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India Infoline Weekly Newsletter - December 14, 2012

India Infoline News Service/ 16:25 , Dec 14, 2012

Investments and growth are the need of the hour and the government appears to be moving well in the direction for now. In what is described as a gamechanger, a Cabinet Committee on Investments headed by the prime minister is being set up. This will improve clearances of projects of over Rs10bn and of course cut red tape. Reports said that bill further says that in case of public-private partnership, consent of 70% of landowners is required for the land acquisition.

Top Stories

Land Bill, Urea Policy etc: Cabinet in action

The government seems to have got back its action plan. A host of moves to expedite approvals for projects and a new law for land acquisition are among them. Investments and growth are the need of the hour and the government appears to be moving well in the direction for now. In what is described as a gamechanger, a Cabinet Committee on Investments headed by the prime minister is being set up. This will improve clearances of projects of over Rs10bn and of course cut red tape. Reports said that bill further says that in case of public-private partnership, consent of 70% of landowners is required for the land acquisition. The bill was given the go-ahead at the Cabinet presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. And that’s not all. The cabinet has also cleared also approved a urea policy that will make the country self-sufficient in fertilizers besides brining in projects to the tune of Rs350bn, reports stated. A 30% cut in the base price of airwaves is among the other decisions taken today. Under the new policy, the government will give 12-20% post-tax return on fresh capital infused by the manufacturers for setting up of new plants as well as for expansion and revamp of the existing ones, according to reports.

Indian telecom sector has seen phenomenal growth: PM

The India Telecom series of conferences enables our government, our industry and other stakeholders to come together to deliberate on issues relating to a sector which is of critical importance to our economy and our country. I compliment Kapil Sibal, the Department of Telecommunications and FICCI for jointly organizing these events of great significance to the future of our country. I also wish all the participants very productive and useful discussions in India Telecom 2012.  The Indian telecom sector has seen phenomenal growth over the past decade or so. With around 96.5 crore telephone connections, India, today, is the second largest telecom market in the world as a whole. The telecom sector has also been the driver of Foreign Direct Investment and FII flows into our country. It has contributed in a major way to the dynamism of our economy.   As you all know, this sector has had to face some tough challenges in the past months. However, I believe that under the distinguished leadership of Shri Kapil Sibal, the period of difficulties is now coming to an end. During the last one year, our government has taken a number of forward looking initiatives in the telecom sector. We have announced the New Telecom Policy 2012. We have attempted to clarify the policy positions on a number of complex issues. We have attempted to ensure adequate availability of spectrum and its allocation in a transparent manner through market-related processes. I am confident that the futuristic policy regime that we are now putting in place will address, and address effectively, the concerns that have been worrying investors and will provide a new impetus to the growth of telecommunication industry in our country. I am sure that the deliberations in this conference will cover the entire gamut of difficult issues in the telecom sector that we need to resolve. On my part I would like to confine myself to flagging three broad aspects which should guide our efforts in telecommunications in years to come...Read More

Troubles facing telecom sector are ending: PM

Telecom subscriber base declines in October

Banking bill – Opposition unhappy with Amendments

Govt to take steps to revive the economy: FM

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has reportedly said that the government will take steps to revive the economy in the next few weeks. Addressing the 'Delhi Economics Conclave, FM said "It is too early to say whether the measures have begun to bear fruit, although it is our expectation that they will do so." Earlier government has taken measures, including opening up of FDI in multi-brand retail and hiking foreign investment cap in the aviation sector. The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 7.24% (Provisional) for the month of November, 2012 (over November, 2011) as compared to 7.45% (Provisional) for the previous month and 9.46% during the corresponding month of the previous year. The economic growth in the first half of the fiscal fell to 5.4%, against 7.3 per cent in the corresponding period a year ago, report says.

November Inflation falls to 7.24% vs 7.45% in Oct

The official Wholesale Price Index for ‘All Commodities’ (Base: 2004-05 = 100) for the month November, 2012 rose by 0.1% to 168.8 (Provisional) from 168.7 (Provisional) for the previous month. The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 7.24% (Provisional) for the month of November, 2012 (over November, 2011) as compared to 7.45% (Provisional) for the previous month and 9.46% during the corresponding month of the previous year.

Build up inflation in the financial year so far was 4.84% compared to a build up of 5.28% in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Primary Articles (Weight 20.12%)

The index for this major group rose by 0.3 percent to 220.8 (Provisional) from 220.2 (Provisional) for the previous month. The groups and items for which the index showed variations during the month are as follows:-

The index for ‘Food Articles’ group rose by 0.3% to 213.2 (Provisional) from 212.5 (Provisional) for the previous month due to higher prices of ragi (10%), bajra (5%), barley (3%), wheat and fish-marine (2% each) and fish-inland, mutton, gram, maize and fruits & vegetables (1% each). However, the prices of poultry chicken (8%), coffee and jowar (4% each), urad (3%), tea (2%) and arhar (1%) declined.

The index for ‘Non-Food Articles’ group rose by 1.8 percent to 201.3 (Provisional) from 197.7 (Provisional) for the previous month due to higher prices of flowers (16%), soyabean (6%), groundnut seed and mesta (5% each), linseed and rape & mustard seed (3% each), copra, castor seed and fodder (2% each) and sunflower, tobacco, raw cotton and coir fibre (1% each). However, the prices of niger seed (7%), raw rubber (6%), raw jute (3%), raw silk and gingelly seed (2 % each) declined.

The index for ‘Minerals’ group declined by 2.4% to 347.1 (Provisional) from 355.8 (Provisional) for the previous month due to lower prices of copper ore (5%), sillimanite (4%), barytes and crude petroleum (3% each),iron ore and bauxite (2% each) and steatite (1%). However, the prices of magnesite (14%), zinc concentrate (8%), gypsum (4%) and limestone (1%) moved up.

