, July 15, 2014: At the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) on Tuesday, the newly appointed Editor-in-Chief and Vice-Chairman of The India Today Group delivered an engaging talk on 'Media and Governance.' Focusing mainly on the role of today's media in impacting governmental policies, he also gave his rich perspectives on changing patterns of media ownership, war-time propaganda and the emergence of social media.

"The media (sector) in India is growing while it's declining in the rest of the world, because our market is adding an audience the size of a medium-sized European country every year - with growing population. Our literacy is improving too," he particularly sounded optimistic of the future of the print medium.

Turning the IMC norm on its head and taking questions from the audience before beginning his talk, Gupta dwelled on the 'governance' subject citing instances from his over 20-year-old career. "Today's media collectively puts a lot of pressure on the government, so the powers-to-be must show a lot of nerve and patience. The privilege of governments taking a day to give an 'official version' over an incident are long gone, now we demand quick reactions and it's impossible to black out the media any more like they did during the Emergency," he explained, adding how a heated media reaction to the Indian soldiers' beheading by Pakistanis in 2013 had prompted a change of policy.

"That said, the 'noise' of the media can also create wrong notions and confuse people. The huge number of the CWG scam led to India giving up on a bid of hosting the Asian Games; while the '1.76 lakh crore' figure still means that our spectrum is restricted. We're stifling a digital revolution here," Gupta asserted.

Commenting on the hot topic of businesses taking over media houses, the veteran sprung a surprise, saying "I'm not really worried. Media is always owned by corporates in free speech democracies. But a bigger concern is the 'funny businessmen' acquiring media properties. Today, a mine developer or a politician can own a channel or a paper and use it for personal agendas. They're hiring editors with fat salaries, distorting the media marketplace!" He explained this with the case of the ex-Haryana Minister Gopal Kanda.

Unafraid to reveal names of his industry colleagues and rivals to further his views, Gupta provided a thought-provoking talk to IMC members, media students and guests, ending with the line, "A weak government would mean more powerful media."

Enthused by the talk, President of the IMC, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, expressed, "Shekhar Gupta is an institution by himself, someone who constantly seeks probity and governance in public life. With his 19 years as Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express and now a new role with India Today group, I could not have asked for a better personality to further IMC's theme this year of 'Growth With Governance.'

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

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-At Indian Merchants' Chamber, top BJP thought leader delivers address filled with historic perspective

MUMBAI, JULY 8, 2014: At the Indian Merchants' Chamber on Tuesday, Chairman of the Strategy Action Committee of BJP for this year's Lok Sabha elections and Member of the party's National Executive Mr. Subramanian Swamy presented the way forward for India to tackle the ongoing Iraq crisis.

Delivering an address at the event titled 'Iraq Crisis, Global Security and India', Mr. Swamy began by putting into perspective what exactly the ongoing battles in Iraqmean for Asia and the world. "The declaration of Abu Bakral-Baghdadi as a Caliph on June 29 was a turning point. He has given a call to all Muslims of the world to obey him in his campaign for global jehad, to Islamise the world. They aim to wipe out national identities of Muslims globally, something which radical groups in every country might take advantage of and create insurgencies."

Not mincing any words, Mr. Swamy declared that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) or the newly formed Caliphate will look to eventually Islamise India too, and the growing influence of Taliban could be detrimental to national security. "If this movement grows outside Iraq and spreads eastward, and if the Talibanhave a stronger stranglehold of Afghanistan and Pakistan, trouble would be at our doorstep," he said.

Further providing the way forward for the Indian government to tackle this crisis, Mr. Swamy called for already planning important strategic alliances. "Currently, China is also facing an Islamic terrorist movement. We must look at China as an ally in this fight against eastern terror. I strongly believe both the countries can play a major part in forging Asian unity and tackling this crisis together," he asserted.

The Hindutva thought leader also expressed that a more 'effective, not appeased' bond between India's Hindus and Muslims as also developing a Sanskrit-based language of nationwide communication will help India put up a brave front.

Commenting on the talk, President of the IMC, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, said, "The Iraq situation is getting increasingly depressing and is sure to have adverse repercussions on our economy. Mr. Swamy's views and historic insights today have not only given us a clearer understanding of this developing crisis but have also presented critical ways forward for the government."

About Indian Merchants' Chamber

Set up in 1907, Indian Merchants' Chamber is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 3200 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member.

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Mumbai, July 7, 2014: National Award-winning ace film producer, director and writer Madhur Bhandarkar will be the Chairman, for expert committee on Entertainment, Media and Sports of premier trade and industry body Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC).

After industry stalwarts Karan Johar, Dr. Manmohan Shetty and Balkrishna Shroff, who headed this committee before, IMC President Mr. Prabodh Thakker hopes to build further on annual flagship event "FUSION", Conference on Entertainment, Media & Sports under the stewardship of the industry stalwart and shining star of entertainment industry Mr. Madhur Bhandarkar.

Mr. Madhur Bhandarkar expressed his gratitude to IMC President Mr. Prabodh Thakker for confiding in him for this coveted and illustrious position and Madhur proposes to enhance the level of other activities under this committee and take up the policy issues and tax framework including Entertainment Tax, Service Tax, GST among others with the relevant authorities as well as wide array of topics covering current issues and trends, emerging technologies and new-age engagement with the consumer, content and creation, talent and involvement, influence of social media and App. world, technical aspects of Indian cinema, piracy and copyrights and other contemporary developments in Entertainment, Media and Sports sectors. The focus of activities will be Growth with Governance, IMC's theme of the year.

Panel discusses El Nino's threat, role of futures trading and ways to manage food inflation after predictions of a below-normal monsoon

MUMBAI, JUNE 26, 2014: With worries of a delayed monsoon and a below-par forecast looming over the country, an eminent panel at the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) discussed strategies to mitigate risks and drew up suggestions for an effective policy response at a Panel Discussion on 'Monsoon 2014 and Effective Policy Response' held today, Thursday, June 26, 2014. 

Moderated eloquently by Mr. G Chandrashekhar, Associate Editor of the Hindu Business Line and Chairman of IMC's Agri-Business, Food Processing and Commodities Committee, the discussion comprised of top experts from every relevant field: Mr. S. K. Goel, Principal Secretary, Agriculture and Marketing, Government of Maharashtra; Mr. Samir Shah, MD of the Commodity Exchange NCDEX, Mr Vijay Kumar, President & Country Head, FARM (Food & Agri Research and Management), YES Bank and Mr. Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist at CARE ratings.

Reflecting on an engaging round of discussions, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, President, IMC, said, "Soaring prices of vegetables and a potentially poor agricultural output is cause for great concern. But our new government's policymakers have several instruments - fiscal, monetary, trade, tariff and administrative - to respond to the emerging situation. We will submit policy inputs from this discussion to the government and hope July brings the rainfall IMD has predicted."

Evoking the potential threat of El Nino, the phenomenon that can cause acute dry conditions and adversely impact crops, Mr. G Chandrashekhar called for the new government to be crisis-ready. "June accounts for 15 per cent of the total rainfall, and we have barely had any rain till now.If the government is foreseeing a drought, it must time the announcement soon. Like pregnancy, a drought cannot be hidden for long!" he said.

Representing the State Government, Mr. S. K. Goel stressed upon the need for 'moisture security' and crop insurance for farmers and expressed disappointment at the corporate sector's lack of efforts. "The agrarian distress levels are shooting up throughout the country, but thanks to small margins and volumes, the private sector isn't taking much social responsibility," he said.

Taking on the government for having 'woken up too late' in such situations in the past, Mr. Madan Sabnavis of CARE Ratings asked for an effective trade policy and urged it to facilitate more futures trading of commodities. "We shouldn't believe the government when it talks of curbing food inflation - it is only set to increase, we have to live with it. Rather, it must come down heavily on the practice of hoarding," he offered.

Besides giving recommendations such as allowing imports of oil seeds, the panel urged the government to classify the warehousing sector under 'infrastructure' to improve the supply chain management. Adding more to this, Mr. Samir Shah of NCDEX called for 'transparent stocking' instead of 'hoarding.' "Stocking is a significant economic function which works better if stockists do not have profiteering motives. There must be hedging on it too, which will allow market structures to operate smoothly," he explained.

About Indian Merchants' Chamber

Set up in 1907, Indian Merchants' Chamber is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 3200 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member.

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

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New President Mr PrabodhThakker announces 'Growth with Governance' as the theme

MUMBAI, 19 JUNE 2014: The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) held its 106th Annual General Meeting at Hotel Taj Mahal Palace where Mr.Prabodh Thakker took over as President witnessed by the Chief Guest Mr.Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and MD of Reliance Industries.

Delivering an optimistic address, Mr.Ambani predicted India to become a digital super power in the coming years. Reminiscing his last speech at IMC's 1998 AGM, Mr.Ambani admitted to have 'understated' his expectations for India's progress then. "But now, India's growth is both irrefutable and unstoppable. As a democracy of 1.2 billion people, we are a country and a market like no other. Our middle class now has solid discretionary income, which attracts investment from across the world. India now has the power to drive the sub-continent," he said.

Calling the current digital revolution as the 'defining trend of our generation', Mr.Ambani called for a new 'social-based model' based on equality of opportunity. "We need a policy of reform which lasts not only for this government's tenure but for many more years to come," he offered, adding that 'developmental hurdles such as education and infrastructure' will have to be overcome.

Hailing the country's recent 'digital highways', Mr.Ambani predicted India to become the 'digital content capital of the world', adding, "We will leverage these opportunities and fundamentally transform lives of our citizens."Pointing out 'Three Ts for India's development - technology, talent and teamwork', he wound up his impactful speech by stating, "Our collective ambition must be to take Indian enterprises and economy to the top of the global ladder."

Mr.Prabodh Thakkar, who took over as the incoming President of the IMC, announced the theme for the year 2014-15 as 'Growth with Governance'. "Our nation has stepped into a new era under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's leadership with a deep focus on governance. This is a phase of renewed energy and refreshed hopes. In the coming year, we are set to raise and react to pertinent issues concerning trade and commerce with various agencies at the central, state and civic levels. I would also like to thank the outgoing President Mr.Shailesh Vaidya for bringing in many path-breaking initiatives."

Prior to this, Mr.Shailesh Vaidya, the outgoing President of IMC, set the tone of the evening with his final address on reviving economic growth: "Our challengeis not just about resources but effective planning and implementation at ground level. With our new government in Delhi, we eagerly await job creation and inclusive, sustainable development," he said.

This year, the IMC undertook several new initiatives and achieved many landmarks through the 115 programmes it spearheaded. These included flagship events such as the India Calling Conference, Banking and Finance Conference, RuDiCON Conference, Insurance Summit, the Investment Outlook Seminar and more.

About Indian Merchants' Chamber

Set up in 1907, Indian Merchants' Chamber is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 3200 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member.

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

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IMC sets up "IMC Suresh Kotak International ADR Centre"
-First of its kind International ADR Centre in Mumbai-

Mumbai, June 17, 2014: The Indian Merchants' Chamber on Tuesday heralded a new era of institutional arbitration with the inauguration of the Suresh Kotak International ADR Centre at its Churchgate premises. Besides the new centre's namesake industrialist Suresh Kotak, the inauguration was witnessed by Mr. Mohit Shah, Hon. Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court and Hon. Justice Sujata Manohar, Former Judge of the Supreme Court of India.

IMC has now embarked upon establishing a comprehensive, first- of - its kind International Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre in Mumbai to render the services of Arbitration, Conciliation and Mediation to the parties desirous of resolving their commercial disputes amicably either by Arbitration, Mediation or Conciliation. Apart from this, IMC has been organizing a 7 Day Arbitration Course every year for the past 8 years.  This Course has been extremely popular amongst the professionals and has received encouragement from the Bombay High Court.

The Suresh Kotak International ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution) Centre at IMC is a comprehensive, one-of-a-kind centre, which will render services such as arbitration, conciliation and mediation to parties wanting to resolve their commercial disputes amicably. Having been organizing a seven-day Arbitration Course annually from the past eight years, the IMC becomes the perfect venue for the first centre in the commercial capital of India.

Addressing the audience on the occasion, Mr. Mohit Shah, Hon. Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, said, "There are more than 3.2 million civil cases pending in the 21 High Courts of India. In 2010, the number of cases of dishonored cheques alone was six lakh! No businessman today wants to wait for years for conflict resolution. This ADR - I'd like to call it 'Appropriate' Resolution Centre will address this acute need of institutional arbitration."   

There are more than 3.2 million civil cases pending in the 21 High Courts in India, not to mention the millions pending in the subordinate courts. Indian corporates are particularly looking to the first of its kind International Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre set up in Mumbai by the Indian Merchants' Chamber.

India, now moving further on the path of reforms and development needs to look at a system of settlement of commercial disputes expeditiously and economically. There is an acute need for institutional arbitration with fixed cost and time bound schedule of proceedings.  This kind of service is currently provided in Singapore, Paris and London. 

Industrialist and Chairman, Steering Committee for the ADR Centre, Mr. Suresh Kotak offered: "My dream of having an international ADR centre has finally come true. Until now, commodity traders and businessmen have always had to rely on foreign institutions, which often subject us to their irrelevant rules. Now, our centre will play a critical role in bringing quicker dispute resolutions. We must work hard to create a culture of credibility and dependability."

Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, a leading Solicitor and the President of IMC, commented, "The opening of this International ADR Centre is IMC's answer to filling that long standing gap. The Indian business community will no longer need to go abroad but will get state of the art legal service and redressal right here in the premises of our Chamber in the comfort of a familiar environment. Our Centre - the first of its kind in Mumbai and perhaps, India, - would have facilities easily comparable to those available in ADR Centres of London, Paris and Singapore."

The advantage of an ADR Centre is that it saves on costs and is time bound. Mr. Vaidya said the alternate dispute resolution services will cost 50-60 percent less than the court proceedings and about 40 percent less than ad hoc or private arbitration.

The Centre expects to handle around 40 cases a month. The IMC has invested Rs. 6-7 crore inclusive of the premises.

A separate company under Sec.25 of the Companies Act 1956 is being promoted by IMC to undertake activities of the IMC International ADR Centre.

The Institutional Arbitration services and facilities to be provided by IMC would be comparable to international standards. The Centre will have the following services and facilities available:

Services:

  • Arbitration 
  • Conciliation 
  • Mediation to the parties desirous of resolving their commercial disputes 

Facilities: 

  • Air-conditioned, sound proof ADR rooms
  • Visitor's lounge
  • Audio/ Video conferencing facility
  • Projection facility with excellent sound system
  • Internet 
  • Food and catering services 

About Indian Merchants' Chamber

Set up in 1907, Indian Merchants' Chamber is an apex Chamber of trade, commerce & industry with headquarters in Mumbai. It has about 3200 direct members, comprising a cross section of the business community, including public and private limited companies and over 225 trade and industry associations through which the Chamber reaches out to over 2,50,000 business establishments in the country. IMC is the first Chamber in India to get ISO 9002-2000 certification which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. IMC is the only business Chamber in India with which the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was associated as an Honorary Member. 

For further information, please contact:

Madison PR IMC

Piyali Guha
9970318769
piyali@fort.madisonindia.com

Shraddha Teli
9867596309
shraddha@fort.madisonindia.com

Arnab Das
09167394888
arnab@fort.madisonindia.com

Vaishali Vadgama, Dy, Director-PR
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Tel: 22046633,
Extn: 113
vaishali@imcnet.org

Mumbai, June 12, 2014: With a view to acknowledge & give recognition to the contribution of the women, who through their sheer passion and commitment have made a mark for themselves, IMC Ladies' Wing presented *Woman of The Year Award, *Award for Outstanding Contribution in the field of Banking & Financial Services, *Aspire Achieve Inspire at its 'Annual General Meeting & Awards Presentation' held on June 12, 2014 at The Palladium Hotel, Mumbai.

To honour the award ceremony Mr.Ghyanendra Nath Bajpai, Chairman, Future General India Life Insurance Co. Ltd, was invited as the Chief Guest to felicitate the winners.

IMC Ladies' Wing conferred the following awardees:

  • Ms. Roopa Kudva, CEO & Managing Director, Crisil, for Woman of The Year Award 2013 - 14 
  • Ms. Shanti Ekambaram, President - Consumer Banking, Kotak Mahindra Bank, for Award for Outstanding Contribution in the field of Banking & Financial Services, 2013 - 14
  • Ms. Ritu Dalmia, Co Owner and Head Chef, Diva Restaurants, Special Felicitation for The 'Aspire Achieve Inspire' 

These awards which were judged by an eminent jury panel truly salute and acknowledge the contribution of women who have made a mark for themselves and have become an inspiration for million others. 

The eminent panel of Judges consisted of: Ms. Anjali Bansal  - Managing Director, Spencer Stuart, Ms. Chitra Ramakrishna, Managing Director and CEO, National Stock Exchange, Mr. Govindraj Ethiraj, Founder, Ping Network, Ms. Malavika Sangghvi, Journalist and Writer, Mr. Pradip Shah, Chairman, IndAsia Fund Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

The IMC Ladies' Wing President Ms. Leena Vaidya welcomed all the guests presented at the occasion and said, "These awards epitomize the indomitable spirit of all the Awardees who have truly excelled in their respective professions. They are an inspiration for the women in our society. They truly reflect the vision of Aspire Achieve Inspire, which is the theme for this year."

Ms. Shanti Ekambaram, a key driver Kotak Mahindra Bank's growth story expressed her desire to transform more lives in her impromptu speech. "If you go just 100 kilometres out of Mumbai, you'd see that women's education and empowerment levels are abysmal. We must do what we can to transform their lives," she said.

'Woman of The Year' Ms. Roopa Kudva under whose leadership CRISIL's profits have more than doubled, too gave an inspiring acceptance speech, saying "No generation before us has witnessed the growth trajectory that we have. The UGC data of 2011 shows that more girls than boys enrol to become doctors and one - third of Business school grads are women. Two top banks today - SBI and ICICI are run by women, and so are the Indian offices of companies such as HP, IBM, Intel and Facebook. These are good times but there's more to be done!"

The grand event culminated with Ms. Leena Vaidya stepping down as the IMC Ladies' Wing''s President at the end of her yearlong distinguished tenure, and with Ms. Arti Sanghi, taking over the reins. While taking over the reins of the IMC Ladies' Wing as the new President, Ms Arti Sanghi heralded the oncoming year with a brand new theme. "The new government has brought with it hopes for women entrepreneurs. The theme for the year 2014 - 15 will be NOW - New Opportunities for Women - and we will be organising seminars on financial empowerment, legal aid and much more." 

About the Woman of the Year Award and Award for Banking and Financial Services

IMC Ladies' Wing salutes and acknowledges the contribution of women, who through their sheer passion and commitment have made a mark for themselves. These are the women, who aspire to do exceptional work, achieve it with determination and become an inspiration for million others.

The IMC Ladies' Wing Woman of the year Award aims at recognizing and honouring women from a selected field for her substantial work and contribution which has led to empowerment and development of the society. 

The IMC Ladies' Wing Award for Banking and Financial Services is conferred every alternate year on women who have made outstanding contribution in the field of financial services, banking and investments.  

The idea is to inspire other women to emulate the example of the awardee.

About The Ladies'' Wing of the Indian Merchants'' Chamber

The Ladies'' Wing of the Indian Merchants'' Chamber was formed in the year 1966 - 67. Its objective is to encourage and develop entrepreneurship among Indian business and professional women. It also provides a forum for discussion of economic, business, social, cultural and professional subjects. The Ladies'' Wing has a membership of around 2000, consisting of entrepreneurs, professionals and women from business families. It functions through an Executive Committee headed by a President, Vice - President and supported by sub - committees. The Committees assist in organising lectures, seminars, training programmes, exhibitions, industrial visits, exports promotions etc. Among its various activities, the Ladies'' Wing confers awards in recognition of outstanding contribution by women in business and social spheres.

For further information, please contact:

Madison PR IMC

Piyali Guha
9970318769
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Shraddha Teli
9867596309
shraddha@fort.madisonindia.com

Vaishali Vadgama, Dy, Director - PR
Mob: 9324623450
Tel: 22046633, Extn: 113
vaishali@imcnet.org

The Indian Merchants' Chamber is organizing an interactive meeting with the Executive President of Shiv Sena, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray, on "Development of Maharashtra"on Monday, June 9th, 2014, at Walchand Hirachand Hall, 4th floor Indian Merchant''s Chamber from 5pm onwards.

Uddhav Thackeray, referred to as the Pramukh was given this role in 2004, taking over from his father and party founder, Mr. Bal Thackeray.

The party won the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation election in 2002 and, thereafter, he was appointed as the party working president in January 2003. The vision for the Development of Maharashtra from him and from the point of view of his party will form a very useful background in developing comprehensive and encompassing strategies in view of the fast approaching Assembly Elections in Maharashtra.

Day and Date Monday, June 9th, 2014
Time 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Event Venue Walchand Hirachand Hall
4th floor, Indian Merchants' Chamber Churchgate, Mumbai

It is mandatory to produce the invitation card for admission to the event due to security reasons.

It is mandatory to produce the invitation card for admission to the event due to security reasons.In order to register for being a part of this event, kindly confirm to Ms. Selby Nambisan /  Ms. Anastasia Dsouza by email at selby@imcnet.org / sec-it@imcnet.org or call at (D) 91-22- 22851645 / (B) 22046633, extension 126 / 609 and collect the invitation card from our office anytime between 10.00 a.m to 6.00 p.m latest by June 6, 2014.

The Indian Merchants' Chamber is organizing an interactive meeting with the Executive President of Shiv Sena, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray, on "Development of Maharashtra" on Monday, June 9th, 2014, at Walchand Hirachand Hall, 4th floor Indian Merchant's Chamber from 5pm onwards.

Uddhav Thackeray, referred to as the Pramukh was given this role in 2004, taking over from his father and party founder, Mr. Bal Thackeray.

The party won the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation election in 2002 and, thereafter, he was appointed as the party working president in January 2003. The vision for the Development of Maharashtra from him and from the point of view of his party will form a very useful background in developing comprehensive and encompassing strategies in view of the fast approaching Assembly Elections in Maharashtra.

Day and Date Monday, June 9th, 2014
Time 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Event Venue Walchand Hirachand Hall
4th floor, Indian Merchants' Chamber Churchgate, Mumbai

It is mandatory to produce the invitation card for admission to the event due to security reasons.

It is mandatory to produce the invitation card for admission to the event due to security reasons.In order to register for being a part of this event, kindly confirm to Ms. Selby Nambisan /  Ms. Anastasia Dsouza by email at selby@imcnet.org / sec-it@imcnet.org or call at (D) 91-22- 22851645 / (B) 22046633, extension 126 / 609 and collect the invitation card from our office anytime between 10.00 a.m to 6.00 p.m latest by June 6, 2014.

 

Charts goals to bring Maharashtra back on road to progress 

with focus on water, transport and education 

Mumbai, June 9, 2014: Shiv Sena's Executive President Uddhav Thackeray on Monday addressed businessmen, industry leaders and foreign dignitaries gathered at the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) and charted out his party's 'priorities for developing the state'. 

Claiming to have chosen the IMC platform to begin his campaign for Maharashtra's Assembly polls which are just four months away, Thackeray began by listing the ailments of the state such as 'wrong priorities' and delay in infrastructure projects.

He said that infrastructure development in Maharashtra has been taking place by acquiring land from farmers through deceptive means. Therefore, people are opposing large projects in Maharashtra. While project developers acquired their lands for a song, farmers and land holders have become paupers. Therefore, a proper dialogue with the people was essential, he said.

"People in Maharashtra today expect employment, water and better transport. These are our priorities," he said while outlining his party's goals. Thackeray also said if voted to power, Sena would relocate the 225-acre Mahalaxmi racecourse to somewhere outside Mumbai and the place would be converted into a public park. "Why should a handful of people alone have access to a prime chunk of land in the heart of the city?" Thackeray asked. He also made it clear that the coastal road would be top priority, but assured that Koliwadas or fishing villages would not be affected.

If Sena formed the govt, it would set up virtual classrooms across the state, he said. "In the BMC, we have already set up an interactive virtual facility linking 400 classrooms. This project will be implemented in a larger scale so that children can get quality education. It'll be possible for someone studying in a remote corner of Maharashtra to get a Mumbai University degree," he said.

Invoking Tatas and Birlas and their Mumbai roots, he promised a conducive financial environment to industrialists. "You all are the drivers of our economy. As a government, we would want to be facilitators between you and the people. When land acquisition issues rise, we must begin a dialogue, he addressed IMC's heads, clarifying, "I am not a merchant of dreams, nor am I pursuing personal goals here."

Thackeray ended his address with the emphatic declaration of coming to power. "I am going to make the next government. Whether you want to participate in it or not is your call. I'd like it to be 'our' government," he stated.

Commenting on the Sena Chief's address, Mr Shailesh Vaidya, President of the IMC said, "Interactions between our industry's leaders and politicians have been a hallmark of the IMC from long. Mr Thackeray has given us a roadmap that's definitely packed with benefits for all."

In the handouts distributed at the event, Uddhav Thackeray highlighted a phone number - 09222392223-to which citizens can give a missed call to 'associate with me for the development of Maharashtra.'

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

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Mobile: 93246 23450
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MUMBAI, MAY 30, 2014: The Walchand Hirachand Hall of the Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) was a hub of positive energy on Friday as industry heads, entrepreneurs and thinkers participated in its fourth annual conference on sustainable energy. Themed as 'Sustainability through Water Conservation and Renewable Energy', the event witnessed engaging discussions and charted the way forward toward a sustainable future.

The keynote address by Mr Mansoor Khan, Author of The Third Curve, kickstarted the conference as he presented invaluable insights on how economies can maintain exponential growth while exploring alternative energies. "The modern world is built on and runs on oil. Industries must redesign structures to reduce this dependence. It is not merely alternative energies we are seeking, it is an alternative world!"he addressed.

Ms Leena Srivastava, Hon. Exec. Director, TERI and Vice-Chancellor, TERI University, too set the tone of the day as she enlightened the audience on truths about ground water levels in Indian cities. "India's storage of water is very poor compared to other countries - ground water levels are over-exploited in cities such as Mumbai and Delhi. The water sector has the solutions, but needs more determination to make an impact," she said.

After the release of the research report titled 'Usage and Efficacy of Renewable Energy in Rural Maharashtra,' the dais was taken by Mr Avinash Mirajkar, Director - Regulatory & Policy Customised Energy Solutions, who moderated a discussion on government mechanisms to enhance power coverage. 

Perhaps the most important industry head of the day was the Director (Energy & Environment) of ACC Ltd, Mr Kapilavai Rao, whose talk on his company's green initiatives proved what enterprises could do to reduce their carbon footprint. "Every ton of cement releases 1.2 tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere! We took various steps to reduce our carbon emissions - from using alternative raw materials, overhauling waste heat recovery systems and even utilising the tonnes of waste that our cities produce. We are aiming to be five times 'water positive' by 2020," he declared.

That said, can businesses innovate to use renewable energy and meet the challenges of sustainability? The responses to this question came from an exciting young panel comprised of social entrepreneurs who shared their experiences from India's grassroots. While Dr Prasad Deodhar from Kudalnarrated his success story of bamboo-made bio-gas plants, Mr Sanid Patil, Former Chief Innovation Manager, GIAN explained how his windmill project brought a phenomenal change to the salt industry in Gujarat. Achievements such as the world's largest solar cooker (in Shirdi) and solar crematoriums presented by Mr Deepak Gadhia of the Muni Seva Ashram provided further hope to India's sustainable energy warriors.

"It was heartening to know of the success stories of our social entrepreneurs and speakers - they are all enriching India's continuing journey toward clean and renewable energy security. The Indian Merchants' Chamber will compile these recommendations and present to relevant government authorities as policy inputs," offered Mr Shailesh Vaidya, President of the IMC.

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

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Mumbai, May 8, 2014: It was yet another day of knowledge sharing in the calendar of the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) as it hosted a national seminar on Indian banking at a South Mumbai hotel. Attended by Chairmen and Managing Directors of India's top banks, banking professionals, accountants and a host of delegates, the seminar titled 'Indian Banking at the Crossroads - Challenge of risk management - from globalisation to financial inclusion' laid bare the challenges to Indian banks in today's globalised scenario.

Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC expressed much gratification at the way the seminar stayed focussed. "Risk management and financial inclusion are complex challenges for our banks in today's globalised scenario. I'm glad we were able to put together a distinguished panel of speakers. I'm sure this seminar would offer its attendees an informed perspective and a sharper view."

Split into four sessions, the seminar kick-started on an honest note with an address by Chairman of the Finance &Banking Committee, IMC, and former MD of SBI, Mr Chandan Bhattacharya. "Risks of banks today are like a rainbow -multi-layered and unique. But they're also connected with the global scenario and the aspirations of the common man. Banks must make advances to bring in sophisticated tools to manage risks. And they must do this while expanding at a rapid speed too, so our vast population avails banking services."

That said, the headliner of the day was clearly the Chief Guest, Ms Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson of the State Bank of India, the first lady to occupy the designation in the history of India's largest commercial bank. In her multi-point speech, she delved into the complex nature of challenges in financial inclusion, such as migrants in urban areas not having documents to open bank accounts. While putting into perspective that it is in the inherent nature of banks to take risks, she highlighted the importance of pricing risks and the dangers of under-pricing them.

"The two most important risks banks are facing today are interest rate risk and exchange rate risk. And as they affect other risks too, banks will have to revamp their assessment of credit risk at portfolio levels and the expected losses on account of credit risk will also rise," Bhattacharya suggested, signing off that risk management will only get more complex in a globalised world.

