Nri Newsletter 9th Dec 2012

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         9th Dec- 2012

The most-watched Indian state election in recent years may or may not
                                                  yield    a     sensational
                                                  result, but it's clear that
                                                  Gujarat 2012 is already
                                                  a poll with a difference.
                                                  Different from other states because the large
                                                  cutouts, blaring megaphones and door-to-door
                                                  campaigns are either non-existent or tough to find,
                                                  and different from past polls in the state because
                                                  there is no single big issue over which the parties
                                                  are fighting. The election has taken on national
                                                  importance because of the possibility - real or
                                                  otherwise - of chief minister Narendra Modi
                                                  becoming the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for
                                                  2014, but on the ground, the motto of its denizens
                                                  could well be: no excitement please, we're
                                                  Gujarati. The main reason is that the average
                                                  Gujarati is hard at work - selling his wares, trading
                                                  on the stock market or planning the next big
                                                  investment. Politics happens after work, almost as
                                                  a pastime. Stroll through Ahmedabad's commercial
heart of CG Road and all that reminds you that it's election season is the odd BJP flag and picture of
Modi, in the hunt for a third successive term. This is very much BJP territory, but its near absence
from the public eye is striking. The Congress, which is running a campaign without a face, is even
more absent. But for the political ads in the newspapers, one could be forgiven for thinking that
Gujarat was drifting contentedly towards the end of the year. Social historian Achyut Yagnik says
the parties have opted to run a low-intensity but long-duration campaign. Modi started his
Sadbhavna mission - aimed at softening his anti-Muslim image -- in September 2011.The Congress
held one yatra in tribal areas and one in coastal areas earlier this year.Crowds for such events are
often bussed in from surrounding villages, like in the rest of India.From the point of view of raising
a crowd, it also helps that parts of the country, where the BJP held its early rallies, were in the
middle of a drought or regions where there was one crop annually and not three.In Surat, which
goes to the polls in the first round on December 13, the rules set by the EC have been a real
dampener, says Aslam Cyclewala, a Congress office-bearer.


With assembly elections inching closer, work pace at many nationalised banks, government schools
and other state government offices have slowed down.Reason? Election commission has pulled out
officials from these institutions for election duty and training. The tardy pace has hit routine work
at these places leaving many customers and students in government schools waiting to finish their
routine tasks.“Basic chores like passbook entry and deposit of money were not taking place in State
Bank of India (SBI) on Friday as the workforce was engaged in a daylong training programme,”
complained Nishith Dave, a customer. Agreeing to the hassles faced by the customers, official from
SBI, RJ Mankodi, said that only emergency services were available at the bank as majority of its
employees were involved in full-day election training. “However, there will be no major problems
with the availability of core banking facility,” he added. Similarly, primary school teachers in
government school too have received orders of 15 days election duty for which it is mandatory to
attend at least three days. “The duty is divided in to two shifts. The afternoon shift, which I am
allotted, begins at 2pm. Students of primary section are bound to suffer during this time as the
schools will be functioning during afternoons,” said Vijay Parmar, a government primary school
teacher. Primary schools will function with minimal teachers during the training programme and
one teacher will be handling two to three subjects.
                         LIFE-SAVING BLOOD NOW JUST A CLICK AWAY

If you are in need of blood in an emergency situation then the state food and drugs department is
here to help. On Tuesday, the department launched a unique website that provides in real time the
blood availability across every blood bank in the state - down to the last detail. One just has to
select the city or area from the drop down menu on the website and the website immediately lists
the number of blood units present with individual blood banks of each blood group in real time. The
website is developed by National Informatics Center ( NIC). The website, apart from the blood
banks, also provides information on sub-standard and spurious drugs declared by the FDCA in real
time. "We found that many people are helpless when it comes to the locating blood banks with
adequate blood supplies at the time of emergency. This readily available information will be of great
help not only for government hospitals but also normal citizens," says food and drug commissioner
H G Koshia. Besides, the website also provides a detailed list of chemists along with their mobile
numbers who stock life saving drugs. "The chemists list for life saving drugs wills be helpful for
patients who look for medicines which are regulated by the drugs and cosmetics act," Koshia said.
The website also provides real time lab reports of substandard drugs that are tested by FDCA. If one
enrolls with the website, one can get real time information on drugs that are deficient in its
properties and have ordered to be removed from all chemists shelves. This section also provides
information on as to why the drug was declared sub-standard.


