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Cabinet approves MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency
Jan 18,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency.

The proposed MoU will pave way for recognition of maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, training documentary evidence and medical fitness certificates for seafarers issued by the Government of the other country in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 1/10 of the Convention, and cooperation between the two countries in training and management of seafarers.

The MoU will ensure that the education, training and assessment of seafarers, as required by the STCW Convention, are administered and monitored in accordance with of the STCW Code for each type and level of training assessment involved.

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Cabinet approves listing of PSU General Insurance Companies
Jan 18,2017

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its in principle approval for listing the following five Government owned General Insurance Companies in the stock exchanges. These are:

(i) The New India Assurance Company

(ii) United India Insurance Company

(iii) Oriental Insurance Company

(iv) National Insurance Company and

(v) General Insurance Corporation of India

The shareholding of these Public Sector General Insurance Companies (PSGICs) will be divested from 100% to 75% in one or more tranches over a period of time. During the process of disinvestment, existing rules and regulations of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) will be followed.

Listing of (PSGICs) is likely to yield the following benefits:

a. Listing on the Stock Exchange necessitates compliance with a number of disclosures and accounting requirements of SEBI, which acts as an additional oversight mechanism. The disclosures bring about transparency and equity in the companies functioning.

b. Listing is expected to lead to improved corporate governance and risk management practices leading to improved efficiency. A greater focus on growth and earnings can also be expected.

c. Listing will open the way for the companies to raise resources from the capital market to meet their fund requirements to expand their businesses, instead of being dependent on the Government for capital infusion.

The Finance Minister in his Budget Speech for 2016-17 had announced that public shareholding in Government-owned companies is a means of ensuring higher levels of transparency and accountability; and to promote this objective, the general insurance companies owned by the Government will be listed on the stock exchanges.

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13 Private Companies Compete in $13 Million World Bank Climate Auction
Jan 18,2017

The World Bank Group allocated $13 million through the third auction of the Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation (PAF). Thirteen companies from nine countries participated in the online auction, and five won contracts that give them the right to sell their future carbon credits to the PAF at a fixed price. If redeemed, these contracts will reduce the equivalent of 6.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Whereas the first two auctions, in 2015 and 2016 respectively, targeted methane emissions from landfills, the third auction targeted reductions in nitrous oxide. Both greenhouse gases are highly potent, with the latter having a global warming potential of nearly 300 times that of carbon dioxide. An example of nitrous oxide emissions would be from the industrial production of nitric acid, used to produce fertilizer. Emission reductions from the production of adipic acid were not eligible in yesterdays auction.

The PAF was set up two years ago to test how auctions can effectively channel funds to projects that reduce emissions. As a pilot facility, the PAF aims to promote learning by testing multiple auction formats, with the hope that others will replicate this model. The third auction--unlike the first and second--was split into two sub-auctions, with a n++new segmentn++ dedicated to projects that had not installed clean technologies before the auction date, and an n++open segmentn++ open to both new and operating projects.

Winners in the third auctions open segment received contracts giving them the right to sell carbon credits to the PAF for $2.10/carbon credit. Bidding for this segment began at $5/carbon credit, at which price bidders demanded over five times the available supply. The PAF lowered the price over seven rounds before reaching the clearing price.

In the new segment, which occurred immediately prior to the open segment, bidding began at $6 per carbon credit. Bidders in the new segment did not demand enough credits to close the auction. As a result, the entirety of the budget for the new segment was transferred to the open segment in order to ensure maximum emission reductions per dollar.

Third auction winners received contracts called Pilot Auction Facility Emission Reduction Notes, or PAFERNs, which they may redeem between 2017 and 2020. To date, the PAF has allocated a total $53 million in climate funding and through the sale of PAFERNs, and has raised an additional $12.5 million for re-investment into climate-friendly projects. The PAFERNs are backed by funding from the governments of Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.

The World Bank is now looking ahead, beyond the piloting phase. The PAF has successfully demonstrated that auctions can efficiently allocate scarce public funds, maximize climate impact of concessional financing, promote price discovery of reducing emissions, and help the private sector mitigate risk. According to a recent IFC study, the Paris Agreement identified nearly $23 trillion in opportunities for climate-smart investments in emerging economies. Climate auctions are an agile instrument that could channel such climate finance, motivate the private sector to reduce emissions, and raise the ambition of countries national contributions.

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The young will soon beckon the residents and visitors along Ganga to inculcate clean practises
Jan 18,2017

The young will soon beckon the residents and visitors along Ganga to inculcate clean practises! In what is aimed at generating widespread awareness on ails of polluting river Ganga, a cadre of thousands of youths will be groomed as volunteers to be deployed in villages along the river to raise clean Ganga consciousness among the local dwellers and visitors.

