The National Green Tribunal strove to play an effective role in resolving environmental disputes in 2019 with cleaning of Ganga and Yamuna taking centre stage as the panel highlighted the urgency of the matter saying “every drop of pollution in Ganga is a matter of concern”.
The tribunal not only flagged key environmental issues of the country but brought a new dynamic functioning style for sensitising government machinery to act fast and intensify its surveillance and vigilance mechanism.
Investment in new projects increased by more than Rs 1 trillion during October-December 2019 over the same period in the previous year. There was Rs 3.1 trillion in new projects in December 2018. This has risen by 37.4% on a year-on-year basis to Rs 4.26 trillion in December last year, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data showed.
Analysts are cautiously optimistic on the Centre’s big bang infrastructure push to achieve its $5-trillion economy target.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled Rs 102 lakh crore of infrastructure projects that will be implemented in the next five years as part of the government’s spending push in the infrastructure sector. Projects are spread across power, renewables, roads, railways, and urban development including metros, education, irrigation, health, water, mobility and digital development.
Coal India chairman AK Jha said CIL will spend nearly Rs 6,900 crore in acquiring land, heavy mining machinery, wagons and on-mine development activities in the current quarter. CIL has budgeted a total investment of Rs 10,000 crore for this financial year, and it spent about Rs 3,100 crore in the first nine months of the fiscal.
Coal mining may be opened up to firms other than those in steel and power sectors through a legal amendment. The coal ministry is considering amending the law, possibly through an ordinance, ahead of the first commercial mining auctions expected this month.
At present, companies other than steel, power and coal washing services firms are barred from bidding for coal blocks. The Centre proposes to open it up to all firms with offices registered in India. According to senior government official, this will attract investments from Indian and global corporates, besides mining majors such as Peabody, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.
Foreign direct investment into India grew 15% to $26 billion during the first half of the current financial year against $22.66 billion during April-September of 2018-19, according to government data.
Sectors, which attracted maximum foreign inflows during April-September 2019-20, include services ($4.45 billion), computer software and hardware ($4 billion), telecommunications ($4.28 billion), automobile ($2.13 billion) and trading ($2.14 billion), the commerce and industry ministry data showed.