• Lok Sabha gave its nod to the Mines and Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill. The Bill proposes to remove end-use restrictions for participating in coal mine auctions and will open up the coal sector fully for commercial mining for all domestic and global companies. It would also pave the way for auctioning of iron ore mining leases which expire this month.
  • India Ratings and Research has maintained a stable outlook on the cement sector for FY21. The agency expects cement demand growth to recover to around 5% during the year, on the back of a modest pick-up in infrastructure spending and housing segment with some recovery witnessed during November-December 2019.
  • Steel mills in India are gearing up for an increase in demand from overseas buyers as the coronavirus outbreak chokes supplies from China.  Indian mills have been shipping out more steel this year as domestic demand remains sluggish amid the slowest economic expansion in more than six years.
    • The government has given its nod for a grant of Rs 478 crore to the waste-to-energy (WTE) programme for the remaining period of financial year 2019-20.
    • It has also approved a physical target of 257 megawatt (MW) for the mentioned period under the revised guidelines for WTE scheme released by the ministry of new and renewable energy recently.
  • Renewable energy Minister Mr R K Singh has said India’s solar power industry is under no compulsion to import solar cells or modules from China following the coronavirus outbreak. The Ministry had recently decided to give extra time for the commissioning of power projects that face delays due to the virus.