Fuel & Power (Weight 14.91%)

The index for this major group declined by 0.6% to 188.8 (Provisional) from 189.9 (Provisional) for the previous month due to lower prices of bitumen and furnace oil (4% each), naphtha (3%), light diesel oil (2%) and petrol and aviation turbine fuel (1% each). However, the prices of lpg (2%) moved up.

Manufactured Products (Weight 64.97%)

The index for this major group rose by 0.1% to 148.0 (Provisional) from 147.9 (Provisional) for the previous month. The groups and items for which the index showed variations during the month are as follows:-

The index for ‘Food Products’ group rose by 0.6 percent to 167.7 (Provisional) from 166.7 (Provisional) for the previous month due to higher prices of tea dust (unblended) (7%), sooji (rawa) (5%), gola (cattle feed), oil cakes and maida (4% each), wheat flour (atta) and groundnut oil (3% each), processed prawn, bakery products and tea leaf (unblended) (2% each) and sugar confectionary, copra oil, cotton seed oil and rice bran oil (1% each). However, the prices of gur (7%), khandsari (3%), mixed spices, tea leaf (blended) and palm oil (2% each) and sugar and gram powder (besan) (1% each) declined.

The index for ‘Beverages, Tobacco & Tobacco Products’ group rose by 0.6 percent to 176.7 (Provisional) from 175.6 (Provisional) for the previous month due to higher prices of dried tobacco (14%) and rectified spirit (2%). However, the prices of zarda (2%) declined.

The index for ‘Textiles’ group rose by 0.2 percent to 131.8 (Provisional) from 131.6 (Provisional) for the previous month due to higher prices of woollen textiles (3%), jute sacking cloth (2%) and tyre cord fabric, jute sacking bag, man made fabric and jute yarn (1% each)...Read More

WPI inflation to ease further in 2013: CRISIL Research

Special Stories

Hiring activity for Nov-12 dipped by 4%: Naukri Job Speak Index

India Inc witnessed a 4% decline in recruitment in Nov-12 when compared to Oct-12 as most of the key industry sectors and functional areas saw dips in their hiring activity when compared to the previous month.  This dip can be attributed to the festive season spanning across the month as well as the uncertain economic outlook. There is some caution in the environment as the IT- Software sector which is the biggest job creator of the country has seen consecutive five months of dips in hiring activity.

Industry Sector Analysis:

A detailed analysis of hiring activity shows that almost all key industry sectors have seen dipping indices in Nov-12 when compared to the previous month. Barring the Pharma sector where hiring picked up by 7% in Nov-12 over Oct-12 and Construction and BPO sector which saw stable hiring levels, all other sectors saw dips in hiring activity. The index for Telecom sector witnessed maximum negative movement of a 20% dip in Nov-12 when compared to Oct-12, while Auto, Insurance, Oil & Gas and Banking saw their hiring activity dip within the range of 5% and 9% respectively during the same time period. Hiring activity for the IT-Software sector dipped by 3% when compared to last month.

Functional Area Analysis:

Mirroring hiring trends of top industry sectors, the demand for professionals across key functional areas have dipped in Nov-12 when compared to Oct-12. Professionals in Project Management and Engineering Design saw hiring activity dip by 11% and 17% respectively on a month on month comparison. The demand for Accounts, Production and Marketing professionals also registered negative growth figures by 6%, 7% and 8% respectively during Nov-12 over Oct-12. The demand for BPO and HR professionals remained steady during the same time period...Read More

SsangYong Rexton: Namaste, Gangnam style!

Korean automobiles and electronics have been popular in India for years now, and the reliability of the various machines from their stables has been well established. So since the time Mahindra completed the takeover of the struggling SsangYong in 2011, one was waiting with bated breath as to what products would come to Indian shores. The 2012 Auto Expo in Delhi in January gave us a sneak peek into the SUVs on the anvil. However, neither was SsangYong a brand well known here, nor had it invested into R&D for a long while. Moreover, while this lack of investment in product development made SsangYong’s product portfolio dated, Mahindra has been enjoying stupendous success with the launch of the XUV 5oo last year. This resulted in heightened expectations from every launch. The DNA of SsangYong and Mahindra is more or less the same – both started assembling jeeps and now have moved into more evolved products. The difference is that while SsangYong was on the move very early with contemporary products in a technical collaboration with Daimler-Benz, Mahindra stuck to its core knitting and marched on to emerge as a rugged manufacturer of UVs and LCVs. Only over the last decade has it started to flex its muscles, and display ambitions to be a global player. Nevertheless, with the launch of the Rexton, Mahindra has opened a beachhead for SsangYong products for the Indian market. Moreover, judging by the looks of it, the Rexton is signaling the start of a good innings for SsangYong, and by extension Mahindra’s Korean sojourn. Initial pictures of the Rexton that were available on the net, the prototype that was presented at the Delhi Auto Expo, and sneak pictures of the UV being extensively tested across India showed us a large UV, looking unwieldy, and sporting a Mercedes-lookalike large grille. The second-generation Rexton’s looks seemed a ‘disaster’, and one would have been surprised if Mahindra designers had not gone through the Rexton with a fine toothcomb. What it has introduced now is the third-generation Rexton – the W, which was launched in South Korea a few months ago, and not the outdated RIII. True to expectations, the Rexton W is handsome and commands road presence. However, could one judge a book by its cover?...Read More

India ranks 59th in Global Competitiveness Index for 2012-13

As per the latest Global Competitiveness Report 2012-13, brought out by World Economic Forum, a Swiss non-profit foundation based in Geneva, India ranks 59th amongst 144 economies in the Global Competitiveness Index for 2012-13, as against 56th position out of 142 economies covered in 2011-12. The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) measures the competitive performance of the economies around the world for doing business. It is a composite index that combines three component indices covering 12 different parameters (termed ‘pillars’). The details of the three components along with the weights assigned to them and the pillars are presented in table below:

Giving this information in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Sachin Pilot, Minister of Corporate Affairs, said that computation of GCI for the year 2012-13 is based on 113 indicators. As the indicators vary from year to year a comparison from previous years is not feasible. However, India’s performance with a GCI score of 4.32 (on a scale of 1-7) in the year 2012-13 is an improvement over last year score of 4.30. This country has also improved its performance in respect of each individual component of the index.

