India mulls exemption of PAN for foreign investors directly investing in capital markets

India may exempt individual foreign investors and trusts that invest directly in the capital markets from the need to acquire a Permanent Account Number (PAN), a mandatory requirement for all tax payers. In January this year the government allowed individual foreign investors, such as family offices that manage the investments of wealthy families, to invest directly in Indian debt and equity through the qualified investor route (QFI).

The proposal, mooted by finance ministry’s department of economic affairs (DEA), has been triggered by feedback from potential investors at road shows held outside India.

But the idea is being opposed by the tax authorities on the ground that it will make it harder to track fund flows.

Read more: The Economic Times

Kaushik Basu expects India to achieve 9% growth in near future

Kaushik Basu, who was till recently, the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) in the Finance Ministry, has expressed the hope that India would achieve 9 per cent growth rate in “not too distant future”.

Kaushik Basu, who was till recently, the CEA in the FinMin, has expressed the hope that India would achieve 9% growth rate in “not too distant future”

“I do believe such a time will come in the not too distant future. The Eurozone economies will face huge turbulence certainly up to 2014. So the real big growth cannot come till then. But hopefully soon after that…”, he said, when asked how soon India would return to 9 per cent growth rate.

Basu, in an interview to The Wall Street Journal, ranked India’s economic performance in the past three years as “B-plus” on a scale of A to Z.

Former Cornell University professor, Basu had left the government after completing his term as Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) in the Finance Ministry in August 2012. He was yesterday appointed as the Chief Economist of the World Bank and is schedule to take over from October 1.

Read more: The Economic Times

India-US trade on track to cross $ 100 billion this year

Bilateral trade between India and the US has increased 40 per cent in the last three years and is “on track” to cross $ 100 billion this year, US Consul General Jennifer Mcintyre said today.

Mcintyre, while delivering ‘Indira Gandhi Endowment Lecture’ here, said one of the key drivers in the United States and India’s strategic relationship was “business and trade”.

“Our business ties are strong and growing. Bilateral trade between our two countries is up 40 per cent since we began our Strategic Dialogue three years ago, and it is on track to exceed, what we hope will be a hundred billion dollars this year,” she said.

Noting that the Consulate was focused on facilitating increased opportunities for trade and investment, she said, “Led by our commercial office, the Consulate has opened American Business Corners (ABCs) in Madurai and Coimbatore.”

Read more: The Economic Times

‘India could become top exporter to Oman in 5 years’

India could become the top exporting nation to Oman in the next five years, buoyed by the growing trade and economic ties between the two countries, a top Indian diplomat has said.

Currently India is the third largest exporter of products and services to Oman, India’s Ambassador to Oman J S Mukul said, adding it is likely to occupy the number one slot within the next five years.

“..This is taking into account the increasing trade and economic relations and many joint ventures in force between the two countries..,” Mukul was quoted by the local media as saying.

The ambassador said bilateral trade between India and Oman touched USD 5.2 billion in 2010-11 with over 1,527 Omani-India joint ventures across 13 socio-economic sectors.

Read more: The Economic Times

Real Estate

57 Windows For One House In Ncr

Sumit Kumar
The Times of India

It takes 57 different approvals from the state and central government and visits to as many numbers of windows of different departments for a real estate project to shape up in Delhi-NCR. However, if the realtors are to go by, affordable houses may get ‘more affordable’ if the approval processes were simpler and uniform. Many builders and developers have mulled a single window clearance system that would cut down the approval process to six-eight weeks.

(Page 2, Financial Times)

Wand Freehold Property Transfer, Residents Tell Cm

Kapil Datta, Noida
Hindustan Times (Delhi edition)

Intensifying their demand to invoke freehold policy for property ownership transfer in Noida and Greater Noida, several residents’ groups yesterday asked chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to intervene in the matter. At present, the authorities of Noida and Greater Noida allow all allotments of plots or flats only through leasehold.

Several groups, such as the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Association (FONRWA), Noida Entrepreneur Association (NEA), Association of Greater Noida Industries, and Greater Noida Federation of Residents Welfare Association, on Wednesday, sent a letter to the chief minister as well as the GautamBudh Nagar district magistrate MKS Sundaram to press for the demand.

Infrastructure

Funds halt NH projects in tracks

Development of road and highways sector struggling to seek finances may hit a complete road block with about 60 national highway projects reporting fiscal closure.

In the wake of this situation, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), leading bankers, concessionaires and other stakeholders convened an emergency meeting to chalk out a strategy to brief the Finance Minister P Chidambaram over the issue on Friday. A worried Finance Ministry has sought a detailed report from the MoRTH over the progress of the road and highways projects.

Leading bankers and financers, including SBI and PNB, have reportedly expressed their anguish over the way the other stakeholders including the MoRTH, NHAI and concessionaries have been handling the road infrastructure sector in the country.

Read more: The Pioneer

Change Road Project Norms: Banks To Nhai

Shubham Shivang & Remya Nair, New Delhi
Mint

Banks want the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) – the implementation agency of the ministry of road transport and highways – to acquire 100 percent of the land needed for a road project before handing it over to the developer. Under the existing model concession agreement, NHAI is required to acquire 80 percent of the land before the signing of the concession agreement.

(Page 11)

Retail

Wal-Mart Asia Head ‘Optimistic’ India Will Allow FDI

Wal-Mart currently has wholesale outlets in India through a joint venture with local partner Bharti Enterprises. Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, is “optimistic” India will allow foreign direct investment in the country’s retail industry.

“I’m optimistic that FDI in retail and across multitudes of industries will occur,” Scott Price, head of the retailer’s Asia operations, said today in an interview in Vladivostok, Russia, while attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

India currently bars foreign retailers such as Wal-Mart that sell multiple brands from investing in supermarkets. A loosening of those restrictions would allow companies including Wal-Mart and Carrefour SA (CA) access to a retail market that is currently estimated at $505 billion according to Technopak Advisors Pvt. Wal-Mart currently has wholesale outlets in India through a joint venture with local partner Bharti Enterprises.

“I’m optimistic because I think it’s inevitable,” said Price, without specifying when he expects the market to open. “India will want to improve the lot and life of its population.”

Read more: Bloomberg Businessweek

Water

India’s water reserviors at 65% of capacity: Government

NEW DELHI: Water levels in India’s main reservoirs were at 65 per cent of capacity in the week to September 6, down 14 per centage points from a year ago, reflecting this year’s weak monsoon, government data issued late on Thursday showed.

The latest level was one per centage point higher than the 10-year average for the week. It was 4 per centage points higher than the previous week as the monsoon rains improved.

India’s monsoon has splashed back into life, lifting the threat of prolonged drought in the major rice and sugar producer with a second consecutive week of heavier-than-normal rains that could revive yields of summer crops and enable early winter planting.

Reservoirs are primarily important for hydropower, which accounts for a quarter of India’s generation capacity, but they are also used during the summer for irrigation if monsoon rains are not enough for planting crops such as cotton.

The reservoirs provide water later in the year to irrigate winter crops such as wheat and rapeseed.

Read article: The Economic Times

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