Last month, the underground section of Chennai Metro Rail Project (Phase-I) was inaugurated, heralding a new era of sustainable transport in the city.
The newly constructed stretch covers a distance of 7.4 km between Thirumangalam and Nehru Park comprising five important stations of Anna Nagar Tower, Anna Nagar East, Shenoy Nagar, Pachayappa's College and Kilpauk Medical College. This will help mitigate the difficulties caused by mounting traffic in Chennai such as increased traffic congestion, air pollution, road accidents and journey time.
'The newly inaugurated underground section showcases the achievement of JICA towards better life and social innovation of the citizens of Chennai and the Government of Tamil Nadu,' says Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office. He adds, 'Chennai Metro will promote smoother travel and boost prosperity in the city and will be one of the shining examples of mutual cooperation between the two nations.' JICA has extended Ñ150,274 million (approximately Rs 9,000 crore) in concessional ODA loans over four tranches since 2008 for the development of around 45 km metro rail system in Chennai. By adding JICA's loan for Phase-V, the cumulative loan amount for Chennai Metro Project amounts to Ñ183,595 million (approximately Rs 11,000 crore).
Once completed, the Chennai Metro project Phase-1 is expected to have over 800 trains running in either direction each day, transporting an estimated 7 lakh people each day by the year 2021.
Vector Projects, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uniply Industries Last September, Vector Projects (India) has merged with Uniply Industries, a manufacturer of plywood, laminates and related products, striking a first-of-its kind deal in India. The Rs 64.12-crore deal made Vector Projects a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uniply Industries.
This has further expanded opportunities for both Uniply and Vector Projects by integrating into an end-to-end building solutions provider as well as creating a single large entity that potentially doubles their business size. 'This association expands opportunities for both Uniply and Vector by bringing together building materials and solutions providers. So, it brings together a commodity and service provider and, jointly, we aspire to create a formidable entity in the interior and fit-out sector,' says Umesh Rao, Founder and CEO, Vector Projects (India). Through the association, Vector also gets access to Uniply's wide network of dealers, which stands to aid its expansion plans.
With a journey of over 15 years, Vector Projects is ready to enter the second phase of its business.
Rao shares, 'One of our immediate plans is to expand our existing manufacturing facility. We also plan to tie up with small scale entrepreneurs and architects with expertise in residential interiors.' With all the benefits coming through, indeed, it's a deal!
Treat land as zero rated under the GST regime: CREDAI
The Goods and Service Tax (GST) has come about as a major reform in India since it integrates all Central and state taxes into one comprehensive tax regime for the entire country.
'Trade and industry are major gainers of GST as it eliminates multiple taxation at the state and Central level and its consequent cascading effects,' says Jaxay Shah, President, CREDAI. However, he adds, 'For all other sectors, GST is their total indirect tax liability. But for real estate, the GST rate fixed at 12 per cent is only a fraction of its tax burden. The sector is exceptional because the GST regime does not eliminate multiple taxations.'
That said, stamp duty, levied by the states on all immovable property will continue to remain in force even post the implementation of GST. Shah adds, 'The additional burden on real estate on account of stamp duty averages between 5 per cent to 8 per cent of the value of the immovable property. Second, the stamp duty is payable on every transaction, and lastly, it is levied by the state governments on circle rates or guideline values of property, which are arbitrarily determined and far in access of the value at which transactions take place.'
Unless abatement for land is allowed, cost to the end consumer would go up, Shah mentions. Hence, CREDAI urges the government to minimise double taxation of real estate by treating land as zero rated under the GST regime. 'The positive multiplier effect of real estate on other industries would make up the revenue loss and the nation would be thankful for a tax regime consistent with the objective of Housing for All by 2022,' Shah concludes.