• The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) amended the Consolidated Foreign Direct Investment Policy 2017 to allow 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance intermediaries through the automatic route. Till now FDI up to 49% was allowed in insurance intermediaries through the automatic route.
  • India’s federal government will encourage inefficient state power utilities to seek privatisation and other institutional reforms to turn around money-losing operations and ensure reliable supplies to consumers, according to the top bureaucrat in the federal power ministry.
  • India has been increasingly advocating privatisation of ailing distribution companies as government efforts since 2015 to revive the utilities failed to turn around the firms, known as DISCOMS.
  • Generation from India’s coal power plants fell 3% in April-December 2019, compared with the same period of the 2018, and 9% over the target for the period.
  • The plant load factor, a measure of capacity utilisation, fell to 55.78%, compared with the target of 60.10% and the previous year’s achievement of 59.51%.
  • Steel and petroleum minister Mr Dharmendra Pradhan said that there are business and policy-level interactions for long-term engagement with the US for sourcing coking coal, since India is planning to raise domestic steel output from the current level of 140 million tonne to 300 million tonnes by 2030 and the requirement of coking coal is likely to rise 190% to 175 million tonnes.
  • The senior officials of the Railway Board and the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) noted that the on-going projects of eastern and western freight corridors to consume 17 metric tonnes of steel in next five years.
  • The domestic demand for steel will get support from infrastructure that will be developed to achieve the $5-trillion economy target, according to Minister for Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan.
  • Pradhan said the various policy reforms and Government initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Har Ghar Jal Yojana, construction in railways and roads, creation of a gas-based economy and creation of new agri-storage facilities are set to drive steel demand.