Prices of residential property in Chennai, Delhi and Faridabad have risen the steepest in the one-year period up to the end of the first quarter of the calendar year 2012. Present levels of National Housing Bank Residex, an index which tracks the residential property prices in about 20 cities, indicates Chennai, Delhi and Faridabad have registered a growth of 39.45 percent, 33.33 percent and 31.52 percent, respectively, during January-March 2012 period, over the corresponding period last year. Kochi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad have witnessed a negative growth of 16.28 percent, 9.48 percent and 0.61 percent, respectively. Southern cities of Kochi and Hyderabad have, however, experienced a negative growth in housing prices in the past four years. While the prices of homes have gone down 32.08 percent in Kochi, Hyderabad has shown a decline of 10.42 percent. Other cities like Pune, Mumbai and Kolkata have also registered a trend of rising home prices with 79.21 percent, 69.64 percent and 67.54 growth, respectively. Housing prices in Delhi have gone up by around 35.48 percent over the past four years.
Herman Miller lines up 6 showrooms in India
Herman Miller Furniture India, the American arm of $1.7 billion Herman Miller, is planning to expand its footprint in India by launching six Herman Miller showrooms in metros and tier II cities in the next two years, a top official said. “We are bullish on the growth of India and we want to penetrate more into tier II cities across the country, besides adding more stores in the metros,” Kartik Shethia, sales director, Saarc region, Herman Miller said. “This year we will open three stores in Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Lucknow, and next year in Chandigarh and Jaipur and we are scouting for one more suitable location with quality dealership,” he said. At present, the firm has a total of 14 showrooms in India, whose tally will be increased to 20 in the next two years, Shethia said. He said India is growing rapidly with a taste for branded office furniture and the company wants to tap this segment offering top international quality Herman Miller brand.
Read more: Financial Chronicle
Trends & Surveys
After Stockholm, Mumbai is most liveable city: Survey
Mumbai has emerged as the second-most livable city in the world, according to an Ericsson ConsumerLab survey. The livability factor has been tied to connectivity. Stockholm topped the list. India’s business capital has in the survey outranked cities such as New York, London and Los Angeles. “Urbanization is a global mega-trend. City populations grow by 7500 people per hour, and people are clearly feeling some stress from overcrowding. We also saw how with the use of ICT, (Information and Communication Technology) people in cities alleviated such feelings and got on with city life,” said the Head of Research at Ericsson ConsumerLab, Michael Bjorn.
Read more: The Hindu Business Line
White paper on black money a damp squib, states the obvious
The times are such that India needs copious capital inflows, but the government on Monday raised doubts on participatory notes (PNs) for their suspected misuse by Indians to evade tax. “Investment in the Indian stock market through PNs is another way in which the black money generated by Indians is re-invested in India,” said a white paper presented by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament. The white paper, which analysts dubbed as a damp squib, also highlighted the obvious: Many investors including Indian residents might be misusing the tax treaties with tax havens like Mauritius for escaping tax through what is called “round tripping”. Among the solutions, Mukherjee suggested tax incentives to encourage use of debit and credit cards and electronic transfer, rationalization of stamp duty in real estate, amending laws to regulate the possession and transportation of cash above a particular threshold and tax at source on cash purchases. The goods and services tax network and special fast-track courts for financial offences are other measures expected to bring down the prevalence of black money. According to the paper, although the source of generation of black money may lie in any sphere of economic activity, sectors like real estate, bullion and jewelry markets, financial markets, public procurement, non-profit organizations, trade, international transactions involving tax havens and the informal service sector are more vulnerable to this menace.
Read more: The Financial Express
White paper moots lower stamp duties for real estate
Lowering of stamp duties and provisions for tax deduction at source on payments made in the real estate transactions are part of the government’s formula to check the generation of black money in the country. These measures are proposed in the ‘white paper’ on black money, which was tabled in Parliament on Monday by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. Interestingly, the government recently scrapped a proposal to levy a 1 percent tax deduction at source (TDS) on real estate transactions as mentioned in the Budget by the finance minister earlier in March. As per the Budget announcement, seller of any property valued at Rs 50 lakh in urban areas and Rs 25 lakh in rural parts had to deduct 1 percent TDS from the buyer. Without the TDS, the property could not proceed for registration in the buyer’s name, the provisions said. Now, this directive is again being re-looked, says the white paper. “One of the measures for deterring use of the real estate sector for generation and investment of black money could be the provision of deducting tax at source on payments made on real estate transactions and mandating it as a pre-condition for registering of the transacted property,” said the white paper. In order to weed out black money from real estate transactions, the government has also suggested lowering of stamp duties across states and capping it at 5 percent.
Read more: The Financial Express
Not being in India is bigger risk than being here
Frits van Paasschen, 50, president and chief executive officer of US-based Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., joined the hospitality firm in 2007. With upscale hotel brands St Regis, W, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton and Westin and others such as Four Points by Sheraton, Le Meridien, Aloft and Element in its portfolio, Paasschen set about expanding in “rapidly developing” countries such as China and India. Starwood now has 100 hotels in China. Edited excerpts:
You seem to have sold several properties in the last five years.