The step which is being taken under central governments flagship Namami Gange programme emphasizes on using the zeal of the young to engender support of people from all walks of life in conservation of the river, which faces rapid contamination from domestic and industrial effluents.

Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has been entrusted with the task of building capacities of more than 20, 000 young men and women from Ganga basin states, so that they can represent Namami Gange programme as n++Swachhta Dootsn++.

From over 20,000 informed youth motivators, as many as 50 enthusiastic spearhead campaigners would be identified and trained for a week. These ace campaigners will then be asked to lead this army of the young in their assigned jurisdictions in spreading the message of clean Ganga. All this will be done in consultation with village youth clubs.

The youth, once trained, would exhort and motivate local population and tourists to refrain from polluting river Ganga. They will be the new wheels on which clean Ganga awareness campaign would ride. The Swachhta Doots would not only educate the target audience about the adverse consequences of polluting Ganga but will also be an asset in providing information on existing government activities like construction of toilets, water harvesting and conservation for creation of a comprehensive database in coordination with National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the implementing arm of Namami Gange programme.

The project envisages deployment of the youth in 29 districts spanning about 2,336 villages along the river in Ganga basin States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. One project officer will be assigned to each district. The project has been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 10 crore.

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Jain Irrigation Systems Assigned Preliminary B+ Rating; Outlook Stable- S&P Global Ratings
Jan 18,2017

S&P Global Ratings assigned its preliminary B+ long-term corporate credit rating to Jain Irrigation Systems. The outlook is stable. At the same time, we also assigned our preliminary B+ rating to the proposed U.S. dollar notes to be issued by Jain International Trading BV and guaranteed by Jain Irrigation. Our rating on notes is subject to our review of final issuance documentation.

Jain Irrigation is an India-based company engaged in manufacturing of plastics-based micro irrigation piping and plumbing systems. The company also has a small but growing food processing business, which mainly produces fruit pulps and dehydrated onions. Jain International Trading BV is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jain Irrigation incorporated in the Netherlands.

Our rating on Jain Irrigation reflects the companys high leverage compared with peers and elongated working capital cycle, resulting in pressure on liquidity, said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Ashutosh Sharma. The companys business is exposed to cyclicality due to the variability in monsoons and seasonality in sales.

Jain Irrigations strong franchise with a dominant market position in India and second rank globally in the niche micro-irrigation systems market supports its credit profile. We also expect leverage to reduce and liquidity pressure to subside with growth in business and managements commitment to deleverage and reduce dependence on short-term working capital facilities.

In our view, Jain Irrigations higher leverage than that of peers, such as Valmont Industries Inc. and The Toro Co., weighs down on its financial risk profile, Mr. Sharma said.

The company has an elongated working capital cycle of more than 160 days due to the seasonal nature of the agricultural business. This duration, combined with high cyclicality and seasonality, will likely keep the leverage high, with the ratio of funds from operations (FFO) to debt likely to remain below 20% over the next 24 months. Agricultural demand is subject to vagaries of rains, which in our view induces demand volatility.

We believe Jain Irrigations working capital management remains a key risk to our estimates. Any delay in collection of receivables or liquidation of inventory could add further pressure on the companys leverage.

We believe Jain Irrigations micro irrigation and the piping systems business face stiff competition from small and midsize players in India, given that these businesses have lower barriers to entry, especially in emerging markets.

We believe management is committed to reducing leverage by focusing on cash flows. A recently adopted cash-and-carry model in India should help reduce the working capital intensity. We expect Jain Irrigations proposed issuance of senior unsecured notes to help it to refinance a significant part of its short-term working capital facilities and certain higher-cost long-term facilities, and improve the overall tenor of borrowings.

Jain Irrigation is well-diversified across its key markets, which include India, the U.S., Europe, Israel, Latin America, and Africa. In fiscal 2016 (year ended March 31), the company generated more than 45% of its revenues internationally, of which more than 30% was derived from Europe and North American markets. We expect the company to continue to increase its international presence by penetrating new markets in Latin American and Africa.

We consider Jain Irrigations profitability to be average for the industry. The profitability compares well with that of its peers such as Netafim (up to 2015) and Valmont but ranks below Toro, which has highly evolved brands. We expect Jain Irrigations business mix to ensure steady to slightly improving profitability of 13%-15% over the next two years.

Our preliminary rating is based on the expectation that the Jain Irrigation will largely use proceeds from the proposed notes to partly repay its short-term debt and refinance a portion of its long-term debt. This will help relieve some pressure on liquidity for the company and result in a better capital structure. In the absence of the retirement of some of the working capital facilities and short-term debt maturities, the companys liquidity will come under pressure and result in a weaker credit profile.

