Pioneering the pace of building a countrywide state-of-the-art multi-modal infrastructure, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has awarded the first multi-modal logistics park (MMLP) in the country in Tamil Nadu to Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).
Officials said that the MMLP at Mappedu in Thiruvallur district is being developed over 184.27 acres of land and it is the first MMLP awarded to Reliance Industries Limited for which the Prime Minister had laid the foundation on May 26, 2022.
Aimed at improving multi-modal connectivity and last mile connectivity across the country, the ministry is developing 35 multi-modal logistics parks (MMLPs), out of which 15 have been prioritised for the next three years.
In order to make the industry more efficient and resilient, the National Logistics Policy (NLP) was launched in 2022 which focuses on two key areas, including effective integration between different agencies in the logistics ecosystem and deploying and embracing newer technologies to smoothen the process flow.
The MMLPs will also lay the foundation for development of large-scale state-of-the-art infrastructure projects in public private partnership (PPP) mode, for which both the Central government and the state government have come together
In 2018, the Goel brothers had just begun their war 'officially' over the company, Omaxe Limited, followed by Sunil Goel's move to the National Company Law Tribunal alleging financial mismanagement by his elder brother and founder of the company, Rohtas Goel.
However, it was a melting point that threw light into the alleged scam, in which Rohtas Goel allegedly had unaccounted cash transactions to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore, according to the Income Tax Department.
The civil engineer-turned-first generation entrepreneur Rohtas started the company's contracting business on a small scale in 1987. Within two years, his company was incorporated as Omaxe Builders Private Ltd, and in 1999, it became a 'Limited Company'.
Headed by Goel, Omaxe slowly but steadily made its footprints in the real estate sector. By 2007, Omaxe came out with its initial public offering (IPO), which got oversubscribed by 70 times. Soon, the company spread its presence in 27 cities across eight states.
Since then the small town youth from Haryana's Hassanpur had no looking back until his own brother turned against him.
In January last year, the Chandigarh bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) admitted the petition filed by Sunil Goel against Omaxe Ltd over alleged acts of oppression and mismanagement by the company and its management.
Sunil, who was the former Joint Managing Director of the company, levelled allegations against Rohtas for indulging in financial fraud, siphoning off funds, insider trading, and inflation of turnover of the company.
The petition said that in June 2017, Omaxe took a loan of Rs 250 crore from Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited, as per the minutes of the Executive Committee's meeting. It said that though Sunil Goel was a part of the Executive Committee, he did not receive any notice of the meeting wherein the resolution for taking the loan of Rs 250 crore was approved.
"It is also stated that Sunil Goel has been repeatedly appointed as Joint Managing Director of Omaxe Limited till 27.09.2017 on which date he was illegally ousted in the 28th Annual General Meeting of the company where several resolutions, declaring dividend only to non-promoter shareholders and appointment of Seema Prasad as Director of Omaxe Limited, were passed," it said.
The petition filed by Sunil Goel claimed the respondents, including Rohtas Goel, illegally restrained the petitioners from participating in the Annual General Meeting by using force and threats.
Further, as per the plea, Rohtas was also involved in the exclusion of the petitioners from the affairs of the company to "gain control over the company and all its subsidiaries in order to financially disable the petitioners".
Rohtas allegedly conducted the affairs of the company in an oppressive manner towards the petitioners and also towards the interest of the company.
"It is stated that owing to such financial mismanagement and fraudulent transactions, the financial debts have increased and profits have dipped down. Various letters have been issued on behalf of the petitioners, objecting to the illegal and oppressive acts of the respondents, but in vain," said the petition.
Primarily, the shareholding of the promoter and promoter group is through Guild Builders Private Limited, which holds around 68.45 per cent shares of Omaxe Limited and is a holding company of Omaxe Limited.
As per the CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) statement, the method of the company was to receive unaccounted cash from its customers on the spot which cannot be entered in any books of account evading the evidence of receipt of such amounts. This money exceeding Rs 3,000 crore has been gathered so far, as per the IT Department.
On March 22, the Income Tax Department's search action against Omaxe led to the seizure of unaccounted cash of more than Rs 25 crore and jewellery worth Rs 5 crore. Moreover, 11 lockers have been placed under restraint, and are yet to be operated.
The searches were conducted at more than 45 locations in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Lucknow and Indore.
The International Monetary Fund has further slashed India's economic growth prospects for 2022 to 8.2 per cent from its earlier projection of 9 per cent, which in itself was lowered from 9.5 per cent. The global economy will suffer significantly from the war in Ukraine, the fund further projected in its World Economic Outlook released on Tuesday.
