Hotel industry to contribute $1
The Indian hotel market has significant growth opportunities and is poised to contribute $1,504 billion to the country’s overall GDP by 2047, from $65 billion in 2022, suggests a report by the Hotel Association of India shared exclusively with Mint. It forecasts that the demand for hotels will increase over the next 25 years, however, the supply will grow in the same ratio if there remains a continuous development plan for the pipeline and new projects.
The association anticipated the growth to be at 11%, 13%, and 15% in the short, mid, and long term for the overall hospitality industry. The total contribution includes aspects of services from corresponding industry verticals such as food and beverages, salon & spas, etc. This excludes consideration of services market growth and therefore it also excludes scenario-based contribution estimates.
The direct contribution of the hotel industry to the GDP was $40 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $68 billion by 2027, and $1 trillion by 2047.
The report highlighted that to reach the $3 trillion economic target by 2047, the tourism and hospitality sector will need policy support, including but not limited to ease of doing business and infrastructure status. There is an urgent need for a robust tourism policy structure; a rise in national and international tourist footfalls and 100% FDI, it said.
Policy and ease of doing business will play a key role in the way that tourism shapes up, said Madan Prasad Bezbaruah, HAI's secretary general and former secretary of the Ministry of Tourism.
Bezbaruah said within the tourism and hospitality sector, 30 key sectors had been identified by the government which are important for the sector to function properly to reach its desired size. “Different states have different policies when it comes to tourism, while some have given the sector an industry status, others have not. We do not understand why because it doesn't cost states money to do this," he said.
The report added that the infrastructure status to hotels will facilitate long-term loans at competitive interest rates thereby boosting the industry's growth.
Further, attractive investments through tax breaks, lenient land use rules, and providing cash flow assistance to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and other infrastructure investments, including covering aviation programmes, regional tourism packages, business tourism grants, etc., will help the sector.
Meanwhile, Bezbaruah also said the ‘Brand India' image must be reinforced but it is because there is a long delay in the National Tourism Policy which is expected to be introduced in 2023. “Internationally, we are in a leadership role in many areas now but overseas marketing of a country must go along with any vision that we have. The government's tourism vision which is still yet to be formally adopted has plans for an Incredible India 2.0. This campaign has to be developed in new circumstances and focus on new areas of growth to attract more international meetings, incentives and conferences," he added.
Under its Draft National Tourism Policy proposed in 2022, the Ministry of Tourism aimed to improve the tourism framework, support industries, and develop tourism sub-sectors. It said visa, immigration, customs procedures, and secure and hygienic destinations would also be part of the vision. It also said it will identify 50 new locations that could be developed as tourism sites.
Source: Live Mint
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Yet Another Majestic Structure Will Be Lost Due to PM Modi's 'Systematic Erasure Campaign'
Criticising the Centre over the National Museum being vacated under the Central Vista redevelopment project, the Congress on Friday alleged that yet another majestic structure will be lost as part of the “systematic erasure campaign” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh shared pictures of the National Museum building and said there was no guarantee that this national treasure would survive the supposed relocation.
“Yet another majestic building that combines finely the modern with the traditional is to vanish by the end of this year. The National Museum designed by G B Deolalikar and inaugurated in December 1960 is being demolished. Incidentally, he also designed the main block of the Supreme Court which hopefully will survive,” he said in a post on X.
“The nation loses not just a majestic structure but also loses a piece of its recent history which is the target of a systematic erasure campaign of the Prime Minister. It has over 2,00,000 priceless exhibits and there is no guarantee that this national treasure will survive the supposed relocation,” Ramesh said.
The Congress leader said the National Museum also has a wonderful history as its first director was Grace Morley, an American museologist who came to India for the first time in 1960 in that position.
“She remained Director till 1966 but later continued to stay in Delhi where she was cremated in 1985. She earned the respect of one and all and was referred to as Mataji Morley,” he said in his post.
The National Museum in Delhi, home to a collection of rich ancient artefacts, is likely to be vacated by the end of this year as part of the Central Vista redevelopment project, sources said on Thursday.
It is not clear whether the over 60-year-old building, one of the most iconic modern landmarks of the capital city, will be retained or razed after its objects and collections are shifted.
“As part of the Central Vista redevelopment project, the plan is to vacate the National Museum by the end of this year. Instructions have been given to search for a space where the collections could be safely and properly shifted,” a source said.
The collections will eventually be housed in the proposed Yuge Yugeen Bharat National Museum which would be located in the North Block and South Block of the Raisina Hill complex.