The stable outlook reflects our view that Jain Irrigations proposed notes and satisfactory banking relationship will help the company to manage its short-term working capital facilities over the next 12 months. We expect double-digit revenue growth driven by favorable monsoons and managements commitment to deleveraging to result in a ratio of FFO to debt of above 12% over the period.

We may downgrade Jain Irrigation by multiple notches if the companys credit standing in the capital markets weakens, such that we assess its liquidity to be weak. This could happen if the company is unable to secure working capital facilities for its subsequent operating season due to deteriorating working capital or pressure on its banking relationships.

We may also downgrade Jain Irrigation if the companys working capital needs remain high, resulting in significant shortfall of funds in the absence of the proposed notes. We may also downgrade Jain Irrigation if poor monsoons in India result in the ratio of FFO to debt falling below 12%.

We are unlikely to upgrade Jain over the next 12-24 months due to the companys high leverage and liquidity pressure. However, we may upgrade the company if: (1) the FFO-to-debt ratio reaches close to 20%, possibly due to strong operating performance; and (2) the company ensures adequate liquidity and a sustainable capital structure with a longer maturity profile.

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Gartner Says That 20 Percent of Organizations Will Use Smartphones in Place of Traditional Physical Access Cards By 2020
Jan 18,2017

In 2016, less than 5 percent of organizations used smartphones to enable access to offices and other premises. By 2020, Gartner, Inc. said that 20 percent of organizations will use smartphones in place of traditional physical access cards.

A significant fraction of organizations use legacy physical access technologies that are proprietary, closed systems and have limited ability to integrate with IT infrastructure, said David Anthony Mahdi, research director at Gartner. Today, the increasing availability of mobile and cloud technologies from many physical access control system (PACS*) vendors will have major impacts on how these systems can be implemented and managed.

PACS technology is widely deployed across multiple vertical industries and geographies to secure access to a wide range of facilities (buildings, individual offices, data centers, plant rooms, warehouses and so on), ensuring that only entitled people (employees, contractors, visitors, maintenance staff) get access to specific locations.

Mobile technology is already widely used for logical access control. Phone-as-a-token authentication methods continue to be the preferred choice in the majority of new and refreshed token deployments as an alternative to traditional one-time password (OTP) hardware tokens. Gartner projects that the same kinds of cost and user experience (UX) benefits will drive increasing use of smartphones in place of discrete physical access cards. Smartphones using technologies and protocols such as Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, and Near Field Communication can work with a number of readers and PACS technology.

One of the easiest ways to use a smartphones access credentials is to integrate them n++ via a data channel over the air or via Wi-Fi n++ into the access control system (ACS) and unlock the door remotely (just as an ACS administrator can). This approach requires no change to reader hardware.

Using smartphones can also simplify the integration of biometric technologies. Rather than having to add biometric capture devices in or alongside readers, the phone itself can easily be used as a capture device for face or voice (or both), with comparison and matching done locally on the phone or centrally, said Mr. Mahdi. This approach also mitigates the risks from an attacker who gains possession of a persons phone.

The technologys limitations remain a challenge. For example, theres significant disparity in functionality between smartphones, and some security and risk management leaders should be aware that their physical card readers and PACS might require a significant upgrade to use smartphones for physical access. Nevertheless, replacing traditional physical access cards with smartphones enables widely sought-after cost reductions and UX benefits, said Mr. Mahdi. We recommend that security and risk managers work closely with physical security teams to carefully evaluate the UX and total cost of ownership benefits of using access credentials on smartphones to replace existing physical cards.

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Domestic air passenger traffic surges 23.9% in December 2016
Jan 18,2017

The domestic carriers posted strong 23.9% growth in traffic to 95.52 lakh passengers in December 2016, over 77.09 lakh passengers ferried in the corresponding previous month, as per the data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The domestic air passenger traffic moved up 23.2% to 998.88 lakh in 2016 over 810.91 lakh air passenger traffic handled in 2015. Air India posted 9.7% growth in air passenger traffic to 146.3 lakh, while private carrier recorded robust growth of 25.8% in domestic air passenger traffic at 852.58 lakh in 2016.

The DGCA data revealed that IndiGo maintained its leadership position, with a market share of 40.3% of the total domestic traffic, followed by Jet Airways at 15.3% and Air India 14.0%. The market share of Spice Jet stood at 12.7%, Go Air 8.2%, Vistara 3.2%, Air Asia 2.9%, Jet Lite 2.6% and Air Costa 0.5% in December 2016.