"Notable downgrades to the 2022 forecast include Japan (0.9 percentage point) and India (0.8 percentage point)," the IMF said in the World Economic Outlook released on Tuesday. The revision reflects, it added, "in part weaker domestic demand -- as higher oil prices are expected to weigh on private consumption and investment -- and a drag from lower net exports."
The fund had earlier projected 9.5 per cent growth for the Indian economy in 2022. It slashed it by 0.5 percentage points in its January report and it has further reduced it now by 0.8 point.
The fund has also cut its projection for 2023 by 0.2 point to 6.9 per cent.
The World Bank projected 8 per cent growth for the Indian economy in 2022 in a report released last week, which also warned that the war in Ukraine will slow down South Asian countries' recovery from economic devastation caused by the Covid-19. The impact on India, it added, would be "moderate".
It said the Indian economy will grow at 8 per cent, which is slightly less than in 2021. The lingering impact of the investment programmes will keep the economy growing in the first half of 2022-23. "The negative impact of the war in Ukraine on FY2022/23 growth is expected to be moderate, so growth will begin to taper off in the second half of 2022," the report said.
The bank attributed its India projection to constrained purchase by Indian households, incomplete recovery of the labour market in which unskilled workers were hit the hardest and inflation. On the negative side, business expectations and investment, which had improved, might sour amid elevated input prices and a faster-than-anticipated increase in borrowing costs, the bank said, adding that the travel services balance may improve as India allows international flights to resume, while exports of computer and professional services are expected to remain strong.
The fund said in its Tuesday report that the Ukraine war "has triggered a costly humanitarian crisis that demands a peaceful resolution," the IMF report stated, adding, "Economic damage from the conflict will contribute to a significant slowdown in global growth in 2022."
Global growth is projected to slow from an estimated 6.1 per cent in 2021 to 3.6 per cent in 2022 and 2023, the fund said. It is 0.8 and 0.2 percentage points lower for 2022 and 2023 than in the January World Economic Outlook Update. Beyond 2023, global growth is forecast to decline to about 3.3 per cent over the medium term.
"Crucially, this forecast assumes that the conflict remains confined to Ukraine, further sanctions on Russia exempt the energy sector (although the impact of European countries' decisions to wean themselves off Russian energy and embargoes announced through March 31, 2022, are factored into the baseline), and the pandemic's health and economic impacts abate over the course of 2022," the report warned ominously.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that infrastructure planning, implementation and monitoring will get a new direction under 'PM Gati-Shakti' programme.
Accordingly, 'PM Gati-Shakti' will bring down the time and cost overrun of infrastructure projects.
Addressing a webinar, the Prime Minister said the budget FY23 has set the pace of India's development journey in 21st century and will lead to extraordinary increase in the strength of the country's economy, creating many new possibilities of employment.
The 'PM Gati Shakti - National Master Plan', was announced last year.
It intends to bring more holistic and integrated planning and execution of projects by bringing in greater co-ordination between and ministries and other stakeholders.
Besides, the Prime Minister underlined the lack of coordination among the stakeholders in the traditional ways of completing projects, he said it was due to lack of clear information among the various concerned departments.
"Due to 'PM Gatishakti', now everyone will be able to make their plan with complete information. This will also lead to optimum utilisation of the country's resources", the Prime Minister said.
"In the year 2013-14, the direct capital expenditure of the government of India was about two-and-a-half lakh crore rupees, which has increased to seven-and-a-half lakh crore rupees in the year 2022-23," he said.
Mentioning about the production-linked incentive (PLI) initiative, the Prime Minister called upon the private sector to invest in development of country's infrastructure.
In addition, the Prime Minister said that 'Gati Shakti' will ensure true public-private partnership in infrastructure creation from planning to development and utilisation stages.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday warned real estate company Supertech of "consequences" over the non-payment of refund to homebuyers, who had paid for flats in two 40-storey towers which are being demolished on the court's order.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna told the counsel appearing for Supertech to keep their house in order and not make deductions, which have not been ordered by the top court.
Senior advocate Ravindra Kumar, representing the Noida authority, informed the top court that the authority has almost finalised the agency, which would conduct the demolition of twin towers of the Supertech Emerald Court housing project.
A contempt plea was filed by homebuyers, who had paid for the flats in two 40-storey towers. Homebuyers have alleged that Supertech called them to collect the refund, however, they were later told that payment would be made in installments, including certain deductions. Counsel, representing the home buyers, said the home buyers are aggrieved with the delay in the refund and also added that the court order did not mention about any deduction.
In its August 31 judgment, the Supreme Court, besides ordering the demolition of Supertech twin towers in Noida and refund for the flat purchasers, ordered the prosecution of errant NOIDA and real estate company officials under Section 49 of Uttar Pradesh Urban Development (UPUD) Act for their "nefarious complicity", which resulted in the construction of towers.
