India’s infrastructure sector offers huge opportunities to US business

Ireo Waterfront, Ludhiana

India’s infrastructure sector is poised for a big leap and offers significant investment opportunities for US businesses and other investors, Planning Commission Member B K Chaturvedi has said.

He asked American investors to have confidence in India and its market.

Investment in India’s infrastructure sector — which has been has been pegged at around $1 trillion over next five years – has high potential, not high risk, Chaturvedi said.

But, he cautioned that such potential has to be assessed on medium-to-long term basis, since any objective or correct assessment cannot be done based on one or two investment, or for short term.

Chaturvedi was addressing a day-long symposium, organised by the Consulate General of India in Chicago, in partnership with Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, US India Business Council, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Read more: The Economic Times

India Needs More Urban Corridors To Spur Growth

Amitabh Kant, CEO & MD, Delhi- Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation

India’s future is in smart cities such as the ones being developed along both sides of the Delhi- Mumbai Industrial Corridor. Its custodian, Amitabh Kant, explains how it will make a difference to the country’s urban landscape.

1) On the cities of the future: The cities of the future have to be centred around a transport system suitable to the dynamics of a dense population. There must be systems to recycle waste and urban stress must be replaced by high livability.

2) On the future role of information technology: It has to be the backbone of planning such cities and the master plan has to ‘ intelligent’. Our objective should be to use digital technology to deliver good governance to citizens.

(Page 28)

Rlys stops new projects, to ‘sift out’ old works

The cash-strapped Ministry for Railways is set to “sift out” old projects, some of which have been in the pipeline for as many as 15 years. The ministry is also planning not to propose any new works in the next Rail Budget.

In a letter sent to all 16 zonal managers on September 5, Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal instructed them to review all ongoing projects and “sift out the ones that are no longer necessary”. The zones have been told to list all pending works in three categories — “extremely essential, desirable and not required at present”.

According to the ministry’s assessment, it has pending works worth Rs 4 lakh crore.

“This is perhaps the most opportune time for a surgical intervention and a holistic and realistic review of the ongoing works… our various proposals requiring Cabinet approval are also being questioned during inter-ministerial consultation on the premise that the Railways already have a very bulky shelf of projects and a huge throw-forward,” Mittal wrote in his letter. “Ordinarily, Railways will be expected to propose no new works,” he added.

Read more: The Indian Express

In charge of both roads & rlys, Joshi looks to remove project roadblocks

Constant delays in getting project approvals from the railway ministry has been troubling the road ministry for quite some time. But the roadblock seems to have been removed with both the departments now being headed by the same minister – CP Joshi. In the first meeting that the minister of road transport and highways took after assuming the additional charge of the railways, officials of both the ministries were asked to push for speedy clearances of projects, especially those of railway overbridges.

“Only 46 projects out of 85 were cleared in the last two years by the railway ministry. To fast-track the remaining projects, the minister has instructed for a dedicated system and a design team to do the analysis in advance and keep in mind a possible extension later on as well,” a source present at the meeting told FE.

Read more: The Financial Express

In Phase 3, Delhi Metro to take network to outskirts of city

Residents staying in the outskirts of the National Capital can bid goodbye to their travel woes. To improve connectivity, Delhi Metro will reach out to far-flung areas of the city. The ongoing expansion project will provide connectivity to many remote areas in Delhi’s outer, north, northeast and southwest districts, besides the city’s borders.

Some of the areas that will benefit include Mukundpur, Sant Nagar and Burari in north Delhi, Badli, Sarup Nagar, Bawana Road, Holambi Kalan and Nathupura of north Delhi, Shiv Vihar, Johri Enclave, Johripur Ambedkar Nagar and Indira Vihar in northeast Delhi, Sai Baba Mandir, Najafgarh depot and Delhi Gate in southwest Delhi, Mundka, Ghevra, Tikri Kalan in west Delhi.

These areas will fall on Delhi Metro’s Jahangirpuri-Badli corridor, Mukundpur-Shiv Vihar corridor, Dwarka Najafgarh corridor and the proposed Mundka-Bahadurgarh corridor.

Read more: Hindustan Times

Retail

Mahindra to focus on specialty retail

K. Venkataraman

Mahindra Retail, which has entered the retail space through its Mom & Me stores, expects to have 150 stores by the end of the current fiscal.

The company intends to remain focused on specialty retail that deals with the needs of mothers, infants and children, according to K. Venkataraman, CEO, Mahindra Retail, which is part of the $15.4-billion Mahindra & Mahindra group.

