Land acquisition cost may go up to 3.5 times: India Inc

Ireo Waterfront, located in Ludhiana, Punjab, is a 500 acre township

Ireo Waterfront, located in Ludhiana, Punjab, is a 500 acre township

Land Acquisition Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha tonight, may push up cost of acquiring land by up to 3.5 times, making industrial projects unviable and raising overall costs in the economy, India Inc said.

Industry chamber CII said it has always emphasised on the need to streamline the land acquisition process to boost manufacturing and promote job creation in the industry.

“But the industry has serious concerns on some of the provisions of the Bill as it is expected to increase the cost of land acquisition by 3-3.5 times, making industrial projects unviable and raising costs in the overall Indian economy,” CII President S Gopalakrishnan said.

At a time when major projects are stalled and India’s global competitiveness is eroding, a more facilitative land acquisition process would have helped long-term growth and restore investor sentiments, he said.

Sharing similar views, Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said: “…the industry feels that the cost of acquiring land for the industrial projects and the realty sector will go sky-high which is something not desirable and the Indian industry is battling a sever slowdown.”

The path-breaking Land Acquisition Bill, which seeks to provide just and fair compensation to farmers while ensuring that no land can be acquired forcibly, was passed by the Lok Sabha with overwhelming majority tonight.

Read more: The Economic Times

Economy

Ficci for proactive govt to boost manufacturing

Concerned over the slowdown in growth and employment in manufacturing, FICCI on Thursday released a 12 point “Manufacturing Mandate.” It focuses on job creation and skill development. FICCI has suggested  easing of monetary policy required to boost investments and bringing down subsidies and pruning non-productive government expenditure.

According to FICCI, the system of land allotment should be made totally transparent and e-based and  States need to increase the Floor Area Ratio for optimal utilization of existing industrial land. The Centre can seek such higher Floor Area Ratio at least in their centrally sponsored/supported parks and clusters.

Further, FICCI has made a strong case for Workers’ Housing Policy either at the Centre or State for the manufacturing sector. There should be compulsory allocation of at least 20% land (of industrial belt)in and around industrial area or estate for low cost housing. FICCI has emphasised the need to fast track change of land use to housing in case land is purchased directly by the project proponent.

On Labour laws, the FICCI Manufacturing Mandate suggests specific amendments in the Factories Act, Contract Labour Act and Industrial Disputes Act to align them with the international best practices and ensure faster employment generation.

Read more: Business Standard

Infrastructure

Privatization of 6 more airports fast-tracked

With the next general elections months away, UPA-II has decided to fast-track the privatization of six more AAI airports — Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur and Guwahati — like the four metro airports that are now running under PPP (public-private-partnership) model.

The aviation ministry will start issuing request for qualification (RFQ) from next week to private bidders to “operate, maintain and develop” these airports on a revenue-share model with AAI for a concession period of 30 years.

However unlike the PPP airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, AAI will not be asked to invest anything in the private companies that will bid to run the six airports as the ministry has decided to allow the private players to have 100% stake. AAI has a 26% stake in Delhi and Mumbai and 13% in Hyderabad and Bangalore airports.

Also, in departure from the practice at the four metros, aviation authorities may decide the aeronautical tariff structure for the entire 30 years with inbuilt clauses for escalation when costs go up to give the bidders a clear idea of revenue generation. And, bidders for these six airports may have to retain the entire staff there as after privatization AAI is unlikely to absorb them.

Read more: The Times of India

Technology

IT spending for Indian banking & securities firms to grow 13% in 2013: Gartner

Indian banking and securities companies will spend around Rs 41,700 crore on IT products and services in 2013, an increase of more than 13% over 2012 revenue of Rs 36,900 crore, according to Gartner.

This forecast includes spending by financial institutions on internal IT services (including personnel), IT services, software, data center technologies, devices and telecom services.

IT services will be the largest segment in overall spending category at Rs 13,100 crore in 2013, due to a strong focus on the financial services sector by IT services providers, it is growing stronger than other segments at nearly 18% compared to 2012, said the report.

“Focus on expansion and increasing market share remains a top priority for banks in India. As in other emerging markets, the front office gets preference over the back office in major investments,” said Vittorio D’Orazio, research director at Gartner.

Software is the second fastest growth segment, and spending is expected to increase 17.1%, followed by internal services (that includes IT personnel) at 15.7%. In the software segment, desktop software and enterprise resource planning (ERP)/supply chain management (SCM)/customer relationship management (CRM) will exceed the 20% growth landmark with 22.1% and 21.7%, respectively.

Read more: Business Standard

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