The Indian Railways would stop inducting the relatively unsafe Integral Coach Factory (ICF)-type coaches, which consist of two-thirds of its 60,000-strong fleet at present, by the middle of 2018 while the production of safer Linke-Hoffman-Busch (LHB) coaches would be multiplied, railway minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday. “Rae Bareli (modern coach factory) has already sent me a proposal to produce 5,000 LHB coaches per year, up from 1,000 at present,” the minister said, stressing on the importance of ensuring safety of passengers. While the plan is to at least double the LHB coaches capacity from an annual 4,000 at present, given that about 20,000 LHB coaches are in use, it would take about five years to replace all ICF coaches with LHB. “In four to five years, ICF will be history,” Goyal asserted. Railways has three passenger coach manufacturing plants — Rae Bareli, ICF-Chennai and Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala. Speaking at the Indian Express Group’s Idea Exchange programme, Goyal said the transporter’s coach factories were augmenting LHB capacities at a pace much faster than planned earlier.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which had terminated a clutch of concession agreements citing default by developers since April 2014, has now given the developers concerned a chance to escape getting debarred from bidding for new projects. With the “non-eligibility” period for these firms set to expire, the authority has asked them to make representations before November 6 for a possible review. When contacted, NHAI chairman Deepak Kumar told FE that the authority had written to the developers to give reasons for revoking the non-eligibility. The NHAI might bid out some of the projects afresh.
The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) has urged the state government to cancel the lease of two land parcels of Jaypee Group, senior officials at the authority said. YEIDA wants to sell the land in a bid to recover its dues and would also use the proceeds to refund the money of homebuyers of five scrapped projects of the debt-ridden realtor, they said. Jaypee group owes over Rs 4,300 crore to YEIDA. “We have urged UP government and have sought their approval to take over the land from Jaypee and sell it to recover our dues and we will also refund money to the homebuyers who have invested in the projects which have been scrapped,” a senior official at the authority said. As many as 3,365 buyers have invested in five projects of Jaypee group in the YEIDA area — Budh Circuit-01, Budh Circuit-02, Nature View, Yamuna Vihar and Udaan.
India moved up 30 places from last year’s 130th to rank 100th in this year’s World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report on the back of reforms taken by the Modi government. The report, treated as a barometer by global investors, assesses 190 economies on ten parameters—starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. The report notes that of the 37 reforms undertaken by India since 2003, nearly half have been implemented in the last four years, roughly concurrent with BJP coming to power with a thumping majority in 2014.
Despite GST, Maruti Suzuki to continue investing in home grown semi-hybrid tech in its Ciaz, Ertiga variants
At a time when most automakers in India have moved away from introducing cars with the hybrid technology owing to the significant increase in taxes after the implementation of the goods and services tax, Maruti Suzuki will continue to invest in its homegrown semi-hybrid technology it dubs smart hybrid across its Ciaz (a mid-size sedan) and Ertiga (an MUV) variants. “Maruti as a company will continue to invest in smart hybrid technology since it is much more cleaner in terms of emissions. Customers who buy vehicles with hybrid engines also understand that. Hence, we will continue to invest,” said RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki. Toyota Kirloskar recently announced that it had stopped manufacturing the hybrid variant of Camry (a premium sedan) for the domestic market. Demand for hybrid vehicles has substantially declined after the Centre removed the subsidy on such vehicles under the FAME scheme. After the implementation of the GST, taxes on such vehicles increased from 28% to 43%. The government has refused to make exceptions for hybrid vehicles, and instead, is trying to promote electric vehicles. After the introduction of the mild hybrid technology, sales of Maruti’s dual offerings – Ciaz and Ertiga – zoomed since they attracted just 12.5% excise duty (in the pre-GST era) compared to its peers that attracted a 28% excise duty.