• The Andhra Pradesh government has amended its solar and wind power policies, effectively taking more control over setting tariffs from such power generation units. According to industry sources, the move would create further confusion in the investment environment in the renewable energy sector in the state.
  • Deleting older provisions, the new order mandates that the transmission and distribution charges for wheeling power would be determined by the state power regulator.
  • India is looking to lower advance payments and offer larger mining blocks to attract global companies to invest in its coal sector for the first time, but industry sources say the measures may not be enough to draw in big international miners.
  • Vinod Kumar Tiwari, additional secretary at India’s Ministry of Coal, told the government was looking to reduce the upfront payments of around 10% of the estimated value of blocks that have been awarded.
  • Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said the government was also looking to make investing in coal more attractive to bidders by carving out bigger blocks, and was readying a policy to attract foreign investors to its coal industry.
  • HeidelbergCement Group announced that it is looking for acquisitions, taking up some brownfield expansions and giving a stronger push for ‘Zuari’ brand in the South.
  • The Group, which comprises two cement companies-HeidelbergCement India which has a capacity of 5.4 million tonnes and primarily operates in Central India, and Zuari Cement, which has a total capacity of 7.2 million tonnes, is scouting for acquisitions, particularly outside South India.
  • An expert committee of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Meghalaya government to submit a second draft policy on November 21 for auctioning and transporting extracted coal lying at various depots in the state.
  • Chairman of the committee Justice (retd) BP Katakey told that he was not satisfied with the first draft policy submitted by the state government.
  • The committee has given its suggestions and asked the state government to incorporate the same in the second draft policy and submit it on November 21, he said.
  • People’s participation in Central government’s Smart City Mission (SCM) worth ₹2,05,018 crore is limited to digital literates, potentially skewing opinions, observed a World Economic Forum (WEC) paper.
  • WEC recently published acommunity paper titled ‘Transforming Infrastructure: frameworks for bringing the fourth industrial revolution to infrastructure’ which has cited the analysis of SCM policy framework. “SCM promoted city-specific local solutions prepared in consultation with the city residents to meet the nation’s diversity challenge. While SCM promoted citizen participation, it was limited to digital literates, potentially skewing opinions” it observed.
  • Interestingly, the Smart City data analysed had showed that based on citizens’ opinions Mission cities are putting their highest share of investment (16.60 per cent) into urban transport development. After urban transport, area-based development is the second most important investment priority for cities.
  • The paper further added, “Cyber security remains a challenge due to limited consideration given to it during various phases of smart city development.
  • Finance Commission Chairman N K Singh expressed hope that sluggishness in economy will not continue for long. He, however, stressed that India should continue with both structural and cyclical reforms.
  • India’s economic growth hit a six-year low of 5% in the first quarter of the current fiscal. It is estimated that the growth may further slip to below 5% in the second quarter and overall the economy is likely to register a less than 5% expansion for the full fiscal.