Travellers prefer NCR hotels over Delhi stay

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Hotels in Noida and Gurgaon are giving top hotels in the Capital a run for their money.

Also, new hotels, including top brands, coming up in these areas are not only catching up with number of hotel rooms available in Delhi but are also going to provide more keys than the Capital in the next few years.

According to a recent report released by leading real estate consultancy firm Cushman & Wakefield, hotels in Noida are witnessing better occupancy rates than top Delhi hotels.

Noida, which doesn’t have super luxury hotels as of yet, is attracting more guests than Delhi hotels for the past two years.

“The economy, mid-scale and upscale hotels are performing better than the upper upscale and luxury hotels in NCR, as business travellers have become more price sensitive after the economic slowdown and prefer to seek more affordable options,” the report says.

According to the report, the hotel industry in Delhi NCR has seen a dip in occupancy in the past six years — from nearly 74% in 2006 to 64% last year.

“Noida and Gurgaon have become business destinations in their own right and business travellers prefer staying there than stay in a luxury hotel in Delhi and waste time travelling through heavy traffic,” said a senior official of a luxury hotel in Delhi, requesting anonymity. “The Formula 1 event in Noida also resulted in a spike in occupancy.”

Read more: Hindustan Times

Joydeep Ghosh: Why real estate prices won’t fall!

It seems that everyone, except real estate developers, wants property prices to fall. But there is some serious doubt it will happen soon, or ever. What potential buyers can hope for at best, is a slow rate of growth in prices or a miniscule revision, especially in big cities.

The reason is quite simple: Too much is at stake. Most builders have borrowed from housing finance companies, banks and private equity players. The latter have lent at rates as high as 25-30 per cent a year. Yet, resistance to rate cuts is unlikely to come from them.

It is more likely to come from housing finance companies and banks that have funded both builders and borrowers quite aggressively in the past. They would be quite petrified at the thought of a real estate slump.

Though the Reserve Bank of India limited loan-to-value to 80 per cent and took registration and stamp duty charges out of the loan component a couple of years ago, enough players lent as much as 100 per cent before these guidelines came into place. Some gave even more than 100 per cent of the residence value, if one includes payment for stamp duty, registration fees and sometimes, even home improvement loans.

Read: Business Standard

Nmc to Cast ‘Property Tax’ Net Wide

In the first of its kind initiative, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation will be starting door-to-door collection of property tax using handheld devices. The civic body has decided to procure equipment that will measure the area of the plot on the spot and calculate the tax amount. Further, in order to bring maximum number of properties in the tax net, the corporation will be issuing a unique property identification code (UPIC) to each property under the jurisdiction of North Delhi Municipal Corporation. The move aims at augmenting the revenue without increasing the existing tax rate or imposing any new tax. As per the plan, an agency will be hired by the civic body for conducting a survey of the existing properties, map the buildings and on the basis of its size and other factors, issue a bill on the spot.

The Pioneer (Page 3)

Infrastructure

Gurgaon expressway gets new owner; expect better service

Lakhs of commuters braving massive traffic snarls on the 28-km Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway almost every day can expect some relief soon.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) board on Wednesday evening approved a proposal to transfer 74% equity in the expressway project to infrastructure finance company IDFC from Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL), the original concessionaire.

IDFC was one of the lead lenders for the project. The DGSCL will continue to hold the remaining 26% stake till a further decision is taken.

“The NHAI Board has approved the transfer of 74% equity to IDFC,” RP Singh, NHAI chairman told HT.

The need to change the ownership was felt as over the last year, DGSCL had failed to operate and maintain one of the busiest expressways in the country to the desired standards.

Massive traffic snarls had become routine. The NHAI had last year even terminated DGSCL’s contract to operate the expressway after which the latter approached the court.

Sanjay Grewal, group head, IDFC, while confirming the board’s decision, said, “We decided to take over the project as we want to ensure smooth traffic flow and better road condition.”

Though IDFC won’t be responsible for the day-to-day management of the expressway, Grewal said they would hire an expert operations and maintenance team to run it.

Read more: Hindustan Times

Yamuna E-Way Likely To Boost Industrial Growth

The three-day Global Partnership Summit at Agra, which ended on Tuesday, was a great success and industrialists in the state expect substantial foreign investment, especially along the Yamuna Expressway. As land prices in Nodia and Greater Noida continue to soar, many industrialists want to move beyond the twin cities to smaller centers.

Hindustan Times (Noida page 2)

NHAI approves 74% equity buy in Delhi-Gurgaon E-way by IDFC

Reuters

Under the current policy, the developer has to keep at least a 26 percent stake for the entire concession period. Reuters

NHAI Board has given its approval for 74 percent equity takeover by IDFC in the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway project from its present developer DSC.

