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Increased Swedish confidence in India’s business potential, markets



India and Sweden, which share more than a decade of camaraderie in terms of political, cultural, social, and economic ties, have only grown closer with the exchange of knowledge and experience. India-Sweden Innovation Summit was a perfect example of such strengthening of ties. Besides innovation and advanced technology, another sector which witnessed similar growth trajectory in network and strategies, is business and trade. Swedish companies have shown tremendous interest in the potential of Indian markets.

Similar kind of optimism was reflected in the 13th edition of the Business Climate Survey (BCS), which exhibited an increasing confidence of Swedish companies in conducting business in India. Additionally, the recent BCS report also showed a substantial increase in Swedish companies’ interest and intent of doing business in India compared to the pandemic-marred 2020.

BCS is a highly-trusted annual survey, conducted since 2008 by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, India (SCCI), along with the Embassy of Sweden in India, the Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai, and Business Sweden. It is undertaken every year to understand the strengths and weaknesses of India-Sweden business relations, and how long-standing and emerging obstacles can be identified, reduced and resolved.

So far, more than 220 Swedish companies are operating in India, actively contributing to various business verticals, such as Industrial Equipment; IT & Electronics; Healthcare MedTech & Pharma; Business Services; Retail Consumer Goods & Services; Automotive Heavy Vehicles & Auto Components. More companies are now entering the Environmental Technology & Energy sector (Water, waste, HVAC, etc.). These companies have had a huge impact on the Indian job market as they employ over 200,000 people directly and another 2.2 million indirectly.

Commenting on the strengthening of ties between the two nations, Anna Hallberg, Swedish Minister for Foreign Trade and Nordic Affairs, said: “Sweden and India’s bilateral cooperation has grown even stronger despite the pandemic. Swedish companies have repeatedly shown that they have a long-term commitment towards India. Therefore, I am particularly proud that the 2021-22 Business Climate Survey (BCS) has received such a massive response and highlights important areas such as green transition and women in the workforce.

“The BCS provides valuable information on the business climate in India, as perceived by Swedish companies. It is therefore of great importance to the Swedish Government and will play an important role in the preparations for the upcoming meeting of the Joint Commission for Economic, Industrial and Scientific Cooperation, and for the preparations of the upcoming trade negotiations between India and the EU.”

At the launch of this year’s BCS report, Sweden’s Ambassador to India, Klas Molin, remarked: “Swedish companies continue to thrive in India. Even in the wake of the challenges posed by the pandemic, Swedish companies have continued to invest, expand, and believe in India. As reflected in the Business Climate Survey, it is highly encouraging to see that so many Swedish companies are planning to increase their investments in India in the years ahead.”

This year’s survey, titled ‘Towards Sustainable Growth’, reflected the commitment shown by Swedish companies in their long-term association with India, given the country’s business environment, which is deemed supportive and encouraging with promising growth prospects. Interestingly, despite the pandemic adversely impacting the country’s economic growth, Swedish companies are looking forward to expanding their business and investment in India, especially in sustainable technologies, to create a greener and a lasting impact. Besides, the survey also took into account the increase in job opportunities and representation of women in the Indian workforce. These also acted as one of the key factors influencing business dealings between the two nations.

In line with the ongoing trends and key agenda of exploring business opportunities in India, a six-member delegation led by Sweden’s Ambassador to India Klas Molin will soon be visiting Sweden for a weeklong roadshow titled “Time for India”. Among diplomats accompanying Molin will be Consul General of Sweden to Mumbai Anna Lekvall, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Oskarsson, General Manager of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce to India Sara Larsson and Counsellors for Science & Innovation and Trade Per-Arne Wickström and Markus Lundgren.

The delegation will be joined by India’s Ambassador to Sweden & Latvia Tanmay Lal, and Chairman of Sweden India Business Council Hakan Kingstedt. The roadshow will start from Stockholm, followed by Lulea, Göteborg, Malmo and then back to Stockholm, where the Indian Embassy in Sweden will be organising a final seminar on Investing in India.

“Time for India” will have a series of breakfast seminars, which will provide a comprehensive insight into different sectors and markets linked to the Indian trade industry and their business potential. The trade roadshow will focus on analysing and availing the opportunities available to Swedish companies in India and for Indian companies in Sweden and forming required strategies to strengthen trade ties between the two nations, keeping in mind the current economic developments.