In an interview to Business Line, he said investment in retail stores had already crossed the Rs 100-crore mark and by the end of this month, the company would have more than 100 Mom & Me stores and 25 Beanstalk stores He expected the number of stores to reach 150 by March.

Read more: Business Line

Real Estate

Now, home buyers can repay in 30 years

Borrow now, repay at leisure’ seems to be the new refrain for aspiring home buyers as leading banks gear up to improve their retail credit portfolio by making home loans attractive with longer repayment periods and lower EMIs.

Housing loans bellwether State Bank of India has fired the first salvo by announcing home loans with a 30-year repayment period — the longest any bank has offered in India’s banking history. The new scheme reduces the equated monthly installment (EMI) for the customer, as compared with the EMI he would pay if the repayment period was the normal 20 years the banks offer.

A 30-year loan will typically entail an EMI of Rs 889 (for Rs 1 lakh) with 10.15% interest rate as against an EMI of Rs 975 for the same loan with a 15-year term.

Read more: The Times of India

Govt waives property fee in extended city areas

Real estate developers and residents planning to buy, sell or transfer property in the extended areas of the city have reason to cheer. A corporation resolution has done away with property transfer fees in the erstwhile local bodies of Porur, Ambattur, Manali, Maduravoyal and Valsaravakkam.

This could mean a benefit of . 4,000 on a property worth . 20 lakh in Valsaravakkam or . 75,000 on property worth . 1.5 crore in Porur. The local bodies, which were earlier not part of the city, were levying the fee, which is in addition to stamp duty and registration charges, based on different slabs.

With largescale property development happening in the extended areas, the waiver could help buyers save a sizable amount. “A saving of . 40,000-. 50,000 for people taking a loan will make a great difference, especially when they are buying apartments worth . 60-70 lakh,” said A Shankar, senior vice-president of Jones Lang La Salle. In a place like Porur, where a 1,200sqft apartment is sold for around . 72 lakh, the buyer stands to save . 36,000. The waiver applies to buildings and plots too.

Read more: The Times of India

India News

Government mulls forming zonal tourism authorities

Rattled by successive failures to create the required tourism infrastructure despite a sharp rise in tourist visiting Gujarat over the last few years, the state government is considering a new policy. This entails setting up special tourism development authorities to cope with the problem. “While the proposal is being finalized, these authorities or zones will be on the lines of special investment regions (SIRs) or urban development authorities,” a senior official said.

The official said, “Preliminary discussions have been held. Spots like Somnath and Dwarka, which attract the largest number of tourists, remain dirty. Tourists return disillusioned because of the lack of basic infrastructure, including clean toilets, drinking water and reasonable hotels. The notified tourism authority will have the right to regulate the creation of infrastructure on public-private partnership model. Local elected bodies will have no right over the notified area.”

Read more: The Times of India

India must modernise its cities or see them implode due to rising population pressure

As Union urban development minister Kamal Nath’s call this week for vertical development in New Delhi – to deal with growing population pressure – underscored, this is an urban century. By 2030, UN forecasts estimate that more than 70% of the world population will be urbanised. India itself is facing an unprecedented scale of urbanisation with 700 million people likely to move to cities by 2050.

This is a unique opportunity to plan, develop and build a new India which is ecologically and economically sustainable. Historically, urbanisation has propelled the growth of national economies. Almost 75% of global economic production takes place in cities. In several developing countries, urbanisation has enabled vast segments of population to be lifted above the poverty line.

Read more: The Economic Times

Starbucks to open first India store by end of October

The Starbucks logo is seen outside its coffee store in front of Zhengyangmen Gate at Qianmen Commercial Street in central Beijing, April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Starbucks Corp will open its first coffee shop in India by the end of October, John Culver, President, China and Asia Pacific, said on Friday, in the latest delay to a much-hampered entry into the country.

Starbucks had initially planned to have its first cafes in India open by mid-2011 but was delayed by difficulties in acquiring real estate and high land costs. It said in January it would have stores open by August or September.

Read more: Chicago Tribune

Remove Roadside Kiosks, Authority Tells Builders

After a directive issued a couple of days ago, the enforcement department officials of the Greater Noida authority on Thursday started removing kiosks of builders set up on roadsides in Greater Noida West (Noida Extension). The developers have been directed not to set up kiosks on roadsides and mention ‘Greater Noida West’ as location instead of Noida Extension on their display boards and advertisements.

(Noida page 2)

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