Maharashtra plans new hydel stations

Maharashtra is planning three new hydroelectric projects in the Western Ghats to reduce peak-hour power shortages. The stations will use the ‘pump storage method’ to generate a total of 2,900 megawatts (MW) of power.The state already has one such 250MW project in Ghatghar, near Thane.
In the ‘pump storage method’, water used for the generation of electricity is stored in a lower dam and then pumped out to an upper dam for running turbines when needed. This cycle is repeated.
Confirming the development, DN Modak, chief engineer, hydro power, water resources department said that the projects will be very crucial for catering to the state’s increasing power needs. “We have completed the ground work and a detailed survey of all the sites will be commissioned soon,” said Modak. Cost estimates will be finalised after this survey.
Once construction of these plants is complete, the projects shall be handed over to the state’s power generation company for operations.
Commenting on environmental hurdles in the Western Ghats, Modak clarified that all the sites were in non-forest areas.
For all the projects, two each dams — one upstream and the other downstream — are be built. Sites in Panshet (1,400MW), Vasargaon (1,000MW) and Varandh Ghat (500MW) have been finalised for the power stations. Three dams— two in Velhe and one in Mulshi (both near Pune) will provide water to these stations. Three other downstream dams are also to be built in the Raigad district — two in Mangaon tehsil and one in Mahad.These stations will generate power during high- demand periods. During non-peak hours, water from the lower dams will be pumped to upper dams. In hydro dams such as the Koyna, the water released in the lower damn, cannot be used for any other purpose.

Another Tadoba Tiger dies

The carcass of a full grown tiger was found in the core area of Tadoba tiger reserve in the eastern part of Maharashtra, around 180 km from Nagpur, in Chandrapur district, on Saturday morning. The carcass was noticed by a group of tourists roaming the area in a vehicle. They informed the forest department that led senior wildlife wing officials to rush there.
The state wildlife warden and principal chief conservator of forests, SWH Naqvi, said that the tiger carcass — that appears to be old — was found near Jamni village in core area of the tiger reserve.
“As of now we cannot say if it was a natural death or a case of poisoning,” he said and added that the carcass was sent for a post mortem.
This is the eight death of a big cat in the district and particularly in the vicinity of Tadoba tiger reserve since January this year.
The state witnessed 13 tiger deaths, including five due to poaching this year. Tadoba, one of project tiger reserves in the state, is spread over 623 sq kms of core area and around 1102 sq kms of buffer zone of high hills and lush valleys under dense teak and bamboo forests. The reserve is also a home to rare wildlife like wild dogs, leopards, bisons, and hyena and jungle cat, along with 69 tigers.

Of Birth & Death Anniversaries....

National Investment Board snippets

The Union finance ministry has finalised a cabinet note for creation of the National Investment Board (NIB) to expedite infrastructure projects.
Big projects across sectors where investment is Rs. 1,000 crore or upwards will come under the direct monitoring of the board after it is set up.
The board will be headed by the prime minister and empowered to set time-frames to be followed by the respective ministries for achievement of milestones in various projects. If the ministries fail to achieve the time-bound targets such as grant of licences, permissions, and approvals, such projects will be taken over by the board.
The NIB is also empowered the body to deal with representations from the aggrieved parties.
Bidding for public-private partnership (PPP) projects in power, transport and highways, and coal blocks have seen widespread litigations in the last couple of years. For instance, almost Rs 9,000 crore payment to highway work contractors is pending owing to arbitration with the National Highways Authority of India over the last 10 years. Also, in most cases, the interest is now more than the principal.
The NIB will be supported by a dedicated secretariat that will be supervised by the finance ministry or the prime minister’s office. The administrative control of the NIB will rest with the PMO as the cabinet ministers are all equal.

MTHL update

The 22-km Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) —a sea link proposed between Sewri in south Mumbai and Nhava in Navi Mumbai near Panvel—has got a much needed boost.
The Union finance ministry agreed to extend 20% (Rs 1,920 crore) of the total project cost, which is pegged at around Rs 9,600 crore. The state government has already promised to fund another 20% while the remaining amount would have to be brought in by the developer who wins the bid.
“The Union government has also accepted the 35-year term for the developer to construct and earn his investment in the project,” MMRDA chief Rahul Asthana said. “This is considered a crucial step forward to construct the sea bridge which will pave way for the development of Navi Mumbai and Raigad and bring Pune and Goa closer,” said an MMRDA official.
According to planners, the link will have dispersals from Sewri to Worli (east-west connector) on the Mumbai-end and from Chirle on the Nhava end to Goa and Pune highways on the mainland side.
On the Mumbai side, the traffic dispersal has been envisaged through the Eastern Freeway (Colaba and Wadala) and from Acharya Dhonde Marg (for West-bound traffic). An elevated East-West corridor is proposed from Sewri (P D’Mello Road) to Worli.

Digital deadline

Analog signals will become a thing of the past from midnight of October 31 and only digital signals for cable TVs will be allowed to be pass through first the broadcasters, then multi-system operators (MSOs) and finally local cable operators (LCOs), who distribute signals to subscribers in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai & Kolkata.

OCTOBER 31, 2012
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai

MARCH 31, 2013
Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur, Jaipur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Patna, Indore, Bhopal, Thane, Ludhiana, Agra, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Vadodara, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Rajkot, Meerut, Kalyan-Dombivli, Varanasi, Amritsar, Navi Mumbai, Aurangabad, Solapur, Allahabad, Jabalpur, Srinagar, Visakhapatnam, Ranchi, Howrah, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Mysore and Jodhpur

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
All other corporation, municipality areas

DECEMBER 31, 2014
Rest of India

Cable operators won’t be able to hide subscribers from distributors, so it will increase revenues and bring transparency. Customers will get more channels of choice, improved clarity and value added services 


Of Consumer confidence

Improbable as it may appear, but the Indian consumer, an A C Nielsen online survey covering 58 markets and 29,000 consumers suggests, is the most optimistic globally.
Improbable because the global gloom-doom talk, lower-than-expected salary hikes and persistent inflation have had savaged the consumer sentiment in India.
Experts explain that India fares better not because Indian consumers are a very optimistic lot but because consumers in other countries are way more pessimistic.
A closer look at the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index (NGCCI), currently at 92 points, reveals as much. Last quarter, Indonesia with 120 points led India (119). This (July-September) quarter, consumers in Indonesia lost some confidence and slipped by one point, leveling with India where there has been no change for two consecutive quarters. A score of over 100 signals optimism; all else pessimism.

