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Thursday, February 08, 2018

SC cancels iron ore mining leases of 88 companies in Goa
The Supreme Court yesterday quashed the second renewal of iron ore mining leases given to 88 companies in Goa in 2015. The apex court directed the Centre and the Goa government to grant fresh environmental clearances to them. It said the state government was obliged to grant fresh mining leases in accordance with law, in view of its previous judgement, and not second renewals to mining lease holders. The apex court had said in previous judgements that only fresh leases were to be granted by the Goa government, not second renewals. A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said mining lease holders, who have been granted a second renewal in violation of its previous decision and directions, are granted time to manage their affairs and may continue mining operations till March 15 this year.

Companies see more jobs raining in Jan-Jun 2018: Survey
Reflecting the bullish sentiment across industries, companies' hiring outlook for the first two quarters of 2018 looks robust as 67% of recruiters polled expect new jobs to be created during the period, says a report. According to Naukri.Com's semi-annual survey, 67% respondents are optimistic towards creation of new job opportunities as compared to 60% in July-December last year, while 20% said only replacement hiring will happen over the period. The 'Hiring Outlook 2018' report further noted that 52% recruiters are looking at hiring for experience band of 0-3 years. Around 35% indicate that the maximum opportunities would be for those with 4-8 years of experience.

RInfra bags 2 road EPC contracts of Rs 1,881 cr from NHAI
Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) yesterday said it has bagged two road projects worth Rs 1,881 crore from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to be developed on EPC basis. The company has received Letters of Award (LOA) for the two projects having a combined value of Rs 1,881 crore awarded under the National Highway Development Program (phase V) and funded by NHAI. The projects include six-laning of 69.5 km stretch of Aurangabad to Bihar-Jharkhand border section of NH2 with a project cost of Rs 882 crore, and the adjoining 71.3 km stretch of the Bihar–Jharkhand border to Gorhar section of NH-2 in Jharkhand for Rs 999 crore.

MTDC aims to increase tourist influx in Nashik Valley
Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, (MTDC) has associated with Nashik Valley Wine Cluster to promote the India Grape Harvest, Wine Festival 2018 from 9th February to 11th March 2018. The aim of this festival is to recognize the involvement of the farmers to harvest grapes of the finest quality and to produce best wine as per the international quality in the city of Nashik. Through this festival, MTDC aims to create awareness around the “Nashik Valley” as one of the leading tourist destinations to promote wine tourism. The festival is one of the country’s largest Grape Harvest Festival to popularize Indian Raisins, Grapes, Wines, Agricultural and Industrial production.

Reliance Energy’s ‘Change For Mumbai’ initiative
Reliance Energy is offering up to 42% discount on super efficient ceiling fans and energy efficient 5 star-rated refrigerators for its residential customers under its ‘Change for Mumbai’ initiative. The initiative is timed so that customers who avail the offer can beat the sweltering summer heat with less impact on electricity bills. A Reliance Energy spokesperson said “Under this scheme, we are offering 50,000 ceiling fans and 20,000 refrigerators to customers. Under ‘Change for Mumbai’ initiative, Reliance Energy has so far distributed 25,000 ceiling fans, 6,500 refrigerators and 3,000 air-conditioners with 5 star energy efficiency rating at subsidized cost to its residential and commercial customers resulting in Energy savings of 19 MUs.”

GST on tickets to amusement parks lowered to 18%
Tickets to amusement parks, including theme parks, water parks and merry-go-rounds, attract 18% GST with effect from January 25, lower than 28% earlier, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. The ministry hoped that states through authorities, like panchayats and municipalities, would not increase the local taxes on entertainment and amusement and help keep the tax burden low. "This will ensure that the rate cut in GST is passed on to the children and families," it said.

IOC, BPCL keen to acquire GAIL India: Pradhan
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan yesterday said IOC and BPCL are both keen to acquire gas utility GAIL India Ltd, which as per the extant policy needs to be split by separating gas transportation business from its marketing unit. IOC and BPCL have separately indicated to the petroleum ministry their interest in taking over GAIL to add natural gas to their oil refining and marketing business. In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Pradhan said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the 2017-18 Budget unveiled government's plan to create integrated public sector oil majors "through consolidation, mergers and acquisitions" so as that the merged company has "capacity to bear higher risks, avail economies of scale, take higher investment decisions" and is "able to match the performance of international and domestic private companies”.

Govt seriously looking at revival plan for MTNL
The government is seriously looking at a revival plan for state-owned MTNL, and various steps have been taken to improve the telecom operator's customer base, Union minister Manoj Sinha said yesterday. Replying to supplementaries in the Lok Sabha, he said the government is also considering equipping MTNL and BSNL to start providing 4G services. MTNL has taken various steps to improve its network capabilities, quality of services and to increase the market share. These include expansion of 3G network and redeployment of Digital Subscriber Line Asynchronous Mode (DSLAM) mode of existing broadband network.

Office space leasing to cross 100 mn sq ft during 2018-20: JLL
Office space leasing is expected to grow by an average 8% to cross 100 million sq ft by 2020 in eight top cities on the back of robust demand from corporates, according to property consultant JLL India. The net absorption of office space stood at 28.7 million sq ft in 2017 calendar year and the consultant has pegged absorption at 30.2 million sq ft in 2018, 33.6 million sq ft in 2019 and 36.5 million sq ft in 2020. Unlike housing sector, commercial real estate (office and retail properties) is witnessing reasonable demand and attracting huge institutional investment.

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