The Centre has constituted a committee under the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani to work out an electronic toll collection system for plugging leakages in the system
The government today said that toll collection on national highways will jump five-fold to Rs10,000 crore in next four years, but leakage is still a concern, for which new policy measures will be put in place, reports PTI.
Toll collection is a key instrument for the government to attract private investment, road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath told PTI.
"We have constituted a committee under Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani to work out an electronic toll collection system for plugging leakages that could be as high as 20%," he said.
The committee is likely to give its report by next month.
"Our estimated toll collection will be close to Rs10,000 crore per year by the fifth year of United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-II," he said, adding this was based on bringing an estimated 35,000 km of roads under the Operate, Maintain and Toll (OMT) system for private investors, he added.
"We are looking at overhauling the toll policy. We are in the process of formulating a policy... a new policy as to how to collect the toll by the OMT process," Mr Nath said.
The OMT aims at bringing the Indian toll collection system at par with the international tolling standards, he said.
He dismissed suggestions that putting the vast network of highways under the toll system could be a burden on the common man. "There is a maintenance cost that is paid from the toll... good roads would help save a huge quantity of petrol and diesel... on the contrary, it would help people," he said.
Mr Nath, however, was concerned over the tendency of avoiding the toll, saying that leakage for this or other reasons was a matter of concern. "At present, the leakage in some areas is as high as 20%," he said.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) could only collect about Rs3,500 crore in the last two financial years from 8,500 km of toll highways.
"NHAI collected Rs1,936 crore as toll in 2009-10, while the collection in the previous fiscal stood at Rs1,600 crore," a senior road ministry official said.
India has over 70,000 km of highways and proposes to significantly enhance the network by constructing 20 km of roads every day in the next five years.
At present, the process of crossing toll plazas is time-consuming, as one is required to pay several times to complete a journey on a highway stretch. Besides, different collection systems, including manual systems, lead to revenue leakage.
The Planning Commission and prime minister-headed Committee on Infrastructure have been expressing concern over toll leakages estimated at over Rs1,500 crore.
The market has started a laboured rise subject to dips
The market made a splendid recovery today, rising from the three-month closing low witnessed on Tuesday. The strong opening by its Asian counterparts and a clutch of good corporate news kept the momentum in the positive terrain in the early session. Added to this, the positive opening in European benchmarks supported the gauges in the post-noon session, enabling them to close slightly off the day’s high. The Sensex ended the session at 16,387.84, up 365.36 points (2.28%) while the Nifty settled at 4913.05, up 106.30 points (2.21%).
Markets in Asia rebounded after a slide yesterday, as investors chose to brush aside the worries about the debt crisis in Europe and focus on economic recovery. Gains in commodity prices also supported the upmove.
Asian markets, barring the KLSE Composite, settled in the green. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.12%; the Hang Seng added 1.11%; the Jakarta Composite surged 7.27%; the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.66%; the Straits Times soared 1.71%; the Seoul Composite jumped 1.36% and the Taiwan Weighted increased 1.14%.
On the other hand, the KLSE Composite declined by 0.10%.
US markets closed marginally in the red on Tuesday despite good news from the economy. The Conference Board, based in New York, said that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 63.3, up from a revised 57.7 reading in April, showing a rise for the third straight month. The other component of the index, which measures how shoppers feel about the economy, rose to 30.2 from 28.2.
The Dow closed lower by 22.82 points (0.23%) to 10,043.75. The Nasdaq lost 2.60 points (0.12%) to 2,210.95 and the S&P 500 closed marginally higher by 0.38 points (0.04%) at 1,074.03.
Back home, the government today decided to speed up the process for appointment of merchant bankers for its Rs40,000 crore disinvestment plan.
Appointment of market intermediaries will be taken up simultaneously with the clearance for disinvestment of stake in a public sector undertaking (PSU).
“The appointment of merchant bankers and other intermediaries will now be taken up simultaneously with the process of seeking the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approval as soon as the minister in charge has approved the case,” the CCEA said in a statement after a meeting.