Airtel Indian Grand Prix 2012

Chidu's 5 - year repair plan

Current Account Deficit snippets

Falling revenues from the services sector and a dip in exports due to global slowdown may result in higher current account deficit in the second quarter of the current fiscal, the Reserve Bank of India has said in its quarterly review of the economy.
The merchandise trade deficit has remained at the same level as in the first half of 2011-12, as slowdown in exports was matched by import contraction. This, coupled with the falling surplus in services trade over the medium term, is likely to leave the current account deficit — the net of imports and exports of goods and services — too wide for comfort, the RBI report says.
Current account deficit financing pressures can reemerge in the face of event risks, although the recent policy measures announced by the government have helped boost portfolio inflows for now. The rupee gained in strength against the dollar from early September on the back of bond-buying programmes announced by the central banks of Europe and the United States. This resulted in a surge in portfolio flows, easing the pressure on the rupee and, consequently, on importers to an extent.
Going forward, the trend in various components of services exports, which has been a crucial cushion for financing current account deficit, particularly business services and private transfers, would largely depend on economic activities in trading partner countries and movement in the rupee exchange rate.
It said India’s external sector faces some sustainability issues that emanate from large current account imbalances. Although reserves coverage and manageable external debt provide some comfort, macro-financial policies aimed at lowering inflation, containing demand by more restrained fiscal spending, improving trade competitiveness through structural and other policies and the direct use of trade policy measures would be needed for medium-term sustainability.

IPL looks for a title sponsor

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) expects the new title sponsor of the IPL to shell out at least 50% more than what real estate major DLF paid to attach its name to the popular Twenty20 tournament for the first five years as it started the auction process to find a new sponsor on Monday.
The minimum bid price has been fixed at Rs. 60 crore per year, or Rs. 300 crore for a five year term, while DLF paid a sponsorship fee of Rs. 40 crore per year.

Pune Tree Authority snippets

The Pune Tree Authority has approved an annual budget of Rs 14.90 crore for implementation of the green plan. Developing parks on forest land, tree plantation drives and providing water are some of the plans on the PTA’s agenda. The committee will now forward the budget to the civic standing committee for its approval.
According to PTA members, Rs 4 crore has been set aside for developing parks on forest department’s land in city areas, including Warje, Shivajinagar and Panchgaon Parvati. Also, the Pune Municipal Corporatiion has plans to fence forest land to prevent cutting of trees.
A provision of about Rs 20 lakh has been made for plantation on hill slope/hill top zones in the city, while Rs 44 lakh has been allocated for water supply. An amount of Rs 1 crore has been set aside for planting trees in public areas and conserving them. The garden department is planning to plant around 2.5 lakh saplings in five years in reserve forests, hills and hill slopes, amenity spaces, industrial areas, along rivers and canals, and roadsides.
The department’s Pune City Green Plan, unveiled recently, aims at boosting the city’s green cover from 2013 to 2017. As per the plan, 50,000 saplings will be planted each year. The plan also envisages site specific awareness strategies and adoption of trees by individuals and housing societies. The five-year plan was prepared by the department with the help of botanists. The civic body will follow the plan, which provides details of plantation drives, people’s participation, strategies to increase green cover and tree-adoption campaign.
The plan aims at soil and moisture conservation in areas proposed for plantation, protection of the proposed plantation area from biotic interferences, increase in the presence of native species, development of new nurseries, involvement of corporate and industrial houses in tree plantation, participatory approach by involving NGOs for conservation and maintenance of planted saplings and phased removal of exotic species such as Gliricidia from the hills.

Begum Khaleda Zia in India

BNP chief and Bangladesh’s main opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia asked PM Manmohan Singh in a meeting in New Delhi to expedite the signing of Teesta water-sharing agreement, saying that the pact was imperative for better ties between the neighbours. Government sources said that Singh responded by saying that while the Indian government was committed to the agreement, it was still trying to build a political consensus for it.

With West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee expressing fresh concerns, the agreement has been stuck even though it was finalized last year. Singh, however, assured Zia that the accord was sealed after taking the consent of all Indian states involved and it was only a matter of time before it is brought into action.
Begum Khaleda Zia was very appreciative of various Indian initiatives which had been taken by the prime minister including liberalization of trade, efforts to provide power etc,.Both the leaders felt that terrorism is of great concern and agreed to continue cooperation on terrorism and insurgent groups. For India, any assurance from Zia about cooperation in dealing with terrorism and insurgency is important as too often in the past ISI has been known to fuel unrest in India’s north-east from Bangladeshi soil. In fact, there have been allegations in the past that ISI also provided funds to BNP.
Her last official visit to India was in 2006 as the then PM of Bangladesh.

H5N1 Outbreak

The Karnataka government said that tests had confirmed that the 206 chicken and 17 ducks that died at the Central Poultry Development Organization at Hesaraghatta near Bangalore were affected by the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) virus.
The outbreak has necessitated culling of over 33,000 birds — 19,235 chicken, 13,673 ducks and 369 emus — on the institute’s premises and its 1km radius. It said 52 chicken sheds in the area are being sanitized to prevent any spread of the flu.
Action has also been initiated to sanitize turkey, duck, emu and chicken units.A school on the CDPO premises has been closed for 15 days.
Last week, an action plan was activated in the CPDO farm and its vicinity after tests confirmed that 3,481 turkeys had died of avian flu in the institute. About 800 turkeys were later culled.
An alert was sounded across 68 villages within 10 km of Hesaraghatta.
About 1.5 lakh poultry birds are housed in the commercial and private farms in these villages.
The forest department has been alerted about the situation and directed to take up surveillance of stray, wild and migratory birds.


