Govt may reduce GST on construction materials

At least two state finance ministers told TOI that a number of items like bath fittings, cement, steel products such as rods used for construction are in the top bracket and do not belong there

GST Council may reduce the number of products in the highest slab, following a series of complaints by state finance ministers, who have argued that several common-use products face a 28% levy, causing hardship to people.

At least two state finance ministers told TOI that a number of items like bath fittings, cement, steel products such as rods used for construction are in the top bracket and do not belong there. “The idea was to classify the goods and services into merit and non-merit goods with the non-metrit goods in the top bracket.
But we have gone beyond that,” said a state finance minister, who has usually sided with the Centre on most issues.

The minister said the “block” was too big and needed to be reduced. On Saturday, CBEC officials had also said that there were far too many items in the top slab.

The second state FM said the issue is expected to be discussed at the next meeting of the Council scheduled in Guwahati, given the concerns expressed by several states.“In the medium-term the aim is to move to fewer slabs,”

The minister said. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had last week reiterated the plan to move to fewer slabs in the future.

Some of the state government officials also believe that the 28% levy was also resulting in sellers evading taxes as it is quite common for shopkeepers to advise buyers to pay in cash, where no invoice is issued.

The talk of reducing the number of products in the top bracket follows finalisation of a concept paper at last Friday’s GST Council meeting.

It was decided that a formula for review, including the need for reduction in slabs, the tax credits available and revenue impact will have to be discussed by the Council in detail before a decision is taken, said a source.

Separately, the government has also announced the establishment of a panel of state FMs, which will review the tax structure for different categories of restaurants for a possible reduction or rationalisation. Restaurants currently face a levy of 12% to 28%, depending on whether they are mereeateries or restaurants in five-star hotels.

In addition, the panel has three other terms of reference, including possible exemption for sales revenue from exempted goods in calculating the overall turnover of an entity, a decision that is fraught with the risk of massive leakage from the government treasury.

The committee will see if the composition scheme can be extended to the outward supply of goods. The scheme allows traders (1%), manufacturers (2%) and eateries (5%) with turnover of up to Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore to pay GST at a flat rate with a lower compliance burden.

In deciding GST rates, the government had opted for a principle of equivalence, where the combined incidence of VAT and excise, or service tax, was factored in. The Centre’s focus was on ensuring that there was no rise in the burden on common-use items, especially those which are part of consumer price index, while protecting its revenue.
Several items such as stationary were put in the top bracket, decisions that have already been tweaked.

At the same time, the GST Council, comprising the Centre and the states, had consciously opted for multiple tax rates in segments such as restaurants and hotels with the luxury segment in the top bracket.


Dwarka expressway gets National Highway status

With this notification NHAI has also specified the speed limit of 80kmph on Dwarka Expressway, once completed the road will emerge as an alternate route between Delhi-Gurgaon

GURUGRAM: National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) finally issued notification granting national highway status to 28 km long Dwarka Expressway starting from Shiv Murti in Delhi to Kherki Daula in Gurugram. The notification has come after over a year of an announcement made by Union minister Nitin Gadkari to grant NH status to the expressway.

With this notification NHAI has also specified the speed limit of 80kmph on Dwarka Expressway, once completed the road will emerge as an alternate route between Delhi-Gurgaon and it is expected to reduce the traffic load on Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. The move is also expected to expedite the completion of this much-delayed project.

Following the request of Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar during Global Investor Summit in March 2016 union minister has announced to give NH status to the road. Later in May 2016, MoRTH has given in-principal approval to Dwarka Expressway, now finally NHAI has issued the notification in this regard.

Developers are excited about the development. “We welcome the move as this will allow a positive drift in the momentum for Gurugram’s real estate market. NH status will boost infrastructure development of the area and likely to promote investment in new Gurugram,” said the director of Mapsko, Rahul Singla.

Terming it a landmark development, official spokesperson of Emaar India, said, “Expressway has great potential due to its proximity to international airport, NH8, and SPR.”

According to notification 28 km long Dwarka Expressway starts from Shiv Murti in Delhi on NH-8 passes through UER-II (parallel to Terminal-3 of Delhi Airport) up to Barthal Chowk (junction of Sector 25-26 Dwarka) then it will take left turn and go straight up to Kherki Daula in Gurugram and it culminates on NH-8, around one km before Khrki Daula toll plaza at SPR, CPR junction.