The seminar saw another distinguished lady on the dias, Ms Usha Ananthasubramanian, Chairman & MD of the Bhartiya Mahila Bank Ltd, a one-of-a-kind institution in India. 'Financial illiteracy', i.e. inability of customers to understand the banking process, to her mind is an issue that Indian banks face not only in rural areas but in metros too. "Today I know so many urban women, even HNIs, who can't make their own financial decisions, depending upon their husbands or friends. Financial literacy is the key to financial inclusion."

The second session on Financial Reporting & Risk Management saw CA. Charanjot Singh Nanda (Central Council Member of the ICAI) and CA. Jatin Lodaya discusses financial reporting as a support to risk management. "Every bank has a different risk appetite. But if it's financial reporting is in good shape, its managers will be able to manage risks better. Elements such as IFRS, ADF and ICAAP are the success mantras to better risk management," Lodaya offered.

 

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

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Seminar also addressed by Mr R Gandhi, Deputy Governor of the 

Reserve Bank of India

MUMBAI, MAY 8, 2014: The Indian Merchants' Chamber on Thursday upheld its tradition of provoking thoughtful dialogue on critical financial issues at its National Banking Seminar in a South Mumbai hotel. The second half of its day-long event, titled 'Indian Banking at the Crossroads - Challenge of Risk Management - from Globalisation to Financial Inclusion', witnessed the RBI Deputy Governor, top heads of financial institutions as well as a Rajya Sabha MP share the dais.

Chief Guest of the Valedictory Session, Mr R Gandhi, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India provided the valuable perspective of the country's banking regulator on the issue of risk management. Detailing the risk culture in India and the banks' attitudes toward them, Mr Gandhi assured the audience that RBI had adopted a proactive approach towards banks pertaining to risk management. "Risk management is a now a highly complex and sophisticated discipline. We want to empower the Chief Risk Officers of banks to bring about cultural changes in their organisation. We have also taken measures to reduce interconnectedness among banks," he said.

Evoking and fleshing out the top provisions of Basel III, the global regulatory standard for banks, Mr Gandhi urged banking institutions to follow them and achieve a wholesome success. "The Basel III has a global framework for banks to manage risks. It has several paradigm-changing approaches and guidelines for banks," he explained. Furthermore, he pointed out various ways in which banks could achieve a harmonious risk culture: "The risk appetite and tolerance levels of financial institutions must be clearly defined. An independent risk management function headed by a Chief Risk Officer is critical, and that should include auditors too. Stress testing and back-testing must be gainfully utilised and most importantly, there should be a robust technology platform to support this framework," he said, addressing the dignitaries and media.

Prior to this, the seminar was marked by an exciting session on 'Innovative Strategies for Funding for SMEs.' Chaired by Mr RK Dubey, Chairman & MD of Canara Bank, the session proposed innovative ways in which small and medium entrepreneurs are procuring funds from banks. "SMEs must avail of the opportunity of listing themselves on the BSE to gain widespread recognition and seek more capital assistance," Mr Dubey suggested, adding, "Cluster-based funding is another innovative strategy. We have 388 area-wise clusters of businesses all over India and have customised our schemes locally, just as the NBFCs."

Rajiv Sabharwal, Exec Director, Retail Banking, Inclusive & Rural Banking and SME and mid-corporate, ICICI Bank, pointed out: "Banks are finding ways to find the true incomes of SMEs. We scan and study bank statements of applicants and then suggest them products. That said, we are always thinking of more innovative ways, nobody wants to let credit go away!" He also predicted that banks will decide on lending money to SMEs in shorter times. "Just like home loans, which are processed in four-five days now, I'm sure that time will be soon reduced to 24 hours!"Mr UG Revankar, MD, Shriram Transport Finance also offered his thoughts on the subject.

Reflecting on an engaging day of discussions and interactions, Mr Shailesh Vaidya, IMC President said, "The challenges of risk management weren't always recognised effectively. I am sure the deliberations at our seminar have helped the cause of India's finance and banking system. Today's inputs by such a formidable panel and eminent speakers will to some measure surely contribute toward a stronger banking eco-system."

Arvind Pradhan
Director General

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Email: vaishali@imcnet.org

Mumbai, April 22, 2014: An eminent panel at The Indian Merchants' Chamber on April 22 discussed a newly introduced provision in the New Companies Act which promises to change the nature of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in India. An inspiring address by Chief Guest Dr Bhaskar Chatterjee, DG & CEO of Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) and co-creator of the new legislation, set the tone for the event which was attended by corporate honchos, government heads and a cross-section of industry representatives. The new provision, introduced under Section 135 of the New Companies Act, makes it mandatory for companies satisfying certain thresholds, (one of them being a net worth of 500 crore or more) to set up a CSR committee, spend a minimum of 2 per cent of their net profit on certain CSR activities and to be accountable to the government for implementing them. As of today, the provision applies to 1.6 per cent of all the companies (16358 totalling) in India. In his presentation titled 'CSR - the New Game-Changer,' Dr Chatterjee explained the new provision's details, initiating an engaging dialogue as enlivening the guests with anecdotes. "This Act is going to put corporate social responsibility from the backrooms of corporates to their boardrooms. It should put an end to practices such as 'cheque-book charity' and ensure the corporates carry through the projects they propose and provide direct benefit to the poor," Dr Chatterjee said, adding, "For the first time in the world, there will be a cadre of CSR professionals in India!" Discussed with fervor by panel members Bhavna Doshi (Sr Advisor, KPMG)- moderator, MK Chouhan (Chairman, Mahindra & Young Knowledge Foundation), MV Ashok (CGM of NABARD) and R Raghavan (Chairman, Agastya International Foundation), the provision is set to bring about a radical change to the lives of underprivileged and disadvantaged communities of India. Comprehensive and well thought out, the provision will directly impact the country's education, employment, orphan care, gender equality issues, heritage, art and more. More importantly, as the IMC panel noted, the legislation has been drafted carefully to bring in accountability among corporates. "For the first time, every corporate to which the Act applies will have to furnish financial details of its CSR projects, which will be open for scrutiny by all Indians." Dr Bannerjee explained. This measure will also give an impetus to the non-profit sector to seek more funds. In fact, the Government has also planned an NGO Hub, a central training programme for training and skill development of NGO executives. IICA has started registration of NGOs, so that companies that qualify on CSR spending can have ready references of NGO's to approach. They will start programmes beginning October 2014, the capacity of training of NGOs as well as certificate course on CSR for aspiring graduates. Commenting on the panel discussion and the new Act, Mr Sailesh Vaidya, President, IMC said, "With effective use of CSR, India can become one of the first countries to mandate business contribution towards social development. I would like to reiterate that IMC stands committed to partner or mediate with industries and NGOs toward channelizing this important endeavour." As the provisions are truly a game changer, we shall soon witness their repercussions at the grassroots level.

Agriculture: Improve yield through technological inputs as well as provide better irrigation facilities. The sector is still heavily monsoon dependent and its productivity will have to be sharply enhanced if the proposed Food Security Bill is to be implemented at minimum cost. Keep fruits and vegetables out of the APMC Acts of all the states of the country. That will give farmers a choice on where to sell their produce and thus benefit both the producers and the consumers. Evolve schemes to promote FDI in cold chains and enhance their capacity. Incentivize farmers' initiatives in developing local storage capacities. This is essential given that a third of our produce is lost simply due to supply chain inefficiencies. Consider ways and means to cut production costs for farmers. This could take the form of low interest for crop loans and lower taxes on agricultural inputs. This will enable the consumers to gain and that will help the Government control inflation. Industry and Manufacturing: Introduce new schemes for allowing FDI in engineering and high-tech goods manufacturing. If some of the imported goods can be manufactured locally, we can reduce the current account deficit. Deploy securitization as a means to enhance SME financing and waive collateral requirements for the MSME sector. Give long tax holidays for developing industry and infrastructure in Naxalite and other disturbed areas in the country. The rollout of DTC and GST will benefit industry immensely. GST will develop a fiscally consistent market all over India while the introduction of DTC will enable SEZ units to avail of investment-led tax benefits, rather than those based on their profits earned. Development of the Dedicated Freight Corridor on a priority basis. Services and the Economy: Reduce NPAs in the stressed banking environment and facilitate financial inclusion. Streamlining and rationalization of subsidies throughout the economy to contain the ballooning fiscal deficit. Curb inflation, particularly food inflation, by: Considering the significant rise in inflation, relook at the slab rates applicable for individuals and increase the basic rates. This would raise disposable income in the hands of individuals, thus enabling more purchasing power and boosting economic growth.

Mumbai, March 20, 2014: IMC has highlighted its legitimate expectation from the parties contesting the coming elections in the form of a model Election Manifesto for political parties. This assumes added importance given the significance of the coming elections in deciding the socioeconomic future of a country of well over a billion, and the policies the new Government will undertake over the next five years. According to Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, IMC President, "The coming elections promise to be a game changer. The expectation from this election is that we will get a clean Government which promotes transparency and accountability in all walks of public life, as well as strengthen the economy's fundamentals and improve the quality of governance. This Election Manifesto is our modest attempt in pointing to that direction." The Manifesto basically gives policy suggestions from an economic and political perspective. From the economic viewpoint, it places emphasis upon the need for developing fiscal and monetary policy, improving infrastructure, tax reform, and enhancing the productivity of agriculture and the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector. In the social realm, it deals with vocational education and training, healthcare, issues pertaining to the safety of women, governance and judicial reforms. The document outlines how annual economic growth can be achieved and maintained at 10% and how gainful employment could be attained. It outlines steps for making economic policy more business-friendly and how rural areas could be developed to prevent (or even reverse) the relentless influx into our infrastructurally challenged urban areas. A whole section is devoted to how corruption - which is the bane of our society today - could be eliminated. It is a far-sighted document which even if partly implemented will bring long-term benefits to the country. A copy of the same is enclosed.

Mumbai, 19 March, 2014: In order to recognize Excellence, IMC's Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award (IMC RBNQA) Trust presented IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards & IMC Juran Quality Medal on 19 March 2014. The award ceremony was held at YB Chavan Center. The awards were presented by the Chief Guest for the ceremony, Mr.Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India. The winner for the 2013 IMC Juran Quality Medal was Mr. S Ramadorai, Vice-Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services. 'The IMC Juran Quality Medal' recognizes individual excellence and role models in the field of quality. The medal was named after late Dr. J M Juran - Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the reputed Juran Institute for Quality, USA. In 1996, Dr.J M Juran gave permission to the IMC Quality Awards Committee to use his name for a Quality Medal. The IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards were presented to 25 organizations across six categories namely manufacturing, service, small business, overseas, education and health care. IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award is possibly the most prestigious national quality Awards in the Country. The Awards were named after late Shri.Ramkrishna Bajaj, Past President, IMC and a leading Industrialist. The award process follows rigorous training and evaluation. All applicant organizations irrespective of winning an Award or not receive a detailed feedback report - beneficial to map the quality journey of the Organization. Since the institution of the Award in 1996, over 500 organizations have expressed their intention to apply and over 400 of them have gone through the evaluation process. IMC RBNQ Award process has multiple benefits to the Indian industry as mentioned below: Implementing the criteria is a reward in itself. Organizations participating in the process go through a self-assessment exercise with emphasis on result-oriented performance measurements. All applicants receive feedback reports commenting on their strengths and opportunities for improvement. Unique aspect of this award is that its winners are recognized at an international platform too. The IMC RBNQA winners are eligible to participate in the Asia Pacific Quality Organization (APQO) World Class Global Performance Excellence awards. Highest Recognition for Organizations IMC RAMKRISHNA BAJAJ NATIONAL QUALITY AWARD 2013 Reliance Industries Ltd, Jamnagar Refinery - Manufacturing Tata Housing Development Company Limited, Mumbai - Service YES Bank Limited, Mumbai - Service The next level of recognitions IMC RBNQ PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE TROPHY 2013 Global Indian International School (GIIS), East Coast Campus, Singapore - Education Hindustan Zinc Limited - Chanderiya Lead Zinc Smelter - Manufacturing Jaya Shree Textiles, A Unit of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd, Rishra - Manufacturing JSW Steel Ltd, Vijayanagar Works - Manufacturing RBS Business Services Private Limited - Service Sankara Eye Care Institutions, Unit of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust, Coimbatore - Health Care Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai - Education UltraTech Cement Ltd, Gujarat Cement Works (GCW), Kovaya - Manufacturing Vikram Cement Works (A Unit of UltraTech Cement Ltd), Khor (Neemuch), M.P.- Manufacturing IMC RBNQ CERTIFICATE OF MERIT 2013 Bharat Aluminium Company Limited, Plant-II, Place- Korba - Manufacturing Grasim Industries Ltd, Chemical Division, Nagda - Manufacturing Indian Steel Corporation Ltd, Kutch - Manufacturing Larsen &, Precision Machining Centre, Coimbatore - Small Business OVERSEAS SPINNING BUSINESS - ADITYA BIRLA YARN, INDONESIA - Overseas Shilpa Agencies - A Carryfast Group Company, Indore - Small Business MALCO Energy Limited, Mettur Dam, Salem - Small Business Thirumalai Chemicals Ltd, Ranipet - Manufacturing UltraTech Cement Ltd., Jafarabad Cement Works, Jafarabad, District: Amreli, Gujarat - Manufacturing IMC RBNQ COMMENDATION CERTIFICATE 2013 Forbes Facility Services (P) Ltd - Service JSW Steel Ltd, Salem Works - Manufacturing M K E S's Nagindas Khandwala College of Commerce, Arts & Management Studies, Mumbai - Education TML Drivelines Ltd, Jamshedpur - Manufacturing Chief Guest, Mr. Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India, said, "We must make our nation a 'Quality nation' where all citizens will experience the highest standards of quality in everything they do in their daily lives. I believe in the mantra, trifles make for perfection but perfection is no trifle" . Receiving the IMC Juran Quality Medal, Mr. S Ramadorai, Vice-Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services, said, "It gives me great pleasure to receive such a prestigious award. Awards like these keep us motivated and make us constantly aware of the importance of quality in all spheres of life." Speaking on the award, Mr. Niraj Bajaj, Chairman, IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award Trust, said, "The IMC RBNQA Criteria for Performance Excellence believes in a holistic approach towards achieving organizational excellence. The universal standards and best practices embedded in the IMC RBNQA criteria have transformed Indian leaders into accepting the pivotal roles of customers and workforce in driving world-class processes." Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, said, "It is with pleasure that we recall the role of Shri Ramkrishna Bajaj as a business leader. He was a crusader for ethics in business, social welfare and consumer protection. He established the Council for Fair Business Practices to facilitate his crusade. He believed in Customer-driven quality. It is therefore appropriate that the IMC Quality Award is christened after him, one of the most trustworthy captains of Indian Industry. At the Chamber, we view the IMC RBNQA performance excellence initiative as a catalyst for nation building. It is also the most engaging offering from IMC."

Mumbai, February 17, 2013:Being the vote-on-account Budget, just before the election, not much was expected of the Finance Minister. Given these constraints, the IMC believes that the Finance Minister presented a reasonably balanced budget. On the positive side, the importance of the manufacturing sector has not only been given lip service but excise duty has also been reduced on many products, including capital goods. This will generate demand in the economy, which will boost sentiment. On the other hand, it is mounting subsidies, which is responsible for expanding our fiscal deficit to unsustainable levels. The quality of expenditure does matter and it is disconcerting that while there is a reduction in plan expenditure, non-plan expenditure has been steadily inching upwards. There was also no mention of the proposed rollout of GST and DTC, even though the Minister did hint that an elusive political consensus did remain the key issue in bringing about this momentous tax reform. The FM's speech reads like a Report Card of the achievements (and not the failures) of the UPA Government's rule of the past decade, than the Budget per se. All in all, it is a policy announcement which plays it safe and does not attempt anything risky.

Mumbai, February 15, 2013:IMC FUSION 2014, a conference presented by Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), was followed up with a series of panel discussions on the major roles played by the social media in today's three most dynamic sectors - Entertainment, Media and Sports industry. Ramesh Sippy and Subhash Ghai were most honourable guests inaugurated this third edition of IMC Fusion 2014. This conference was divided into six sessions which focused on several trending social media topics in this generation. It also witnessed the launch of a Knowledge Paper on Multi Screen Behaviour: A Study on Emerging Consumer Dynamics. The IMC FUSION 2014 Conference was organized under the auspices of IMC's Entertainment, Media & Sports Committee chaired by Mr. Manmohan Shetty and co-chaired by Ms. Bharathi Pradhan, Mr. Sanjoy Chakrabarty and Mr. Mir Ranjan Negi. As in the first two editions, Mr. Kabir Bedi was the Host of IMC FUSION 2014. The first session included an in-depth discussion on the urgency of software for today's media content. 'What prevents Indian media content to extend globally?' This question received several views from the panelists. Indian media needs to bring in more variety of local and adventurous content at the same time. Gajendra Singh, Founder of Saai Baba Telefilms Pvt Ltd. said, "In order to make the Indian content globally known, the Indian media needs to pay attention toward showcasing an interesting content, helping the marketing team, co-producers to make the Broadcasters buy it and promote it eventually." The Broadcasters go forward with a long term investment into a show only if it creates TRP'S but instead it should also turn its attention to a simple and multi-lingual content at the same time. Anupam Mandoloi, Managing Director of Freemantle India, added, "The fact is that India does not have a distribution network and sufficient bandwidth to tap content across the world." Siddharth Basu, Managing Director, Big Synergy Media Ltd, highlighted further, "Media Partnership between the Government and the Broadcasters can increase the scope of Indian content worldwide." 'Does social media affect Traditional Journalism?' To this, Suchitra Iyer, Editor of Society Magazine, said, "It has in a way challenged the print media, as celebrities leak out their latest happenings using social media platforms." Harshil Karia, Co-founder Foxymoron, said, "The mobile device reaches out faster than any other media device." It in fact helps print media to reinvent news, which proves that social media and print media are the two important wheels of mainstream media." 'Major role of social media for sports', the most trending topic for new generation media was also analysed. Digital platforms, especially 'Twitter' has proven to be a branded content mechanism in giving out a wider media coverage to sports. Vinod Bhanushali, President, Marketing, T-Series said, "Social media not only adds a spice to sports but also helps the music industry which includes Youtube and Twitter." New Delhi Television (NDTV), a pioneer leading in India's news television, was presented with the Excellence Award in Media. Mr. Sreenivasan Jain, Managing Editor, NDTV was present to receive the award and thanked the IMC Fusion Jury. While accepting the award Mr. Sreenivasan Jain added, "Receiving a prestigious award actually creates a standard and encourages us to even improve and set new standards for the content of news overall." The different business aspects of the Indian cinema were also highlighted by Komal Nahta, Editor, Film information, Mukesh Bhatt, Producer / Director, Ramesh S Taurani, Producer, Tips Industries Limited. The availability of multi-screen theatres has led to the change in the normal mindset of Indians who prefer to experience the movie first in the theatres. This helps Indian Cinema industry to earn the maximum revenue possible. "This year we have taken the brand Fusion closure to the young minds. In association with Indian Education society, we reached out to many colleges across the city, unleashed a major social media campaign to engage the youth, invited the students to participate in a contest. The contest was to encourage the young students to develop extremely interesting creative & innovative contents on social media platforms. The teams participated with zeal and enthusiasm, and we are happy to have the winners with us here today," Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC. The sessions covered in the Conference included discussions on: 1 Urgent Call For Software: It's High Time Indian TV Content Went Global 2 Netagiri & Worrisome Issues: Can SOCIAL MEDIA Influence Change? 3 Youthful SOCIAL MEDIA Workshop By FOXYMORON 4 Gimme Instant Updates: Have Multi-screen Options Changed News & Sports Viewership? 5 Breasting The Rs 300 Crore Mark: Business Booms In Indian Cinema

Mumbai, December 21, 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber hosted an interactive 'Open House Session on Exports and Imports' where the distinguished speakers enlightened the participants about the policies and guidelines governing the exports and imports of goods and services. Addressing the seminar on exports and imports at Hotel Ramada, Koparkhairne, N Shankar, Chairman and Managing Director of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd (ECGC) urged exporters to be competitive and increase market share. He said the ECGC was fully committed to providing the risk cover to their goods and services. He said that the country's share in world trade was just 1.7 per cent. India exported predominantly to the developed markets like the U.S. and the European Union, he said. These were in financial problems for the last two years, and were coming out of it now. Volatility of the rupee value was worrying and stability in exchange rates would help exports, he pointed out. He said that imports had started coming down, especially of precious metals and non-essential imports. The rupee depreciation would further contain imports. Exports were expected to cross the $325 billion this financial year. N. Shankar said that the corporation had come out with three new products for small exporters, micro exporters and those who have export turnover of Rs.20-100 crore after getting approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. He further informed that the ECGC had opened an overseas office in London. Dr. Kavita Gupta, Additional Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) who has created systems to ensure transparency and efficiency has got the DGFT office certified as ISO 9001:2008, stated that once upon a time, India's share to the world export was 40% which has regrettably fallen to little more than 2 percent. Stressing the need to expand the foreign trade, she outlined with the help of slide show, the pivotal role played by DGFT in facilitating the foreign trade that involved export as well as import of the goods. The DFGT is involved in extending quick and transparent services to exporters under various schemes included in the Exim Policy, it also assisted exporters to reduce transaction time and costs, and eliminate intermediaries. She said her office strove to provide value added services to exporters through information and guidance. Besides, it leveraged information and communication technology, in-house expertise and coordination with other agencies to facilitate foreign trade. She said that an all encompassing, comprehensive view needs to be taken for the overall development of the country's foreign trade for India to become a major player in world trade. Kavita Gupta further observed, "While increase in exports is of vital importance, we have also to facilitate imports that are required to stimulate our economy". Coherence and consistency among trade and other economic policies is important for maximizing the contribution of such policies to development, Dr Gupta said. "Trade is not an end in itself, but a means to economic growth and national development, the primary purpose is not the mere earning of foreign exchange, but the stimulation of greater economic activity', she said adding that DGFT was all for creating an atmosphere of trust and transparency to unleash the innate entrepreneurship of country's businessmen, industrialists and traders besides simplifying procedures and bringing down transaction costs. The DGFT neutralised incidence of all levies and duties on inputs used in export products, based on the fundamental principle that duties and levies should not be exported. Dr. Gupta said that DGFT facilitated technological and infrastructural upgradation of all the sectors of the Indian economy, especially through import of capital goods and equipment, thereby increasing value addition and productivity, while attaining internationally accepted standards of quality. Quality infrastructure, road transportation, non-refund of VAT, law and order problem were identified as highly challenging areas Dr. Gupta and she underlined the need for art exhibition cum convention centre. C. D. Shinivasan, chief general manager of RBI said that the apex bank was giving a philip to export. He said the RBI had now permitted third party payments for export and import transactions to further liberalize the procedure relating to payments for exports and imports and taking into account evolving international trade practices. He said the RBI had stipulated certain conditions like firm irrevocable order backed by a tripartite agreement should be in place; third party payment should come from a Financial Action Task Force compliant country and through the banking channel only; the exporter should declare the third party remittance in the Export Declaration Form; it would be responsibility of the exporter to realize and repatriate the export proceeds from such third party named in the EDF; in case of shipments being made to a country in Group II of Restricted Cover Countries like Sudan, Somalia, etc. payments for the same may be received from an Open Cover Country. Srinivasan said it is obligatory on the part of the exporter to realise and repatriate the full value of goods or software to India within a stipulated period from the date of export within a period of twelve months from the date of export. Any extension of time beyond the above stipulated period may be granted by Reserve Bank of India, on case to case basis. VV Vasudeva Murty, Chairman, Foreign Exchange Dealers of India (FEDAI) outlined the objectives saying the FEDAI is an association of banks specializing in the foreign exchange activities in India. It was created in 1958, he said adding that FEDAI determines many of the rules that overlook the day-to-day forex transactions in India. Besides, it assists member banks by acting as an advisor and helps with the training of personnel. It is responsible for accrediting India's foreign exchange brokers and announcing the exchange rates to its member banks and liaison with RBI for reforms and development of forex market. Capt Satish Kumar, Marine Advisor, JNPT threw light on the pivotal role being played by the JNPT in facilitating export and import of goods. He said the JNPT had emerged as the second busiest port in the country. Ever since containerization was taken up, things are delivered abroad without damage. He said there were three terminals and fourth would be set up soon. The fifth mega container terminal too has been proposed but will take time. Besides the JNPT have plans for multi-modal logistic park. Mr David Sinate, chief general manager of Export-Import Bank of India threw light on the various initiatives of the EXIM bank in facilitating the export and import of goods in the country. He informed that Maharashtra was number one exporter state from India. Earlier, Jewel of Navi Mumbai awards were conferred on late Dinesh D Parekh, ex-chairman of IMC. It was accepted by his son, Gautam. Another recipient of the Jewel of Navi Mumbai was Bhashkar Shah of JAPS international Pvt Ltd. At the outset, Mr Shailesh Vaidya, President of IMC made a welcome speech. Yogesh Mehta, co-chairman of IMC spoke about the theme of seminar, R.K.Jain Chairman of IMC, Navi Mumbai spoke about the work being done by IMC in Navi Mumbai, Anand Natrajan conducted the proceedings while Prabodh Thakker, Vice President of IMC proposed a vote of thanks. Navi Mumbai directory of IMC was also released on the occasion.

Mumbai, December 18, 2013: Former SEBI and UTI Chairman Mr. M Damodaran who now heads The Damodaran Group was the Chief Guest at the Half-Yearly Ordinary General Meeting of Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) held on Dec 17th, 2013 at IMC. Addressing the industrialists, businessmen, distinguished guests and members of IMC on the theme 'The window of opportunity', Mr. Damodaran began his speech saying, "Why just window, why not door of opportunity? We shut door in our face, our political masters lack the will. There is policy paralysis. Actually the international situation is such that we can milk it to our advantage given that the US and Europe are in doldrums, and even China is searching for a soft-landing but we lost the opportunity", he regretted. Mr. Damodaran said that all the three pillars of the country including Legislature, Executive and Judiciary were indulging in excesses. There is legislative excess. New legislations are being enacted almost every day without implementing the existing ones. Laws are being made even in the areas where they are not required. He said the regulatory excesses like enacting more legislations and regulations have badly hampered progress of the country. Turning to judiciary Mr. Damodaran remarked what began as judicial activism has now turned into judicial adventurism. "It seems that the orders and judgments are being passed by judges to grab media publicity. My father and grandfather were judges too, and they would have felt ashamed at this kind of judicial adventurism if they were alive today". He said instead of empowering the people in true sense, new entitlements are being created in the name of empowerment. People are not being encouraged to create, instead things are being thrown at them. Mr. Damodaran said that durable assets like development of skill sets of young people in the age group of 18-20 years need to be created. Since majority of people in the country are young, we need to concentrate on their development, making them skilled workmen and nurturing them to turn them into leaders of tomorrow. According to Mr. Damodaran education and health are most important areas yet they are badly neglected. He cited an example of an 80-year old patient who advised him that his hospital should charge more for excellent healthcare facilities. If not, the hospital will suffer losses and shut shop. Where will then people like me go for treatment? The patient said. Mr. Damodaran said he learnt a lot from this incident. There is demand for better care. People don't mind paying more if they get what they want. He said policy making process had lost touch with reality. There is total disconnect with the reality and people. Instead of empowerment of people, what is happening is their emasculation which will harm the country. He said that India with a vast manpower could dominate the world if education system is reformed and the youths are taught skills. "We need skilled people", he said. He felt administrative reforms are needed as the concept of collective responsibility has degenerated into individual irresponsibility. He questioned the constitutional validity of the new trend of forming Group of Ministers to deal with any problem. It has popularized a diffused sense of responsibility as no one is held responsible for any wrong decisions. Thus the government has involved itself in the process of decision making process without caring for any positive outcome. He said the bureaucracy, of which he himself was once a part, found a simple way out of any crisis by forming committee after committee without caring for the outcome. It is like boarding a train without knowing the destination! Mr Damodaran said, "We need to get back to the basics. Every organ and institution will have to be re-energized for collective duty and responsibility". He said the court recently passed orders on the use of 'lal batti' or red light on cars, but why not pass similar order for cutting red-tapism which has proved to be the bane of development?, he asked. Mr Damodaran further said that the culture of sycophancy and indecisiveness was the root cause of all evils that affected the country. Corruption is merely a derivative word and it cannot be tackled by just enacting any other legislation, he said. Concluding his insightful speech, Mr Damodaran said that the salvation lay in the country's teeming youth population. The youths have an inquiring mind, they ask question and have a complete irreverence towards the established institutions, structures and practices. Only they can question, reform and lead the nation from darkness to light, he said. Earlier Mr Shailesh Vaidya, president of IMC welcomed Mr Damodaran and presented him a memento. Mr. Vaidya introduced the chief guest who turned around the fortunes of moribund Unit Trust of India when he took over as its chairman. As the chairman of SEBI, Mr. Damodaran improved practices and processes to strengthen India's security market. Mr. Vaidya briefed the members about the programmes that the IMC undertook during the first half of 2013. Immediate past president of IMC Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani was presented a photo album and bound volume of IMC journal for the year 2012-13 on the occasion. Earlier there was a floor participation with the members putting forward their views on the economic and industrial status of the country. They stressed the need for creating a better supply system to match the production to fight inflation. Mr Prabodh Thakker, Vice president of IMC, proposed a vote of thanks.