Justice Chandrachud orally told the counsel appearing for Supertech that if a court order is not implemented, then the persons concerned will have to face consequences of it. The bench made it clear that Supertech cannot make any deduction, which has not been ordered by the court and scheduled the matter for further hearing on January 17.
The top court also asked the Noida authority to finalise the name of the agency to conduct demolition and directed to respond on this aspect on January 17.
On October 4, last year, the Supreme Court on Monday junked an application by Supertech Ltd seeking modification in the court's direction to demolish its twin 40-storey towers in Noida.
A bench of Justices Chandrachud and B.V. Nagarathna noted that grant of such a relief is in the nature of a review of the judgement passed by the top court, as it held that its judgment directing demolition of twin towers specifically affirmed the directions which were issued by the Allahabad High Court for the demolition of the towers - T 16 and T 17.
India's engineering goods shipments to China more than doubled in November this year to $434.6 million, the Engineering Export Promotion Council India said on Friday.
In November 2020, exports of such goods were worth $205.3 million, the council said.
The US, however, remained the top buyer of Indian engineering goods at $1,196 million during the month, registering a growth of 36 per cent.
The EEPC also said that it is important to note that after four months of continually hitting almost the $9 billion mark, total engineering exports volume in November came down to around $7.7 billion.
"The slowdown seems indicating the distress exporters are facing given volatility in world demand and the uncertainty regarding the pandemic which has been triggered by the new variant Omicron. Experts around the globe have already predicted that while the global trade growth is remarkable it is not even across the countries," EEPC India Chairman Mahesh Desai said.
"In this situation the exporters need complete support within the country such that they may remain competitive even during the upcoming uncertainties."
The EEPC urged the Centre to look into matters such as growing inflation, rising raw material prices as well as logistics issues, scarcity of containers, with an urgency.
Chinas giant housing market continued to decline in the past month with another major developer showing signs of financial distress, as state-owned enterprises began carving up the carcass of the failing property giant Evergrande, The Guardian reported.
House prices, sales, investment and construction data released on Wednesday showed renewed signs of crisis in the market, which accounts up to 30 percent of the country's output and which appears certain to drag on the world's second-biggest economy, the report said.
It comes a day after shares in one of China's largest developers, Shimao Group, fell 20 percent on concerns that it was offloading assets to manage its spiralling debts.
"Cities of all classes are under pressure," said Yan Yuejin, Director of Shanghai-based E-house China Research and Development Institution, adding: "The current scale of market supply is large and the demand is weak. The key is to accelerate inventory de-stocking to stabilise home prices."
However, more data released on Wednesday showed that weak demand for houses was in line with other metrics across the whole Chinese economy, the report added.
Real retail sales increased by just 0.5 percent on an annual basis - down from 1.9 percent in October - to give the weakest outcome since August 2020, and far below the pre-Covid levels as consumers remained cautious and Covid outbreaks continued to cause snap lockdowns, the report said.
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Saudi Aramco have mutually agreed to re-evaluate the proposed investment of the latter in RIL's 'O2C'.
Consequently, the current application with the NCLT for segregating the O2C business from RIL is being withdrawn.
In August 2019, both the companies had signed a non-binding Letter of Intent for a potential 20 per cent stake acquisition by Saudi Aramco in the O2C business of RIL.
"Over the past two years, both the teams made significant efforts in the process of due diligence, despite Covid restrictions. This has been possible due to the mutual respect and long-standing relationship between the two organisations," RIL said in a statement on Friday.
"Reliance recently unveiled its plans for the 'New Energy & Materials' businesses by announcing the development of the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex at Jamnagar. It will be among the largest integrated renewable energy manufacturing facilities in the world," it added.
Jamnagar, which accounts for a major part of the O2C assets, is envisaged to be the centre for Reliance's new businesses of 'Renewable Energy & New Materials', supporting the net-zero commitment.
"Due to the evolving nature of Reliance's business portfolio, Reliance and Saudi Aramco have mutually determined that it would be beneficial for both parties to re-evaluate the proposed investment in O2C business in light of the changed context. Consequently, the current application with NCLT for segregating the O2C business from RIL is being withdrawn," the statement said.
"The deep engagement over the last two years has given both Reliance and Saudi Aramco a greater understanding of each other, providing a platform for broader areas of cooperation. Saudi Aramco and Reliance are deeply committed to create a win-win partnership and will make future disclosures as appropriate," it added.
According to the statement, RIL shall continue to be Saudi Aramco's preferred partner for investments in the private sector in India and will collaborate with Saudi Aramco & SABIC for investments in Saudi Arabia.
