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Assistive devices and rehabilitation aids for physically challenged persons have been kept at the concessional 5% GST rate
Jul 04,2017

Assistive devices and rehabilitation aids for physically challenged persons, listed below, have been kept at the concessional 5% GST rate:

1) Braille writers and braille writing instruments;

2) Handwriting equipment like Braille Frames, Slates, Writing Guides, Script Writing Guides, Styli, Braille Erasers

3) Canes, Electronic aids like the Sonic Guide;

4) Optical, Environmental Sensors;

5) Arithmetic aids like the Taylor Frame (arithmetic and algebra types), Cubarythm, Speaking or Braille calculator;

6) Geometrical aids like Combined Graph and Mathematical Demonstration Board, Braille Protractors, Scales, Compasses and Spar Wheels;

7) Electronic measuring equipment such as Calipers, Micrometers, Comparators, Gauges, Gauge Block Levels, Rules, Rulers and Yardsticks

8) Drafting, Drawing Aids, Tactile Displays;

9) Specially adapted Clocks and Watches;

10) Orthopaedic appliances falling under heading No.90.21 of the First Schedule;

11) Wheel Chairs falling under heading No.87.13 of the First Schedule;

12) Artificial electronic larynx and spares thereof;

13) Artificial electronic ear (Cochlear implant);

14) Talking books (in the form of cassettes, discs or other sound reproductions) and large-print books, braille embossers, talking calculators, talking thermometers;

15) Equipment for the mechanical or the computerized production of braille and recorded material such as braille computer terminals and displays, electronic braille, transfer and pressing machines and stereo typing machines;

16) Braille Paper;

17) All tangible appliances including articles, instruments, apparatus, specially designed for use by the blind;

18) Aids for improving mobility of the blind such as electronic orientation and obstacle detecting appliance and white canes;

19) Technical aids for education, rehabilitation, vocational training and employment of the blind such as Braille typewriters, braille watches, teaching and learning aids, games and other instruments and vocational aids specifically adapted for use of the blind;

20) Assistive listening devices, audiometers;

21) External catheters, special jelly cushions to prevent bed sores, stair lift, urine collection bags;

22) Instruments and implants for severely physically handicapped patients and joints replacement and spinal instruments and implants including bone cement.

Most of the inputs and raw materials for manufacture of these assistive devices/equipments attract 18% GST. The concessional 5% GST rate on these devices/equipments would enable their domestic manufacturers to avail Input Tax Credit of GST paid on their inputs and raw materials. Further, the GST law provides for refund of accumulated Input Tax Credit, in cases, where the GST rate of output supply is lower than the GST rate on inputs used for their manufacture. Therefore, 5% GST rate on these devices/equipments would enable their domestic manufacturers to claim refund of any accumulated Input Tax Credit. That being so, the 5% concessional GST rate on these devices/equipment would result in reduction of the cost of domestically manufactured goods, as compared to the pre-GST regime.

As against that, if these devices/equipments are exempted from GST, then while imports of such devices/equipments would be zero rated, domestically manufactured such devices/equipments will continue to bear the burden of input taxes, increasing their cost and resulting in negative protection for the domestic value addition.

In fact, the 5% concessional GST rate on such devices/equipments will result in a win-win situation for both the users of such devices, the disabled persons, as well as the domestic manufacturers of such goods. It is for this reason that the Council has kept these items in 5% rate slab.

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Moodys revises outlook for banks in Asia Pacific to stable from negative
Jul 04,2017

Moodys Investors Service has revised to stable from negative its outlook for banks in Asia Pacific as banking risks in the region are stabilizing due to stable or improved operating conditions.

Asset quality is stabilizing in most banking systems, as the negative credit cycle in many of these systems has proven to be shallow with a moderate economic upturn now evident in APAC, while commodities prices are relatively stable, says Stephen Long, Moodys Managing Director for Financial Institutions in the region.

The industry outlook indicates the rating agencys forward-looking assessment of fundamental credit conditions that will affect the creditworthiness of the banking industry over the next 12-18 months.

