Centre planning guidelines for states to boost realty projects

Ireo Skyon, Gurgaon

Ireo Skyon, Gurgaon

To give a boost to real estate and construction, the government plans to issue guidelines for states on streamlining approval procedures for development projects.

The guidelines will incorporate recommendations and key findings of the committee on streamlining approval procedures for real estate projects that was set up by the housing ministry.

The recommendations include creating a compendium of processes and timeline for all central and state approvals to provide clarity on sequential and parallel processes, and reviewing existing procedures and removing redundant steps to simplify the process.

The committee also recommended using an information technology-enabled single-window approval system, providing special dispensation for affordable housing including a fast-track process for such projects with a 60-day clearance window, and building capacity for private and public sectors.

The panel, chaired by Dhanendra Kumar, former chairman, Competition Commission of India, submitted its final report to the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation on 15 March. Mint has reviewed the key findings and recommendations of the report.

“We agree to most of these recommendations and will go forward to put out guidelines for states and local government bodies to streamline real estate project approvals incorporating the key findings of the report,” Girija Vyas, housing and urban poverty alleviation minister, said on Wednesday. “Some of the recommendations will be used as it is and on others we can further deliberate.”

Read more: Mint

Office leasing shows improvement over June

Office leasing continued to exhibit improvement over the month of June, said a Jones Lang Lasalle monthly real estate monitor. Projects in the advanced stage of construction recorded moderate pre-commitments. Companies opted for consolidation and relocation, over the expansion. Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) and IT industries remained the driving force behind the robust transactions in the month, it said.

Vacancy rates reduced minimally in June across select submarkets, except in the eastern suburbs. Eastern suburbs submarket witnessed a few tenants relocating to relatively cheaper submarkets to avail lower cost advantage. Major transactions included Apple Inc leasing space in BandraKurla Complex (BKC) and Tata AIA renting space in SBD Central. Kalpataru Prime at Thane submarket commenced operation in June. Rents and capital values in the western suburbs submarket rose slightly.

In June, the residential sector in Mumbai witnessed sluggish demand primarily because of significant increase in prices, said the report. Hence, most of the projects that were launched during the month saw smaller configurations to improve the off take in sales. New launches included Acme Boulevard in Andheri by Acme Group, Bougainvillea in Kalina and Happy Homes in Vile Parle by Richa Realtors. Rents continued to remain stagnant during the month. In addition, capital values remained stable as the sales activity witnessed a slowdown with the start of the monsoon season.

Read more: The Times of India

Policy for development of industrial colonies

The Haryana Government has issued a new policy regarding grant of licenses for development of industrial colonies, cyber parks and cyber cities.

While stating this here today, an official spokesman said for development of an industrial colony, the licence would be granted by the Director, Haryana Town and Country Planning, with prior internal concurrence of the state government at the level of the minister-in-charge.

He said outside the urbanisable zone of published development plan, such colonies would also be permitted in the agriculture zone outside urbanisable zone. He said the de-notified Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the state with land measuring 50 acres and above, situated anywhere in the controlled areas or urban areas, except those falling in the residential land use zone of the development plan, would also be eligible for licence of industrial colonies as a one-time relaxation in the designated land use conditions.

Read more: Tribune India

Delhi to get its first herbal park soon

The National Capital would not have to depend on others for herbal medicines anymore as the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) is developing its own herbal park.

Spread over 27 acres in Ghumanhera, the park will have several medicinal herbs that will be procured from neighbouring States, including Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The herbal park will also be used for conservation of species and will serve as a genepool, both for indigenous and exotic species.

Officials said that plantation of species has begun in the park, which will be associated with SDMC’s ayurvedic dispensary, located at Daulatpur in south-west Delhi. The announcement of the herbal park was made in the budget for the year 2013-14 and a fund of Rs 5 crore was also earmarked for the same.

SDMC officials said the park will be ready by this year-end. “A detailed list of the herbs required in the garden has been sent to the Horticulture Department. Plantation of the readily available herbs has already begun,” said Mukesh Yadav, director (Press & information) of SDMC.

He said that initially over 60 species of medicinal plants will be developed in the park and more introduced later.

List of the herbs to be grown in the park include, Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Marod Phali (Helicteres isora), Kapur Kachri (Hedychium spicatum Buch), Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Lemon Grass, Khatmi (Althea officinalis), Chandan, Brahmi, Mehandi, Babool and Chironji among others.

Officials said while some of these herbs are available in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, some others like Arjuna and Kapur Kachri, have to be procured from hills in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. “Developing the herbs in Delhi will reduce our dependency on other States. This is the prime reason as to why the ayurvedic dispensaries in the city have been under-utilised. With a full-fledged herbal park, the medicines and herbs can easily be procured by these dispensaries,” said an official.