The top gainers on the Sensex included Hindalco Industries (up 7.30%), TCS (up 5.36%), Tata Motors (up 5.28%), Jaiprakash Associates (up 5.17%) and ICICI Bank (up 4.72%).
The laggards on the benchmark were Grasim Industries (down 20.52%), Reliance Communications (down 2.56%), ACC (down 1.34%), BHEL (down 0.36%) and Maruti Suzuki (down 0.23%).
All sectoral indices on the BSE settled in the positive terrain today. Information technology was up 3.48%, realty was up 3.01%, metal was up 2.98%, technology was up 2.48% and auto surged 2.02%.
Banks may soon face a liquidity crunch as demand for funds is increasing on account of the telecom operators’ huge outgo towards the payment for third generation (3G) spectrum. The government is set to get revenue of over Rs67,700 crore from the recently concluded 3G auction as compared to the Budget estimate of Rs35,000 crore. Telcos have been asked to make the payments by the end of the current month.
The top gainers on the Nifty were Hindalco Industries (up 7.44%), IDFC (up 6.73%), Jaiprakash Associates (up 5.63%), Tata Motors (up 5.36%) and ICICI Bank (up 4.78%).
The losers on the Nifty were Reliance Communications (down 2.88%), Sun Pharma (down 1.69%), Idea (down 1.65%), ACC (down 1.62%) and ONGC (down 0.78%).
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs1,464.19 crore in the equity markets on Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs406.12 crore. The Indian rupee extended its rise on Wednesday on the back of gains in the equity market and the losses in the dollar against other major currencies.
At the time of writing, UK’s FTSE 100 was up 2.07%, Germany’s DAX was up 1.93% and CAC of France was up 2.73%.
The market regulator has sought details from Artha Property for its Blue Mountain Estates scheme in Ooty to see if it falls under the ambit of a collective investment scheme
Market watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has initiated a preliminary enquiry into the Artha Group’s Blue Mountain Estates project, according to SEBI sources. The enquiry is aimed at finding out whether the project in Ooty falls under the ambit of a Collective Investment Scheme (CIS), and if so, whether it should be registered under the CIS rules of SEBI. The company had told Moneylife earlier that the scheme does not fall under the CIS category.
“This is not (a) collective investment scheme. Each customer buys his/her own piece of land, which will be demarcated and be identifiable. The nature of transaction is that of outright purchase of land and Artha facilitates the purchase of plots and hence (this) is not an investment scheme but land purchase,” asserted Suresh Rangarajan, managing director and chief executive officer of the Artha Group in an email to Moneylife. Artha Group has interests in real estate, insurance, loans and an online money management service. It has been substantially funded by the Times of India group.
SEBI defines CIS as: “Any scheme or arrangement made or offered by any company under which the contributions, or payments made by the investors, are pooled and utilised with a view to receive profits, income, produce or property, and is managed on behalf of the investors is a CIS. Investors do not have day-to-day control over the management and operation of such scheme or arrangement.” Any company floating a scheme, which invites deposits from the public as a CIS has to obtain SEBI’s permission. No entity can mobilise any money from the public or from investors unless the scheme is assigned a rating from a credit rating agency registered with SEBI.
“Blue Mountain tea estates are sold as plots of land. Customers have full freehold legal titles for the land and can freely transfer the sale deeds. It is typical of a property purchase and does not guarantee any recurring returns. Nor does it guarantee any fixed capital appreciation. It is like a typical property asset purchase and the customer is free to use the same in the manner he/she deems it fit. Upon payment of full consideration, the plot of land is transferred and registered in the name of the customer. The objective of this project is to offer customers an opportunity to own half or one acre of a plot of land at a hill station and combine holidays with capital appreciation,” said Mr Rangarajan.
According to Artha, after investing in a plot, the person becomes a co-owner of the land. The customer is also entitled to a 50% share in profits from all the produce generated from the plot of land.The day-to-day maintenance like planting, harvesting and processing can be contracted to a care taker.The scheme claims to offer a regular income. The customer has an option to sell the land anytime. The land costs Rs9.9 lakh for one acre. Moneylife gathers that the Artha scheme has been cleverly formulated by the company so as to apparently fall outside SEBI’s rules.