The 18.1 km stretch of the road is in Gurugram and rest in Delhi. In Gurugram only, around 1.4 km stretch in New Palam Vihar (around 1 km) and Kherki Daula village (around 400 meter) needs to be constructed. While in Delhi 6.5 km stretch from Shiv Murti to Bharthal Chowk is part of UER-II (no need for construction) and remaining 3.4 km stretch from Bharthal Chowk (junction of Dwarka sector 25-26) to Delhi-Haryana border needs to be constructed.

According to NHAI official for this 3.4 km stretch in Delhi, the authority has started land acquisition for 2.1 km stretch. Rest of the land is under DDA, which will be handed over to NHAI. “NHAI has started land acquisition process in Village Bamnauli and Bijawan. The total of around 24 hectares of land will be acquired to complete the Delhi portion of the expressway,” said the official.

The horizontal alignment of the road is designed for 80 kmph speed in general. The main carriageway is proposed to be of 8-lane with 3-lane service road on either side. At the intersections, flyover has been proposed. In order to avoid the traffic jam in future at crossing and junctions, NHAI will construct the underpass at such spots. “All the major crossroad including existing and proposed master road of sectors are supposed to have 4-lane underpasses for smooth movement of traffic,” said the official.


How shopping malls can have a longer self life

From roping in retailers such as Decathlon to re-configuring brands malls are forging deals to survive and some have even repositioned themselves to turn profitable


The mall business in India, stagnant for almost a decade, may now be seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Older malls are trying various strategies to stay afloat and attract new and fast-selling stores to take on snazzier, newer malls that have come up in their vicinity.

From roping in retailers such as Decathlon to re-configuring brands and squeezing existing shops to make way for new tenants, malls are forging deals to survive and some have even repositioned themselves to turn profitable.

In Mumbai, the 10-year-old Inorbit Mall revamped itself and offered a red-carpet deal to Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB to compete with three-year-old Infinity Mall half a kilometer away. They shrank the floor space provided to Lifestyle and a couple of other stores and gave 20,000 square feet to Zara’s rival to drive footfalls.

“Inorbit saw an initial dip in footfalls of about 15% when Infinity came up in the vicinity,” said Susil Dungarwal, a retail and shopping mall specialist in Mumbai. “By taking proactive measures, they now have an average annual growth of 25-30%.” In Hyderabad, Manjeera Mall is getting sports store Decathlon with 10,000 square feet on the ground floor to attract customers after facing tough competition from three-year-old Sujana Forum Mall nearby.

Bengaluru-based Westgate Mall in Rajajinagar is getting Lifestyle and Home Center in a value outlet format with 10,000 square feet each. It had to re-position itself as a value mall after Orion Mall and Mantri Mall came up in the vicinity Malls are taking such steps when the retail industry lost 3.5 million square feet of space as five shopping centers shut down and 10 vacant ones were converted into offices, according to property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle.

With new malls such as Vega City in Bengaluru, The Pavilion in Pune and Grand Central Seawoods in Mumbai set to come up by 2020, JLL estimates the rivalry will only get stiffer. By the end of 2017, about a dozen malls might shut down, the consultant said.

Retailers, especially from the US and Europe, have been showing increasing interest in the India market, due to growing opportunities in this sector, real estate consultant CBRE said. Over 40 major international brands have entered the country over the past two years, CBRE said in a note in February.

Amid the flux in India’s retailing business, rentals for tenants in malls haven’t fallen. They typically increase by 15% every three years, according to industry experts. The lease period for an anchor store has remained unchanged at between 15 and 21 years, while for vanilla stores, the term has reduced from nine years to six years in some malls.

When a new mall comes up in the vicinity, the older shopping centers respond by differentiating their offerings and try to forge deals without affecting rentals. In one case, a mall in Bengaluru lured an anchor brand by offering to pay for doing up the interiors.

Malls are even getting in small retailers to differentiate their offerings. In Cochin, Oberon Mall suffered after the 1.5 million square foot Lulu Mall came up less than half a kilometer away, taking away customers and prompting retailers to vacate. The developers responded by spending about Rs 5 crore to revive the mall. They introduced Oberon Chanta, a collection of 20 small stores on the third floor, which previously housed a home furniture store.