“National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) Board has cleared the proposal of allowing IDFC, the lead banker in the lender consortium, to buy 74 percent stake in the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway,” a Road Ministry official said.

IDFC will pick up 74 percent stake and the remaining will be with DSC (24.8 percent) and Jaypee Group (1.2 percent), the official said. Last year, DSC Ltd had approached High Court against NHAI’s termination notice to them alleging operational incompetence.

The High Court had stayed the implementation of the NHAI notice. Meanwhile,  Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is seeking Cabinet approval for a policy for road developers which would permit the concessionaire or the project developer to make a complete exit immediately after commencement of commercial operations.

Under the current policy, the developer has to keep at least a 26 percent stake for the entire concession period.

Read more: First Post

CCI maiden meet today to fast track major infra projects facing hurdles

Whatever little help the Reserve Bank of India’s quarter-point reduction in the policy rate gives in boosting investment will be reinforced as the government prepares to clear the logjam over scores of power, steel and oil sector projects at the maiden meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) on Wednesday. According to official sources, the panel, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which enjoys supremacy over individual ministries, is set to give one-stop approvals for many of the 25 big power projects stuck for want of environmental clearances/fuel linkage at its first meeting. These include projects of Adani Power, Tata Power, the Jaypee Group, DB Power and Indiabulls, among others. The 25 held-up power projects have a combined bank exposure of over R1,25,000 crore. Major headway is also expected in addressing the issue of the “no-go” tag assigned by the defence ministry to 14 offshore oil and gas blocks including the Reliance Industries-BP combine’s KG-D6 field and the gas discovery area NEC-25.

In all, the ministry had withdrawn/withheld clearances for 46 oil and gas blocks. Together, an investment of $13.5 billion is envisaged in these blocks by a host of companies such as Reliance, ONGC, BHP Billiton and Cairn Energy.

Read more: Indian Express

Banking

Home, auto loans get cheaper

A day after the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI) lowered the key policy rate and cut cash reserve ratio by 25 bps each, banks took the cue and lowered lending rates.

State Bank of India ( SBI), India’s largest lender, reduced its base rate (the benchmark to which all loan rates are linked) by five basis points to 9.7 per cent, effective Monday. Now, the interest on an SBI home loan of up to Rs 30 lakh is 9.95 per cent; for loans of more than Rs 30 lakh, the interest would be 10.10 per cent. The bank also lowered the benchmark prime lending rate by five basis points to 14.45 per cent. All SBI car loans would have an interest of 10.45 per cent.

HDFC Bank has reduced its retail lending rate by 25-50 basis points. According to a bank official, interest rates on car loans and commercial vehicles are now cheaper by 25 basis points, while interest on two-wheeler loans has been reduced by 50 basis points. For car loans, the bank would charge interest of 10.5-11.5 per cent, while interest on loans for heavy commercial vehicles would be 11 per cent. For light commercial vehicle loans, borrowers would have to pay interest of 13.75 per cent. Those taking loans for two-wheelers would have to pay 19.25-22.25 per cent interest, said the bank official.

However, HDFC Bank has left its base rate untouched at 9.7 per cent. Since most of HDFC Bank’s retail loans are fixed-rate ones, existing borrowers wouldn’t benefit from the rate cut.

Federal Bank has cut the interest on car loans to 10.45 per cent. Earlier, it charged interest of 11.2-11.7 per cent, depending on the tenure. It has also set up a National Auto Loan Hub, which would ensure speedy processing and turn-around time of less than 24 hours, said a press release issued by the bank. The hub would function as a single window for processing and sanctioning automobile loans.

Read more: Business Standard

NRI Tax

All about ‘Resident but not Ordinary Resident’, and why this special status is accorded

For income tax purposes in India, you can be a ‘Resident Indian’ or a ‘Non Resident Indian’. Or you can also be a ‘Resident but not Ordinary Resident (RNOR).’ In this article, we take a look at who an RNOR is and why this special status is accorded.

Who is an RNOR?

To understand who an RNOR is, we first need to understand the definitions of resident and non-resident Indian.

A person is a resident Indian in a particular year if he fulfills either of these two conditions:

– He/she has been in India in that year for 182 days or more or
– He/she has been in India for 60 days or more in that year and 365 days or more in the 4 years preceding that year

A person who does not fulfill the above conditions is considered to be a non-resident.

Now, if you have recently moved back to India after spending many years overseas, you must check for the status of RNOR.

A person is an RNOR if he meets either of these two conditions:

– He/she has been non-resident in India, that is, an NRI, in nine out of the ten previous years preceding that year, or
– He/she has, during the seven previous years preceding that year, been in India for a period of 729 days or less

Now depending on the date of return, a person can take the benefit of the RNOR status for up to 3 tax years in India. (Note than a tax year in India is a fiscal year, that is, from April to March)

Read more: The Economic Times

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