BJP's halo goes kaput

Another Investor's Summit

India Rich List

For the fifth year in a row, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani retained the top spot as India’s wealthiest man with a net worth of $21 billion, despite his fortune falling for the third year in a row, according to global business magazine Forbes’ annual ranking of 100 wealthiest Indians. Ambani’s net worth stood at $22.6 billion last year.
Abhay Vakil and Ashwin Choksi, who are from the family that controls Asian Paints have entered the billionaire ranks for the first time separately.
Habil Khorakiwala of pharma giant Wockhardt has reentered the billionaire ranks while the Hinduja brothers, who are Britons, enter the list on the back of their Indian assets.
Ranjan Pai of the Manipal education group is just short of the billion league with an estimated wealth of $975 million.
While Lakshmi Mittal held on to the number 2 spot with $16 billion, down $3.2 billion, liquor baron Vijay Mallya lost his billionaire tag as his aviation business dragged down his networth to below the $1-billion mark. Mallya has been ranked 73rd with a fortune of $800 million, a sharp plunge from 49th place last year when he was worth $1.1 billion.
Azim Premji of Wipro bagged the number 3 position with a net worth of $12.2 billion, lower by $800 million from a year ago.

The biggest gainer was Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharma, who broke into the top 5 with a $2.5 billion jump in networth at $9.2 billion.

‘India Entertainment and Media Outlook 2012’

India’s entertainment and media industry, the fastest growing in the world, is poised to clock an average growth rate, or CAGR, of 17% over the next five years to exceed Rs. 1,75,000 crore, a CII-PwC report has said. The burgeoning internet segment has the potential to outshine the print sector by 2014, according to the CII-PwC’s ‘India Entertainment and Media Outlook 2012’, which says the overall growth will be driven by advertising spend, consumer spend infrastructure and policy support. Internet access contributed 14% to the total revenues in 2011, when the industry grew at 17.5% over the previous year to an estimated Rs. 80,000 crore. The television and print segments continued to be the largest contributors, ac counting for 66% of the total revenue, even as the share of these segments reduced compared with the previous year. At the same time, the share of internet grew from 11% in 2010. Internet access and gaming segments were the fastest growing, with annual growth rates of 57% and 33%, respectively. The gaming segment, though a small contributor to the industry, has been growing due to the rising popularity of mobile, online and social media gaming. Television, the biggest segment in terms of revenue addition, grew at an annual rate of 16%. The advertising segment in India is dominated by the television and print sectors, which together account for over 80% of its revenues. Both sectors are expected to continue to be dominant over the next five years.
Advertising spend contributes about 35% in revenues to the industry. But, compared with other countries, advertising spend as a percentage of GDP is very low at 0.3%.
According to the report, entertainment content—being accessed through different mediums—and innovation in digital content will drive the advertising spends.
Where the consumer is concerned, the second big game changer, key spend segments include television subscription, film admissions and print circulation. The average annual spend per capita is at a low of $7 in India, compared with $22 in China and $65 in Brazil.

Operation Overhaul

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brought in changes, inducting new ministers to manage crucial portfolios such as foreign affairs, petroleum, power and mining, as part of a last-ditch gambit to breathe life into his scam-hit government ahead of the general elections due in 2014. In all, the prime minister inducted 22 ministers — seven of cabinet rank and 15 ministers of state with two holding independent charge. The large-scale changes marked the rise of a number of young (at least in the Indian context) ministers said to be close to Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, and an effort by the ruling party to retrieve a dire situation in the electorally crucial state of Andhra Pradesh, which contributed 33 MPs to the Congress tally of 206 in 2009.
The notable changes included a change in responsibilities for Jaipal Reddy, the veteran politician from Andhra Pradesh, who has appeared to be somewhat out of sync with the campaign started by Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram from the middle of September to boost the faltering economy by clearing investment proposals and initiating big-ticket reforms.
Reddy was switched from petroleum to the low-profile science and technology portfolio. Reddy’s replacement is M Veerappa Moily, who, stockmarket participants feel, might adopt a pragmatic approach.
Further, the Congress leadership appeared determined to rebuff anti-corruption campaigners led by Arvind Kejriwal by switching Salman Khurshid to external affairs from law, signalling the leadership’s continued trust in him.
Another high-profile minister, Kapil Sibal, will now look after just the telecom department, after being divested of the human resource development ministry. The HRD minister’s run-ins with the Opposition, analysts say, have seen the stalling of as many as 11 key education legislations.
The reshuffle also saw the ascendancy of two ministers considered political lightweights — Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashwani Kumar. Bansal will manage railways, hitherto the domain of powerful politicians. Kumar, who is believed to be close to the prime minister, has replaced Khurshid as the law minister.
Ajay Maken, a counterweight to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the Capital’s politics, has been put in charge of the housing and urban development ministry.
Tewari, Scindia, Pilot, Jitendra Singh and Bharat Singh Solanki made their entry into the government’s high table by getting independent charge of crucial departments. Among these, Tewari is the only one who has worked his way up while the others are scions of political dynasties. The elevation of these leaders clearly points to an attempt to give the new generation a chance to prove itself. There are also expectations that younger leaders who have not found a place in the government will be drafted for organisational work when the party revamps its leadership team in the coming days. The new team will help Congress fight the battle of perception as the government attempts to turn around its fortunes after being hit by a series of big ticket corruption scandals.
Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath has been brought in to handle parliamentary affairs to devise a plan to break the parliamentary gridlock. The complete breakdown in relations between the treasury and the Opposition is certain to make things difficult for the government. Nath, who shares a rapport with senior leaders of the Opposition, is seen to have the political wherewithal to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament. But success of the government’s legislative agenda will depend on the attitude of the Opposition.