A total of 77% of bank rating outlooks in APAC are now stable, up from 64% at end-2016, while banks in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Mongolia are mostly behind the increase in stable outlooks, following rating downgrades in some cases, adds Long.

Moodys further believes that commodity-related problem loans have mostly peaked and the rating agencys expectation of relatively stable energy and other commodity prices in 2017 should support bank asset quality in this segment.

Moreover, capitalization and profitability show good levels against risk, while capital buffers are generally higher due to moderating growth in risk weighted assets and more stringent regulatory requirements. Profitability will recover in many markets because of lower credit costs and stable to higher net interest margins.

Funding and liquidity will also remain a credit strength, and most APAC banks are mostly deposit funded with a moderate reliance on wholesale sources -- with the exception of Australia, New Zealand and Mongolia -- and liquid balance sheets.

Foreign capital flows are also returning to emerging Asia, although the risk of reversal remains due to market uncertainty around US interest rates and US dollar strengthening, Chinas re-balancing, potential policy changes in key economies, and global/regional political issues.

In terms of long-term risks, corporate and household leverage remain elevated in parts of APAC, but the build-up has slowed, supporting the banks asset quality. Furthermore, property prices are rising in many economies, amplifying bank credit risks in the case of a major market correction.

Latent property-related risks are more pronounced in Australia, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Malaysia and India, based on property price appreciation, the banks exposure level, or both.

Moodys expects that the trend for government support will be stable for the majority of APAC banking systems. This is because regulators are not keen to embrace wider bail-in measures and early public support remains the preferred way to prevent banking stress in most systems. The exception rather than the rule is Hong Kong, which is moving closer to an operational resolution regime and will likely implement one in 2017, and this situation could lead to a lower level of government support uplift for some banks.

The banking systems where Moodys has coverage in Asia Pacific include, with the advanced economies, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Korea and Taiwan. In the case of the emerging and developing economies, they include China, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

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Mine Developer & Operator Appointments - A Large Growth Opportunity for EPC Players
Jul 04,2017

The mine developer and operator (MDO) route presents a large growth opportunity for domestic engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) players with a demonstrated relevant track record, subject to attractive mine economics, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).

The credit profile of the appointed MDOs during the mine development phase is perceived to be risky, owing to high capex and negative free cash flow. The credit profile is likely to improve gradually over the mine operating period as the cash flows are negative to low till the annual production reaches the peak production capacity, and thereafter turn positive. Given the high capex during the development phase, it becomes extremely important for the operator to achieve the envisaged strip ratio and/or operational efficiencies to recover the capex along with a reasonable return.

As of May 2017, one out of the four MDOs appointed by central and state power utilities in the last 21 months has commenced mining operations and another two are likely to commence operations in FY18. The remaining MDO will commence mine development in FY19. The slow pace of appointment is attributed to the delay in securing requisite clearances and collection of techno-commercial data by the awarding authority for inviting prospective bids. Nevertheless, 14 captive coal mines owned by central and state power utilities with geological reserves of 6.8 billion metric tonnes are under various stages of bid invitation and evaluation while techno-commercial bids for 19 mines with geological reserves of 9.3 billion metric tonnes are in the pipeline.

MDO is a specialised operating leverage play and attracts limited competition, given the risks and reward involved. MDO projects offer multi-year revenue visibility which strengthens the overall order book and imparts diversification benefits to the appointed EPC players. Successful operations require robust mine designing and engineering capabilities as well as the financial strength to sustain viable operations over the long haul.

MDOs need to make significant upfront capex in equipment and infrastructure during the mine development phase, followed by recurring replacement capex for machinery every five years during the mine operation phase based on asset usage. The overall investment outlay is in the range of 8%-10% of project revenues over the MDO tenure. After the commencement of mining operations, it generally takes two to five years for the mine to achieve peak production capacity and EBITDA margins of 25%-30%. Return ratios are likely to be moderate in the range of 11%-14% over the operating period, owing to high capital intensity. The ability of an MDO to maintain the scheduled production timelines; maintain, or operate below, the stipulated strip ratio; and keep asset utilisation at the optimum level are key monitorables.

