By: R K Chopra, Secretary General, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce
Track2Realty Exclusive: The opening up of retail in multi-brand and single brand is likely to push up the demand for more space throughout the country.Â On a rough estimate, this sub-segment needs, over the next few years, close to 20 million sq feet of space, which have to be built in accordance with the international standards.
Creation of such additional space with the state of the art facilities and comforts would require an investment of US$ 15 billion in the next few years.Â That could be realized only through direct investment by foreign companies or through joint ventures.
That is not all.Â The latest in the mall technology dictate that its growing power needs could be met by tapping non-conventional sources like solar energy.Â Micro-grids, which are now being popularized in India for tapping alternative energy in large conglomerates like shopping centres, malls, multiplexes can help running on both conventional and non-conventional energy and at the same time enable the entity to feed the excess energy generated to the main grid.
This would be an additional source of income for such establishments besides reducing their dependence on conventional sources of energy.Â The US energy companies, which are world leaders in smart grid and micro grid technology, can be successfully a partner in this effort.
Many important companies, which indented to commence SEZs have either vacated the field or postponed their launch due to a variety of reasons.Â There are some US companies, which are interested in investing in these areas.
They may naturally look forward to have some assurances from the government, such as hassle free land and approvals, relaxed labour laws, easy financing options, relaxed norms for buying land, easy exit routes, inputs at affordable prices, and of course, a sustained and long term policy.
The realty sector is expected to grow at 30 per cent annually to become a US$180 billion industry by 2020.Â To achieve the target, a focused, flexible industry friendly policy is needed.
The US continues to be the largest investor in India.Â To motivate them more in the overall Indian industrial segments and particularly in the realty sector, it is important to fast track the proposed bi-lateral investment treaty between the two countries, which should spell out the easy investment norms, particularly in the real estate sector. That will be a win-win situation for both countries.