Among the airlines, Vistara has posted robust air passenger traffic growth of 92.4% to 3.04 lakh in December 2016, followed by Air Asia 52.2% to 2.77 lakh, IndiGo 40.3% to 38.48 lakh and Spice Jet 24.0% to 12.10 lakh. The domestic air passenger traffic of Go Air also increased 22.2% to 7.81 lakh, Jet Lite 12.8% to 2.46 lakh, Trujet 10.7% to 0.31 lakh, Jet Airways 4.0% to 14.60 lakh and Air India 3.9% to 13.35 lakh. However, the passenger traffic of Air Costa declined 9.1% to 0.50 lakh in December 2016.

The carrier wise seat load factor for Spice Jet stood at 93.7%, IndiGo 91.4%, Go Air 90.7%, Air Asia 86.3%, Jet Airways 86.1%, Jet Lite 85.7%, Vistara 85.1%, Air India 81.4%, Trujet 79.1%, Air Costa 76.9% and Air Carnival 58.9% in December 2016.

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NBCC signs MoU with AIIMS for redevelopment of residential quarters at West Ansari Nagar campus and Ayur Vigyan Nagar campus
Jan 18,2017

The NBCC (India), under the Ministry of Urban Development, signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), for redevelopment of residential quarters at West Ansari Nagar campus and Ayur Vigyan Nagar campus at a total cost of Rs. 4,698 crores.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Union Minister of Urban Development Shri Venkaiah Naidu and Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Shri J P Nadda.

During the occasion, Union Minister for Urban Development, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu said that the MoU between the NBCC and AIIMS will change the face of expansion of the institute, as well as the residential accommodation provided to the professor and other staff members of the institute. He said that health and education are two areas, which needs to be focused and thus, both the central and state Governments are increasing the budget allocation in these sectors. He said that India has inherent strength of knowledge and intelligence but at the same time, we need to upgrade it further and make it affordable to the people.

The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Shri J P Nadda said that it is largest investment in tertiary health care which happened for first time in India. He thanked the Ministry of Urban Development for its proactive approach, thus enabling to translate dreams into reality.

Salient features of MoU between AIIMS & NBCC

n++ Tripling of the existing housing units from 1,444 to 3,928 units

n++ Self-revenue generating model.

n++ Sustainability and Smart City features like rain water harvesting, waste water recycling, use of solar energy, and smart electricity metering, intelligent building management system, etc

n++ Project to be completed in five years in phased manner.

n++ NBCC will be responsible for further maintenance of assets for a period of 30 years.

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AIIMS signs three MoU with NBCC (India), HSCC (India), and with HITES HLL Life Care
Jan 18,2017

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi signed MoUs with NBCC (India), HSCC (India) and with HITES HLL Life Care to expand infrastructure and other facilities. The signing ceremony was presided over by Shri J P Nadda, Honble Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Honble Union Minister for Urban Development, Urban Poverty Alleviation, and Information & Broadcasting. AIIMS signed an MOU worth ₹ 4441 crores with NBCC (India), ₹ 2500 crores with HSCC (India) and ₹ 729 crores with HITES HLL Life Care, a cumulative net worth of ₹ 7670.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri J P Nadda said that this is one of the most historic days for AIIMS as this is the largest ever health sector investment commitments made by Government in a public health project at one event. n++The past two years have witnessed a historic growth in the form of infrastructure & other facilities,n++ Shri Nadda said. The Health Minister assured that the Government is committed to ensuring that the new AIIMS will meet the same standards of service as AIIMS, New Delhi. No effort will be spared to make them the very best, he added. Shri Nadda stated that AIIMS has created a benchmark in the field of healthcare not only at the national level but internationally also. It has a great testimony and we must try to replicate it in the new AIIMS, he added. He noted that the new Institutes will be n++AIIMSn++ and not n++AIIMS-liken++. n++Innovation for cost effective and affordable healthcare is the need of the day. To take up all these challenge AIIMS needs strengthening and expansion of its facilities. Which we are committed to provide,n++ Shri Nadda said.

Speaking at the ceremony, Shri Venkaiah Naidu said that that in line with the vision of the Prime Minister, we should reform, perform and transform and this initiative reflects that. Shri Naidu further stated that this initiative is going to change the face of AIIMS. n++The profession of doctors is a very noble task and AIIMS has contributed significantly in providing quality healthcare. The expansion plans of the Government would not only improve medical education but will also provide greater access to world class facilities to the citizens,n++ Shri Naidu added. He further said that we should have such premier institute in every state of the country and India is well on its way to becoming a medical hub in the world.

