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Cashless payment system operational on toll plazas at National Highways
Aug 02,2016

For seamless movement on National Highways, an IT based cashless payment mechanism i.e. Electronic Fee Collection (EFC) system has been rolled out by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. EFC system is operational on over 340 Fee Plazas on National Highways across the country. Besides, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has also implemented an IT based National Permit System in all States / Union Territories with effect from 08th May, 2010 to facilitate inter-state seamless movement of goods carriages.

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BS-IV auto fuel to be supplied in the entire country by 01.04.2017
Aug 02,2016

The Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum & Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply today that the Government has decided for supply of BS-IV auto fuels in the entire country by 01.4.2017 in a phased manner as indicated below:-
  BS-IV gasoline/diesel coverageTarget date for commencement of supplyWhole of Northern India covering J&K (Except Leh/Kargil), Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and the bordering districts of and parts of Rajasthan and Western Uttar Pradesh.1st April, 2015All of Goa, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu, Dadra-Nagar-Haveli and Andaman & Nicobar, parts of Maharashtra and parts of Gujarat.

Corridor spanning the highway link through Gujarat and Rajasthan linking Northern India to the ports on the West Coast will also be covered.

1st April, 2016Rest of the Country1st April, 2017

BS-IV auto fuel supply has already been commenced in the areas covered in the first two phases.   Further, the Ministry has also issued an order on 22.05.2015 to all Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs)& other stake holders conveying its readiness for switching over directly from BS-IV to BS-VI quality fuel w.e.f. 01.04.2020.  

In pursuance of the decision of the Government, Oil Companies have started upgrading their refineries with an investment of Rs. 30,000 crore for 100% BS-IV fuel quality by 2017. Further, an additional investment of Rs. 30,000 crore has been estimated for BS-VI fuel quality upgradation.  

Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs)/Refineries have already initiated actions to meet the BS-VI fuel quality across the country by 01.04.2020. Further, Department of Heavy Industries has informed that Vehicle Manufacturing Companies have not expressed any such inability. 

Government had constituted an Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri Soumitra Choudhuri, Ex-member, Planning Commission (now Niti Aayog), to draft Auto Fuel Vision and Policy, 2025. The Committee has submitted its report. As per recommendations, this Ministry has notified a schedule on 19.1.2015 for phased introduction of BS-IV fuels in the entire country by 01.04.2017.

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Rs 142 Crore allocated to for National Biogas and Manure Management Programme
Aug 02,2016

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is implementing the National Biogas and Manure Management Programme (NBMMP) for setting up of family type biogas plants in rural and semi-urban areas of the country. A target of 1,00,000 biogas plants has been fixed for the current year.

The family type biogas plants generate clean gaseous fuel particularly for cooking and meeting lighting needs and replaces use of fuel wood, avoid cutting of trees thereby reducing pressure on forests. Biogas plants help in reducing emission of Green House Gases (GHGs). A budget allocation of Rs. 142.00 crore has been provided for the Biogas Programme for the current year, 2016-17.

The other infrastructural frame work for trainings, publicity and information dissemination including technical assistance for setting up of such biogas plants is available from the Biogas Development and Training Centres (BDTCs) located in IITs/Universities across the country and also from the State Nodal Agencies (SNAs)/Departments and Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

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Timely delivery of possession of apartment/plot the essence of Agreement between promoter and buyer, says Draft Rules
Aug 02,2016

Timely completion of the project and timely delivery of the apartment or plot to the allottee by the promoter is the essence of the Agreement to be signed between the promoter and allottee under the Real Estate (Development & Regulation) Act, 2016. This has been explicitly incorporated in the Draft Agreement for Sale Rules, 2016 under the Real Estate Act approved by the Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu. Allottees on their part would be required to ensure timely payments.

Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has firmed up the Draft Agreement for Sale Rules, 2016 applicable for the five Union Territories of Chandigarh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Daman & Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep. These Draft Rules will now be placed in public domain for comments and suggestions before final notification.

The Draft Agreement for Sale Rules,2016 which specify the roles, responsibilities and obligations of promoters and allottees besides a Draft Agreement to be signed under the Act between promoter and allottee clearly stipulate that n++The Promoter agrees and understands that timely delivery of possession of the (Apartment/Plot) is the essence of the Agreementn++. Under these Draft Rules, promoter is required to clearly indicate the date of delivery of possession to the allottee in the Agreement itself. However, there is a provision for extension of this date in case of delay caused by due to war, floods, drought, fire, cyclone, earthquake or any other calamity caused by nature.

