Rich Indians worry as ‘dollar’ visa set to end


  • United States of America’s EB-5 Programme, labelled in a lighter vein as the ‘Green Card for greenback’ scheme, has been attracting oodles of eyeballs  including from India of late.
  • Many high net worth individuals the world over, including in India, are worried as the controversial immigrant visa programme for the wealthy is set to expire this month-end.
  • Programme grants rich entrepreneurs — as well as their spouses and unmarried children below the age of 21.
  • An opportunity to bag the coveted U.S. Green Card (or status of permanent residence) and Citizenship.
  • All they have to do is invest in just over half a million dollars in the U.S. and ensure that the funds help generate at least ten full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

L’Opera to open 50 outlets by 2020


  • L’Opera, known for French pastry and bakery products, is looking at raising capital to fund plans to add over 50 new outlets across India by 2020.
  • The company, which presently has 13 outlets in Delhi NCR, will be entering Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai markets, besides opening two new stores in Delhi.
  • “We started L’Opera 5 years back in 2011. It has now grown into a chain. We have invested about €3.5 million (about Rs. 26 crore) till now in setting up the 13 existing stores and production facility.
  • We employ about 140 people…almost all are locals,” Kazem Samandari.
  • Chain would require an investment of about Rs.40 crore for the planned expansion.

Ubers of the skies out to redefine charter flights


  • Startups such as Book-MyCharters, JetSetGo and JetSmart want to oust traditional private plane brokers with online marketplaces that they say are transparent, reliable and offer more choice.
  • Those who can afford private planes  the cheapest Mumbai-Delhi charter costs around Rs 7 lakh on a six-seater  have long relied on brokers to make bookings, an exercise that can take days and is restrictive in terms of choice.
  • Brokers typically represent three-four private plane operators, most of whom don’t own more than one or two aircraft.
  • Negotiations among operators, brokers and customers on price and availability can drag on for days.
  • Three startups represent the first attempt to take booking online. BookMyCharters, which has signed up 16 charter operators, was launched in December by Rajeev Wadhwa of Mumbai-based Baron Aviation.

GST deadline remains a challenge, says Sinha


  • Government is working overtime to meet the stiff April 2017 deadline for rolling out the Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime and it remains a “challenge  – Cabinet Secretary P.K.Sinha.
  • GST as one of the biggest initiatives for creating the right environment to do business in India, the government’s most senior bureaucrat said that the Centre has managed to turn around most of the core infrastructure sectors from a state of distress two years ago and is working on a ‘silent revolution’ in governance.
  • Government has been working overtime recently and have taken some path breaking steps in making governance efficient, transparent, responsive, participatory and accountable.
  • In fact, I can even say a silent revolution is under way as we move towards a completely digital architecture towards governance in all fields.
  • A number of steps have been taken to improve the ease of doing business… GST is going to be a game-changer for industry, but it’s going to be a challenge.

New marble import policy to end licence raj


  • Commerce ministry on Sunday said it had notified the new import policy for marble and that it would come into effect from October 1.
  • New policy aims to balance the interests of domestic consumers, producers and processors, and to end the cumbersome licensing system for import of marble and travertine blocks.
  • Minimum Import Price (MIP) for marble blocks has been reduced to $200 per Metric Ton to address the distortions associated with an MIP.
  • MIP on the import of marble slabs is being reduced to $40 per sq. metre. The MIP on the import of granite slabs is being reduced to $50 per sq. metre.
  • SIT had mooted strong action under the anti-money laundering legislation to prevent foreign trade-linked money laundering.

Rupee up 4 paise in early trade


  • Rupee edged up by 4 paise to 66.93 against the dollar in early trade at the forex market on increased selling of the American currency by banks and exporters.
  • Increased foreign fund inflows, weakness of the dollar against some other currencies overseas, and a higher opening in the domestic equity market boosted the rupee value against the dollar –  forex dealers.
  • Rupee had recovered by 5 paise to close at 66.97 in Friday’s trade on improvement.
  • In trade deficit data and easing fears of a rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.
  • Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex rallied by 72.03 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 28,671.06 in early trade.

Bank of Japan may shift policy focus to rates as monetary firepower wanes


  • Bank of Japan could shift negative interest rates to the primary focus of its monetary policy on Wednesday, heightening market disquiet over what any move away from quantitative easing reveals about the waning firepower of global central banks.
  • With three years of massive money printing failing to push up inflation.
  • BOJ is expected to move away from shock therapy and towards a protracted battle against deflation, say sources familiar with its thinking.
  • BOJ’s “quantitative and qualitative easing” (QQE) has been a signature policy of Governor Haruhiko Kuroda since 2013.
  • Aimed to shock the economy out of stagnation and change households’ deflationary mindsets.


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