The agreement with NBCC for redevelopment envisages construction of 3060 residential apartments at Ayur Vigyan Nagar campus and 868 apartments at West Ansari Nagar Campus by construction of 3060. The total augmentation of 3928 units would take the total available residential units of AIIMS to 4505. The detailed proposal identifying the housing requirements/type design/project rollout schedule has been firmed up after wide consultations and deliberations by a broad based committee of faculty and consensus was arrived at in a meeting Chaired by the Director, AIIMS in presence of Heads of Departments, Faculty Association, the Officers Union, the Nursing Union and the Karmachari Union .

The agreement with HLL Infra Tech Services (HITES) is for procurement of all types of Medical Equipment and Services including Medical Gas distribution system, CSSD, Modular Operation Theatres for National Cancer Institute, AIIMS, Jhajjar, Haryana. Similarly, HSCC has been selected as a project management consultant for the design, tendering, supervision of engineering components and for equipment procurement and allied infrastructure works for the proposed National Cardiovascular Institute, (NCVI) at the AIIMS second campus at Jhajjar.

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Note scrapping can do little to stop future generation of black money: ASSOCHAM study
Jan 18,2017

Demonetisation may wipe out the stock of black money held in cash but can do little about the ill-gotten wealth converted to assets like gold and real estate and the scrapping of high value notes does not prevent the future generation of unaccounted money, said an ASSOCHAM study on Currency Demonetisation.

n++Invalidating existing high denomination notes addresses the stock of black money but little to address future flows. Eliminating such flows will require further reforms like lowering stamp duty on property transactions, electronic registration of real estate etcn++, said the study.

It said high denomination currency withdrawal is not without some inherent problems. n++It is very difficult to separate black money from white money because distinction is not once-and-for-all. White money used to purchase something becomes black if the shop-keeper does not pay sales taxn++n++

Much of conspicuous consumption is paid for in unaccounted money, which, in the hand of the recipients can again become perfectly legal income. n++Benami deals in real estate and commodity markets make it difficult to trace the transactions to the ultimate buyer or seller. n++Even if the existing stock of illegal currency is wiped out by demonetization, it will be soon replaced as long as such points of contact exist between legitimate and illegitimate dealsn++, said the ASSOCHAM study quoting EPW journal.

It said ultimately, the problem of undisclosed incomes and wealth has to be tackled at the source. The government must reduce the opportunity and incentives for unaccounted transactions by narrowing the gap between the market value and the one fixed by the government agencies for different levies like stamp duty etc.

n++Indications that most of the scrapped currency has returned to the banking system through right or wrong means do suggest that demonetization may not even fully wipe out the existing stock of ill-gotten cash. To that extent, even our study may turn out to be ambitious if the tax authorities are not able to trace the money laundered through different accounts. Given the resource constraints with the tax authorities, carrying out such an exercise for identification of laundered money may be a herculean task,n++ said ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat.

The chamber suggested several measures to check the menace of black money. These include reducing discretionary powers to officers, which is possible if the rules and laws are crystal clear and are not left to individuals interpretation.

n++Ironically, several of our laws are badly drafted and framed, leaving scope for official discretion. The problem in a way starts here,n++ said the chamber, adding a strong political will would be required to deal with this issue. Bureaucrats drafting the proposed legislations should be clearly instructed not to leave any grey areas.

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States cant dilute Real Estate Act- Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu
Jan 17,2017

Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu urged the States and Union Territories to rise to the occasion and implement the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act 2016 from the first of May this year, as proposed in the Act. He addressed a meeting of Chief Secretaries and senior officials of States and UTs convened by the Ministry of HUPA to discuss implementation of the Real Estate Act.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu said n++ Real Estate Act is one of the most consumer friendly laws passed by the Parliament and States have no power to dilute its provisions. This law, which was widely welcomed and appreciated benefits both the buyers and sellers of real estate properties besides enhancing the credibility of the sector. There is lot of hope and expectation from this act by all the stakeholders. There are some media reports that some States have diluted some provisions of the Act in the Rules notified by them. States dont have such powers and I hope such reports are not true. Today, I want to make it clear that any compromise with the spirit of the Act will have serious implications including public outcry. Whoever does so will have to face the public outcry. I expect the States and UTs to rise to the occasion and ensure implementation of the Act from May this year as proposed in the Act by taking necessary measures in timen++.

Later, various aspects of the Real Estate Act were discussed in detail. Responding to the views and suggestions made, Dr.Nandita Chatterjee, Secretary(HUPA) clarified that no amendments to the Act would be considered at this stage since full implementation of the Act would begin only in May this year when Real Estate Regulatory Authorities and Appellate Tribunals would become functional.

