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Indian mobile tower firms set to increase tenancy ratios by 2.9 by 2020: ASSOCHAM-KPMG study
Aug 25,2016

Due to the expansion of 3G and onset of 4G technologies, telecom tower industrys tenancy ratios will increase to 2.9 times by March 2020 from 1.95 times as of March 2015, according to an ASSOCHAM-KPMG joint study.

Tenancy ratio refers to the number of tenants (operators) who have put up their antennae and other active infrastructure on the towers. Increase in tenancy ratios has been the key growth driver for tower companies in India, reveals the ASSOCHAM-KPMG joint study.

Growth in telecom sector has helped India emerge as a trendsetter in the tower infrastructure segment. Around 70 per cent of Indias 4,00,000 towers are owned and operated by the tower companies. Advent of new technologies, such as 4G by Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), along with expansion in the rural areas are expected to be key drivers for the telecom infrastructure industry over the next five years.

Rapid growth in the sector has also prompted tower companies to invest heavily in capex. The aggregate capex spend increased from INR 8,000 crore in 2013-14 to INR 10,200 crore in 2014-15. Net tower additions were also significantly higher at about 6,300 in 2014-15 vis-n++-vis 3,200 in 2013-14. One of the key emerging trends in the last few years is emergence of towers running on green energy. In line with the trend, 15 per cent of the total capex spends were incurred by towers running on green energy, noted the study.

n++India has been the most preferred destination for investment in the tower sector in the Asia. Since 2008, seven out of the top 20 deals in Asia in tower sector have originated in India. More than 84,000 towers have exchanged hands in India since 2008 (which represent 84 per cent of the total towers sold in top 20 deals in whole of Asia during the period). Deals amounting to INR 40,367 crore have been finalized during this periodn++, said Mr. Sunil Kanoria President ASSOCHAM while releasing the study.

Telecom tower companies are currently facing multiple fees and levies, in the form of installation fee, annual renewal fee, sharing fees etc. The applicable fee structures vary across states and local bodies. In addition to this, deposits and bank guarantees are also required for tower installation in some geographies. Multiple fees being levied contribute towards higher costs of services for the telecom service providers, and in turn, to the subscribers.

The DoT guidelines for tower installation stipulate only a one-time fee which the states may levy to recover administrative costs for issuing the permission. These guidelines should be uniformly implemented across states to ease the financial burden on the industry.

Continuous power supply to tower companies is critical in order to ensure smooth connectivity with reduced outages. Further, absence of electricity supply also leads to increased diesel consumption, which in turn increases the operating costs as well as carbon emissions.

Telecom tower companies continue to face challenges with respect to obtaining electricity connections, especially in rural and remote areas. Further, in many cases, grid supply is unable to meet the power requirements of the sites.

While the government has recognised telecom towers as an infrastructure industry, it is imperative to provide electricity connections on priority and on preferential tariffs, in order to ensure that the industry achieves its potential.

Tax holiday under Section 80IA should be extended to tower companies to provide impetus for development and growth of telecom infrastructure in the country.

One of the critical and contentious issue is the refusal of CENVAT credit on goods used for mobile towers and its parts used for providing telecommunication service. CENVAT credit has been denied on the grounds that the goods under consideration neither qualify as capital goods nor inputs under the credit provisions. Accordingly, due to the factor of immovability in goods, there is ambiguity with respect to availing such credit.

In view of the above, it is recommended that eligibility of CENVAT credit on towers to telecom service providers should be clarified.

Telecom service providers together grossed INR 177,500 crore revenue in 2014-2015, which is up from INR 146,700 Crore in 2012-13. India is the second largest mobile market with over a billion subscribers at the end of Feb 2016, with 608.4 million urban subscribers and 443.5 million rural subscribers. There is a huge potential to grow in the rural sector where tele-density is still quite low at 50.76 as compared to urban tele-density at 153.93.03. While the mobile subscriber base is still growing by under one per cent on a monthly basis, the number of landlines is gradually decreasing. Overall telecom density increased to 82.9 per cent by the end of Feb16.

Moreover, the Government of India has recently drawn a road map to develop 100 smart cities in the country to which the telecom service providers are set to form the backbone and will be vital to their sustainability.

