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STEEL, CEMENT PRICES SURGING IN INDIA

BENGALURU: Steel and general metals prices have gone up by around 30% each in the last few months which can change the dynamics of the real estate market in Bengaluru in the next two quarters, apex body of Private Real Estate Developers Associations, CREDAI said.

In a statement here, Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), Bangalore President J C Sharma said the prices that are currently on the low are likely to rise in the next two quarters.

“Considering the scepticism of potential home buyers with regard to price changes, there has been an uptick in enquiries related to home purchases and we have been trying to address all the queries,” he said. Essential inputs to construction such as cement and sand have seen an increase of around 20 per cent, he said.

HYUNDAI DECIDES TO PHASE OUT I10 IN INDIA

New Delhi South Korean automaker Hyundai has decided to phase out its popular hatchback i10 in India as it shifts focus to more premium and modern products.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, has stopped production of the small car, which was first introduced in 2007.

Till date, Hyundai has sold a total of 16.95 lakh units of the model in domestic as well as global markets. It is one of the products that helped Hyundai cement its place in India.

“We have stopped manufacturing the model,” a company official told . The South Korean firm already has a successful replacement for the model in Grand i10, which continues to rake in great monthly numbers since its launch in the middle of 2013.

Although Grand i10 was supposed to replace i10, the company continued to sell i10 for a few more years as demand continued to pour in for the model from various quarters, including fleet operators. Hyundai, which is the second-largest carmaker in India, is shifting its focus towards more premium products in the country.

It plans to introduce a total of eight products in the country in 2017-20, of which three will be completely fresh while the rest will be new versions of the existing ones.

Hyundai is also looking for a big play in the hybrid segment with plans to introduce its model Ioniq in 2018, besides mild-hybrids in its compact cars and SUVs.

GOVT. TO AUCTION 5G SPECTRUM

New Delhi: The government is set to go for 5G spectrum auction this year – making an early move to initiate rollout of latest communications technologies. The government will also go for a fresh auction in 700 MHz band, which drew a blank last year as companies complained of high reserve price.

The 5G auction will be conducted by selling spectrum in bands over 3,000 MHz, and sale will be conducted here for the first time, top sources told TOI. Also on sale will be any remaining spectrum in bands such as 800 MHz, 900, 1,800, 2,100, 2,300 and 2,500 MHz. “The file has been moved within the telecom ministry, and we will make a reference to Trai on the issue very soon,” one source said.

5G spectrum will be sold in bands such as 3,300 MHz and 3,400 MHz and the government expects that these will be put up for use of a host of new-age initiatives and services, including internet of things (IoT),machine-to-machine communications, instant high-definition video transfer and downloads, and connected smart cities.

SOCIAL SECURITY COVER FOR WORKERS

NEW DELHI: An all-inclusive universal social security cover will be available soon for over 45 crore workers in the country, covering all potential risks, along the lines of systems prevalent in the West.

The universal social security will cover loss of income; death and disability; illness and medical bills; and unemployment benefits for all. The government will meet the cost of the programme for the poor. Under the proposal firmed up by the labour ministry, the social security contributions will be mandatory but the deduction could be lower than those made currently, all of which adds up to about 30% of income.

This lower limit will ensure that there is no major dent in the take-home salary of those whose income is low. “While the social security cover for people the below poverty line (BPL) would be paid from the taxpayers’ kitty, those above the poverty line would have to suffice for themselves,” said the official, adding that coverage under the four major risks listed above may not be at one go but introduced gradually.

Currently, around 25% of the basic salary, including employee and employer contributions, will go towards the provident fund of the employee and another 6% for insurance, taking the total contribution to more than 30%.

 

TOYOTA, SUZUKI JOINT PLAN

New Delhi: Japanese car majors Suzuki and Toyota on Thursday gave clear hints of a mega partnership for the Indian market as global heads of the two companies met PM Narendra Modi, giving an outline about their potential joint work in areas of manufacturing and new, cleaner technologies. Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota and Suzuki chairman O Suzuki briefed Modi about potential plans being worked upon by the two companies.

The visit comes weeks after the two companies publicly disclosed that they are looking for a partnership and greater engagement. Suzuki controls a majority stake in Maruti, India’s top carmaker which has a near 50% share of the market. “The Toyota-Suzuki business partnership, and future technological developments came up for discussion. The partnership is expected to bring together Toyota’s global leadership in technology and manufacturing, with Suzuki’s strength in manufacture of small cars, especially in India,” an official statement released by the government said, while giving details about the meeting. “It is expected to enable India to use new technological developments. Further, high volumes will lead to local manufacturing of components required for these technologies.”

The government said a deal between the two companies will help promote Make in India manufacturing call, and contribute to employment generation. “It also opens up scope for export of new technology cars from India.” Top sources within the companies said a partnership will ensure “synergise” for both the brands and will “fill in gaps” so that they can make a stronger pitch in markets across the world, with a special focus on India.

