Amid Economic Distress, India Gains the Most Uber-Wealthy Among BRICS

Ireo Victory Valley, Gurgaon

Ireo Victory Valley, Gurgaon

In the midst of much economic dreariness comes the surprising news that India has the highest proportion of women millionaires in the world, 16% of the Indian total. The country’s 1,250 women multi-millionaires and billionaires have a combined wealth of $95 billion, as per the 2013 wealth report by investment bank, UBS UBS -0.38%, and global wealth intelligence firm, Wealth-X.

To be categorized as ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals, the world’s millionaires have to own net assets (including company shares, real estate, art, planes, yachts and other assets) worth at least $30 million. Globally, males dominate the UHNW roster with 175,730 men compared to 23,505 women.

India added 120 UHNW individuals, the highest among BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries in the past 12 months. In that period, India saw a 1.6% UHNW population growth. The UNHW populations in China and Brazil, the fourth and seventh wealthiest of UNHW countries in the world, contracted.

The numbers are significant as they have come during a period of slowed economic growth, weak stock markets and a feeble currency. However, India’s total UHNW population growth reflected the general economic despondency, rising just a tad to 7,850 individuals from 7,730 the previous year. Total TOT +0.18% wealth grew to $935 billion to $925 billion. India’s billionaires were the weakest performing wealthy category in the last 12 months.

India’s UHNW individuals were the third largest by numbers in Asia, after Japan and China. Ultra rich Indians were mainly clustered in Mumbai and New Delhi, followed by Bangalore.

Read more: Forbes

Real Estate

Defence Colony lane joins elite list of high streets

A street in Defence Colony, a tony Delhi locality, is fast emerging a high street where one can buy a Stella McCartney runway piece for Rs 14 lakh, crystal chandeliers priced more than Rs 50 lakh and many more luxe items.

Many top brands and designers including Kitsch, Nirav Modi, Swarovski, Tarun Tahliani and Rohit Bal have found a new address at D Block, a leafy if often crowded bylane off the Defence Colony flyover, saying it offers greater footfalls, brand visibility and accessibility than high-rent premises of exclusive malls.

“People are tired of going to the malls now,” says Radhika Gupta, director at Moonriver, a lifestyle store on this lane that sells premium fashion, fragrances and home decor. “This lane may not be like the Bond Street or Madison Avenue of the West, but it is definitely transforming into an upscale shopping and lifestyle destination,” she adds.

Kitsch, a high-end store that retails brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, recently shut its 2,000-square feet store at the Vasant Kunj luxury mall Emporio and shifted to an old bungalow in D block.

“The rent is half of what we were paying at Emporio,” says Priya Sachdev, who runs Kitsch. Naresh Kumar, an executive at property brokerage Roots Realty, says rentals in the street range between Rs 150 and Rs 250 per square feet per month compared to DLF Emporio’s Rs 500-1,500 per sq ft range.

Read more: The Economic Times

Realtors embrace new technologies to cut costs

Real estate developers are increasingly cutting 10-15 per cent of their costs by adopting new construction technologies. At a time when buyers are complaining about developers not sticking to delivery schedules and delays stretching for three-four years, these technologies have come as a boon. Along with reducing the time taken to complete units, these technologies also help overcome labour shortage and tackle the rise in input costs.

Now, precast technology and prefabricated structures are common in the realty sector. As the structure/wall panel/block is pre-built in this case, the time taken to complete a unit is reduced manifold.

Brotin Banerjee, managing director and chief executive of Tata Housing, says the adoption of technology by the Indian realty sector has been slow, though it has picked up pace. “Over the past five years, there has been a shift in the trend. With growing labour shortages and increasing input costs, developers need to bring in new technologies to not only to save costs, but also improve the quality of construction,” he said.

