Gurgaon-based BPO firms symbol of Haryana’s economic growth: Hooda

Ireo Skyon, Gurgaon

Ireo Skyon, Gurgaon

The flourishing business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in Gurgaon symbolizes the growth story of the entire Haryana, chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said on Friday.

Gurgaon constitute 4% of the world’s total BPO workforce and that is a confirmation that the city has  taken gigantic leap forward from being a dusty unexplored patch two decades ago, said Hooda at the Leaderspeak@ht Conclave.

Praising the corporate sector for pushing up the city’s growth, Hooda also mentioned that 11% of the country’s total BPO workforce is in Gurgaon.

Several leaders of BPO and IT industry were present on the occasion.

Gurgaon has over 300 domestic and international outsourcing units. Nearly 100 of them, over the years, have successfully transformed themselves into the new-age Knowledge Process Outsource (KPOs) and Business Process Management (BPM) firms.

Indian BPOs no longer hire just fresh graduates and under-graduates as Indian outsourcing industry has come a long way from being just the call centres managing the back office operations of the clients in the USA and Europe.

MBAs, chartered accountants, lawyers, engineers and other professionals comprise the workforce to cater to several other knowledge outsource business the industry has brought into its fold over the years.

The growth of the industry can be gauzed from the fact that about 35,000 women are working in the BPOs and Information Technology sector in Gurgaon at present.

Luxury housing projects are driving higher demand for home automation

Living Room at Ireo Skyon, Gurgaon

Living Room at Ireo Skyon, Gurgaon

New product offerings, greater influx of end-user demand and an increasing upwardly-mobile mid-segment, luxury and ultra-luxury housing projects are driving higher demand for home automation in Gurgaon. City-based home automation companies have witnessed over a 100 percent rise in their business in the past three years and are betting big on future.

“In Gurgaon, our home automation products and solutions have been available since the real estate industry picked up, even as demand for fully integrated and comprehensive home automation solutions has picked up more substantially in the last 2-3 years,” said Anant Maheshwari, managing director of Honeywell Automation India Ltd.

A global leader in home automation and control technologies, Honeywell has built home systems for more than 100,000 households globally and offers home automation systems that can be linked with multiple gadgets including lighting, curtains, gas valves, thermostats, digital door locks, as well as information home appliances such as air conditioners, washing machine, microwave, and dishwasher.

Read more: The Economic Times

Working towards smarter cities

What makes a city smart? Its people? Who governs it or how it’s governed? What if a city was self-governed by people who are smart?

Let’s start with how one can access this smart city. Roads – not just well-constructed, but with clear and tactical planning put into place before the road was actually constructed. This also means building service roads for every main one.

Think of the city as a heart that needs big, wide arteries and a greater number of sub-arteries, much smaller in size, but equally important.

The idea of city-states comes from the ancient Greek cities of Athens, Sparta and Thebes. Relevant examples in today’s modern world are Singapore, Vatican City and Monaco.

In India, Chandigarh, Jamshedpur and Bhubaneswar come close to how these places are planned.

Smart cities and city-states can be defined as one. These are known for their seamless planning and implementation of each and every amenity that is provided to its citizens — excellent public transportation, housing, potable drinking water, proper sanitation and drainage systems.

Having autonomous rule means citizens do not have to constantly rush to the local authorities for assistance or authorisation.

Read more: Business Line

Banking

Retail home loans likely to grow by at least 20% this fiscal

The retail housing loan market is expected to grow at least 20 per cent this fiscal despite concerns of a likely slowdown in economic growth, National Housing Bank Chairman R. V. Verma said here on Thursday.

More than last year

This projection is higher than the 16-18 per cent growth witnessed in the housing finance market in 2011-12, Verma said after releasing NHB’s report on Trend and Progress of Housing in India, 2012.

R. V. Verma, Chairman, National Housing Bank.

Although the retail housing loan market has been seeing robust growth, project lending (directly to developers) has remained subdued.

“This is an area of disconnect that we have captured in our trends and progress report. There are supply-side constraints which are emerging from policy relating to land, lack of adequate availability of land and confusion relating to land acquisition in various States”, Verma said.

Verma also said that NHB also intends to upscale in the coming days its involvement in the rural housing finance market as well as in low/moderate-income housing.

While the NHB report has delved deep into the demand side of housing finance market, it does have some limitation on the real sector side in terms of housing starts.