Source: Daily Pioneer

Economy

India an important partner but still lot of work to do: Biden

US Vice President Joe Biden today acknowledged India’s decision to increase FDI in certain sectors as he stressed on the need for working on a wide range of issues, including civil nuclear co-operation, bilateral investment treaty and policies protecting innovation.

“We’re engaging directly with India, as it makes some fundamental choices about its own economic future,” Biden said ahead of his India trip, which is the first by an American Vice President in more than half-a-century.

Biden is scheduled to leave for India and Singapore tomorrow.

“Just this week India announced that it will relax caps on foreign direct investment in certain sectors. We still have a lot of work to do on a wide range of issues, including the civil-nuclear cooperation, bilateral investment treaty, policies protecting innovation,” Biden said.

“There’s a lot of work to do. But we believe going with an open mind and listening as well as making our case, we believe it can be done,” the Vice President said.

“In the last 13 years we’ve increased five-fold our bilateral trade, reaching nearly a hundred billion dollars. But if you look at it from a distance, an uninformed person, looking at it from a distance, there is no reason that if our countries make the right choices, trade cannot grow five-fold or more,” he said.

“I’m traveling to India next week — 20, even 10 years ago, some might have suggested that India be left out of the discussions about the Asia- Pacific.

Read more: Business Standard

NRIs

Investing in real estate is not that simple for NRIs

The rupee is down about 7% since a year ago and by around 39% since five years ago, which makes it cheaper for people earning in dollars and spending in rupees. India received the highest amount of remittance at $69 billion in 2012 among all countries, according to the World Bank.

Given the current scenario—a depreciating rupee coupled with stagnant property prices in India—non-resident Indians (NRIs) may want to buy property in India. “There was a huge run-up in property prices in 2011 and 2012. Now they are consolidating,” says Rohit Raj Modi, director, Ashiana Homes Pvt. Ltd, a New Delhi-based real estate firm.

Recently, there has been significant increase in enquiries from NRIs for property in India. “High net worth individuals (HNIs) and people from the middle income group are showing interest as they see this as an opportunity. They either plan to come back at some point in time or have relatives to use the facility,” says Rajesh Saluja, chief executive officer, ASK Wealth Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

However, there are a few things that should be kept in mind before buying a property in India.

Read more: Mint

Employment

Online hiring activity in June up 4%:Monster

Online hiring activity registered a meagre four per cent rise in June from the same month a year ago, amid weak economic conditions, according to a research from Monster.com, a job portal.

On a month-to-month basis, the index improved by 3.14 per cent in June.

“The Monster Employment Index India exhibits moderate growth annually. The moderation in growth is reflective of the cautious approach of the Indian employers owing to the global economic conditions,” Monster.com (India Middle-East South East Asia) Managing Director Sanjay Modi said. A sectoral analysis shows that 18 of the 27 industry sectors monitored by the Monster Employment Index registered expansion in online recruitment activity between June, 2012 and June, 2013.

Hiring in BPO/ITES sector improved by 22 per cent, followed by real estate sector (up 20 per cent), while production and manufacturing showed steepest annual decline (down 13 per cent).

Online demand improved in eight of 13 occupational groups monitored by the Monster Employment Index between June 2012 and June this year.

The most substantial annual gains amongst occupational groups was customer service (up 30 per cent), followed by healthcare (up 24 per cent), while senior management saw the steepest annual decline (down 49 per cent).

Online recruitment activity was up on the year in nine of 13 locations monitored by the index.

Kolkata led all cities in annual growth (up 26 per cent) followed by Chandigarh (up 20 per cent).

Source: Financial Express

Education

India to Achieve 80 Per Cent Literacy Rate by 2015, says HRD Minister Dr. Pallam Raju

India is to achieve 80% literacy rate in the next two years. This was stated by the HRD Minister Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju while inaugurating an International Conference on Achieving Literacy for All. The literacy rate of India is 73 per cent at present as per the 2011 Census. He said that more than 20 crore people have become literates since the last Census of 2001 out of which more than half of them are females. To achieve the goal of 80 per cent literacy by 2015, the HRM said that the HRD Ministry is restructuring the entire adult education system in the country with a paradigm shift to lifelong education. He announced that an appropriate administrative and if required legislative process will be initiated to integrate formal, non-formal and informal learning and to formally recognize forms of education other than formal. He clarified that recognition, validation and accreditation of learning obtained through adult education will be formalized by setting up equivalency framework.

Stressing on the fact that the Government is keen to continuously improve the quality of adult learning, the HRD Minister added that a Core Curriculum Framework for adult education has been developed and is currently undergoing consultative process. The Framework will address total quality management in adult literacy. Full support will be given to adult education by providing adequate resources including funding, research complemented by knowledge management systems and through other innovative means including use of computer ICT as a medium of instruction, he added.

Read more: Invest In India

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