Mumbai, December 10, 2013: Indian Merchants Chamber saw the launch of its conference on 'Promote Small Business Finance, Promote India' at the hands of the Hon'ble MP Yashwant Sinha. The function, which was held in Mumbai at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, was also attended by the dignitaries, which included Shri Shailesh Vaidya President, Indian Merchants' Chamber, Shri S Gurumurthy, Chartered Accountant & Columnist and Professor S Sriraman of Walchand Hirachand Professor of Transport Economics. The theme of the conference was to understand the importance of finance for small and medium enterprises in the country. With over 42 million enterprises, accounting for nearly 50% of manufacturing and over half of exports, the Small and medium enterprises represents perhaps the largest disaggregated business ecosystem in the world that directly employs over 100 million people. With the share of this non-corporate sector (which accounts for 45% of India's GDP) in Bank finance only 30%, funding for Small Businesses is a major problem. To address this issue, institutions specialized in Small Business Financing need to be promoted with an appropriate policy framework. This understanding is crucial to unlocking the most massive and most mass participated growth engine of the Indian economy. Commenting on the occasion, Shri Yashwant Sinha said, 'Small Business Financing Companies (SBFCs) has been doing good work in promoting the growth of small businesses in this country. SBFCs should be treated differently from Banks and there is an immediate need for formation of an independent regulator to formulate frame work for sustainable and better functioning of these institutions. During the event Shri S Gurumurthy said, 'Small businesses are like the backbone of the economy. India is the largest self employed in the world, with more than 43 million non farming enterprises; providing employment to 98 million people. SBFCs have been playing major role in promoting these businesses, by way of extending finance for their growth. Further added that, 'If inclusive growth is to be achieved, there is no better solution than to give more scope for SBFCs to grow in this country.' Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, said that, "to address this issue Small Business financing companies (SBFCs) need to be promoted with an appropriate policy framework. This understanding is crucial to unlock the most massive and most mass participated growth engine of the Indian economy. About Indian Merchants' Chamber Set up in 1907, in the wake of 'Swadeshi Movement' to represent of Indian businesses. IMC is a premier Chamber of trade, commerce and industry in India. Headquartered in Mumbai, the Chamber has more than 3000 members, comprising a cross section of the business community. It plays advocacy role on wide range of matters affecting growth and development of businesses, on policy and implementation matters. It represents interests of variety of sectors like banking and financial services, environment, energy, water resources, geographic indications and protection of interests of artisans, tourism, information technology, education, construction, etc. IMC organizes interactive meetings with ministers, senior bureaucrats and others to express and drive home its views.

Mumbai, December 9, 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber held its annual flagship event, 'India Calling Conference to Yangon, Myanmar' from November 24 to 26, 2013. This International Conference was held to bring together Indian businesses and industry representing various sectors to interact with their counterparts and explore possibilities of forging economic and commercial links, joint ventures and technological cooperation. IMC's delegation of high ranking political leaders and officials from the Government of Maharashtra was led by Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC. Also, scores of corporate CEOs from various sectors of industry and trade, as well as top educationists from leading universities attended the conference. Myanmar offers an extraordinary opportunity for business and industry in India in almost all sectors primarily agriculture and agriculture inputs and machinery, generic pharmaceuticals, fabrication, chemicals, packaging, plastic, textiles, wood, and legal and finance, to name a few. Mr. U Than Myint, Minister of National Planning & Commerce, Yangon, was the Chief Guest at the India Calling Business Conference. "There has been a significant recognition of importance of Myanmar in India as an emerging economy and as an equal partner in our quest for stable and peaceful South East Asia, a pre-requisite for sustainable economic growth. India is keen to provide all it can for comprehensive development of Myanmar," said Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC. India is committed to assist Myanmar's efforts of nation building and is actively assisting that country on a number of development projects that will provide a boost to the economy and livelihood opportunities, mentioned Mr. Vaidya, by giving an overview on India - Myanmar trade. Among them include an Advanced Centre for Agriculture Research and Education in Yezin, a Rice Bio-Park in Napyitaw and an Information Technology Institute in Mandalay. In order to expand people-to-people contacts, there is a proposal being considered to introduce Mandalay-Imphal bus service to facilitate tourism, pilgrimage and medical consultations. In addition, India and Myanmar are partners under regional and sub-regional agreements like ASEAN, BIMSTEC, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation and SAARC. Speaking at the conference, Mr. Sailas Thangal, Chargé d' affaires, Embassy of India, Myanmar, stated that even though Myanmar shares more than 1000 km boundary with India, still India and Myanmar's' trade relations is weak compared to many other countries. Even though India is a neighboring country, the share of India's trade with Myanmar is less than two per cent, he added. "We are trying to achieve inclusive growth by setting up many factories in Myanmar," said Ms. Cho Cho Wynn, Deputy Director General, Directorate of Investment & Company Administration (DICA), Myanmar. "Considering the high real estate prices we developed SEZs and Industrial Zone for Myanmar businessmen and also for foreign investors."she added. She also said that they explained different ways to set up business ventures in Myanmar." At the conference, KPMG and IMC jointly released a 'Knowledge Paper', prepared by KPMG. Trade relations between India and Myanmar have grown impressively in recent years, with India's total trade with Myanmar having risen from $ 12.4 million in 1980-81 to $ 1.95 billion in 2012-13. This positive trend has been marked by a rise in both India's exports to and imports from Myanmar, reflecting the increasing economic and commercial linkages between the two nations. Two MoUs were also signed at the conference, between Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) & The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (UMFCCI) and between Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) & Myanmar India Business Chamber (MIBC) The conference is supported by Indian Diplomatic Missions in Myanmar, The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (UMFCCI) and Myanmar India Business Chamber (MIBC). This India Calling Conference was the thirteenth in the row of a series of such annual events organized by the IMC. The conference comprised a galaxy of eminent speakers and delegates from both countries. Dr. Maung Maung Lay, Senior Vice President, The Republic of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (UMFCCI), Mr. B L Goenka, President, Myanmar India Business Chamber, Mr. Y. P. Trivedi, Member of Parliament, India, Ms. Malini Shankar, Principal Secretary, Water Resources, Government of Maharashtra, and Mr. Anil Ruia, Chairman, International Business Committee, IMC were some of the speakers. Planned and executed by IMC and the Indian Consulate in Yangon, the mega-event provided an excellent interactive and networking platform for promoting trade and business development opportunities for many diverse sectors and industries in both countries.

Mumbai, December 7, 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber organised its Second Full Day Seminar in the series 'Law for Progress', on 'Competition Law' here today at the IMC building. Ms. Geeta Gauri, Member, Competition Commission of India was the Chief Guest at the inaugural session of the day-long Seminar. Speaking at the occasion she said, "Will the Competition Law be able to meet the challenges of economic development is a major concern for all of us." When the economy is dynamic and the law based on economics cannot be nothing but dynamic, she added. She spoke about the challenges before India in the sphere of reviving the economy in the backdrop of the BRICS countries' agenda for reviving growth in the new international scenario. In this background, countries face a dilemma about ignoring competition concerns or engaging in protectionism based on the prospects of growth fueled by stronger domestic champions. Considering this, convergence of competition and regulations across the whole range of policies require competition authorities to weave into Competition Law implementation according to the concerns of diverse stakeholders. "Competition authorities are just beginning to assert themselves in many new jurisdictions in economies where competition was severely distorted due to differing reasons," observed Ms. Gouri and added that the relationship of the Competition Commission of India with the various Regulators is critical in implementing the Competition Law in the country. "Economic adversaries and the computation of damages is very important in Competition Law," said Mr. Dhanendra Kumar, First Chairman of the Competition Commission of India in his Keynote Address. To create a level playing field is essential so that the players should not hurt themselves in the process, he added. A 'Seminar Knowledge Paper on Competition Law' by M/s Khaitan & Co also released at the inaugural ceremony by the Chief Guest. The topics of panel discussions in the Seminar were on: The Regulation of Combinations (Merger Control) Enforcement of the Competition Act Cartels and Horizontal Agreements Abuse of Dominance Mr. Shaunak Thacker, Chairman, Law Committee, IMC delivered the welcome note and Mr. Arvind Pradhan, Director General, IMC proposed the vote of thanks. Mr. Shaunak Thacker, Chairman, Law Committee, IMC, Ms. Nisha Uberoi, Partner, Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co, Mr. Balbir Singh, Partner, DSK Legal, Mr Vishal Laheri, Reliance Capital, Mr Farhad Sorabjee & Mr Zerick Dastur, Partners, J Sagar Associates, Mr. Manas Chaudhuri, Partner, Khaitan & Co. Mr. Ram Tamara, Managing Director, Nathan Economic Consulting India Limited, Mr. Kunal R. Gupta, Associate Director, Forensic Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Limited, Ms. Avaantika Kakkar, Partner, Khaitan & Co, Mr. Anand Desai, Co-Chairman, Law Committee and Managing Partner, DSK Legal, Ms. Geeta Singh, Economist and Partner, Genesis, Mr. Amitabh Kumar, Partner, J Sagar Associates, Mr. Samir Gandhi, Partner, AZB and Mr. Tushar Mavani, Partner, Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co were the speakers at the Seminar.

Mumbai, November 26, 2013: Directly pointing his guns at Pakistan, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said that"India has always stood for peace. We are ready to negotiate peace with our neighbour, but not at the cost of country's self-respect and a gun on our head. "Too many people think that you can do anything to India, Indians will not react....will forget after a while and ultimately forgive....no, we are not a soft state, the minister said, adding that "Perpetrators of those horrifically killed five years ago on 26/11 are still safe across the border. The ideology that sent them here is still prevailing, and we must not relax our guard, and we cannot afford to forget or, indeed, to forgive," The minister was speaking at an event organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber to commemorate the security personnel and innocent civilians who lost their lives five years ago on 26/11. Prabodh Thakker, Vice President, Indian Merchants' Chamber expressed his gratitude to the Honorable Minister and further strongly asserted the IMC's commitment to the elimination of terrorism from society and the world at large. Shashi Tharoor has been visiting Mumbai regularly for the last 5 years after 26/11 and this includes the phase when he was not a minister in the Union Government. He strongly reaffirms "I'll keep coming back year after year and this is something which I am very strongly committed to even at a personal level".

Mumbai, November 25, 2013: The pack gathering and annual insurance summit on "Effective Delivery Mechanism for Better Penetration of Insurance in India" at the Trident, was all ears as Hon'ble Justice B. N. Srikrishna, Former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, provided some valuable insights in his special address on issues pertaining to the growth of insurance sector. According to Justice BN Srikrishna, nearly 60 to 70% of vehicles in India are uninsured and these figures are lower in urban areas as compared to rural pockets. He also further elaborated that consumer preference is more towards government companies and this lack of trust on private companies was a major obstacle for greater penetration of insurance in the country at large. Justice Srikrishna observed that even among those who opted for insurance cover, a vast majority of them were over insured or under insured. Mr. T .S. Vijayan, Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), was extremely optimistic is his assessment of the prevailing scenario in insurance sector and further felt that it had great potential and was poised for major expansion. "Awareness about insurance is a major hurdle for better penetration" emphasized Mr. Vijayan. He concluded by some pertinent observations about greater benefits, standard formats, simplicity of policies, among others to ensure greater trust and faith in minds of the consumers. Mr Prabodh Thakker, Vice President, IMC stated, "We are happy that the insurance summit received an over whelming response from all stakeholders, since it is an honest attempt of the chamber to work alongside the government and the regulatory authorities to achieve common objectives for faster growth and adequate levels of insurance penetration and density". He further added that IMC had many specifically identified and recommended firsts: 1. The Protection of Policy Holders' Interests has been viewed from a new angle - of not just protection but promotion as well - therefore, we have endeavored to lay down a definitive framework to: Align current laws and regulations around Creating an Underwriting platform with global best practices Promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism for Insurance Claims Disputes and also offering Institutional IMC as the ADR Center with proposed rules and mechanisms Looking at individual Policy Holders' grievances differently 2. New frontiers and ideas on Delivery of Insurance 3. Innovative ways of risks and catastrophe financing in line with tremendous work already undertaken by the IRDA, the General Insurance Council and NDMA. 4. To move in the direction of Risk Based Capital modeling and the agenda to nudge the Companies move to underwriting profits - to create more trust in the system, service better deliveries, and attract healthier investments for future growth and penetration. The Insurance Summit comprehensively focused on all issues, at the policy level, that have a strong bearing on the effective delivery mechanisms which added help in the insurance services and penetration levels in the Indian market. The summit deliberated on these issues through panels consisting of eminent subject experts, on approaches and policy / administrative framework. Head honchos and senior personnel from the Insurance and associated industries attended the Summit. A report from IMC on 'Effective Delivery Mechanism for Better Penetration of Insurance in India' was also released by Mr. T. S Vijayan, Chairman, IRDA. IMC in collaboration with New India had worked on the Insurance Policy for Domestics, which was launched during the inaugural session of the summit. Among the other prominent speakers at IMC's exclusive summit were Mr. Kaushal K Mishra, MD and CEO, Tata AIG General Insurance Company Ltd., Mr. Neelesh Garg, ED, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Ltd., Ms Monica Agrawal, Principal-Global Financial Markets, Korn/Ferry International and Mr. Sandeep Bakhshi, MD & CEO, ICICI Pru Life Insurance Company of India Ltd., Mr. R. Raghavan, CEO, Insurance Information Bureau, Dr. Praveen Sandri, Managing Director & Senior Vice President, AIR Worldwide India Private Ltd., Mr. G Satish Raju, Head GP South Asia & Director, Global Partnership, Swiss Re Services India Pvt Ltd. and Mr. Arun Agarwal, Chairman, Insurance Committee, IMC.

Mumbai, November 21, 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber's Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Committee organized an interactive Meeting with Mr. Jitender Bhargava in conversation with Mr. Anil Dharker on his book "The Descent of Air-India" at Library Lounge, IMC. Mr. Jitender Bhargava, former Executive Director of Air India for 13 years, in his book "The Descent of Air India" talks about reasons that caused turbulences for Air-India. He will discussed them in detail in conversation with Mr. Anil Dharker, the well-known anchor, editor and columnist. Mr. Bhargava stated, "A combination of factors has led to the descent of Air India, which has numerous lessons for all other public sector undertakings. Work culture evolved in the monopoly era will simply not allow them to flourish in the competitive era. All stakeholders, including management and unions, must therefore change their attitude in tune with market environment to make work practices more productive, customer friendly and cost effective." The book reading discussion was well attended by people from the aviation industry, especially from Air-India. About Jitender Bhargava Jitender Bhargava is a respected voice in the aviation sector. Having spent more than two decades with Air India, of which thirteen years were as it's executive director, he knows the issues and problems of the airline and the aviation industry better than most. Bhargava, since his retirement, has been writing for leading newspapers/magazines and commenting on civil aviation issues on television. He is also currently Chairman of the Aviation & Airports Committee of the IMC. Synopsis of the Descent of Air India Book The Descent of Air India is a book about how one of India's iconic brands was allowed to fall into disrepair and ruin. Air India, which once wore the nation's colours with honour and pride, has had a steep and calamitous fall from grace. Its reputation has been ground to dust and it stands on the brink of financial ruin. The book is the story of what led to the airline's decline. It looks at how the evils of politicization and apathy destroyed the work ethic; examines the decisions that led to the airline's downward swing and financially crippled it; and brings out how those who were entrusted with the future of Air India - with the exception of a few honourable and unacknowledged individuals - have let it down. The book is written by Jitender Bhargava. Mr. Bhargava has spent 20 years of his career in Air India, 13 of which were as Executive Director. He brings the force of an insider's perspective and the eye of one who watched the decline in the airline's fortunes almost from the very beginning. He examines the Air India debacle by asking some incisive and yet obvious questions: How it happened? Why it happened? What are the inherent weaknesses? Could its marginalization have been prevented? Who all are responsible? Mr. Bhargava has written it the way he saw it, without embellishment and with passion. The Descent of Air India is honest, personal and straight from the gut.

Mumbai, November 15, 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber is holding its annual flagship event, 'India Calling Conference to Yangon, Myanmar from November 24 to 26, 2013. IMC India Calling is an International Conference, to bring together Indian businesses and industry representing various sectors to interact with their counterparts in a host of countries and explore possibilities of forging economic and commercial links, joint ventures and technological cooperation. This IMC's delegation will be led by Shailesh Vaidya and chief Guest- Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India and will also include other high ranking political leaders and bureaucrats from the Government of Maharashtra. Also, scores of corporate CEOs from various sectors of industry and trade, as well as top educationists from leading universities will attend the conference. Myanmar offers an extraordinary opportunity for business and industry in India in almost all sectors for investment and expansion of business operations primarily being agriculture and agriculture inputs and machinery, generic pharmaceuticals, fabrication, chemicals, packaging, plastic, textiles, wood and legal and finance, to name a few. KPMG and IMC together will be releasing a 'Knowledge Paper', prepared by KPMG, for the flagship annual event of IMC - "India Calling". Trade relations between India and Myanmar have grown impressively in recent years, with India's total trade with Myanmar having risen from $ 12.4 million in 1980-81 to $ 1.95 billion in 2012-13. This positive trend has been marked by a rise in both India's exports to and imports from Myanmar, reflecting the increasing economic and commercial linkages between the two nations. Giving an overview on India- Myanmar trade, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, says "This "India Calling" Conference in Myanmar is the culmination of many months of joint planning and execution by Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in Yangon, and the Indian Consulate in Yangon. Reinforcing their solidarity, the Government of India has also supported this Conference. The Governments of Myanmar and India are lending full support to this conference, because it will be a concrete step ahead in translating India's newly formulated liberalized economic policy into action, as well as a tangible manifestation of Myanmar's Asian and global trade expansion plans." The India Calling conferences highlight opportunities for business development and investment, business match making, industry visits and cultural orientation among the various engagements. Myanmar offers huge potential to Indian business and industry as it is comparatively untapped territory and only recently countries across the world have started taking interest in exploring business and investment opportunities there. It is, therefore, the right time that IMC is mounting this business delegation there. The three day Conference will begin on November 24 with a technical session followed by B2B meetings. The Conference is supported by Indian Diplomatic Missions in Myanmar, The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (UMFCCI), Indo - Myanmar Chamber and various businessmen of Myanmar. This India Calling Conference is the thirteenth in the row of a series of such annual events organized by the IMC. This mega-event in Myanmar comprises a galaxy of eminent speakers and delegates from both countries. The event would help to provide an excellent interactive and networking platform for promoting trade and business development opportunities for many diverse sectors and industries in both countries.

Mumbai, November 14, 2013: Bhargavan Mohanlal, Alappuzha, Kerala was declared winner of the prestigious IMC Inclusive Innovation Awards 2013 for his innovative product- Marine Reversible Reduction Gearbox and Manually turnable Z-drive system. The award was presented by Dr. R.A. Mashelkar on November 14, 2013 at a function in IMC. The Award recognizes the product or service innovations which are inclusive, capable of commercial exploitation, sustainable and scalable. The winner developed the Marine Reversible Reduction Gearbox and Manually turnable Z-drive system. The Product, Gearbox is made from light aluminum alloy and enables use of diesel engines in fishing boats. It has a Z drive which can be locked at 90 degrees while landing of the boats to enable smooth landing of boats without any damage to the nets of the fishermen. The Gearbox is approved by Matsyafed, the Kerala State Cooperative Federation for Fisheries Development. The Product (reversible reduction gearbox) enables a use of diesel engines which reduces fuel expense by 70% i.e. from Rs.3500/- to Rs.900/- for 8 hrs. Also, the change of fuel from kerosene to diesel brings down water pollution to almost zero. The Awardee receives the financial support of Rs.20 lakhs and the other short listed nominees were presented Certificate of Recognition. Two special prizes of Rs 1 lakh each were given to *Leo S. Mavely, Founder & CEO, Axio Biosolutions Pvt Ltd, Ahmedabad for his product Emergency Haemostatic Dressing and Sameer Sawarkar, Chief Executive Officer and *Rajeev Kumar, Chief Operating Officer from Neurosynaptic Communications Pvt Ltd, Bangalore for their product ReMeDi - Remote Medical Diagnostics received. The Award was sponsored by R Jhunjhunwala Foundation. On the occasion, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, IMC President, said, "The Inclusive Innovation Awards is a commendable project to discover the hidden ability of an innovation. It is widely accepted today that, innovative solutions will impact not only competitive advantages in business and markets, but will also provide answers to the most significant challenges facing the world we live in. Innovation involves thinking differently, creatively and insightfully to create solutions that have an impact in terms of social and economic value. One of our very own early recognized inclusive innovation champion globally, Dr. R. A. Mashelkar, present here, very rightly says that "Innovation is more from less for more and more people." Giving the perspective on inclusive innovation award, Ms. Bhavna Doshi, Chairperson, Inclusive innovation awards committee, said, "IMC with support and sponsorship from Mr Rakesh Jhunjhunwala instituted Inclusive Innovation Awards with a view to encourage innovation and to help innovators with initial seed investment through 20 lakh award amount as well as mentoring support. The overall vision behind this Award is to nurture creative minds and facilitate development and marketing of products/ services that seek to achieve affordable excellence." The Final Award winner was selected from five short listed entries through the Q&A session conducted by the Jury on the same morning. The panel of Jury was chaired by Dr. R. A. Mashelkar. Other renowned panelists were Mr Mahalingam, Former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) & Executive Director, Tata Consultancy services, Mr Sumant Sinha, ReNew Power, Mr Dhanpal Zaveri, Partner and CEO, Everstone capital Advisors Pvt ltd, Prof. Anil Gupta , Executive Vice Chair, National Innovation Foundation, and Mr. M L Bhakta, Senior Partner, Kanga & Company.

Mumbai, October 24, 2013: The Indian Merchants' Chamber's Mumbai Development Committee organized an interactive meeting with Ms. Deepa Dasmunshi, Hon'ble Union Minister of State for Urban Development on "Mumbai's Infrastructure Development Projects". IMC has always participated in all the burning policy issues of the day, be it public or corporate governance, fiscal or monetary policy, taxation or foreign trade/collaborations, or the physical and financial development of major Indian metropolitan cities, in a principled and pragmatic manner. Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, IMC President in his welcome note stated that "The development of Mumbai city has always been one of our topmost priorities and we are bent on working collectively to restore it to its former glory. The initiative of today's meeting is a step in this direction. This interaction will bring into focus several issues relating to Mumbai's infrastructure - the core of its development strategy. Though a number of valid recommendations and reports on Mumbai have already been formulated, the single most crucial ingredient missing is a fundamental shift in attitudes and mindset - from thinking of incremental improvements and removing obvious bottlenecks towards undertaking proactive and calculated action based on modern technology and economies of scale for developing world class infrastructure comparable to any major international metropolitan area." IMC has been providing a platform to all major political parties like the Congress, NCP, BJP and Shiv Sena for over a decade now and taking their commitments for the development of Mumbai if their parties get elected. It was as a result of this dialogue, which IMC opened way back in 2003-04 that Mumbai caught the attention of the Central and the State Governments and the media. On the strategy for Mumbai's sustained infrastructural development Mr. Vaidya brought into focus the commissioning of the Eastern Freeway and the operationalization of the Metro and monorail. The Daman Ganga-Pinjal River Linking Project that would help provide reliable water supply to Mumbai and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link project which will not only offer easier and faster connectivity to the City but also save commuters' invaluable time and fuel is worked on with a sense of urgency. Unless adequate infrastructural development is not in place, Mumbai cannot hope to become another Shanghai or compete with any of the other financial capitals of the developed world. Mr. Vaidya further stated that "If adequate infrastructure is provided to Mumbai, there is no doubt that this City will become an engine and model of development not only for Maharashtra but for all of India, and help propel our nation's economic growth back to its formerly impressive levels. Good is the enemy of perfect and we cannot afford to have a sense of complacency in any of our endeavours to provide world class infrastructural amenities to the country's financial capital. The multiplicity of authorities in charge of the City is partly responsible for the lack of effective decision making which is having its repercussions on the quality of infrastructural development in the metropolis. Running from pillar to post is the surest way to put off prospective investors, both domestic and international. I appeal to the Government to kindly do everything possible to provide a more investor friendly environment in the country's financial capital. Mr. Shashi Prabhu, Partner, Shashi Prabhu & Associates, who is also a well-known architect, expressed matter of fact that he does not expect a moon from the government but at least quality infrastructure, especially good roads, which will bring about prosperity to the state. Ms. Deepa Dasmunshi, Honble Union Minister of State for Urban Development in her keynote address expressed honour to be in the historical surrounding of the 107 years old chamber. She further, stated that "the importance of Mumbai both for Maharashtra and India can hardly be overemphasized. It is a thriving, cosmopolitan, multicultural city as well as the heart of the country's booming entertainment industry. It is also one of the world's top ten centres of commerce in terms of global financial flows. Mumbai accounts for 13% of the national GDP, a fourth of the country's industrial output, two-thirds of its maritime trade, and 70% of capital transactions to India's economy. The city also contributes about 60% of customs duty collections and around 40% of income tax to the national exchequer. Mumbai's myriad business opportunity, as well as its potential to offer a better standard of living, attracts migrants from all over India, making the metropolis a melting pot of many cultures and communities."But, reiterated that since Mumbai is a dense city it is very hard to get immediate infrastructure work done in time. There should be state central partnership along with citizen partnership, along with a PPP model, which can get few good projects on track. About Ms. Deepa Dasmunshi: Ms. Dasmunshi is a luminous personality in her own right, who has tirelessly worked for the welfare of street children, disabled children and tribal people. She is a post graduate in dramatics and a gold medalist at the post-graduation level, and won many awards in theatre. She is a member of the 15th Lok Sabha from West Bengal. She has travelled abroad widely and visited the USA, UK, UAE, Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland in various capacities.

Mumbai, October 20, 2013: This was an international culinary experience, with nations from across the world uniting to contribute to a noble cause, experiencing the confluence of cultures and also exchange of trade information. Organized by The Consular Corps in Mumbai, the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), the Ladies' Wing of IMC and The Oberoi, Mumbai - The Oberoi Melting Pot - witnessed a churning of traditions, cultures and cuisines that saw Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India by IMC, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Turkey, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, among many others, participating in a bonhomie of business, pleasure and philanthropy, over the weekend. Speaking about IMC's participation in this unique event, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, said "IMC is taking part in this event because I believe an understanding of each other's culture and a people-to-people relationship lays a stronger foundation for political and economic relations on a sustainable basis. It is with this view that the IMC, which is always in the forefront of promoting bilateral trade relations between India and other countries around the world, is associating with Oberoi's Melting Pot." Guests were delighted to choose from an array of World cuisine while being regaled by music from around the globe. An auction allowed one to bid for a luxurious experience with The Oberoi Group, with stays at exotic worldwide hotels, along with tickets offered by international airlines. The lively evening also saw a vibrant Garba dance performance by the Petit Girls High School, showcasing Indian culture to the international crowd. There was also a mini NGO Bazaar with participants that included Bombay Teen Challenge, Jai Vakeel, Om Creations, Alive and Shrujan, presenting their artifacts for sale. Guests were also presented with an opportunity to check their future with Tarot card expert readers - Nilu Gupta and Anupama Mahajan. Ravi Mandalik, a renowned painter from Tao Art Gallery also showcased his expertise and conducted a live painting demonstration with the art work being auctioned on the spot. The amounts collected at The Oberoi Melting Pot this year will be donated to three charities: Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that builds homes and provides housing-related services to low-income, marginalized families across India; Apnalaya, which helps children living in slums towards a better life, striving to achieve this through urban community development projects in Mumbai; and Mumbai Mobile Crches, whose vision is for all children to have a nurturing and happy childhood, with a mission to promote 'child-friendly sites', where every child living on a construction site is safe, healthy and educated, and able to enjoy their childhood. Through Habitat for Humanity, The Oberoi Melting Pot supports Uttarakhand, as the funds would go to building homes in the devastated area. More than 100 well-heeled people took their time-out from their busy schedule for this noble event.

