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Mumbai, Nov 17 () Japanese auto major Toyota’s luxury arm Lexus unveiled a compact hybrid SUV, the NX 300h, which is a premium urban sports car and is expected to begin delivery from February.

The NX is the fourth offering from Lexus since its entry into the domestic market this March and is pitted against the likes of the locally-assembled GLA Class from Mercedes, the Audi A6 and most models of the Tatas-run JLR.

Though Lexus did not disclose the final price of the NX, which will be sold as CBUs, it indicated that it will priced around Rs 60 lakh.

The luxury car maker sells three models–RX450H hybrid and the full-size LX 450d (both SUVs) as well as the hybrid sedan ES300H–all as CBUs in the country now.

The Lexus NX300h will be available in two variants – the F Sport and Luxury, and caters to the lifestyle needs of young achievers, Lexus India president Akitoshi Takemura said.

Company vice-president Arun Nair said the deliveries of the new car could commence from February.

The NX comes with 2.5 litre, 4-cylinder engine, which produces 145 KW max power, and proffers 18.32 km a liter.

Nair said they have so far set up four guest experience centres in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Gurgaon besides an equal number of after-sales centres.

When asked if the company will follow the rest of the luxe players who all locally assemble most of their models, Nair answered in the negative saying that at present the focus is to establish the brand.


New Delhi, Nov 17 () Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed officials to ensure efficient and stringent monitoring of construction of rural roads at a review of key infrastructure sectors including roads, railways and airports.

He also directed the use of new technologies in road construction and asked the government’s think tank Niti Aayog to examine global standards in the application of technology for infrastructure creation, and the feasibility of adopting these in India.

According to an official statement, Modi laid stress on better outcomes for turnaround time of ships and clearance for cargo.

Referring to the coal sector, the prime minister noted the decline in coal imports last year. He called for “even more” vigorous efforts towards coal import substitution and application of new coal technologies, including gasification technology.

In the course of the presentation made by the Niti Aayog CEO, it was noted that remarkable progress has been made in several areas and infrastructure sectors.

In a broad overview of the progress in the road and railways sectors, the prime minister called for a consolidated approach to existing projects, and working towards their completion within strict timeline, the statement said.

The highest-ever average daily construction rate of 130 km has been achieved for rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). This has led to an addition of 47,400 km of PMGSY roads in 2016-17. Around 11,641 additional habitations have been connected with roads in the period, the meeting was informed.

Over 4,000-km rural roads have been constructed using green technology in 2016-2017. The use of non-conventional materials such as waste plastic, cold mix, geo-textiles, fly ash, iron and copper slag is being pushed aggressively, the statement read.

For efficient and stringent monitoring of rural roads construction and their quality, Modi laid stress on the use of space technology in addition to the technologies already being used, such as the Meri Sadak App.

He called for expeditious completion of vital links which will connect the remaining unconnected habitations at the earliest.

In the highways sector, over 26,000-km 4- or 6-lane national highways have been built in the period, and the pace is improving.

In the railways sector, 953-km new lines were laid in 2016-17, as against the target of 400 km. Track electrification of over 2000 km and and gauge conversion of over 1,000 km were achieved in the period. More than 1,500 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated in 2016-17.

Progress of important projects in the road and railways sectors such as the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, Char Dham Project, the Quazigund-Banihal Tunnel, the Chenab railway bridge, and the Jiribam-Imphal project was also reviewed.

In the ports sector, 415 projects under ‘Sagarmala’ have been identified with an investment of Rs eight lakh crore, and projects worth Rs 1.37 lakh crore have been taken up for implementation, the meeting was told.

In the digital infrastructure sector, the prime minister emphasised that the emerging digital connectivity network, which will connect thousands of gram panchayats in the next few months, should be backed up by appropriate governance steps so that it can further empower people in rural areas. NAB SMN


Amazon.com Inc. had better watch out.The $200 billion e-commerce market Morgan Stanley is forecasting for India by 2027 just got a new contender — with a very different plan.Energy tycoon Mukesh Ambani has already disrupted the country’s telecom industry. His next big foray may be online retail.

But India’s richest man may not create a marketplace of his own. According to an Economic Times report, Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. wants to leverage its Jio wireless service and hand out digital coupons, which customers can then use to get discounts at their neighborhood stores.

Why is this a smart move? There are clues in Morgan Stanley’s research. India has 432 million internet users, but only 60 million online shoppers. The e-commerce industry, including online food delivery, is just $15 billion a year, or 40 percent less than Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Singles’ Day sales in China.

The inflection point in a 10-year journey from $15 billion to $200 billion will come after five years because that’s how long it takes for new internet users to get comfortable shopping in cyberspace. Most Indians who have internet-ready phones have only bought them over the last couple of years, thanks to a 36 percent decline in the cheapest 4G handset in the past 15 months.

In other words, they’re experiencing the web for the first time.The payday Amazon and its homegrown rival, Flipkart, are waiting for will come after new users’ buying habits change. But Ambani, who has already acquired 133 million customers for his Jio service in its first year of operation, and is aiming to lure hundreds of millions more by effectively giving away custom-built JioPhone handsets, is in a hurry. He may want to speed up e-commerce by joining hands with bricks-and-mortar.

