January 2023

President’s letter

Dear Members,

Tech Giant Microsoft plans to open a fourth data centre in India, this time they are planning to open in Hyderabad. Microsoft started its data centre journey in India in 2015 and has three data centres, one each in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. The strategic investment is aligned with Microsoft’s commitment to help customers thrive in a cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) – enabled digital economy.

As many as seven countries will signup with India to use India Stack’s digital public goods, these agreements will be signed at the World Government Summit to be held from February 13-15 in Dubai. More than 140 countries are expected to participate in the summit. Countries are mostly interested in DigiLocker, a secure cloud-based platform for storage, sharing and verification of documents and certificates. So far 144 million citizens have used the platform in India. Other platforms on offer are foundational identity programmes such as the Modular Open Source Identity Platform (MOSIP), instant real-time payments systems, Unified Payment Interface (UPI), Covid Vaccination platform, CoWIN and Health Stack. Some countries have also expressed interest in the Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) and National Digital Education Architecture (NDE-AR) on the education front.

Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the self – regulatory body of the industry, has tightened its guidelines for disclaimers made in advertisements because 80% consumers do not notice disclaimers in advertisement. Key additions to the existing guidelines include that all disclaimers be clearly readable to the consumers, remain in the screen for more than four seconds, modifications made to headlines when required to make them simple and minimum use of disclaimers in advertisement. This comes day after the ministry of consumer affairs announced endorsement guidelines for social media influencers where breach could attract fines of up to 10 Lakh Rupees for first time offences and 50 Lakh Rupees for repeat offences.

The Reserve Bank of India has placed discussion paper that looks into provisioning norms that based on expected credit losses (ECL) for banks, from the current norm of building provisions after an occurrence of default. Under ECL, provisions have to be built on the basis of self-designed models that capture the regulatory guidance and would have to be approved by regulator. The provisions capture the probability of default (PD) and the loss given default at an earlier stage, looking at historical individual experiences compared to the current norm of building provisions after default and at current and future  economic conditions while building provisions. Further, there is an emphasis on capturing the collateral or cash flow value of the asset under default.

Coming to our home state Kerala, Kerala has radically reorganized the G S T department to reform the state’s tax administration system in accordance with the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) implemented in the country since 2017. This is a vital step in the tax administration of Kerala. Kerala is the first State in the country that has completely restructured the GST department after the Goods and Service Tax Act came into force. The department has been restructured into three divisions: Tax Payer Services, Audit, Intelligence and Enforcement. The primary objective of the revamp is to fully implement the GST system by radically changing the operations of the tax department during the VAT/Sales Tax period. The other goals of the restructuring is also includes efficient service to the taxpayers, streamline tax collection, prevent tax leakages, acquire skills and professionalism through continuous training, and improve the department’s functioning through the use of advanced technology.

Kerala is on the path of rapid industrial growth. Kerala’s industry-friendly systems have stimulated the startup sector and helped to create a startup ecosystem. The startup mission has a huge role to play in the ongoing development of Kerala’s industrial sector and in making the state an entrepreneur-friendly state. The Startup Mission, which started functioning as technopark’s technology incubation centre, has grown to the level of spearheading the government’s entrepreneurship development programmes today.  Steadily rise in the startups in Kerala is evident over the years.In 2015, there was  200 startups  with investment of 128 crores, now stood at 4000 startup with 4280 startups.The Startup Mission was formed with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship among the youth using state-of-the-art technologies. Kerala’s excellent performance in education, health and human resource index as compared to other states is the reason for attracting large-scale investment to the state.

The Kerala State Cooperative Tourism Federation (Tourfed) gained 2.97 crore profit through inland tourism. Tourfed provides an opportunity for everyone to visit the country at a low cost through their domestic packages. Tourfed, which is implementing projects responsibly in the tourism sector, will implement new projects utilizing the new tourism potential of Kerala. The packages will focus on the State’s backwaters, ethnic food, and culture. Tourism societies will play a key role in the new business model. Tourfed currently has around 60 tour packages including domestic packages and overseas packages. Most of the travel packages focus on niche segments such as responsible tourism, village and farm tourism, canal and backwater tourism, monsoon tourism, and adventure tourism.