Ind-Ra expects EPC contractors with an experience of excavating more than three million metric tonne per annum of mineral or overburden in mining belts, moderate free cash flow, low leverage translating into high financial flexibility to be the strong contenders for MDO appointment. However, given the amount of investment and length of the gestation period involved in mine development, most moderately leveraged private contractors can only operate two mines under development phase at the most to maintain their credit profile in a comfortable range.

Despite the promising benefits, MDO projects are fraught with operational challenges with respect to delay or inability to achieve the peak production capacity, risk of an increase in strip ratio, variability in off-take, challenges in incremental land acquisition and conflicts from inhabitants. These impediments can spiral costs and weaken the financial metrics of appointed contractors.

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Ind-Ra: Affordable Housing Finance- INR6 Trillion Opportunity
Jul 04,2017

Affordable housing finance (largely for loan ticket size up to INR1.5 million) will become a large segment for housing finance companies (HFCs) in the next five years, with the estimated share to increase to around 37% in FY22 (FY17: 26%) says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The accelerated urbanisation on account of fast economic growth over the last decade and a half has created massive need for affordable housing.

Multiple tailwinds underpinning growth of the sector: The agency anticipates a demand for 25 million homes (4x of the entire current housing finance stock) over FY17-FY22 in the Medium Income Group (MIG) and Lower Income Group (LIG) categories. A combination of factors such as: 1) government financial and policy thrust, 2) regulatory support, 3) rising urbanisation, 4) increasing nuclearisation of families, and 5) increasing affordability is converting latent demand into a commercially lucrative business opportunity. Ind-Ra expects the sector to attract over INR200 billion of equity inflows over FY17-FY22 which would support growth.

Built-for-scale models required to compete with entrenched incumbents: Ind-Ras analysis reveals that on operating cost metrics, the new entrants with their pan-India ambitions would need to build scale quickly to compete with the incumbents whose regional-focussed models have helped maintain tight opex ratios in addition to their funding cost advantage. This entails building up the book at a rapid pace and hence will lead to high proportion of unseasoned portfolio at any point in time. To offset this it would necessitate having the right people with adequate skill-set (who have seen various cycles and scale) and the right processes (building a scalable credit funnel and robust underwriting platform) while getting the pricing (risk and opex adjusted spreads) right. These would be the key differentiators for the new age HFCs. Informal credit assessment remains the crux for the segment, and hence reasonable assessment of instalment paying ability while keeping sufficient margin for income volatality over lifecycle would be of prime importance.

Key risks and possible mitigants: Aggressive expansion without ensuring appropriate credit assessment could be a risk for the segment especially in view of limited financial data available and possibly less financial savvy customer segment. Also, the segment requires high customer connect, therefore, attracting and retaining people with on ground connect would be of prime importance. HFCs would need to build a sense of ownership, as well as develop a right incentive structure to manage this risk. Operationally, managing liquidity, mainly in view of long tenure nature of assets would be key consideration. Ind-Ra expects a prudent asset liability tenure management by HFCs.

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Investments worth $291 bn needed to plug water demand-supply gap in India: Study
Jul 04,2017

The widening gap between demand for water and its supply is estimated to reach as high as about 50 per cent by 2030 and plugging this huge gap would need an additional investment of about $291 billion (bn), noted a just-concluded ASSOCHAM-PwC joint study.

To put things in perspective, the additional funding required only to plug the demand-supply gap in 2030 is higher than the Government of Indias 2016-17 budget i.e. Rs 20 lakh crore.

n++Amid sources that can be used to bridge water demand-supply gap, augmented and sustainable surface water sources would require funds to the tune of $215 bn followed by groundwater ($45 bn),n++ noted the ASSOCHAM-PwC joint study titled Water Management in India: Channelling the resources.

While employing technologies like wastewater treatment and reuse together with desalination would require funding of $27 bn and $4 bn respectively.

An additional $25 bn would be required as part of capital and O&M requirements for each market in four types of Indian cities - IA, IB, IC; class II, class III and class IV, the study noted.

n++Considering that the share of rural population to the total Indian population is 40 per cent, funding requirement of $25 bn will increase by 40 per cent to reach $35 bn by 2030 if the funding gap for the rural sector is also taken into consideration,n++ it said.