For the first time, Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has initiated an exercise to come out with
a comprehensive list of heritage properties in the city. The list will not only include built structures,
but also natural heritage spread across the Sanskarnagari. Apart from the VMC, students as well as
faculties of architecture institutes in and around the city will join in the exercise. During the first
phase, an exhaustive list of public buildings and places will be prepared. The listing has been taken
up in the wake of inclusion of heritage regulations in the General Development and Control
Regulations (GDCR). The regulations make listings a must and the listed heritage bodies are then
graded. The list is then notified by the urban development department. Beside heritage structures,
the GDCR has made provisions for heritage precincts that will include areas of cultural,
environmental and natural areas like groves, hills, hillocks, water bodies as well as open and
wooded areas.
Deputy municipal commissioner R K Sugoor said that a format has been prepared for the exercise.
"We will also have training sessions for those involved in the process. Our focus will remain on
public buildings initially and at a later stage we can look into private properties," he said. The
architecture institutes that have joined hands with the VMC include the Department of Architecture
of the M S University, School of Environmental Design and Architecture of Navrachana University,
Vadodara Design Academy School of Architecture, College of Architecture of Sardar Vallabhbhai
Patel Institute of Technology at Vasad and Arvindbhai Patel Institute of Environmental Design at
Vallabh Vidyanagar.


Tikona Wireless plans to roll-out services by mid-2013 starting from Ahmedabad and Surat in
Gujarat and will ramp up to 10 cities in these circles in the first phase. Tikona has won 4G spectrum
in five circles that includes Gujarat, Rajasthan, UP-East, UP-West and Himachal Pradesh. It will
offer 4G services with per MB pricing in the range of 10 to 25 paisa. Tikona will roll-out 4G services
using the TDD LTE technology which currently being used by Airtel to offer services in Kolkata,
Bangalore and Pune. The same technology will be used Reliance Industries Limited as well. All the
4G service providers have the obligation to cover 100 per cent of the urban areas and 50 per cent of
the rural areas in their respective circles by 2015. RIL is also rumoured to be planning to launch its
4G services in 2013 starting from Delhi and Mumbai. Airtel is also planning to launch services in
Delhi, Mumbai (through partnership with Qualcomm), and Chandigarh. Aircel, which holds 4G
spectrum in eight circles, had earlier announced that it will start rolling out 4G services over LTE
TDD network starting from Chennai in December, however till now no further announcement has
come from the operator. Tikona will roll-out 4G services using the TDD LTE technology which
currently being used by Airtel to offer services in Kolkata, Bangalore and Pune. The same
technology will be used Reliance Industries Limited as well.

The city of Ahmedabad has got some good news right ahead of the elections. The Ahmedabad
                                                                municipal corporation has approved
                                                                seven new model road projects in
                                                                last some weeks. There was a long
                                                                wait for these projects to get
                                                                approved and they were held in the
                                                                pipeline     to    have       Election
                                                                Commission’s approval. The entire
                                                                project is estimated to cost Rs 143.
                                                                87 crore. A major chunk of the
                                                                money will be pumped into road
                                                                construction in the west zone,
which has seen an allocation of Rs 56.55 crore. Another chunk, Rs 16.04 crore will go into
refurbishing roads that border the central and new west zones of the city.There are also plans for
an overhaul of junction design and traffic lights for on Ashram Road for which the municipal
corporation has earmarked Rs 1.59 crore. The proposal will also see repair of Ashram Road, which
interestingly will be resurfaced after almost a decade, while other roads of the city still give away
every year.


Despite an unprecedented supply expected in office, commercial and retail space in Ahmedabad,
the rental values will remain in check for the calendar year 2013, say industry experts. This is due
to the high levels of vacancy prevailing in the three segments. "Supply has been continually rising in
the city. More is expected to be added in 2013 in office, commercial and retail space. However, due
to vacancy levels of around 40-60 per cent in the three segments will keep rental values in check,"
says Rajeev Shah, managing director of RBSA, a valuation and consultancy firm in Ahmedabad.
Currently, the rentals for office and commercial segments in commercial business districts (CBDs)
like Prahladnagar, CG Road and SG Highway stand at around 25-40 per sq ft at varying degrees. The
same in retail segment is around 70-100 per sq ft depending on type of property and area.
According to a recent report by real estate consulting DTZ, the office space itself is set to witness a
significant rise in supply in 2013, up from 1.3 million sq ft in 2012 (YTD) in Ahmedabad. "The
transaction activity in the city has been driven by banking, telecom and pharmaceuticals companies
coupled with expansion by several local businesses. As a result, the city witnessed approximately
threefold increase in supply, recorded at 1.3 million sq ft in 2012 (YTD) as compared to 0.5 million
sq ft in 2011," the report stated. Meanwhile, as per the DTZ report, With large upcoming supply
expected to outstrip demand, rental values are likely to remain largely stable.