Speaking about the ambitious business campaign, Ambassador Klas Molin said: “Time for India is a part of an ambition shared by Sweden and India to strengthen and increase bilateral trade and investments. The plan that has been tasked us to perform has been backed by our Prime Ministers as well as Indian and Swedish Ministers of Commerce, Piyush Goyal and Anna Hallberg, respectively. Our goal is to increase investments, opportunities, employment and the flow of goods and services between our countries.”

Molin added that the roadshow’s roadmap includes exploring business opportunities, holding talks with private sector representatives, government, and other decision makers to discuss trade and investment-related issues. The delegation will also look at the next steps to further facilitate business collaborations and means to assist Team Sweden and Team India in the process.

Expressing optimism about the upcoming talks, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Oskarsson said: “In the last few months as Trade Commissioner for Business Sweden in India, I have seen the potential for collaboration and investments substantial. The Indian government has brought most of the key infrastructure sectors in India under the automatic route which allows 100% foreign direct investment (FDI).

“The new master plan aims to boost employment opportunities, make interconnectivity easier between road, rail, air and waterways to boost efficiency, and improve industrial productivity. It also aims to help India become a manufacturing hub, attract foreign investors and raise the possibility of future economic zones through multimodal connectivity that provides manufacturers faster access to domestic and international markets. It’s certainly time to invest in India.”


Tom Cruise ‘would love to meet someone special’ after three failed marriages




Hollywood star Tom Cruise has been married to Hollywood stars Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes, with the actor most recently being romantically linked to Shakira.

The unlikely pair met at the Formula 1 Grand Prix and while it seems Tom was “very interested in pursuing” the singer, she wasn’t so keen, reports

A source has revealed Tom’s friends have now given him some dating advice as he searches for “the one.”

The comments come after it was revealed Shakira “begged” Tom to “stop flirting with her” as the situation became “too much” for her following her painful split with Gerard Pique.

The 46-year-old singer and Barcelona defender, 36, announced their shock breakup in June last year after 12 years together.

Gerard has since moved on with Clara Chia Marti, 24.

“She doesn’t want to embarrass or upset him, but there’s no attraction or romance on her part – she was just being friendly. She’s flattered but not interested,” an insider told Heat Magazine.

The insider added that Tom has been searching for the right woman for years and said he has “the highest standards” and won’t settle for “second best” in a potential lover.

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Tata Group signs ₹13,000-crore deal for EV battery plant with Gujarat govt




On Friday, the Tata group signed an outline agreement with the Gujarat government to establish a lithium-ion cell factory, investing approximately Rs 13,000 crore ($1.6 billion). This move aligns with India’s aim to develop its own electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Vijay Nehra, Secretary of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat, and Rakesh Ranjan, CEO of Agratas Energy. The establishment of the plant aims to reduce Gujarat’s dependence on China and Korea, which are currently the major suppliers of battery cells to India.

The establishment of the factory aligns with the state’s ambitious targets of achieving 50% carbon emission-free energy and 100% electric vehicle (EV) adoption by 2030.

In April, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), a subsidiary of Tata Motors, unveiled its electrification plan. JLR disclosed it would invest £15 billion (approximately $19 billion) over the next five years, with a focus on transforming itself into an electric-first and modern carmaker. As part of this strategy, JLR’s Wolverhampton plant in the UK, known for known for producing Ignenium internal combustion engines for their vehicles, will produce electric drive units and battery packs for their next-generation of vehicles.

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Bids worth ₹6,500 crore pour in for government’s stake sale in Coal India




The Indian government’s divestment bid hadn’t received the expected response in the past few years, as it has kept bringing down its target and still missed the Rs 65,000 crore target by more than 50 per cent last year. It called off the privatisaiton of firms such as Bharat Petroleum after failing to get bids, and Air India was also rescued by Tata when no one else stepped up to buy it. But the Indian government’s latest offer for sale of a stake in Coal India, has received an overwhelming response, with bids worth Rs 6,500 crore from institutional buyers.

Against its OFS for 8.31 crore shares of the state-owned coal producer, the government received bids for 28.76 units, which is 3.46 times the number of stocks on offer.

Positive signs at the beginning of the year

The shares were offered at a 7 per cent discount, as part of the first stake sale by the government in FY24.

With a target of raising Rs 51,000 crore via divestment this year, the government put up a 3 per cent stake in the PSU for sale.

Half of it was part of the OFS, and the other 1.5 per cent stake was set aside in case of oversubscription.

This was part of a 66 per cent stake which the Indian government holds in Coal India.

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