India can revert to 8-9% growth in 2-3 years, says Bhagwati

The Grand Arch, Gurgaon

India’s growth rate could revert to the pre-global crisis level of 8-9 per cent in two to three years by intensifying the recent economic reforms initiatives, said internationally acclaimed economist Jagdish Bhagwati has said.

“I would say if they stick with the measures they have undertaken and intensify them further… I think if you do think of that sort, then we could get back to 8-9 per cent GDP growth in 2-3 years,” Bhagwati, who is a professor of economics and law at Columbia University, told PTI.

India had been growing around 8-9 per cent before the global financial meltdown of 2008. The growth rate in 2011-12 slipped to nine-year low of 6.5 per cent.

Recently, the government had liberalised FDI policy in retail, aviation and approved changes in the banking and insurance laws, with higher FDI limits.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said India’s economy should expand by 5.5-6 per cent this year.

“All I can say is this year we will probably hover around 5.5-5.6 per cent or may be 6 per cent if things pick up in third and fourth quarters. This year is practically set and no major dramatic changes can be expected this year,” Chidambaram had told PTI.

On growth versus welfare debate, Bhagwati said,”People like Amartya Sen and Mehbus ul Ha used to say growth won’t influence poverty. Now, it is clear that growth did influence poverty.”

Read more: Business Line

Real Estate

Land Acquisition Bill finalised, awaiting Cabinet nod: Ramesh

The controversial Land Acquisition Bill has been finalised and the Union Cabinet is likely to take it up at its next meeting so that it can be brought in Parliament in the upcoming Winter Session.

“The bill is finalised. It is going to Cabinet shortly,” Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.

Ramesh, who met Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, expressed hope that the bill could be brought in Parliament in the Winter Session beginning this week.

He, however, refused to give details of the final version of the bill, which has been surrounded by controversies.

Sources said the bill was finalised in the light of a suggestion of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi who had asked the government to take consent from 80 per cent land owners to purchase land for the purpose of setting up private projects.

They said Gandhi was not in favour of the GoM’s proposal that consent of two-third of “land losers” (from whom land would be purchased) would be needed for acquiring land for private projects.

Read more: The Financial Express

Govt wakes up to dangers in older high-rises

The government seems to have woken up to the need for ensuring fire safety in high-rises after Monday’s blaze at a multi-storey building on central Delhi’s Kasturba Gandhi Marg. The fire department will issue a public notice directed at occupants of high-rises that came up before or in

1986, asking them to ensure that all safety rules are being observed. A fire department-led inspection of the buildings will follow.

At least 3,000 high-rises in the city were constructed before 1986. The law requires that the buildings reach minimum safety standards to minimise damage in case of a fire.

A number of high-rises, including Himalaya House where a fire broke out on Monday, are ageing. The New Delhi Fire Services Rules, 2010, under the Delhi Fire Service Act, 2007, do not apply to them.

According to the rules, every building with a height of more than nine metres or those that have two upper storeys are required to adhere to minimum standards for fire prevention. The rules also make it mandatory for every such building to get its fire-safety certificate renewed regularly. However, this does not apply to the old buildings.

Read more: Hindustan Times

Infrastructure/Transportation

Japan to give fresh infrastructure loan of $22.6 b to India

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 7th East-Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Tuesday. PTI

Japan will give a fresh loan of about $ 22.6 billion for the second phase of Dedicated Freight Corridor and an infrastructure project in South India, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda today told his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh as they met here, making up for an opportunity lost a few days ago.

Manmohan Singh, while welcoming the announcement of loan, emphasised to Yoshihiko Noda that India’s priority was investments by Japanese companies in infrastructure projects such as Delhi Metro Rail, which was a “fine example” other cities want to emulate.

The two leaders were to meet in Tokyo on November 16 during Manmohan Singh’s scheduled three-day visit beginning November 15 for annual summit. However, the visit was cancelled just a day ahead in view of sudden political developments in Japan with Yoshihiko Noda deciding to announce elections.