With the party finding itself on a slippery slope in Andhra Pradesh, the cabinet reshuffle saw the state getting the biggest share of the booty. While MM Pallam Raju, a junior minister, was elevated to cabinet rank and awarded the plum HRD portfolio, four MPs from different regions of the state were accommodated as ministers of state.
Kerala was a surprise beneficiary in the reshuffle as it got a share disproportionate to its parliamentary strength in the government. After the induction of Shashi Tharoor and Kodikunnil Suresh, the state has eight ministers.
West Bengal leaders Adhir Chowdhury, Deepa Dasmunshi and AH Khan Chaudhury, who have been leading a high-decibel campaign against the West Bengal chief minister, have been rewarded in the ministry expansion.

An Asian Century

Declaring that Asia’s rise is “unstoppable”, Australia has unveiled an ambitious plan aimed at forging deeper links with India and other booming economies of the region, including teaching languages like Hindi and Mandarin in its schools.
“While Australia was changing, Asia was changing too. Whatever else this century brings, it will bring Asia’s return to global leadership, Asia’s rise,” said Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who was recently on her maiden official visit to India.
“This (Asia’s rise) is not only unstoppable, it is gathering pace,” Gillard said, releasing a sweeping policy blueprint entitled ‘Asian Century White Paper’ aimed at maximizing links with Asia which will power Australia into the world’s top 10 wealthiest nations by 2025.
Above all, success for an open Australia in a middle-class Asia starts in the classrooms, training centres and lecture theatres of this nation, the Prime Minister said.
All Australian schools will engage with at least one school in Asia to support the teaching of a priority Asian language — Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian or Japanese, she said.
Gillard also mentioned that Australia was a friend to all countries. “We are supporting the stabilizing presence of the United States, a strong Defence Force, building habits of trust and cooperation in our region.We have an ally in Washington, respect in Beijing and more, an open door in Jakarta and Delhi, Tokyo and Seoul.”


National Committee on Direct Cash Transfer

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a high-powered committee that will oversee the government’s ambitious cash transfer plan. Last month, the UPA government had announced a plan to directly transfer welfare benefits and subsidies into individual beneficiaries’ bank accounts, helping plug massive leakages in welfare schemes on which the government spends over Rs. 3,00,000 crore annually.
The National Committee on Direct Cash Transfer, which will be headed by the prime minister, will have 11 cabinet ministers, two ministers of state with independent charge, the deputy chairman Planning Commission, the chairman UIDAI and the cabinet secretary as its members. Moving from the present paper-based, cash-driven system to an electronic direct transfer system ‘would improve targeting, reduce corruption, eliminate waste, control expenditure and facilitate reforms’, the PMO had said in a statement announcing its decision last month.
The committee will coordinate action for the introduction of direct cash transfers under the various government schemes and programmes, the PMO said. The Committee would “provide an overarching vision and direction to enable direct cash transfers of benefits under various government schemes and programmes to individuals, leveraging the investments being made in the Aadhaar Project, financial inclusion and other initiatives of the Government, with the objective of enhancing efficiency, transparency and accountability,” the statement said. The committee will identify schemes for which direct transfer will be rolled out.

SEBI on Sahara

Hindi - Chini Bhai Bhai ?

Fortune seems to have changed for the family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao ever since he became part of the country's ruling elite, an investigation by The New York Times shows.
Wen’s family, which is said to have been “extremely poor” during his younger days, reportedly owns assets worth $2.7 billion today. Although details of how the family amassed so much wealth is unclear, it does seem to have happened after Wen rose up the Communist Party ranks, first in 1998 as vice-prime minister and then five years later as Prime Minister.

Bharat Diamond Bourse

After operating from Opera House for four long decades, the Indian diamond trade has got a new address - Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai.
Over 100 leading diamond companies controlling almost 80 per cent of India’s diamond export have shifted their base from the southern parts of Mumbai at Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar to BDB as the complex offers better infrastructure and facilities and most importantly, better safety mechanism.
Industry sources said that the shifting had started after the July 13, 2011 serial bomb blasts that had targeted the diamond industry in southern Mumbai.
Sources in BDB said that on the occasion of Dussehra this year about 30 leading diamond companies shifted their corporate offices from Opera House to BDB.
BDB occupies two million square feet and houses 2,500 diamond offices of various sizes. It offers facilities such as a trading hall, customs office, banking, restaurants and security surveillance in the same complex.
Diamond trading at Opera House dates back to 1980s when the diamantaires, mostly Jains from Palanpur and Deesa had decided to shift their base from Zaveri Bazaar, where the trade was established way back in 1970s. The reason to shift was the requirement of space to run the business and easy access to the aangadias.

Pune's Development Plan 2007 - 2027

The new Development Plan (DP) spanning 2007-2027 for Pune's old city area has laid out a blueprint for a spiraling growth for the next few decades.
It has paved the way for more roads, constructions and allocation of additional Floor Space Index (FSI). Expecting proliferation of high-rise buildings, the DP has proposed that high-rise rules of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation be applicable to the Pune city.
City Improvement Committee (CIC) chairman Chetan Tupe said, “Pune, which earlier grew in the shadow of Mumbai, now has a strong and diversified economic structure, which centres around the auto industry, agro-based industry, education and the emerging and growing IT sector. For further economic growth of Pune, substantial augmentation and improvement of urban infrastructure and social infrastructure is imperative and the DP meets these requirements.” Tupe made a detailed presentation of the DP to elected members of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
The DP is applicable to the old city area comprising 17 Peths and surrounding areas spanning over 147.85 sq km. The DP proposes 921 reservations covering 1,080.79 hectare area for amenities like health, education, recreation, etc. The 1987 DP had 587 reservations for amenities.
“This is the first DP prepared by elected members. In 1966, a state-appointed special officer prepared the DP and, in 1987, the state government took over the process from the PMC as the DP was delayed. The civic administration and the CIC have taken every possible effort to make the DP comprehensive and environment-friendly,” said Tupe, during the General Body (GB) meeting.
Tupe cited urban development minister Kamal Nath and advocated liberalising restrictions on FSI in the city and insisted upon the need to push for high-rises to tackle rising prices and scarcity of land. The DP cites a growing mismatch between demand and supply of housing to seek vertical limits. As of now, the PMC allows 1 FSI in the old city areas, including Peth areas, which is stretched to 1.5 or even 2 by purchasing Transfer of Development Rights (TDR).
TDR is a compensation granted to a property owner whose land is acquired by the PMC to develop a civic amenity. Instead of money, the PMC grants an FSI certificate to the land owner. The land owner is allowed to use this FSI on his property or can sell the same to a builder.
The FSI is the ratio of total floor area of a building to the size of the plot which indicates the maximum construction allowed on a plot.
In paid FSI concept, the builder or developer can directly purchase the FSI from the civic body.
Housing Sector
Additional FSI will be given to fitness centres in housing societies. Developers constructing hostels for women in the city will get additional FSI with premium rates. Additional FSI will be given to developers who construct colony for conservancy staff — any conservancy staff member who has completed 15 years of service in the PMC will be eligible for a flat in the colony. Special houses for rent have been proposed in the DP. 2.5 FSI is allocated for development of flood-affected houses, as well as for MHADA housing projects. The state government has approved a scheme which grants additional 2.5 FSI for housing societies for backward classes. The DP has proposed this additional FSI for housing societies for other communities, but by paying premium rates. Premium rates will not be applicable for backward class societies. This scheme is only for small houses. The DP has also made a provision of housing on small plots measuring 500-2,700 sq ft.

