IREO Announces Tie-up With Singapore-based The Ascott Limited

Ireo Serviced Apartments are within the upcoming Ireo City area in the prime Sector 59 of Gurgaon.

Ireo Serviced Apartments are within the upcoming Ireo City area in the prime Sector 59 of Gurgaon.

Ireo to Launch Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon Along With the Largest International Serviced Residence Owner-Operator The Ascott Limited

Ireo, India’s first and largest private equity fund dedicated to the Indian real estate sector, today entered into management agreements with the multi-award winning serviced residence provider, The Ascott Limited, for India’s first Ascott-branded serviced residence at the upcoming master planned Ireo City complex on Golf Course Extension Road in Gurgaon. A team from The Ascott Limited led by Mr. Alfred ONG, Managing Director, Strategic Development, was in town to officially announce the collaboration. IREO City, itself, is an ambitious, world class mixed-use project spread over approximately 800-acres – a resort city within a city – that includes schools, hospitals, parks, offices, shopping malls, art centers and theatres.

Located adjacent to the planned two-storey Ireo City Central retail zone and entertainment hub, Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon will offer approximately 220 units in the configurations of studio, 1 BHK and 2 BHK apartments [http://www.ireoworld.com ]. This will include 160 serviced residence [http://www.ireoworld.com ] units and an additional 60 units of private residential apartments. The luxury of these apartments is further accentuated by their close proximity to the 50-acre golf park in Ireo City. Being in the heart of Ireo City, Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon will seamlessly connect with the Open Living ecosystem of this master planned township. With easy access to NH8, the residences are well connected to the airport and the commercial districts of Gurgaon as well as Delhi.

Read more: Money Life

India’s design history wows global hospitality designer, Tony Chi

Rich heritage and quality manpower are the two strengths on which India can build upon to realise its potential in the design and architecture sector, feels international lifestyle and hospitality designer Tony Chi.

The New York and Buenos Aries-based designer, who has wowed the design world with stylish, functional and aesthetic concepts on space, lighting, architecture and public art among others was recently on his first visit to India.

“It would definitely be a fascinating experience to work in a country which has a vast cultural heritage ranging from the Qutab Minar and Old Fort in Delhi to the Taj Mahal in Agra which are all an epitome of excellence in design and innovation,” says the 45 year old designer

Designing chic spaces is his forte and with his attention to detail Chi has orchestrated rich compositions of shagreen and lacquer, aqueous glass mosaics and textured wood veneer along with super graphic-laminated glass and prismatic mirror.

“Conceptualising a project for a new cultural setting is an immersive experience. India, being a land of deep heritage and a multitude of cultures steeped in rich traditions, offers a highly stimulating environment to work in,” says Chi.

Read more: The Economic Times

Economy

Reforms May Power India

imageNew Delhi is finally shedding light on one of the darkest industries in India—power. Recent reforms should bring power prices closer to market levels and help the broader economy too.

India’s economic growth slumped to 5% in the year ended March 31—nearly half the level it was five years ago. The power sector has been a particularly weak link. A major blackout last summer deprived 600 million Indians of electricity for about 48 hours. Rolling outages are common. Peak-hour power demand outstripped supply by 8.7% for the 12 months that ended March. Power sector stocks have lost 18% in the past year, even as the broader market gained 10%.

The immediate problem is inadequate supply of coal. More than half of India’s electric power comes from coal, most of it supplied by state-owned Coal India 533278.BY -1.72% . But Coal India has been unable to meet the economy’s rising demand, missing even its own production targets three years in a row.

Imported coal is an alternative source. But imports cost at least 30% more than Coal India’s supply and power generators find it difficult to pass on the additional cost to energy distributors, which are almost all state-owned and subsidize the price they charge to customers.

Read more: Wall Street Journal

SEBI Eases Foreign Investment Rules

India’s securities regulator announced changes Tuesday to rules that it said would make investing into Indian assets less cumbersome for foreigners.

The changes by the Securities and Exchange Board of India harmonize investment guidelines for foreign investors of different sizes, and relax identity verification requirements for them.

The steps come at a time when foreign investors have been pulling money out of India and other emerging markets to chase higher yields in the U.S. after the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated that it could start tapering its monetary stimulus soon.

Tuesday, SEBI said entry norms for foreign investors will be simplified and made uniform as it merges existing investor categories.