Components Weights for India Pillars
Basic requirements

(60%)
Institutions
Infrastructure
Macroeconomic environment
Health and primary education
Efficiency enhancers


(35%)
Higher education and training
Goods market efficiency
Labour market efficiency
Financial market development
Technological readiness
Market size
Innovation and sophistication factors
(5%)
Business sophistication
Innovation

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has constituted a Committee for Reforming the Regulatory Environment for Doing Business in India under the chairmanship of M. Damodaran with the objective of making an in-depth study into the entire gamut of regulatory framework and come out with a detailed road-map for improving the business climate in the country that would help improve India’s competitiveness...Read More


Opening account with banks to get easier under new KYC norms


KYC or Know Your Customer guidelines for banks, laid down by RBI, for customer identification and monitoring suspicious transactions and reporting it, have been eased by an RBI circular dated December 10, 2012, which has made the process of opening bank accounts by the prospective customers easier and hassle free. Any significant changes are made only in the documentation requirements. In the circular to banks, RBI has done away with the requirement for a new customer to be introduced by an existing customer to open a bank account. Since the introduction is not necessary under PML Act or the existing RBI KYC instructions. Also, no separate proof of address would be required if the address on the identification proof documents is same as the address mentioned in the account opening form. Also, documents such as Aadhaar card, PAN Card, Passport, NREGA job card, Driver’s License would be accepted both as identity proof and address proof, said RBI which is subject to the condition that the address on the aforementioned documents be same as the address on the account opening form. The new KYC guidelines have been recommended by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Anti Money Laundering (AML) standards and on Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT). These guidelines are issued under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and Rule 7 of Prevention of Money-Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005.


Global Research reveals 71% of Businesses not collaborating effectively


SMART Technologies Inc. announces new global research demonstrating a correlation between optimized use of collaboration technologies and better business outcomes. Filigree Consulting, an independent global consulting firm specializing in technology research, conducted a study asking business users about technology adoption in their workspaces and the value that these solutions provided. The research concluded that 71% of businesses are not effective at using collaboration to drive business value throughout their organizations. The study included participants from North America, Europe, India and Asia and gathered input from multiple industries and government and included various company sizes and job functions. The research results have been published in a white paper entitled Visual Collaboration Solutions Best Practices: Global Report and Recommendations. The primary conclusion identified that achieving the highest value from collaboration requires a strategy that deploys integrated solutions, supporting services and best practices. For those organizations at the highest levels of maturity, 90 percent reported value from collaboration solutions exceeding what was achieved from other technology investments. Organizations that adopted this comprehensive approach achieved up to 300 percent improvement on a range of outcomes including:


  • Accelerated rate of innovation
  • Faster and more informed decision making
  • Increased productivity
  • Enhanced customers experience
  • Reduced travel costs

Based on the survey, an assessment tool has been created to help organizations determine their level of maturity with collaboration and how they may improve business outcomes. The SMART Collaboration Maturity Assessment consists of a 20 minute online questionnaire that can be taken by any member of an organization and will produce comparative results based on industry standards. These results supply decision makers with relevant information to assist in determining the optimal means of incorporating collaborative technology and process into their organization.


Less than 1% of world’s data is analyzed; less than 20% is protected: EMC


Domestic Stories


IIP for October climbs to 8.2%

The Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base 2004-05 for the month of October 2012 have been released by the Central Statistics Office of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. IIP is compiled using data received from 16 source agencies viz. Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP); Indian Bureau of Mines; Central Electricity Authority; Joint Plant Committee; Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas; Office of Textile Commissioner; Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals; Directorate of Sugar; Department of Fertilizers; Directorate of Vanaspati, Vegetable Oils & Fats; Tea Board; Office of Jute Commissioner; Office of Coal Controller; Railway Board; Office of Salt Commissioner and Coffee Board. The General Index for the month of October 2012 stands at 171.3, which is 8.2% higher as compared to the level in the month of October 2011. The cumulative growth for the period April-October 2012-13 over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at 1.2%. The Indices of Industrial Production for the Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity sectors for the month of October 2012 stand at 122.5, 181.9 and 160.5 respectively, with the corresponding growth rates of (-) 0.1%, 9.6% and 5.5% as compared to October 2011 (Statement I).


