India may emerge as second most competitive manufacturing economy

Ireo Skyon, Gurgaon

India is likely to emerge as the second most competitive economy in the world after China in terms of manufacturing in the next five years, says a report.

According to the 2013 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index compiled by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and the US Council on Competitiveness, five years from now, emerging economies would surge to occupy the top three spots.

China would retain the top spot, while, India and Brazil moving up to claim second and third rankings respectively, the report said.

“India’s focused and comprehensive national manufacturing strategy, democratic governance and infrastructure development over the next five years may unlock the potential for CEOs around the world to see this rising star,” the report said.

The five developed economy nations that were ranked in the top 10 today include — Germany (2nd), the US (3rd), South Korea (fifth), Canada (seventh) and Japan (tenth), while five emerging economy nations were also ranked in the top 10 today: China (first), India (fourth), Taiwan (sixth), Brazil (eighth), and Singapore (ninth).

Read more: The Economic Times

Real Estate

Luxury home demand rises despite realty gloom

Driven by new offerings, greater influx of non resident Indians (NRIs) and changing lifestyles, the demand for luxury and ultra-luxury homes with a price tag in the range of Rs 1 crore to Rs 20 crore, or even more in some cases, is again making a comeback in metros, according to a report.

Despite sluggishness in the real estate sector, a few luxury residential projects were launched in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Chennai in October, according to a report by real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

“Demand for luxury housing is growing gradually mainly due to the rise in the number of high net worth individuals (HNIs), rapid pace of urbanisation, influx of global lifestyle trends and an increase in the number of NRIs,” real estate consultancy firm JLL research head Ashutosh Limaye said.

For instance, the per unit price at under-construction World One Tower by Lodha Group in central Mumbai has a price tag of up to Rs 50 crore.

“Also, the recent fall in the value of rupee in global financial markets boosted buyers’ interest in investing in luxury housing and encouraged developers to launch luxury and super-luxury housing projects priced from Rs 1 crore and running up to Rs 20 crore,” Limaye said.

Read more: My Digital FC

New real estate policy by next month in Punjab, says Sukhbir

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal declared that a new real estate policy would be put in place by next month to give a clear direction to the development of the State as the real estate hub of the country. The State would also become power surplus by the end of 2013, he said.

A file picture of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal (right) after his visit to Pakistan. The Hindu

Addressing the international and national real estate developers at a conference organised by Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) in New Delhi, Mr. Badal said a new real estate policy, giving a clear cut direction to the development of this sector, would be put in place by December 15. It would be a consumer and investor friendly policy that would seek to address the concerns including failure to deliver residential units on time by the developers. The real estate policy would include plethora of incentives including hassle free and time bound clearances, uniform code for all cities, unlimited heights besides rationalising charges.

Mr. Badal said Punjab would be the first State in the country to be power surplus by December 2013. It will have three international airports, all cities linked with 4/6 lane road networks and special emphasis would be laid on education, health and hospitality. Punjab has already notified the master plan of 32 cities, 72 local planning areas, 147 towns and 27 master plans were under preparation.

Read more: The Hindu

Water

Rs 322-crore canal ready, will quench parched Gurgaon’s thirst

Parched Gurgaon will get almost four times more water than it is currently getting as construction of NCR Channel, which has a capacity to carry 800 cusecs, is complete.

An official said on Monday the canal would help supply adequate quantity of water for the growing population of Gurgaon. The state government has spent Rs 322 crore on its construction.

At present, Gurgaon gets 175 cusecs through the Gurgaon Water Supply Channel. Other than this channel, deep tubewells meet Gurgaon’s thirst for water.

The 71-km NCR Channel originates in Kakroi in Sonipat district and ends in Chandu Budhera, Gurgaon. About 600 cusecs will go to Gurgaon and IMT Manesar, whereas the remaining water will be supplied to proposed townships in Bahadurgarh, Sampla, Badli and Kharkhoda.

Irrigation department officers said 30 cusecs was released into the channel during a trial run to test the concrete linings. They said 56 culverts and bridges were constructed on this channel.

Read more: The Indian Express

Home Loans

Home, auto loan rates may drop as competition hots up

Home and auto loan seekers might soon be able to borrow at relatively lower rates of interest.

The rising competition amongst public sector banks to shore up their retail portfolio is likely to drive down interest rates on such advances.

Hit hard by slowdown in credit demand from the corporate segment and the rise in stressed assets (from the sector), banks are looking to boost their retail portfolio, which includes home, auto, personal and education loans.

According to Saday Sinha, Vice-President, Equity Research, Kotak Securities, banks will look to bring down interest rates marginally to boost demand and grow their retail book.

State Bank of India, for instance, recently lowered lending rate across the board by cutting the base and prime lending rates by 25 basis points each to 9.75 per cent and 14.50 per cent, respectively. Besides, the bank also lowered its home loan rate to 10 per cent for loans up to Rs 30 lakh and 10.15 per cent for above Rs 30 lakh.

A host of other public sector banks have also lowered interest rates on retail advances as a part of their festival bonanza.