“We have used low-cost technologies and raw materials such as reinforced concrete blocks, precast hollow blocks, precast lintels, floor tiles and pre-fabricated panels and polymer panels for doors and windows. We have reduced construction costs 20-30 per cent. We have also been able to save seven-10 per cent of costs compared to conventional construction,” he added. An analyst tracking the sector said, “We will see more and more developers opting for technology innovation in construction. Apart from saving on costs, the developers are focusing on quality and timely delivery, which would also improve their brand value.”

Read more: Business Standard

Economy

Hiring outlook in India is best in the world

Good times may soon be back for jobseekers in the country. The latest quarterly Employment Outlook Survey of the ManpowerGroup, a global leader in workforce solutions, points out that the hiring trend is the most optimistic in India.

Some 41% of employers surveyed in India said they will likely hire in the fourth quarter (October-December) of this calendar year, up from 26% in July-September this year and 19% in October-December of last year.

No other country surveyed has such robust hiring plans. Taiwan is second on the list with 37% of employers committed to hiring, while Italy is at the bottom (-13%, suggesting weakest opportunities for jobseekers).

“India’s hiring process is expected to rebound decisively following four consecutive quarters of relatively lacklustre forecasts,” said the survey that covered 5,059 employers across India and 65,000 employers across 42 countries.

Sectors that are likely to see an uptick in hiring include IT, wholesale and retail, e-commerce, mining and construction, finance, insurance and real estate. Employers in north India seem to be the most optimistic, followed by their counterparts in the west, the south and the east, in that order.

Read more: DNA

Delhi has highest per capita income in the country

The per capita annual income in the national capital has increased to Rs. 2.01 lakh in 2012-13 compared to Rs 1.73 lakh in the previous fiscal, which is three times the national average and highest in the country.

The per capita income of people in Delhi at current prices without factoring in inflation has been estimated at Rs. 2,01,083 which is a rise of Rs. 27,397 from Rs 1,73,686 in 2011-12, according to Delhi Government statistics.

The national average has been worked out at around Rs 61,564.

As per statistical handbook release by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, a whopping 3.36 lakh vehicles hit the city roads in 2012-13.

It said around 2.55 crore cases of Indian Made Foreign Liquor, country liquor and beer were sold in the city during the year as against 1.08 crore cases in 2011-12.

“The statistics reflect prosperity and sound economic situation in the capital city because of proactive economic policies of Delhi Government,” Dikshit said.

Read more: The Economic Times

BJP looks set to declare Narendra Modi as PM candidate

Notwithstanding party veteran L K Advani’s opposition, BJP today looked set to declare Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate and a meeting of its top leaders may be convened as early as tomorrow to formalise the decision.

Amid the push by Modi supporters and RSS to make the announcement at the earliest, hectic efforts were underway to muster the widest possible consensus, including the consent of Advani.

As part of these efforts, senior leaders M Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar met Advani today to persuade him to give up his opposition, sources said.

BJP President Rajnath Singh has also been meeting senior leaders before convening the meeting of Parliamentary Board where the decision will be formalised.

Sources said the meeting of the 12-member Board, the highest decision-making body of the party, could be held even tomorrow. Else, it may be called on September 16.

Singh met Sushma Swaraj, the Leader of Opposition who is said to be with Advani on the issue, this evening for about an hour. Last night, he called her up to discuss the issue after meeting Advani for about 30-minutes.

Read more: The Economic Times

US companies continue to outsource jobs to India

US companies continue to ship jobs to India despite protectionist outcry against the same.

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) filings made to the US Department of Labour, Employment and Training Administration showed that outsourcing jobs to countries like India, China and Brazil displaced several hundred local workers. American workers representing companies including IBM, Honeywell, Walgreens and AT&T have filed petitions in July to receive Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits.

TAA is a federal program of the US government to assist displaced American workers impacted by imports.

IBM, for instance, is laying off 747 workers at three sites in New York. At Poughkeepsie , a city in the state of New York, 50 jobs have moved to Brazil, India and China, the US Department of Labour filings showed. Another filing by three petitioners at the company’s Austin office said service support and administration of accounts were relocated to foreign countries as cost-reduction strategy.

