• India's crude steel output increased by 1.7% to 9.215 million tonnes in July 2019 over 9.059
    MT during the corresponding month of last year, according to World Steel Association's
    report.
  • On Wednesday (August 28, 2019), the Indian rupee declined by 29 paise to close at 71.77
    against the US dollar on account of an impending global recession, rising crude oil prices and
    weakness in the equity market.
  • At Rs 1.23 lakh crore, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s surplus for 2018-19 was higher than
    the surplus in recent years as a result of an unusually large amount of open market
    operations (OMOs) conducted by the central bank during the year and no need for fresh risk
    provisions.
  • The additional interest income from OMOs was Rs 36,000 crore and a change in the formula
    for determining forex gains and losses yielded gains to the tune of Rs 21,000 crore, said a
    senior RBI official.
  • India is set to impose a nationwide ban on plastic bags, cups and straws on October 2,
    officials said, in its most sweeping measure yet to stamp out single-use plastics from cities
    and villages that rank among the world’s most polluted.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is leading efforts to scrap such plastics by 2022, is set to
    launch the campaign with a ban on as many as six items on October 2, the birth anniversary
    of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, two officials said. These include plastic bags,
    cups, plates, small bottles, straws and certain types of sachets, in line with government
    policy.
  • “The ban will be comprehensive and will cover manufacturing, usage and import of such
    items,” one official said.
  • The ban on the first six items of single-use plastics will clip 5% to 10% from India’s annual
    consumption of about 14 million tonnes of plastic, the official said.
  • Penalties for violations of the ban will probably take effect after an initial six-month period to
    allow people time to adopt alternatives, officials said.
  • The SHAKTI scheme, meant to improve coal linkages to power plants, has not been
    transparent; it has not yet helped address the coal linkage problems of all stressed power
    plants; and it has not been able to conduct any auctions for IPPs without PPAs.
  • SHAKTI was conceptualised with the intention of moving to a transparent and effective
    system for coal linkage allocation that could partially address stressed assets and encourage
    a competitive coal-thermal sector. However, two years after the policy was announced, those
    objectives still do not seem to be realised.
  • Global companies such as BHP, Peabody Energy and Glencore can now own coal mines and
    carry out related operations in India, with the cabinet approving 100% foreign direct
    investment under the automatic route in mining, processing and sale.
  • The FDI has been allowed for coal mining activities including associated processing
    infrastructure subject to provisions of Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and the
    Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 as amended from time to time,
    and other relevant acts on the subject,” as per a statement issued . Associated processing
    infrastructure would include washery and facilities for crushing and coal handling, it said.
  • Coal India’s director-finance Sanjiv Soni said the decision would lead to increased
    competition. “Foreign direct investment will result in increased competition after a couple of
    years when foreign players start investing, as coal mining has a long gestation period,” Soni
    told. “Competition will result in additional supplies in the market and we feel prices should
    stabilise once these players start producing in India.”