Indian telecom sector has undergone significant transformation over the last two decades to become the second largest telecommunication market in the world. The sector is strategically important to the country since it contributes approximately 6.1 per cent to Indian GDP, provides nearly 4.2 million job opportunities and is among the highest contributors to FDI in India.

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Cabinet approves MoU with Myanmar for cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine
Aug 25,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.

The MoU will provide structured frame work for cooperation between the two countries for promotion of AYUSH/Traditional Systems of Medicine in Myanmar. It will boost the importance of AYUSH systems of medicine and conservation, production and standardisation.

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Cabinet approves construction of second line between New Bongaigaon and Kamakhya of Northeast Frontier Railway in Assam
Aug 25,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of second line between New Bongaigaon and Kamakhya of Northeast Frontier Railway in Assam at an estimated cost of Rs.2,232.32 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.2,586.85 crore.

The 176 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years during 12th and 13th Plan period.

Besides facilitating the travel, upcoming industries in the region will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirements.

Background:

The single main line section from New Bongaigaon to Kamakhya via Goalpara is an alternative route to New Bongaigaon-Kamakhya via Rangiya linking Guwahati. The line capacity utilization of the BG single line section has already over-saturated. Most of Gauge conversion projects in NE Region have been commissioned and work on Bogibeel Bridge is being expedited. With the commissioning of Bogibeel Bridge, traffic in the project section will increase manifold. Thus, doubling of New Bongaigaon-Kamakhya via Goalpara would augment its line capacity for smooth running of trains through the section.

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Cabinet approves Agreement and the Protocol between India and Cyprus for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion
Aug 25,2016

India, took another major step in the fight against tax evasion, round tripping and base erosion/profit shifting. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of an Agreement and the Protocol between the India and Cyprus for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income.

This step follows the recent amendment of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Mauritius. As in the case of Mauritius, the treaty with Cyprus had provided for residence-based taxation of capital gains. With the revision of the treaty now approved by the Cabinet, capital gains will be taxed in India for entities resident in Cyprus, subject to double tax relief. In other words, India will have the right to tax capital gains arising in India. The provisions in the earlier treaty for residence-based taxation were leading to distortion of financial and real investment flows by artificial diversion of various investments from their true countries of origin, for the sake of avoiding tax. As in the case of Mauritius, this amendment will deter such activities. Negotiations with Singapore are also underway for similar changes.

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Cabinet approves National Highways Interconnectivity Improvement Project
Aug 25,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for development of 1120 kms of National Highways in the States of Karnataka, Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan and West Bengal.

The work for development to two lane standards are under Phase-I of the National Highways Interconnectivity Improvement Project (NHIIP) with World Bank assistance.

The revised estimated cost is Rs. 6,461 crore including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities.

The projects are already taken up for implementation and 429 kms has been completed. The civil works are expected to be completed by July, 2019 and maintenance works are expected to be completed by July, 2024.

The project will ensure safe, fast and all weather movement of traffic on the proposed National Highways mostly located in backward regions thereby improving socio economic development.

Background:

The proposal was initially approved for Rs.5,193 crore. The cost has increased due to higher bid prices, and increase in cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Kharagpur (Nimpur) and Adityapur
Aug 25,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Kharagpur (Nimpura) and Adityapur in West Singhburn districts of Jharkhand at an estimated cost of Rs.1,312.44 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.1,483.36 crore.

The 132 km long railway line is expected to be completed in four years. Besides facilitating the travel, this line will greatly ease the ever increasing freight traffic between these sections.

Background:

The third line between Kharagpur (Nimpura) and Adityapur section forms part of the Howrah-Mumbai trunk route. The present utilization is to the tune of 122% and 114% respectively. Over and above the heavy freight traffic, the route has to accommodate 36 pairs of coaching trains including high-speed trains like Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express. It is estimated that about 57.21 additional freight trains per day each way will move over the project section in the 6th year of the project. Therefore, with capacity enhancement of the route by constructing 3rd line will ease the traffic bottlenecks and will bring more revenue to Indian Railways.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Rajnandgaon-Nagpur (Kalumna)
Aug 25,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Rajnandgaon-Nagpur (Kalumna) in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh and Gondia, Bhandara and Nagpur districts in Maharashtra at an estimated cost of Rs.1,908.51 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.2,193.53 crore.