Dr. Chatterjee also clarified that the minimum plot size of 500 sq.mt proposed in the Act for registration of projects with Regulatory Authorities was arrived at after several rounds of discussions by the Parliamentary Committees and in the Parliament and it cant be altered now. She said that the cut off date for the ongoing projects that have not received completion certificates for including under the purview of the Real Estate Act would be May first this year, from when the full Act comes into effect.

Regarding other issues raised by the States, the Ministry officials stated that necessary clarity for the purpose of implementation of the Act can be given in the Rules to be notified by the States/UTs, without violating the spirit of the Act. These include stilt parking to be used as garage.

Responding to the issue of excluding balconies from the definition of carpet area, it was explained that it posed no problems as costing could be accordingly informed to the buyers. Interim Regulatory Authorities have been proposed in the Act so that they could put in place necessary institutional mechanisms for full fledged Regulatory Authorities could become functional from the first of May this year, it was explained.

The Ministry has agreed to come out with a template for Website to be made operational for disclosure of a range of information about the projects as mandated under the Act. Any expenditure incurred by the promoters on development of land could be included as part of the cost of land, States were told.

During the review, it revealed that Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry would notify the Real Estate Rules next month.

Punjab and Uttarakhand have informed that the needful would be done after the elections to the State Assemblies.

Real Estate Rules have so far been notified for Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chandigarh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nager Haveli, Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep.

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13.6% Growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals in December 2016 Over the Same Period in 2015
Jan 17,2017

13.6% growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in December 2016 over the same period in 2015. USA accounts for highest share of tourist arrivals followed by Bangladesh and UK in December 2016. Rs.16,805 crore Foreign Exchange earned through tourism in December 2016.

The following are the important highlights regarding FTAs and FEEs from tourism during the month of December, 2016.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs): -

n++ FTAs during the Month of December, 2016 were 10.37 lakh as compared to FTAs of 9.13 lakh during the month of December, 2015 and 8.85 lakh in December, 2014. There has been a growth of 13.6% in December, 2016 over December, 2015.

n++ FTAs during the period January- December, 2016 were 88.90 lakh with a growth of 10.7% as compared to the FTAs of 80.27 lakh with a growth of 4.5% in January- December, 2015 over January- December, 2014.

n++ The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during December, 2016 among the top 15 source countries was highest from USA (18.33%) followed by , Bangladesh (13.02%), UK (11.71%), Australia (5.43%), Russian Fed (4.18%),Canada (4.13%), Malaysia (3.38%), Germany (2.80%), China (2.53%), Sri Lanka (2.25%), Singapore (2.12%), France (2.01%), Japan (1.79%), Afghanistan (1.38%) and Nepal (1.34%).

n++ The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during December 2016 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (27.77%) followed by Mumbai Airport (19.80%), Haridaspur Land check post (7.16%), Chennai Airport (7.13%), Goa Airport (5.64%), Bengaluru Airport (5.43%), Kolkata Airport (4.31%), Cochin Airport (4.17%), Hyderabad Airport (3.42%), Ahmadabad Airport (3.11%), Trivandrum Airport (1.81%), Gede Rail (1.59%), Trichy Airport (1.59%), Amritsar Airport (1.06%), and Gaya Airport (0.84%).

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from Tourism in India in Rs. terms and in US$ terms

n++ FEEs during the month of December, 2016 were Rs.16,805 crore as compared to Rs. 14,152 crore in December, 2015 and Rs.12,988 crore in December, 2014.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms during December, 2016 over December, 2015 was 18.7% as compared to the growth of 9.0% in December, 2015 over December, 2014.

n++ FEEs from tourism in rupee terms during January- December, 2016 were Rs. 1,55,650 crore with a growth of 15.1% as compared to the FEE of Rs. 1,35,193 crore with a growth of 9.6% during January- December, 2015 over January- December, 2014.

n++ FEEs in US$ terms during the month of December, 2016 were US$ 2.475 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 2.126 billion during the month of December, 2015 and US$ 2.069 billion in December, 2014.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in December, 2016 over December, 2015 was 16.4% compared to the growth of 2.8% in December, 2015 over December, 2014.

n++ FEE from tourism in US$ terms during January- December, 2016 were US$ 23.146 billion with a growth of 9.8% as compared to the US$ 21.071 billion with a growth 4.1% during January- December, 2015 over January- December, 2014.

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Global economic landscape shifting in the second half of 2016
Jan 17,2017

An accumulation of recent data suggests that the global economic landscape started to shift in the second half of 2016, says IMF in its latest update to the World Economic Outlook. Developments since last summer indicate somewhat greater growth momentum coming into the new year in a number of important economies. International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier projection, that world growth will pick up from last years lackluster pace in 2017 and 2018, therefore looks increasingly likely to be realized. At the same time, we see a wider dispersion of risks to this short-term forecast, with those risks still tilted to the downside. Uncertainty has risen, says the report.