Cluster Development
The DP has proposed cluster development for old buildings in the mid-city area. This will be applicable to properties that have minimum 1,000 sq m area and roads on both sides of the property. The property should be 30 years old. Seventy-metre-high buildings have also been proposed in these areas. Lessee will get a minimum of 25 sq m place or the area which they hold in the existing building. Cluster development in dense population area will get 2.5 FSI, while in scattered population the FSI will be 3.

TDR Facilitation
To encourage property owners to hand over reserved land to the PMC for amenity development, the DP has proposed a smooth TDR process. Once the title search is completed, the owner will get 20% TDR, while the remaining TDR will be given within 180 days after the owner applies for it. If the land owner gives the land to the PMC within a year after the DP is submitted to the state government for approval, he will receive 50% additional TDR. If he delays the process to four to five years, he will get only 10% TDR.

Metro Railway
The DP has proposed 50 km metro rail alignments. Four FSI is proposed along the 500 metre metro corridors. No plot will be allowed to be kept vacant in this corridor and open plots will charged with 5% cess. If developers construct parking lots and hand it over to the PMC near the metro station, railway station and government offices, they will get additional FSI.

Realty Sector
The Development Control rules have proposed that the high-rise rules of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation be applicable in Pune. With permission to use 4 FSI, Pune could soon have building with height of 150 metre. The DP has maintained the technical committee for highrise buildings.
If a housing society wants to redevelop, but has exhausted its TDR, they will get .33 per cent FSI with ready reckoner rate of open plot. This will pave the way for redevelopment of old properties in midcity areas. The DP has proposed convenience shopping. All hotels in the city are eligible for additional FSI if they pay premium. The district court will get additional FSI like other government buildings in the city.

Development Around Shaniwarwada
No development is allowed around Shaniwarwada since it is a declared national monument. If the owner of a property in 100 metre area surrounding Shaniwarwada hands over the property to the PMC, he will get double FSI and the lessee in these properties will be rehabilitated in economically weaker sections and
slum rehabilitation authority schemes.

Environment-Friendly Housing
Constructions over 300 sq m area will have to install rainwater harvesting and solar energy equipments. Buildings with more than 80 tenements will have to make compulsory provisions for sewage treatment plant and provision of using recycled water for flushing, gardening and other non-drinking purposes. In open space over 400 sq m, 15% construction will be allowed in maximum 10% plinth area.

Traffic And Transport
The DP has proposed 96 km new roads and widening of 321 km roads. Cycle tracks have been made compulsory for 18-metre-wide and 30-metre-wide roads. The DP has earmarked high capacity mass transit road and three tunnel roads in the mid-city to provide relief from traffic congestion. The reservation for the PMPML depots will be not be used for any other purpose.

Parking Provisions
The DP has proposed parking on private plots. “Parking could be developed in private plots measuring 500 sq m in dense population area and 1,000 sq metre in scattered population area. These parking plots will have minimum nine-metre-wide road for entrance. According to the new provisions in the DP, parking could be developed on any floor of the building. This parking will not be measured in the total height of the building. However, the parking plot in the building should have one metre grills and it should be open parking, i.e. visible from outside.

Green City
DP has made provisions for ‘River Front Development’ to protect biodiversity along the riverside. However, the DP has permitted 4% construction in a plot of minimum 2,000 sq m. The earlier limit was 4,000 sq m. The owner of the plot reserved for an amenity can develop 15% on the total plot. The DP said that 42% land is used for residential purposes in the city and 12 sq m open space is available for every citizen.

Health, Sanitation And Garbage
Hospitals using additional FSI for construction will have to deposit 30% of their annual income to the PMC every year. The PMC will use these funds for treatment of the urban poor. 1,500 sq ft plot is required for construction of public toilets and private property owners who construct toilets and hand it over to the PMC will receive three times the TDR. If hospitals, dispensaries and maternity homes are constructed as per the appendix R 7, the developer should hand over 20% built up to the PMC. DC rules are framed for permitting garbage processing plants at crematoriums and burial grounds.

If an education institution reserves 10% seats for the economically weaker section students, the PMC will provide additional FSI of 1.5 charging premium rates. School will have to keep 40% of land for playgrounds. However, this is not applicable to educational institutions that have applied for building permission before 2008. Education institutes providing distance education are exempted from this rule.