"Saudi Aramco and RIL have a very deep, strong and mutually beneficial relationship, which has been developed and nurtured by both the companies over the last 25 years. Both are committed to collaborate and work towards strengthening the relationship further in the years ahead," the statement said.
Troubles in China's vast real estate sector could spill over to the global economy, including the United States, according to the US Federal Reserve, the CNN reported.
The US central bank has warned that China's ongoing property woes could elevate "financial stresses in China, [which] could further strain global financial markets and negatively affect the United States".
In its biannual report on financial stability, the Fed pointed specifically to the crisis at Evergrande, China's most indebted developer. The company has sparked fears of contagion since September upon warning that it could default on its debts of more than $300 billion. Several other real estate developers are also in trouble, the report added.
Though "Chinese authorities have introduced measures to cool down property markets", there is a risk that "financial vulnerabilities will continue to rise", the Fed noted, CNN reported.
The central bank warned that given the size of China's economy and financial system, and its global ties, "financial stresses in China could strain global financial markets through a deterioration of risk sentiment, pose risks to global economic growth, and affect the United States", it added.
Evergrande is one of China's largest real estate developers. The company is part of the Global 500, meaning that it's also one of the world's biggest businesses by revenue.
Stocks in Hong Kong, New York and other major markets have previously been swayed by fears of contagion from Evergrande and a slowdown in Chinese growth.
Modern Land China has become the latest developer from Asia's largest economy to miss a dollar bond payment, underscoring the stress spreading across the sector, Nikkei reported.
The company failed to pay interest and principal due on a $250 million bond, according to a filing on Tuesday with the Singapore stock exchange, where the bond is listed.
The repayment was not met, "Owing to unexpected liquidity issues arising from the adverse impact of a number of factors including the macroeconomic environment, the real estate industry environment and the Covid-19 pandemic faced by the group," the statement said, the report added.
Fantasia Holdings, Sinic Holdings and China Properties have already defaulted on offshore bonds this month, while China Evergrande Group narrowly averted a default by making a coupon payment on time last week. Evergrande faces another deadline on Friday. Global ratings agencies have already slashed their score on a record 44 Chinese developers this month as liquidity woes mount amid rising maturities, the report said.
Modern Land last Wednesday abandoned a proposal to extend repayment on the bond and the next morning halted trading of its stock and debt securities pending another announcement. The trade suspension remains in place, it said in the latest statement.
A regulatory crackdown on Chinese developers by authorities -- who are eager to rein in excessive leverage before it sparks a financial crisis -- has closed down funding avenues for developers. Under rules issued last year, companies can enhance borrowings only if their balance sheets meet net gearing, liquidity and other guidelines under the so called "three redlines" rules, the report said.
The clampdown has pushed banks to cut their exposure to the sector, and companies have not tapped the offshore bond market in over a year.
Despite such moves, the missed payments by Evergrande and defaults by smaller rivals have sparked fears of contagion across the $50 trillion Chinese financial systems in recent weeks.
While most economic indicators deteriorated in 2020, house prices largely defied the pandemic in over 57 of the 60 countries surveyed by the International Monetary Fund.
India, the Philippines and the UAE bucked the housing bite reported in the IMF Global House Price Index released Monday. Three quarters saw increases in house prices in 2020. The trend has largely continued in countries with more recent data.
The increases in house prices relative to incomes makes housing unaffordable to many segments of the population, as highlighted in the Fund's recent study of housing affordability in Europe.
The post-pandemic working arrangements could also exacerbate inequality concerns as high-earners in tele-workable jobs bid for larger homes, making homes less affordable for less affluent residents, IMF researchers said.
The surge in house prices has also had an impact on headline inflation in some countries and could contribute to more persistent inflationary pressures.
IMF research indicates that low-interest rates contributed to the boom in house prices, as did policy support provided by governments and workers' greater need to be able to work from home.
In many countries, including the US, online searches for homes reached record levels. The American home-sales market has been on a historic rally during the pandemic and well into the current Fall season.
Along with these demand factors, house prices also increased as supply chain disruptions raised the costs of several inputs into the construction process.
While fundamentals of demand and supply can account for much of the buoyancy of housing markets during the pandemic, policymakers are nonetheless keeping a close watch on developments in this sector.
Over a decade ago, a turnaround in house prices marked the onset of the Global Financial Crisis. However, the twin booms in household credit and house prices in many countries before that crisis-and many previous housing crashes-appear less prevalent today.
Hence, in a plausible scenario, a rise in interest rates, a withdrawal of policy support as economies start to recover, and a restoration of the timely supply of building materials, could lead to some normalisation in house prices, the researchers said.