The taste buds are changing and Amdavadis are enjoying their share of global cuisines. From
                                      appetisers, main course to desserts —- everybody wants a
                                      slice of the world on their plate. Thanks to international
                                      travel, people are now willing to experiment in food. Travel
                                      programmes, food shows on television and food blogs have
                                      also played a vital role in increasing awareness on food. Now
                                      people know their pesto sauce, cheddar cheese, thyme and
                                      rosemary. Suresh Khanna, executive chef, Fortune Hotel
Landmark says, "Ahmedabad is going truly global and the changes are showing in the menu cards
of leading hotels and restaurants. With changing lifestyle, globalisation and rise in disposable
income, the food habits of people have undergone major transformation. Today people want their
share of Thai, Malaysian and Lebanese cuisine." F &B sector experts feel that as Ahmedabad swears
by innovation and entrepreneurship, people have been always more open to experimentation. Even
in the Walled City of Ahmedabad, one gets to taste chocolate sandwich, Chinese Samosa and bhakri
pizza or even pineapple and chocolate pizza. It's a city that loves to toy with new ideas and that
definitely shows in the changing platter of the city.
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                                   CUTTING ON CTS CHEQUES NOT ALLOWED

                                   WEF 01.01.2013

                                    From January 1, India will move to a faster, more efficient and
secure payment settlement system in which banks will only honour cheques embedded with new
features.(read about New Cheque system)Under the new Cheque Truncation System ( CTS) ( see
graphic), cheques will be cleared in a day — against three days taken on an average at present. The
system has had a successful pilot run in a few pockets after the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI) issued
the roadmap for migrating to the new structure in a circular issued last December.

The CTS will do away with the need for physical movement of cheques from a bank branch to a
clearing house before the amount is credited to the customer’s account. Instead, entrenched with
standardised features such as watermarks and a pantograph, cheques will be cleared electronically
through an encrypted and highly secure online gateway. Besides cutting down on time, the new
system will also eliminate clearing- related frauds and help slash banks’ manpower and
administrative costs by eliminating some steps.

Prohibiting alterations / corrections on cheques : No changes / corrections should be carried out on
the cheques (other than for date validation purposes, if required). For any change in the payee’s
name, courtesy amount (amount in figures) or legal amount (amount in words), etc., fresh cheque
forms should be used by customers. This would help banks to identify and control fraudulent
alterations. This rule will applicable on branches in which CTS clearing system will start wef
       Read more:


A person may face if a cheque issued by him gets dishonoured on the ground that his signature
does not match the specimen signature available with the bank, the Supreme Court has said.A
bench of justices T S Thakur and Gyan Sudha Mishra set aside the verdict of Gujarat High Court
which had held that criminal proceedings for dishonouring of cheque can be initiated only when the
cheque is dishonoured because of lack of sufficient amount in the bank account and not in case
where a cheque is returned due to mismatch of signature of account holder. "Just as dishonour of a
cheque on the ground that the account has been closed is a dishonour falling in the first
contingency referred to in Section 138 of Negotiable Instrument Act, so also dishonour on the
ground that the 'signatures do not match' or that the 'image is not found', which too implies that
the specimen signatures do not match the signatures on the cheque would constitute a dishonour
within the meaning of Section 138 of the Act," the bench said. The apex court, however, said that in
such cases of dishonouring of cheques, the account holder must be given a notice and an
opportunity to arrange the payments before initiation of criminal proceedings against him.
"Dishonour on account of such changes that may occur in the course of ordinary business of a
company, partnership or an individual may not constitute an offence by itself because such a
dishonour in order to qualify for prosecution under Section 138 shall have to be preceded by a
statutory notice where the drawer is called upon and has the opportunity to arrange the payment of
the amount covered by the cheque," it said. "It is only when the drawer despite receipt of such a
notice and despite the opportunity to make the payment within the time stipulated under the
statute does not pay the amount that the dishonour would be considered a dishonour constituting
an offence, hence punishable," the apex court said. The High Court had taken the view that
dishonour of a cheque on the ground that the signatures of the drawer of the cheque do not match
the specimen signatures available with the bank, would not attract the penal provisions of the Act.
The High Court had said that the provisions of Section 138 were attracted only in cases where a
cheque is dishonoured either because the amount of money standing to the credit to the account
maintained by the drawer was insufficient to pay the cheque amount or the cheque amount
exceeded the amount arranged to be paid from the account maintained by the drawer by an
agreement made with the bank.

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