The cumulative growth in the three sectors during April-October 2012-13 over the corresponding period of 2011-12 has been (-) 0.7%, 1.0% and 4.7% respectively. In terms of industries, seventeen (17) out of the twenty two (22) industry groups (as per 2-digit NIC-2004) in the manufacturig sector have shown positive growth during the month of October 2012 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year (Statement II). The industry group ‘Electrical machinery & apparatus n.e.c.’ has shown the highest growth of 27.4%, followed by 25.9% in ‘Motor vehicles, trailers & semi-trailers’ and 22.2% in ‘Coke, refined petroleum products & nuclear fuel’. On the other hand, the industry group ‘Tobacco products’ has shown a negative growth of 8.7% followed by 6.4% in ‘Office, accounting and computing machinery’ and 6.1% in ‘Wood and products of wood & cork except furniture; articles of straw & plating materials’. As per Use-based classification, the growth rates in October 2012 over October 2011 are 4.1% in Basic goods, 7.5% in Capital goods and 9.4% in Intermediate goods (Statement III). The Consumer durables and Consumer non-durables have recorded growth of 16.5% and 10.1% respectively, with the overall growth in Consumer goods being 13.2%...Read More


IIP in October grew at its fastest pace in a year: CRISIL


Expert take on October IIP numbers


India’s exports dips 4.17% in November


Exports (including re-exports)

Exports during November, 2012 were valued at US$22299.63mn (Rs. 122148.03 crore) which was 4.17% lower in Dollar terms (3.22% higher in Rupee terms) than the level of US$23269.71mn (Rs. 118341.35 crore) during November, 2011. Cumulative value of exports for the period April-November 2012 -13 was US$189222.20 mn (Rs 1030488.22 crore) as against US$201185.40mn (Rs 933049.70 crore) registering a negative growth of 5.95% in Dollar terms and growth of 10.44% in Rupee terms over the same period last year.


Imports

Imports during November, 2012 were valued at US$41586.90mn (Rs.227795.59 crore) representing a growth of 6.35% in Dollar terms and 14.55% in Rupee terms over the level of imports valued at US$39102.48mn (Rs. 198861.13 crore) in November, 2011. Cumulative value of imports for the period April-November, 2012-13 was US$318722.38mn (Rs. 1734998.17 crore) as against US$323823.75mn (Rs. 1503492.73 crore) registering a negative growth of 1.58% in Dollar terms and growth of 15.40% in Rupee terms over the same period last year.


Crude Oil and Non-Oil imports:

Oil imports during November, 2012 were valued at US$14522.1mn which was 16.77 % higher than oil imports valued at US$12436.6mn in the corresponding period last year. Oil imports during April-November, 2012-13 were valued at US$110091.1mn which was 10.84% higher than the oil imports of US$99324.2mn in the corresponding period last year.


Non-oil imports during November, 2012 were estimated at US$27064.8mn which was 1.50% higher than non-oil imports of US$26665.9mn in November, 2011. Non-oil imports during April - November, 2012-13 were valued at US$208631.3mn which was 7.07% lower than the level of such imports valued at US$224499.5 mn April - November, 2011-12.


Trade Balance

The trade deficit for April - November, 2012-13 was estimated at US$129500.18mn which was higher than the deficit of US$122638.35mn during April -November, 2011-12...Read More


Consumer Price Index climbs 9.9% yoy


The country’s consumer price index has risen 9.9% yoy in November. Data released by the Statistics Office shows that prices of sugar and vegetables have caused the increase to a large extent. Vegetable prices rose 14.74% yoy in November. Sugar rose 17% and pulses prices were up 14.19%. Provisional annual inflation rate based on all India general CPI (Combined) for November 2012 on point to point basis (November 2012 over November 2011) is 9.90% as compared to 9.75% (final) for the previous month of October 2012. The corresponding provisional inflation rates for rural and urban areas for November 2012 are 9.97% and 9.69% respectively. Inflation rates (final) for rural and urban areas for October 2012 are 9.90% and 9.46% respectively. Price data are collected from selected towns by the Field Operations Division of NSSO and from selected villages by the Department of Posts. Price data are received through web portals being maintained by the National Informatics Centre. The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation releases Consumer Price Indices (CPI) on base 2010=100 for all-India and States/UTsseparately for rural, urban and combined every month with effect from January, 2011. Provisional indices for the month of November 2012 and also final indices for October 2012 have also been released...Read More


RBI places draft guidelines to address issues and concerns in NBFC sector


In order to adopt a consultative approach, the Reserve Bank of India has, placed on its website, draft guidelines to address issues and concerns in the NBFC sector. The draft guidelines are based on recommendations made by the Working Group on the Issues and Concerns chaired by Smt. Usha Thorat, former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India. The Report of the Working Group was placed on RBI website in August 2011. It may be recalled that the Working Group was constituted to review the existing regulatory and supervisory framework of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs). The objectives of the Working Group were to address issues relating to regulatory arbitrage and systemic risk, so as to create a strong and resilient non-banking financial sector. The draft revised guidelines relate to entry point norms, principal business criteria, prudential regulations, liquidity requirements for NBFCs and corporate governance. While accepting some of the suggestions, the Bank has been mindful that their implementation should not disrupt the sector. Hence, ample transition time has been proposed to bring the new regulatory framework into existence. Comments/suggestions on the draft guidelines may be forwarded to the Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Non-Banking Supervision, Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, WTC, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai-400 005 or emailed latest by January 10, 2013.


Electronic payments rise 30% since last year : RBI


RBI guidelines for issuing debit cards


Inflation rate of Service sector and Manufacturing sector


BSE launches BSE SME IPO Index


Power generation capacity goes up despite fuel shortage: Jyotiraditya Scindia


The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power Jyotiraditya Scindia informed Rajya Sabha that the power generation capacity has gone up from 86,015 MW at the beginning of the 11th Plan (i.e. 1st April, 2007) to 1,31,603 MW at the end of 11th Plan i.e. 31.03.2012 in spite of shortage of fuel. As on 4.12.2012, out of 90 monitored Thermal Power Stations, 38 power stations had coal stock of less than 7 days.


The corrective steps being taken by Government are as under:


Ministry of Coal/Coal India Limited (CIL) is pursued periodically to enhance supply of coal to the power stations in the country.


Thrust on ramping up production of coal by captive coal block allottees from existing mines and expedite commissioning of new coal blocks.


