A jeweller in Surat, Gujarat, has been the talk of the town – and the whole nation – after giving cars and apartments to hundreds of employees.
Savjibhai Dholakia, chairman of Hari Krishna Exports, handed out 500 Fiat Puntos, 207 apartments and 570 pieces of jewellery, according to the Guardian newspaper, which said that he would pay for his mysterious beneficence in installments “over the next few years.”
The scale of Dholakia’s generosity is unusual, but it is somewhat in keeping with Indian tradition. Throughout the country, offices are piled high with hampers of dried fruit and chocolates, gifts from companies to employees and clients, as India celebrates its festival of lights on October 23.
India has stepped up efforts to curb nearly 1m tobacco-related deaths a year by issuing new rules to embolden the health warnings on tobacco packets and make the country one of the world’s strictest in terms of tobacco labelling.
But while regulators try to crack down on branded cigarettes and similar products, there is still a vast unregulated market for tobacco in India. And it’s far from clear that slapping warnings on cigarette packs will have much impact on health.
For one thing, many more Indians smoke traditional bidis than branded cigarettes. In addition, a lot of people get their nicotine fix from chewing tobacco and other products often produced in the informal sector.
There you are, taking it easy on your summer holiday in Istanbul or Dubai, searching online for the next restaurant to sample. You may not know it, but the information you seek could be coming to you courtesy of a small company based in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.
Zomato, an online restaurant directory, has become a household name in India. That could soon be true in many other markets. Over the past year the website has expanded quickly overseas – from Poland to New Zealand – through a mixture of acquisitions and organic growth.
The Indian Super League, the country’s new professional football league, kicked off last weekend. Sceptics who doubted its pulling power were proved wrong as Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium packed out for the first game.
In a nation where cricket is tantamount to a religion, few expected football to have much appeal. But the ISL – backed by media group Star India and IMG-Reliance, a partnership between the sports management group and Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man – has captured the attention of the public, the players and the sponsors. Will it last?
On Friday Indian companies will begin posting their results for the quarter ended in September – the first full three-month period under the country’s new, pro-business government.
The latest macroeconomic indicators suggest the economy has picked up following this year’s general election, growing at 5.7 per cent in the three months to June. But if analyst forecasts are anything to go by, only some sectors have received a boost from renewed optimism in India.
Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, arrived in India on Wednesday for a visit expected to showcase significant investment deals and make progress toward resolving a decades-old border dispute.
But beyond the official bonhomie, the shallow foundations of an uneasy bilateral relationship are readily evident. Nowhere are they more obvious than with tourism. China’s outbound tourism boom appears to have largely bypassed India, which took only 2.5 per cent of its tourist arrivals from its northern neighbour in 2013.
This put Chinese arrivals behind those both from Malaysia – at 3.5 per cent of the total – and Russia – at 3.7 per cent.
Investors have been awaiting an upturn in India’s economy since Narendra Modi, prime minister, took power in May. But a raft of recent data paints a mixed picture, with inflation moderating while slack industrial production conflicts with some robust consumer spending signals.
The Wholesale Price Index (WPI), out on Monday, confirmed that inflation is easing, reaching a 58-month low of 3.74 per cent year-on-year in August from 5.19 per cent in July.
Until about a decade ago India was barely producing enough cotton to meet its own needs, let alone export the stuff. But this year Asia’s third largest economy will overtake China to become the world’s biggest producer of cotton.
Data from the US Department of Agriculture released on Thursday suggests that India will produce 30m bales of cotton in the season that began August 1 while China will produce just 29.5m bales.
We all know that India’s stock market has been booming for months. As excitement built up over the election, investors were drawn by the prospect of a strong new government promising to restart Asia’s third largest economy.
Foreign investors have led the enthusiasm but now domestic funds are also rushing to get in on the game. In August, investments by domestic mutual funds reached their highest point since the beginning of 2008.
Since April car sales in India have been improving as consumer sentiment picks up following this year’s general election – and August saw the biggest year-on-year jump in this upturn as festival season neared.
Sales of passenger cars were up 15.2 per cent year-on-year in August to 153,758 units, according to data published on Wednesday by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), a trade body.
Import restrictions and the rival appeal of equities have put a damper on India’s gold market, traditionally the world’s biggest. As festival season gets under way and Indians indulge their craving for the yellow metal, many are wondering when New Delhi and the Reserve Bank of India will begin rolling back their efforts to keep the market in check.
Officials are particularly concerned about the effect of gold imports on India’s troublesome current account deficit. One way round that problem would be to encourage more recycling of gold already in India. It could also be an enticing business proposition.
Remember that story back in June, when the Indian government blocked a couple of foreign sources of funding for Greenpeace India?
It looks like the courts may not let New Delhi withhold the international transfers. On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court ordered that the blocked funds should be shifted from accounts with the central bank to Greenpeace’s accounts and placed in a fixed deposit until October 10, when a final verdict will be announced.
Mumbai is in the midst of one of the nation’s noisiest and most fun-filled festivals: Ganesh Chaturthi.
During the 10-day festival, statues of the elephant-headed God are set up at mandals (temporary shrines) around the city and worshipped before being immersed in water – usually on the seafront.
But who foots the bill for this vast celebration with its enormous sculptures, temporary altars and elephantine decorations?
Tata Motors, the Indian carmaker, has announced plans to sell its cars in Algeria in a further sign of the growing role that Indian companies are playing in Africa.
Tata said it would launch its passenger cars in a partnership with SPA Elsecom, an established distributor in Algeria.
Ratan Tata (pictured), who was the head of India’s powerful Tata group until 2012, ushered in a period of ambitious international expansion at the company. He is one of the most respected figures in the business community today.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the illustrious businessman has personally invested in Snapdeal, the online marketplace that is battling to win a share of India’s fast-growing market for ecommerce.