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
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
“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.”