Reservations earmarked for
Stadiums that are 60% open and multi-purpose grounds
Old age homes
Film city and open air amphitheatre
Science centre and planetarium
Business hub at Hadapsar
PMPML bus terminus
Metro stations
Metro depots
Truck parkings
Transportation hub
Night shelters
Rehabilitation and deaddiction centres
Youth guidance centres
Youth training centres

Metro rail alignment
Route 1 – Agriculture College – Nigdi – Pune – Mumbai Road — 16 km elevated
Route 2 – Agriculture College – Warje – Jangli Maharaj Road – Karve Road — 8.7 km elevated
Route 3 – Agriculture College – Swargate – Katraj – Shivaji Road — 7 km elevated and 5 km underground Route 4 – Agriculture College – Wagholi – Bund Garden Road — 16 km elevated
Route 5 – Agriculture College – Hinjewadi – Aundh — 7.5 km elevated
Route 6 – Agriculture college – Hadapsar via Mhatre bridge — 16 km elevated

Virgin Atlantic flies back

Virgin Atlantic is aiming for a 20% market share on the London-Mumbai route as it resumes flights on the route after discontinuing them about fours years back.
The London-Mumbai route is one of the busiest internationally with around 10 lakh people flying every year on business and personal visits.
The airline is also looking to add more India destinations and has applied for flying to Hyderabad, Bangalore and Goa.
The airline exited the London-Mumbai route post 26/11 terrorist attack due to thinning passenger numbers.
Branson blamed poor slot timing for the earlier failure.
Air India, Jet Airways and British Airways that operate on this route have slashed their fares considerably to counter the re-entry of Virgin Atlantic.

Somewhere in the Andamans....

Short-finn pilot whales stranded on the beach on the west coast of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Officials say no previous ‘mass stranding’ had been reported in the Andamans, but it is a natural phenomenon that occurs when whales get disoriented and are unable to swim back into deep water

Sun TV bags Hyderabad IPL franchise

BCCI had invited bids for a new franchise through a tender floated earlier this month for 12 cities — Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Cuttack, Dharamsala, Indore, Kanpur, Kochi, Nagpur, Noida, Rajkot, Ranchi and Visakhapatnam. The highest bidder for any of one these cities was to be declared the winner, which was eventually Sun for Hyderabad.
The board claimed the sale has happened at a 100% premium to what it had earned from DCHL when it first auctioned the Hyderabad team for Rs 421 crore as part of an original tenure payment schedule in 2008. The erstwhile owner had paid Rs 42.5 crore annually for five years until financial woes hit the team earlier this year. On that count, the BCCI does end up earning double the amount from Sun as compared to what DCHL was contracted to pay until 2017. Still, the latest valuation benchmark — the first such instance after IPL founder Lalit Modi’s controversial ouster from the cricket board — pales in comparison with what Sahara is paying for the Pune team. In fact, the latest deal lowers team valuations by almost 100%.
Brand Finance, a UK-based intangible asset valuation consultancy, which has been tracking the IPL since 2009, said in a report earlier this year that the league’s value fell from $4.13 billion in 2010 to $2.92 billion this year. The combined value of all the franchisees also came down to $321.12 million from $355.22 million in 2011, it said.

GST update

With the Centre and states sorting out most differences on the goods and services tax, the movement of goods and services across India is set to be streamlined with a single tax structure replacing most of the indirect taxes such as central excise, service tax, VAT, purchase tax and surcharges.
Its implementation is likely to bring down the overall burden on consumers significantly, as the total tax—both at the state level and the Centre combined—is expected to be lower than 18%. Currently, all indirect taxes on any goods and services add up to more than 30%. Rollout of the tax is expected to boost revenues and economic growth.
GST was scheduled to be implemented from April 1, 2010, but missed the deadline due to lack of consensus among states who were worried about losing autonomy on taxation issues. Since then it has missed two other deadlines and experts say they expect its implementation by 2014. Approval of states is important as rollout of GST requires a constitutional amendment with at least two-thirds of the members of Parliament voting in favour in both the Houses.
“It was a satisfactory meeting and because of the Centre’s positive approach on issues related to GST a consensus seems to be on the cards,” Modi said, while lauding the effort of the Union finance ministry to evolve a consensus.

Modi’s meeting with Chidambaram was attended by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani and Revenue secretary Sumit Bose. Giving details of his discussion with the FM, Modi said Chidambaram was flexible on issues such as fixing of tax slabs, rights of states to impose tax in case of calamities and other emergencies and an appropriate redressal mechanism in case of disputes between states. “This will help states and the Centre arrive at a consensus on all GST issues,” the Bihar deputy CM said.
Modi indicated that the Centre may also agree to a special package for states for implementing GST and some announcement benefitting the small traders to attract them to the GST network. This is likely to pacify most of the BJP-ruled states that were opposed to the reforms on the ground that it will impact small traders besides adversely affecting their revenues.
The report of Parliament’s standing committee on finance, which is reviewing the Constitutional Amendment bill needed to implement GST, is awaited.


In a move that will intensify competition, RIL-owned Infotel Broadband Services has informed the telecom ministry that it is ready for trial runs of a technology that would enable voice calls service on its wireless broadband network. Against expectations, Infotel Broadband Services (IBSL) did not apply for making bids for the spectrum auction, freed after cancellation of 122 telecom licences on the order of SC.
The company has developed a technology in preparation of a unified licensing regime recommended by Trai under which consumers will be able to get voice, messaging and video using a single device, the source said. It has approached the Department of Telecommunication for allocation of number series to test its newly developed Voice over LTE(VoLTE) technology, official sources said.
They said VoLTE technology would enable IBSL to work seamlessly with 2G, 3G, NLD and ILD networks. Termination and receiving of calls from these networks to IBSL network would be possible via VoLTE technology. IBSL had won 20 Mhz of pan-India airwaves for providing wireless broadband services in 2010 for Rs 12,847.8 crore.

Canadian PM to visit India

After laying out the red carpet for the Australian prime minister, New Delhi is preparing to host Canadian PM Stephen Harper next week.
Travelling through four cities — Agra, Chandigarh, Bangalore and Delhi — between November 3-9, Harper, whose conservative government has taken a definite turn towards India, plans to use his second visit to India to reset the agenda between the two countries.
Canada is emerging as one of India’s bigger sources for energy and minerals. Private Indian firms are being invited to invest in the energy sector in Canada, with the country using its established infrastructure, political stability and low risk as selling points.
While trade is growing at a steady clip, Canada is also an attractive destination for at least 23,000 Indian students.

