Two women working in a lab, wearing white coats. Photo.

AlbaNova University Center, The Stockholm Centre for Physics, Astronomy and Biotechnology.

More governance, less government

The BJP government makes clear its commitment to a reform agenda.

Both India and Sweden have new governments. Both have had elections in 2014 and are looking at news ways of continuing growth. On January 30th, 2015 India and Sweden held the 17th Session of the Indo-Sweden Joint Commission on Economic, Industrial and Scientific Cooperation, in Stockholm. The Joint Commission is an annual event where the two countries discuss the main points for action. It is clear that on many points the two new governments see eye to eye. India is bullish on the potential of delivering on its growth ambition of 9–10 per cent. Sweden is committed to its need for international growth and innovation as a means to stay competitive.

With the release of the Sweden India Business Climate Survey, this strong relationship between the two nations was reaffirmed. Trade has increased, and 90 per cent of existing Swedish companies have a positive experience of working with India, and are planning to increase their India presence. With brand giant IKEA committing $2 billion to India, the positive business climate is not limited to those already present in the country.

Main political / institutional changes made by new govt. India

July 10, 2014 – Budget Speech, Smart Cities

  • ‘Smart Cities are those cities which have smart (intelligent) physical, social, institutional and economic infrastructure while ensuring centrality of citizens in a sustainable environment’. Smart Cities Concept Note 3/12/2014.
  • 100 smart cities planned
  • Each city to house a technology/innovation incubator with support from the Government
  • Energy efficiency, waste management, clean technology options are at the heart of smart city development
  • More details on development are expected in the Feb 2015 Budget Speech
  • Smart City India 2015, set for May 20–22, 2015

December 17, 2014, Goods and Services Tax Bill tabled for Parliament 

  • Unify taxation throughout the country, unified Indian market
  • Expected to come into effect by April 2016

December 29, 2014 Ordinance passed on Land Reform

  • Eases cost of doing business with regard to land acquisition for projects related to rural infrastructure, housing, industrial corridors, defence, and PPPs
  • No social impact assessment required prior to purchase
  • Will free up $300 billion of projects currently stalled because of previous legislation
  • Ordinance in place of Parliamentary approval. This will be sought in next Session.

March 2–6, 2015 India Smart Grid Week

  • In 2010, the India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF) was constituted, an inter-ministerial group to oversee the development of India’s smart grid ambition, to be achieved by 2050. The first step towards this vision was the selection of 14 pilot projects and the establishment of the India Smart Grid Forum, which today has more than 100 members and 10 Working Groups
  • In December 2014, the Government of Delhi introduced draft guidelines for the introduction of cars to run on ‘bio-cng’ (upgraded biogas)
  • Government to introduce no excise tax on electric vehicles and other clean fuels

What to look out for: India’s 2015 budget – Released on Feb 27, 2015 and to be reviewed here.