CIL has been directed to sign Fuel Supply Agreements (FSAs) with power plants that have entered into long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with DISCOMs and have been commissioned/would get commissioned on or before 31st March 2015. This will include projects of about 32,000 MW to be commissioned in the 12th Plan up to 31st March, 2015.


The FSAs will be signed for full quantity of coal mentioned in the Letters of Assurance (LOAs) for a period of 20 years with trigger level of 80% for levy of disincentive and 90% for levy of incentive.


To meet its commitments, CIL may reduce coal meant for e-auction from 10% to 7% of its production progressively till the end of 12th Plan.


In case of any shortfall in fulfilling its commitment under the FSAs from its own production, CIL will arrange for supply of coal through imports or through arrangement with PSUs allotted coal blocks for commercial mining.


In addition to above, power utilities have been importing coal to bridge the gap between demand and indigenous availability of coal subject to blending limitations of the boiler.


Regular review of coal supply position to TPSs is made in the Ministry of Power with officials of Ministry of Coal, Railways and Power Utilities.


Govt steps to bridge gap between demand and supply of power: Jyotiraditya Scindia


Handholding needed for several sectors: FM


Chidambaram said, "Because of stress in economy, several sectors are not doing well. So gross NPAs has risen. Efforts are to ensure that these sectors come out of difficulty. We must do some handholding to them to bring them out of stress." Dismissing concerns of members that the bill was against farmers and small borrowers, he said the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) law deals with only those persons who had borrowed in excess of Rs 10 lakh. He said that in order to promote financial inclusion, the banks are opening branches at the rate of 20 per day. Chidambaram said RBI lays down guidelines for ARCs and 64,000 cases are pending before the DRT and that is why it was necessary to limit the number of adjournments to six. Ideally, he said, these cases should be disposed of in one or two hearings as these are well documented. Responding to allegations of members that banks refrain from taking actions against large corporates like Kingfisher, Chidambaram said no favour is being shown to anyone and law is taking its own course. He said tax authorities have taken severe action in attaching property and banks have not given any fresh loan to them. On concerns of allowing 49% FDI in ARCs, Chidambaram said permission was given by RBI in 2005 for foreign investment as domestic companies did not have any experience in setting up this business.


Maintain status quo on excise and service tax rates: CII


Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), while presenting its pre-budget memorandum to the Ministry of Finance outlined a four point agenda to re-energize growth in the economy. At the outset, CII stressed on the need for kick starting the investment cycle by fast tracking decision making process for approval of projects by putting in place necessary policy measures to clear 50 large projects in consultation with state governments and relevant ministries within a pre decided time frame – like 30 days ,expediting the setting up of National Investment Board, raising rate of depreciation from 15% to 25% for investment in plant & machinery in a pre-defined period of 3 years and raising Rs 50,000 crore (out of the Rs 4 lakh crore) for asset creation through facilitating the settlement of funds locked up in disputes and litigations. The ailing real-estate sector also needs a boost in the form of measures such as allowing the sector to raise funds through ECBs, ADRs & GDRs and according infrastructure status to real estate developers engaged in low cost housing to augment demand.


On fiscal Consolidation, the second key component critical for revival of growth, CII suggested measures for augmenting revenue and curtailing non-priority expenditure. On revenue generation, CII suggested raising Rs 50,000 crore through disinvestment, monetizing surplus land available with the government, utilizing the free cash flows of PSUs (pegged at Rs 41,500 crore) and unlocking the assets locked up in chronically sick PSUs to augment revenue stream. On measures related to expenditure control, CII stressed on the need to curtail non priority expenditure by rationalizing subsides by gradually removing the subsidy on diesel, targeting a 10% saving by using limited quantitative restriction on purchase of subsided fertilizer and consolidation of overlapping parts of central schemes. On encouraging consumption and boosting exports, the third and fourth key ingredient pivotal for reviving growth, CII suggested adjusting the exemption limit to inflation index. Further, in order to provide a fillip to the fragile export sector, CII recommended the extension of interest subvention scheme to all sectors including automotive, pharmaceuticals, and engineering...Read More


Union Cabinet approves reserve price for spectrum in 1800 MHz band


Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch reaffirms india’s sovereign credit rating at investment grade


During this calendar year, each of the ‘big three’ rating agencies, namely Moody’s Investors Service, Standard and Poor’s (S&P), and Fitch Ratings, has reaffirmed India’s sovereign credit rating at investment grade. These agencies have not taken a uniform view about the outlook on India’s sovereign ratings. While S&P and FITCH Ratings changed their rating outlooks from stable to negative in their reports released in April 2012 and June 2012 respectively, Moody’s has maintained its rating outlook at stable in its reports released in June 2012 and November 2012. The change of outlook by S&P and Fitch ratings does not appear to have had any significant negative impact on the Indian stock markets or on the value of the Indian rupee. When compared to the market closing on 30th December 2011 (the last working day for the stock markets in 2011), the Indian stock market, as measured by NIFTY 50, appreciated by 27.78% as on December 10, 2012. During this period, value of the rupee, as measured by RBI’s reference rate for the USD-INR pair, depreciated by only 1.97%. Government has taken a number of steps with a view to enhancing the growth prospects of the economy and improving investor sentiments. These include measures for liberalization of FDI regime, liberalisation of ECB regime, announcement of five-year fiscal consolidation path, improvement in targeting of subsidies and improvement in the functioning of capital markets etc.


