ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund unveils monthly income plan

ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund new issue closes on 27th April

ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund has launched ICICI Prudential MIP 5, an open-ended income scheme.

The scheme seeks to generate regular income through investments in fixed income securities so as to make regular dividend distribution to unit holders seeking the dividend option. The secondary objective of the scheme is to generate long-term capital appreciation by investing a portion of the scheme's assets in equity and equity related instruments.

The new issue closes on 27th April. CRISIL MIP Blended Index is the benchmark index. Chaitanya Pande (debt portion) and Mrinal Singh (equity portion) are the fund managers.


2G case: Attorney General, law secretary, to appear before PAC on Friday

The PAC, chaired by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi, is likely to quiz Mr Vahanvati about the legal opinions he may have given to the telecom ministry when he was Solicitor General in UPA-I

New Delhi: Attorney General of India Goolam Vahanvati, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director AP Singh and law secretary DR Meena are expected to appear before the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Friday to give evidence in the probe into the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam, reports PTI.

The PAC, chaired by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi, is likely to quiz Mr Vahanvati about the legal opinions he may have given to the telecom ministry when he was Solicitor General in UPA-I.

The Attorney General has been made a witness by India's premier investigating agency Central Bureau of Investigating (CBI) in its charge-sheet filed before the special court in the 2G scam.

The CBI director has been asked to appear before the PAC for the second time. Mr Singh had appeared before the PAC on 15th February and told the panel that it was wrong to say that the 2G spectrum allocation had caused zero loss to the national exchequer.

Mr Singh also had a one-to-one meeting with MR Joshi last month. The CBI is investigating the 2G spectrum case and has already filed a charge-sheet.

The committee has also called Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar and principal secretary in the PMO TKA Nair to depose before it on 16th April.

The 15th and 16th April sessions will be the last hearings by the outgoing PAC.

The PAC headed by Mr Joshi is already in the process of filing its report on the 2G spectrum case and is likely to complete it before its term ends on 30th April.

The new PAC, in which Mr Joshi will continue to be the chairperson, will take charge on 1st May and is set to carry on the probe into the anomalies in 2G spectrum allocation.

Mr Chandrasekhar and Mr Nair have been asked to appear as the PAC is likely to scrutinise the role of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in the controversial allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008.

The two senior bureaucrats are likely to be asked questions on the communications between the finance ministry, the Department of Telecom and the PMO on the allocation of 2G spectrum.

Sources said the two top officials could also be asked questions based on the prime minister's recent statement that the finance ministry and telecom ministry had concurred on the issue, after which he did not press the matter further.


Mumbai builders consider options as government dithers on revival of extra FSI

Two years after the introduction of the extra FSI scheme that was subsequently struck down in court, builders are concerned that the Maharashtra government does not appear keen to resolve the matter

With the issue of additional floor space index (FSI) for constructions in suburban Mumbai still unresolved, and the Maharashtra government undecided on the matter, builders are considering formulating a new strategy in this regard.

"The government has not done what it should have," said a representative of a developers' association. "If the largesse is rolled back, we have to find a way to convince them to rethink." But he did not elaborate on the possible course of action, and refrained from saying whether a legal option was being considered.

In April 2008, the state government decided to allow an additional 0.33 FSI, over and above the existing cap of 2. This additional FSI could be availed on payment of premium. However, this was stayed and subsequently set aside by the Bombay High Court in October 2008 on the grounds that the provisions of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act (MRTP), 1966 did not authorise levy of premium.

FSI (short for floor space index) is the ratio of buildable area to the total area of the plot. As a formula:
FSI= (Total covered area on all floors of all buildings on a certain plot)/(Area of the plot)
Thus, an FSI of 2.0 would indicate that the total floor area of a building is two times the gross area of the plot on which it is constructed.

Then in October last year, the MRTP Act was amended to authorise the levy of premium. However, developers have been pleading with the government to implement the amended provision so they can avail of the extra FSI by paying the premium.

In the meanwhile, several builders who had availed of the extra FSI when it was implemented two years ago and have completed their projects, have been hampered by the change in the policy as the municipal corporation has not allowed occupancy for these constructions yet. So if the government does not resolve the matter, they could suffer major losses. The problem was described by Sunil Mantri, president of the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), in a letter to the state chief minister last month. This is also why some commentators are suggesting that the matter could go to the courts.

One analyst explained, "If the policy is struck down and these buildings have to be regularised, it would lead to harassment, both financially and otherwise. Already, delay in getting official permits has left them with many unsold properties. Developers are not likely to take this lying down and they will try some way to get the government to implement the additional FSI norm."

MCHI, after legal consultation with senior advocate KK Singhvi, has said that the government can implement the 0.33 FSI scheme without inviting suggestions or objections regarding the amendment to the Development Control Regulations. He cited the provisions to the MRTP Act that were amended retrospectively in 2010, and published in the official gazette dated 21 December 2010.

There is another aspect related to this FSI matter which is also worrying builders. This is the TDR matter. TDR (or transfer of development rights) is granted to plot owners whose land has been taken for a public purpose. TDR is saleable and added on to the permitted FSI, increases the buildable area.

But TDR is more expensive than FSI and the additional FSI scheme helped builders counter the TDR lobby. Today, TDR is mostly available from developers involved with slum rehabilitation and only a few like DB Realty, Ackruti and HDIL sell TDR.  "A rollback on the extra FSI," Mr Mantri wrote in his letter to the chief minister, "will frustrate the intention to curb rising prices of TDR in the hands of a cartel."

But it appears that the government has no intention of allowing the extra FSI. In a recent note to the state chief minister, the Urban Development Department has said that increasing the FSI in the suburbs would affect the fabric of the city's development plan. It says that additional FSI should not be granted unless the plan is amended suitably and infrastructure augmented.

The representative of the developers' association challenged this saying, "It is not rational to say that infrastructure will be overburdened, because in 2008 (when the extra FSI scheme was introduced) obviously the government did not think so."  

If the goes back on the scheme, it will be the second instance of the government reviewing a real estate policy decision of the earlier dispensation. In the first instance, the government had stayed the additional FSI granted to builders for parking lots.



Shama Zaidi

6 years ago

ideally the government should crack down on all shady transactions by builders and cancel their licences. according to some accounts 50% of the cost of each flat goes towards bribes. has anyone done a proper survey of builder-neta-babu fiddles?

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