Government plans to unveil final GAAR norms soon

Ireo Uptown, in Sector 66, Gurgaon

India is planning to announce the finalized amendments to the controversial rules on tax evasion for foreign investors in the next 7-10 days, finance minister P Chidambaram said on Friday, without specifying the details of what will be announced.

The final shape of the general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR) is widely expected to be based on the draft report submitted by the Shome committee, which was set up following the outcry created by the regulations targeting companies and investors routing money through tax havens.

The Shome committee report proposed to delay the implementation of GAAR by three years, which helped soothe investor concerns about the measures.

Restoring the confidence of investors overseas is crucial at a time when India needs foreign flows to bridge its current account deficit, and support the rupee and stock markets.

“A decision has been taken on GAAR. The draft has been sent to the prime minister. Hopefully, the decision will be made public in next 7-10 days,” Chidambaram said on the sidelines of a news conference.

Read more: The Times of India

Rupee tumbles 26 paise against dollar

The rupee declined by 26 paise to 54.96 against the dollar in early trade on Friday at the Interbank Foreign Exchange due to increased demand for the American currency from importers.

Besides, weakening of other Asian currencies against the dollar in overseas markets put pressure on the rupee, forex dealers said.

They, however, added that a higher opening in the local equity market capped rupee’s losses

Meanwhile, the BSE benchmark Sensex rose by 45.13 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 18,516.506.

The rupee had gained 18 paise to end at 54.70 against the dollar in Thursday’s trade on fag-end dollar sales by banks amid recovery in euro in overseas markets.

See article: The Times of India

Real Estate

Delhi NCR to witness positive property market post Diwali

Delhi NCR realty market is expected to notice positive value trends in the coming Oct-Dec 2012 period compared to the previous quarter as anticipated by most of the city realtors. On an average a 10-15 per cent increase in the residential segment is estimated post Diwali.

“Residential sales fell by more than 40 per cent in the NCR during the past eight months,” says V.P Taneja of Guru Properties. This scenario is going to change and most of the developers will be able to offload their residential and commercial stock in the festival season, he added.

The property values too noted stable to marginal appreciation across the Delhi NCR sub-markets during the past two quarters. “The reason for slow growth is the withdrawal of potential investors from the market owing to the economic uncertainty,” sums-up Taneja.

The number of real estate transactions is also estimated to be multiplied during the next couple of months. According to Ravi Bajaj of Bajaj Enterprises, “There has been more than 25 per cent increase in the number of queries generated in past one month and most of the affluent buyers wait for the Diwali season to make property investments”. Both resale and new property segment are eliciting queries and thus a positive prospect is seen.

Read more: The Times of India

Real estate capital markets predictions for 2013

In 2013, the availability of debt capital is likely to increase while the flow of equity capital will remain more or less stable. The bid-ask spreads will reduce, increasing overall transaction volume even as additional cuts in CRR and repo rates will infuse more liquidity into the system. Cross-border capital will begin to make a gradual comeback in the coming year and cap rates for office and retail properties are likely to descend to 10.5% and 11.5% from 11% and 12% respectively.

Investors will focus more on transparency, governance and liquidity before investing. Given the on-going challenges that the Indian real estate sector faces on these fronts, even fewer development companies will be successful on the public equity markets. Nevertheless, private equity deals volumes will increase, and there will be more M&A activity within the PE industry. A number of vintage funds from 2007-2008 will have to look at exiting in 2013, some of them at low IRR’s. Given the overall uncertainties, these funds would look at postponing their exits to 2014.

Insurance firms will start investing directly in low-risk, income producing office real estate. Investment bidders per property will increase, this time around with lower return expectations. Investment periods of funds will reduce from 5 years to 4 years.

In 2013, after a lull of two years, banks are likely to start offering construction finance to residential projects with approvals. They will also become marginally more flexible on interest rates, collaterals, LTV’s and upfront fees. Established funds will get back into the fund raising mode after a 3-year hiatus.

Read more: Money Control

Transportation

DTZ may help Air India raise funds from realty

Air India had debt of `43,777 crore on its books on 31 December. It has also accumulated losses of `27,000 crore over the past five years. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

India’s oldest airline, Air India Ltd, is set to mandate Delhi-based real estate consultant DTZ International Property Advisors Pvt. Ltd to help it raise money by selling, leasing or redeveloping its real estate assets, according to airline and property consultancy executives.

The exercise is expected to help the debt-laden company raise at least Rs.500 crore in the current fiscal and Rs.5,000 crore in 10 years by monetizing some of its 105 properties, three of which are overseas.

“Air India has shortlisted DTZ to be its real estate consultant. The talks will be finalized soon,” a person familiar with the development said.

A top DTZ official admitted the company “is talking to Air India, but nothing has been formally signed as yet”. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

Read more: Mint

Air India to fly every hour on Delhi-Mumbai sector

Air India today said it will operate a flight every hour on the Mumbai-Delhi-Mumbai sector.

