January 2022 / India

January 7 2022

Innovation Led Indian Economy

India's vision of becoming a $ 5 trillion economy is complexly connected with an innovation-oriented approach to economic expansion. While most governments are looking inward, in the current Covid-19 crisis-hit world, India is utilising this opportunity to create its innovative capacities to fulfil future international demands by delivering a spectrum of new approaches, services, and products.

India has mounted two places and has been ranked 46th by the World Intellectual Property Organization in the Global Innovation Index 2021 rankings. India has been on a rising course over the past several years in the Global Innovation Index (GII) from a rank of 81 in 2015 to 46 in 2021.

Innovation is a vital driver of economic advancement that helps customers, industries, and the economy in its entirety. In financial terms, innovation defines the development and application of visions and technologies that enhance goods and services or make their production more efficient. India is moving towards an innovation-led economy, because inventions bring new concepts and technologies, and produce more important outputs with the same input. This results in better-made goods and services, boosting earnings and business profitability.

India fosters innovation by executing structural standards such as improved spending on research and development, funding in education, and facilitating entrepreneurs to initiate an enterprise more efficiently and for failed businesses to retire the market more quickly. It is also carrying its intricacy to its benefit by utilising the extensive and heterogeneous user segments in India that are keen on exploring new solutions to their unmet needs. The combination of strong capabilities and mature varieties makes India a productive innovation base.

India is comprehensively prepared to steer in a new age of creation and expansion in the current scenario. Compelled by 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' and 'Make in India' endeavours, there is a solid stimulation to empower the regional manufacturing sectors that would, in turn, contribute to the production of innovative products at economical rates. Along with improving the production scale, India has also strived to enhance its study capabilities by introducing new Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020. These efforts  play a critical part in promoting the country's innovative power.

The government's Atal Innovation Mission, DST-NIDHI's PRAYAS, Digital India and Startup India has also uplifted the entrepreneurial spirit. These initiatives have facilitated access to the essential resources to harness the youthful vibrancy of the country. The current innovation ecosystem has been made a part of India's policy plan to expand, bolster and drive a positive impact.

The past decade has seen numerous Indian harboured brands (startups or otherwise) tapping into the global market with their product and service. Whether it's a premium skincare brand like Forest Essentials or an affordable brand like Lenskart, this approach is still impeccable. They create an ingenious solution to an existing void and ensure that they craft high-quality products and services. Service brands like Ola and Zomato are positively expanding their offerings across nations after having perfected their product through numerous rotations of iteration with user segments in India. Indian creators are creating services and products designed to provide an increase in complex capabilities related to technological constraints, user segmentation, and competitive prices. This allows for the advantageous transfer of innovations to different markets with parallel potential demands. India is an invention creator among emerging countries, and it demonstrates its innovation leadership in other developing countries in a unique way.

As India steers into an undetermined future where the global economy is still staggering from the pandemic, innovation harbours the key to transitioning any developing economy toward the developed class. India has the potential and ability to be such a country that alters its economic originality by leaning on innovation.

This article is co-authored by Kanika Verma and Bhakti Jain.

January 14 2022

COVID-19 Pandemic: India Further Extends Various Compliance Deadlines

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended the filing deadlines of certain tax returns and reports, including income tax returns for the assessment year (AY) 2021/22, in view of difficulties reported by taxpayers and stakeholders due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The extension applies to the following returns or reports:

  • income tax return for AY 2021/22:
    • due on 31 October 2021: extended further to 15 March 2022 (previously to 30 November 2021, then 15 February 2022); and
    • due on 30 November 2021: extended further to 15 March 2022 (previously to 31 December 2021, then 28 February 2022);
  • report of audit for the previous year (PY) 2020/21:
    • due on 30 September 2021, in the case of assessees referred to in clause (a) of Explanation 2 to section 139 (1) of the Income Tax Act (ITA): extended further to 15 February 2022 (previously to 31 October 2021, then 15 January 2022); and
    • due on 31 October 2021, in the case of assessees referred to in clause (aa) of Explanation 2 to section 139 (1) of the ITA: extended to 15 February 2022; and
  • report from an accountant for persons entering international transactions or specified domestic transactions for PY 2020/21 due on 31 October 2021: extended further to 15 February 2022 (previously to 30 November 2021, then to 31 January 2022).
January 13 2022

Cold Storage Chains in India

Human civilization has come to a juncture where everything we consume is compromised by pollutants like deadly viruses and bacteria. The Covid-19 virus made it evident that to lead a healthy life in today’s world, one needs to look after their health and ensure the presence of a well-connected strong medical infrastructure. To achieve this, one of the primary needs is for a country to have fully functional cold chains in place which can cater to the medicinal storage requirements and other industry requirements like food. While medical cold storage infrastructure in India accounts for 43.7 per cent of the total revenue from the cold chain industry, there is still a lot more room in the market for growth, and need for cooler refrigerators to store vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer which require temperatures as low as -70*C.

In furtherance to last years’ talks, the Luxemburg-based company B Medical Systems inaugurated a cold chain manufacturing facility in Mundra, Gujarat. This collaboration between India and Luxemburg will not only save millions of human and animal lives but will also help in meeting the demand of the healthcare ecosystem. The company will provide a reliable vaccine cold chain with real time monitoring which would support the country’s ability to transport safely stored vaccines throughout the year and ensure zero wastage of Covid-19 vaccine rollout. Today, Covid-19 vaccine issues and development is a matter of national interest for India and the opening of the facility is a testament to India’s commitment to ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and the vision of India stepping up in the race to become the vaccine cold chain capital of the world.

The cold chain facility is an investment of over INR 100 crore with an annual production capacity of 100,000 units of medicinal cold chain products such as refrigerators, freezers and transport containers to fulfill the domestic demand. Another pain point for the Indian industry has been ineffective and unmonitored cold chains. Companies like Elanpro have helped by launching a remote-data monitoring device and provided support during the pandemic to various Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and hospitals. However, since cold chain deployed for vaccines in India is a novelty, the technology and services offered by Elanpro were scarcely employed. However, B Medical Systems' recent collaboration with 1mg, one of the largest Covid-19 vaccine securers, and Dr. Reddy’s will help India maintain proper cold chain storage and build transportation infrastructure for vaccine administration, and thereby, avoid any possible wastage.

Witnessing the corollaries of the second wave, the Indian government has prioritized the need for the country to strategize and expand its cold chains in matters of health infrastructure and set up vaccine and oxygen plants to sustain in the time of a medical emergency. Throughout the country, states are offering various incentives for smooth setting up of infrastructure to deal with Covid-19 and are now paying attention to cold storage as a vital element in the battle. The cold chain storage set up in Gujarat is of tremendous significance in India’s vaccine diplomacy and its strategic location provides impetus for the nation to link healthcare infrastructure and renewable energy, and further provide space for setting up of more chains in neighboring states like Rajasthan and coastal states like Goa where storage units can function in a cost effective and environment friendly manner while eyeing a 20 per cent Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) by 2025.

This article is co-authored by Bhamini Rathore and Kanika Verma.

January 13 2022

India and United Kingdom Launch Negotiations for FTA

According to a press release of 13 January 2022, published by the UK India Business Council, India and the United Kingdom formally launched negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between them in New Delhi on 13 January 2022. A first round of negotiations is expected to start next week. Further developments will be reported as they occur.