Gujarat elections 2012: 64% polling


The first Phase of Gujarat election 2012 has started. About 64% polling has been recorded till 4:30 pm, according to reports. The constituencies where polling started include 48 in seven districts of Saurashtra, 35 seats in seven districts of south Gujarat and four seats in Ahmedabad district. Out of total 1,81,77,953 voters, there are 95,75,278 men, 86,02,557 women and 118 other voters who are likely to use their franchise. EC has set up 21,261 polling stations and will use the same number of EVMs in the first phase polls.


Bharti Infratel IPO subscribed 1.21 times


Bharti Infratel IPO subscribed 1.21 times. The telecom tower company's initial public offer (IPO) attracted bids for 19,46,02,300 shares against 16,05,65,000 equity shares on offer, according to stock exchanges data. The Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs) category was subscribed 2.84 times, the data said. Earlier the company has finalized the allocation of 28,335,000 Equity Shares (15% of the total Offer of 188,900,000 Equity Shares) to 18 Anchor investors at Rs. 230 aggregating to Rs. 6517 mn (Rs. 651 crores). The Anchor Investors’ list includes Alliance bernstein, Battery March, Clough capital, Columbia Wagner, Morgan stanley, Route One Capital, Sundaram MF, Wellington among others. The details of the Anchor Investors to whom shares have been allotted are also available at the National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) and BSE websites. Our stock exchange intimation enclosed. The Company proposed a public offer of 188,900,000 equity shares of face value of Rs. 10 each (the "Equity Shares") for cash at a price to be determined through a 100% Book Building Process (the "Offer"). The Price Band has been fixed between Rs. 210 and Rs. 240 per Equity Share. The Issue comprises of a fresh issue of 146,234,112 Equity Shares by the Company ("the FRESH ISSUE") and an offer for sale of 42,665,888 Equity Shares by certain shareholders (the "OFFER FOR SALE"). The Offer will constitute 10% of the post-Offer paid-up Equity Share capital of the Company. The Bid/ Offer will close on Thursday, December 13, 2012, for all Bidders (except for Anchor Investors). The Joint Book Running Lead Managers to the Issue are DSP Merrill Lynch Limited, J P Morgan India Private Limited, Standard Chartered Securities (India) Limited, UBS Securities India Private Limited. The Book Running Lead Managers ("BRLMs") to the Issue are Barclays Securities India) Private Limited, Deutsche Equities India Private Limited, Enam Securities Private Limited, HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India) Private Limited and Kotak Mahindra Capital Company Limited. The Co-Book Running Lead Managers to the Issue are BNP Paribas, DBS Bank Limited, HDFC Bank Limited and ICICI Securities Limited.


Govt launches several schemes to boost public investment in agriculture sector


The Government of India has launched several schemes to increase public investment in agriculture sector, such as, the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Development and Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities for Production and Distribution of Quality Seeds, National Horticulture Mission (NHM), Integrated Scheme of Oilseeds, Pulses, Oil Palm and Maize(ISOPOM), Gramin Bhandaran Yojana etc.  In addition, Government has substantially improved the availability of farm credit and increased Minimum Support Price to improve investment in the farm sector. Allocation of the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation has increased considerably from Rs.5560.00 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.20208.00 crore in 2012-13 facilitating more investment in agriculture sector. Besides, the Government has issued a "Framework for Public Private Partnership for Integrated Agricultural Development" under RKVY for facilitating large scale integrated projects, led by private sector in the agriculture and allied sectors, with a view to aggregating farmers and integrating the agricultural supply chain.


FDI, upto 100% is permitted, under the automatic route, subject to conditions, as mentioned in para 6.2.1.1 of Circular 1 of 2012 – Consolidated FDI Policy, in the following agricultural activities:


  • Floriculture, Horticulture, Apiculture and Cultivation of Vegetables & Mushrooms under controlled conditions;
  • Development and production of Seeds and planting material;
  • Animal Husbandry (including breeding of dogs), Pisciculture, Aquaculture, under controlled conditions; and
  • Services related to agro and allied sectors.

McDonald’s opens landmark 50th restaurant in Mumbai


McDonald’s India, leaders in food service, opened its landmark 50th restaurant in Mumbai in the Navi Mumbai area. The 50th restaurant for Mumbai opened in the Navi Mumbai area on the auspicious date of 12th December 2012, at exactly 12 noon and is located at the Navi Mumbai Market of Airoli. This restaurant that is located in one of the most popular areas in Airoli, is a 2 level restaurant that has an ultra modern designs and a seating capacity for approx 110 people. This new restaurant will continue to entice customers with quality and variety of food and services, for which the brand is well known, the world over. Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. that operates and manages all McDonald’s restaurants in West and South India has an aggressive expansion strategy in place driven by outstanding reception of its products and services by customers over the years. Commenting on the opening of this new restaurant, Mr. Amit Jatia, Vice Chairman, McDonald’s India (West & South) said "McDonald’s is committed to grow its presence in India and Mumbai as a market is an area of great value and importance to us. With successfully crossing the 50th mark in Mumbai, we are well on our way to serving this market better. We are constantly exploring opportunities to develop the brand to suit Indian preferences and seek newer markets in the region by connecting with consumers better and developing new products. This is just another step forward to showcase our dedication to the region."


International Stories


Risks piling up for us multifamily REITs: Fitch


The good times may be subsiding for U.S. multifamily REITs, according to Fitch Ratings in a new report. The sector has thrived over the last few years despite strong macro headwinds. Muted supply and superior access to capital have led to material improvements in both operating and credit profiles of multifamily REITs. However, longer term risks are increasing. 'The current euphoric multifamily environment will amplify the fickle psyche of investors,' said Associate Director Britton Costa. Fitch estimates 80% of the 2009-2011 growth in multifamily demand was derived from declining home ownership. As such, improvements in the single family market will negatively impact apartments. Over time, 'multifamily REIT demand and operating fundamentals will slow down as rents become less affordable and interest in home ownership rises,' said Costa. Also clouding the future of the sector is the uncertainty surrounding the GSEs. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have increased their exposure to the multifamily sector by US$76bn over the last five years to offset a similar decline in mortgage availability from traditional lenders. However, there is limited political will to keep the GSEs under conservatorship indefinitely. What's more, none of the banks, life insurance companies or the CMBS market appear willing, nor have the capacity to entirely fill the void.


