Independence Day: PM Manmohan Singh forecasts GDP growth over 6.5 per cent for this fiscal

A young Indian child carries the Indian flag as he takes part in a street play during rehearsal for the Indian Independence Day celebrations in the eastern Indian city Bhubaneswar, India on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. India celebrates its 1947 independence from British colonial rule on Aug. 15.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today projected India’s economic growth in the current fiscal to be a little higher than 6.5 per cent achieved a year ago amid many global agencies projecting a bearish outlook.

“Last year our GDP grew by 6.5 per cent. This year we hope to do a little better,” Singh said in his Independence Day speech. The 6.5 per cent GDP growth in 2011-12 was the lowest in nine years. The government’s original GDP projection for 2012-13 was 7.6 per cent. Singh’s optimism on growth front comes at a time when a host of major private forecasters including Citi, CLSA, Crisil and Moody’s trimmed their forecast to as low as 5.5 per cent citing inaction on the policy front as one of the reasons for slowdown in economic activities.

Singh said the global economy is passing through a difficult phase and has adversely affected India as well.

Besides on the domestic front, he said lack of political consensus on many issues was impeding rapid economic growth.

“Seen together, the European countries are estimated to grow zero per cent this year. Our country has also been affected by these external conditions,” he said.

Read more: The Economic Times

$87 billion target for country’s IT exports in 2012-13: Sachin Pilot

India has set a target of achieving $ 87 billion from IT exports in 2012-13, Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot has said in Parliament. “The estimated revenue generated through IT exports during the year 2011-2012 is $ 77.9 billion. The projected target set for IT exports during the current financial year is $ 87 billion,” Pilot said in the Lok Sabha on August 8.

He said in order to provide incentives to IT sector, the government has notified a policy to provide preference to domestically manufactured electronic products and a modified special incentive package scheme to attract investments in electronics systems design and manufacturing (ESDM) industries.

“Electronics manufacturing clusters scheme to provide world-class infrastructure for attracting investments in the ESDM Sector has been approved by the government,” Pilot said.

Pilot said the government has also constituted an Empowered Committee (EC) for identifying technology and investors for setting up semiconductor fabrication facilities in the country.

See article: The Economic Times

Real Estate

Should you switch your home loan after SBI’s rate cut?

Home loan customers are in a fix. The State Bank of India (SBI) has reduced interest rates on new home loans a few days ago. Naturally , most of them are tempted. The existing customers of SBI have the option of moving to the new rate by paying a conversion fee.

However, it is not so easy for those with loans from other banks. They will have to ascertain the benefits of transferring the loan to SBI before taking a final call. And that is not an easy call to take. The only solace is that the process of switching to a new lender — SBI in this case — is simpler now. The prepayment penalty on both floating rate loans as well as dual rate loans (in the floating rate period) has been abolished now.

Read more: The Economic Times

North vs South: is the real estate consumer making the difference?

Right pricing and small ticket sizes. That’s how Bangalore and Chennai got their property strategy right.

At a time when most developers in India are battling high interest rates, sluggish sales, delays in new launches and a funding crunch, analysts are upbeat about the real estate South India.

As we all know, in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, despite sluggish sales, realty prices have been going up  due to speculation. Developers do not want to cut down on  profits, investors want their own share of the cake and the consumer has to bear the brunt by paying higher prices, or by not buying property at all since these prices are no longer sustainable.

But the same is not true for South India where prices are saner and first-time buyers  feel a lot more comfortable.  Going by most analyst reports, people in Bangalore invest in property for their own use. So even if  sales volumes decline, inventory remains stable, unlike Mumbai or Delhi where speculation results in investors offloading their stock in the market.

Read more: Firstpost Business

Employment

Tier-II cities gain edge in jobs market

Tier-II cities are apparently turning into the new metros for job seekers. According to the Employment Index for July released by hiring portal Monster.com, Coimbatore logged the highest growth in recruitment activity at 35 per cent, followed by Kochi (21 per cent) and Jaipur (17 per cent). The survey pointed out that of the 13 locations monitored by them eight posted a growth in employment activities.

The national capital came in at the fourth position with seven per cent growth. Following two consecutive months of decline in the Index, the situation has improved slightly in July with a 1.6 per cent increase against the figures for June.

Following two consecutive months of decline in the Index, the situation has improved slightly in July with a 1.6 per cent increase against the figures for June.

Read more: The Business Line

Business

Sahara Group plans to buy 55% stake in Beverly Hilton

The Sahara Group, fresh after a string of acquisitions of marquee hotel properties in the UK and the US, is in talks with US-based Oasis West Realty to pick up a controlling stake in Beverly Hilton hotel, a landmark Los Angeles property that has been hosting the Golden Globe Awards. The owner of Oasis, Beny Alagem, had approached Sahara to sell 55% stake in the iconic hotel for about $340 million ( Rs 1,900 crore), a person with knowledge of the development said.

Sahara group Chairman Subrata Roy confirmed that his group was in talks.

“They had approached us sometime ago and we are in negotiations.”

Oasis was not immediately available for comment. A public relations firm representing the firm did not respond to emailed queries sent by ET seeking information on the talks.

The Sahara group last month bought a majority stake in New York’s iconic Plaza hotel for Rs 3,200 crore, the second iconic property it has purchased in recent years. In 2010 it acquired the Grosvenor Hotel in London.

Read more: The Economic Times

Ireo Uptown, Gurgaon

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