• According to The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest report – World Energy Outlook, if the world is to move to the sustainable development scenario, a dramatic shift away from coal and towards renewable energy across the globe mainly by China and India is needed. China and India, currently account for 60.2% of global electricity generated by the polluting fuel, according to data from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).
  • The IEA suggests that India effectively needs to limit its coal demand to current levels, and China will have to cut its consumption by some 60% by 2040. This would require a major change in policy direction in both countries, something that would be difficult to achieve, both politically and financially.
  • The auction of coal mines under the eighth, ninth and tenth round has come to a close with winning bid prices reflecting the significant variation.
  • In total, the Ministry of Coal was able to auction six out of the 27 coal mines it intended to bid out in these three rounds. All the coal mines that found bidders have been earmarked for the unregulated sector, this means that any industry can bid for these mines.
  • The Ministry of Coal is now gearing to conduct another round of mine auctions but will be further relaxing the bid guidelines. Measures being considered to attract more investment in the coal mining sector include having larger coal mines and allowing the auction of mines with less than three bidders.
  • One of the reasons for disinterest in the rounds that just concluded could be expectations from commercial coal mining, the auctions for which are projected to begin from December 2019.
  • On Thursday (November 14, 2019), the Indian rupee fell sharply against the US dollar, amid a broad dollar strength and weak economic data. The rupee closed at a two-month low of 72.08 against the US dollar as compared to the previous close of 71.46. Weak domestic equity markets, weak economic outlook, contraction in factory output and industrial activity also hurt the rupee.
  • State-owned SECI’s manufacturing-linked solar energy auction for 5GW capacity has evoked good response as Adani Green Energy, Azure and Navyug have submitted bids for a total of 10 GW projects. Solar Energy Corporation of India’s (SECI) for 5GW solar energy auction includes 1GW manufacturing component. Thus, developers will have to set up solar equipment manufacturing capacity of 1 GW and power generation projects of 4 GW.
  • Road stretches that are upgraded to the category of national highways (NHs) are costing the government dearly, due to the added land acquisition cost and funds needed for upgradation; also, the nomenclature leads to a reduction in toll revenue for existing NHs.
  • 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.