Mumbai BRTS snippets

The BMC is planning to revive the much talked about Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), which promises to ease congestion on Mumbai's roads by using dedicated lanes to ferry commuters between destinations. In a meeting held last week between senior officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation
and the BEST, it was decided that BRTS routes can be created on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH), the Western Express Highway (WEH), the Sion-Trombay Road and the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road.
The MMRDA has unsucessfully tried to implement the project in the past. The BMC will now form a panel to undertake site visits, carry out feasibility studies as well as survey the condition of and the encroachments on the chosen roads and highways.
The BMC will have a pilot run of the system on the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road once it is widened.

Of the World's top Urban Sprawls....

The national capital, which was not even among the world’s top ten urban sprawls by population in 1990, is already the second largest behind Tokyo and will continue to retain that position till 2025, according to a UN projection.
Mumbai, which was at No.5 in 1990, has climbed to the fourth spot and will be No.3 in the next 13 years.
The projections, made in the UN’s recent publication, State of The World’s Cities 2012-13, suggest that the Delhi urban agglomeration will have a population of 28.6 million by 2025, still well behind Tokyo’s 37.1 million. Mumbai will, in the meantime, have reached a population of 25.8 million.
The fastest growing of the world’s mega cities over the next 13 years will be Dhaka, which was ranked No. 23 in 1990 but was already at No. 9 in 2010, and is projected to be the fifth largest urban area in the world by 2025. Another city in India’s neighbourhood, Karachi, has also been rapidly climbing up the rankings, from No. 21 in 1990 to No. 10 in 2010 and No. 9 in 2025.
Kolkata, which was ranked No. 7 in 1990, has been more or less holding on to its position, having dropped just one rank till 2010, and is projected to hold on to that position in 2025.
New York and Mexico City, which were the two biggest urban agglomerations two decades ago, are projected to drop to the bottom half of the top 10 list in a little more than a decade from now.
Delhi and Mumbai are both projected to see populations increasing by 29% over the same period, but even this is a significant drop from the rates at which they have grown since 1990.


Kasab update

India's largest dairy

8 - Coach Metro trains in Delhi

With its ridership increasing, crowding in Delhi Metro trains has become a problem. Come December and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will introduce eight-coach trains on those corridors that have a higher ridership.
The Delhi Metro began its operations with four coach trains; it then began converting them into six-coach ones in December 2010. While a six-coach train can carry 2,220 passengers comfortably, an eight-coach train would be able to accommodate 2,960 passengers. Delhi Metro carries 20 lakh passengers a day on all its six operational lines with just two corridors—Noida and Gurgaon—accounting for over 60% of the total ridership.
The ridership is expected to touch 40 lakh in 2016 when Phase-III,which will bring another 107 km of the capital under the Metro map, becomes operational. The organization plans to convert most of the trains running on these two corridors that connect the capital with its satellite towns into eight-coach ones.

Agra plans Inner Ring Road Expressway

The travel time for the 24 km stretch between Yamuna Expressway and Taj Mahal, which is around 90 minutes now, will be reduced to only 15 minutes, according to a plan prepared by the Agra Development Authority (AGA).
The AGA will soon build a six/eight-lane inner Ring Road expressway to improve the last-leg connectivity between Agra and NH-3 (Agra-Gwalior).
At present, commuters have to negotiate huge traffic snarls as soon as they get off the Yamuna Expressway since the stretch passes through an urban area. The project can be completed in three years since the land is already with the Authority. It will be a significant link for the 207-km Agra-Lucknow Expressway as well.
The inner Ring Road expressway will start from NH-2 at Kuberpur and terminate at NH-3 (near Agra canal at Rohta). It will cut across Fatehabad, Shamsabad and Tantpur roads. It will have four inter-changes at Kanpur Road, Fatehabad Road, Shamsabad Road and Gwalior Road.
AGA got involved in the project after Jaypee Group backed out following its inability to get around 1,279 hectares, which were promised to the private developer as a “sweetener” to make the venture viable. Jaypee had also prepared a detailed project report, pegging its cost to around Rs 2,200 crore. It was proposed that the stretch would have at least 5.5 km elevated portions with 19 underpasses.
Earlier, ADA had pledged to get the land by March, 2011. Jaypee opted out last December, when the Authority failed to deliver on its promise.
Industry insiders said that since the project is likely to be highly-capital intensive, recovering the cost from toll revenue would not be viable for any private developer. Government sources said that the project might be awarded on build-operate-transfer (BOT Annuity) mode. In that case, government would pay back the entire project cost along with accrued interests in installments.


India's Energy breakup

The Big League

Airtel launches 4G in Pune

Saudis deport Fasih

Fasih Mohammad, an engineer, who hails from Bihar’s Darbhanga district and is believed to be one of the founding members of IM, was arrested by Delhi Police at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport after he was deported by Saudi Arabia. Fasih is believed to be connected to the Chinnaswamy Stadium (April 2010) and Delhi’s Jama Masjid (September 19, 2010) terror attacks.
Fasih is the third terrorist to be deported from Saudi Arabia in the past five months, while five others, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Fayyaz Kagzi, are still holed up in the country. The key 26/11 Mumbai terror attack handler, Abu Jundal, was deported in June, whereas another Lashkar terrorist A Rayees of Kerala was deported earlier this month.
India has already written to Saudi Arabia, seeking help in tracing the five suspects, including Kagzi, who have been running sleeper cells from there to carry out terror attacks in India. The arrest brought to an end a long spell of uncertainty within the Indian establishment about whether New Delhi would be able to get access to Fasih.