On August 15, 1949, the National Museum was inaugurated in the Rashtrapati Bhavan by C Rajagopalachari, the then Governor-General of India, before finding a home at Janpath.
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Dy CM Shivakumar Says Karnataka Bandh Was Not Needed Published 47 minutes ago
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Friday said there was no need for a bandh over Cauvery row as his government is protecting the interests of the State.
A Karnataka bandh, called by various pro-Kannada organisations along with farmers' outfits, was observed today to protest the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
“There was no need for bandh, which some organisations have called,” Shivakumar told reporters here.
He said the government is protecting the interests of the state.
The Deputy CM, who holds the Water Resources portfolio, said the government ensured that no one faced hardship during the bandh which he added was peaceful, and vehicles plied and shops were open at many places as usual.
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In Saudi-Israel Deal
TEL AVIV—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s big bet on sealing a landmark rapprochement with Saudi Arabia is running into a familiar problem: The Palestinians want land for giving their blessing to a deal, but Netanyahu’s coalition partners are adamantly against the idea.
Talks have been in flux over economic incentives for the Palestinians to get on board with what would be a historic realignment in the Middle East. With the U.S. helping broker the deal, those incentives have broadly included upgrading infrastructure in the West Bank, such as roads and telecommunications, while providing more work permits for Palestinians to work in Israel and freeing up hundreds of millions of dollars in Saudi aid.
“The main idea is how to ease the lives of the Palestinian people," said an Israeli official with knowledge of Netanyahu's thinking.
Money alone might not satisfy Palestinian leaders who are trying to influence the shape of the deal. The Wall Street Journal has reported that some in the Palestinian leadership want Israel to relinquish control over small parts of the occupied West Bank and tear down some Israeli settlements there.
But while that's a more modest demand than creating a separate Palestinian state, which had been the default position of both the Palestinians and the Saudis in the past, Netanyahu's partners in his ruling coalitions are already pushing back.
Netanyahu came back to power late last year in a coalition with far-right parties that were once on the fringe of Israeli politics, and support the complete takeover of the West Bank by Jewish authorities. They are especially opposed to anything that would resemble the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords, which created the Palestinian Authority and laid out a path toward creating an independent state.
“Our government won't come within a kilometer of anything that even smells like Oslo," said Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in public remarks earlier in September.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is unlikely to welcome any deal that doesn't have a clear political component, said Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian official and now a lecturer of international studies at Birzeit University, located in the West Bank.
“No matter how big the financial component will be, it will not be enough. Without a political component, no Palestinian leadership, including Mahmoud Abbas, can bless a deal," Khatib said.
The Biden administration wants Israel to take measures that will preserve the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state next to Israel in the future, the Israeli official said, but offered no details on what those steps might be.
The unknown element is how much the Saudis care.
Khatib said the Palestinians' demands won't be a “make or break issue" for Saudi Arabia. Privately, Saudi officials have said they need a significant concession to the Palestinians for them to formally recognize the existence of the Israeli state—but it isn't yet clear what such a concession could entail.
If Netanyahu can't thread the needle, he would have to decide between rejecting a deal that would rank among the most significant legacies of his three decades in public life, or pushing it through with the support of his opponents in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, potentially causing his government to collapse.
Those dynamics have made the Israeli-Palestinian conflict one of the thorniest issues in a multilayered deal in which the Saudis also want a formal U.S. defense pact and American help building a nuclear-power program.
“I think the Palestinian component is the most complicated part of the deal," said William Wechsler, senior director of the N7 Initiative, a Washington-based organization that is working on regional integration in the Middle East.
He said the U.S. has had success negotiating with Saudi Arabia on potential uranium enrichment and defense, while its spotty record on Israeli-Palestinian peace showed how tough the issue is.
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia haven't said what concessions they would accept for the Palestinians. Netanyahu also hasn't publicly commented on the matter, except to say that any concession wouldn't hurt Israeli security. He has also said the Palestinians should be a part of the deal but shouldn't have any veto power over it.
Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, told Fox News last week that the Palestinian issue is important to the kingdom but stopped short of demanding the creation of a Palestinian state, as Saudi Arabia had insisted before.
Instead, he said he hoped a deal would “ease the life of the Palestinians," mirroring some of the Israelis' language.
Smotrich and other Israeli lawmakers, including many from Netanyahu's own Likud party who oppose territorial concessions, would also back economic concessions to the Palestinians.
An aide to Smotrich said he sees improving the lives of Palestinians as a shared interest and would support projects such as improving refugee camps, sewage and water infrastructure, and the establishment of trade and commerce centers.