“Air India will be providing flights between Mumbai and Delhi (both ways) every hour. Passengers wishing to travel on this sector by the national carrier can now fly every hour between 6am and 11pm,” a release said.

The hourly service means 18 flights daily on the Mumbai-Delhi-Mumbai and is effective November 12, Air India said, adding “passengers can avail of mostly direct flights and a few one stopover flights on this sector.”

Delhi and Mumbai airports account for almost 60% of the overall air passenger traffic in the country.

The airline services the sector with Airbus A-320s and A321s.

Air India toppled private airline Jet Airways to take the second place in terms of domestic market share in September.

See article: The Times of India

Four new flyovers to decongest Gurgaon

In a bid to decongest roads here in Gurgaon, the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) has approved plans for flyovers at Subhash Chowk, Mahavir Chowk, MDI Chowk and Badshahpur.

Considering the woes of not only those commuting within Gurgaon but also of those shuttling between the city and Delhi via the old Gurgaon Road, the District Administration has also planned to construct four underpasses at MDI Chowk, Signature Tower, Iffco Chowk and Rajeev Chowk. MCG is also studying the feasibility for a flyover in Badshahpur which will decongest the stretch for traffic coming from Sohna road and Nuh area to Delhi.

“These four underpasses will decongest the stretches from Old Gurgaon, Posh Gurgaon, National Highway-8 and MG road. The traffic coming from South City and old Gurgaon will be connected easily by an underpass at MDI Chowk and go towards to Delhi by MG Road. While the traffic of Sohna road will easily avail benefit of underpass at Rajeev Chowk and go towards Delhi. The traffic coming from Huda City Centre Metro station and Sushant Lok will also get a freer route through an underpass at Signature Tower. After the construction of these flyovers and under passes, the city traffic will be become jam-free” said Sanjay Chugh, Spokesperson MCG.

Read more: Daily Pioneer

Expressway toll plaza: HC tells authorities to find solution on Nov 19

Unhappy over the existing measures to check traffic snarls near the toll plaza on Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed the authorities to sit together on November 19 to work out a strategy for solving the issue permanently.

A division bench, headed by Justice S K Mittal, has also made it clear that if the authorities concerned failed to find any workable solution, the court may again issue directives exempting commuters from paying the toll during peak hours. The court has directed National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Gurgaon police, Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) and HUDA administrator to hold a meeting on Monday at 11am at Gurgaon police headquarters to find a solution.

Read more: The Times of India

NRI

Giving up green card or US citizenship? Here are your tax consequences

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin made news when he renounced his US citizenship just before Facebook’s high profile IPO. This move, according to news reports, was primarily to save on taxes and many other wealthy Americans have, in the recent past, also done the same.

The US taxes its citizens and residents (including Green Card holders) on their global income, irrespective of where these individuals are physically residing. Today, with abundant career opportunities outside the US, many US citizens and Green Card holders are finding themselves in a situation where they are working outside the US but paying tax on their global income in the US. The choice then is to weight the options and consider renouncing the US citizenship or Green Card.

If you are also among the many that have renounced or are considering renouncing their US citizenship or Green Card, there are some steps you must take from the tax perspective.

Read more:  The Economic Times

Gurgaon News

Smarter Cities Challenge Grant for 2013 given to Gurgaon and Chennai

IBM announced Gurgaon and Chennai as the two cities in India to be awarded with IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant for 2013. This grant provides the two cities with access to IBM’s top experts to analyze and recommend ways that will enable them to become even better places to live and work.

Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, 50 million US Dollars competitive grant program. IBM’s single-largest philanthropic initiative, the program assigns a team of six top IBM experts to each winning city to study a key issue identified by the city’s leadership. Towards the close of the project, IBM experts provide city leaders with analysis and recommendations to support successful growth, better delivery of municipal services, more citizen engagement, and improved efficiency.

Well before the IBM team arrives for its three-week consulting engagement valued at 400,000 US Dollars, the team works towards studying the city’s issue. After they arrive, they work with city officials to analyze data, soliciting the input of dozens of local agencies and advocacy groups. IBM then provides detailed recommendations for how the city can efficiently and effectively address the issue.

Read more: The Times of India

Pollution

Govt to act against air pollution soon

Delhi’s action plan to curb air pollution is ready and will be presented to the cabinet in the coming week. The environment department has prepared a list of actions that will be taken immediately to avoid another case of smog, like the one that had the city enveloped for over a week recently.

“The large scale smog and haze that set in over the capital on October 28 has had the government worried, even though they seem to be pointing fingers at other states for its pollution levels. The Clean Air Agenda will look at various aspects of air pollution and measures to control them under 10 major points,” said sources.

In its list of immediate actions, the government will come down strongly on open burning of leaves and garbage. It has also been suggested that discoms install temporary pre-paid electricity meters for power supply to baraat ghars and marriage halls in a bid to discourage use of diesel generator sets, especially in light of the marriage season. Battery-operated LED lights may also end up replacing the traditional ones and chandeliers used for such processions.

Read more: The Times of India

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