The 228.3 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.

Besides facilitating the travel, various industries, mines, coal fields and power plants will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirement. Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh and Gondia, Bhandara and Nagpur districts of Maharashtra will be major beneficiaries.

Background:

Rajnandgaon-Kalumna line forms a part of Howrah-Mumbai trunk route serving freight and passenger traffic from Eastern and Southern regions to Northern and Western regions and vice versa over the country. There has been demands on account of accelerated industrial and mining developments in the region and coal traffic from IB valley, Korba area and East Corridor which would be channelized by the third line through this route to their respective destinations.

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Cabinet approves construction of fourth line between Jharsuguda and Bilaspur
Aug 25,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of fourth line between Jharsuguda and Bilaspur at an estimated cost of Rs.1,973.46 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.2,298.31 crore.

The 206 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.

This line will facilitate the travel. The industries, coal fields, lime stone and dolomite mines, cement and steel plants in the region will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirement. Jharsuguda district in Odisha and Raigarh, Janjgir-Naila and Bilaspur district of Chhatisgarh will be covered by this line.

Background:

Jharsuguda-Bilaspur route forms a part of Howrah-Mumbai trunk route passing through major industrial areas. This line plays an important role in transportation of freight and passenger traffic from Eastern and Southern regions to Northern and Western regions and vice versa. In order to meet the growth in the freight and passenger traffic, construction of fourth line on this route is essential.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Mathura and Jhansi
Aug 25,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Mathura and Jhansi at an estimated cost of Rs.3,677.76 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.4,377.13 crore.

The 273.80 km long railway line is expected to be completed in six years.

Besides facilitating the travel, goods trains passing through this section will get adequate capacity for smooth running. Mathura, Agra, Jhansi districts of Uttar Pradesh, Datiya, Gwalior, Morena districts of Madhya Pradesh and Dholpur district of Rajasthan will be covered by this line.

Background:

Mathura-Jhansi section is a BG double line on New Delhi-Mumbai CST route. This project will enhance capacity, reduce detention and cater for future growth of traffic. At present, number of passenger and goods train in this section are far more than its capacity, resulting in heavy detention to trains.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Vijaywada Jn and Gudur Jn
Aug 24,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Vijaywada Junction and Gudur Junction at an estimated cost of Rs.3,246.26 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.3,875.68 crore.

The 287.67 km long railway line is expected to be completed in six years.

Besides facilitating the travel, foodgrains traffic to southern states and goods traffic for Krishnapatnam and nearby ports will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirement. Krishna, Guntur, Prakasham and P.S. Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh will be covered by this line.

Background:

Vijawada Junction-Gudur Junction line is a part of grand trunk route connecting north and south states. This section serves freight trains catering to demands of various loading points. Foodgrains to southern states are moved through this section. Besides this, goods traffic from Krishnapatnam and nearby ports will increase in the section necessitating for construction third line of Vijayawada Junction and Gudur Junction.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Jhansi and Bina
Aug 24,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Jhansi and Bina at an estimated cost of Rs.2001.63 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.2,273.84 crore.

The 152.57 km long railway line is expected to be completed in four years.

Besides facilitating the travel, goods trains passing through this section will get adequate capacity for smooth running. Jhansi and Lalitpur districts of Uttar Pradesh and Sagar district (Bina) of Madhya Pradesh will be covered by this line.

Background:

Jhansi-Bina section is a BG double line on New Delhi-Mumbai CST route. This project will enhance capacity, reduce detention and cater for future growth of traffic. At present, number of passenger and goods train in this section are far more than its capacity, resulting in heavy detention to trains.

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Cabinet approves waiver of penal interest on GoI loans availed by Cochin Port
Aug 24,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for waiver of penal interest on Government of India (GOI) loans availed by Cochin Port Trust to the tune of Rs. 897.23 crore. The CCEA also gave its approval by freezing the liability on account of GOI loans, interest thereon and penal interest @ 0.25% as on 31.3.2016 amounting to Rs.557.16 crore (Rs.258.14 crore + Rs.281.45 crore + Rs.17.57 crore). The CCEA, further approved the rescheduling of repayment of the amount frozen in 10 years commencing from 2018-19.