Bengaluru-based Forum Neighbourhood Mall in Whitefield is focussing on getting lesser-known brands from tier-II cities to get an edge over VR Mall and Inorbit Mall in the neighborhood. Recently, the mall roped in Mysore-based hypermarket brand Loyal World. The management is now in talks with Mangalore-based brand Harsha Electronics. Total Mall in Bengaluru repositioned itself as a neighborhood mall that’s come to be known as Market Square since 2012. The mall was practically empty before that and it turned around in 2015 after Lighthouse Mall Management took up the project.

Ten-year-old Cosmos Mall in Bengaluru underwent a facelift and was repositioned as a neighborhood mall christened Brookfield Mall. Even after being in the right location, the mall was affected when Inorbit, Phoenix Market City, and VR Mall opened.

“It lacked design and cinema halls. In a 1.5 lakh square foot space, they just had Pantaloons and Taco Bell running like high street stores with their own entrances,” said Neeraj Duggal, managing director of Lighthouse Mall Management company. “Now 80% of the mall is operational with an Inox, new brands, pubs, and salons.”


Experts said great mall management plays a significant role in maintaining footfalls and sales. According to Pankaj Renjhen, managing director of retail services at JLL India, developers have realized that good mall management and services like free parking, baby care room and a mall helpdesk are some ways to keep footfalls stable and boost growth in same-store sales.

He said F&B and entertainment contribute to about 15-20% of the total mall space compared with 5-10% three to four years ago. “Some malls are also going to the extent of getting fashion consultants on board to assist customers,” he said.


Diwanshu Mittal, assistant vice president of retail at JLL, said there is a need for smaller malls to churn their brand mix and bring in new shops and stores to help them remain relevant. “Malls can also change their positioning and convert to a neighborhood center to cater to a particular catchment. For example, a Gold Souk or an F&B mall or a mall with big box retail,” he said. Experts said that with high streets across the country dying out, the neighborhood mall concept is booming.

Malls around the country are also getting in luxury brands to differentiate themselves. Select CityWalk in New Delhi is now a premium mall and houses brands such as Burberry, Armani, and Aéropostale. Ambiance Mall in Gurgaon will welcome Michael Kors in a couple of months. Dungarwal said cities are reaching saturation point in terms of a number of shopping malls. “Mumbai has had no growth as there are no new malls since the last three years, although developers like Maker Group and Shapoorji Pallonji are planning to enter the mall industry,” he said.

Malls such as West End, TDI, CitySquare, and Westgate in New Delhi started about 10 years ago and have seen footfalls slide with the emergence of newer malls like the Pacific Mall in Subhash Nagar and Unity One Mall in Janakpuri. TDI gave a portion of their ground-floor space to Westside, which brought in significant footfalls but failed to bring back its former glory. These malls have limited branded stores and retail outlets, with mainly wine and beer shops and food outlets such as Wimpy’s, Burger King and Subway. Other than that, the buildings are relatively empty. Although some of them have movie theaters, they are hardly visited.

Experts said of the 450-plus malls in the country, 70% were low-grade malls. Even though new malls are coming up, they will be ready only by 2020-21.

Mittal said supply was very limited in New Delhi because only a few developers such as DLF, Unity Group, and Bharti invested in retail. Only one mall is coming up in the next two years in the capital – Vegas in Dwarka.


With malls, everything counts, especially the perception of customers. Along with malls, customers have changed. Keeping in mind their necessities, they have learned to prioritize and visit malls according to time, availability and leisure.

Annie Varghese, a college student in New Delhi, used to visit CitySquare Mall in Rajouri Garden before its sheen faded. “The place lost its appeal as I grew older and they never had anything new to offer anymore,” she said.

Varghese now shops at Pacific Mall in Subhash Nagar, which houses brands such as Forever 21, Charles & Keith, Zara and the newly introduced Decathlon. “Apart from being closer to my home, Pacific has big brands, a food court with class and a great multiplex for movie buffs,” she said. Consumers in India tend to go for larger brands and better spaces with variety more than smaller spaces.

Purab Kulkarni, a banker and father of two from Noida, said visiting the new, big malls was an experience. “With the boom of world-known retail chains, brands, and activities, it has become a whole new experience. We can celebrate festivals here with our kids as the decorations and activities put up for shoppers are impressive,” he said. He added that Christmas was his favorite time to visit malls with his family. The growing popularity of online shopping is also a threat to retail malls.

