2015 was the year when India emerged as the fastest-growing large economy, despite 12 months of negative export growth, another bad monsoon and roadblocks to the far-reaching goods and services tax regime. Positives were global crude oil prices at their lowest in over a decade – checking the balance of payments from going awry – inflation remaining more or less under control – despite spikes in food prices – and economic reforms further opening up a host of industries to foreign equity. The government expects FDI inflows to rise 40-45 per cent in the New Year. Real GDP in the first half of the current fiscal year grew 7.2 percent as per official data. The sectors that attracted maximum FDI last year included services, computer hardware and software, telecom, automobile and trading.
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Many global institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank and some UN institutions have upgraded India’s growth forecast to 7.5-8 percent, calling it the fastest expanding globally, surpassing China. With global growth sluggish, and Russia and Brazil in recession, India is expected to be one of the fastest growing countries among major economies in the world, said World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu.
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Technology start-ups raised over $7 billion in private funding in 2015, 40% more than in 2014, despite several experts warning that after two years of windfalls the world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem was heading towards a slowdown.
Make in India
The “Make in India” program was launched by Prime Minister Modi in 2014 as a nation-building initiative to make India a global design and manufacturing hub. It is a call to action to India’s citizens and business, and an invitation to potential partners and investors around the world. “Make in India” represents a full and unprecedented overhaul of out-dated processes and policies. Most importantly, for the government it is a shift from issuing authority to business partner, embracing Modi’s tenet of “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”.
Make in India Week will be in Mumbai from February 13-18. See
Delhi, the capital and world’s fifth-largest megacity, population 18 million, is fighting rising air pollution caused mainly by diesel emissions, construction dust, brick kilns and burning of crop stubble in surrounding farms. The city’s 8.5 million vehicles are the prime contributor. Private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers are only being allowed to operate on alternate days in the latest plan to clear the air.
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A dome entirely covered by solar panels, the first of its kind in the country, will be built near Kolkata to raise awareness about solar energy. It will act as a museum of alternative energy and will produce electricity to run the nearby Eco-Park at Rajarhat.
Esha Gupta, 37, aka Lone Gal Traveller, from Bengaluru, is attempting to create a Guinness World Record for the longest journey on a motorcycle in a single country by a female. She started the 38,000-kilometre tour of 17 states, crossing 110 towns/cities in an equal number of days, on January 10. Her aim is to show that India is not an unsafe country for women.
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Nearly 300 women in Purakothi village are celebrating now that all 240 households have cooking gas connections and they no longer have to use firewood, cow dung cake or charcoal to cook. Purakothi has become Bihar state’s first smokeless village, with all households using LPG under the “Mission Smokeless Village” project of the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.
The Indian Space Research Organisation, formed in 1969, is the space agency of the Indian government headquartered in Bengaluru city. ISRO built India’s first satellite, which was launched by the Soviet Union in 1975. Its Mars Orbiter Mission reached the Red Planet in September 2014. As of October 2015, ISRO has agreed to launch 23 foreign satellites of nine different nations including Algeria, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and the US.
Sport and Culture
Cricket is unchallenged as most popular sport. With eight gold medals, India is the most successful field hockey team in Olympic history. India played soccer barefoot at the 1948 Olympics, after which FIFA banned the practice. F1 Grand Prix were held near New Delhi in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Badminton is supposed to have originated in India 2000 years ago. Chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand is world number two..
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A wide spectrum of rare and masterful drawings created in the workshops of royal Indian courts between the 1500s and 1800s, intricate woven textiles by a north-eastern ethnic group and works of contemporary photographers set in India are on display at the prestigious Philadelphia Museum of Art, US, in the “Drawn from Courtly India” exhibition.