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India and Uzbekistan Signed 34 Agreements
India and Uzbekistan signed a total of 34 agreements during the visit of Islam Abduganievich Karimov(President of Uzbekistan) to India. The major agreements between India and Uzbekistan are as following: Memorandum of Understanding between ONGC Videsh Limited and Uzbekneftegaz on Cooperation in Hydrocarbon Sector. Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in Oil and Gas sector between Uzbekneftegaz and ESSAR group. Agreement of establishment of Joint Business Council between the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan. India and Uzbekistan also issued a joint statement on strategic partnership during this visit. The important features of the joint statement are as following: The strategic partnership between India and Uzbekistan would include active cooperation in a wide spectrum of areas such as political, economic, counter-terrorism, education, health, human resource development, science and technology, tourism and culture. India and Uzbekistan noted the importance of improving the financial infrastructure for promoting trade and investment. The two sides also welcomed the intialling of the Protocol amending the bilateral Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement . India and Uzbekistan agreed to continue their work in terms of looking for several options for surface connectivity between India and Uzbekistan. They stressed on the need for adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

India Extended Duty-free Market Access to Afghanistan

India extended duty-free market access to Afghanistan as part of its economic package for LDCs (Least Developed Countries). Under this scheme, the import of most products from the neighbouring nation will be allowed at zero duty.Indias dutyfree tariff preference (DFTP) scheme was launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008. The scheme provides preferential duty access on products including 92.5 percent of global LDC exports.The DFTP scheme allows duty-free access on 85 per cent of Indias total tariff lines. The scheme is to be executed over a period of five years. It will be done through five equal tariff reductions of 20 percent each on the current applied rates to decrease the duty rates to zero.Some of the products of interest for LDCs which are covered include cotton, aluminium ore, cashewnut, cane sugar, readymade garments, fish fillets and nonindustrial diamonds.

India and ADB Signed Agreement

The Government of India and Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $132 million loan agreement for strengthening Bihars power sector. The project is expected to be completed by 31 December 2015. There is a provision for providing/transmitting additional 472,579 megawatt-hours (MWh) to consumers annually by the end of 2015 and reduce system losses by 3% by 2016 in seven districts of Bihar.

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Areas in which the loan to be used: The major portion of the ADB loan ($130.3 million) planned to be used to finance infrastructure such as transmission lines. The remaining ($1.9 million) is planned be used for strengthening the internal capacity of the Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB). The loan is also planned to be used to install new transmission lines and to renovate and modernize transmission and distribution facilities to improve the quality and reliability of the state's electricity supply network. ADB assured to provide a technical assistance grant of $300,000 for training and other capacity development to improve project and financial management in BSEB. ADB also assured to assist BSEB with project implementation and construction supervision, including training in the maintenance and operation of high-voltage distribution systems (HVDS).

India and Japan Signed Agreement

India and Japan signed an agreement for six development projects. As soft loan, Japan promised to provide 7361 crore rupees under this agreement. The agreement was meant to support Indias quest for energy and its efforts to improve infrastructure necessary for rapid growth in economy. The six projects for which the loan will be used are:

Rural High Voltage Distribution System Transmission System Modernisation Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Energy Saving Project (Phase II) New and Renewable Energy Development Project Metro Rail Project in Bangalore Forestry and Bio-Diversity Project (Phase II) in Rajasthan
What is a Soft Loan? Soft Loan is a financing that offers flexible or lenient terms for repayment, usually at lower than market interest rates. Soft loan is provided customarily by government agencies and not by financial institutions. It is also called a concessional funding.

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