According to Boston Consulting Group, while the number of stores may be still be increasing among best-practice retailers, overall productivity per store is stagnating— or declining. To meet this challenge, stores may have to be re-imagined to create richer shopping experiences that reflect their customers’ needs and shopping preferences, BCG said.


अब द्वारका एक्सप्रेसवे पर दौड़ेगी मेट्रो

द्वारका एक्सप्रेसवे (एनपीआर) को एनएचएआई को करेगा टेकओवर
छह लेन के एनपीआर को एनएचएआई रिडिजाइन कर बनाएगा 12 लेन

एनपीआर के 150 में से 90 मीटर हिस्सा एनएचएआई को हैंडओवर करना है। अथॉरिटी इस एक्सप्रेसवे को रिडिजाइन कर मोडिफाई करेगी। एक्सप्रेसवे की लेन 12 करने के साथ ही इस पर मेट्रो चलाने का भी प्लान है। हूडा हैंडओवर प्रोसेस के लिए पूरी तरह तैयार है।
यशपाल यादव, प्रशासक, हूडा
एनबीटी न्यूज, गुड़गांव
खेड़कीदौला से दिल्ली के द्वारका को कनेक्ट करने के लिए बन रहे द्वारका एक्सप्रेसवे (एनपीआर) से मेट्रो गुजरेगी। इसके लिए बाकायदा डिवाइडर से होते हुए मेट्रो चलाने की प्लानिंग है। डिवाइडर के अंदर ही मेट्रो के पिलर बनेंगे और दोनों साइड वाहन दौड़ेंगे। मेट्रो को इफ्को चौक, खेड़कीदौला या फिर मानेसर से कनेक्ट किया जाएगा। इसके अलावा एक्सप्रेसवे जल्द ही मोडिफाई किया जाएगा। अब एनएचएआई हूडा से इसे टेकओवर करने जा रहा है। एनएचएआई ने हूडा से संबंधित डिजाइन और ड्रॉइंग मांगे हैं। एनएचएआई इसे नए सिरे से मोडिफाई करने के डिजाइन तैयार करेगा। मोडिफिकेशन के तहत सड़क 12 लेन की होगी, जो अभी 6 लेन की है। सड़क पर ग्रीनरी का भी खास ख्याल रखा गया है।
90 मीटर NHAI के पास
एनपीआर की चौड़ाई करीब 150 मीटर है। वर्तमान में सड़क के अलावा यहां मास्टर सीवर, वॉटर समेत अन्य प्रकार की लाइनों व ग्रीन बेल्ट, सर्विस लेन के लिए भी स्पेस है। एनएचएआई इसे टेकओवर कर नए सिरे से डिजाइन करेगा। 150 मीटर में से बीच का 90 मीटर हिस्सा हूडा एनएचएआई को हैंडओवर करेगा। दोनों साइड में 60 मीटर हिस्सा हूडा के पास रहेगा। हूडा इस 60 मीटर हिस्से से एनपीआर के साथ लगते सेक्टरों के लिए वॉटर सप्लाई, सीवरेज समेत अन्य सभी प्रकार की सर्विसेज देगा।
6 लेन को NHAI बनाएगा 12 लेन
फिलहाल एनपीआर पर छह लेन की सड़क है। डिवाइडर के दोनों साइड वाहनों के लिए 3-3 लेन हैं। लेकिन जल्द ही यह 12 लेन का हो जाएगा। दिल्ली के द्वारका से खेड़कीदौला पर एनएच-8 तक यह 12 लेन का होगा। डिवाइडर के दोनों ओर 6-6 लेन डिवेलप की जाएंगी।
सेंट्रल वर्ज में बनेंगे मेट्रो पिलर
एनएचएआई की ओर से हूडा को भेजे गए प्रपोजल में बताया गया है कि एनपीआर के बीच में डिवाइडर से होते हुए मेट्रो जाएगी। डिवाइडर के अंदर ही मेट्रो के पिलर बनेंगे और दोनों साइड वाहन दौड़ेंगे। मेट्रो को दिल्ली द्वारका के स्टेशन से जोड़ा जाएगा। ज्यादा संभावना है कि एयरपोर्ट लाइन से मेट्रो को जोड़ा जा सकता है। मेट्रो को इफ्को चौक या खेड़कीदौला से आगे मानेसर तक जोड़ने का प्लान है। हालांकि इसका फैसला बाद में किया जाएगा।
हैंडओवर की प्रोसेस फाइनल
हूडा ने प्रोजेक्ट से जुड़े डिजाइन व ड्रॉइंग पिछले दिनों एनएचएआई के हवाले कर दिए थे। डिजाइन पर एनएचएआई ने कुछ सवाल उठाए हैं। हूडा से द्वारका एक्सप्रेसवे के साथ लगते गांवों को जा रही रोड और एक्सप्रेसवे के इंटरसेक्शन पॉइंट के संबंध में कुद सवाल पूछे गए हैं। हूडा ने हैंडओवर प्रोसेस लगभग पूरा कर लिया है।
बसई आरओबी का काम पूरा
सेक्टर 100 और 37डी क्रॉसिंग पर रेलवे ओवरब्रिज बनकर तैयार है। इसकी लागत पर करीब 150 करोड़ रुपये का खर्च आया है। मुख्यमंत्री मनोहर लाल जल्द ही इसका उद्घाटन करेंगे। बताया जा रहा है कि आरओबी की लंबाई करीब 1200 मीटर है।
द्वारका एक्सप्रेसवे की कुल लंबाई करीब 28 किमी
लगभग 10 किमी हिस्सा दिल्ली में पड़ता है
18 किमी हिस्सा हरियाणा में पड़ता है।
करीब 15 किमी का निर्माण हो चुका है।
बाकी 3 किमी हिस्से पर निर्माण बाकी है।
दिल्ली का हाल
दिल्ली के एरिया में पड़ने वाले करीब 10 किलोमीटर हिस्से पर एसडीएम बसंत विहार व एसडीएम कापसहेड़ा ने जमीन अधिग्रहण का प्रोसेस शुरू किया हुआ है। जमीन अधिग्रहण की प्रक्रिया एनएचएआई एक्ट के तहत की जा रही है, ताकि इसे जल्द पूरा किया जा सके।
इनको होगा फायदा
इसके बनने के बाद से रोड के दोनों ओर डिवेलप हो रहे सैकड़ों रेजिडेंशल व कमर्शल प्रोजेक्ट को फायदा होगा। इसके अलावा खेड़कीदौला, गाड़ौली कलां, गाड़ौली खुर्द, हरसरू, बसई, धनकोट, खेड़की माजरा, दौलताबाद, न्यू पालम विहार, धनवापुर, बाबूपुर, सराय अलावर्दी, हयातपुर, बढ़ा, सिकंदरपुर, बामडौली, सेक्टर 9, 9ए, 10, 10 ए के अलावा आस-पास लगते सेक्टर्स को भी लाभ पहुंचेगा।