Read more: Business Line

Infrastructure/Transportation

Fixing Gurgaon’s toll trouble

Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s plans to take over the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway may help him in elections, make daily commute easier for people and rid the company of its debts, but the road ahead is ridden with challenges

Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the chief minister of Haryana, recently announced his government’s willingness to buyout the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway from Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd, or DGSCL, a company promoted by the DSC group, in order to save over 200,000 commuters their daily hassle at the toll gates. During rush hour, you can spend up to half an hour at the gates. In the age of disinvestment, the buyout, if it happens, will be a rare act of nationalisation. Much of it could be rearguard action by Hooda after his government was stung by anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal and whistleblower bureaucrat Ashok Khemka for shady land deals cleared by it. Also, elections to the Lok Sabha and the Haryana legislative assembly are slated to happen in 2014. The inconvenience on the expressway can become a political liability for Hooda and the ruling Congress party. A solution needs to be found quickly.

Read more: Business Standard

Business

Goldman promotes 16 Indians, makes 3 partners

Global financial services giant Goldman Sachs has promoted 266 persons, including at least 16 of Indian-origin, as managing director (MD). Three others of Indian origin are among 70 who have been named partners with effect from January 1, 2013.

Among the new partners are Vivek Bantwal, Amol Naik and Gaurav Seth. More than half of the new partners would be based in Americas.

Among the 16 of Indian origin promoted as managing directors are Nilesh Banerjee, Dinkar Bhatia, Meera Bhutta, Nikhil Choraria, Pooja Goyal, Dinesh Gupta, Manav Gupta, Hari Moorthy, Mitesh J Parikh, Nita Patel, Sameer Ralhan, Akshay Sahni, Gunjan Samtani, Kunal Shah, Amit Sinha and Monali Vora.

The group announces a list of managing directors every year while the list of partners is generally announced once in two years. At the Goldman Sachs group, managing director’s position is one rank below that of the partner. Last year, it had promoted 261 executives to the position of managing director.

Read more: The Times of India

NRI

India–US cross border tax issues on sale of inherited property

Situation: Ram Kapoor, a US citizen, inherited property in India from his father in 2008. The property was purchased by his father in March 1983 for Rs 3 lakh. Kapoor sold the property in Feb 2011 for Rs 40 lakh. Kapoor now needs to know:

How much tax would he need to pay in India? Are there any opportunities to save tax in India? Will those exemptions be valid in the US? How much tax would he need to pay in the US?

This, of course, is an illustration but it will help us find answers to many questions that Indian Americans maybe facing.

Tax payable in India

If you sell property after 3 years from the date of purchase, you will be liable for long term capital gains tax of 20%. The gains are calculated as the difference between sale value and indexed cost of purchase. Indexed cost of purchase is nothing but the cost of purchase adjusted to inflation.

In case of inherited property, the date and cost of purchase for purposes of computing the period of holding as well as cost of purchase is taken to be the date and cost to the original owner. “While computing the amount of long term capital gains, the cost to the previous owner (i.e. the person from whom the property is inherited) would be considered as the cost of purchase. Though the plain reading of the law suggests otherwise, the courts have taken a view that the indexation benefit can start from the year in which the previous owner acquired the property,” explains Vaibhav Sankla, Director, H&R Block India.

Read more: The Times of India

US immigration reforms: Indians want Obama to cut long wait for green cards

Every US presidential election throws up its share of surprises — and this time it was the Latino voters. The fact that over 70% of them voted for Barack Obama has turned the spotlight on immigration reforms, which have been largely on hold in the run-up to the elections.

No surprise that President Obama highlighted immigration reform policy in his first press meet after re-election on Wednesday. The roadmap for immigration reforms is likely to address the issue of illegal immigrants but at the same time attract and retain highly skilled manpower from overseas.

“When I say comprehensive immigration reform, it is very similar to the outlines of previous efforts at comprehensive immigration reform,” Obama said. He is hopeful of bipartisan support on immigration issues.

And while immigration reforms may be top of the mind, even for the Republicans right now, the reforms that Indians in the US are looking at are very different from what the largest immigrant community — the Latinos — have on their wishlist.

Read more: The Economic Times

Hospitality

ibis India inspires global makeover

When Dennis Hennequin, chairman and CEO of Accor Hotels had to stay at a budget hotel, a part of Accor’s economy hotel chain ibis, at Golf Course Road Gurgaon, during a visit to India in April 2011, the Accor India staff was in tenterhooks.

“We were a bit embarrassed that such a senior person had to be booked in our ibis as we did not have a Pullman (upscale hotel) operational in the national capital region then. But, Hennequin said that ibis too is our brand. Next day, we were apprehensive when we met him in the morning but he said he had the soundest sleep in years in a hotel room,” said Jean-Michel Casse, senior vice-president operations India of AAPC India Hotel Management.

ibis in India has customised the brand to the expectations of Indian travellers by adding a topper that makes it very soft, special pillows and a very soft duvet instead of a blanket, which allows clients to have a sound sleep.

Read more: My Digital FC

Employment

Employment index for October up 13% from last year: Report

The Monster employment index India rose 13% in October when compared to last year on the back of hiring picking up in sectors like shipping, NGOs and social services. All of these sectors recorded a strong annual growth even as production and manufacturing recorded a double digit decline, according to the job portal’s findings. Among the cities Coimbatore registered the strongest annual growth for the seventh consecutive month while Bangalorewas the strongest annual gainer among major metro-markets.

“The double digit gains reflect the confidence of Indian businesses in the current economy. Major sectors like IT, engineering, automotive, telecom, healthcare, and education have shown positive year on year growth,” said Sanjay Modi, Managing Director, Monster.com (India/ Middle- East/ South East Asia).

The Monster Employment Index India is a monthly gauge of online job posting activity based on a review of employer job opportunities culled from a large representative selection of career web sites and online job listings across India.

Read more: The Times of India

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