US CMBS delinquencies down for a sixth straight month: Fitch


Govt and industry must work together to resolve aviation climate impasse: PwC


New analysis by PwC, The Future of Aviation Regulation, highlights the pressure on airline sector officials in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) High Level Group, meeting today for the first time. The group is expected to develop recommendations for a global emissions framework to be adopted in October 2013. Failure to do this will leave aviation regulation in turmoil. In November, facing overwhelming international pressure from a coalition of 26 nations - including USA, China, India and Russia - the European Commission proposed a suspension of the EU ETS on international flights for 12 months, pending regulation at ICAO. Despite this, President Obama signed the EU ETS Prohibition Act, making it illegal for US airlines to comply with the EU regulation if it resumes in 12 months.


ICAO is currently considering market-based measures, based around mandatory global offsetting and emissions trading. PwC analysis shows that:


  • Continued efficiency improvements in air traffic management, aircraft design and engine technology could account for approximately one-third of the airlines’ reduction goals.
  • Incremental efficiency improvements could also come from the imposition of a carbon price such as a global ETS scheme.
  • By 2030 the rest of the reduction target could be met by the use of biofuel, provided that the substantial barriers to large-scale production can be overcome.
  • Carbon offsets will need to be used between now and 2030, creating a major new source of demand for credits from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)...Read More


Europe is facing a challenging credit environment: Moody's


The credit quality of global structured finance transactions in many sectors will be stable in 2013, although, it is declining in several countries in Europe. Performance in very few sectors will improve materially, according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service, "Global Structured Finance: 2013 Outlook: Weakening of the Global Economy Poses the Greatest Challenge to Stable Sectors." Moody's notes that the greatest risks to the otherwise stable performance of structured finance in many countries is the weakening of the global economy and the related fiscal problems of sovereigns and the weaker state of the global banks since the financial crisis. Economic stability underpins the performance of the assets that back structured finance transactions, but different regions face different economic prospects. "The US is on the road to recovery, albeit with weak growth and the risk of a new recession if it cannot resolve its fiscal imbalance," says Andrew Jones, Moody's Director of Research for structured finance. "The rest of the Americas and Asia are relatively stable, but Europe is facing a challenging credit environment, with many countries in recession." Global banks are weaker than before the crisis, limiting the ability of bank sponsors to support structured transactions. "The decline in bank creditworthiness also affects transactions in which they act as counterparties, such as account banks and swap providers," says Moody's Jones. The Moody's report also notes that governmental policies will continue to have profound effects on structured finance.


Asia must close skills gaps, go high tech to sustain future growth: ADB


Asia and the Pacific must overcome skills gaps and scale up technical training to create innovative economies able to generate sustainable, inclusive growth, says a new book by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). "While Asia and the Pacific accounts for almost half of global unemployment, 45% of employers in the region face difficulty in finding suitable talent in their markets," said Bindu Lohani, ADB’s Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development. "Countries in Asia will not be able to create sufficient employment unless they address the serious skills mismatches that exist in their labor markets." The ADB publication, Skills Development for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in Developing Asia, looks at the issues, challenges, and potential measures countries could take to develop the skills needed to promote employment, sustain growth, and improve global competitiveness. The book, co-published with Springer, consists of articles from leading experts and policy makers in technical and vocational education and training.


Shifting away from the factory-driven growth model of the past requires a technically adept market-driven labor force able to generate creative, cutting edge ideas and products. However, the book reveals that Asia’s training systems are struggling to fill employers’ needs. Even those with graduate degrees are lacking market-ready technical skills to be absorbed into the workforce. The large informal labor force in Asia is also unable to take full advantage of new opportunities in the modern market economy. In the People’s Republic of China, for example, there is an annual ‘floating population’ of more than 150 million migrant rural laborers who regularly seek jobs in cities, but who lack the training to pursue more skilled work. In India, meanwhile, there are 200 million workers stuck in low productivity jobs, while around 1 million young people are expected to join the workforce every month for the next 20 years. The publication argues that equipping secondary school and university graduates with employable skills requires a shift from academically-oriented learning to demand-driven courses relevant to industry needs. This can be achieved through, for example, credible national qualification frameworks and certification systems and closer links amongst schools, universities, and technical and vocational education providers...Read More


ADB to assist member nations in implementing Islamic finance standards


Asia's future food security hinges on modernization of farm to market chains: ADB


JLR sales up by 14% in November


Jaguar Land Rover sold 29,893 vehicles in the month of November, an increase of 14% versus the same period last year. During the first 11 months of the year, Jaguar Land Rover sold 324,184 vehicles, up 32%. November sales increased in almost every major market with sales up in China (43%), Asia Pacific (26%), the UK (15%) and Europe (12%). In North America, sales were down 7%, reflecting model year changeover effects and increased competitive conditions.  Since the start of the year, Jaguar Land Rover has seen strong sales performance across all of its major markets, with increases in China (73%), Asia Pacific (37%), the UK (20%), Europe (37%) and North America (12%).   In November, Land Rover sold 25,862 vehicles, up 17% compared to the previous year, with increased sales of Range Rover Evoque (39%), Range Rover Sport (3%), Land Rover Discovery (2%) and Freelander (53%). Since the start of the year, Land Rover has sold over 275,000, up 38% compared to the same period last year. Jaguar sold 4,031 vehicles in November (down by 5%) in anticipation of the introduction of the 2013 Model Year XF and XJ model ranges, including all-wheel drive and new engine options, across most markets at the end of the year. In the first 11 months of the year, Jaguar sold 48,908 vehicles (up by 7%) reflecting the strong performance of the Jaguar XF.