Changing equation

Rural India is spending more on protein products such as milk, eggs and meat due to rising income as overall spending by Indians on protein foods doubled to Rs 2 lakh crore in 2009-10 from 2004-05.
A study by ratings agency Crisil said that two-thirds of this spending came from rural households. But while more rural Indians are getting protein in their diets, the concern is that supply shortages are driving up prices and impacting overall food inflation. Food inflation has remained a policy headache for nearly three years due to strained supplies. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also consistently flagged the impact of stubborn food inflation on overall price pressures. It has been urging the government to raise supplies and farm productivity to tackle the problem.
According to the study in 2009-10, around 11-16%, 15-21% and 18-25% of the demand for direct consumption of milk, eggs, and meat, respectively, remained unmet due to the shortfall in supply, adding that the survey focused on animal protein only. The supply shortfall has led to prices of protein-food contributing nearly 50% to overall food inflation in India. The study based on National Sample Survey Organization data (NSSO), showed that nearly 17 million more rural households bought milk and milk products in 2009-10 compared to 2004-05 taking the proportion of rural households purchasing milk and milk products to 80% in 2009-10, almost 5 percentage points higher than 2004-05.
Similarly, the proportion of rural households purchasing egg, fish and meat increased to 62% from 58% over the same period. However, rural per capita consumption of milk, eggs and proteins continues to remain lower than its urban counterpart, reflecting a potential for significant further growth in rural demand for proteins.

Rural per capita (annual) consumption of milk in 2009-10 was 49.4 litres versus 64.3 litres in urban areas. For meat and eggs where per capita rural consumption stood at 5.7 kg and 20.8 eggs in 2009-10 as against per capita urban consumption of 6.7 kg and 32.1 eggs. It said that even if the share of rural households purchasing milk remains at the 2009-10 level, another 17 million more rural households would purchase milk and milk products by 2014-15. The study cautions that protein food inflation is likely to remain high unless the supply of milk, meat and eggs for direct consumption is increased to meet the growing demand.
Lack of effective cold storage infrastructure and adequate storage facilities have contributed significantly to the supply shortfall.

MTHL cost rises

While construction on the 22-km Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) is yet to take off, the cost of the project has risen by over 60% in the last seven years—from Rs 6,000 crore in 2005 to Rs 9,630 crore now. The proposed six-lane freeway road bridge will start at Sewri in Mumbai, cross Thane Creek north of Elephanta Island and end at Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai.
Metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana said, “The estimated cost of the project has shot up from Rs 8,800 crore in 2010 to Rs 9,630 crore now. The increase is due to the additional scope of connecting arms on Sewri side of the MTHL. There would be no more escalations and the present cost will remain frozen.”
While arriving at the new figure of Rs 9,630, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is implementing the project, has accounted for a 25% escalation in the project’s cost on account of inflation and interest accrued during the construction. The proposed MTHL will also be linked to the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the Mumbai Goa highway. It is expected to be commissioned by 2017, said sources.
Said Asthana, “Once MTHL opens, there is bound to be huge traffic on the mainland. We need to create adequate infrastructure else roads will choke.” There are plans to construct a proper bridge over the creek between Uran and Rewas and widen the road.


Yash Raj Chopra 1932 - 2012


SEPTEMBER 27, 1932
Yash Chopra was born in Lahore (British India) to an accountant in the PWD division of the British Punjab administration, the youngest of eight children.

Made his directorial debut with Dhool Ka Phool, a film on how society treats single mothers and a Muslim bringing up an ‘illegitimate’ Hindu child. The film was produced by BR Chopra.

The 60s were the best years for produce-director team of Chopra brothers who gave some of the biggest hits of the decade. The most notable was Waqt (1965), India's first multi-starrer. Ittefaq (1969), a critically acclaimed thriller, marked the end of their partnership.

Chopra married Pamela Singh. They went on to have two children, Aditya Chopra and Uday Chopra -- both well-established in Bollywood today

Chopra brothers officially parted ways, with Yash Chopra setting up his own studio, which we know today as Yash Raj Films.

He turned a struggling, awkwardly tall actor named Amitabh Bachchan into an angry young superstar with cult classic Deewaar.

Chopra’s next two films Kabhi Kabhie made Amitabh Bachchan the most loved Indian actor in the country

The King of Romance hit a rough patch. His films Silsila (1981), Faasle (1985), Mashaal (1984) and Vijay (1988) crashed at the BO. In 1989, he bounced back with a musical love triangle Chandni (1989) starring Sridevi, Vinod Khanna and Rishi Kapoor.

This was the decade when Chopra redefined Bollywood and gave films like Lamhe (1991, director), Darr (1993, director), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995, producer) and Dil to Pagal Hai (1997, director).
A decade after Amitabh Bachchan’s rise to superstardom, it was now the turn of SRK, and both actors have never hesitated in crediting YRF for it

In 2004, YRF returned to film direction after a brief sabbatical with Veer-Zaara (2004). He was currently directing Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), when he announced his retirement just weeks before his death.

Dil To Pagal Hai (1998) and Veer Zaara (2005) -- and 11 Filmfare awards

Padma Bhushan in 2005.
France's highest civilian honour, Legion of Honour
Honoured by the Swiss Government for rediscovering Switzerland and recently, he was presented a Special Award by Ursula Andress on behalf of the Swiss Government
Dadasaheb Phalke Award and
Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji Millennium Lifetime Achievement award in 2001
A lifetime membership to BAFTA .

Dhool Ka Phool (1959)
Dharmputra (1961)
Waqt (1965)
Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969)
Ittefaq (1969)
Daag (1973)
Joshila (1973)
Deewaar (1975)
Kabhi Kabhie (1976)
Trishul (1978)
Kaala Patthar (1979)
Silsila (1981)
Mashaal (1984)
Faasle (1985)
Vijay (1988)
Chandni (1989)
Lamhe (1991)
Parampara (1992)
Darr (1993)
Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)
Veer-Zaara (2004)
Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)

Yash Chopra’s first stint in films was under I.S. Johar. His first foray into direction, however, was as an assisstant director with elder brother BR Chopra in Ashok Kumar, Meena Kumari starrer classic Ek Hi Raasta (1956). He had more films with love triangles than any other Bollywood director.
Lamhe flopped in India but went on to become one of the biggest Bollywood grossers in the overseas market.
His films were mostly romantic films, with shots from foreign locations and having high-quality music.


2G auction update

India's 1st Starbucks opens : Snapshotz

The first Starbucks opened at Horniman Circle, Mumbai with another two to open in a few days.