Price of making DND Flyway free to use amounts to Rs5,000 crore

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

The New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (Noida) will have to pay Rs.5,000 crore to the company operating the DND Flyway connecting Delhi and Noida if the government entity terminates a 30-year contract at its mid-point and takes over the toll road.

Last week, the Allahabad high court barred Noida Toll Bridge Co. Ltd, which operates the flyway, from collecting toll. The 117,000 vehicle owners using the 9.2km toll road every day save money—cars pay Rs.28 for a one-way trip.

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But Noida Toll Bridge, which is promoted by IL&FS and is a listed company, is losing Rs.30 lakh a day and its market capitalization has eroded by about 30%.

The first memorandum of understanding to build a New Delhi-Noida expressway was signed under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode in 1992, a year after India initiated economic reforms. The toll road started operations in 2001.

This is a 30-year build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) contract, where Noida Toll Bridge would operate the flyway for 30 years or until it recovered its investment.

 

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Further, it was promised an assured return of 20% on its total cost, which included the initial project cost, the running cost and the shortfall in profit.

 

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The result: the road cost Rs.378 crore to build, but this unmet assured return of 20% has led to the total cost under the agreement spiraling to Rs.5,000 crore in 15 years.

After a slow start, DND Flyway is now reporting healthy profits with three-fourths of toll revenue coming in as profits. In 15 years, Noida Toll Bridge earned Rs.1,052 crore via toll collection and a cumulative net profit of Rs.348 crore.

 

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Nearly eight out of 10 vehicles crossing the toll booth is a car, probably fuelled by development of residential areas in Noida and Greater Noida. Total number of vehicles crossing has increased by nearly six times in the last 15 years.

 

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A new airport ✈

News in Numbers – September 16

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22

What is it? The number of international airports in India, following the addition of Chandigarh to this list yesterday.

Why is it important? India is one of the fastest-growing markets in world aviation. The creation of new airport pairs, as is expected to happen with the Chandigarh airport in the international segment over time, is a big lever of passenger growth.

Tell me more: In 2013-14, the Chandigarh airport serviced 9,690 domestic flights and 10.50 lakh passengers. In terms of flights serviced, it was the sixth busiest in North India, after New Delhi Jaipur, Lucknow, Srinagar and Amritsar.

 

$ 21.51 billion

What is it? India’s exports in August, down 0.3% from August 2015. Imports declined by 14%, helping India to narrow the trade deficit.

Why is it important? The headline number masks the relatively better performance of the top 5 export groups, barring petroleum products. Non-petroleum exports increased by 1.79% in August 2016.

Tell me more: Imports declined sharply because of 78% dip in gold imports, partly aided by sharp dip in gold prices. Non-oil and non-gold imports- a proxy economic indicator – declined by 1.52%.

 

-3.4%

What is it? The drop in share price of Reliance Communications yesterday, a day after it announced the merger of its mobile wireless business with a smaller company, Aircel.

Why is it important? Along with sharing additional details on the merger, Reliance yesterday said it planned to raise $1 billion from outside investors. Meanwhile, rating agency Moody’s placed the company’s credit rating under “review for downgrade”.

Tell me more: Over much of its listing, the Reliance Communications stock has been a value destroyer: overall, it has depreciated 84% since debuting in March 2006.

 

22 million tonne

What is it? The expected production of pulses this year, up 33% from last year.

Why is it important? Pulses shortage and the resultant rise in prices have been among the biggest concerns of the government and policy makers over the last few months. The government has more than doubled its buffer stock of pulses, and warned that it would invoke essential commodities act to impose price control. Higher production would alleviate those concerns.

Tell me more: The rise in pulses production (and food grains in general) is expected on the back of normal monsoon this season, coming after two years of drought. The area under food grain cultivation has gone up by 5.3 million hectare.

 

30

What is it? The number of lives lost to Dengue and  Chikungunya in Delhi this year

Why is it important? Over 2800 people have been affected by these two diseases in the capital alone, raising questions about government’s ability to manage public health.   Across the country, the number of cases has crossed 12,000. Both viral diseases cause fatigue, fever and body pain, and can last a couple of weeks. Complications can lead to death.

Tell me more:  Both diseases have been causing concern to public health officials across the world. There is no specific treatment for either, and vaccines have caused their own problems. According to WHO, there are 390 million dengue infections per year, and the year 2016 saw five fold increase in reported Chikungunya cases

 

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News in Numbers, Aug 17, 2016: Hike becomes a unicorn, dengue cases on the rise in Delhi…

$175 million

What is it? The amount Indian messaging startup Hike Messenger has raised from a group of investors led by Chinese Internet firm Tencent Holdings and Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Groupat a valuation of $1.4 billion.

Why is it important? This is Hike Messenger’s fourth and its biggest round of funding and with this, the startup has now entered the unicorn club. This would help the startup invest in services and make the product better even as it tries to catch up with the most popular or dominant messaging platform Whatsapp in India. Hike has over 100 million users, of which 95% are Indians while Whatsapp hit the 1 billion-mark globally in Feb this year.

Tell me more: Hike was launched by Kavin Bharti Mittal, son of Sunil Mittal who is the chairman of Bharti Enterprises, in December 2012. It has raised over $250 million so far.

 

3.55%

What is it? The increase in India’s wholesale price inflation in July, up from 1.62% in June.

Why is it important? This was the fastest in nearly two years (23 months) and was due to increase in inflation of both food and non-food articles. While the former increased by 9.38% last month (compared to 8.18% in June) the latter quickened to 9.49% in July (from 5.72% in June). Cereals, pulses, vegetables and fruits were the main reasons for the increase in food inflation while fibers and oil seeds pushed up non-food inflation.

