Dec. 31 – The Indian Hotels Company, the holding company of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai is reorganizing the various types of hotels under the IHC banner. The reorganization aims to keep the company's various types of hotels – luxury, leisure and business – under separate brands distinguishing its diverse portfolio. The restructuring is in lines with other large international hotel chains such as the Sheraton and Hyatt that brand their various types of hotels under different names.
Under the re organization, the company's premium business hotels will come under the brand name Vivanta. Their budget hotels are already under the brand Ginger while its 4-star deluxe hotels are called Gateway. At a later date, the company plans to re brand its more exclusive Indian hotels, the Times of India reported. However, internationally, the IHC will continue to use the well known Taj brand name. Continue reading
Dec. 30 – India’s inflation has declined from a 16-year high of 12.91 percent in August this year to a nine-month low in December. The country's inflation rate in mid December fell as fuel price growth slowed to 6.86 percent. New Delhi cut retail prices of petrol by 10 percent and diesel by six percent on December 5 in response to a sharp fall in global crude oil costs.
Inflation was 3.8 percent this time last year. It is expected to dip to similar levels in 2009/10, from an average of 8.95 percent in 2008/09. Experts expect prices to fall further as commodity prices weaken and producers lose pricing power in a slowing economy. Continue reading
Dec. 29 – The Indian railways, often known as the lifeline of the country, announced that they would spend an additional Rs 30,000 crore (US$6.6 billion) to upgrade infrastructure and boost the economy. The sector plans to renew 2,941 km of railway tracks and sleeper sheets along 2,382 km of railway lines utilizing about 344,228 tons of steel during this financial year. Laloo Prasad Yadav, the railway minister announced that the railways would invest Rs 75,000 crore (US$15 billion) to upgrade infrastructure over the next seven years during his annual budget speech in Parliament.
As part of its growth initiative, the Railways have already manufactured 3,000 coaches this year, a year on year rise of 12.5 percent. They will also develop 300 railways stations into model stations and construct 23 world class stations. The Indian railways which run on electricity also have plans afoot to increase electricity generation and capacity, the Economic Times said. Continue reading
Dec. 27 – Its the end of the year, time to kick back, order yourself a fresh tender coconut, relax on a hammock and stare up the palm leaves swaying gently in the breeze as you soak in the sun and listen to waves kiss the shore.
No, its not impossible. Indian beaches offer all this and more. With 7,000 kilometers of coastline, India's east and west shores along the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal offer tourists splendid white washed beaches, clean warm waters as well as some of the most sumptous seafood.
Many beaches along India's coast are untouched, unspoilt and can offer the visitor pure tranquility. However if you are looking for a party along the beach, Goa and Kerala in Southern India should definately be on your list. All beaches are dotted with varying types of hotels, catering to the back packer as well as high spender, and offer various services according to the package you book. Continue reading
ec. 26 – The publishing business in India is expected to grow manifold next year. While earlier this month the government laid out the final guidelines for local editions of foreign magazines regarding content and advertising, a few days later the foreign investment promotion board cleared the entry of U.A.E. and Netherlands-based publishers. Adding to the optimism in the sector, one of the world's largest book publishers, Harper Colins, said they are looking at India as a major growth center.
Harper Collins, who says their business in India has been growing by 30 percent over the past three years, is especially looking at targetting young urban Indians. They expect the Indian publishing market to grow exponentially as the growth of Indian authors such as Arvind Adiga is fueling the number of english readership in the country positively. Continue reading
Dec. 24 – Planning to ease the subsidy burden on Indian oil companies, the Oil Ministry said it is in the process of formulating a system to offset losses incurred by state oil companies.
Reuters sources say the paper which is expected to be released in mid January is likely to limit the subsidy share between crude oil firms and oil refinery companies to 300 billion rupees (US$6.40 billion) for the current financial year ending March 2009. Meanwhile the government has also told upstream Indian oil companies ONGC and Oil India Ltd not to extend any discounts to public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) – Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation – on the sale of crude oil, effective from December. Continue reading
Dec. 23 – With the Indian National Congress Party having won three out of five state elections leading up to the national polls in May 2009, Rahul Gandhi, 38, the son of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi is being touted as the poster boy for a strong, resilient India.
Desperatly trying to improve their image for the elections, Rahul Gandhi is being viewed as the Congress Party's trump card, hoping to turn public opinion away from the economic downturn and terrorist attacks that have recently marred the country and secure them another tenure. Being gradually grommed by his mother for a leadership position within the congress since 2004, the party hopes he can help them win votes from the younger, intellectual, aspirational class who are increasingly making their voice heard. Continue reading
Dec. 22 – The telecom industry might be one of the few Indian sectors to buck the trend of global economic downturn. In light of increased liberalization in the sector and allowing foreign players to bid for 3G licenses in India, Industry insiders expect the sector to receive increased attention from foreign investors next year, significantly increasing FDI in the sector.
The telecommunication industry attracted about US$2billion in FDI during April to September this year, which is a significant jump from US$1.2 billion during the last calendar year, the Economic Times said.
n 2005, the India's commerce minister increased the FDI cap in the telecom sector from 49 percent to 74 percent for most services. As the industry grows and attracts more new players, domestic companies will be looking to foreign players attarct to invest in them. Continue reading