• The environment ministry has sought a Rs 1.69 lakh crore “pollution abatement performance grant” from the 15th Finance Commission to deal with the burgeoning problem of pollution across large parts of India. It has suggested that 60% weightage be given to the Indo-Gangetic plain, where the national capital lies and which is faced with severe air pollution levels.
  • The ministry also sought Rs 62,438 crore for catchment area treatment and forest restoration grants and another Rs 1.35 lakh crore for meeting climate change goals, rejuvenating degraded land and the ground water levels in states.
  • The proposal said that funds from the pollution abatement performance grant would also be invested in purchase and installation of air pollution control equipment, technologies to check industrial emissions and awareness campaigns aimed at behavioural changes.
  • Despite scrapping the 15% busy season surcharge in September, the Indian Railways has seen a 8% drop in cargo loading this October against the same period last fiscal. This is the sharpest decline in the last nine years.
  • In October 2019, not only is the loading down, the distance of cargo movement was also lower. And the decline in total railway tonnage has resulted in almost 9% drop in October freight revenues.
  • Railways is facing competition from road sector in moving certain commodities, an expert said. To deal with such competition, the Railways has started targeting smaller sized and lower weight commodities, called lesser than truck load.
  • Industrial production in September contracted 4.3%, the sharpest decline since October 2011 spanning both the 2004-05 and 2011-12 series, official data showed. This reinforced fears of a deepening supply-side contraction in response to an acute demand compression in the economy, compounding worries of policymakers, as they seek ways to beat a seemingly entrenched economic slowdown.
  • IRB Infrastructure, I Squared Capital-backed Cube Highways and a consortium of Larsen & Toubro and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) have bid for the third bundle of highway projects under the toll-operate-transfer (TOT) model.
  • Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh exuded confidence that India will have over 200 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. India has set an ambitious target of having 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022.
  • UltraTech Cement Ltd said that it will sell its entire stake in Bangladesh-based Emirates Cement Bangladesh Ltd (ECBL) and Emirates Power Company Ltd (EPCL) to Germany’s HeidelbergCement for an enterprise value of $29.5 million (about Rs 211.48 crore).