It is imperative to note that there is immense pressure on Indias natural resources as with 16 per cent of the worlds total population, its economic activities, ambitions and needs are dependent on 2.5 per cent of the worlds land and 4 per cent of the total usable water resources.

Thus creating a robust water infrastructure through efforts and funding in capital and O&M (operation and maintenance) expenditures is therefore need of the hour to plug demand-supply gap of 754 BCM (billion cubic metres) in Indias water sector by 2030, suggested the ASSOCHAM-PwC report.

In view of the factors that impact the sources of and demand for water, the study said that agricultural water demand-supply is projected to be about 510 BCM in 2030 i.e. 69 per cent of the total demand supply gap.

n++The projected 69 per cent is an optimistic number and is dependent on improvements in irrigation efficiency. However, if efficiency does not improve, the gap in the irrigation sector alone would be about 80 per cent of 754 BCM, i.e. about 570 BCM in 2030,n++ added the report.

Highlighting the extent of water use efficiency in the industrial sector, it said that industries would need to withdraw about three times more water (about 57 BCM) than they would actually consume (about 18 BCM) in 2030.

n++The power, paper, steel, aluminium, cement and fertiliser industries alone would withdraw five times more water than they would actually consume.n++

The ASSOCHAM-PwC study also said that projected municipal and domestic water demand is estimated to double to 108 BCM (seven per cent of total demand) by 2030. n++This translates into a deficit of approximately 50 BCM between supply and demand of water in the domestic sector.n++

It further said that this gap takes into account the fact that most of the prominent urban centres import water from sources that are 200-500 kilometres (km) away, the gap is therefore with respect to not only the volume of water available but also, if business as usual continues, the distance (and therefore the cost, time, and effort) involved in bringing water to urban areas.

n++Stepping up of existing service provisioning including infrastructural up-gradation will be necessary to meet the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the demand,n++ said Mr Ranen Banerjee, Partner and Leader - Public Sector and Governance, PwC India while addressing an ASSOCHAM national conference - Water Management: Technology, innovation & sustainability.

n++This would need additional sources of investments including technological innovations,n++ he said.

n++For this, commercial financing is a significant source,n++ he added.

n++Water sector will therefore need to enhance the creditworthiness for the players to harness its full potential,n++ further said Mr Banerjee.

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ADB and India Sign $220 Million Loan Agreement for Improving Road Connectivity and Transport Efficiency on State Highways of Rajasthan
Jul 04,2017

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $220 million loan for improving connectivity as well as transport efficiency and safety on State Highways of Rajasthan.

The loan is the first tranche of the $500 million Rajasthan State Highways Investment Program, approved by ADB Board in May this year, that will upgrade about 2,000 kilometers of state highways and major district roads to two-lane or intermediate-lane standards to meet road safety requirements.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (MI),DEA,M/o Finance said that the project will help improve State Highways and major district roads in Rajasthan. He further said that it will also enhance the capacity of the State public works department in the areas of road asset management, road safety and project management.

After signing the loan Agreement, Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADBs India Resident Mission said that one of the focus areas of the program is to attract private sector financing through government capacity building on public private partnership (PPP) development. Her said that ADB will finance part of the construction costs for the annuity-based PPP concessions and engineering procurement construction (EPC) contracts, enhance the stability of contract regime, and ensure good governance during project implementation.

The first tranche loan will improve about 1,000 kilometers of State Highways and major district roads. It will have a 25-year term, including a grace period of 8 years, and carry an annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADBs London interbank offered rate-based (LIBOR) lending facility. The total cost of the project is $1.415 billion, with the government contributing $465 million and $450 million coming from the private sector and other concessionaries.