We’ve continued to sell off hotels. That’s the way we have got from 20 percent franchise and management to 60 percent… We have adopted a one-off approach to selling hotel assets as opposed to box sales. We sold W in Chicago and Westin in San Diego at attractive prices to buyers who were committed to re-investing in those properties. We sold St Regis in Aspen to a high net worth Asian investor, again, with a commitment to make significant renovation. So, we convert from owning a hotel to having a management contract for that hotel and a commitment on the part of the new owner to have a renovation typically as well
Read more: Mint
Apollo Mission: To hit 10,000 beds in 3 years
For long, Apollo Hospitals has been riding on its first-mover advantage. “We are not complacent or numb to this. But it is still early days to talk about competition in the industry. The market opportunities are a lot given the huge demand-supply gap we are staring at. The competition hasn’t unfolded completely yet,” says S. Premkumar, Group Chief Executive Officer, Apollo. According to Dr Prathap Reddy, Founder and Chairman, Apollo Hospitals, the country needs plenty more hospitals and beds. Acquisitions don’t help in that. The need, however, is for double that number at least. Over the next 10 years, India needs half-a-million doctors and one million nurses. Apollo operates 54 hospitals across 8,300 beds. Its aim is to hit 10,000 beds by 2015; and a lot of the capacity addition will come in tier two-and-three towns. About Rs 1,600 crore will be invested on expansion and funded through debt and internal accruals.
Read more: The Hindu Business Line
Resolve e-way row in a week: HC
Delhi high court on Monday granted a week’s time to all stakeholders in the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway to try and resolve the dispute amicably. Justice S Muralidhar gave more time at the request of Infrastructure Development Financial Company (IDFC), which apprised the court of its ongoing proposal to both NHAI and the private concessionaire to resolve the issue that led to the dispute. IDFC has refinanced the expressway project, which the NHAI has alleged as unauthorized practice by the financier and the developer. NHAI had earlier blamed the developer for increased accidents and fatalities on the expressway. But Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL), the concessionaire that runs the expressway blamed over-speeding, drunk driving and unauthorized crossing by pedestrians for rise in accidents on this stretch. It argued that traffic mismanagement has taken place because proposals sent by it for streamlining traffic flow have been lying with NHAI and were yet to be approved. DGSCL says it still believes it can work closely with NHAI in resolving all outstanding disputes but is not receiving any positive response from NHAI.
Read more: The Times of India
Team to inspect Metro heritage corridor
A small team comprising officials from the National Monuments Authority (NMA), the Archaeological Survey of India and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will examine the various monuments lining the “ heritage corridor” of the Delhi Metro. “We had a discussion with the DMRC and a small team will be constituted to take a more detailed view of the monuments in the corridor,” NMA member secretary Pravin Srivastava said. The team, which will have not more than three or four members, will look into issues such as the structural impact on the monuments, location of the stations, locations of tunnels and the importance of the monuments lining the corridor, said Srivastava.
Excerpt from Page 2 of The Hindu , 22 May 2012
New development plan for Sohna, Farukh Nagar
Paving the way for planned development of two major towns in Gurgaon, the District Planning Committee has approved the Draft Development Plans-2031 for Sohna and Farukh Nagar. The development plan for Sohna, which has emerged as a high-potential zone because of its strategic location near the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway and the Delhi-Mumbai Dedicated Freight Corridor, has been drafted for a projected population of 5.80 lakh in 2031.
Excerpt from The Hindu , 22 May 2012
Regularization of land okayed
The Delhi Cabinet today approved the regularization of the land allotted for agricultural purposes under the 20-point program of the Union government. At the first instance only actual owners and their legal heirs will become owner of land – “bhumidhar”. The Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, said that the city government is committed to help allottees, from weaker sections of the society under the 20-point program. Allotment of land for agricultural purposes to weaker sections in Delhi was an important program implemented by the government in 1970s and 1980s.
Read more: The Tribune
Metro Phase- III needs 400 hectares of land
Delhi Metro will require 400 hectares of land for the construction of over 120-km under its ambitious phase III network. Of this, over 200 hectares will be required for carrying out the permanent construction work and the remaining will be acquired for the temporary construction work at the sites. Though the national Capital will have to part with over 200 hectares of its land, a crucial asset in the present times, another 200 will be returned to the land owning agencies, post the construction work is concluded by the year 2016.
Read more: The Pioneer
Mobile commerce gains traction in India, says survey
Mobile commerce has started gaining traction in India. According to a survey by e-commerce company eBay, a vast majority of smartphone users, who participated in the survey, said they do online shopping with their mobile phones.
The survey was conducted in the ongoing month online across 4,500 eBay users in India. According to this, while 68 per cent of those surveyed said they have made online purchase using smartphones, 84 per cent agreed they check product prices using smartphones before buying. They also use their feature-rich phones to locate stores, do research on product features and availability and find deals, the survey said.
Read more: Business Standard