Overseas investors will be merged into a new investor class to be termed as Foreign Portfolio Investors, the regulator said in a news release after the board meeting. The three existing categories were Foreign Institutional Investors, Sub-Accounts and Qualified Foreign Investors, which spanned from large institutions such as mutual funds, pension funds and endowments to foreign retail investors.

The SEBI also said that it had done away with a rule requiring foreign investors to register directly with it. Instead, investors will have to register with their Indian depository agents, who hold securities on investors’ behalf.

Read more: Wall Street Journal

Indian Rupee Hits New Record Low

imageThe Indian rupee fell to a new all-time low against the U.S. dollar Wednesday, with selling exacerbating after it crossed a key psychological level of 60 for one dollar.

The rupee was trading at 60.62 to the dollar by Wednesday afternoon, compared with 59.66 in late Asian trade Tuesday.

News of the rupee falling below 60 sent stocks tumbling. The Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark S&P BSE Sensex reversed the day’s gains to fall 0.4% in the last 30 minutes of trading, to close at 18552.12.

“The wild swing in currency is adding to weakness in markets, which is already seeing selling by foreign investors,” said Kishor Ostwal, chairman and managing director of Mumbai-based brokerage CNI Research Ltd. 512018.BY -1.92%

Currency dealers attributed the rupee’s decline on Wednesday partly to large demand for dollars from oil companies, who usually pay their import bills at the end of the month. They added that foreign investors have also been selling Indian debt.

Read more: Wall Street Journal

NRIs

NRIs hope to build their homes in India on Rupee crash; enquiries jump 20% in a month

The rupee’s slide to almost 60 to a dollar is of great concern, but real estate developers are likely to gain from a fresh burst of interest from NRI buyers who now have to pay less dollars. Enquiries from non-resident Indians have jumped 20% in a month, builders say.

“This is a small boost to home sales in the country which have been sagging in recent quarters,” says Lalit Kumar Jain, president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers of India.

Besides the fresh business, developers also stand to gain from a likely inflow of much-needed cash as NRIs are keen to make payments in advance while the rupee is still weak. “We are witnessing a trend towards 100% down payment due to the current ( forex) scenario,” says Girish Shah, Executive Vice-President, marketing & sales, Godrej Properties.

The rupee has fallen by about 25% against the dollar over the last two years and is currently at an all-time low of Rs 59.66.

Some developers in Kerala, which has the one of the largest population of people living in the Middle-East, say they are seeing more demand from NRIs than from locals.

Read more: The Economic Times

Infrastructure

Government may soon create NCR transport corporation

The government may soon create a National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) to expedite the construction of three regional rapid transit systems (RRTS) that would connect Delhi with Panipat, Alwar and Meerut.

Officials said the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) had earlier identified eight lines for the development of rail-based RRTS corridors of which three — Delhi-Panipat, Delhi-Alwar and Delhi-Meerut — were assigned priority by a panel appointed by the Planning Commission.

It was also suggested the formation of NCRTC to develop, run and maintain the proposed metro corridors.

Officials said the NCRPB had begun working on a plan to form a NCRTC and also got required approvals from the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC).

The formation of the NCRTC now requires the Cabinet’s go ahead and it is likely that the Urban Development Ministry will present a proposal soon, sources said.

The NCRTC, it is learnt, would be set up with a seed amount of Rs 100 crore in which the central government and the states of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, through which the RRTS lines would pass, would contribute.

Read more: The Economic Times

Telecom

Google, Bharti to Offer Free Mobile Internet Services

Google Inc. GOOG +0.86% and Bharti Airtel Ltd. 532454.BY -4.47% said they would jointly launch “Free zone,” or free Internet, for first time mobile Internet users in the world’s second largest telecom market.

The launch of the service is in line with telecom operators’ and Internet companies’ hopes to make their services affordable to customers in India.https://i2.wp.com/www.engineeringwatch.in/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/google-india.gif

Internet services are highly profitable for operators compared with offering traditional voice calls, the tariffs of which are among the lowest in the world. Operators have been unable to raise tariffs as usage has dropped among their subscribers.

The free Internet zones will enable Airtel mobile customers access to mobile web search and will feature-phone-friendly versions of Google’s email and Google+ social networking services.

“Free Zone aims to put the web in the hands of more people and empower first time Internet users with several useful services of the Internet,” the two companies said in a statement. “The first page of a website linked from search results is provided at no data cost.”

Read more: Wall Street Journal

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