• The Indian rupee opened on a cautious note and fell 8 paise to 71.89 against the US dollar in early trade on Thursday (November 21, 2019), tracking muted opening in domestic equities.
  • Welcoming the stress fund of Rs 25,000 crore earmarked by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently for kick-starting stalled housing projects, the UP Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) is now awaiting guidelines for its implementation.
  • The national lobbying arm of homebuyers, Forum for People’s Collective Efforts (FPCE) has approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him not to constrict the rights of homebuyers to initiate insolvency proceedings against real estate developers.
  • The plea is in the wake of reports that the government is considering changes in the insolvency code to stipulate that the number of homebuyers required to file an insolvency case must be at least 100 or they must collectively account for a minimum of 5% of the outstanding debt of the realty developer, whichever is lower.
  • Currently, even a single homebuyer can take a realty firm to NCLT under the Code.
  • The cabinet approved a slew of measures to make monetisation of road assets more investor friendly, as the government gets cracking on raising funds through asset recycling.
  • Among key changes, the National highways authority of India (NHAI) has been allowed to vary the concession period of toll projects between 15 to 30 years.
  • NHAI has also been allowed to raise long-term financing from banks against toll receipts, the exercise commonly known as toll securitisation.
  • Going forward, the NHAI board is now allowed to make approvals to TOT projects, including the proposed stretches, concession period and concession value of the bundle, Sitharaman said.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved certain measures pertaining to the construction sector and noted that the government entities will take the decision to initiate proceedings for setting aside of the arbitral award, and any related appeal with the opinion of a law officer such as Attorney-General for India, Solicitor-General for India, Additional Solicitor-General for India in consultation with Department of Legal Affairs.
  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the measures were approved for effective implementation of the CCEA’s decision of August 31 on ‘Initiatives to revive the Construction Sector’. She said that the proposals put forward by NITI Aayog with respect to the arbitrations by or against government entities were approved.
  • Singapore-based toll road operator Cube Highways and Infrastructure has emerged as the successful bidder for the third bundle of Toll-Operate-Transfer (ToT) highway projects auctioned by India’s highway development agency by placing the highest bid of Rs 5,011 crores.