• The inclusion of steel in India’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations that propose to extend free trade agreements to China will excessively harm the local steel industry by opening floodgates to Chinese imports from the largest steel producing nation.
  • Industry captains and experts have called on the government to “exercise caution” while finalising the multilateral trade agreement. 
  • The government is readying a plan to identify state roads that will be declared as national highways as it embarks on a massive upgrade of the road network. 
  • The road transport and highways ministry has drawn up a framework to grade state roads on parameters such as traffic density and proximity to existing national highways.
  • Once a state road is declared a national highway, central government departments take over the responsibility of its upkeep and maintenance. 
  • NTPC will not undertake any new coal-based generation for the next few years as part of measures to reduce its carbon footprint and has decided to invest about Rs 25,000 crore to set up one of the world’s largest solar parks at Kutch in Gujarat. The solar park will be developed in phases over the next five years.
  • The company also expects to disconnect some of its coal-based capacity from morning till evening to make way for affordable solar and wind power generation, said a senior company official. Besides, it plans to set up solar power plants of 1,000-MW capacity which will sell electricity in open market. 
  • NTPC’s plan to procure renewable power from plants across the country and bundle it with its coal-based generation will be implemented in a month, the official told. 
  • Domestic steel consumption growth is expected to decelerate to around 5-6% this fiscal, from 7.9% in FY2019, on the back of an unprecedented slowdown in economic activity, said Icra in its report.
  • Experts drawn from different sectors of industry have called for a comprehensive, collaborative and holistic approach to address the challenge of driving energy efficiency and sustainability.
  • At the three-day CII Conference on Energy Efficiency, Meher Padumjee, Chairperson, Energy Efficiency Summit, 2019, said the Indian economy has grown from half a trillion dollar 20 years ago to a near $3 trillion one with the energy demand growing by five times and energy efficiency measures resulting in savings of about 6%.
  • KN Rao, Director of Energy and Environment at ACC, said “The cement sector is a shining example of how it took to energy efficiency. It had no option but to take to energy efficiency initiatives as the demand over the past 30 years has always been low versus overall supplies. And since it had to bring down costs and could not pass it on to customers, it quickly adopted energy efficiency measures and today Indian plants have become world class.”
  • Rene Van Berkel of UNIDO Regional Office, said there was a need to integrate renewable and other sources of energy into energy efficiency and look at this a single unit linking up to overall manufacturing excellence.
  • The government is banking on the recently implemented letter of credit (LC) mechanism to compel state-owned electricity distribution companies (discoms) to become more disciplined and improve their revenue collection. Union power minister RK Singh told that since it is now mandatory for discoms to issue LCs in advance to receive power, “the system will ensure that the discoms are also encouraged to collect the dues (from customers) diligently”.