Mumbai, October 21, 2013: "India has had a lot of success stories in the last 20 years. Today we need to be positive and believe in ourselves to take it forward. Culturally we need to go back to the period of post 1991 and recreate that same mindset. We have to challenge ourselves as entrepreneurs. If you term profit as a bad word, the country cannot grow. The fast-paced technology-driven young generation needs to be engaged in a positive and purposeful manner," observed Mr. Mohan V. Tanksale, Ex- Chairman and Managing Director, Central Bank of India, in his address at a Panel Discussion on `Competitiveness of the Manufacturing Sector', organized by the Indian Merchants' Chamber, in a bid to understand the challenges being faced by this sector, the issues hampering its competitiveness and various opportunities that can be utilized to make it stronger. The dismal performance of the manufacturing sector in India over the last two decades has been an area of concern for policymakers. This, along with the diminishing role of development finance institutions, risk-averse behaviour of banks, and the limited size of the corporate debt market has caused turmoil in Indian industry. The discussion featured eminent panelists like Mr. Mohan V. Tanksale, Ex- Chairman and Managing Director, Central Bank of India, Dr. Vinod Juneja, Managing Director, Binani Group of Industries and Ms. Radhika Rastogi, Managing Director, Maharashtra Small Scale Industries Development Corporation (MSSIDC), Mumbai. Mr. Ajay Shankar, Member Secretary, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council, moderated the discussion. Though the reforms of 1991 changed the structure of demand in favour of industry, they did not help the domestic manufacturing sector to become sufficiently competitive. This is hampering Indian industries to grow and maximize their potential in the international market. Echoing these sentiments, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, welcomed the audience, saying "No sustainable development in India is possible without ensuring the success of our manufacturing sector, which now needs to align its policies benchmarking international best practices so that the process of liberalization will indeed bring the desired benefits to Indian industry. The manufacturing sector currently contributes just around 15% to our GDP, a figure which has remained stagnant since 1991. An inadequate growth in manufacturing has had its adverse impact on employment generation. Manufacturing has to be the sponge, which absorbs people moving out of agriculture in search of better incomes and other careers. A substantial manufacturing base is essential to absorb the growing workforce and ensure the competitiveness of our vitally important export sector, which will help ease the pressure on the burgeoning current account deficit and thus strengthen the rupee. In a competitive and open global economy, firms are required to quickly change the size, composition, and at times, even the location of their manufacturing activities. Further, rising competitiveness also necessitates wages linked with productivity and profitability. In the absence of labour market flexibility and a well functioning regulatory structure, that nimbleness cannot be achieved. Our largely outdated labour laws could be a key reason behind the small size and global uncompetitiveness of Indian manufacturing companies." Setting the tone for the discussion in his role as a moderator, Mr. Ajay Shankar, Member Secretary, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council, placed the issues plaguing the manufacturing sector in perspective, "The 1991 reforms gave a boost to the economy but the manufacturing sector is stagnating. There is an apparent lack of consensus on the significant role of the manufacturing sector in the context of inclusive growth. If the SMEs in Japan and Germany can drive the manufacturing sector, why is India languishing? We need to address the vital lacunae in the financial and regulatory system for the birth and growth of SMEs in India." Mr. Mohan V. Tanksale, Ex- Chairman and Managing Director, Central Bank of India, led the discussion, as he said, "Creation of basic infrastructure in the country is still lagging. The problems with the regulatory system are another big issue. Though the `license raaj' was abolished, it still lurks in the shadows and is firmly entrenched in the minds of the people. The single window concept is yet to be implemented in true spirit where an entrepreneur or investor is welcomed rather than hassled." He elaborated on the substantial investments made by the banking sector into the power sector but pointed out how pricing remains a concern as it is crucial for growth. Natural resources are being exported without exploring the possibilities of their value addition to the country's products and services. The other major factor was the need for transparency and good governance as also the absence of skilled labour. "We need to have institutions imparting special training in developing specific skillsets and acting as providers of skilled manpower to industry," he added. Ms. Radhika Rastogi, Managing Director, Maharashtra Small Scale Industries Development Corporation (MSSIDC), Mumbai, restrained her views to the important role SMEs can play in the manufacturing sector. "SMEs are the largest employment generators in the manufacturing sector even though they do not enjoy the kind of support that large manufacturing enterprises have access to. Given the complex nature of the taxation and regulatory norms, many SMEs do not wish to grow beyond a point, purely to avoid the unnecessary hassles. They need to come together in clusters and collaborate with the administration by being an active participant on a daily basis. Size does matter! And with it, the lobbying capacity increases." With reference to the comparisons being made to other developed and developing economies, she was candid in pointing out that every situation demands a different solution. "Countries like South Korea and Japan are seen sharing a herd mentality. One company or sector comes in, the others follow. As Indians, we operate differently and we need to come up with solutions that suit our culture, mindset and environment. The need of the hour is for government and industry to join hands and be partners in progress. Transparency and corruption are major hurdles. However, transparency is a two-way process and the enterprise side also needs to practice it." Dr. Vinod Juneja, Managing Director, Binani Group of Industries, highlighted the lack of practicality in the business environment. "India cannot survive only on the growth of the IT sector. A country having a population of 125 crores is still facing problems where labour is concerned. We need to look at the segment, which creates jobs in the Rs. 7,000 to 10,000 bracket, the minimum wage required for sustenance. Only the growth of the manufacturing sector can address this vital bracket. Times are different compared to the last 3-4 years. Raising equity in the capital markets is nearly non-existent, which makes it difficult for SMEs to raise finance. Two years back, India was an exporter of iron-ore and coal, whereas regulatory, policy paralysis and corruption issues are seeing us import such resources. Surprisingly, for a country capable of making rockets and missiles, we do not have a single major Indian company manufacturing mobile handsets in the country in an industry that has revolutionized the way we live." The gathering saw many members and office bearers of trade associations and industry bodies in attendance along with a huge contingent of IMC members.

Mumbai, October 11, 2013: "In the life of every business entity there comes a time when you need to trim the sails according to the winds of change blowing across the global business environment. Business Restructuring entails a holistic change process that pervades all levels of the organization, both on the micro and macro levels across the board," observed Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker, Justice BN Srikrishna, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India, at the one day `Conference on Business Restructuring', organized by the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), jointly with the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), addressed by eminent speakers from top corporate and consulting firms in the midst of leading luminaries and executives from the business and corporate world. Addressing a jam-packed audience while sharing his views on Business Restructuring, Justice BN Srikrishna, in his frank, candid and humourous style, said, "Restructuring means keeping abreast and in line with the changes in business, government and regulatory laws, taking place in these dynamic times. A successful restructuring process calls for restructuring measures in all areas of company activities like finance, property, production, sales, purchases, organization, information and personnel. The need of the hour for every business organization is to function like a well-oiled machine, which is alert and flexible to adapt to these changes. The ability to realign has become an integral part of every business philosophy. Post liberalization, the government has realized the importance of creating an environment that is conducive to the growth of the economy. However, the mere ad hoc methods or patch work, which our government is fond of doing, is not enough. A lot needs to be done." Earlier welcoming the gathering, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, highlighted the need for Business Reorganization particularly in respect of family-owned enterprises in India, given the changing dynamics of businesses in India. Giving an overview of the changes on the economic scenario over the past two decades, he said, "After the opening up of the economy in 1992, India has become a part of the global village. Many MNCs have started businesses in India and numerous Indian corporate have started operations abroad. Pitted and competing against global players, only efficient corporate organizations, delivering quality products and services will survive in India. To support Indian businesses and make them competitive, the Government has taken several measures for permitting them to reorganize and restructure their businesses. As a matter of principle, the Government intended to make business reorganization tax neutral. However, it has not yet fully percolated down to all levels of Government authorities. This Conference will share and disseminate information under various laws and provisions affecting Business Restructuring." The Conference saw eminent speakers from top corporate and consulting firms taking centre stage and address related issues like Changing Regulatory Landscape - Impact on Business Reorganization - speakers Ketan Dalal, Chairman, Direct Tax Committee of Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Somasekar Sunadersan, J Sagar Associates, Ashish Ahuja, Wadia Ghandy & Co.; Business Reorganizations - including for Cross Border Inbound and Outbound Investments - speakers Rajan Vora, Chairman, Direct Taxation Committee, Indian Merchants' Chamber, Alok Saraf, Milind Sarwate, CFO, Marico Ltd.; Unlocking Value Through Business Reorganization with Special Emphasis on Funding and Scaling for Growth - speakers Ashok Wadhwa, Group CEO, Ambit Holdings Pvt. Ltd., Parag Shah, Managing Partner Mahindra Partners, Bobby Parekh, Partner, BMR & Associates LLP, Bharat Doshi, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Business Restructuring - Tax Issues - speaker Pranav Sayta, Ernst & Young; Restructuring of Family Managed Business - Tax and Regulatory Issues - speaker S. Gayathri, Essar, Cross Border Restructuring - Tax and Legal Issues - speaker Bela Sheth Mao, Shell and Restructuring - Implications under Company Law, Stamp Duty, Listing Requirements, SEBI - Takeover Code, Rent Act - speaker Sanjay Buch, Crawford Bayley. Head honchos and executives from top corporate and consulting firms participated in the Conference, which also saw a huge turnout of consular officials, IMC and BCCI members.

Mumbai, September 27, 2013: "Nations around the world are faced with another big challenge - Terrorism! A recent terrorist attack in a mall in Nairobi, the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and countless other attacks in public spaces around the world pose serious threat to world economy. The tourism sector is first to take the brunt and, therefore, should be first to join forces in combating this menace. Working with local authorities and multinational organizations, the tourism sector should find mechanism that would act as a deterrent," said Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), whilst welcoming an august gathering at the World Tourism Day 2013 celebrations, organized by the Indian Merchants' Chamber in Mumbai. Inaugurated by Chief Guest, His Excellency Mr. Ernest Rwamucyo, High Commissioner, Rwanda High Commission, New Delhi, the event saw an eclectic mix of different cultures coming together in a warm and harmonious bonhomie. Being held for the fourth year in a row, the song and dance extravaganza was an enthralling experience as IMC members, consular officials and diplomats of countries like Brazil, Republic of Indonesia, Rwanda, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Republic of South Africa, among others shared their thoughts on this year's United Nations World Tourism Organisation's (UNWTO) theme of "Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future". This year's theme primarily focuses on drawing attention towards the increasing scarcity of the world's most precious resource - Water! Highlighting the importance of this issue, which could potentially trigger a global conflict in the coming decades, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, dwelt on the pivotal role that the Tourism industry could play in spreading awareness about saving water, given the fact that more than a billion people undertake travel every year. He urged the tourism industry to come forth and help the United Nations in this direction. In a short and candid talk, His Excellency Mr. Ernest Rwamucyo, High Commissioner, Rwanda High Commission, New Delhi, appreciated the long and credible history of India that has seen the tourism industry growing over the years. Inviting all present to visit Rwanda, the land of mountain gorillas, he said, "Tourism is about being exposed to new cultures, new people, a new way of life. The need of the hour is to find ways to link tourism and the challenges posed by human activity in order to find a sustainable model for growth. Identifying new attractions and places is crucial for the growth of this industry." Mr. Pradip Madhavji, Chairman, Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Committee, IMC, made some interesting observations on the diversity seen across tourism throughout the world while saying, "Tourists cross frontiers, soldiers seldom do! With millions of people travelling across the world each year, never before have so many people been to so many places. This interaction between individuals and communities, and their diverse cultures, leads to tolerance, respect and mutual understanding - the building blocks for a more peaceful world. Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce, and is the key income sources for many developing countries." Elaborating on the growth of tourism in the Indian context, he said, "The large number of repeat visitors are "Best Ambassadors" to our country and speaks volumes of the Indian hospitality. The value perception of foreign visitors highlights the fact that they really got their money's worth. After all, where else in the world do you get to see a bullock cart and a BMW standing side by side. The audience was treated to some lively performances by students in the choir from Happy Home & School for the Blind, an Indian classical dance by Ms. Gangaur Sharma, and dance performances from Rwanda and Botswana. Airline Partner Turkish Airlines sponsored two free airline tickets to explore Istanbul and Kigali in a lucky draw among host of other goodies for all present while the Republic of Rwanda joined in as the Country Partner for the celebrations.

Mumbai, September 16, 2013: Opening up the defense sector for 100% FDI, which would help create jobs domestically rather than export them, and bring advanced technology into the country is one of the measures for the Central Government (among a host of others) suggested by the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) in their recent letter addressed to the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. In light of economic growth slowing down dramatically, the noticeable decline in investor confidence in the Indian economy and the high current account and fiscal deficits, the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) has expressed its concern and put forth some suggestions to the PM for immediate action. The three-pronged letter focuses on measures that can be taken by the Central and State Governments as also by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in a bid to restore confidence in the Indian economy. The measures suggested for the Central Government are, Announce an accelerated roadmap for elimination of fuel and fertilizer subsidies within the next two years as this will help improve investor sentiment; Increase import duty on all non-essential consumer products to reduce foreign exchange outflow and create jobs in Indian manufacture of such products, stating the fact that imports of consumer durables stood at $ 95 billion last year; Build rural silos and other agri-infrastructure to minimize the appalling wastage of food grains to address food inflation through better supply-side efforts; Open up the defence sector for 100% FDI as this will help create jobs domestically rather than export them, and bring advanced technology into the country; Allow mining and the extraction of natural resources, which will help ease the severe supply side constraint affecting our industrial sector; and finally Reintroduce the tax break for exports of both goods and services. The measure suggested for the State Governments is the Provision of explicit subsidy for power by State governments in their budgets, instead of permitting tariff cross-subsidy. The measures suggested for the RBI are, Reduce interest rates aggressively as well as the CRR. Restore the LAF facility and Implement an attractive FCNR deposit scheme with SLR and CRR concessions to banks as this is a proven and reliable foreign currency tap. The IMC also expressed their hope and faith in the Prime Minister's abilities and acumen to arrest the slowdown and put the Indian economy back on a higher growth track.

Mumbai, September 13, 2013: "It is important to look at where we come from and all that has happened in order to understand where we are today. Growth stops when you get uncompetitive, your wage structure is not in sync or the currency becomes so strong that there is no competition. Indian economy will bounce back and the Rural Milieu is where the growth will happen. I see the banking and finance sectors playing a crucial role," observed KV Kamath, Chairman, ICICI Bank Ltd., while delivering the Inaugural Lecture on `Current Economic Environment' under the IMC-Pravinchandra Gandhi Chair in Banking and Finance , at a function organized by the Indian Merchants' Chamber and the University of Mumbai. Recipient of the recent grant of Rs. 2 crores from the Government of Maharashtra at the hands of Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan last week, the IMC-Pravinchandra Gandhi Chair in Banking & Finance has been instituted by the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) at the University of Mumbai, at the behest of Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan. The Chair is a tribute to a doyen of commerce and industry, Late Shri Pravinchandra Gandhi, who was Chairman and Managing Director of Dena Bank in 1967, President of IMC in 1962 and Trustee in 1967 among numerous other associations with industry, social and cultural bodies. Taking centre stage, Padma Bhushan awardee and a leading light of the banking and financial world, KV Kamath, Chairman of ICIC Bank Ltd., delved into the Inaugural Lecture on `Current Economic Environment', with an overview of the recent upheavals in the economy, affecting the banking and finance sectors. A veteran who has weathered many economic storms in his illustrious career, he reconstructed the economic scenario of the past 15 years and the changes and effects on the Indian economy, observing, "The period of 1997-2002 was a painful for the Indian economy when growth rates were around 5%. Funding was unaffordable; home, car or personal loans were available at high interest rates; companies were uncompetitive, there was no scale in the absence of economy drivers. It was around 2001-02 that the first signs of consumerism movement were seen. Loans became affordable and Corporate India started breathing. It was around 2004 that Corporate India stated their preparedness in competing with a country like China despite of their (China) 30-40% subsidies structure. It was also around this time that the Services sector started gaining momentum especially the knowledge sector, which started growing at 10-12%. This growth propelled employment, creating jobs and the Manufacturing sector also fired up. Infrastructure, a hitherto neglected sector, gathered momentum. In 1996-97 it took 21 days to unload a ship in Indian ports. By 2003-04, the country's infrastructure had shaped up phenomenally. Infrastructural projects of ports, roads, highways, airports took off in the right earnest because of which connectivity between rural India and urban India and vice versa improved drastically. Another mind block in our minds is the complexity of Labour laws in India. Let me state that the Labour laws in India are far easier to understand and implement than most Western countries. We just need to pay a little more attention with an open mind. However, even today the real drivers behind rural growth be it agriculture, monsoon or better connectivity, the real answer still needs to be researched and analysed, probably as a project for this Chair." The erudite banker indulged in some interesting trivia, mentioning a fact that about two dozen airports in India were upto international standards and far better placed in rankings than some of their Eurpoean counterparts. Or the fact that 10-12 years back, there were only about a 100 ATMs in the country and his team at ICICI was apprehensive about expanding their ATM network given the apprehensions of the Indian mindset for accepting the concept of withdrawing cash or executing banking transactions through ATMs. He highlighted the role of the revolution in the telecom sector, driven by technology, which further propelled sectors like banking to bring about a change at a pace never imagined before. Today ATMs, online banking or mobile banking is a norm and a way of life. The growth of internet users from handheld devices grew by 850% in 2012. Moving on through the reconstruct and relating it to the Current Economic Environment, he said, "In 2008, the Lehmann Brothers crisis and the subsequent global meltdown, saw the world losing confidence in itself, which derailed the economy. By mid-2009 the rural sector came up trumps and put the economy back on track. Nothing happens overnight, nothing happens by fluke. Most problems post 2009 were man-made, when business community and lenders lost confidence and the virtuous cycle of investment was broken." Highlighting the lacunae in the economic system, he pointed the void, by saying, "We need to ask ourselves if the text book prescriptions are relevant in today's scenario. When the Economics theory was written there were no OPEC markets; there was no real time trading. Today there is a need for innovative thoughts backed by research. We are currently at a low point of growth. Recovery will begin when the slowdown in growth stops before we start gaining momentum. And once the growth starts, it will stay for a long time." He compared similar scenarios from the 1950s in economies like Japan and South Korea, who witnessed double digit growth rates for a period of 20-25 years. Commenting on the fall of the Indian Rupee, the banker reflected, "The Rupee is under valued at the moment and will move in sync with the Indian economy." Displaying great faith in the new RBI Governor, Dr. Raghuram Rajan, he said, "The new Governor has great potential and the ability to bring in measures to stabilize the Rupee and help put the economy back on the path of growth from the current 4.8% levels of GDP." Paying rich tributes to the towering personality of Padma Bhushan awardee Late Shri Pravinchandra Gandhi, who was associated with IMC for over six decades, Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, said, "I am happy that through setting up of this Chair, IMC can recognize services of a stalwart, Shri Pravinchandra Gandhi, who played the role of a friend, philosopher and guide to IMC and guided its destiny for over six decades. His commendable perseverance and foresight, combined with his profound knowledge of commerce and industry, led to his affiliation to several chambers of commerce and industry associations. We owe a great deal to Mr. Gandhi for his lead in establishing the Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award Trust at IMC, which has carved a niche for itself for its prestigious annual awards for the promotion of quality nationally and internationally. Through his association with Janmabhoomi Group of Newspapers, he came to the rescue of victims of calamities - natural or manmade. Cause of education and research was dear to his heart. It is mainly due to his untiring efforts and guidance that Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan had come to be recognized as an "Educational institution of National Eminence" within the country and as an Institute of Indian Culture worldwide. To summarise his multi-sectoral achievements in one sentence, one can say that "Pravinbhai, was an institution by himself." What better tribute could be given to such a towering personality and a doyen of commerce and industry than to associate his name with a Chair in Banking and Finance to undertake applied research." Echoing these sentiments, Dr. Rajan Welukar, Vice Chancellor, University of Mumbai, addressed the gathering, saying, "At the outset a big thanks to the IMC and the Government of Maharashtra for setting up this Chair to aid applied research in banking and finance. This initiative answers the need of the hour given the problems in front of India and the world at large. Understanding one's need for getting a perspective in their own discipline sometimes requires an inter-disciplinary approach wherein different perspectives from different disciplines are studied to arrive at a solution. In recent times, India has created chaos out of order. The people of India need to participate in the developmental process for the country to turn around things and make order out of the chaos." The IMC-Pravinchandra Gandhi Chair in Banking & Finance is the first Chair to be set up in Banking and Finance in the history of the University of Mumbai and the first to get an amount of this magnitude (Rs.2 crores) from the Government of Maharashtra, as also being the first Chair for which the IMC has given a donation (Rs.2 crores). This marks the association of the century-old IMC with the more than 150-year-old University of Mumbai, brought together by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithiviraj Chavan. Enlightening the audience on the purpose and objectives behind this mission of IMC, Ram Gandhi, Trustee IMC and IMC Centenary Trust, said, "The Chair serves the dual purpose of promoting our own national university of eminence fulfilling the long-felt need for a Chair in Banking and Finance at the University of Mumbai. The primary objective of this Chair is to encourage applied and empirical research of high standards on subjects, which will cater to the research needs of the banking and finance sector with a view to gaining insights and broadening perception in these areas. The Secondary objective of this Chair is to train and develop highly qualified individuals in the field of banking and finance. Dr. Balkrishna Parab has been appointed as the Chairperson and is expected to undertake and guide research activities in areas such as Microfinance and Community Banking, Microcredit, Microinsurance and Inclusive Financial Systems. The Chair will also facilitate providing of consultancy services in the form of financial advice to enterprises engaged in the banking and finance sector as also training to personnel from the banking and finance sector." The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), India's premier Chamber of trade, commerce and industry in India, which recently celebrated its 107th Foundation Day, is known for its proactive advocacy role on a wide range of matters affecting growth and development of businesses, on policy and implementation matters. The only Chamber in the country to boast Mahatma Gandhi in its membership rolls, it was the first Chamber in India with an ISO 9002-2000 accreditation, which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. The Convocation Hall at the University of Mumbai was packed to capacity with members of IMC, diplomatic corps, literati, educationists, celebrities and dignitaries from all walks of life.

Mumbai, September 07, 2013: Speaking at the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) headquarters in Mumbai, on the occasion of their 107th Foundation Day Celebrations, where he was the Chief Guest, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Prithviraj Chavan, shared his concerns of the fallout of global and domestic factors on the economic scenario in Maharashtra. "My biggest worry from the perspective of Maharashtra is the possibility of job losses and how it will affect the current employment scenario. Due to the current state of affairs, a lot of small and medium businesses are under pressure. Sectors like Manufacturing and Real Estate are the worst affected. Just taking solace in the fact that Maharashtra is the most urbanized and industrialized state in the country is not enough or that our GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) figure is 40% higher than the second state of Uttar Pradesh. The Government of India must come forth with a stimulus package like it did in 2008. We are barely recovering from the severe drought earlier this year, when rains have played havoc in the Vidarbha region, inflicting huge losses," he observed. The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), India's premier Chamber of trade, commerce and industry in India, turns 107 this year. The only Chamber, to have had Mahatma Gandhi as its member, it is known for its proactive advocacy role on a wide range of matters affecting growth and development of businesses, on policy and implementation matters was the first Chamber in India with an ISO 9002-2000 accreditation, which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008. An elated and joyous mood prevailed among the IMC members as Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President IMC, welcomed the Chief Minister and all present by saying, "We are truly honoured by your presence. This day has been made more momentous for the grant bestowed by him on the Chamber, in the form of sanctioning Rs. 2 crores for the IMC Pravinchandra V Gandhi Chair in Banking & Finance, set up by IMC at the University of Mumbai, matching the amount given by the Chamber to the University in June 2011. In a short span of less than three years, he has laid a lasting foundation for a sustainable development of the State on various fronts like Education, Infrastructure and controlling Rising Prices of commodities. Just as the CM is laying a foundation for sustainable development of Maharashtra, the IMC too, has adopted 'Sustainable Development' as its theme for the current year. Towards this object, IMC had been organizing interactive public meetings with major political parties, which share their "Vision of Mumbai Development". Presentations have been made by Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde representing the Congress, Mr. Manohar Joshi representing Shiv Sena, Mr. NItin Gadkari representing BJP, Mr. Jayantrao Patil from NCP, and recently Mr. Ashish Shelar of BJP and Mr. Sanjay Jha from Congress. Our efforts have paid off as IMC has become instrumental as a voice for change and for the first time the Government started making provision for Mumbai City in the State Budget." However, all eyes and ears were riveted at the man of the hour, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who began his address by lauding the efforts of the IMC, "I congratulate the IMC leaders on their 107th Foundation Day Celebrations. As one of the oldest Chambers in the country, IMC has contributed a lot in the Indian scenario and played a major role in making Mumbai the financial capital of India and putting it on the world business map. All the leaders of IMC, both past and present deserve credit." Sharing his thoughts on the Indian economy in his keynote address on the topic of `Vision Maharashtra', he said, "India is a young, vibrant and a global economy. Today we are facing some serious economic challenges, which are seeing our growth rates sliding down to about 4% from the usual 8-9% we have been noticing since 2004. Rising oil prices, widening import-export gap, global slowdown and high interest rates are some of the factors putting pressure on the economy. And if the current situation in Syria gets out of hand and war breaks out, it will put further pressure on the economy." Outlining his 5-point agenda for his Vision Maharashtra, he said, "My vision for Maharashtra has been very clear ever since I took office in 2010. Broadly, 1) The need to bring about more balance in the industrial development taking place. 2) The compilation of the Human Development Report, which in my opinion should be undertaken at least once every five years. I expect the same to be tabled by the end of this month. 3) Safeguard the interests and look into providing irrigation for the 82% dry land farmers, who are dependent on rains for their crops. With changing climate and unpredictable weather patterns this is a serious challenge for the state government. 4) Focus on Urbanization and Governance with reference to housing, transport, solid waste management. We have already spent about Rs.5000 crores in various infrastructure projects like the Metro, Monorail, Navi Mumbai Airport and plans are afoot to start the elevated Churchgate-Virar rail corridor. 5) Focus on improving the quality of education. Maharashtra has already achieved a rate nearly 86% literacy but quality of education needs to be improved. It is sad to note that not a single Indian University is rated in the top 200 Universities of the world. As a nation, India cannot depend on its natural resources. We need to build a formidable base of Human Resources and Manpower to become a knowledge-based economy like Japan." He admitted to the fact that the Government had probably taken up too many projects and results were below expectations. Citing various reasons, he said "Political compulsions and populous election tactics are always an impediment. A strong and stable government at the centre will percolate down to the state level. The political class, civil society and media need to ensure that the political fragmentation taking place in the country is avoided as that will rein in the progress in the country and the economy will suffer." Responding to questions on the increasing number of crimes against women in the city, he said, "The biggest problem with rape cases in our society is the fact they go unreported. Surveys show that in 93% of rape cases, the culprits are known to the victim. I strongly urge women to come forth and report such incidents. We are taking all steps possible to fast track proceedings in the recent incident in Mumbai. On our part, let me inform you that Maharashtra is the only state in the country to employ 33% women in its Police force." The event saw a huge turnout of IMC members, Consular officials, literati, celebrities and dignitaries from all walks of life."

Mumbai, September 07, 2013: The Government of Maharashtra gave a cheque of Rs. 2 crores to the University of Mumbai for IMC-Pravinchandra Gandhi Chair in Finance & Banking. This will accelerate the process of Research and other activities under the auspices of the Chair. The Chair was set up in June 2011 with IMC's contribution of Rs. 2 crores to the University of Mumbai. This donation was given by the Chamber to perpetuate the memory of its Trustee and Past President Mr. Pravinchandra Gandhi - a financial wizard and closely associated with IMC for over six decades - - as its president in 1962, Trustee since 1967. The Chair was set up at the instance of Mr. Prithviraj Chavan, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the IMC cheque was given to the University Vice-Chancellor at his hands. IMC is pleased to acknowledge the Chief Minister's gesture in keeping his promise of sanctioning a matching amount from the State Government's Budget for this Chair." This Chair has several firsts to its credit. It is the first Chair for which the Chamber has given a donation. There were 18 chairs in the University of Mumbai. But it is the first time that a Chair is set up in Banking and Finance in the history of the Mumbai University. Again the first Chair to get an amount of this magnitude, and to cap it all; It is perhaps for the first time that the Government of Maharashtra has sanctioned this big amount for a Chair from its budget. Above all, it gave opportunity to the Century-old IMC to get associated with over 150-year old University -- one of the oldest in the Country." The primary objective of this Chair is to encourage applied and empirical research of high standards on subjects, which will cater to the research needs of the banking and finance sector with a view to gaining insights and broadening perception such as Micro-finance and Community Banking, Micro-credit, Micro-Insurance and Inclusive Financial systems areas. The Secondary objective of this Chair is to train and develop highly qualified individuals in the field of banking and finance. The Chair will also facilitate providing of consultancy services in the form of financial advice to enterprises engaged in the banking and finance sector as also training to personnel from the banking and finance sector." The inaugural lecture, under the Chair, will be delivered by Mr. K V Kamath, Chairman, ICICI Bank on Friday, September 13, 2013. Mr. Kamath will speak on Current Economic Environment - the most burning issue of the day."

Mumbai, September 06, 2013: The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), India's premier Chamber of trade, commerce and industry in India, turns 107 this year. A two-day celebration to commemorate the occasion was kicked off by the Ladies' Wing of the IMC with a romantic humourous Hindi play `U Turn - Ek Ajab Prem Kahani', starring two senior actors - Poonam Dhillon and Aasif Sheikh, produced by Aneel Murarka of Poetic Justice Entertainment, written by Anand Mhasvekar and directed by Anand Mishra at the famed Nehru Centre Auditorium, Mumbai. The play is about two unattached people, who come together accidently, as if by a hand of fate! The storyline has a universal appeal, set in Indianized modern times, where one can relate to various changes and life altering decisions that people are required to take, as the sign of times like children flying out of the nest, nuclear families, being single, loneliness, yearning for companionship. It emphasizes the most basic need of all human beings for love and companionship, irrespective of their age. An adaptation of a runaway hit Marathi play, it has done more than 600 shows in Marathi and Gujarati and was adapted in Hindi last August 2012." Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC and Leena Vaidya, President, Ladies' Wing, IMC, were overwhelmed at the enthusiastic response for the play and welcomed the members on the eve of the 107th Day Foundation Day Celebrations. The auditorium was packed to capacity and resounded with the laughter of IMC members, enjoying the play in the company of literati, celebrities and dignitaries from all walks of life. Seen enjoying the evening were Pinkey Ahluwalia, Vice Consul of Belgium, Aneel Murarka, Industrialist and Producer of the play, Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, Infertility Specialist, Dr. Rishma Pai, noted Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Prabodh Thakker, Vice President IMC, Niraj Bajaj, Arvind Pradhan, Director General, IMC and Ms. Rajyalakshmi Rao, Chairperson, Legal Aid Committee, IMC." The now 107-year-old Indian Merchants' Chamber is known for its proactive advocacy role on a wide range of matters affecting growth and development of businesses, on policy and implementation matters. It was the first Chamber in India with an ISO 9002-2000 accreditation, which has since been upgraded to ISO 9001: 2008."