“Change is constant in the technology industry and transformation is an essential feature of our business model. Consequently, some level of workforce remix is a constant requirement for our business. Given the competitive nature of our industry, we do not publicly discuss the details of staffing plans,” said an IBM spokesperson, when contacted.

Read more: The Times of India

Technology

India’s Internet user population is 73.9 million, 3rd largest in world

India with 73.9 million Net users is the world’s third largest Internet population, overtaking Japan but behind China and the US, according to research firm ComScore.

Rising number of mobile audience, devices and consumption habits reveal that consumers are becoming more platform agnostic in their digital media consumption and switch devices to stay up to date on email, news, social media, said ComScore’s India Digital Future in Focus 2013.

“Riding on a 31 per cent year-on-year increase, India’s online population grew to 73.9 million. With an extended online universe in excess of 145 million the market is at a tipping point for online businesses. India is the world’s third largest Internet population,” the report said.

The country overtook Japan by adding 17.6 million users in 2012, the ComScore report said.

Of the total 644 million home and work Internet users in Asia-Pacific as of March 2013, China accounted for a lion’s share of 54 per cent followed by India (11.5 per cent), Japan (11.4 per cent), Southeast Asia (9.6 per cent) and rest of APAC (13.5 per cent).

On consumption, ComScore said that media fragmentation is occurring at light speed in today’s multi-platform environment, which features not only computers, but smartphones, tablets, gaming platforms and a ever-increasing number of emerging devices.

Source: The Economic Times

Indian mobile handset market grows 14.17 per cent in 2012-13

The Indian mobile handset market has grown by 14.17 per cent year-on-year to Rs 35,946 crore in 2012-2013, on the back of increasing sale of smartphones, according to a survey.

The 18th annual survey ‘V&D 100′ said that the Indian mobile handset market posted a revenue of Rs 35,946 crore in 2012-2013, compared to Rs 31,330 crore in the earlier fiscal year.

It further said Korean electronics behemoth Samsung has taken the top position in the country replacing Nokia.

The Finnish handset maker had been holding fort in the Indian market for over a decade.

Samsung’s rise in India was attributed to its rich product portfolio catering to customers of all categories.

The company’s handset prices ranging from Rs 1,500 to Rs 50,000 in varied screen sizes, besides product quality and new features, helped the company grab customers’ attention, the survey report said.

Samsung ended the year with a revenue of Rs 11,328 crore compared to Rs 7,891 crore last year showing a growth of 43.6 per cent. The company also became the market leader with a 31.5 per cent market share.

Nokia was down by a rank to be placed at number two in the Voice&Data survey with a 27.2 per cent market share following a significant 18 per cent drop in revenue, the report showed.

In the 12 months ended March 2013, Nokia’s revenue from Indian operations was placed at Rs 9,780 crore compared to Rs 11,925 crore in the last financial year, it added.

Source: The Economic Times

Energy

Delhi govt plans incentive for green power

If you generate power from a rooftop solar project, the Delhi government will soon incentivize your efforts. A new solar policy upholds “production-based subsidy” which means that the government will pay you for the units of energy you save by using solar power. As of now, there is a “capital subsidy” scheme which involves a rebate of a fixed sum on installation of solar water heaters in Delhi.

While this policy can inspire consumers to invest in solar energy, the Delhi environment department officials say that it can be implemented only after Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) notifies net metering guidelines. Through a net metering system the utility can monitor how much solar energy a consumer is generating at home and if the consumer is generating more power than his requirements, then excess power is returned to the grid.

The consumer is paid for the units that he generates in excess. Over and above the feed-in tariff, the Delhi government is planning to give a small subsidy to producers of solar power. “It will be a nominal subsidy over what they get by feeding in excess power,” said an environment department official.

Read more: The Times of India

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