Redeeming a gift voucher at a neighborhood store is a familiar transaction; a digital coupon is a slight tweak. Even new smartphone users — regardless of age or literacy — won’t leave money on the table at their grocer. Besides, digital payments have already become so simple in India that small retailers who don’t accept cards can also very easily redeem QR-code-based vouchers.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has pioneered an audio-QR-based payment mechanism for India that rides on instant person-to-person or person-to-merchant payments. It’s reasonable to expect that Indians’ familiarity with digital payments will grow more quickly than their penchant for online shopping.Morgan Stanley cites an AlphaWise survey to show that even after being exposed to the internet for more than five years, a good 20 percent of people are likely to use their smartphones to transact, but not to buy new stuff. In 2027, too, only 475 million people — out of an estimated 915 million internet-enabled Indians — will be shopping online.

That leaves roughly half the market for the kind of online-offline hybrid strategy Ambani has in mind. So long as the discounts come from brands, the cost of such an e-commerce push is also going to be more manageable than for pure-play digital marketplaces.Those marketplaces will remain a money guzzler. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has pumped $5 billion into India, and he’ll probably need to double that quickly.

The U.S. e-tailer has 160 million product listings on its Indian marketplace, compared with more than 400 million in North America. Jio, by contrast, will merely be giving its customers a digital key into an offline shopping world that already has the rich variety they want.


NEW DELHI: Low cost carrier SpiceJet on Friday said that the airline has registered above 90 per cent average load factor for 31 consecutive months along with best on-time performance in two metros.

“This is the 31st month-in-a-row that SpiceJet has flown with load factors in excess of 90 per cent – a feat unparalleled in global aviation history. We have also clocked the best on-time performance at key metros like Bengaluru and Mumbai which speaks of the operational precision and efforts our team has put in.” a SpiceJet spokesperson said.

On Monday, the low cost carrier reported a profit of Rs 105.3 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2017, up 79 per cent from Rs 58.9 crore in the same quarter last fiscal.

SpiceJet also witnessed its 11th successive profitable quarter and highest-ever Q2 profit.

SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh said: “This has been yet another great quarter for us and I am very pleased with the exceptional performance of my team. Every quarter SpiceJet has a story which further underscores our extraordinary turnaround. We launched new flights on maiden routes and further emphasised our commitment for UDAN as we introduced our fourth daily flight under the scheme. Even with eleven successive profitable quarters, path-breaking initiatives, record aircraft orders and exploring new growth avenues through UDAN, I can say that we have just begun.”

Meanwhile, India saw its highest-ever number of domestic flyers in this festive month of October. According to DGCA data, 1.04 crore people flew within the country last month.


NEW DELHI: India saw its highest-ever number of domestic flyers in this festive month of October. According to DGCA data, 1.04 crore people flew within the country last month. It became the second time ever so far that India witnessed more than a crore domestic flyers in a month. This feat was first recorded this May when 1-crore-and-1-lakh flew in the peak summer holiday month.

This October saw 20.5 per cent more domestic flyers that the 86.7 lakh who flew in same month last year. The January to October, 2017 period has seen 9.5 crore domestic flyers, up 17.3 per cent from 8.1 crore flyers in same period last year. The record number of flyers came as airlines have been offering rock bottom fares.

Sharat Dhall, COO of travel portal Yatra, said: “The passenger traffic has remained strong as a result of increased passenger load in the peak festive season. Continuous capacity expansion by the airlines on popular routes, addition of new sectors and slightly lower fares added to the growth momentum. We anticipate that Christmas and New Year’s bonanza will further accelerate the passenger traffic in the coming month.”

However, the growth in flyer numbers is coming as major Indian airports are creaking under a severe infrastructure crunch. The biggest airports — Delhi and Mumbai — currently have no slots to offer to accommodate more flights. While Mumbai airport is completely choked and the city will be able to handle more flyers and flights only when the Navi Mumbai airport gets operational in about five years, Delhi Airport — despite sitting on enormous land bank — is facing a shortage of both terminal and runway capacity. The Greater Noida airport at Jewar is also some years away.


MUMBAI/CHENNAI: The Finance Bill proposes to levy a tax of 10% on income earned on transfer of carbon credits. Such a tax will be levied on the gross income, without allowing for any deductions.

According to the explanatory memorandum to the Finance Bill, the income tax (IT) department has been treating the income earned on transfer of carbon credits as business income subject to tax at the rate of 30%. In this context, it seems like a favourable position on the face of it, but it is a mixed bag, say tax experts and industry specialists. Samir Kanabar, tax partner at EY, points out, “There have been several favourable cases at the tax tri bunal and high court levels, such as by the Karnataka High Court in the case of Subhash Kabini Power, where revenue on sale of carbon credit was treated as a `capital receipt’ not subject to any tax. These now stand overturned.” Direct taxes code had recommended that income from sale of carbon credits be treated as business income. Then the tax levy of 10% may be considered as beneficial, adds Kanabar.

He also points out that since 2012, new applications for grant of credit have not been entertained under the UN framework. However, companies in renewable energy sector, including wind farms, or those who adopted green technology , which had applied for it before this date, continue to accumulate credits. They can either adjust carbon credits against any manufacturing business, which is polluting, or can sell the excess credit.

Most sales are via private arrangements. Prevailing market price has dropped, but prior contractual arrangements have helped Indian companies who have such carbon credits to sell. According to industry experts, India is one of the top three sellers of carbon credits in the world, China and Russia, being the other big players.

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