Mumbai, August 28, 2013: A relic of an era gone by, the Companies Bill 1956 is symbolic of times when most of our contemporary visionary corporate leaders were either toddlers or some not even born. Though amended 25 times, the law is not in sync with the new order in the corporate world. This old bill is all set to be replaced with the new Companies Bill 2013. In a bid to fully comprehend the implications, Indian Merchants' Chamber under the auspices of its Law Committee is organizing a one Day Conference on Companies Bill 2013, on August 31, 2013 at Hotel ITC Grand Central, Parel, Mumbai. The conference will be inaugurated by the Hon'ble Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Mr. Justice Mohit Shah. The law has been rewritten extensively with several new provisions for investor protection, better corporate governance and corporate social responsibility among others. It defines 33 new terms that have come into vogue in recent times. As with all things new, there is a certain element of curiosity and the need to understand this bill in its new avatar, implications, effects and entirety." Eminent speakers will be addressing the Conference on a multitude of judiciously selected topics. Mr. Bharat Vasani, Group General Counsel Tata Sons Limited, will talk on "Inter Corporate Loans & Investments"; Mr. Cyril Shroff, Managing Partner Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co. will speak on "Capital Raising". Post lunch, a panel discussion on 'Corporate Governance, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Minority Actions & Class Action' will see renowned panelists like Mr. Cyril Shroff, Mr. Sharad Abhyankar, and Mr. Bharat Vasani presenting their views, moderated by Mr. Anand Desai, Co Chairman, Law Committee Managing Partner, DSK Legal. The other topics to be covered are "Accounts, Audit and Tax implications" by Mr. Sudhir Soni Partner, S.R. Batliboi & Associates LLP and Mr. Amrish Shah Partner, Ernst & Young LLP. Post tea, a session on "Duties and responsibilities of Directors including Independent Directors" will be presented by Mr. Mahendra Chouhan, Chairman, Mahendra & Young Knowledge Foundation; "Corporate Social Responsibility and Tax implications" by Mr. Chaitanya Kaliya and Mr. Sunil Kapadia, Partners, Ernst & Young LLP. The concluding session will cover the topic "Restructuring & Liquidation" presented by Mr.L Viswanathan, Partner, Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co." Announcing the Conference, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, IMC President said, "This legislation is most welcome and it will certainly revolutionize the management and administration of corporates. This Bill brings about several changes, which aim to bring greater clarity and transparency in corporate business. However, repercussions of certain provision of independent directors and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) need to be considered." The provisions for the definition and role of Independent Directors in the new Bill have raised many concerns among the head honchos in the corporate sector. A sense of wariness and unease has crept in with the new code of accountability laid out in the new Bill. The other debatable point is related to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) hitherto deemed as the prerogative of company policies and management decisions. The new Bill envisages and rules that every company having net worth of INR 500 crore or more, or turnover of INR 1000 crore or more or a net profit of INR 5 crore or more during any financial year has to constitute a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee consisting of three or more directors, with at least one independent director. The CSR Committee to formulate CSR Policy and also recommend the amount of expenditure to be incurred on the CSR activities. At least 2% of the average net profits of the company made during the three immediately preceding financial years to be spent on CSR activities. The Conference proposes to study, evaluate and analyze the implications and repercussions of such provisions on the corporate sector." The new Companies Bill 2012 has had a tumultuous journey lasting the entire term of the current government. Introduced as the Companies Bill 2009 in Lok Sabha on August 03, 2009, it went on to be referred to the standing committee on finance. It came back to the House as Companies Bill 2011 only to be sent back to the standing committee. It finally found common ground and acceptance in the Lok Sabha, when it was passed on December 18, 2012. Winning over the Rajya Sabha took another seven odd months before it was finally passed on August 08, 2013. Now rechristened as the Companies Bill 2013, it awaits the customary Presidential nod, to be enacted and become a law, replacing the old Companies Bill 1956." The Conference will be of immense interest to Independent Directors, Chief Executive Officers (CEO), CFOs, Compliance officers, In-house Counsels, Corporate Lawyers, Legal Head, Chartered Accountants and Cost Accountants." For registration and further details, please contact Mr. DC Tanna, IMC on Tel. No. 2204 6633, Extn. 601 or Mr. Prajakt Palladwar at Ext. 629 or by an email on gs15@imcnet.org or prajakt.palladwar@imcnet.org"

Mumbai, August 23, 2013: Economists got a literary break from their mundane world of numbers with a book reading session of the book "Globalization and Sustainable Economic Development" authored by Ms. Piya Mahtaney organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber at its Library Lounge. The event had a gathering of budding economists and students from various financial institutes who came to get educated about the nuances of the World Economy. IMC had taken this new initiative of encouraging book reading sessions in this landmark of a Library - The F.E Dinshaw Commercial & Financial Reference Library, which was set up to perpetuate the memory of Shri. F.E Dinshaw, a leading industrialist, who made a very valuable contribution to the development of the steel and cement sectors in India. It was inaugurated by Smt. Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister as part of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the Indian Merchants' Chamber in 1967. It was since refurbished and inaugurated by Mr. P. Chidambaram, the then Hon'ble Minister of Home, on 11th June, 2012." The IMC hopes to see many more interactive discourses organized in its historic library. Educators are welcome to come forward and initiate ways to promote this as an ideal platform to exchange thoughts between them and the student community." Ms. Piya Mahtaney, a visiting lecturer with St Xavier's Institute of Communications and St Xavier's College, read some excerpts from her newly launched book "Globalization and Sustainable Economic Development". The book originated from Ms. Mahtaney's observations, research and interactions as an undergraduate student, wherein she specialized in development economics, and in her current job as a journalist, lecturer and author." Ms. Mahtaney covered issues pertaining to low economic growth rates and a lack of economic progress, which was not the result of a shortage of capital, but instead was the outcome of weaknesses in the way financial and non financial capital was managed and utilized. Important issues were clarified about this contemporary area of economics such as the role of globalization, the time that it would take for the present situation of international uncertainty to wear out, and for employment and economic progress in the global economy to increase."

Mumbai, August 22, 2013: The falling rupee has raised serious concerns about the state of India's economy. The woes being faced by the Government at the Centre has shaken the global faith in India's growth story, with FIIs and investors having second thoughts on their investments in the country. As if reaffirming the Government's commitment towards the nation's growth story and allaying fears of India staring at an economical and financial crisis, Sanjay Jha, National Spokesperson, Congress (I), took centre stage at an interactive meeting, organized by the Indian Merchants' Chamber, Mumbai on August 22, 2013. The topic was aptly titled, `A Defining Decade - Why India's Growth is Unstoppable'. The 106-year-old Indian Merchants' Chamber, known for its proactive advocacy role on wide range of matters affecting growth and development of businesses, on policy and implementation matters, has been hosting events on recent developments on the financial and economical front with great gusto. Leading from the front, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, has consistently expressed and conveyed his concern at the deteriorating state of the economy. Welcoming the gathering he said, "The Indian economy is currently facing tough times. Factors like high social sector spending, a fiscal deficit amounting to 5% of the GDP using the backdrop of the global financial crisis, a farm loan waiver, besides high minimum support prices to farmers, all combined to weaken our fiscal position and stoke food inflation affecting the aam aadmi the most. The critical growth v/s inflation conflict is assuming political overtones, with the biggest sufferer being the economy. It will be interesting to hear Mr. Sanjay Jha's views and perhaps share his optimism." Apart from his duties as a National Spokesperson for Congress (I), Sanjay Jha has been instrumental in setting up the mutual funds industry in India and currently is the Executive Director of Dale Carnegie Training operations in India. He is also a popular and well recognized personality given his frequent appearances in national debates on prominent news channels. Acknowledging the tough task on hand he delved into India's growth story and shared his confidence by saying, "India is a young democracy, vibrant in nature and a radically transformed country. Today India is a part of the global think tank. No international agenda is complete without India on it. And that in itself is a big achievement. The last ten years have seen us opening up sectors like telecom, retail, pharma, education, healthcare and we grew at a time when most economies were languishing during the financial crisis of 2007." Admitting to concerns about the falling rupee and its statutory effect on the Indian economy, he said, "The problem of the rupee falling drastically is partly global and partly domestic. The recovery of the US economy is the main reason for the rupee's woes. Though the US-Eurozone recovery is bad in the short term, it holds lot of promise over the long term. Unemployment rates are declining and the $4 trillion that went into the emerging markets is now finding its way back home. On the domestic front, the gap between imports and exports is widening. Gold and oil imports are critical elements in our import bills, which need to be controlled." Going on to highlight the many other features that are symbolic of the India Growth story with an eye on the hurdles being faced, he said, "India is the third largest country in the world in the Purchasing Power Parity scales. India is in a cycle of change. Our middle class of 350 million people is larger than all of USA. A country that adapts well will succeed in times of crisis. India is a young. It is the thought process and the mind set that defines a nation. India is currently in a paradox. The corporate sector points to a paucity of talent while unemployment rates stay high. The need of the hour here is to maintain a balance in terms of quality by enhancing skills." Admitting to the corruption and bureaucratic delays in implementing projects, Sanjay said, "We are a parliamentarian democracy. The parliament has to function in order to move ahead. Coalition compulsion is a reality. However, the political system has to deliver. It cannot fight at the cost of stepping on the toes of the common man. Corruption needs to be tackled by framing stronger laws. As a citizen, if you want change, you will have to be politically active." The Q&A session proved to be fiery as expected and touched many an emotional chord. Thanking the power packed gathering in attendance together with an erudite gathering of IMC members, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, Vice President, IMC, observed, "Having heard you (Sanjay Jha), we share your optimism while appreciating the need to have and keep the faith in the system. We hope the Government responds to these issues in a timely and orderly fashion."

Mumbai, August 19, 2013: The depreciating rupee has had a cascading effect leading to a free fall in the stock markets with the Sensex making headlines across the country. Investors' wealth has eroded by thousands of crores. Financial storms of such magnitudes have a varying effect on large, small and mid-cap funds. It becomes imperative for an investor, looking for higher returns, to understand the pros and cons of investing in small and mid-cap funds vis--vis the safety found in large cap funds. This was the hot topic at a seminar - `Risk and Return in Small & Mid-Cap Funds' - organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber, on August 19, 2013, at IMC, Mumbai. The seminar was addressed by eminent speakers Mr. Arun Kejriwal, Founder of Kejriwal Research & Information Services (KRIS), Mr. Vikaas M Sachdeva, Chief Executive Officer, Edelweiss Asset Management Ltd. and Mr. Viral Berawala, Chief Investment Officer, Reliance Life Insurance Ltd. Acknowledging the grim scenario while welcoming the gathering, Mrs. Deena Mehta, Chairperson, Capital Market Committee, IMC, said, "The markets are topsy turvy now. However, such volatile situations throw up great investment opportunities. The key lies in knowing when, where, what and how much? Systematic investment always yields good returns." Taking centre stage, Mr. Arun Kejriwal observed the general trend among investors averse to risks, in allocating their resources to large cap funds to tide over volatility and uncertainty in the markets. Advising caution while investing in small and mid-cap funds, he said, "Mid-Cap funds can explode like RDX if not managed properly. These stocks have the ability to create wealth as well as erode it as they are easier to manipulate in the market. Invest in stocks keeping in mind important factors like corporate governance, track record of promoters, business model, regulatory impact and compliance. It is always better to invest in companies whose products can be touched, felt and used as a consumer. Invest only that amount, which is available assuming you have no income for the next 12 months and that too in small doses. The idea is to be PATIENT! And not end up becoming a patient." Explaining the investment pattern of mutual funds, Mr. Vikaas M Sachdeva, revealed, "Large cap funds invest money in large blue chip companies that are symbolic of low risk, low return and less volatility when compared to small and mid-cap funds, which are more risky in nature. Given their uncertain nature, small and mid-cap funds comprise stocks prone to extreme price fluctuations in bull and bear markets. These are meant more for short term traders looking for quick returns in real time. But if one studies and understands the business model while investing, research shows mid-cap funds index outperforming the large cap funds index in a long term scenario. Even while investing in small and mid-cap shares one must take a good look at the debt and cash balance, promoters holding, check historical price trends, liquidity of stocks and its corporate governance." Upholding these views, Mr. Viral Berawala, elaborated, "The advantages of investing in small and mid-cap funds or shares are many. There is room for them to grow at every opportunity. It is easier for a company with a market capitalization of Rs.300 crores to grow in double or triple digits than for a company with a market capitalization of say Rs.3,00,000 crores. The best example is of Infosys, which has grown 5900 times compared to the 16 times of the broader market, over the last 20 years. The large cap funds have outperformed the small and mid-cap funds by 200 bps and 300 bps respectively over the last 10 years (July 2003 - July 2013). However, during this period in bull markets and periods of rapid economic expansion, small and mid-cap funds outperform the large cap funds by 2% to 6% annually. While conversely from 2008-2013, the annual under performance to large caps was 6% to 11% annually." Concluding, all the experts were of the opinion that one needs to be cautious and not buy a share on face value; rather research it thoroughly and check for its succession plan. Keeping these factors in mind and choosing a quality stock with strong fundamentals can assure sustained and profitable returns over the long term.

Mumbai, August 07, 2013: To better understand the current macroeconomic situation and RBI's action plan for managing the Current Account Deficit and currency volatility, Indian Merchants' Chamber invited Dr. Rajiv B. Lall, Executive Chairman, Infrastructure Development Finance Co. Ltd., on August 6, 2013 at IMC, Mumbai for an interactive meeting. Presenting his thoughts while welcoming the august gathering, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, observed, "The current economic situation has seen a lot of volatility with the rupee crossing 61 to the dollar and stroking the inflationary potential of the economy while making the avowed aim of fiscal consolidation even more elusive. The GDP growth still remains in the danger zone." Apprehensive about the accountability in public life, which has touched rock bottom, he further stated, "The country's image in the international community is at stake and any credit downgrade now could prove costly for the economy." Dr. Rajiv B. Lall, a respected name in the policy making and finance spheres, sports the right credentials and is a leading light in his own right chairing the Global Agenda Council on Infrastructure of the World Economic Forum and; the Infrastructure Council of CII. He is also a member of their Economic Policy Council whilst being a member of the Managing Committee of ASSOCHAM apart from holding numerous other positions on the Prime Minister's Committees on Infrastructure, Finance and Transport Sector development. Sharing his vision on a long term perspective of the challenges facing macro policy formation, he said, "The economy right now is not in an encouraging environment, it is suffering from a chronic fiscal problem. Historically, it has been observed that in a democracy with the introduction of universal suffrage, there is also prevalence of higher level of social spending, which in turn would increase the country's GDP. However, to maintain this, would be a challenge for the Finance Minister of India. But to stabilize the economy, government needs to encourage corporate investment and public savings. This stability can be attained by measures like - Creating collateral equity markets; Addressing fundamental reforms; Tightening monetary policy." The Oxford University alumnus was optimistic about India facing the impossible challenge of improving the fiscal condition, as he said, "India needs to design its own welfare measures and take advantage of technology, which can improve tax administration and the targeted disbursement of subsidies. On the other hand, citizens also need to be responsible and recognize the limitations of their system. My advice to the government would be to include the social sector and to create a productive private sector, which presently is not the case. I also look forward for the CPI inflation to come down but am skeptical about it." Mr. Prabodh Thakker, Vice President, IMC, complimented Dr. Lall for his interesting and effective presentation as he said that Dr. Lall had offered positive and practical solutions to every problem he posed.

Mumbai, 30 July 2013: The plans to develop Mumbai on the lines of Shanghai have become a pipe dream for Mumbaikars, who are hapless victims of hollow promises and worthless blueprints drawn up time and again by the state and central government in the past decade. Sharing his own and his party's vision for the future of Mumbai, Mr. Ashish Shelar, Mumbai President of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), took centre stage at an event `Development of Mumbai City: BJP's Perspective', organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber on July 30, 2013 at IMC, Mumbai. Infrastructural development of metros has always been languishing and ambitious plans are found cooling their heels in political corridors. IMC has initiated a series of meetings with leaders of various prominent political parties to understand their visions of holistic and sustainable development of Mumbai. Welcoming the gathering, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, said, "Mumbai is paying a heavy price for unplanned growth as is evident from the wobbly infrastructure to the deteriorating lifestyle. Most development projects are held up due to lack of political will with the urban poor bearing the brunt of all the basic and civic problems like garbage, drainage, sewage, roads among others, being faced in the city. The recent case of Detroit filing for bankruptcy throws up a lot of lessons and we need to learn from them. IMC has been keeping an eye on this deteriorating state of affairs and has been actively trying to play a proactive advocacy role in providing a platform for prominent leaders of political parties to share their visions for the development of Mumbai." A humble beginning from a small tenement in the congested mill area of central Mumbai to being elected as Municipal Corporator from the northwest suburb of Khar, a member of the legislative council and the recent appointment as Mumbai President of Bhartiya Janata Party, Ashish Shelar has come a long way and has witnessed the transformation of Mumbai into a mega metropolis from close quarters. Sharing his party's perspective he said, "BJP's perspective for Mumbai is a Technology-driven Mumbai. We want development but also want to protect the fragile nature of our environment and keep pollution levels as minimal as possible." His presentation touched on all basic and imminent issues like Roads, Infrastructure, Garbage, Sewage, Drainage, Health, Housing, E-Governance, among others pertaining to Mumbai. Elaborating on the lacunae needed to be addressed, he said, "Mumbai is a unique city, ruled by many authorities right from the central government to the local BMC. The British Era model of developing cities has long been the standard model for developing cities around the world. The world has changed and today Mumbai has a population density of 40,000 people per square kilometer. We propose to redevelop Mumbai from the British themes to a technology-driven megapolis. Even today we are governed by the BMC ACT of 1888. The laws are outdated and need to be changed. For example the laws pertaining to housing and redevelopment of old buildings need to be revised. About 50% of people in Mumbai live in slums. The ceiling on FSI has to be lifted as growing vertically is the only option for creating more houses in Mumbai." For a city that generates 270mld of sewage and 6000 metric tones of garbage every day, high on air, water and sound pollution leading to serious health and hygiene issues; changing and adapting newer and better technologies holds the key to future development. Sharing these astounding statistics, he said, "We need to bring in technologies pertaining to these issues. Mumbai needs an autonomous status like New York to empower local authorities. With the current plans for more flyovers, skywalks, monorails and metro trains, these problems will get compounded if not checked. As Mr. Narendra Modi says we need to change our mindsets from an Audit of Process to an Audit of Performance." Chairman of the Mumbai Development Committee at IMC, Mr. Nanik Rupani, said, "We started this Committee in 2003 with an aim to keep the government on their toes to address issues pertaining to Mumbai. The sad part is even after 40% of the Government's revenue being generated from Mumbai, our financial capital of India is fast losing its sheen. If not more, at least give us a Clean Mumbai!" Echoing every Mumbaikar's sentiments, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, Vice President IMC, said, "We hope to see these visions coming true for a better Mumbai. The heartwarming fact is that Mr. Ashish Shelar has presented and answered every question with a technical answer and not a political one." The power packed gathering also saw the Consul Generals of Indonesia, Russia and Canada in attendance together with an erudite gathering and IMC members.

Mumbai, 23 July 2013: India is predominantly an agricultural nation with two thirds of the populace engaged in agriculture and farming. The south west monsoon is the lifeline of the country and a determining factor in the country's economic fortunes. In a bid to understand the impact of this year's monsoon, Indian Merchants' Chamber organized a panel discussion, `2013 Monsoon: Impact on Agriculture and Food Prices', on July 23, 2013, IMC, Mumbai. The elite panel comprising Dr. S. K. Goel, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Department, Government of Maharashtra, Mr. Samir Shah, MD, NCDEX, Mr. Kishore Tanna, Vice Chairman, IOPEPC and Mr. Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE Ratings, took centre stage and shared their views. Too little or too much, both scenarios have a defining outcome, and the fallout has been witnessed in the forms of droughts, famine or floods, which directly or indirectly affects agriculture and food prices. Keeping this in mind the discussion focused on: Effect of SW monsoon on the performance of Indian agricultural sector. How to utilize rain water for sustaining agriculture in the long run. Importance of temporal and spatial distribution of rainfall. Impact of varying monsoon pattern on crop cultivation and how to seize the opportunity to improve post-harvest practices. Opportunities and Challenges faced by the agricultural sector. Welcoming the august gathering, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, said, "Our theme for this year is `Sustainable Development' and all our activities and events this year will reflect this thought. Agriculture is a crucial sector if we are to achieve the goal of Sustainable Development. The erratic monsoon patterns and climatic changes being witnessed all over the globe in the past few years has prompted agriculture and farming sectors to awaken and devise methods to work around these developments for sustained agricultural growth." The discussion was moderated by Mr. G. Chandrashekhar, Chairman, IMC's Agri-Business & Food Processing Committee and Editor, (Commodities & Agri-Business), The Hindu Business Line, who set the ball rolling in his opening remarks as he said, "Agriculture as a sector is critical for growth with equity and inclusiveness because 52% of the population is engaged in agriculture but its contribution to the GDP is just 17%. The South West monsoon is a critical driver of farm output growth and this year's all India weighted rainfall average is 16% above normal as on July 17, 2013. Out of 625 districts, 462 are showing excess to normal rains. The live storage in reservoirs is 149% of normal. This is good news compared to the situation last year and we expect the Kharif crop to be robust." Dr. S. K. Goel, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Department, Government of Maharashtra, kicked off the proceedings, by saying, "I enjoy coming to the IMC with the hope that someday the corporate sector will fall in love with agriculture and explore the untapped potential of this sector, which engages 120 million households across the country. The agriculture business makes great business sense. Is any challenge more exciting than connecting these 120 million households to the other 120 million in urban and semi urban centres? China has accepted this challenge and is making rapid progress." Elaborating on the difficult path ahead, he said, "The vastness and diversity of this sector dependent on the varying monsoon patterns is a big challenge as no two crops, farmers, villages in the country are the same. The value chain is not stable and organized. For example, the private sector needs to come up with an Insurance product that covers the risks and takes care of the needs of the farmers. We at the government level are open to corporate participation and will welcome and encourage such an initiative." Mr. Kishore Tanna, Vice Chairman, IOPEPC (Indian Oilseeds & Produce Export Promotion Council), an organization engaged in promoting oilseeds and oil, opined, "For agri-business to make sense, the State, Centre and the Private sector need to come together. Another major concern is that of wastage. Approximately, Rs.54,000 crores worth of grains and farm produce is wasted every year. Plugging this hole in itself would be a great achievement. As far as this year's monsoon reports are concerned, we have news that planting for the kharif crop has been completed all over India and the bumper harvest should bring down the prices, bringing down inflation with it. However, what remains to be seen is who will benefit - the farmers or the consumers?" Representing the online multi commodity exchange NCDEX, Mr. Samir Shah, MD, NCDEX, said, "The onset of the good monsoon this year has seen better utilization of our market infrastructure, which in turn is a reflection of good and positive activity in agriculture. Warehouses are booked to capacity, new ones are coming up and booking has increased at a phenomenal rate in anticipation of a good crop and bumper harvest. Significant capacity creation is being seen all over India. Farmers' desire to participate in the whole value chain is also increasing and we foresee a healthy production to consumption ratio, with the farmers getting a better deal for their produce." Mr. Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE Ratings, argued his case saying, "Agriculture is the only silver lining in the Indian economy and it is going to play a major role in driving growth. We need to commercialise agriculture in order to move forward. But the scenario is fraught with politics at the state and central levels. Moreover, agriculture is prone to serious risks as seen in recent years, which has seen farmers giving it up and moving to urban centres in search for livelihoods. Corporate participation has been witnessed at a small level via contract farming but the results are not encouraging. Corporates are wary of investing due to the rampant politics prevalent in agricultural belts. At the end of the day corporates are not philanthropic organizations and need to see decent returns on their investments." Commenting on the hopes of a fall in inflation figures, he was doubtful as he said, "Food inflation and prices will continue to be under pressure due to high crude imports, the depreciation of the rupee, and other external factors." The compact but erudite gathering made some interesting observations. Acknowledging the same, Mr. Tanil Kilachand, Co-Chairman IMC ERTF (Economic Research & Training Foundation), said, "The discussion has thrown up some amazing insights, thoughts and leads and we at IMC will draw from them and take them further on our path of `Sustainable Development'."

Mumbai, 22 July 2013: The free fall of the rupee witnessed in the last couple of weeks has jolted the Indian economy and sent shockwaves across the markets. In a bid to fully understand its widespread ramifications, Indian Merchants' Chamber hosted a panel discussion, `Falling Rupee and its impact on the Indian Economy', at IMC. The elite panel comprising Mr. Anand Rathi, Chairman, Anand Rathi Financial Services Ltd., Mr. Pradip Shah, Chairman, IndAsia Fund Advisors Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Jamal Mecklai, CEO, Mecklai Financial Services Ltd., Mr. Saugata Bhattacharya, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Axis Bank Ltd., represented the equity, finance and banking sectors. The rupee, passing through one of its worst crisis in recent times, crossed 61 to the dollar and is one of the worst performing emerging market currencies today. All this will have far reaching impact on our already precarious current account deficit and imports, not to mention the ever-looming threat of inflation. Keeping these concerns in mind, the discussion focused on: Direct and indirect effects of a weakening rupee on key sectors of the Indian economy; Opportunities and challenges facing the external sector in the current scenario; Implications of rupee volatility on long term economic growth and the larger picture. Welcoming the gathering, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, said, "The consistent drop of the rupee in the past few weeks is bad news not only for inflation but also for our fiscal deficit, which could rise considerably. Hence the unprecedented depreciation of the rupee is a matter of grave concern and a relevant topic for discussion." Mr. Pradip Shah, Chairman, IndAsia Fund Advisors Pvt. Ltd., the moderator for the discussion, kicked off the proceedings by saying, "Countries like Japan and China have dealt better with cheap currencies. RBI has put in place many measures to reign in the rupee while the central government is working on opening up FDI across sectors. However, the RBI must slash interest rates as it will attract FII into the equity markets, which are the mainstay in currency stability." Touching on various other factors, he went on to cite the irony existing in our country on job creation, when he said, "We have long been creating jobs in countries abroad but lack the same determination back home. For example, by allowing 100% FDI in defense we can create thousands of jobs, have access to latest technologies rather than dole out huge defense deals to countries like US, Israel, Russia, whereby we contribute to their economies while ours languishes." Speaking on the effect of the falling rupee on the markets, Mr. Anand Rathi, Chairman, Anand Rathi Financial Services Ltd., said, "A stronger currency means a stronger country. We are currently looking at a huge current account deficit of 4.8% of GDP. We have to focus on reducing our import bills. Oil and gas production has to be stepped up as these are the heaviest items in our import bill. The current account deficit should be kept under 2%. The rupee is under valued in real terms and should bounce back in three months." Mr. Jamal Mecklai, CEO, Mecklai Financial Services Ltd., was his evergreen jovial self as he said, "In my opinion the government should open Gold Savings Accounts. Gold is the biggest asset in the Indian mindset and we have an estimated 35,000 tonnes of gold in the country. If this is brought out into the financial system, it will help reduce gold imports. We are in the midst of a crisis but refuse to acknowledge it or accept it. Merely addressing the symptoms is not enough. The root cause has to be correctly diagnosed and remedied. This government is focused on politics. The political system has to be cleansed and we as citizens need to be more proactive and vote in the change to tackle the root cause." Expressing his opinions, Mr. Saugata Bhattacharya, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Axis Bank Ltd., said, "The bottom line of any economy is growth. The reason India escaped the mayhem witnessed in the world in the past two years, was growth. It has to be sustained. However, in my opinion three things cannot work together viz. we cannot have Free Capital Inflow, Fixed Exchange Rate and an Independent Monetary Policy." The panelists handled a wide range of questions from the gathering very deftly and shed light on related subjects. Proposing the vote of thanks, Mr. Prabodh Thakker, Vice President, IMC, observed, "It has been a very enlightening discussion and yet a very disturbing one to say the least. As we have all learnt, the impact of the falling rupee is ultimately going to boil down to the common man and will affect all of us at some point. However, we hope that the suggestions offered today by our erudite panelists find an ear with the authorities and governing bodies. For every challenge has a hidden opportunity, we just need to look for it."

Mumbai, 19 June 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber organized its 105th Annual General Meeting here today at IMC. Mr. Uday Kotak, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. was the Chief Guest at the AGM. "We have seen many financial ups and downs since the last 20 years after the opening up of the Indian economy and now we are at the cross roads," said Mr. Kotak who spoke on the topic, 'India at the Crossroads' at the AGM. Mr. Kotak mentioned the following five important issues that India needs to focus on and attain in order to sustain economic growth and stability. Competitiveness Transparency in our operating system Value system in important issues Civil society initiative Politics of idealism and transformational change He also emphasized the importance of having a decisive Government post the 2014 elections and not mixing up business with politics. In his welcome address, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC, described Mr. Kotak as a man of great prudence, simplicity and humility. Mr. Hiranandani also listed a series of initiatives by way of Conferences, Seminars, Business Delegations, etc. during tenure as the IMC President. Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President-Elect, IMC proposed the vote of thanks and said that his theme for the year, "Sustainable Development" would be a logical continuation of that of his predecessor.

Mumbai, 11 July 2013: IMC welcomes a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court to strike down a provision in the electoral law that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the grounds of pendency of appeal in the higher courts. This step should, hopefully, lead to the decriminalization of our political system and ensure that the same law applies both to the aam aadmi and to the politician. This is one of those amendments we would have been happy to see being executed with retrospective effect, but something is better than nothing. In the long run, it will hopefully help to incentivize more honest people to join politics and reassure all Indians that no one is eligible for any special treatment, regardless of their standing in the political system.

