Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

Signs of recovery in real estate but challenges ahead

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not those of Thomson Reuters)

The year 2012 has been a rollercoaster of sorts. Inflation remained above comfort levels, the GDP growth rate slipped and so did the industrial output. The Reserve Bank of India doggedly kept the repo rate unchanged, barring once in April.

In real estate, while there were signs of recovery in 2012, many challenges still exist for the sector. Input costs have remained high and an acute shortage of skilled labour is expected to continue next year.

The government needs to build on positive steps taken towards meeting the challenges of affordable housing and urban development. Allowing external commercial borrowing for low cost housing and road construction; approval of 100 percent foreign investment in single-brand retail and 51 percent in multi-brand retail is likely to have a positive impact on the real estate sector in the coming year. But the focus should be on implementing these initiatives.

The year the Indian economy stalled

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not those of Thomson Reuters)

The year 2012 has seen the worst an emerging market economy can tolerate. Had the government been a little less reticent and more proactive, growth would not have dropped this low in spite of the economy being mauled by inflation. Other emerging market economies did exactly that.

India to ring in 2013 in the mobile sector

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not those of Thomson Reuters)

For many of us in the mobile industry, 2012 has been a year with a lot to celebrate and a lot to be concerned about. Restrictions and regulations are growing. As we all know, that can cut both ways: too much regulation and we might see constraints on growth.

A world of schoolgirls

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)

One of the more difficult questions I found myself being asked when I was a United Nations under-secretary-general, especially when addressing a general audience, was: “What is the single most important thing that can be done to improve the world?”

India Markets Weekahead – A breakout expected before the year ends

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Markets struggled to hold beyond Nifty levels of 5900 and closed the week 0.47 percent down, breaking a three-week streak of gains. Uncertainty over the banking regulations bill seems to have overshadowed better-than-expected wholesale price index-based inflation data in November. Industrial production soared by 8.2 percent, surprising analysts and sending signals that green shoots of economic recovery are visible.

An affordable house for Mr Aspirer

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Can the aspirations of 100 million people be ignored?

Consider this. The 2011 Census said 31 percent of India’s population is classified as urban. That’s 380 million people. The Census also said 18 percent of Indian households lack basic amenities — no access to electricity, water, drainage and toilets.

Nifty to consolidate after crossing psychological barrier of 6000

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High drama in parliament and volatility in the markets, albeit within a tight range, summarizes the action for the week.

Most in the analyst fraternity including myself expected the Nifty to cross the psychological barrier of 6000 after the FDI vote in parliament, but markets defied consensus once again and ended up a paltry 0.4 percent for the week at 5907.

The burden of India’s cash transfer scheme

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The government’s cash transfer scheme (CTS) has been accepted by economists as the most  efficient method of delivering subsidies to the poor. This became possible with the identification of the poor after the introduction of “Aadhaar” or unique identity scheme. The scheme is going to be implemented from the beginning of 2013.

India Markets Weekahead – An opportunity to ride the rally

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

It was a stupendous week with 4.5 percent gain and the closing at 5879, the highest point for Nifty in 19 months. The week started with positive international cues of a Greek bailout, and was further strengthened with Moody’s confirmation of a stable rating for India.

Will Indian stocks end 2012 on a happier note?

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(Rajiv Deep Bajaj is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Capital Ltd. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The rally in the Indian stock markets, fuelled by the so-called reform announcements, seems to have fizzled out. Frontline indexes have retraced more than 60 percent of the gains made since Sep. 13, 2012, the day the reform measures were made public.

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