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With The Roll-Out of GST, Check Posts Get Abolished Across 22 States in India
Jul 04,2017

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rolled out on 1st of July 2017. With the roll-out of the GST, 22 States in India have abolished their check posts. The details are as under -

1. Andhra Pradesh

2. Arunachal Pradesh

3. Bihar

4. Gujarat

5. Karnataka

6. Kerala

7. Madhya Pradesh

8. Maharashtra

9. Sikkim

10. Tamil Nadu

11. West Bengal

12. Chhattisgarh

13. Delhi

14. Goa

15. Haryana

16. Jharkhand

17. Odisha

18. Puducherry

19. Rajasthan

20. Telangana

21. Uttar Pradesh

22. Uttarakhand

States where check posts are in the process of being abolished

1. Assam

2. Himachal Pradesh

3. Manipur

4. Meghalaya

5. Nagaland

6. Punjab

7. Mizoram

8. Tripura

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MoU Signed between Department of Defence Production and MDL
Jul 04,2017

Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL), a Miniratna Schedule A DPSU under the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the financial year 2017-18 with the Ministry. The annual MoU was signed between Secretary (Defence Production) Shri AK Gupta on behalf of the Ministry and Chairman and Managing Director, MDL Cmde Rakesh Anand. The MoU outlines the targets and various performance parameters for the company. The revenue from operations has been targeted at 4500 crore. Significant milestones to be achieved under Project 75 (Scorpene Submarines) and shipbuilding projects of 15B (destroyers) and 17A (frigates) also form part of the MoU.

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Water Coolers at Railway Stations
Jul 03,2017

Railways endeavours to provide free potable water at all Railway Stations. As per extant policy guidelines, water coolers are provided on those Railway Stations which deal with 1000 passengers or more (inward and outward) per day, on the average. The details of water coolers provided at Railway Stations over Indian Railways are given below:-S.NO.Zonal RailwayTotal no. of stations provided with water coolersTotal no. of water coolers provided1Central1525292Northern1404793North Central682384North Western1774135Northeast Frontier18486East Coast78627Eastern81818East Central781839Southern11222010South Central5715511South East Central7019412South Eastern255813South Western8114314Western21952315West Central62187Grand Total14183513

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Water Coolers at Railway Stations which deal with 1000 passengers or more (inward and outward) per day
Jul 03,2017

Railways endeavours to provide free potable water at all Railway Stations. As per extant policy guidelines, water coolers are provided on those Railway Stations which deal with 1000 passengers or more (inward and outward) per day, on the average. The details of water coolers provided at Railway Stations over Indian Railways are given below:-S.NO.Zonal RailwayTotal no. of stations provided with water coolersTotal no. of water coolers provided1Central1525292Northern1404793North Central682384North Western1774135Northeast Frontier18486East Coast78627Eastern81818East Central781839Southern11222010South Central5715511South East Central7019412South Eastern255813South Western8114314Western21952315West Central62187Grand Total14183513

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Pave way for domestic participation on corporate bond market: ASSOCHAM study to SEBI, RBI
Jul 03,2017

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) should pave way for more domestic participation in the Indian debt market which may witness less of foreign investors interest, following hike in rates by the US Federal Reserve, according to an ASSOCHAM Study on Bond Market.

There should be focus on domestic participation, as with the US rate hike there may be fall in foreign investors in Indian debt market, noted the ASSOCHAM study.

The study also suggested that both the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) should help create a vibrant distribution channel for channelising huge deposits sitting with the banks after demonetisation.

While releasing the study, Mr Rawat said that once a strong bond market is created and investors interest is channelized, then n++even with the deposit rates falling, an investor will benefit from the Bond market .

The study noted with concern, that at present and with the existing system, the bond market is practically non-existent for most of the Indian companies. Most firms, including the big ones, tend to rely on secured institutional borrowings for their financial needs.

The bond market currently accounts for less than 5% of the funds of corporates In fact, despite having a well-functioning government debt market, which is regarded as a pre-requisite for the development of a vibrant corporate debt market (as it provides the benchmark rates), Indias corporate debt market has not followed the steps of its government debt market.

n++Indias need for investments in core sectors like infrastructure and education over the next two decades will far surpass the ability of equity markets to finance these needs. Eventually, corporate debt will need to play a larger role than it does today. Indias aspiration and plans to take up large infrastructure projects across the country has now made it critical for it to have a healthy corporate bond market. At a time when major public sector banks are stressed with rising non-performing assets and mounting losses, relying predominantly on banks to fund infrastructure development in the country will not be prudent.

