• India and the US on Tuesday zeroed in on energy business as a key means to bridge bilateral trade deficit as government data showed oil and gas shipments worth $6.4 billion emerged as the top import item from America in the nine months of 2019-20 financial year.
  • The leaders today have declared energy as one of the four most important pillars of bilateral strategic engagement. India-US strategic energy partnership has been further energised with more emphasis on technology, innovation and capital infusion,” oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted.
  • Mr Satendra Kumar Gomasta took over as Director technical of Coal India’s exploration arm Central Mine Planning & Design Institute (CMPDIL) on February 26, 2020. Prior to this, he served as general manager, Mining, at another Coal India subsidiary Northern Coalfields Limited in Singrauli.
  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) amended the Consolidated Foreign Direct Investment Policy 2017 to allow 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance intermediaries through the automatic route. Till now FDI up to 49% was allowed in insurance intermediaries through the automatic route.
  • India’s federal government will encourage inefficient state power utilities to seek privatisation and other institutional reforms to turn around money-losing operations and ensure reliable supplies to consumers, according to the top bureaucrat in the federal power ministry.
  • India has been increasingly advocating privatisation of ailing distribution companies as government efforts since 2015 to revive the utilities failed to turn around the firms, known as DISCOMS.
  • Generation from India’s coal power plants fell 3% in April-December 2019, compared with the same period of the 2018, and 9% over the target for the period.
  • The plant load factor, a measure of capacity utilisation, fell to 55.78%, compared with the target of 60.10% and the previous year’s achievement of 59.51%.