Govt plans National Register of Business of India

Kolkata: The government has decided to create a national register of business aimed at capturing every single commercial activity in the country to ultimately pave way for keeping more accurate statistical data of economic activities, reports PTI.

"We are planning a National Register of Business to keep track of every single commercial activity - both big and small - in the country," secretary to the ministry of statistics and programme implementation TCA Anant said here today on the sidelines of a workshop on annual survey of industries.

To make it possible, the new economic census will now cover the services sector, including micro home businesses and small kirana stores.

The work on economic census will begin from June-July, 2011, and is expected to finish by the end of FY 2012 expectedly making 2004-05 as the base year, Mr Anant said.

A national register of business will lead to switching from the annual survey of industries to the annual survey of business.

The annual survey of industries will only capture industrial production under the Factories Act, but now the government wants to capture the services sector too, which currently falls under the Shops and Establishment Act.

"We wish to aim for an annual survey of business instead of being restricted to industrial output," Mr Anant said.

However, he did not like to make any commitment on a timeframe for putting it in place.


India Inc's M&A deal tally at $42 bn: Grant Thornton

New Delhi: Corporate India announced merger and acquisition (M&A) deals worth $601 million in the month of September taking the year-to-date total to over $42 billion, reports PTI quoting a report by consultancy firm Grant Thornton.

Though the number of merger and acquisition deals in the country more than doubled in the month of September, from 23 to 57, the total deal value remained more or less the same.

According to Grant Thornton's latest Deal Tracker, there were as many as 57 merger and acquisition transactions worth $601 million, while in the year-ago period there were 23 deals worth $597 million.

"Inspite of the high level of activity in M&A closing 57 deals in September 2010, the deal values have been significantly lower at $600 million, compared to increased momentum seen during the first seven months of the year," Grant Thornton's partner (specialist advisory services) C G Srividya said.

The deal sizes have been small or negligible and there have been only two M&A deals reported valued at over $50 million. Most of the action has been in hospitality, power & energy and infrastructure related sectors, Ms Srividya added.

The total value of 82 deals, including (M&A, private equity and qualified institutional placement) announced in September 2010 was $1.49 billion.

Domestic merger and acquisition deals were the flavour of the month with transactions worth $380 million. The total value of outbound deals - wherein Indian companies acquired businesses outside India amounted to $210 million, while in inbound deals, wherein foreign companies acquired Indian businesses amounted to $10 million.

Giving further details the report said there were 15 outbound deals worth $210 million, compared to $10 million through nine deals in September 2009.

In September 2009, there were 11 domestic deals worth $580 million, while inbound deals constituted only a minuscule chunk with $4 million worth of M&A deals through three deals.

The top merger and acquisition deal in September this year, was Reliance Industries' (RIL) 14.12% acquisition in EIH Ltd for $217.23 million.

Other major deals include KEC International's acquisition of SAE Towers for $95 million, followed by Reliance ADAG's 15% stake buy in KGS Developers for $47.87 million.

The top five M&A deals accounted for 71% of the total deals value, Grant Thornton said.

A sector wise analysis shows that hospitality was the most targeted sector, as it attracted deals worth $224.47 million followed by power and energy ($95 million), IT & ITeS ($86.65 million), real estate ($47.87 million) and banking and financial services ($31.79 million), the report said.


New policy on FDI in multi-brand retail soon: Scindia

New Delhi: The government today indicated that it will soon have a new policy on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the politically sensitive multi-brand retail sector, reports PTI.

At present, India does not allow FDI in the lucrative retail sector. The traditional retail business is dominated by kirana stores and it is estimated that about 33 million people are employed in these neighbourhood outlets across the country.

"Let me assure you that the inter-ministerial committee set up for the purpose will not take an inordinate amount of time ... there cannot be an open-ended timeline. We are monitoring the progress of the group," minister of state for commerce and industry Joytiraditya Scindia told journalists at a meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the national capital.

A six-member committee is evaluating stakeholders' comments on a discussion paper on opening up the retail sector for FDI prepared by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the nodal department on FDI policy.

"They (the committee) are working on the feedback. There is going to be a single recommendation that will come out and then a consensus will have to be built around that before we take that in terms of a policy," Mr Scindia said.

In July, the DIPP initiated a debate on allowing FDI in the multi-brand retail sector. It received responses from stakeholders, including business chambers, WalMart India (the Indian venture of the American retail chain) and Carrefour (the French retail major), besides various departments of the government.

The concept paper favoured opening of the retail sector, subject to the creation of back-end logistics by foreign retailers setting up businesses in India.

The committee has officials from the ministries of micro, small and medium enterprises, agriculture, finance, rural development, commerce and industry and consumer affairs.

While multi-brand retail is closed for foreign investors, 51 per cent FDI is permitted in single-brand retail, while there are no restrictions on inflows in wholesale cash-and-carry business.

According to the discussion paper, the country loses more than Rs1 lakh crore annually on agri-products, like fruits and vegetables, due to lack of proper infrastructure such as cold chain storage and warehousing.

While there had been political resistance to FDI in multi-brand retail on the presumption that global players would swallow the small kirana stores, the industry has continued to pitch for allowing FDI in the business.


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