Yet another issue coming in the way of easing the processes is the absence of a standard stamp duty rate across the nation as well as the maximum amount payable. The stamp duty for a typical debt issuance is 0.25% of the total issue size. In addition, the taxes are non-uniform across the states. Also the existence of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) on corporate bonds is considered to be cumbersome.

In the case of corporate bonds TDS is deducted on accrued interest at the end of every fiscal year as per prevalent tax laws. A TDS certificate is issued to the registered owner. While insurance companies and mutual funds are exempt from the provisions of TDS, other market participants are subject to TDS in respect of interest paid on the corporate bonds.

The corporate bond markets serves as an effective source to finance the long term and large quantum funding needs of companies. A vibrant corporate bond market ensures that funds flow towards productive investments. There has been growing focus on growing this segment of the financial market as countrys growth prospects could be linked to performance of the corporate bond markets by way of providing the funding for investments. It is very important to create a right ecosystem for moving the issuers and investors closer to the bond market.

The total corporate bond issuance in India is highly fragmented because bulk of the debt raised is through private placements. The dominance of private placements has been attributed to several factors, including ease of issuance, cost efficiency and primarily institutional demand. The dominance of private placement in total issuances is attributable to the Ease of issuance, viz. minimum disclosures, low cost of issuance, tailor made structures and the speed of raising funds. However many market participants have indicated that private placements lack transparency and access is not available to a large pool of investors.

It can be observed that since FY11, the number of issuances has been on the rise, barring FY14 where the issuances have fallen. The issuances in terms of volume have grown at a CAGR of 15.8% during FY 11 - FY 17. Considering the value of public issues and private placements, private placements account for over 90% share. Public issuances have grown at a CAGR of 20.9% while the private placements have increased at a CAGR of 19.6%, highlighted the study.

There is a huge gap between the amount raised via public issues and private placements. There have been substantial fluctuations in the public issuances. In FY 12, the public issuances increased to INR 35,611crore from INR 9,451crore. It again slumped 52% in FY 13 before increasing nearly three folds in FY14. In FY15, the public issuances remained lacklustre though they increased and reached INR 33,812 crore in FY16 and fell by 12.6% to INR 29,547 crore in FY 17. Private placements, on the other hand, have grown consistently over the years except in FY14, adds the study.

Indias need for investments in core sectors like infrastructure and education over the next two decades will far surpass the ability of equity markets to finance these needs. Eventually, corporate debt will need to play a larger role than it does today. Indias aspiration and plans to take up large infrastructure projects across the country has now made it critical for it to have a healthy corporate bond market. At a time when major public sector banks are stressed with rising non-performing assets and mounting losses, relying predominantly on banks to fund infrastructure development in the country will not be prudent.

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Rentals easing in IT hubs on subdued sentiment-ASSOCHAM
Jul 03,2017

With IT sector witnessing subdued sentiment amidst pressure on hiring and annual pay rise for employees, the countrys software and services hubs such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Noida-Gurgaon in NCR are expected to see 10-20 per cent reduction in the housing rents over the next three quarters, according to an ASSOCHAM paper.

Unlike in the past when the fresh inflows of young professionals were pushing the demand for rentals in Bengaluru, the house owners in Indias Silicon Valley seem to have done a reality check and are accordingly slashing the rentals, while offering better amenities.

Even in the existing rental deeds, the tenants are seeking better options and no hike in the monthly outgo, quoting the adverse industry outlook. With better options, the market is tilting in favour of the tenants, especially those paying above Rs 50,000 per month.

