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Development Watch – Week #3 June ’23

Development News

India a leader in LEED Zero Projects

India has emerged as a global leader in LEED Zero projects. India has 73 certifications in zero green building projects. US and China respectively have 47 and 15. DLF leads in India with 45 certifications, followed by ITC group. LEED Zero projects include office spaces, retail malls, data centers, and hospitality facilities across sectors. They are committed to net-zero or net-positive carbon, energy, or waste status. As large emitters of carbon emissions, buildings play a significant role in helping us achieve global climate goals. This is also in line with India’s ambitious target of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2070.

PE funds prop up realty portfolio with alternative assets

Foreign and domestic private equity funds are diversifying their real estate portfolios by investing in alternative assets in the sector. Data centers, global capability centers, proptech, lifesciences and co-living. Major funds like Keppel, CPPIB, Brookfield, Kotak Realty Fund, HDFC Capital, Hillhouse Capital and Symphony Investment Holdings are capitalizing on increasing demand for these asset classes. Few notable recent deals in the segment include Kotak Realty Fund, which has invested $133.6 million in Lalit Group, Symphony Investment Holdings, and so on. Flexible office operator Tablespace has secured approximately $300 million from Hillhouse Capital. HDFC Capital Affordable Real Estate Fund-3 (H-CARE3) invests in affordable housing, companies involved in construction technology, fintech and sustainable tech. Real estate technology is the need of the hour and cuts across all verticals like construction, CRM and fintech in the sector.

DDA’s phase 4 housing scheme to open

Delhi Development Authority (DDA’s) phase 4 housing scheme will open on June 30. DDA is offering flats on a first-cum-first serve basis. All flats will be freehold properties. Registration will start for 5,500 flats online. The flats are located in Jasola, Dwarka, Lok Nayak Puram, Rohini, Siraspur, and Narela. Under the phase 4 scheme, prices of flats range from Rs. 10 lakh for EWS, and up to Rs. 2.46 crores for HIG flats. These are mostly part of DDA’s unsold inventory. DDA has total of 13,000 unsold flats and under Phase 4 housing scheme, only 5,500 are on offer.

Tourism Ministry to promote culture through heritage homestays

Tourism Ministry and vacation rental company Airbnb will jointly promote India as a sought after travel hub. An MoU was signed between them, a day ahead of the fourth G20 working group meeting. Hotel brands are also expanding into small towns with bog potential. Hotel companies are making a foray into 2,3, and 4-tier cities for both business and leisure travel owing to a rapidly growing economy. These cities accounted for a whopping 86% of all brand signings in 2022. Towns like Chirang, Banswara, Erode, Jabalpur, Bhiwadi, Dhanbad, Gorakhpur, etc.

Hospitality brands are also looking to cash in on Rs. 850 Crores revenue (delegation-related travel and accommodation) opportunity from India’s G20 presidency through delegate related travel and accommodation requirement. With increasing demand, in cities where meetings are scheduled, room rates for 5-star hotels in key business cities have increased 20% since 2022. It has also created employment prospects in the sector. India is hosting over 200 meetings in 59 different locations across the country. There is participation of over 1.5 lakh delegates. It also leads to increased international exposure, infrastructure development and destination branding.

Railways opt for PPP, EPC mix for stations’ overhaul

Indian Railways is initiating a mix of Public Private Partnership (PPP) and engineering procurement and construction (EPC) models for station development. Coimbatore and Vijayawada stations may be among the first to be taken up for redevelopment in PPP mode. New Delhi and CST would be opting for EPC mode. A total of 15 stations are on the agenda for modernization through PPP.

These include Tambram, Anand Vihar, Dadar, Kalyan, Andheri and Pune. Bangalore City, Vadodara, Bhopal, Chennai Central, Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin and Avadi stations are also on the list. Approval of the PPP Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) for developing these stations will be sought in the next 2 months. Under the National Monetization Pipeline (NMP), station redevelopment is a front-runner asset class, contributing Rs. 76,250 crores. Revenue sources include shop rentals, advertising and parking earnings, income from platform tickets, etc.

Resolving discrepancies between global aircraft leasing rules and national laws

India is working to resolve discrepancies between global aircraft leasing rules and its national bankruptcy laws. This resolution could also help lessors to GoFirst airlines reclaim their planes and fly them out of the country. The carrier had filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2023. This move resulted in a freeze on all its assets, including the jets. In a historic milestone, India’s largest airline (by market share) has placed a firm order for 500 A320 Family aircrafts. This has set the record for the biggest single purchase agreement in the history of commercial aviation. The latest agreement takes the total number of Airbus aircraft on order by Indigo to 1,330. This has made Indigo Airlines the world’s biggest A320 Family customer.