“Suzuki, and through Maruti, aims to gain a lot from Toyota in new-age technologies such as electric and autonomous mobility,” one of the sources said. On the other hand, Toyota wants a stronger and deeper understanding of the Indian market and a large portion of this can be accessed through the experience and expertise of Maruti in India. “The strength of Maruti and its leadership in India has been a strong enabler in the initiation of partnership talks between the two companies,” a source in one of the companies said. Toyota’s is willing to engage with Suzuki on small cars even as the company looks for a play in the category with its own Daihatsu brand.

NO PLANS TO PRAVATIZE AIR INDIA

NEW DELHI: The Government has ruled out any proposal seeking to convert a part of Air India’s long-term borrowings into equity or privatising the airline. Government is not considering inducting banks as strategic investors in Air India or privatising the airline, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.

REVENUE TO GROW AT 10 PERCENT

NEW DELHI: Air India’s revenue is expected to grow to Rs 22,521 crore this financial year, a rise of around 10% as against last fiscal’s, on account of higher passenger earnings and increased capacity.

“The national carrier is expecting a total revenue of Rs 22,521 crore as compared to Rs 20,526.11 crore in FY 2015-16, an increase of around 9.7% over the previous year, Minister of State for Civil AviationJayant Sinha said in a written reply in Lok Sabha. The Revenue Passenger Kilometers has improved by 6.8% and Passenger Carriages improved by 6.2% during the on-going fiscal as compared to the previous year, he said.

The Passenger Load Factor is also expected to increase by 1.2% to 76.4% in the current fiscal from 75.6% in financial year 2015-16, he said. Further, the utilisation of Boeing 777-200 LR has also improved to over 14 hours per day because of the introduction of Delhi-London and Bangalore-Delhi-San Francisco route, the minister said.

CROP INSURANCE

New Delhi, The government has made Aadhaar mandatory for availing crop insurance policies from the upcoming kharif sowing season. The Agriculture Ministry has issued a directive to rural financial institutes to comply with the new rule from the kharif (summer) season starting April 1.

“The Government of India has notified that farmers availing crop insurance schemes administered/implemented by the Department of Agriculture from kharif 2017 are hereby required to undergo Aadhaar authentication or furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar,” said the directive. The banks have been asked to persuade farmers to furnish Aadhaar identification card at the time of sanction/renewal/ disbursement/inspection of the loan or on visit at bank branches, it said.

Farmers who are yet to enrol for Aadhaar are required to get one. The state governments will have to arrange or offer enrolment facilities for beneficiaries.

Till the time Aadhaar is assigned to an individual, crop insurance under any of the government-run schemes — Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather-based Crop Insurance (RWBCI) may be availed by farmers by furnishing documents such as bank passbook, Aadhaar enrolment ID slip, voter ID and MGNREGA job card.

INDIAN FINANCIAL SECTOR EYES CLOSE TIES WITH UAE ENTITIES

Dubai: Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), country’s first international financial services centre is keen to collaborate with UAE’s financial services centres which could result in mutual value creation, Ajay Pandey, managing director and CEO of GIFT City told Gulf News in an interview.

GIFT aspires to cater to India’s large financial services potential by offering global firms a world-class infrastructure and facilities. It aims to attract the top financial services firms and talent in the country and outside by providing high quality infrastructure and regulatory environment.

In a recent visit to the UAE, Pandey met top officials from both Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) to explore areas of potential cooperation.

“We have a lot to learn from these two international financial centers in the UAE. Their experiences and good practices will be of great importance for us to learn in building this young international financial centre. We do not see the UAE based financial centres as competitors, instead we seem them as great source of business opportunities,” said Pandey.

Last week both DIFC and ADGM signed two separate memoranda of understanding (MoU) with GIFT for multi-level cooperation. The MoU with the DIFC covers areas ranging from sharing of best practices of mutual interest, exchange of information on banking, financial service and securities, legislation and regulation, cooperation in the area of training, assistance in organising seminars and conferences on selected issues enhancing the mutual development of the centres, and exchange of information on trends in relevant international financial services activities and products, in particular within the fintech field.

“India represents the UAE’s third largest trading partner as well as one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and natural synergies between the two centres exist which will certainly benefit our respective clients. DIFC has provided a natural springboard from which Indian firms can access a concentrated pool of wealthy investors, all underpinned by English common law and unrivalled connectivity to the South to South corridor,” said Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority.

GIFT Citi’s partnership with ADGM focuses on initiatives that foster the developments of each respective financial markets. “The MoU between ADGM and GIFT provides a framework for the exchange of views and expertise in the fields of banking, financial services and securities regulation of each jurisdiction. It also enables both organisations to explore joint activities and training initiatives that will develop human capital capabilities and foster greater growth in both financial markets,” said Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM.

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