Going forward, the rentals may ease at least by 10-15 per cent in Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, while the decline may be steeper, up to 20 per cent in Pune, in the next three quarters. Gurgaon and Noida are also witnessing a correction in rentals up to 10-15 per cent. n++Gurgaon is holding up because of the demand push from the national capital region (NCR).n++

According to the ASSOCHAM latest estimates reveals that while the IT sector continues to employ over four million people, mostly in the four to five big cities, the hiring growth has subdued. Earlier, the biggest of the IT firms would add tens of thousands of new employees every year along with liberal sops for the existing staff. That scenario has totally changed. Even if these companies may be adding on net basis, the new jobs are not being added in an enthusiastic way, adds the paper.

n++The IT and other services like financials are among the sectors which pay well. Besides, the age profile of these employees is quite tempting for the marketers. They are good spenders and want good life. These factors kept the markets for rentals pushing up, especially in gated and well-equipped housing complexes and societies in Bengaluru, Gurgaon, and Hyderabad. There is certainly a pause visiblen++, ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said while releasing its paper.

IT and ITeS professionals aged 30 to 45 years and above, earn between Rs 20 to 50 lakh per annum on an average and typically pay even up to Rs 50,000-1.50 lakh per month as rent, in case they do not own their flats for self use. There is another a range paying between Rs 15,000-Rs 35,000 and upward. All these segments are witnessing easing of the rentals.

In any case, the markets for real estate has gone down in major micro markets owing to a combination of factors. With a large inventory of even ready flats which would be available for use in the next few months, the supply for the rental markets would further improve.

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Output rises at softer rate as growth of order books wanes: Nikkei India Manufacturing PMI
Jul 03,2017

PMI data highlighted a slowdown in growth across Indias manufacturing sector during June. A softer rise in factory new orders resulted in weaker growth of production, with rates of expansion at four-month lows in both cases. At the same time, payroll numbers and purchasing activity increased only marginal. Meanwhile, goods producers signalled a solid upturn in new work from abroad, one that was the most pronounced in eight months. On the price front, there were signs of inflationary pressures losing speed as input costs rose to a lesser extent than in May.

Down from 51.6 in May to a four-month low of 50.9 in June, the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Indexn++ (PMIn++) pointed to a slight and weaker improvement in the health of the sector. Nevertheless, the headline figure averaged 51.7 during the April to June quarter, above the one seen in Q4 FY 2016 (51.2).

One factor weighing on the PMI reading for June was a softer expansion in new work, the indexs largest sub-component. Growth of total order books eased to a four-month low, with the intermediate goods category the key source of weakness. New orders received by consumer goods firms continued to rise strongly, while capital goods producers recovered from Mays contraction.

Output across Indias manufacturing economy rose for the sixth month in a row during June, which survey participants linked to ongoing increases in client demand. That said, challenging economic conditions, water shortages and the upcoming implementation of the goods & services tax (GST) reportedly hampered growth. As was the case for new orders, production expanded in the consumer and capital goods categories, but fell at producers of intermediate goods.

June data pointed to ongoing growth of buying levels, though the rate of expansion softened from May. Staffing numbers also rose, albeit marginally. Meanwhile, a fractional increase in backlogs was registered.

Foreign demand for Indian-manufactured goods improved in June, with new export orders up at the quickest pace since October 2016. This followed a reduction in new work from abroad in May.

There remained divergences with regards to stock levels as a reduction in inventories of finished goods contrasted with an overall accumulation in holdings of raw materials and semi-finished items.

Input costs continued to increase, with anecdotal evidence pointing to higher prices for chemicals, food, plastics and rubber. However, the rate of inflation was modest and the weakest since August 2016. Likewise, output charges rose only slightly and at a below-trend pace.

Looking ahead, manufacturers in India forecast output growth in the coming 12 months, with optimism supported by new developments and anticipations of higher demand stemming from lower tax rates. However, some companies mentioned that the implementation of the GST bill will have a negative impact on their businesses. Overall, the level of confidence fell to a three-month low.

Commenting on the Indian Manufacturing PMI survey data, Pollyanna De Lima, Economist at IHS Markit and author of the report, said: For the third month in a row production growth in India eased during June. The slowdown occurred due to weak client demand, with order books up at a slight and softer pace. In many cases, businesses indicated that growth was held back as a reflection of water scarcity and the impending introduction of the goods & services tax (GST).

Confidence towards future performance was mixed among goods producers. While the new tax system is anticipated by some firms to generate more business, others expect the GST to have a detrimental impact on their order books. As such, overall optimism slipped to a three-month low.