Mumbai, 10 July 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber organized a seminar on 'Opportunities for Investments in Volatile Market' at IMC. Mr. Navneet Munot, Chief Investment Officer, SBI Mutual Fund gave insight into the positive side of the Indian economy and appropriate financial products to suit the risk appetite of investors. Due to concerns on rising US interest rates and sell-off in emerging markets have put pressure on rupee and Indian equity market. "But I believe that in the medium term, at least within the emerging market space, India would continue to get higher allocation, given India's relatively higher growth potential, improvement in macro data from here on and interesting bottom up stock picking opportunities," said Mr. Munot in his address. Given the downshift in China's growth potential, most of the other commodity producing countries would get impacted negatively. This augurs well for India. Lower commodity prices would help us in addressing trade deficit, fiscal deficit (subsidies) and inflation. He added that India's core story remains intact in terms of potential opportunity from consumption, export competitiveness (furthered with recent currency depreciation) and supply side investments. Incremental action on the policy side has been positive with restraint on fiscal deficit being the most important. I expect significant improvement in current account deficit in coming quarters and years. Corporate profitability is bottoming out with likely improvement in asset turnover as well as expansion in margins expected going forward. According to Mr Munot, Domestic investors have been underweight on equities and should use the volatility induced by global events as an opportunity to build equity exposure as long term potential remains intact and valuations are reasonable. Indian investors worry more about slightest slump in economy elsewhere in the world and react. Mr. Munot urged the investors not to get panic and react on the basis of what happens in other markets and economies which might or might not make a very short term impact in our market. He also advised the investors to stay invested in high growth sectors such as Telecom and Infrastructure for a longer period. Earlier, Ms. Deena Mehta, Chairperson, Capital Market Committee, IMC introduced the theme of the seminar.

Mumbai, 8 July 2013: Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC applauds the new initiatives taken by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Prithviraj Chavan, for the development of the State. In an effort to ensure that Maharashtra retains its premiere position amongst the Indian states, Mr. Vaidya suggested holding an Investors' Conclave and offered IMC's full support to bring in investments -- FDI, NRI and domestic -- to aggressively promote the industrial growth of the State.

Mumbai, 5 July 2013: This measure will go a long way in helping the aam admi who is burdened with rising prices. We sincerely hope that the scheme becomes successful and is extended to all districts of Maharashtra. For Twitter IMC welcomes scheme of selling Vegetables & Fruits at 30% less than market price. Wish this becomes successful & is extended all over Maharashtra

Mumbai, 4 July 2013: IMC extends a cautious welcome to the proposed decision Union Cabinet's to move one step forward to implement the important Food Security Bill, which is projected to benefit almost two-thirds of the country's population. However, we need to keenly watch as to how the execution of the same will occur. There is no doubt that when implemented fully, this momentous Bill will affect grain production, procurement, distribution logistics and the nation's subsidy burden. Its implication on each of these four key areas needs to be carefully examined. The ballooning subsidy, in particular, could impact the already precarious fiscal deficit and display its adverse repercussions on the nation's inflationary scenario. While the intent behind this Bill is good, all its economic repercussions need to be clearly understood at the outset. For Twitter IMC's view on the Food Security Ordinance- 'It is a step taken with a good intent but its economic implications need careful examination'

Mumbai, 2 July 2013: The President of IMC, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya met the Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Dr. D. Subbarao along with a few members of IMC on July 1, 2013. He urged the Governor to consider lowering of lending rates which would help in giving a push to the economic growth of the country. Mr. Vaidya apprised the Governor that the downslide of the rupee can only be reversed if the growth is stimulated. This can be done by lowering the interest rates. A calibrated risk needs to be taken by the RBI.

Mumbai, 13 June 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber research wing IMC-Economic Research & Training Foundation (ERTF) in association with City of London has organised a panel discussion on 'Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) Report here today. "Regulations are created to look after and protect the consumer's interest. The suggestion for a unified financial regulator is in this direction," said Justice B. N. Srikrishna, Chairman, FSLRC who made a special address in the Panel discussion. As per the FSLRC recommendations, there will be only two financial regulators in the country. RBI will look at the Banking and Payments and the Unified Financial regulator will appear at all the financial irregularities in the financial sector. According to the FSLRC report, everybody including the regulator is accountable and can approach the appellate machinery in case of dispute. "I cannot understand why anyone should be afraid of such a transparent and consumer centric regulation," said Justice Srikrishna. He also mentioned about some of the questions he faced before this commission was formed such as: Why a specialised forum? Do not touch our domain and power? Where to get talented people? Why do we need another one? The suggestion for a Unified Financial Regulator will regulate all the financial sectors under one umbrella other than Banking and Payments. Single grievance addressal should be one of the focuses to deal the financial sector. The Panel Discussion observed that FSLRC Report is deeply rooted in protecting the interest of the public at large. The strands emerged from the discussion are: Public at large are the centre point Unified Regulation is possible This regulation is not for someone who do not like transparency and criticism Large part of the effort was focused on how the regulator should function and accountable in general Should be a level playing field There should be a time limit for legal settlements Mr. Somasekhar Sundaresan, Partner, J. Sagar Associates, Mr. Bobby Parikh, Chairman, BMR Advisor Services, Mr. Ravi Narain, Vice Chairman, National Stock Exchange, Mr. Jayesh Mehta, MD and Country Treasurer, Bank of America and Mr. Prabodh Thakker, Chairman, Aon Insurance Brokers Ltd, Vice President-elect, IMC were the distinguished speakers and Mr. Shailesh Haribhakti, Chairman, D H Consultant was the Moderator. The entire panelist focused on the principles for governance of financial sector regulatory institutions. Mr. Shailesh Haribhakti, Chairman, D H Consultant insisted on educating and creating awareness among the consumers and masses regarding the FSLRC recommendations. Earlier, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC welcomed the dignitaries and panelists while Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Vice President, IMC proposed the vote of thanks. Mr. Tanil Kilachand, Co-Chairman - IMC-ERTF provided the impact of FSCLRC and necessary inputs on the needs of the industries in his opening remark.

Mumbai, 5 June 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber organised its 7th annual International Conference on Banking & Finance with the theme - 'Road to Recovery and Growth: Role of Banks and financial Sector,' here today. "Since last five years, we are going through the worst global financial crisis of our generation." said Dr. Subbarao, Governor, Reserve Bank of India delivering the inaugural address at the Conference. Dr. Subbarao also explained impact of the global financial crisis through a presentation to the delegates. He detailed the lessons learnt from the crisis touching up on five specific issues related to India: Migration to BASEL III, Shadow Banking and the need of extending the perimeter of regulation, Subsidisation of Foreign Banks, OTC Derivatives market, and Safeguarding the financial stability of the country. "We need to tighten our regulation to minimise the illegal existence and operations of the shadow banking system in the country," observed Dr. Subbarao. He was referring to the recent chit fund scam in the eastern part of the country. There are 12,000 NBFCs in the country which are registered and regulated by the RBI currently and the Governor emphasised on tightening the need for regulation to protect the economically vulnerable from getting cheated by the scamsters. Deliberations at the inaugural session were: The need of stabilizing the Rupee against USD to attract FIIs RBI should make some more proactive policy measures to incentivize industry in the country A level playing field for Public Sector and Private Sector Banks in the country Make banking facility available for the rural population Mr. Piyush Goyal, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Mr. Pratip Chaudhuri, Chairman, State Bank of India, Mr. Rajkumar Dhoot, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) were the Guests of Honour at the occasion. In the Valedictory Session after the whole day Conference, Mr. Rajiv Takru, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India was the Chief Guest. " We are living in a very troubled economic times and we have a tremendous experience as to how to deal with it," said Mr. Takru in his address. Deliberations from the valedictory session were: Indian Banking system is having a very serious issue of rising NPAs Industry should prepare a case based on reality while making a proposal to a bank Corporate Restructuring should only meant for those cases which are bona fide and the unit can be salvaged Rules and regulations should be strictly followed in the banking sector Charted Accountants should be more vigilant and careful while checking the balance sheets of banks There should be zero tolerance for deliberate mistakes and the system should be organized Encourage sections in the society who are vulnerable to use the banking system Encourage payments and receipts through banking system Earlier, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC welcomed the dignitaries and delegates and Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President-elect, IMC proposed the vote of thanks. Mr. Mahesh Thakkar, Co-Chairman, Finance and Banking Committee, IMC proposed the vote of thanks at the valedictory function. Mr. Chandan Bhattacharya, Chairman, Finance & Banking Committee, IMC and Former Managing Director, State Bank of India made the introductory remarks at the Conference. The inaugural session was followed by sessions on: Financial Sector Reforms - An Unfinished Agenda Balance sheet restructuring for corporate recovery, a Bank account for all and a panel discussion on 'Innovative Tools for Long term Infrastructure Funding. Mr. Alok Nigam, Joint Secretary (Banking), Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Mr. R. K. Dubey, CMD, Canara Bank, Mr. David Rasquinha, Executive Director, Exim Bank, Prof. (Mrs.) Ashima Goyal, Public Interest Director, MCX-SX, Mr. M. V. Tanksale, CMD, Central Bank of India, Mr. D. Sarkar, CMD, Union Bank of India, Mr. B, A. Prabhakar, CMD, Andhra Bank, Mr. S. S. Mundra, CMD, Bank of Baroda, Mr. M. G. Sanghvi, CMD, Syndicate Bank, Dr. K. C. Chakrabarty, Deputy Governor, RBI, Mr. A. Krishna Kumar, Managing Director & Group Executive (National Banking) and Whole-Time Director, State Bank of India were the speakers among others at various sessions.

Mumbai, 3 June 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber in association with Federation of Accommodation Industry of India has organized an interactive meeting with Dr. Satyapal Singh, Mumbai Police Commissioner at the IMC today. Dr. Singh explained how a city like Mumbai, which is the fourth most populated city in the world can be made secure and the difficulties in policing the city through a presentation to the audience. "Alertness should become the religion of the people, then only a city like Mumbai can be safe," said Dr. Singh. Creating awareness about alertness and safety among children should start at home and it should continue in schools and colleges. Dividing a society in the name of religion or language is also a hindrance to the safety of the city. Dr. Singh explained the main factors which makes the safety of Mumbai city. They are: intelligence, public awareness, anti terror measures, mock drills, vital installations and bomb detection and disposal. The commissioner also appealed the audience to join hands with the police by informing about any suspicious movement of people or an object. "This will help us to serve you better for your safety," he concluded. Earlier, Mr Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC welcomed the Police Commissioner and Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Vice President, IMC proposed the vote of thanks.

Mumbai, May 30, 2013: A 21-member business delegation from Iran's West Azarbaijan visited Indian Merchants' Chamber today to explore and promote the business and trade relationship with India further. "The economic sanctions from the US followed by Iran's nuclear tests for peaceful purposes is actually an opportunity for us to develop and increase the trade volumes with other countries," said H. E. Masood E. Khaleghi, Consul General of Islamic Republic of Iran in Mumbai. "The relation between India and Iran need no further explanation since it goes back to 1500 AD. India is one country which with Iran can do business without any strings attached," added the Consul General. He observed that during the last 25-30 years, both the countries have progressed in various sectors and these types of interactions will help to increase the trade between the two countries. "We are here to know and tap the potentials to increase trade between the two countries, said H. E. Gholamreza Dizajnejhad, Deputy Governor (Planning), West Azarbaijan. "Moreover, the geographical advantage of both countries can easily boost the volume of trade in modern times," he observed. Earlier, Mr. Anil Ruia, Chairman, International Business Committee, IMC welcomed the delegates. "India and Iran have a very good cultural and trade relationship since last many centuries. IMC is always happy to introduce the business delegations from Iran to the Indian business community," said Mr. Ruia in his address. The hour long interaction between the delegates and 35 plus Indian businessmen witnessed fruitful exchange of business ideas which could take the IMC's initiative forward. The delegation included members from mining industry, agricultural sector, cement, petrochemicals, metal and metallurgical sectors and various industry and trade promotion councils.

EMBASSY OF INDIA DOHA Mr. P. Chidambaram, Hon'ble Finance Minister of India paid an official visit to the State of Qatar on 19 May, 2013 in the framework of the excellent relations and regular exchange of high level visits between the two countries. Hon'ble Finance Minister of India and His Excellency Mr. Yousef Hussain Kamal, Minister of Economy & Finance of Qatar held discussions related to India-Qatar bilateral cooperation in various areas including investments, banking and finance, energy, aviation, and travel and tourism. HE the Minister of Economy & Finance of Qatar hosted a luncheon in honour of Hon'ble Finance Minister of India. The luncheon was attended by Chairman of Hassad Food, CEOs of Qatar Airways, Qatar Holding, Qatari Diar and Qatar National Bank, and other invitees. Finance Minister (FM) had an audience with His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, in the presence of HE the Minister of Economy and Finance, and HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Qatar. FM conveyed the warm greetings of Hon'ble President and Hon'ble Prime Minister of India to HH the Emir. FM said that the State Visit of HH the Emir to India in April, 2012 had imparted fresh momentum to the historically friendly ties and growing bilateral cooperation between India and Qatar. FM conveyed the admiration of the Government and people of India for the strides being made by Qatar in various areas under HH the Emir's Vision 2030, and underlined India's keenness to further expand partnerships with Qatar in diverse areas to the mutual benefit of both sides. FM thanked HH the Emir for the welfare of the Indian community in Qatar. HH the Emir reciprocated FM's warm sentiments and noted the vast potential to further expand India-Qatar cooperation to the mutual benefit of both sides. HH the Emir assured his Government's support to the efforts being made to deepen and broaden the areas of engagement discussed between the two Finance Ministers. HH the Emir encouraged both sides to actively follow up on the discussions during FM's visit. HH the Emir expressed appreciation for the large, diverse, vibrant and highly regarded Indian community in Qatar. FM addressed an Investors Meeting, organized jointly by Embassy of India and Doha Bank, at which Chairmen/CEOs of several Qatari companies and Heads of the local operations of Indian companies and banks participated. FM underlined the robustness of the Indian economy, India's vast potential and distinctive advantages as an investment partner and the other opportunities in India for business enterprises from Qatar. FM also informally interacted with prominent Qatari business leaders at a dinner hosted in his honour by Ambassador of India on 18 May. FM visited the impressive complex of Hamad International Airport (HIA) - Doha's new airport - on a tour graciously conducted by HE Mr. Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways and HIA.

Mumbai, May 10, 2013: Merchants' Chamber expresses its point of view on LBT. Speaking on the LBT issue, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC, said, "It has always been IMC's view that Octroi should be abolished and we applaud the Government's initiative in this direction. However, after carefully studying provisions of the LBT Act, which is being introduced effective October 1, 2013 in lieu of Octroi, we feel that creating multiple centers of tax registration and collection is not advisable since it will create havoc in the system and encourage corruption." "It is our considered view that the taxation to be levied in lieu of Octroi should be integrated with VAT collection by adding 0.5 to 1% Surcharge with a clear provision that the additional 1% Surcharge would be diverted to BMC or any other local bodies. This will allay fear of BMC that they will not get funds from the State through VAT collection and they will go bankrupt after the abolition of Octroi." Mr. Hiranandani added. The various trade associations have written to IMC vehemently opposing introduction of LBT in lieu of Octroi for the following reasons: The Trading Community is already so over burdened with bureaucratic procedures like following rules and procedures thereof, filling up challans and returns under various Acts & Rules, undergoing assessments from various State & Government Taxation Agencies that it hardly leaves any scope for imposing a new LBT system. The Act & Rules framed for LBT are so harsh that no trader, howsoever, he desires, can completely comply with the same. Besides, it will result into harassment and corruption due to reasons such as : Initiating prosecution proceedings against Traders even for default of Rs.200/.This is against the back drop of Central Government limit of Rs.50 lacs in case of Service Tax, Customs and Central Excise. Inspectors have powers to search and seize and intercept goods laden tempos, trucks, hand-carts etc. under the pretext of checking whether LBT has been paid on the goods in transit. These unbridled powers will be more often than not misused by the Inspector Raj to collect illegal gratification. Revenue collection is entrusted to agencies like Income-Tax, Sales Tax, Central Excise & Customs Department, and in case of land revenue the powers are given to Collectors. It cannot be the task of Civic body staff to go on revenue collection by ignoring their basic duty. LBT will adversely impact the final costs of the goods and services as it will be difficult to claim refund. There will be a cascading effect leading to inflation. There is no time limit given to refund the excess collection of LBT. Dealers will be charged 2% interest on late payment of LBT besides penalty, interest etc. on short payment. Stopping any vehicle (including personal & private, vehicles) within the area of Municipal Corporation, as long as necessary, till the satisfaction of the commissioner. Unlimited search and seizure powers which are so far reaching that they are not even available to Income Tax and Central Excise Commissioners. There is no appellate authority and as such the decision of the Municipal Commissioner is full and final. While the Government of India is trying to eliminate number of windows and is trying for one window system, the Government of Maharashtra is introducing one more window in the form of LBT, which would breed corruption. Mr. Suresh Kotak, Chairman, Forum of Affiliated Associations, IMC and Mr. Surendra Savai, President, Mumbai Textile Merchants Association had also expressed their views on LBT.

Mumbai, May 9, 2013: Hon'ble Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Mr. Mohit Shah addressed the gathering consisting of the participants who had completed the 8-day course in Arbitration organised by IMC, senior counsels and members of the managing committee and emphasized the importance and need for adoption of arbitration. "I always considered arbitration and mediation as the most effective resolution mechanism in judicial system even though it is not an alternative system, "said Mr. Shah addressing the gathering. He also highlighted the high rate of resolution of arbitration petitions at Bombay High Court. "There is an increasing demand for arbitrators, so there should be an increased enthusiasm from the young lawyers for arbitration," he said. Mr. Shah urged the business community to go for arbitration as the first option which is combined with mediation. "We have a well established justice delivery system in India. This initiative in arbitration will only improve our judicial process," observed Mr. D. M. Popat, Chairman, IMC Court of Arbitration and Conciliation Committee. He emphasized the need of separate bar for arbitration for the success of arbitration in India. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Milind Sathe, Senior Counsel said arbitration is cost effective and helps to speed up the judicial process. Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Vice President, IMC welcomed the dignitaries and Mr. Suresh Kotak, Chairman, Mediation Committee, IMC proposed the vote of thanks.

Mumbai, May 3, 2013: Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi addressed business leaders and industrialists in Mumbai at an event hosted by Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) and All India Business Council (AIBC). Mr. Modi was cheered and applauded by the audience as he narrated how Gujarat had successfully implemented various development projects in the last 10 years. Gujarat model can be easily replicated for the country as a whole, the Chief Minister added. "The economic growth in India is today measured by the capacity of purchasing power of the rural population. This purchasing power can be increased only by boosting the agricultural sector. Gujarat is the only State in the country where the growth rate in agriculture is 10 per cent consistently for the past 10 years. In 2014 Gujarat will host a global agriculture technology exhibition to showcase what the State's achievements are," Mr. Modi said. Speaking about China, Mr. Modi said "The entire world knows that Asia will be the next big story in this century. The question is will it be driven by India or China. If we have to compete with China, we have to develop skills in various sectors, plan projects on a large scale and achieve speed in their implementation." Earlier, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC introduced the theme of Mr. Modi's interactive meeting - 'Gujarat model of Economic Development.' "The kind of socio-economic development witnessed in Gujarat in last 10 years is a role model for the entire nation." said Mr. Hiranandani. Mr. Mathuradas H. Mehta, President Emeritus, AIBC welcomed Mr. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Mumbai, April 29, 2013: Narendra Modi, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Gujarat will be visiting Mumbai on May 2, 2013 to have an interactive meeting with the businessmen and to showcase to them the Gujarat model of economic development. Gujarat has registered double digit growth rate for the past several years and is considered one of the most preferred investment destination in the country. The interactive meeting with the business community has been arranged by Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) and All India Business Council (AIBC). Given below are the details of the event: Day: Thursday, May 2, 2013 Time: 5pm Venue: Rama Watumull Auditorium, KC College, 124, Dinshaw Wachha Road, Churchgate, Mumbai-400020.

Mumbai, April 23, 2013: The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) and China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Guangdong Council jointly with the support of the Consulate General of India, Guangzhou organized an "India Calling Conference" in Guangzhou, China. Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President of IMC led a 50 member Indian business delegation which included a number of corporate CEOs from various sectors of industry and trade, as well as top educationists from leading universities. The objective of the India Calling Conference was, to take advantage of the momentum in China, to better understand the emerging business milieu, to explore areas where opportunities exist for Indian businessmen and to facilitate delegates from both sides to forge business partnerships through conferences, pre-arranged business meetings, industry visits and networking events with industry and government leaders. The conference began with the address by IMC president, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, who welcomed the Chinese investments in India and mentioned that the US $ 3 billion Metro Project in Mumbai could be a good starting point for Chinese investments in large-scale investment projects in India. Mr. Chen Qiuyan, Chairman of CCPIT Guangdong Council mentioned that CCPIT is actively participating in the annual Products Fair in Mumbai and announced that with the inspiration of the 'India Calling Conference' in Guangzhou, CCPIT Guangdong will lead a 100 member Chinese business delegation to Mumbai to organize "China Calling Conference" some time later in this year and make it an annual affair. Later IMC and CCPIT signed a joint cooperation MoU to further relations between the business sectors of India and China. Consul General of India in Guangzhou, Mr. Nagaraj Naidu, in his keynote speech, said that Chinese enterprises should initiate a new business model for Indian market which focuses more on investment rather than trading and he identified some key sectors for cooperation like Pharmaceuticals, IT Services, Infrastructure, Agro-Products, etc. Mr. Suresh Prabhu, former Union Power Minister and Chief Guest of the Conference, said that the next phase of growth in India will be powered by the current low-growth regions of India and cited a number of non-conventional sectors where India and China can cooperate together like Financing, Agriculture,Traditional Medicine, etc to achieve wonders worldwide. He cited the MoU signed between Guangdong and Maharashtra and said a lot can be achieved because of the similarities between these two Provinces. Dr. Vijay N. Suryawanshi, Joint Chief Executive Officer of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) gave a presentation explaining the various opportunities available for Chinese investors in the state of Maharashtra with a focus on infrastructure sector. The plenary session covered the discussion on Spotting Opportunities: India-China Business & Economic Ties; Roadmap to Enhancing India-China Economic Relations: Chinese Perspective. In the Session, various experts from different fields like Consultancy, Agriculture & Food Processing, Financial Services, Legal Services, Textiles, Infrastructure Engineering gave their views on how to further economic cooperation between India and China in those respective fields. The presentation by Mr. Hugo Lin, Deputy Director of Invest Promotion Division of Invest Shenzhen on the investment policies for overseas investors in Shenzhen was well received by the Indian Delegation. The Indian Business Delegation also visited the Midea Group's manufacturing plant in Shunde, Foshan to see and understand the development of Chinese Enterprises in the Manufacturing Sector.

Mumbai, April 23, 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) has been selected as one of the Chambers to judge the World Chambers Competition held by International Chamber of Commerce World Chambers Federation (ICC WCF). Mr. Arvind Pradhan, Director General, IMC, will represent the Chamber in the World Chambers Competition in Doha to be held this year. He will judge the winner in the "Best youth entrepreneurship project" category. "This invitation is a gesture of respect and honour for IMC at the international level. I am honoured to represent IMC to judge such an esteemed competition," said Mr Pradhan. The World Chambers Competition organised by the ICC WCF is the only global awards programme to recognize the most innovative projects undertaken by Chambers from all over the world. It provides a unique opportunity for Chambers to showcase originality and ingenuity, demonstrate determination to strengthen SMEs, and improve services to members. This year they have announced the 25 finalists set to compete in the 2013 World Chambers Competition.

The 2013 Competition have received entries from 65 Chambers of Commerce and Industry from 42 countries applying under the following categories:

  • Best corporate social responsibility project 
  • Best international project 
  • Best small business project 
  • Best unconventional project 
  • Best youth entrepreneurship project 

The selected finalists will present their projects during the ICC WCF 8th World Chambers Congress in Doha, to be held from 22-25 April 2013. The Congress, hosted in 2013 by the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is the only Forum open to the global community of over 12,000 Chambers of Commerce.

Mumbai, April 10, 2013: Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Vice-President (2012-13) of Indian Merchants' Chamber has been elected as the Chamber's President for 2013-14. Mr. Prabodh B. Thakker has been elected as IMC's Vice-President for 2013-14. They will be ushered into their new offices at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Chamber to be held sometime in June 2013 when the President, Mr Niranjan Hiranandani, will step down from office after completing his distinguished one-year term, according to a press release issued by the Chamber today. *Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, practising Advocate and Solicitor, is a partner of the 124 years old law firm, M/S Kanga and Company. In his professional capacity, Mr. Vaidya is a Director in several public limited companies, including Siyaram Silk Mills Limited, Apcotex Industries Limited, etc. He specialises in Property / Real Estate matters. With over 30 years experience in legal practice, he has been involved in several prestigious/landmark property deals. His name and firm reference features in "Guide to the World's Leading Real Estate Lawyers" 7th Edn., published by Legal Media Group, United Kingdom and also in "The Legal 500" and Chambers Asia Pacific Guide to Asia's Commercial Law Firms 2011 to 2013 Issues as a leading lawyer firm for Real Estate in Mumbai City. His firm has been recently awarded the India Business Law Journal Award for best legal practice in "Construction and Real Estate". Mr. Vaidya is on the Chamber's Managing committee for over years. *Mr. Prabodh Thakker is the Founder and Chairman of Aon Global Insurance Brokers Pvt. Ltd, a 74:26 JV between Global Insurance and Aon Corporation. A third generation insurance entrepreneur, Mr. Thakker has been associated with the Indian and International Insurance and Reinsurance Market for more than three decades now. In his previous role, he was Managing Director of Global Insurance Services Pvt. Ltd. and now he is on the Board of various Group Companies of Global Insurance. A veteran of the Insurance Industry, Mr. Thakker has vast experience in various verticals of insurance, including Aviation, Energy, Construction, Reinsurance, Mega Risks and Risk Management Practices. He holds an Associate Degree (A.I.I.I.) from Insurance Institute of India and is a faculty in various institutions and colleges related to insurance and management. He has passion for social activities such as education and employment programmes of the under-privileged youth from the rural areas. Mr Thakker is Chairman of Insurance committee of the chamber and is on the Chamber's Managing committee for years.

Mumbai, 3 April 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber organized a Seminar on 'Investment Outlook 2013' at the Convention Hall of Bombay Stock Exchange today. Mr. U. K. Sinha, Chairman, Sebi, was the Chief Guest at the inaugural session. "Sebi has taken note of dubious schemes floated across the country by various financial institutions to create wealth by cheating investors. We are trying to create awareness for the benefit of investors about these schemes. Seminars like these will also guide the investors in the right direction," said Mr. Sinha addressing the audience. "As a regulator, it is very important for us to restore and retain the investor's trust in the market. Otherwise, the investment in the market will erode," added Mr. Sinha. "Sebi has a strong mechanism of consultative regulatory decision making. If you evaluate any of our regulations, evaluate them on a longer term basis and come to us with your suggestions, we will make positive changes," Mr. Sinha assured. Sebi chairman also said there had been multiple examples of mis-selling and efforts were needed to create awareness among investors and introduce regulations to curb abuses. Sebi's role was to ensure that products sold to investors are legal and that the regulator will need the help of state governments and the investment community. In his welcome address Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC said, "the Current Account Deficit remains India's biggest worry and it is composed mainly of gold and oil imports. The monitisation of gold imports will help to cut the CAD by half." He also made a plea for introducing REITs, an idea whose time has now come to India. Earlier, Mrs. Deena Mehta, Chairperson, Capital Market Committee, IMC explained the vision of IMC Capital Market Committee. "The committee endeavoured to bring markets and products to investors and bridge the gap between the regulator and intermediaries. This objective helped in restoring trust in our financial system," said Mrs. Mehta. 'Regulatory Impact Assessment - Cost-Benefit Analysis of Regulations,' a research paper by Finsec Law Advisors and another research paper called 'Consent Settlement framework' were released at the inaugural session. This was followed by Sessions on Commodity Market, Real Estate Sector, Currency Market, Debt and Equity sectors. Mr. Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO, BSE Ltd., Mr. Sumesh Parasrampuria, Director, MCX, Mr. Ramesh Abhshek, Chairman, FMC, Mr. T. S. Kalyanaraman, CMD, Kalyan Jewellers, Mr. Keki Mistry, Vice Chairman & CEO, HDFC Ltd., Mr. Jerry Rao, Executive Chairman, Value and Budget Housing Corporation, Mr. V. K. Sharma, Director & CEO, LIC Housing Finance Ltd., Mr. U. Venkataraman, CEO -Currency Derivatives Segment, & Whole Time Director, MCX Stock Exchange Ltd., Mr. B. Prasanna, MD & CEO, ICICI Securities Primary Dealers Ltd., Mr. Sashi Krishnan, Chief Investment Officer, Birla Sun Life Insurance, and Mr. Ravi Mathur, Secretary Disinvestment, Ministry of Finance were the main speakers among others at various sessions. Mr. S. N. Ananthasubramanian, President, The Institute of Company Secretaries of India proposed the vote of thanks.