Our central projection is that global growth will rise to a rate of 3.4 percent in 2017 and 3.6 percent in 2018, from a 2016 rate of 3.1 percent. Much of the better growth performance we expect this year and next stems from improvements in some large emerging market and low income economies that in 2016 were exceptionally stressed. That being said, compared to our view in October, we now think that more of the lift will come from better prospects in the United States, China, Europe, and Japan.

A faster pace of expansion would be especially welcome this year: global growth in 2016 was the weakest since 2008-09, owing to a challenging first half marked initially by turmoil in world financial markets. General improvement got under way around mid-year. For example, broad indicators of manufacturing activity in emerging and advanced economies have been in expansionary territory and rising since early summer. In many countries, previous downward pressures on headline inflation weakened, in part owing to firming commodity prices.

A significant repricing of assets followed the U.S. presidential election. Its most notable elements were a sharp increase in U.S. longer-term interest rates, equity market appreciation and higher long-term inflation expectations in advanced economies, and sharp movements in opposite directions of the dollarn++upn++and the yenn++down. At the same time, emerging market equity markets broadly retreated as currencies weakened.

Of course, asset markets adjust not just to unexpected current events, but to shifting expectations of future events. Most commentators have interpreted the post-election moves as predicting that U.S. fiscal policy will turn more expansionary and require a swifter pace of interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve. Markets have noted that the White House and Congress are in the hands of the same party for the first time in six years, and that change points to lower tax rates and possibly higher infrastructure and defense spending.

In light of the U.S. economys momentum coming into 2017, and the likely shift in policy mix, we have moderately raised our two-year projections for U.S. growth. At this early stage, however, the specifics of future fiscal legislation remain unclear, as do the degree of net increase in government spending and the resulting impacts on aggregate demand, potential output, the Federal deficit, and the dollar.

There is thus a wider than usual range of upside and downside risks to this forecast. A sustained non-inflationary growth increase, marked by higher labor force participation and significant expansion of the U.S. capital stock and infrastructure, would allow a more moderate pace of interest rate increases in line with the Federal Reserves price stability mandate.

On the downside, if a fiscally-driven demand increase collides with more rigid capacity constraints, a steeper path for interest rates will be necessary to contain inflation, the dollar will appreciate sharply, real growth will be lower, budget pressure will increase, and the U.S. current account deficit will widen.

This last scenario, one with a widening of global imbalances, intensifies the risk of protectionist measures and retaliatory responses. It would also imply a faster than expected tightening of global financial conditions, with resulting possible stress on many emerging market and some low-income economies. Some emerging and especially low-income commodity exporters could benefit from higher export prices, but importers would then lose. The details of the U.S. policy mix matter; and as these become clearer, we will adjust our forecast and spillover assessment.

Among emerging economies, China remains a major driver of world economic developments. Our China growth upgrade for 2017 is a key factor underpinning the coming years expected faster global recovery. This change reflects an expectation of continuing policy support; but a sharp or disruptive slowdown in the future remains a risk given continuing rapid credit expansion, impaired corporate debts, and persistent government support for inefficient state-owned firms.

At the global level, other vulnerabilities include higher popular antipathy toward trade, immigration, and multilateral engagement in the United States and Europe; widespread high levels of public and private debt; ongoing climate changen++which especially affects low-income countries; and, in a number of advanced countries, continuing slow growth and deflationary pressures. In Europe, Britains terms of exit from the European Union remain unsettled and the upcoming national electoral calendar is crowded, with possibilities of adverse economic repercussions, in the short and longer terms.

We continue to recommend a three-pronged policy approach relying on fiscal and structural policies alongside monetary policy, but one that is tailored to country circumstances.

Some advanced economies are now operating at close to full capacity, for example, Germany and the United States. In these, fiscal policy should focus, not on short-term demand support, but on increasing potential output through investments in needed infrastructure and skills, as well as supply-friendly, equitable tax reform. Policymakers in these economies should also turn their attention to longer-term fiscal sustainability, while monetary policy can follow a data-dependent normalizing path.

Structural reform remains a priority everywhere in view of continuing tepid productivity growth, although in many cases appropriate fiscal support can raise the effectiveness of reforms without worsening governments fiscal positions.

Financial resilience is another universal priority and requires stronger financial regulatory frameworks, better focused on key problem areas. Countries can do much on their own to improve financial oversight and institutions, but not everything, and continuing multilateral financial regulatory cooperation is vital.

Social dislocation due to globalization and, even more, to technology change is a major challenge that will only intensify in the future. One result has been wider inequality and wage stagnation in many countries. Rolling back economic integration, however, would impose aggregate economic costs without reducing the need for government investment in well-trained, nimble workforces, along with policies to promote better matching of available jobs to skills.