On a more cheerful pitch, the PMI survey showed strong foreign demand for Indian-manufactured products in June. New orders from external markets increased at a solid rate that was the most pronounced in eight months.

June rounded off a relatively strong quarter for manufacturers with the PMI average of 51.7 for Q1 FY 17 above the one seen in the previous quarter (51.2). With the impacts of demonetisation largely over and the GST unlikely to substantially derail consumer spending, IHS Markit forecast real GDP growth to hit 7.3% for FY 17/18 as a whole.

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US commitment on improving IT market access big positive for India
Jul 03,2017

ASSOCHAM welcomed the India-US joint statement following the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President Donald Trump, stating the mutual commitment to increasing market access in Information Technology and other sectors is a big positive for the USD 150 billion Indian software and services industry.

Among other positives, the ASSOCHAM took special note of the text in the joint statement which stated that n++the United States and India plan to undertake a comprehensive review of trade relations with the goal of expediting regulatory processes; ensuring that technology and innovation are appropriately fostered, valued, and protected; and increasing market access in areas such as agriculture, information technology, and manufactured goods and services.

The chamber Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said, before beginning of his important US visit, the ASSOCHAM had urged the Prime Minister to take up the issue of obstacles being faced by the Indian IT industry. n++It is a matter of satisfaction that the commitment of market access in IT has been given by the President Trump himself.

Mr Rawat said yet another positive from the outcome of the Modi-Trump meeting is committed to strengthening cooperation to address excess capacity in industrial sectors. Building on the US commitment on free and fair trade, India can look forward to increasing its merchandise exports to the US which is on the way to a smart recovery. As far as India is concerned, we have opened a whole lot of sectors and taken a number of steps to improve ease of doing business.

The mutual commitment to expedite regulatory issues would also be of great help to the Indian pharmaceutical industry which has been facing several problems at the end of the US -FDA.

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India would need to bring 88 sq. km land under waste disposal by 2050: Study
Jul 03,2017

Considering the present scenario of waste management in India, where most of the waste is dumped without treatment, it would require an estimated 88 square kilometer (sq. km) of precious land to be brought under waste disposal through landfilling by 2050, which is equivalent to the size of area under administration of New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), noted a recent joint study by ASSOCHAM and PwC.

n++This will eventually render the land unfit for any other use for as long as a half century before it can be stabilised for other uses,n++ said the report jointly conducted by ASSOCHAM and global consulting firm PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers).

As such it is imperative to relook into present systems of waste management in the country, suggested the ASSOCHAM-PwC study.

As per a previous estimate, by 2050 about 50 per cent of Indias population will be living in urban areas, and the volume of waste generation will grow by five per cent per year.

Accordingly, the expected waste quantity we are looking at for the year 2021, 2031, and 2050 are 101 million metric tonnes (MMT) per year, 164 MMT, and 436 MMT per year respectively.

The report noted that waste generation of Class I cities (with population between 0.1 million to five million) in India has been estimated to be around 80 per cent of countrys total waste generation.

Highlighting the concerns about per capita waste generation rate, the study said that presently it is about 300-400 gm/capita for medium cities and 400-600 gm/capita for large cities. n++This is going to increase with the present trend of urbanisation and consumption patterns.n++

On the need for proper waste treatment to generate environmental and monetary benefits, the study said that poorly managed waste has direct implications to urban environment, leading to air, water, and soil pollution, together with long-term health impacts, while it has indirect implications to our economy and growth prospects.

However, improper planning for waste management, complex institutional setup, constraints in capacity for waste management using modern techniques and best practices, and limited funds with urban local bodies (ULBs) are some of the reasons waste management in India has become an area of concern.

It also said that though private sector can play a critical and greater role in waste management in India, there are a various issues and bottlenecks on different fronts that have made it challenging to successfully implement projects - policy and regulatory, financing, project conceptualisation and structuring, technology and capacity.

The ASSOCHAM-PwC study has recommended the government to accord industry status to waste management sector to provide it necessary boost and regulatory adherence with dedicated monitoring and compliance cell.n++

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