The Cochin Port Trust availed loans for various developmental activities from Govt. of India amounting to Rs.168.15 crore between1936-37 to 1994-95. Non-repayment of these loans has attracted penal interest to the tune of Rs. 914.80 crore. The Port could not repay the loans since the projected revenue from the capital investment done was not sufficient to cover the interest component.

The move comes in the backdrop of a series of steps taken by Cochin Port. The Cochin Port has undertaken a series of remedial measures to improve its financial conditions, apart from the measures ordered by Government of India, such as ban on recruitments, stoppage of vehicle purchases and the like, measures adopted by the Port include steps unprecedented in other Major Ports, like freezing of Variable DA for all employees and Dearness Relief for pensioners, stoppage of HBA, conveyance advance, and LTC, stoppage of overtime posting for non-operating areas, reduction of uniform allowance to single set basis, and deferment of Leave Encashment.

With these recent initiatives taken by the Cochin Port, several income streams, long awaited by the Port, are now beginning to bear fruit and this would improve the financial status of the Port in future and its ability to repay in future.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Ballarshah-Kazipet
Aug 24,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Ballarshah and Kazipet at an estimated cost of Rs.2,063.03 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.2,403.22 crore.

The 201.04 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.

Besides facilitating the travel, power plants, coal and cement traffic will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirement. Warangal, Adilabad and Karimnagar districts of Telengana and Chandrapur district of Maharashtra will be covered by this line.

Background:

Ballarshah-Kazipet third line is a part of the New Delhi-Chennai Grant trunk route and golden quadrangle. The section between Ballarshah-Kazipet has reached saturation level with utilisation of section capacity at 127%. The section is extremely important from goods loading point of view with FCI siding at Jammikunta, Kesoram Cement Siding at Raghavpuram, Thermal Power Station and SCCL siding at Manchiryal, Coal loading sidings at Bellampalli, Rechni Road, Asifabad and Cement loading siding at Manikgarh, Ghatchandur. Keeping in view the growth in freight and passenger traffic, third line between Ballarshah-Kazipet is essential.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Itarsi and Nagpur
Aug 24,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Itarsi and Nagpur at an estimated cost of Rs.2,449.91 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.2,882.94 crore.

The 280 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.

Besides facilitating the travel, industries in and around Itarsi-Nagpur route will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirements. Hoshangabad, Chhindwara and Betul districts of Madhya Pradesh and Nagpur district of Maharashtra will be covered by this line.

Background:

Itarsi-Nagpur route is a BG double electrified line serving passenger as well as Goods traffic from North to South. The line capacity utilization of the section is saturated and running of additional Mail/Express and Goods traffic over the section cause detention to the trains. On this route Teegaon-Chichonda project has already been sanctioned. To cope up with the local demands and to have smooth movement of goods traffic, it is essential to construct 3rd line on Dharakoh-Maramjhiri Ghat Section (12.75 km) and balance on the Itarsi-Nagpur section (267 km).

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Indias fuel product consumption rises 3.9% in July 2016
Aug 24,2016

Indias fuel product consumption or sales increased 3.9% to 14.92 mt in July 2016 over a year ago. LPG sales jumped 8.7% to 1.71 mt, while petrol sales galloped 14.7% to 1.92 mt. Sales of petcoke advanced 6.8% to 1.66 mt and diesel improved 1.8% to 5.81 mt. Consumption of ATF gained 11.1% to 0.56 mt, while that of others moved up 7.2% to 0.52 mt. The consumption of fuel oil also gained 6.5% to 0.57 mt, and LDO 2.3% to 0.04 mt. However, the consumption of bitumen declined 1.0% to 0.28 mt, lubes/greases 1.2% to 0.26 mt, naphtha 6.3% to 1.10 mt, and kerosene 12.9% to 0.50 mt in July 2016.

Consumption or sales of fuel product increased 7.3% to 63.66 mt in April-July 2016 over April-July 2015. Sales of LPG increased 7.9%, petcoke 23.3%, diesel 4.0%, and petrol 11.1%. Consumption of fuel oil also moved up 18.4%, bitumen 15.9%, ATF 12.3%, lubes/greases 3.9%, naphtha 0.8% and LDO 13.2%, but declined for others 0.9% and kerosene 9.0% in April-July 2016.

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