During the meeting today on the sidelines of East Asia Summit, Yoshihiko Noda expressed happiness at being able to meet Manmohan Singh to underline the close Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries, sources said.

Read more: Business Line

Haryana Offers Land for Rail Industry

Chandigarh:  Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Monday offered to give land for the development of railways industry in the State. He was responding to a statement made by Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, which appeared in a section of the Press on Sunday, asking the State governments of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to give land to develop the railways industry. Hooda appreciated Bansal’s plan to develop the railways industry on the pattern of West Bengal in States adjacent to Chandigarh and requested the Railway Ministry to send a team to choose appropriate land for this purpose.

The Hindu  (Page 5)

Delhi-Gurgaon expressway gets smart card convenience

Senior officials of the district administration and the operator of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway have decided to roll out smart cards for users of the 24-km stretch in a bid to speed up the toll collection process. The cards will be available at city fuel pumps.

The operator — Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Lid (DGSCL) — is also going to distribute around 2,500 smart cards free of cost for in a promotional move to motorists using the expressway.

The smart card will be available in denominations of Rs200, 300 and 500. Commuters would have to purchase or recharge according to their use and money.

The meeting was held at the office of the commissioner of Gurgaon police comprising representatives of DGSCL, NHAI, administrator of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), various RWAs and citizen bodies.

Read more: The Pioneer

Water

Gurgaon to get more water

In order to meet the future water supply requirements of Gurgaon, the state government has prepared a comprehensive plan to augment the water supply capacity. Under the plan, a project is coming up in village Chandu Budhera which is proposed to be of 132 MGD capacity with 6 units, each of 22 MGD. Once all the six units are completed, officials claim the water storage capacity will be enough to meet the water supply demand of projected population of 40 lakh of Gurgaon up to 2025 and that too for seven days even if there is any breach in the water channel as it happened three years back.

The construction on first unit of 22 MGD of Chandu Budhera Water works has completed and now it is on trial run. The work is being done through Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) which has constructed raw water pump house, water treatment plant, clear water pump house, three storage tanks of 100 million gallon each and laid 6.5 kilometer long water supply pipe line of 1000 millimeter diameter from village Chandu to Basai water works. All these works with first unit had cost Rs 130 crore.

Read more:  The Times of India

$37 mn World Bank fund for water development project

The government today signed an agreement with World Bank for $37-million loan to support Himachal Pradesh Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project.

“The Government today signed a $37 million credit agreement with the World Bank for the ongoing Himachal Pradesh Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project to support the Government of Himachal Pradesh build sustainable watershed treatment models,” an official release said.

The original $60 million Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project is aimed at reversing the process of degradation of the natural resource base, improve productivity, and raise rural household incomes, it added.

The agreement was signed by Prabodh Saxena, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs and Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank, among others.

“The project will be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) — the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm — which provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years,” the statement said.

The ongoing project has converted about 9,000 ha of rain-fed area into irrigated land through watershed management techniques, it added.

See article: Business Line

Retail

Khan Market in New Delhi, Mumbai’s Linking Road Among Most Expensive Retail Locations

Khan Market in New Delhi retained its position as the most expensive retail location in India, followed by Mumbai’s Linking Road, real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield said in a report. Globally, the top two most expensive retail location slots were taken by Causeway Bay in Hong Kong and Fifth Avenue, New York. Khan Market lost five spots to finish 26th in 2012 from 21st in 2011, according to C&W’s annual survey. With many major international and national retail brands being present in Khan Market, and little vacancy, consistent demand have kept values high in this location. Khan Market recorded rentals of Rs 1,225/sq ft a month, while Mumbai’s Linking Road (Western Suburban) recorded a rental value of Rs 850.

India, however, dropped in the global ranking from 21st to 26th position due to the weakening of the Indian rupee against the dollar. Prime rents in India rose by 12.5 percent on the back of strong occupier demand across all sub-sectors. However, retailers increasingly favoured high street properties, the report said. Colaba Causeway in Mumbai recorded a rental increase of 75 percent over last year, on the back of strong retailer demand and continuous preference for prime high street properties in the city.

Read more: The Financial Express

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