Tell me more: In the last one year or so, the gap between wholesale price index-based inflation (WPI-based) and consumer price index-based inflation (CPI-based) has narrowed: last month, CPI-based inflation accelerated to 6.07%, again the highest in 23 months.

 

194

What is it? The number of companies that have been asked by Bombay Stock Exchange to delist. They have been suspended from trading for the last 13 years.  

Why is it important? This will help public shareholders. The promoters of the delisted firms have to purchase shares from the public shareholders at a fair price arrived at by an independent valuer (who is appointed by the exchange). The markets regulator is taking steps to bring down the number of listed companies to reduce the risk of price manipulation through such firms and improve the governance of public markets.

Tell me more: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) would reportedly attach the assets and properties of companies that fail to comply with the delisting notices. In June, it was reported that the BSE was finding it difficult to follow SEBI’s order of delisting firms that have been suspended from trading for more than seven years as half of the 509 letters sent by the exchange bounced back, indicating that the promoters are not traceable.

 

277

What is it? The number of dengue cases reported between June and August in Delhi.

Why is it important? With nearly 40% of the cases having been reported in the first two weeks of this month, the numbers suggest that the number of cases are displaying an increasing trend. A total of six cases were reported in May, 15 in June and 91 in July. Delhi reported 15,867 cases last year, the worst in 20 years and 60 lives were lost to the vector-borne disease.

Tell me more: As of June 28, India recorded 8,307 cases and at least 10 deaths from/due to dengue. According to one estimate, dengue costs India over $1.1 billion per year.

 

39

What is it? The number of airports in India that are not under the cover of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

Why is it important? Soon, all 98 functional civil airports in the country would be brought under the security cover of the CISF, according to a decision taken at a meeting attended by ministers and officials of the Home and Civil Aviation Ministries. The Intelligence Bureau warned on Tuesday that none of the Indian airports are safe and do not have the capabilities to withstand an attack similar to that in Brussels that took place in March killing 32 people and injuring over 300.

Tell me more: The Home Ministry has ordered a security audit of all the airports and the probe committee is expected to submit its report in 20 days. The central government would then work with state governments to plug the loopholes at all airports.

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News in Numbers, Aug 3, 2016: Share of diesel variants in cars, NGOs’ foreign funding…

🚘 Will you buy a diesel car today?

The reasons to buy a diesel car are coming down day after day. The percentage of diesel variants in new cars is just one in four now, from one in two a few years ago. This is just one of the five interesting numbers we picked for you today.

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Have a look at them, and please do share this post to your friends. Here’s the link to subscribe.

26%

What is it? The share of diesel variants in new cars in India as of May 2016

Why is it important? This is down from 52% four years ago. The decline is due to rise in diesel prices on the back of government cutting fuel subsidies. In June 2012, diesel price in Delhi was 41.28 per litre or Rs 26.50 lower than petrol prices. Now it’s Rs 54.3/litre, just Rs 6.84 lower.

Tell me more: In Delhi, diesel car sales have dropped significantly after National Green Tribunal said cars over ten years will be deregistered.

4 million

What is it? The number of tax arrears cases – where the due amount is less than Rs 5000 – likely to be waived off.

Why is it important? An application of the Pareto Principle, which says large effects come from a few causes. Writing these amounts off would help Income Tax department focus on large defaulters where the amount that can be recovered would be larger, and the probability of recovery would be higher.

Tell me more: Of the 4 million cases, 1.8 million cases have arrears of less than Rs 100, and the rest between Rs 101 and Rs 5000.

Rs 22,137 crore

What is it? Foreign contribution received by 3,068 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in 2014-15.

Why is it important? This represents 83% increase in foreign funding for NGOs that received Rs 1 crore or more. In 2013-14, the increase was a modest 17%. As part of the plan to monitor foreign funding of NGOs more closely, Government cancelled registrations of more than 10,000 NGOs that did not file annual returns.

Tell me more: Six states – Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka – received 75% of the total amount in 2014-15.

8.5%

What is it? The drop in share price of Bharat Financial, formerly known as SKS Microfinance, after the company’s president S Dilli Raj was arrested by financial crimes investigators.

Why is it important? The company is among the biggest players in microfinance industry with claimed membership of 7 million, and Dilli Raj was the second-in-command. Bharat Financial claims the arrest was not related to the present company. It was based on a case filed by IDBI Bank against First Leasing Company of India, where Dilli Raj worked till January 2008.  First Leasing’s ex-MD Farouk M Irani was arrested in June this yearunder the same case.

Tell me more: Bharat Financial survived turbulent times when Andhra Pradesh government enacted a tough law to regulate micro lending in 2010. This law effectively meant most lending by microfinance firms couldn’t be collected from borrowers.

6

What is it? The number of hours West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had to wait before her turn came to speak at an inter-state council meeting in Delhi on July 16

Why is it important? West Bengal comes right at the end, if the state names are arranged alphabetically. Ms Banerjee was reportedly prompted by this to rename the state ‘Bengal’ in English and ‘Bangla or Banga’ in Bengali. The change would help it move to fourth position. The state cabinet cleared a proposal to this effect on Tuesday. However, it needs to be cleared by both houses of parliament in Delhi.

Tell me more:  This is the not the first time West Bengal proposed a name change. Earlier, it wanted the to be called Paschim Banga. The central government didn’t approve.

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