Adverse impact of Cyclone Biparjoy on Ports

Cyclone Biparjoy hit the Gujarat coast and impacted port operations adversely. May port operators suspended their operations from June 10. After June 12, considerable improvement was seen in the weather conditions around Pipavav Port. Landside operations, which resumed, included complete rail and yard operations, import delivery of laden and empty containers, export gate in of reefers containers, only. Marine and quayside operations continued to remain suspended. They would resume after satisfactory working conditions that ensure safety of the vessel, crew, cargo, port infrastructure and all associated personnel.

Trial of Patna-Ranchi Vande Bharat Express

Patna-Ranchi Vande Bharat Express successfully completed the 1st phase of second trial run this week. The first successful trial was conducted from Patna to Ranchi earlier on June 12. This time it was extended till Hatia, the next station after Ranchi. The train will have 8 coaches. The Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of Eastern Central Railway, Hajipur Zone (Mr. Birendra Kumar) stated that final run of the train on Patna-Ranchi route is scheduled for June 27. The train from Patna, which left at 6:55 am, halted at Jehanabad, Gaya, Koderma, Hazaribagh, Barkakana and Ranchi stations. The 27km stretch between Sidhwar (Ramgarh) and Sanki (Ranchi) has 4 tunnels. The longest of these is 1.7 km long. Other 3 are around 600 m each.

Freight connectivity from Gujarat to Bihar

Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) is one of largest rail infrastructure projects in India. It aims to create a high-speed, high capacity freight transportation network between Ludhiana (Punjab) and Son Nagar (Bihar). It connects major industrial and consumption centres like Ludhiana, Khurja, Kanpur, Rewari, Madar, Palanpur, Bangurgram, Swaroopganj, Sanand and Sonnnagar among others. DFC corporation of India Ltd. (DFCCIL) has completed a key 27-km leg of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC). This has enabled seamless connectivity of 1,875 km between Sonnagar in Bihar to Ahmedabad in Gujarat. It will reduce the time required for transporting coal to half. Container movement from Gujarat & Maharashtra ports to northern parts of India will also reduce to less than one day. Along with reduced transit time, it will also help in enhanced efficiency and increased capacity for freight transportation. As of now, 77% of the DFC across India has been commissioned.

First rooftop solar project at IIT Jodhpur

NTPC Vidyut Nagar Nigam (NVVN) has commissioned the first solar rooftop project at IIT Jodhpur. The project is set up on the roofs of 14 buildings inside the campus of the IIT. The project will generate around 14.9 lakhs units per annum. It will meet 15% of the electricity requirement at IIT Jodhpur. The rooftop project will also reduce 1,060 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. The 1 Mega Watt grid connected solar project has been implemented by the NVVN under the RESCO model. It has a power purchase agreement duration of 25 years. NVVN is an arm of the state-run power producer NTPC. It was formed in 2002 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTPC to tap potential of power trading in the country.

Contribution of India’s digital technology to the world

From cars to aircraft, the world runs on Indian software and digital tech. With about 1.5 million engineering students graduating annually, India is a rich source of talent for most global companies. Vehicles and aircrafts have started increasingly using complex digital technology and algorithms. Aerospace companies are expanding their businesses and India provides a ready supply of digital engineering talent. Lower cost of Indian talent drives offshoring from developed countries. With systems like smart cockpits becoming an integral part of the auto ecosystem, India has become the go-to place for sourcing digital engineering and talent. India has become the destination for auto OEMs, or original equipment manufacturers such as Renault, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Honda to secure their digital content needs. Engineering R&D services companies provide support to auto OEMs and Tier-1 component suppliers in vehicle product design and development of electric motors, car infotainment systems and algorithms for autonomous driving.

Advanced driver assistance systems and software defined vehicles (SDVs) are also helping drive this journey. Indian companies are consequently investing in digital engineering, talent building and upskilling. Aerospace companies have also been relying on Indian tech for long. Airbus SE and Boeing Co. are increasingly looking to India for highly skilled low-cost engineers to meet a boom in demand for aircraft. They are also expanding their manufacturing presence in the world’s 5th largest economy. For comparison, Boeing can hire an engineer in Bengaluru for 7% of the cost of a similar role in Seattle. Rockwell Collins, which makes cockpit electronics, has been among first aerospace companies to source significant work in India in 2000. When India’s HCL began testing for it, same year Boeing opened a “center of excellence” with HCL in Chennai to create software for flight tests.

Indian startups have also enabled step-change innovation in aerospace. They are bringing their AR/VR, machine learning, analytics and IoT expertise. Indian engineers were also at the forefront of GE’s largest research facility in Bengaluru in designing aircraft engine. This will reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%. India’s R&D facility is largest of GE’s globally. Aviation division has over 1,000 engineers. GE Aviation office of India is working on GEnx engine, the fastest-selling high-thrust jet engine in GE aviation’s history.

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