Mumbai, 1 April 2013: The Indian Merchants' Chamber research wing IMC-Economic Research & Training Foundation (ERTF) has organised 10th Kilachand Memorial Lecture today at the IMC Building. Dr. Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations, Chairman, National Knowledge Commission delivered the lecture on 'Creating the knowledge and Innovation Economy for 21st Century.' "When I started working in India in the year 1981, the scenario in our telecom sector was totally different. Now, the first phase of the telecom regulation is almost over and the second phase is even more exciting," said a confident Dr. Pitroda. "What we need to do in this sector is to do things differently and this is what I call innovation. We do not collaborate well and share information and facilities available," he added. "In the next 18 months, 25,000 Panchayats in this country will be connected by optic fibre and different people will be able to use it differently," explained Dr. Pitroda about the status of the implementation of the telecom infrastructure in the country. "Our next mission is to create an IP address in every space of this country and is also in the process of computerizing all major government and court related matters soon. This is a vision which no other government in the world dared to do," concluded Dr. Pitroda. Dr. Pitroda emphasized on the importance of new technology to bring about new changes in the society. "If India wants to grow then it has to change and for change it has to equip itself with new technology." While speaking about the education, Dr. Pitroda stated that the days of chalk and blackboard teaching where the role of the teacher was aimed at preparing and delivering content are long over. Nowadays it can all be accessed on the Internet. The teacher has to become a mentor for students and it's necessary to change their attitude and go for multidiscipline through improving soft skills as one career may not last a lifetime. The paradigm in education needs to be changed. Dr. Pitroda reiterated that "Tod Phod Jod Centre" should be encouraged. In these centres, students will be asked to break an instrument/object and then fix it back so as to learn innovation. Many such centres are already running in schools of Madhya Pradesh, karnataka and Tamil Nadu. These centers would enhance the efficiency and productivity in our production processes by bringing innovative ideas, products, processes, designs to add value and this will directly or indirectly augment India's growth. Earlier, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC in his welcome address, congratulated Dr. Pitroda for his contributions to the Indian telecom sector. Mr. Tanil Kilachand, Co-Chairman, IMC ERTF proposed the vote of thanks.

Mumbai, 1 April 2013: Indian Merchant's Chamber organised a Condolence Meeting at IMC to pay tributes to Mr. Viren J. Shah, Trustee and Past President of IMC and former Governor of West Bengal who passed away on 9 March 2013. "There are times in our life where we are confused how to remember a person when one from among us is not with us. But about Virenbhai, it was celebration of life throughout his life. In all his associations as a leading industrialist, Politician or as a social worker, he was full of energy and spread positivism throughout his life," recalled, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC. "A person who contributed so much in so many fields, I am lucky that I knew him closely," said Mr. Praful Patel, Hon'ble Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. "The value that Virenbhai brought to the table is not seen today and I am worried that it may not be seen in future also. In today's world, people demand respect. But Virenbhai commanded respect and we all are going to miss him," added Mr. Patel. Recalling his personal interactions with the late Mr. Shah and his family, Mr. Uday Kotak, Executive Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd., said. "There are some men who have fragrance when they live and spread even stronger fragrance when they leave this world. Virenbhai was surely one of them." "At the age of 86, Mr. Shah had a peaceful departure after living a meaningful and colourful life, many can emulate," said Mr. Jerry Rao, Executive Chairman, Value and Budget Housing Corporation. Talking about the late Mr. Shah and his interactions with him and his family, Mr. Piyush Goyal, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha said, "Virenbhai has made some deep sacrifices for the cause of the nation and leaves behind a great legacy." "He taught us that if you stand for a cause, good will prevail at the end," he added. Talking about his family's close association with the late Mr. Shah's family for many decades now, Mr. Niraj Bajaj, Trustee & Past President, IMC, and Chairman & Managing Director, Mukand Ltd. said, "As an industrialist, he pioneered new technologies, and as a human being he made us better human beings. He was a man of simple living and high thinking." On behalf of the family of the late Mr. Viren Shah, his son, Mr Rajesh Shah thanked the speakers and the audience for remembering his father. He also thanked IMC for organising the Condolence Meeting to pay tributes to the departed soul.

Mumbai, 21 March 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber organised a Panel Discussion on 'Amendments proposed in the Finance Bill 2013-14' (Direct Taxes) and a Half Day Seminar on 'Finance Bill 2013-14' (Indirect Taxes) in IMC. The objective of the Seminar and the Panel Discussion was to gain a practical insight into the implications of the amendments proposed in the Finance Bill, 2013-14, both for the Direct and Indirect tax proposals. It is essential for Trade & Industry to understand and analyse these implications for their businesses, and accordingly interact with the specialists in their field. The Panel Discussion started with the opening remarks by the Panel Chairman, Mr. Dinesh Vyas, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India. He said, "Considering the massive fiscal deficit the country has, it is a major concern and to keep it under control is a big task." He added that "Excessive subjective elements included in the taxes will create negative reactions." Speaking on the Amendments proposed in the Finance Bill 2013 on Direct Tax, Mr. Rajan Vora, Chairman, Direct Tax Committee, IMC said, "better management and utilization of taxes is the need of the hour rather than better ways to collect them." Mr. Vora was explaining the illogical provisions in the proposed widening of taxes. He analysed the Finance Bill explaining the key amendments, rates of tax, commodities transaction tax, and key international tax, proposals and how it will impact on the business community. Presentations on 'Royalty, Indirect Transfer, Retrospective Amendments', 'GAAR (Sec.90, 90A)', 'TRC, Alternate Investment Fund and Others', were made by Mr. F. N. Subedar, COO & Company Secretary, Tata Sons Ltd, Mr. T. P. Oswal, Partner, T. P. Oswal and Associates, Ms. Bela Sheth, Country Tax Manager, Shell India Markets Pvt Ltd respectively. Mr. Gautam Naik, Contractor, Nayak & Krishnadwala, Ms. S. Gayatri, Sr. Vice President- Direct Taxation, Essar Investments Ltd, were the speakers among others at the Panel Discussion. The Half Day 'Seminar on Finance Bill 2013-14 on Indirect Tax started with the presentation on 'Amendments in Central Excise and Customs' by Ms. Shilpa Sharma, Adv- Head of Indirect Tax, Vaish Associates. "The Finance Minister spoke about inclusive growth but looking at the powers given to the tax department is indicating otherwise," said Mrs. Sharma explaining the legislative changes in Customs and Excise. Explaining the amendments in Service Tax, Mr. Shailesh Sheth, Adv Expert, Central Excise, Customs & Service Tax said, "The need of the hour is the expansion of the tax base and emphasis on tax compliance." "Looking at the Budget, the finance minister is expecting revenue from tax collection and this indicates a rigorous tax regime from the middle of the financial year. That means life will not be same again for any one who is doing business," added Mr. Sheth. After the presentations there was an interactive session between the Co-Chairman, Faculties and participants. Jayraj. S. Sheth, Sr. Vice President, Indirect Taxation, Reliance Industries Ltd., also participated in the deliberations. Earlier, Mr. Jitendra Sanghvi, Dy. Director-General, IMC welcomed the speakers and the gathering, and Mr. Bakul B Mody, Co-Chairman, Indirect Taxation Committee, IMC, made the opening remarks at the Seminar. Dr. Dhananjay Samant, Director, IMC, proposed the vote of thanks.

Mumbai, 19 March 2013: A High level Vietnam Business/Political delegation led by H. E. Mr. Le Thanh Hai, Politburo Member, Communist Party of Vietnam and Secretary of Communist Party of HCMC, Vietnam visited Indian Merchants' Chamber to explore possible ways to improve business interests of both Vietnam and India. On this occasion, the Indo-Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IVCCI) signed an MoU with Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) of Hochiminh city, with a view to promote and strengthen trade and investment relations between India and Vietnam. The MoU was signed by Mr. Agarwal and Ms. Pho Nam Phuong, Director, HCMC Investment and Trade Promotion Centre on behalf of their respective organisations. "Considering the business potential of our two nations, this initiative can go a long way," said Mr. Thanh Hai. "The investment from India in Vietnam in the IT, food and processing, tourism sectors during the last financial year is pretty modest and we want to take it further," added Mr. Thanh Hai. "Our country's focus is on the infrastructure development and India can help us in a big way to achieve our target by the year 2020," said Mr. Hua Ngoc Thuan, Vice Chairman, The People's committee of HCMC. "In the area of education, healthcare and tourism sectors also our government expects India's major contributions," he added. "We want to increase the trade basket of import and export between the two countries in all possible ways," said Mr G. D. Agarwal, President, Indo-Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in his welcome address. Mr. Ajoykaant Ruia, Vice President, Indo-Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry proposed the vote of thanks. The meeting was jointly organised by IMC and IVCCI.

Mumbai, April 17, 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber has organised a Seminar on 'TDS - Recent Developments' at IMC. TDS (tax deducted at source) collection from the Mumbai region in 2012-13 rose by 10 per cent to Rs 63,000 crore, which is 3-4 per cent lower than the projected growth due to tepid economic conditions." I-T Commissioner (TDS) V K Pandey told reporters on the sideline of an event organised by the Indian Merchants' Chamber. Mr. Pandey further said that, "Withholding of TDS by business community is a major concern. 30 - 40 per cent of direct taxes are coming through TDS and it is very important for the welfare of the nation. He also hoped to rectify and solve all the TDS Return Filing issues once the online filing method is in full swing. He urged the participants in the seminar who were mainly from industry, to identify the systematic problems related to TDS Return Filing and bring it to his notice." Mr. Nihar Jambusaria, Co-Chairman, Direct Taxation Committee, IMC made the introductory remarks about the seminar by underlining the importance of knowing the nitty-gritty of TDS. Domestic TDS related problems and areas of challenges for individuals, Non-resident TDS issues and Administrative issues in E-TDS Return Filing were explained in detail at the seminar. Mr. Sushil Lakhani, Proprietor, Lakhani and Associates, Mr. Kuntal Dave, Proprietor, Nanubhai Desai & Company, Mr. Atul Suraiya, General Manager (Direct Taxation) Tata Chemicals, Mr. Ramesh Khaitan, Senior Vice President - Global Tax Head, Lupin and Mr. Ameet Patel, Partner, Sudip K. Parekh & Company were the speakers at the day-long seminar. Earlier, Mr. Arvind Pradhan, Director General, IMC proposed the vote of thanks.

Mumbai, 15 March 2013: A Czech business delegation headed by H. E. Martin Kuba, Minister of Industry and Trade, Czech Republic visited Indian Merchants' Chamber today to explore possible ways to improve business interests of both Czech Republic and India. "Our aim is to promote the trade and business activities further between the two countries. Our government is willing to give all possible support to the business communities in this direction," said H. E. Kuba. In his welcome address Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Vice President, IMC said, "as a responsible Chamber, IMC is ready to promote business activities with Czech Republic and ready to assist business community in all possible ways." "We would like to establish a strong business relationship with both the countries and take this initiative further," said Mr. Milan Hovorka, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Czech Republic. An MoU to promote trade and industry between the two countries also signed during today's visit between IMC and Brno Regional Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Arvind Pradhan, Director General, IMC and Mr. Petr Bajer, Chief Executive, Brno Regional Chamber of Commerce signed the document on behalf of their respective Chambers. "The importance of this delegation is the presence of the Minister and the Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade of Czech Republic, which is the decision making body with us," said President, Brno Regional Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Anil Ruia, Chairman, International Business Committee, IMC proposed the vote of thanks.

Mumbai, March 13, 2013: In order to recognize excellence, IMC's Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award Trust presented IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards & IMC Juran Quality Medal on March 13, 2013 at YB Chavan Center. The awards were given by the Chief Guest for the ceremony, Hon'ble Dr Justice C S Dharmadhikari. The winner for the 2012 IMC Juran Quality Medal was Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya Group of Hospitals. The IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards were presented to 25 organizations from Manufacturing, Service, Small Business and Education. Trophy winners of the IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Awards 2012 were: Emami Ltd, North Guwahati (Manufacturing) Global Indian International School, Balestier Campus, Singapore (Education) Life Care, Indore (Small Business) SBI Life Insurance Company Ltd (Service) In his welcome address, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC, said, "It is with pleasure that we recall the role of Shri Ramkrishna Bajaj as a business leader. He was a crusader for ethics in business, social welfare and consumer protection. He established the Council for Fair Business Practices to facilitate his crusade. He believed in Customer-driven quality. It was therefore appropriate that the IMC Quality Award was christened after one of the most trustworthy captains of Indian Industry. At the Chamber, we view the IMC RBNQA performance excellence initiative as a catalyst for nation building. It is also the most engaging offering from IMC." Speaking on the award, Mr. Niraj Bajaj, Chairman, IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award Trust, said, "Being committed to a customer is probably the most critical strategy for any organization to survive in a turbulent global environment. The IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award criteria emphasizes precisely this dimension for success." Chief Guest, Hon'ble Dr Justice C S Dharmadhikari said, "We never heard about fair business practices during our school and college days until Mr Ramkrishna Bajaj started talking about it." "I request all those who received awards in various categories to remember and make a commitment to live up to the vision of Late Ramkrishna Bajaj," he concluded. Mr. Viren Prasad Shetty, Sr. President, Narayana Hrudayalaya Group of Hospitals accepted the award on behalf of his father Dr. Devi Shetty who could not make it to the function. "Technology gives the rich what they already have and the poor something which they could never get. We have to invest a lot in technology and this award will make us achieve our goals faster," read Dr. Shetty's message. LIST OF WINNERS OF THE NEXT LEVEL OF RECOGNITION IMC RBNQ PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE TROPHY 2012 Ashok Leyland Ltd, Bhandara (Manufacturing) Hindustan Zinc Ltd, Chanderia Smelting Complex, Chittorgarh (Manufacturing) Shri M D Shah Mahila College of Arts & Commerce, Mumbai (Education) Ultra Tech Cement Ltd, Unit: Birla White, Jodhpur (Manufacturing) YES Bank Ltd, Mumbai (Service) IMC RBNQ CERTIFICATE OF MERIT 2012 Indelox Services Pvt Ltd, Bangalore (Small Business) Reliance Industries Ltd, Patalganga (Manufacturing) Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, Mumbai Transmission (Service) Tata Johnson Controls Automative Ltd, Pune (Manufacturing) Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai (Education) Ultra Tech Cement Ltd, Gujarat Cement Works, Dist: Amreli (Manufacturing) IMC RBNQ COMMENDATION CERTIFICATE 2012 Anjani Portland Cement Co Ltd, Punjgutta (Manufacturing) Bharat Aluminium Co Ltd, Korba, Chattisgarh (Manufacturing) Gagal Cement Works, ACC Ltd, Barmana (Manufacturing) JSW Steel Ltd, Toranagallu (Manufacturing) Larsen & Toubro Ltd, M&P Systems, Mysore (Manufacturing) Marico Limited, Pondicherry Plant (Manufacturing) Reliance Industries Ltd, Gadimoga (Manufacturing) Reliance Industries Ltd, Nagothane Mfg Divn, Dist Raigad (Manufacturing) Sesa Goa Ltd, Goa (Manufacturing) Thakur College of Engineering & Technology, Mumbai (Education)

Mumbai, 5 March 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber has organised a seminar on 'Trading with Derivative Strategies' at IMC. Mr. Siddharth Bhamre, Head - Derivatives, Angel Broking explained the basic concepts of derivatives. "Derivative is product whose value derived from the value of one or more underlying variables or assets in the contractual manner," explained Mr. Bhamre. He also explained the concepts and advantages of futures and options. "Stock market is much beyond than buying and selling of shares. There are a lot of strategies one can apply and make money," concluded Mr. Bhamre. Mr. Ashish Maheshwari, Head - Derivatives, Antique Stock Broking detailed the opportunities in the 12,000 trillion dollar derivative market across the world and where India as a market stand. "The way to make money in the derivative market is to get the view right," explained Mr. Maheshwari. "Unless one is not having enough time to study the stocks before investing, never get into derivative trading," warned Mr. Maheshwari. He also explained the types of derivatives and simple ways to earn money without investing much in trading. Earlier, Mr. Nipun Mehta, Member, Capital Markets Committee, IMC explained the theme and introduced the speakers. "Derivatives have come a long way since last decade in the capital market and we need to learn a lot to be a part of this segment," said Mr. Mehta.

Mumbai, 1 March 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber discussed the implications of the Union Budget 2013 at a meeting held at the IMC. Explaining 'Key Macro Aspects of the Union Budget 2013-14, Mr. Dinesh Vyas, Sr. Advocate, Supreme Court of India said, "Considering the massive fiscal deficit the country has, it is a major concern and to keep it under control is a big task." "India's rating by International Financial Institutions which is trending downwards will have a negative impact on the foreign investment flow to the country and is a major concern," he added. However, provisions made for infrastructure development is a welcome sign in the Budget, said Mr. Vyas. Speaking on the implications of Direct Tax proposals in the Budget, Mr Rajan Vora, Chairman, Direct Tax Committee, IMC said, "Better management and utilization of taxes is the need of the hour rather than devising better ways to collect them." Mr. Vora was explaining the illogical provisions in the proposed widening of taxes. He explained the key announcements, rates of tax, commodities transaction tax, and key international tax proposals and how it is going to impact on the business community. "This year's Budget shows the lack of coordination between the finance ministry and the IT department," Mr. Vikram Nankani, Chairman, Indirect Taxation Committee, IMC explained. He also detailed the positives and negatives of service tax, CENVAT Credit Scheme, Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme, central excise duty, customs legislative amendments, and other technical tax provisions made in the Budget. Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Vice President, IMC welcomed the speakers and also proposed the vote of thanks.

Mumbai, 28 February, 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber President Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani highlighted the following significant aspects from the Finance Minister's speech: The FM talked about increasing the flow of foreign funds by FDI, FII and ECB. He later said that SEBI will simplify procedures for FII and international based practices will be followed for FII and FDI. He did not talk about ECB. This is very essential for housing. But a stable currency is also required. This was not mentioned. Taxation: Tax holiday for power plants extended up to March 2014. This is a very short extension for very long duration projects many of which get held up and delayed. This is therefore not very effective and not conducive to proper planning. Individual tax: FM said that there are only 42800 people declaring taxable income of more than Rs. 1 crore. Therefore there will a surcharge. The rate will now be 30 per cent plus surcharge of 3 per cent plus education cess of 0.99 per cent i.e. a total of 33.99 per cent. This will be only for 1 year. There will be TDS at 1 per cent on property deals of over Rs. 50 lakhs except on agricultural land. This had been suggested last year but was then postponed indefinitely. This would necessitate buyers having to obtain a TAN number from the income tax department. They will also have to file a TDS return. It will have to be checked whether this will also apply to purchases from builders. This could add a great deal to the procedure as payments are made in installments and there will then have to be TDS on every installment. In any case there is now a requirement that the PAN number has to be mentioned on every registered document of over Rs. 30 lakhs. So the IT department can in any event track such transactions. The GAAR (General Anti Avoidance Regulations) provisions are to be enforced from 2016. While there is a procedure being laid down there will still be a great deal of subjectivity and complexity. There will be a 20 per withholding tax on buyback of shares of unlisted companies. At present the shareholder is liable for capital gains tax but has a facility of reinvestment in bonds under Section 54EC or a house under Section 54F. This facility will no longer be available. The DTC (Direct Taxes Code) is a work in progress. A Tax reforms committee is to be constituted. This is very important for stability and clarity and equity in taxes.

The Budget has small offerings, and the big point is missing. GST is still without a final milestone in sight. The big relief, however, is that the rates of taxes have not changed. The small service provider can take advantage of the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme by paying only tax without interest or penalty. The idea of Tax Administration Reform Commission appears to be laudable but the fine print needs to be seen. Customs Duty on steam coal has been rationalised but service tax rate on housing has been increased. All air conditioned restaurants now under net of service tax No benefits for infrastructure, construction, banking and capital markets like in direct tax proposals

Mumbai, 28 February, 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber has extended a mixed welcome to the Union Budget proposals. In a press statement issued in the wake of announcement of the Budget today, the IMC President, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani said that the Finance Minister has made a sincere attempt to bring about inclusive growth on the expenditure side of the budget by attempting an equitable and rational allocation of scarce resources. However, the tax proposals turned out to be rather disappointing, with just a few silver linings. The 10% surcharge on companies with income over Rs. 10 crore was disappointing. However, the reduction in STT was welcome. On the real estate front, it was heartening that new house loans up to Rs. 25 lakhs will be allowed additional interest deduction of Rs. 1 lakh. It was telling that the FM recognized that the current account deficit was even more worrying than the fiscal deficit. However, apart from some lip service in this area, no concrete measures were really suggested to ameliorate it. As far as GST was concerned, the FM's speech reiterated the intent and allocated Rs. 9000 crore for distribution to the states. There was, however, a marked silence in the vital area of disinvestment. There were a fair amount of incentives for development of the infrastructure sector. Even though there was no hike in customs and excise, there was also some incentive for enhancing savings through the introduction of inflation-indexed bonds. The FM's focus on women, youth and the poor was a positive step but it will need to be backed up by adequate action on the implementation front. The low cost financing on clean and green energy to aid environmental protection was another distinct positive in this budget. In ease of doing business (132 out of 185), enforcing contracts (184 out of 185), and dealing with construction permits (182 out of 185), India stood almost at the bottom of 185 countries in the Doing Business Report prepared by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to rank international competitiveness. All these vital issues were not addressed adequately in this budget. If India wanted to go back to GDP growth trajectory of 8%, a lot more of groundwork is needed to be done in these fundamental areas. On the whole, the budget was well balanced on the expenditure side but stood at the cross roads of confidence and wanting in terms of the tax proposals.

Mumbai, February 21, 2013: That Maharashtra remains the only state in the country still having a regressive system of taxation in the form of Octroi speaks volumes about the dismal state of affairs in the country's economic capital. The IMC has been spearheading the fight against Octroi ever since 1986 by bringing together like minded associations championing the cause of the business community on a common platform. Even though some senior politicians did assure the Chamber that Octroi would go, the reality has been otherwise. Finally, in March 2013 the Maharashtra CM publicly said that Octroi would be scrapped from Mumbai and other Municipal Corporations by the end of the year and in its place the LBT would be introduced. However, the cure is worse than the disease. LBT will create multiple centres of tax registration and collection. Together with huge administrative costs associated with it, LBT will create havoc and encourage corruption. LBT requires a separate registration even for a small trader, with a turnover of just a few lakhs of rupees. The methodology of its implementation will thus create duplicity of paperwork and incur additional cost, all of which are avoidable. The history of LBT all over Maharashtra speaks for itself - the tax is not working satisfactorily in almost all municipal jurisdictions in which it has been implemented. Furthermore, with VAT already in place all over the country, we do not need to open another window and further complicate the taxation system. The LBT issue is causing a great deal of anguish and uncertainty to the trading community in Mumbai and it needs to be resolved amicably at the earliest. Failure to do so will ensure that trade and industry moves out of Mumbai, and Maharashtra erodes its (already diminishing) economic competitiveness even more. In fact, many units have already shifted out of Maharashtra and several others are following suit. In a letter written to the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Prithviraj Chavan, President of the Chamber Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, has forcefully conveyed that any attempt to continue on the present path will prove highly counterproductive by further reducing Maharashtra's economic attractiveness. With the elections looming around the corner, the Government must realize that they risk alienating the entire business community by such shortsighted actions. The IMC has expressed their hope and faith in the political establishment to ensure that this regressive system of taxation is scrapped at the earliest in favour of something more progressive that can truly make Mumbai and Maharashtra an economic magnet for the country.

Mumbai, 16 February 2013: The Indian Merchants' Chamber organised its 2nd edition of 'IMC FUSION,' the Conference on Sports, Media and Entertainment, on February 16, 2013 at Hotel Grand Hyatt. This year IMC introduced excellence awards in the field of Entertainment, Media and Sports. Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan bagged the award for excellence in entertainment whereas Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited got the award for excellence in Media and PROCAM for excellence in Sports for organizing Standard Chartered Marathon. The award was presented by Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC. The day-long Fusion Conference was hosted and moderated by the noted film and media personality Mr. Kabir Bedi. Mr Shailesh Vaidya, Vice President, IMC delivered the welcome note and Mr. Arvind Pradhan,Director General, IMC proposed the vote of thanks. Mr. Sanjoy Chakrabarty, Co-Chairman, Entertainment Committee, IMC made the theme presentation on Fusion Conference 2013. Sessions on the following topics were organized in the Conference: Women in Cinema & Entertainment: New Realities & Challenges 21st Century Entertainment: Talent Creation & Challenges of Nurturing & Mentoring The Brewing Content Battle: Who is Transforming Content and Consumer Experience for the Better? Reality Shows on TV: Beyond Entertainment & Voyeurism Script is the Star: Can it also deliver Rs100 Cr at the Box-office? Anurag Batra, Chairman, E4M, Andrea Costabir, Editor Savvy, Kiran Juneja Sippy, Actor, Producer, Madhur Bhandarkar, Filmmaker, Meena Iyer, Editor, Bombay Times, Ashok Venkatramani, CEO, MCCS (India) Pvt. Ltd, An ABP Group of Company, Prahlad Kakkar, Ad filmmaker, Vinod Nair, Chairman & Founder, Talentube Entertainment Pvt Ltd; Chairman & Managing Director, Clea Public Relations, Prakash Sharma, Filmmaker & International Distributor, Abhigyan Jha, Founder & CEO, Gamechanging 360 degree Media Company, Sudhir Mishra, Filmmaker, Tabassum Modi, Executive Director, EduMediaIndia.Com, Ajay Balwankar, Content Head, Zee TV, Anil Wanwari, Founder, Indiantelevision.com, Deepak Dhar, CEO, Endemol India, Poonam Dhillon, Actor, Saira Menezes, Editor, People Magazine, Raveena Tandon, Actor, Shekhar Suman, Actor, TV host, Filmmaker, Suniel Wadhwa, Film Distributor, Umesh Shukla, Script Writer, Vikram Bhatt, Filmmaker were the speakers who addressed the audience on the above topics. Ms. Bharathi Pradhan, Co-Chairperson, Entertainment Committee, IMC moderated a few sessions at the conference. Panelists on various topics at the Conference opined the following: Even we were producing women centric movies, but now the difference is that we are making movies celebrating womanhood. The Indian cinema has set a new trend after the arrival of the year 2000 with many successful launches of women centric movies and more producers coming forward today to make these types of movies. Mentoring is the most important factor in the process of staying ahead of the times in the entertainment industry today Digitisation is the new mantra and way forward in the entertainment industry Content creators have to redefine and recreate their net work TRPs on various reality shows may drop, but these shows are here to stay A good script is one that can be marketed in 30 seconds without a superstar Event Partner Hong Kong Trade Development Corporation's Mr. Sunny Chau made a presentation on various opportunities for the film and content industry in the Hong Kong market. Mr. Aditya Mehta, Chief Investment Officer, Dar MentorCap also made a presentation on 'Changing face of Indian Cinema: Finance Perspective' at the Conference.

Mumbai, 6 February 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber held its Half Yearly General Meeting here at the IMC Building today. Mr. M. V. Tanksale, Chairman and Managing Director, Central Bank of India was the chief Guest at the occasion. "It is very important that the corporate sector lives up to the expectations for the stable growth of the banking sector in the country," said Mr. Tanksale. "According to the IMF indicators, India is likely to fall from the 'second fastest growing economy' in the world soon," added Mr. Tanksale explaining the present state of the Indian economy. He also explained the present situation of macro indicators, market indicators and bankers expectations from the corporate sector. Rising up to the expectations was the need of the hour, he added. Mr. Tanksale cleared the doubts of IMC members regarding various new aspects of banking during his interaction at the meeting. Consul General Mr. Liu Youfa of the Consulate of the Peoples' Republic of China, Consul General Mr. Masood Ebrahimi of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Consul General Ms. Upekkha Samaratunga of Sri Lankan Consulate were the special invitees to the Half Yearly Annual General Meeting. Earlier, Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC welcomed the dignitaries and explained the events and activities carried out by the Chamber in the last six months and highlighted achievements during the period. "We want to do more and venture into new areas like introduction of the Skill Development Centre in Navi Mumbai," said Mr. Hiranandani. He also remembered and appreciated the good work done by the immediate past President of IMC, Ms. Bhavna Doshi and various IMC Committee Chairmen. Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Vice President, IMC proposed the vote of thanks.

Mumbai, February 12, 2013:The Railway Budget speech reads like a report card. On the whole it is a lacklustre Budget as the focus is only on past achievements with safety measures and passenger amenities and fares being left untouched. However, some welcome aspects of the Budget are extending rail connectivity to the relatively inaccessible North-East region of India and starting a passenger service to Katra in Jammu and Kashmir. Being the Budget just before the elections, no new policy measures were expected to be announced. However, it failed to mention the progress of important projects such as the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs). On the positive side, the Minister acknowledged that the Railway is the backbone of national socioeconomic growth and so needs to be given much greater thrust than at present. The purpose of this vote-on-account was to seek approval for spending for the first four months of the coming fiscal. However, the occasion could have been used to ensure better safety and passenger amenities, which require no legislative approval.

Mumbai, February 12, 2013:The Indian Merchants' Chamber suggests holding a dialogue with the Government rather than inconveniencing the public by disrupting life in Mumbai City on the issue of collection of tolls on roads and highways. We believe that there is an element of political one-upmanship in all this and the issue - pertinent though it is - needs to be sorted out by mutual discussion across the table. Minor violence has erupted in parts of Mumbai and the biggest loser in this is the aam aadmi. There is no doubt that the entire toll issue needs a close relook. Toll collections should be immediately stopped for those projects where the costs have been recovered, and even in others, the rates should be rationalized. In any civilized, democratic society there exist several genteel options to air grievances, which need to be resorted to. At the same time, toll-collection in the metropolis should also be restructured in a manner that accurately reflects the underlying socioeconomic realities.