Moving on to the Chamber’s activities, Cochin Chamber organized the 07th edition of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam Memorial Lecture on 06th January 2023.  Dr. Tessy Thomas, Distinguished Scientist & Director General of DRDO addressed the Members of the Chamber.  Dr. Tessy Thomas during her lecture narrated how the steely resolve of Dr. Kalam resulted in the country developing the Agni-series of missiles, including the Agni-5 inter-continental ballistic missile that has a range of 5000 km. With almost all Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist having been moulded by Dr. Kalam and India is now in a position to export missiles, Dr. Tessy said during the lecture.

Cochin Chamber associated with Malayala Manorama for the Quick Kerala Machinery and Trade Expo held at (Helipad Ground) Marine Drive in Cochin from 15th to 18th December 2022.  This Expo had more than 120 stalls featuring products of 80 brands from across the country (The expo witnessed more than 50,000 plus foot falls). Dr. Renu Raj IAS, District Collector of Ernakulam was the Chief Guest during the Inaugural function on 15th December 2022, where as Shri. P. Rajeeve, Hon. Industries Minister of Kerala was the Chief Guest at the Valedictory function. Our President has been invited for both the sessions and has shared the dais with both the Industries Minister and the District Collector and has delivered an address on both the occasions.

The Sixth meeting of the 07th edition of the CEO Forum meeting for the month December held on Friday, 16th December 2022. The Guest Speaker Shri. V. Lakshmikumaran, Founder and Managing Partner, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (Attorneys), spoke about the details of the Free Trade Agreement which India signed with different countries. He Individually discussed about the details of agreement with UAE, Australia and UK.  This session included the topics like custom laws, duty free taxes and the legal side of the agreement where an exporting company can face issues. This session was very well accepted by the delegates and we have had more than 50 plus participants attended the session.

The Cochin Chamber partnered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI) Kochi Chapter conducted a half-day ‘Seminar on GST – Recent Developments’ on Thursday, 27th December 2022 at ICAI Bhawan, Diwan’s Road, Ernakulam. The Guest Speaker was Shri. N. L. Soman who lectured about the recent amendments in GST and its development. Our President delivered the closing remarks on this occasion and there were more than 60 participants attended the session.

The Seventh meeting of the CEO Forum breakfast meeting held on Friday, 27th January 2023 at Hotel Taj Gateway, Marine Drive, Cochin. The Guest Speaker was Ms. Cuckoo Joy, former Manager (Centre of Excellence) at General Electricals (Texas), USA. Ms. Cuckoo Joy delivered a lecture on the topic: Transform Environmentally Hazardous Canals of Kochi. Ms. Cuckoo briefed about the Urban Drainage Practice around the world and she mentioned about the modern drainage systems, both sewage and stormwater. She also spoke about the negative impact of the open drainage system namely the spread of diseases, contamination of water resources etc.

Thank You

Recent Union Cabinet Decisions

December 2022

January 2023

Forthcoming Events 

  • Seminar on Budget 2023 – Decoding Direct Tax Provisions in Fine Print – 11.02.2023

  • Session on Importance of Competition Law For The Industry – 17.02.2023

Recent Events

  • The Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry associated with Malayala Manorama for the Quick Kerala Machinery and Trade Expo held at (Helipad Ground) Marine Drive in Cochin – 15 to 18.12.2022

  • Seminar on “GST – Recent Developments” – 27.12.2022

  • 7th edition of Annual Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial Lecture- 06.01.2023

  • CEO Forum Breakfast Meeting with Ms. Cuckoo Joy, Contract Management Expert and Former Sr. Manager, General Electric Company,USA – 27.01.2023

Recent Press/Media Coverage

Exim Statistics

Summary Report