Read more: Business Line

RBI rate cut may boost demand for real estate

Banks have a 67% share of the housing finance market, estimated at `7 trillion as of 31 December. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) monetary easing could prompt a rise in real estate demand, leading to prices firming up after having dropped around 4% in the recent past, said R.V. Verma, chairman and managing director of National Housing Bank (NHB), the regulator for housing finance firms.

Builders with unsold stock may raise home prices, Verma said on Thursday.

“The Residex (index of property prices in various Indian cities) for January-March could reflect this trend. We are watching it closely,” he said.

RBI cut the key policy rate by 25 basis points (bps) in its 29 January review of monetary policy, and analysts expect it to follow an easy money policy to boost economic growth. Following the RBI rate cut, many banks announced cuts in lending rates, fuelling expectation of a pick-up in retail housing demand. NHB also reduced its prime lending rate, or the rate at which it it lends to other banks, by 25 bps to 9.75% the same day. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

The rise in demand will be mainly in tier II and tier III cities where prices are still affordable, said Verma.

“There has been a position of oversupply, which has had a moderating effect on prices. Prices are down 3-4%, primarily in tier II and tier III cities, because this is where the demand for housing loans is concentrated under the slab of Rs.10-25 lakh,” Verma said. “However, because of the increase in positive sentiments and the likelihood of lending rates going down further, the demand may pick up again leading to a price rise in houses by developers which have been under pressure till now.”

Read more: Mint

Infrastructure

Government clears Rs 38,500 crore of road connectivity projects

The ambitious rural road scheme received a boost today with the government clearing projects worth an estimated Rs 38,500 crore to connect left out habitations including those in 82 Naxal-affected districts and areas of Arunachal Pradesh bordering China.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh, gave “in principle” approval for connecting all habitations with a population of 100 tribals and above in 82 Naxal-hit districts with all-weather roads under the Centre’s flagship programme PMGSY.

In case of multi-connectivity at the block level, identified by the Union Home Ministry, it is not compulsory that tar-paved roads should be constructed in such areas where Maoists target metalled roads used by security forces.

“What we are saying now is you can have four roads, but one of them will be a blacktop road,” Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.

He said the government has given “in principle” approval for covering unconnected habitations with population of 100 persons and above (as per the 2001 census) in the Left Wing Extremism-affected blocks (identified in consultations with the Home Ministry).

Read more: The Economic Times

India Needs Its Own Version of PPP for Infra Projects

Indian policymakers had been daydreaming all along that the public-private partnership (PPP) model could solve all the infrastructural deficiencies of India. Against India’s poor infrastructural backdrop, PPP had been exponentially scaled-up in the last ten years under a blind faith that it would produce nothing short of a miracle. In the eleventh Five Year Plan, for example, the government’s estimation of investment on the country’s infrastructure between 2007 and 2012 was pegged at $320 billion. In this context, World Bank had earlier assessed that as much as 20 percent of this could be sourced through PPPs. Astonishingly, the figure rose to 37 percent. In reality, the resounding thrust on PPP has backfired. The inherent curse of redtapism and power struggle between different agencies as well as between the private sector and government are looming threats for the PPP model. Add to this, the inevitable scenario of corruption and resultant artificial price hike of the resources that are gradually making PPP an unviable business model.

The Asian Age | Deccan Chronicle (Hyderabad edition) (Page 16)

World Bank lines up $4.8-bn loan for rail & road infra projects

The World Bank has lined up an over $4.83-billion loan to India for ramping up road and rail infrastructure over the next five years as part of country assistance programme to help boost economic development, officials said on Thursday.

The bank is also looking at funding possibilities in ports and inland waterways projects, being planned by the government during the 12th Plan period. However, the funding from the bank could come with riders on safety and maintenance.

With GDP growth estimated to plunge to a decade-low of 5% in 2012-13, the government is trying to speed up infrastructure project clearances to revive the economy.

The World Bank alone is funding 10 major projects in the transport sector, including the eastern dedicated freight corridor (EDFC). It is providing $975 million for the first phase of EDFC that covers the 343-km stretch between Khurja and Kanpur. Another $1.05 billion is under negotiation for the the second phase, sources said. The second phase is conditional to land and forest clearances and completion of at least 50% of work in the first phase.

Read more: Financial Express

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