Smotrich's ascent to power has coincided with a sharp turn in the larger Israeli public against ceding land for peace with Palestinians, a trend that began after a violent Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada that lasted from 2000 to 2005.
The idea lost further traction after Israel uprooted its settlements in the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian enclave was quickly taken over by U.S.-designated terrorist organization Hamas, which has fired tens of thousands of rockets into Israel since. Polling conducted in March and April by the Pew Research Center found that support among Israeli Jews for a two-state solution was 35%, down from 46% in 2013.
The Palestinians weren't a part of the previous normalization deals between Israel and four Muslim-majority states in 2020, known as the Abraham Accords. They also rejected out-of-hand a peace proposal from the Trump administration that Palestinians considered heavily biased in favor of Israel.
Anat Peled contributed to this article.
Write to Dov Lieber at Dov.Lieber@wsj.com
Source: Live Mint
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Danish Ali seeks ‘suitable punishment’ for BJP MP Bidhuri from PM Modi
Bahujan Samaj Party MP Danish Ali has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking ‘suitable punishment’ for Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Ramesh Bidhuri over the latter's communal remarks on the floor of Lok Sabha.
BSP MP Danish Ali on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a public statement condemning Bidhuri's behavior. In a letter to the prime minister, Ali also demanded that he be provided enhanced security in view of an "escalation of threats" against him. Noting that the Modi was not present in the House, Ali claimed that Bidhuri used "inappropriate language" when referring to the prime minister during his address.
Bidhuri's communal remarks targeting Ali during a discussion on the success of the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission last Thursday sparked a furore, with opposition leaders calling for stringent action against the BJP MP.
Opposition parties have rallied around Ali and targeted the BJP on its MP's remarks. Several members of the Congress, TMC and NCP among others have written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla seeking the strictest action against Bidhuri.
Source: Live Mint
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Vedanta plans zinc business shake-up as debt payment looms
Billionaire Anil Agarwal is exploring an overhaul of his lucrative Indian zinc unit that could split out its three core businesses, as part of the wider Vedanta group's efforts to reduce a multibillion dollar debt load.
Hindustan Zinc Ltd. said in a statement that it could create separate legal entities for its zinc & lead, silver, and recycling businesses to help capitalize on “distinct market positions” and attract investors. A committee of directors will evaluate the options and advise the board, along with external advisers.Shares of Vedanta Ltd., which controls the zinc business, jumped as much as 7.9% in Mumbai after the news, while Hindustan Zinc climbed as much as 6.6%.ALSO READ: Foxconn drops plans for $19.5 billion JV with Vedanta to make electronic chips
Bloomberg News reported earlier this week that Agarwal's Vedanta Ltd. was preparing a broad overhaul, with businesses including aluminum, oil and gas, iron ore and steel to be separately listed — an effort that could put better price tags on some assets and pave the way for Agarwal to hive off low-growth operations to raise cash.
“Agarwal's efforts remind me of the phrase rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” said Amit Tandon, managing director and founder of proxy advisory firm Institutional Investor Advisory Services India Ltd. “Capital allocation decisions in the operating companies are being driven by the debt in the holding company and the need to service this.”
The Indian government, which owns almost 30% of Hindustan Zinc, would need to consider the changes and the impact on the entity's debt, he said.
Efforts to simplify a complex financial structure and to reduce a deep conglomerate discount have been floated by the group in the past, including in a video posted in August, but have not previously come to fruition. A heavy debt load has increased the urgency of those plans, though. Vedanta Resources Ltd., the parent of Vedanta Ltd., has $2 billion of bond repayments due in 2024 and another $1.2 billion in 2025.
Vedanta to demerge its five key businesses into separate listed firms
Mining conglomerate Vedanta Ltd on Friday announced plans to demerge five of its key businesses, including aluminium, oil and gas, and steel, into separate listed entities with a view to create shareholder value.
"The de-merger is planned to be a simple vertical split, for every 1 share of Vedanta Limited, the shareholders will additionally receive 1 share of each of the 5 newly listed companies," the firm said in a stock exchange filing.
The Board of Vendata Ltd approved "a pure-play, asset-owner business model" that will result in aluminium, oil and gas, power, steel and ferrous materials, and base metals being demerged and listed separately.
Vedanta Ltd will continue to hold 65 per cent of Hindustan Zinc Ltd as well as the new businesses of stainless steel and semiconductor/display.
The entire exercise is proposed to be completed in 12-15 months.