Dwarka e-way rail bridge to open

GURUGRAM: The much-delayed railway overbridge (RoB) at Basai on the Dwarka expressway is now complete. It is likely to be opened to traffic by month-end.

The RoB, located at the junction of sectors 100 and 37D at Basai village, will fill a crucial connectivity gap on the 18km-long Dwarka expressway. Once open — it is scheduled to be inaugurated by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar — the bridge will improve connectivity of new sectors coming up in the area.

“Construction of the RoB is complete and it will be inaugurated soon,” said Huda administrator Yashpal Yadav, adding they are trying to find a time slot from the chief minister’s busy schedule for its inauguration.

Of the 1,200m-long RoB, Indian Railways built the 128m stretch passing over the railway track. The ramps on either side were constructed by Huda, at a cost of around Rs 153 crore. “It was an important infrastructure project,” said a Huda official. Huda is going to connect the expressway with roads going to Pataudi, Basai and all nearby sectors within the next few months. “It’s expected to improve connectivity to 25 sectors on either side of the road,” said he. Most of the residential projects in these sectors are either complete or near completion.

“The Basai RoB is a key milestone towards completion of the 18km-long Dwarka expressway. This will ease connectivity to various residential projects along the e-way, and fill the connectivity gap on the northern peripheral road,” said Pankaj Bansal, director of real estate firm M3M Group.

The only stretches of the Dwarka expressway in Haryana that remain incomplete now are at New Palam Vihar and Kherki Daula village. Huda has allotted alternative plots to New Palam Vihar oustees in March-April and will take possession of the land after September as per final terms of the settlement. Work on the Delhi portion of the expressway has also gained pace. On May 15, NHAI issued a notification for acquisition of land required for construction of the road.