Agriculture: Improve yield through technological inputs as well as provide better irrigation facilities. The sector is still heavily monsoon dependent and its productivity will have to be sharply enhanced if the proposed Food Security Bill is to be implemented at minimum cost. Keep fruits and vegetables out of the APMC Acts of all the states of the country. That will give farmers a choice on where to sell their produce and thus benefit both the producers and the consumers. Evolve schemes to promote FDI in cold chains and enhance their capacity. Incentivize farmers' initiatives in developing local storage capacities. This is essential given that a third of our produce is lost simply due to supply chain inefficiencies. Consider ways and means to cut production costs for farmers. This could take the form of low interest for crop loans and lower taxes on agricultural inputs. This will enable the consumers to gain and that will help the Government control inflation. Industry and Manufacturing: Introduce new schemes for allowing FDI in engineering and high-tech goods manufacturing. If some of the imported goods can be manufactured locally, we can reduce the current account deficit. Deploy securitization as a means to enhance SME financing and waive collateral requirements for the MSME sector. Give long tax holidays for developing industry and infrastructure in Naxalite and other disturbed areas in the country. The rollout of DTC and GST will benefit industry immensely. GST will develop a fiscally consistent market all over India while the introduction of DTC will enable SEZ units to avail of investment-led tax benefits, rather than those based on their profits earned. Development of the Dedicated Freight Corridor on a priority basis. Services and the Economy: Reduce NPAs in the stressed banking environment and facilitate financial inclusion Streamlining and rationalization of subsidies throughout the economy to contain the ballooning fiscal deficit. Curb inflation, particularly food inflation, by: Considering the significant rise in inflation, relook at the slab rates applicable for individuals and increase the basic rates. This would raise disposable income in the hands of individuals, thus enabling more purchasing power and boosting economic growth.

Mumbai, February 12, 2013: A cause which had been taken up by Indian Merchants' Chamber since long with the Government authorities for protecting the statutory tenants from the rigours of the provisions of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act [PP(E)] Act has been vindicated by the Supreme Court in a recent judgement which gives relief to statutory tenants of premises owned by the Government or Government owned Companies and Corporations. Thousands of lawful tenants of Public Sector Units or Companies and Corporations owned or controlled by the Central Government have been suffering since long who had been threatened by the notices of eviction issued under the provisions of PP(E) Act by the Public Sector Units or Companies and Corporations owned or controlled by Central Government. Arising out of the numerous presentations made by the Indian Merchants' Chamber and various meetings the representatives of the Chamber had with the Ministry of Urban Development the guidelines were issued by the Ministry of Urban Development which were published in the gazette of India dated 8th June 2002 under which amongst other things it was clearly provided that the provisions of the PP(E) Act should not be resorted to either with a commercial motive or to secure vacant possession of the premises in order to accommodate their own employees where the premises were in occupation of the original tenants to whom the premises were let either by the Public Authorities or the persons from whom the premises were acquired. However despite the guidelines notices were issued under the provision of PP(E) Act for increasing the rent exorbitantly or for eviction. As these guidelines were also not observed by Public Sector Units or by the Companies and Corporates owned or controlled by the Government on the ground that guidelines are not binding on them IMC has been thereafter making efforts to get the PP(E) Act amended to protect the lawful tenants from the rigours of the provisions of PP(E) Act. The Supreme Court judgement atleast now protects the statutary tenants who were statutory tenants before 16th September 1958 or before the property in question becoming a public premises. IMC has always remained in the forefront as regards issues of public concern and advocated their genuine cause. The Chamber feels relieved that though delayed, this judgement will protect the interest of lawful tenants.

Mumbai, 2 February 2013: Taking the initiative to place Mumbai prominently on the tourism map of the country, Indian Merchants' Chamber in association with VFS Global today has organized the 'Mumbai Heritage Walk' for the 5th year in a row. The much sought after event the - Mumbai Heritage Walk took the members of the expatriate community of the city on the route to view historic gothic edifices built in the mid 1800s located in South Mumbai. Hundreds of walkers braving the morning chill of the sea breeze, assembled near the historic Forbes Building, the starting point of the walk right on time. As the walk commenced, the multilingual expatriates from various countries and many Mumbaikars participated in the event eagerly moved along the way to view some of the landmark heritage sites. The guides, who accompanied them, explained to them significance of the heritage sites which included the Greaves Building, Freemason's Hall, Capitol Cinema and so on. "Our primary object of organizing this unique event is to familiarise tourists from abroad and other parts of the country to know the Mumbai's history and architecture other than being the commercial capital of the country. This was an effort from IMC to firmly place Mumbai on the tourist map of the country," said Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC. "We want to persuade the tourists to extend their stay in the city by a day during their visit to savour the city's architectural brilliance with a visit to these historical monuments," said Mr. Pradip Madhavji, Chairman, Tourism committee, IMC. "An additional stay of one night by foreign visitors to Mumbai will increase the foreign exchange earnings for the State of Maharashtra in excess of the equivalent of Rs.554 crore," added Mr Madhavji. An additional stay of one night by foreign visitors to Mumbai resulting in foreign exchange earnings for the State in excess of the equivalent of Rs. 554 crore is based on the following assumptions: In excess of six million foreign nationals visit India on business or on pleasure each year. Foreign exchange earnings for the State of Maharashtra is now in excess of the equivalent of Rs. 615 crores Based on the above figures the average spent per foreign visitor to our country is US$ 2,500 [US$ 15bl / 6ml visitors] It is assumed that average duration of stay of the foreign visitors of the country is 22 days As such the per day spent of the foreign visitors in the country is US$ 114 [US$ 2,500/22 days] It is assumed that 30 per cent of foreign national arrivals [i.e.1.8 million visitors] to the country either enter, depart or transit through Mumbai. Assuming that we succeed in ensuring that 50 per cent of the 30 per cent of the 1.8 million visitors to the city [i.e 900K] stay for an additional one night. The spend of the 900K visitors for the additional one night based on US$ 114 per day is US$ 98 million [900k X $ 114] equivalent to Rs. 554 crore. The Heritage Walk ended at the Police Commissioner's Office after viewing the other landmark heritage sites like Capitol Cinema, Empire Royale Hotel Building, Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, BMC Building, The Times of India Building, J.J. School of Arts, Crawford Market, Juma Masjid and moved to IMC building for leisurely sojourn. Mr Murali Raghavan, Chief Operating Officer - South Asia and CIS, VFS Global said on the occasion, "VFS Global has been associated with the Mumbai Heritage Walk since its inception, and we are privileged to partner with the Indian Merchants' Chamber in organising the walk for the 5th year in a row. Mumbai has been of special significance to VFS Global since we started our very first office in the city, and now grown to 800+ offices across 88 countries. We are glad to be part of this splendid initiative and wish the IMC good luck in organising many more such events in the future!" Among the countries represented by their nationals and diplomats in the heritage walk were Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, Canada, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and Spain.

Mumbai, January 31, 2013: In a first of its kind, Indian Merchants' Chamber instituted 'IMC IT Awards' to recognize and encourage not just industry but also users. The Awards were presented to IT companies, small & large, as well as end-users at an Awards presentation ceremony organized at IMC on Jan 30. Mr. P.S. Deodhar, Chairman-Aplabs & former Chairman of the Electronic Commission presided as Chief Guest. Distinguished personalities representing the IT & ITES sectors came together to make the maiden IMC IT Awards a roaring success. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, President, IMC, announced that almost, 150 companies had sent in their entries, for the first of its kind IT Awards, being held in India. Addressing the member and press on the occasion Mr. Vaidya said, "India is now known to churn out one of the best quality of IT in the world today. Our Awards are the first step to recognize this fraternity of industry, which has made IT synonymous with India. Technology has changed the way we look at the world today. It has made life easier and more efficient for us, and India has now become a name to reckon with in the international IT sphere." Giving an overview on the IT sector, Dr. Lalit Kanodia, Chairman, IT Committee, IMC, said, "There was a need for taking up the issues of IT sector seriously in the current scenario. Software Exports from India were expected to be around $85 billion this year, despite the global meltdown. Together with domestic software revenues, IT Services constituted 1% of our GDP in 1998, 4% in 2008 and 6% today. If IT Hardware is included, IT constitutes about 7⅓% of our GDP. This is about half the share of entire manufacturing sector in our economy, and thus underlines the importance of IT to India." Addressing the government on the issue, Dr. Kanodia had three suggestions to make- Classify Software into 3 distinct sectors, namely IT Services, IT Products and BPO Revival of the Software Technology Scheme which resounded success Elimination of MAT for units in SEZs and STPs On the sidelines of the Award Ceremony, Mr. Govindraj Ethiraj founder Ping Digital Broadcast, and Former Editor in Chief of Bloomberg UTV moderated a very lively panel discussion on "Social Media: Boon or Bane". The discussion gave an impact on current scenario comprising of politics, relationships, social behavior and changing media space. Providing equally lively inputs and case reference were Mr. Mahesh Murthy founder Pinstorm, Mr. S Swaminathan, CEO, IRIS and XBRL evangelist in India, Mr. Sumit Chowdhury, Chief Information Officer at Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd., and Mr. Hareesh Tibrewala, Social Media Strategist; Business Owner and Joint CEO at SocialWavelength.com. The presentation of awards commenced with winners being selected within five categories. Category 1, 2 for Software and BPO / ITES Companies Category 3 for Emerging Technologies Category 4 for Overseas IT Companies and Captive units of Overseas companies Category 5 for end users of IT.

Mumbai, 29 January 2013: "Algo Trading or Algorithmic Trading is here to stay and it is the future of trading," said Ms Deena Mehta, Chairperson, Capital Market Committee,IMC. She was speaking at the Seminar on Algo Trading organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber at the IMC building here today. "Exchanges across the world are trying to regulate Algo Trading and India is one of the first among them," she said while introducing the theme of the Seminar. Dr Gangadhar Darbha, Executive Director, Nomura Securities through a presentation explained the pros and cons of Algo Trading. He explained how High Frequency Trading and Algo Trading differ from each other. "Algo Trading is more general in scope than HFT. The latter is focused on latency arbitrage while the former is about deploying quantitative algorithms to process, monitor and manage trading decisions,'" said Dr Darbha. He explained that High Frequency Trading is referred to as the trading mode of professional traders, whereas technology plays a pivotal role in Algo Trading. At the same time, he mentioned, "Algo Trading is not about technology alone, it will change the entire trading environment." Algo Trading is cutting edge, but if not regulated, traded, executed properly, it will cut," warned and concluded Dr Darbha. The Seminar was well attended by the investment community, traders and financial management students.

Mumbai, 24 January 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber has made a representation on behalf of the Trade and Industry to the Union Finance minister to reconsider impugned portion of CBEC Circular on recovery of confirmed demand during pendency of stay application, which has been issued in supersession of 8 previous circulars on the same subject by CBEC. IMC believes that the field formation as mentioned in the circular has been inter alia directed to initiate recovery in cases where 30 days have expired after the filing of the appeal by the assessee. It is this portion of the Circular which is ex facie unjust and unfair giving rise not only to penal consequences for reasons beyond the control of the assessee, but also rendering nugatory the statutory right of appeal. "We fully appreciate that, Government is empowered under the relevant statutory provisions to collect and recover legitimate taxes due from the assessees, at the same time we do feel that it is essential that in regard to tax demands which are pending in appeal before various appellate authorities, the legitimate rights of the assessees under the relevant statutory provisions are also recognized, before initiating coercive action for recovery of tax dues causing undue hardships," said Mr Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC. IMC members felt that the recent CBEC Circular is likely to result in severe hardships in as much coercive actions for recovery of tax like attachment of Bank Accounts, assets etc of assessees pending disposal of stay applications would adversely impact businesses in a significant way. In this light, IMC has made the following Suggestions to the Finance Minister, so as to ensure that undue hardships are not caused to the Trade and Industry CBEC Circular No 967/01/2013 - CX dt. 1/1/13 be modified immediately to provide that no recovery action should be initiated until the disposal of the stay application by the Appellate Authority. Suitable Instructions be issued that recovery actions need to be restricted to cases where stay applications are disposed off and stipulated conditions are not complied with.

Mumbai, January 19, 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber participated in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2014 (SCMM 2014) supporting the Uttarakhand relief work through the Indian Merchants' Chamber Relief Fund. There were a fair number of participants including IMC President- Shailesh Vaidya, Director General of IMC- Arvind Pradhan, IMC members, YLF members, employees, etc. In the wake of the unprecedented devastation caused by flash-floods in a major portion of Uttarakhand, lives have been uprooted causing much grief to the common man. IMC has undertaken relief work in the affected areas through its relief fund, providing yeoman service to the unknown thousands who have suffered immensely due to this massive natural calamity.

Mumbai, 18 January 2013: The 2nd RuDiCON 2013 conference on 'Distributed Clean Energy: A Roadmap to India's Green Economy' held here at the Indian Merchants' Chamber, Mumbai. "Renewable energy sources are the pathway to get Rural Electrification to the last mile, "said Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC in his welcome address. " Alternative energy sources like wind, solar can add up with conventional sources and reach the last mile just like what the telecom sector has done to a country," he added. "It is important for a huge and vast country like India to have Clean Energy sources even though it alone can't satisfy out energy needs. We need to have hybrid grids in this situation," said Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Former, Union Power Minister. Mr. Prabhu also explained about the challenges such as transmission losses, environmental issues, legal hurdles which the Power project says now a days. He also emphasized the importance to have advanced technology in power sector. "In today's scenario, clean and green energy is the need of the hour," he concluded. Earlier in his theme introduction Mr. Shailesh Haribhakti, Chairman, Environment & Energy Committee, IMC said," We want to take the content of this conference to the district level and we want to see the volunteers go out in the field and change the game." Dr. Anil Date, Founder, Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA) and Rahul Bajaj Chair Professor at department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Bombay, explained in his key note address the recent world data as to where countries stand as per the production of clean energy. He also explained the Limits Growth World Model 1972 which says how population will increase and energy will decline. 'Reinventing Energy: Way towards Green,' a book published by IMC was also released at the opening ceremony. Mr. Arvind Pradhan, Director General, IMC introduced the dignitaries earlier and Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Vice President, IMC proposed the vote of thanks. The recommendations and response from the participants were: Benchmarking of the products which enable the promotion of renewable energy sector should be done. There should be a catalyst agency between the manufacturing agency of products and the rural entrepreneurs who can scale it. Environmental issues to be addressed We should address the issues of water more seriously. Mr. Alan Rosling, Chairman, Kiran Energy chaired the session on Successful Business Models / Enterprises for Distributed Clean Energy, Mr. Raghuraman, Founder of E-Hands Energy (India) Pvt. Ltd, Mr. Ameet Shah, Co. Chairman and Director of Astonfield Renewables, Mr. Rahul Walawalkar, Executive director, India Energy Storage Alliance, Ms Svati Bhogle, TIDE. Mr. Jagdish Kolekar, MD, Controls and Systems, Dr. V. Venkata Ramani, Director, Thrive Energy Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Prof. Rangan Banerjee, Dean, Department of Energy Science and Engineering, IIT Bombay, Dr Nitant Mate, Head, Green Technology Cell, Kirloskar Integrated Technologies Ltd., Dr. Shireesh Kedare, Director, Clique Solar, Mr. Shrikar Dole, Regional Manager - Western India, European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC), Mr. Amol Gupta, Energy Analyst, World Bank. Mr A. K. Kapoor, Country Head - Energy Efficiency, Clean Technologies, Ms Ritu Kumar, Director, Responsible Investment, Actis, Ms Shruti Deorah, Research Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, were the speakers at the conference organised by IMC and supported by Government of India Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, SIDBI and IL&FS Energy Development Company Ltd.

Mumbai 17 January 2013: The Day 1 of RuDiCON 2013 conference kick started here at the Indian Merchants' Chamber, Mumbai on 'Distributed Clean Energy: A Roadmap to India's Green Economy'. "Renewable energy sources are the pathway to get Rural Electrification to the last mile, "said Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC in his welcome address. " Alternative energy sources like wind, solar can add up with conventional sources and reach the last mile just like what the telecom sector has done to a country," he added. "It is important for a huge and vast country like India to have Clean Energy sources even thought it alone can't satisfy out energy needs. We need to have hybrid grids in this situation," said Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Former, Union Power Minister. Mr. Prabhu also explained about the challenges such as transmission losses, environmental issues, legal hurdles which the Power project says now a days. He also emphasized the importance to have advanced technology in power sector. "In today's scenario, clean and green energy is the need of the hour," he concluded. Earlier in his theme introduction Mr. Shailesh Haribhakti, Chairman, Environment & Energy Committee, IMC said, "We want to take the content of this conference to the district level and we want to see the volunteers go out in the field and change the game." Dr. Anil Date, Founder, Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA) and Rahul Bajaj Chair Professor at department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Bombay, explained in his key note address the recent world data as to where countries stand as per the production of clean energy. He also explained the Limits Growth World Model 1972 which says how population will increase and energy will decline. 'Reinventing Energy: Way towards Green,' a book published by IMC was also released at the opening ceremony. Mr. Arvind Pradhan, Director General, IMC introduced the dignitaries earlier and Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Vice President, IMC proposed the vote of thanks. On the day one, Mr. Alan Rosling, Chairman, Kiran Energy chaired the session on Successful Business Models / Enterprises for Distributed Clean Energy. Mr. Raghuraman, Founder of E-Hands Energy (India) Pvt. Ltd, Mr. Ameet Shah, Co. Chairman and Director of Astonfield Renewables, Mr. Rahul Walawalkar, Executive director, India Energy Storage Alliance were the speakers. The session on 'Benefitting from Energy Access' was chaired by Ms Svati Bhogle,TIDE. Mr. Jagdish Kolekar, MD, Controls and Systems and Dr. V. Venkata Ramani, Director, Thrive Energy Technologies Pvt. Ltd., spoke at the session.

Mumbai, 17 January, 2013: "When we brought the insurance bill in 1999 in the parliament they must make India an insurance hub. But till now not a foreign reinsurance company has come to open the shop is a matter of concern. This will certainly take up in the next session of the Parliament.", said Mr. Yashwant Sinha, Chairman Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Former Union Finance Minister. Mr. Sinha was speaking at the Symposium on 'An International Reinsurance Hub- Why India needs it', organized by Indian Merchants' Chamber here in Mumbai. "In today's scenario reinsurance needs to be put on a different pedestrian. What we need is a level plain field for the Indian companies and those who are going to come," Mr. Sinha added. The growth of this sector will depend on the decision of the Parliament on whether the FDI should be allowed 26% or 49% in this sector. "What I feel is," added Mr. Sinha, "Instead of making Mumbai a global reinsurance hub tries and makes it a global financial hub and the rest will follow". "The concept of insurance is not new to India," said Dr Y.P Trivedi, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). "Next session of the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance is going to consider the suggestions came up in this symposium," added Dr Trivedi who is also a Member of the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance. Mumbai can easily become a global hub for reinsurance since we have the infrastructure for that. The problem is the taxation part. We have to decide, what type of goods have to be taxed and how much. These are the things which can be discussed and solved. "I request all of the international players to come forward and open the shops here," Dr Trivedi said. "Had we created an atmosphere by way of infrastructure- be it taxation, I.T Services or skill manpower like Dubai, foreign companies could not have gone anywhere else," observed Mr. Piyush Goyal Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). If we were to set up the right benchmark in services rather targeting big corporate in Insurance sector some time back, we would have gone a long time by now," said Mr. Goyal and added "We welcome the entry of insurance companies, it should be opened up for all not for only few companies". In his welcome address Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani President IMC said, "Opening up of insurance sector really justifies the demographics of our nation. Insurance is at the reach of the poorest of the poor in our nation." "By making India as the hub of reinsurance we will now be able to ignite this change in this sector also," added Mr. Hiranandani. In his theme presentation Mr. Prabodh Thakker, Chairman, Insurance Committee, IMC urge the government to give tax deduction for non life insurance also so that more people ca come under this bracket. Speaking at symposium Mr. Arun Agarwal, Co- Chairman, Insurance Committee, IMC said globalization made us realize that the risk in one location can easily be spread to another in a short span of time here comes the importance of reinsurance. "The unlocked insurance sector is an opportunity for the reinsurance sector Mr. Kent Chaplin, Head of Asia Pacific, Managing Director, Lloyd's Asia, Singapore, Ms. Grace Wong, Chief Risk Officer, Reinsurance Asia, Member if the Asian Management Team, Swiss Re, Hong Kong, Mr. Kshitij Anand, Head of International Strategy, Aon Benfield Re, London, Mr. AK Roy, Chairman- Cum- Managing Director, General Insurance Corporation of India, Mr. G Shrinivasan Chairman- Cum- Managing Director, The New India Assurance Co. Ltd, Mr. Rakesh Jain CEO, Reliance General Insurance Co.Ltd were also spoke at the symposium. Mr. Shailesh Vaidya, Vice President IMC proposed the vote of thanks to the dignitaries and the gathering of a directors and decision makers of various insurance companies from India and abroad and a well attended gathering.

Mumbai, 16 January 2013: The BRICS Partnership Cities Conference 2013 comprising the cities of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), St. Petersburg (Russia), Mumbai (India), Qingdao (China) and Durban (South Africa) concluded on 17th January, 2013. It was organized by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Indian Merchants' Chamber and started with the presentation on best practices of MCGM and opportunities available for infrastructure development by Mr Rajiv Jalota, Additional Municipal Commissioner , MCGM. He explained how the income is generated and how it is spent for the benefit of people. He also detailed the tax system adopted by the corporation for residential and commercial properties. Mr Jalota spoke about the opportunities in the improvement of public transport system, slum development, water transport system, education and healthcare system. He also explained about the prevailing water supply system in the city, sewage generation & disposal system, topography of storm water drainage system and the need of faster and lasting technologies to build roads, tanks and gardens. Mr Jalota also shared with the delegates about the need for improvement of the fire fighting system in the city with better technology. Earlier, Mr Jalota explained the history of Mumbai and the typography of the city. Mr Stelio Marcos Amarante, Head of International Relations, Rio de Janerio, Brazil explained about the methods adopted to reduce shanty homes in Rio and increase the standard of living of the people in the shanty towns. He mentioned about the state-of-the art centre for operations which can view the city solve most of the problems. He also explained about the water distribution system and the garbage collection. Mr Amarante detailed the plans for Rio, by the year 2016 in various sectors like health care, education, transportation, development of old port area, preservation of heritage structures etc., before the next Olympics to be held in Rio. He also invited the delegates to exchange technologies to make Rio's projects faster. Mr Alexander Prohorenko, Chairman, Foreign Relations Comm, St Petersburg explained the activities of the local body. He mentioned the importance of providing clean water for the megapolis. "we came here to offer some projects to offer and exchange some technologies, so that we can achieve development," said Pohorenko. Mr E.V. Karmazinov from St Peters burg explained the city situation in the past and how the administration improved the water supply system and the waste water treatement system. He also detailed how the advanced technologies and equipment used at the plants help them achieve their goal. Mr Karmazinov also mentioned about the success of the environment education which the civic body initiated. Mr Liu Mingjun, Vice Mayor, Qingdao, China explained how the BRICS partner cities meeting mechanism can be a partnership for development, integration and industrialization. He explained about the locational advantages of the city and mentioned about the MNCs having operations in India having their manufacturing plants in Qingdao. Mr Sipho Cele, Deputy City Manager, Ethekwini (Durban) Municipality, South Africa explained the structure and biographical information of the city. He mentioned about the challenges faced by the city. The major areas being: Migration from other countries, electricity, water, education, public transport etc. He underlined the importance of long term planning of projects and mentioned the vision and theme of Durban Municipality. Later, Deputy Mayor, Mumbai Mr Mohan Bigaonkar along with the heads of delegations from the other BRICS cities, signed on the agreement to have the next year's conference at Durban after Mr Sipho Cele, Deputy City Manager, Ethekwini (Durban) Municipality, South Africa consented to host the event. Mr Arvind Pradhan, Director General, Indian Merchants' Chamber thanked the delegates and officials from MCGM for their day-long participation in the 5th BRICS Partner/Friendship Conference in Mumbai.

Mumbai, 11 January, 2013: "I can see three important factors which prevail in our country to promote Entrepreneurship. A Democracy which we have to preserve, Secularism on which our foundation is strong and the largest number of youth in the world we have to guide," said Mr Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys Limited. Mr Murthy was speaking at the seminar on 'Be your own Boss' - Entrepreneurship, organised by Indian Merchants' Chamber jointly with NMIMS and BSE at the BSE Convention Hall, Mumbai. "Entrepreneurship is all about transforming the world to opportunities, creating wealth and making ideas into reality," said Mr Murthy. Entrepreneurship is about walking the road less travelled or sometimes, never travelled. "To start an entrepreneurship, one must have an idea which is useful to the consumer which should be easily explainable and understandable and one should do test marketing before kick starting it," explained Mr Murthy about the nitty-gritty of being your own boss. It is also important to have a team who are from diverse qualifications and streams who could bring in complementary contributions. An entrepreneur also should create trust in his/her team, for that one need to have a good value system and the entrepreneur should remember that the society is the biggest stake holder in his/her business. He explained to the well attended audience. Mr Laxmikant J. Tanna, Chairman, Entrepreneurship Committee, IMC explained the theme of a series of entrepreneurship programmes introduced by IMC. "Role of entrepreneurship is also making a social and economic change in the country," said Mr Tanna. "People like Mr Murthy and Mr Azim Premji made us understand, it is important to make money through ethical means," said Mr Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO, BSE Ltd. Mr Murthy has set an example to be followed for Indian entrepreneurship, observed Dr. Rajan Saxena, Vice Chancellor, SVKM's NMIMS University. "Campus recruitments are not the only options for management students," reminded Ms Deena Mehta, Co-Chairperson, Entrepreneurship Committee, IMC in her introductory speech. Mr Arvind Pradhan proposed the Vote of Thanks to the dignitaries an interactive and enthusiastic well attended audience.

Mumbai, 8 January 2013: Indian Merchants' Chamber organised a Discussion on "RBI's Draft Guidelines based on Usha Thorat Committee Report on Issues and Concerns in the NBFC Sector"on January 7, 2013. "Shadow Banking sector or NBFCs has gathered a lot of significance after the global economic slowdown of 2008," said Mr Anand Sinha, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India. He was delivering the regulator's view on the RBI guidelines as the chief guest of the event. "NBFC segment is a complementary mechanism to the banking sector and the RBI values their services. Moreover, NBFCs have carved a niche area of operations in the Indian financial system," added Mr Sinha. "Internationally, after the economic crisis in 2008, G20 leaders in 2010 highlighted the need for strengthening NBFCs across the world for, the contribution of NBFC s is 25 per cent more than the regulated banking sector in the US and developed economies," observed Mr Sinha. This has initiated the regulator to streamline the NBFC sector in the country, he explained. Speaking at the discussion, Guest of Honour Ms Usha Thorat said: "Because of the diversity of NBFC sector, which operates in different verticals, the draft affects various NBFCs in different ways vis--vis the banking sector." She explained to the audience the reasons behind the recommendations made by the Committee headed by her to the RBI. "If a level playing field generated by the Finance Ministry and the RBI, it will be a boost to the financial sector in the country," said Mr Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC. "With this initiative by the regulator, in future NBFCs will have a new and effective role to play in the Indian financial sector," added Mr Hiranandani while delivering his welcome address. Mr T. T. Srinivasaraghavan. Managing Director, Sundaram Finance Ltd. detailed the problems of NBFCs and what changes they expect from the regulator. "NBFCs in the country need an authenticity and institutionalization of funding and also need access to ECBs," said Mr Srinivasraghavan. "It is necessary to bring NBFCs and Banks on par and window for restructuring to be made available to NBFCs," said Mr K. V. Srinivasan, CEO, Reliance Commercial Finance. Earlier, Mr Mahesh Thakkar, Co-Chairman, Finance and Banking Committee, IMC & Director General, FIDC introduced the topic of discussion and observed, "Life is going to be difficult for NBFCs operating in sensitive areas as per the norms of RBI." Mr Shailesh Vaidya, Vice-President, IMC proposed the vote of thanks to all the speakers, well attended representatives of NBFC sector from various parts of the country, financial analysts and officials from the RBI.

Indian Merchants' Chamber's Anticorruption Committee has urged the government to have speedy trial procedures in rape cases. Said, Mr Julio Ribeiro, Chairman, Anticorruption Committee, IMC, "what we need is the speedy implementation of the existing law." He said, it is important to: Implement the existing law effectively We require certainty of punishment and quick implementation of it We require a judiciary which is having strength to implement laws We need enough judges to hear the cases We must follow strict jail rules to decide up on Paroles. Mr Niranjan Hiranandani, President, IMC said, "It is very important to have a speedy prosecution and judgement in rape cases and it is also important to restrict the adjournments in rape cases." Added Mr Ribeiro, "the implementation of punishment is not happening the way it should be in the last three decades, convicts in many cases get the excuse of sickness after influencing the jail authorities and get themselves admitted to the 'comforts' of hospitals of their choice." "this should not happened and it is the saddest part of our system," he observed. Speaking at the Anticorruption Committee meeting Mr D. Sivanandan said, "more number of women officers should be included in the investigation team of rape cases. As of now in Maharashtra, women officers contribute only 5 per cent of the police force." "We need to bring sufficient number of prosecutors for speedy trail of rape cases. As of now, there is a shortage of 40 per cent prosecutors in the state," he observed. Mr Sivanandan also emphasized the importance of: Eradication of corruption in all levels of investigation and prosecution Need to change the attitude of police force "There should not be any kind of political or other interventions in the rape case to have a fair and free investigation," he concluded.

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