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Fitch Rates State Bank of Indias Proposed Senior Debt BBB-(EXP)
Jan 17,2017

Fitch Ratings has assigned State Bank of Indias (SBI, BBB-/Stable) proposed senior unsecured debt an expected rating of BBB-(EXP).

The notes will constitute direct, unconditional, unsubordinated and unsecured obligations of the issuer. They will at all times rank pari passu among themselves and with all other unsubordinated and unsecured obligations of SBI.

The tenor of the issue is expected to be around five years and the notes are to be issued by SBIs London branch.

The final rating is subject to the receipt of final documentation conforming to information already received.

KEY RATING DRIVERS - SENIOR DEBT

The senior unsecured instruments are rated at the same level as the banks Issuer Default Rating (IDR), in accordance with Fitchs criteria.

SBIs IDR is driven by its Support Rating Floor (SRF) of BBB-, which is at the same level as its Viability Rating (VR) of bbb-, implying that the banks standalone credit strength also underpins the IDR. The SRF reflects Fitchs expectation of a high probability of extraordinary support from the government of India, if necessary, given the banks very high systemic importance and quasi-sovereign status.

SBIs core capitalisation is set to improve in the financial year ending 31 March 2017 (FY17) from a core equity Tier 1 ratio of 10.3% at end-September 2016. The bank is likely to receive around USD835 million in new capital from the government shortly (of the total USD1.1 billion earmarked for FY17; around 5% of FY16 equity) and has plans to raise an additional USD2.2 billion directly from the market, for which it has received shareholder approvals. The banks NPL ratio (7.1% at end-1HFY17) and stressed asset ratio (9.6%) have moderately picked up in 1HFY17, but they remain considerably lower than those of other large government banks.

RATING SENSITIVITIES - SENIOR DEBT

SBIs VR and SRF are at the same level as the IDR, which would only be downgraded if both the SRF and the VR were to be downgraded. A downgrade of Indias sovereign rating will also trigger a downgrade of the banks IDR as it is at the same level as the sovereign. Any change in the IDR will have a similar change on the proposed notes rating.

SBIs other ratings are unchanged and are as follows:

- Long-Term IDR at BBB-; Outlook Stable

- Short-Term IDR at F3

- Viability Rating at bbb-

- Support Rating at 2

- Support Rating Floor at BBB-

- USD10bn medium-term note programme at BBB-

- USD3.5bn senior unsecured notes at BBB-

- USD400m perpetual Tier 1 bonds at B

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Moodys: Global airline industry outlook remains stable; fuel costs and capacity to be key to upcoming earnings trend
Jan 17,2017

Moodys Investors Service is maintaining its stable outlook on the global airline industry, reflecting the rating agencys expectations of declining but still-strong operating margins relative to the sectors historical levels.

Moodys projects the aggregate operating margin of rated airlines to approach 9% in 2017 and about 8% in 2018, from a projected 10.8% in 2016. This trend reflects declines in operating profit of the rated airlines of about 11% in 2017 and about 12% in 2018, widening from a projected 1.2% contraction in 2016. These rates of change fall within Moodys -20% to 20% range for a stable outlook.

US carriers will still have the industrys highest operating margins, despite being on track to drop by about 20% over the next 12 to 18 months due to modestly higher fuel and increases in labor costs under new union contracts agreed to in 2016 at major airlines, says Moodys Vice President -- Senior Credit Officer Jonathan Root. A mature domestic market, a more rational industry structure and modest exposure to weaker foreign currencies will help US carriers maintain that position.

Legacy carriers in Europe and in increasingly competitive developing markets, on the other hand, face greater challenges to grow their operating margins.

Low-cost, low-fare carriers will advance their expansion across Europe and in long-haul, sustaining pressure on legacy operators, explains Root. It will be much the same across Asia as well.

Passenger demand will continue to trend upwards, albeit slowly, supported by modest but steady global economic growth and increasing air travel in the developing world. Aggregate capacity growth, however, will outstrip growth in aggregate demand by about half a percentage point due to the still relatively low cost of fuel, availability of older aircraft coming off leases and growth of low-cost carriers.

Capacity growth across geographic regions will vary, with the US growing in the low single digits, Europe in the mid-single digits, and, according to IATA, developing markets like Asia and the Middle East growing about 7.5% and 10.0%, respectively. Unrated airlines will lead capacity growth in Latin America in 2017, while rated carriers, LATAM Airlines Group S.A. (B1 stable) and Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (Caa3 negative), will slow capacity growth in 2017 as they continue to restructure operationally.

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