• Mr Mansukhlal Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge), on October 15, 2019 after a meeting of the Maritime State Development Council, said that with three-fourth of the non-major ports not operational in the country, the Shipping Ministry will conduct a detailed study to find out if those ports can be developed, and if so, how and for what purpose should they be developed. There are 204 non-major ports from which hardly 44 are functioning.
  • The study will be completed in six months, stating that this study will be “different than Sagarmala study, Mandaviya added that the Ministry will consider making a national grid of ports so that cargo or agricultural produce located near the non-major ports can be shipped to major ports.
  • He said that this study will be shared with the States so that they don’t have to conduct separate studies. They will be free to develop it themselves or through public-private partnership ports. All States will implement a set of common rules to ease movement of barges across the coastal route.

Briefs from the third India Energy Forum by CERAWeek held on Tuesday. Coal and Mines Minister Mr Pralhad Joshi said:

  • Formulating policies to bring foreign investments in coal sector.
  • Deliberation on offering bigger sized blocks to global investors.
  • Government may Issue a new policy to attract foreign investments in coal within a fortnight.
  • Will need over 1200 million tonne of coal by 2023 annually and coal gasification will have a place in India’s energy basket soon.

At the India Energy Forum by CERAWEEK on Tuesday, India called for a reset on climate debate on coal as a fuel, in the backdrop of the country becoming one of the top renewable energy producers globally with ambitious capacity expansion plans. India’s position was articulated by power and renewable energy minister Raj Kumar Singh; commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and coal and mines minister Prahlad Joshi.

Raj Kumar Singh said that the debate about coal needs to be restated or restructured. What needs to be discussed is emissions and not coal production. India’s per capita power consumption, about 1149 kilowatt-hour (kWh), is among the lowest in the world. In comparison, the world’s per capita consumption is 3600 kWh.

The US today consumes twice of what India consumes even today, said Goyal. India’s coal requirement is expected to go up to 1123 million tonnes by 2023 from the present levels of around 700 million tonnes. The earlier plan was to mine 1.5 billion tonnes of coal by 2020. Of this, one billion tonnes was to come from state run Coal India Ltd and 500 million tonnes from non-Coal India sources in line with the government’s push to raise natural resources production and kickstart economic growth.

India plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030, as part of its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.

Explaining India’s position, Singh said, No other country has increased renewable energy capacity the way we have done it, our concern for environment is second to none. India has been trying to rejig its energy mix in favour of green energy sources and has an installed renewable energy capacity of about 82,580MW, with about 31,150MW under execution. India is running the world’s largest renewable energy programme, with plans to achieve 175GW by 2022 and 500GW by 2030, as part of its climate commitments.

Mr Singh said, India has laid down very stringent norms for coal plants. So far, only 59 nations have signalled their intention to submit an enhanced climate action plan, and an additional nine have started an internal process to boost ambition and have this reflected in their national plans.

  • Union Minister of Road Transport and highways Mr Nitin Gadkari said on Monday 14, 2019, that the national highways authority of India (NHAI) will be able to earn Rupees one lakh crores in revenue from toll and wayside amenities over the next five years.
    He said that as the government goes on to build additional roads, the length of roads with tolling system will increase to 75,000 kms over the next five years. 
  • Currently, around 24,996 kms are under the tolling system, and over 2,000 kms will be added by the current financial year. The toll income by the end of this (financial) year will reach Rs 30,000 crores. As we go on to build more roads and other amenities, the income from toll and other sources of revenue will reach Rs one lakh crore, Mr Gadkari said at a conference on electronic tolling here. If we get such revenues, we can get loans from banks and raise more money from markets and invest in more projects.

  • The inflation rates in terms of the consumer price index (CPI) and the wholesale price index (WPI) continued to chart divergent paths for the second consecutive month in September. The CPI inflation rate rose to a 14-month high of 3.99% in September, closer to an average of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)-mandated target of 2-6%, from 3.28% in August.
  • After remaining steady in July-August 2019, the core CPI inflation eased to a 26-month low of 4.2% in September 2019, offering some relief in light of the significant uptick in headline inflation. Health services in the CPI continued to see the inflation rate above 7% though it moderated to 7.66% from 7.84%.
  • The Indian rupee appreciated by 28 paise to 70.74 against the US dollar in early trade on Monday (14.10.2019) as gains in domestic equity market and positive developments on the US-China trade talks front strengthened investor sentiments.