JLR signs letter of intent with Saudi Arabia


Kia Motors sales up 6.4% in November


Kia Motors Corporation announced its global sales figures (export sales, domestic sales and sales from overseas plants) for passenger cars, recreational vehicles (RVs) and commercial vehicles for November 2012, recording a total of 234,069 units sold. This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 6.4%. In November, Kia posted a year-on-year sales increases of 13.8% in Korea (44,400 units sold); 13.6% in China (55,300 units sold); 11.7% in North America (46,774 units sold); and 0.8% in Europe* (46,331 units sold). Meanwhile, November sales in general markets* decreased by 7.3% (41,264 units sold). Cumulatively through the first 11 months of 2012, Kia’s global sales have increased by 10.3% year-on-year to reach 2,497,002 units. Europe, North America and China have experienced the highest cumulative gains to date in 2012 of 19.8% (528,666 units sold), 17.6% (592,261 units sold), and 10.7% (458,956 units sold), respectively. Kia’s best selling model in overseas markets for the month of November was the Bsegment Rio (known as ‘K2’ in China) with 37,651 units sold. The C-segment Cerato (known as ‘Forte’ in some markets) was the second best seller with 33,309 units delivered, while Sportage compact CUV, D-segment Optima sedan and Sorento midsize CUV followed with 30,364; 22,153; and 19,107 units sold, respectively...Read More


BMW Group sales up 23.0% in November


The BMW Group experienced growth on all continents in November and achieved another record month in sales. With 170,932 (prev. yr. 138,954) BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand automobiles delivered worldwide, sales were 23.0% higher than in the same month last year. It was also the best first eleven months for the company, with sales up 10.1% compared to the same period last year. A total of 1,664,088 BMW Group vehicles were delivered during this time (prev. yr. 1,510,857), just short of the total number of vehicles delivered in the whole of 2011 (1,668,982). Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing BMW: "Our attractive product portfolio continues to be in strong demand right across the globe and we have achieved another record month in sales. The success of our models proves the strength of our premium brands and that we are building the vehicles people desire. We posted solid gains in many of our markets last month and we aim to continue the momentum. This puts our record sales target for 2012 well within reach and we will once again be the number one premium car company worldwide."


BMW brand worldwide sales increased by 26.4% in November to 145,452 vehicles (prev. yr. 115,106). Sales of the BMW X3 remained strong with 14,653 units delivered last month (prev. yr. 11,397/ +28.6%). The current BMW X3 has been one of the growth drivers for BMW over the past two years, with over 250,000 BMW X3 vehicles delivered to customers since its launch in November 2010. Sales for the current BMW X3 have risen by over 23.0% compared to its predecessor in the same period of time. The BMW X1 continued its momentum with sales climbing by 37.3% to 14,711 vehicles (prev. yr. 10,714). Demand for the BMW 1 Series remained high, with sales climbing 37.3% to 20,914 units (prev. yr. 15,234). Strong gains were achieved by the BMW 3 Series, with sales jumping by 35.7% to 40,700 vehicles last month (prev. yr. 29,998). The new BMW 3 Series Touring contributed to this growth with 7,766 units sold last month, an increase of 35.3% compared to the previous year (5,739). Sales of the BMW 5 Series increased by 28.1% to 30,232 vehicles (prev. yr. 23,607) and demand for the BMW 6 Series continued to be strong with 2,166 vehicles delivered last month (prev. yr. 1,391/ +55.7%). From January to November, 1,388,274 BMW brand vehicles were delivered, which was 10.9% higher than for the same period in the previous year (1,252,202)...Read More


Improved airline performance in challenging environment: IATA


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced an upward revision to its industry financial outlook. For 2012 airlines are expected to return a profit of $6.7 billion (up from the $4.1 billion forecast in October). This is expected to improve slightly to $8.4 billion in 2013 (marginally better than the $7.5 billion forecast in October). Industry net post-tax margin, however, will remain weak at 1.0% in 2012 and 1.3% in 2013. Improved prospects for 2012 are being driven by strong airline performance in the second and third quarters. Despite high fuel prices and a slowing world economy, airline profits and cash flows held up at levels similar to 2006 when oil prices were about $45/barrel lower and world economic growth was 4.0%. Historically, when GDP growth has fallen below 2% the airline industry has returned a collective loss. "With GDP growth close to the ‘stall speed’ of 2.0% and oil at $109.5/barrel we expected much weaker performance. But airlines have adjusted to this difficult environment through improving efficiency and restructuring. That is protecting cash flows against weak economic growth and high fuel prices," said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. The improved performance is most evident in large airlines for which Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) averaged between 10% and 15% of revenue in the third quarter of the year. "It’s a diverging picture. Economies of scale are helping larger airlines to cope much better with the difficult environment than small and medium-sized carriers whichcontinue to struggle," said Tyler. Overall performance has been positively impacted by strong passenger traffic growth (5.3%) and a 3.0% improvement in yields. Despite the slowing world economy business travel was supported by more robust international trade in goods and service. This contributed to a positive picture for both passenger volumes and yields. In sharp contrast, cargo markets have contracted by 2.0% and cargo yields are down 2.0% on 2011 levels. Although world trade is still expanding, the pattern of economic growth – concentrated in the emerging markets – has favored ocean over air freight...Read More


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