Under these Draft Agreement for Sale Rules,2016, there shall be a clear mention in the Agreement of date of grant of commencement certificate, clear land title giving the area of project and Khasra numbers, number of stories and plots in the project, carpet area and common area, share of allottee in common area, total price etc.

Total Price is defined as including cost of land, cost of construction of apartment and common areas, internal and external development charges, taxes, cost of electric wiring and fire fighting equipment. Rules stipulate that total price is escalation free except when development changes are altered.

In case of loss caused to allottee due to defective land title, promoter shall pay compensation to allottee and such claim shall not be barred by limitation provided under any law for the time being force.

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Target to achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030
Aug 02,2016

Under its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs), India has indicated that it will achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF). The contributions under INDC have to be achieved by 2030.

India has set renewable power deployment target of 175 GW by the year 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar and 60 GW from wind energy.

The revised Tariff Policy, notified by the government on 28 January 2016 has several provisions aimed at accelerating deployment of renewable energy in the country, including, inter alia, provisions for (a) 8% solar Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) by the year 2022; (b) Renewable Generation Obligation on new coal/lignite based thermal plants; (c) bundling of renewable power with power from plants in case of fully depreciated power plants whose Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) have expired; and (d) exemption of renewable energy from inter-state transmission charges. The Government has also issued guidelines for long term growth of RPOs for non-solar as well as solar energy.

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Residents Advised to Register or Update Mobile for Easy Online access of Government Services
Aug 02,2016

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has advised the residents to register or update their mobile number in Aadhaar for easy access of various government services online.

Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Chief Executive Officer, UIDAI, said, n++People can avail various government services online from the comfort of their home or from wherever they are in a hassle-free manner by using their Aadhaar - the unique and non-repudiable identifier. Those who have not registered their mobile number during Aadhaar enrolment should get their mobile number registered in Aadhaar or update their mobile in Aadhaar, to have better communications and effortless access to government services. Aadhaar based OTP identification empowers residents to avail these services online hassle-free and conveniently.n++

UIDAI has advised this in view of various applications of public use such as Digi-locker, eSign, eNPS, e-Hospital, e-verification of Income Tax Return (ITR), etc., being rolled out by the government departments using Aadhaar as identifier. Digi-locker, for instance, allows a resident to open a digital locker using his Aadhaar and keep all his valuable documents in that locker. Aadhaar eSign facility allows residents to use digital signature to avail a number of services online in a cashless, presence-less and paperless manner hassle-free. One can apply for a PAN card or update ones PAN card online using Aadhaar based eSign facility. The e-Hospital service allows a resident to book appointment with Aadhaar in AIIMS or any other hospital online without standing in a queue. The income tax department allows residents to e-verify the Income Tax Return using Aadhaar and then no physical papers need be sent. All these services are using Aadhaar based OTP authentication and enabling resident to identify themselves and avail the services online, hassle-free and conveniently.

n++To avail any of such online services where Aadhaar based OTP authentication is being used, the resident must have registered his/her mobile number in Aadhaarn++, said Dr. Pandey.

With over 103.5 crore Aadhaar generated, UIDAI has opened over 23000 Permanent Enrolment Centres (PECs) across the country. Residents can visit any of the PECs near to them and can update their mobile number in Aadhaar. The list of PECs is available at

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Competition Commission of India Imposes Penalty on Karnataka Chemists & Druggist Association and pharmaceutical company Lupin
Aug 02,2016

The Competition Commission of India (Commission) has found the Karnataka Chemists and Druggist Association (KCDA) and Lupin (Lupin) to be in contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 (the Act). In a case filed by M/s Maruti & Co., it was brought to the notice of the Commission that KCDA restraints pharmaceutical companies from appointing new stockists in the State of Karnataka unless a No Objection Certificate (NOC) is obtained from it. It was alleged that Lupin refused to supply drugs to M/s Maruti & Co. on account of not having obtained NOC from KCDA.

Following a detailed investigation by the Director General (DG), the Commission has found that KCDA was indulging in the anti-competitive practice of mandating NOC prior to the appointment of new stockists by pharmaceutical companies. This case highlights the obstinacy of chemists & druggist associations who, despite various orders by the Commission in similar cases in other parts of India with respect to this NOC practice, have not abstained from indulging in such anti-competitive conduct. Instead of desisting from such activity, these associations are mandating the NOC requirement, either verbally (in order to avoid any documentary evidence/proof) or under camouflaged congratulatory/intimation letters, with a view to hide their apparent anti-competitive behaviour behind these benign nomenclatures. The Commission has unambiguously clarified that the use of benign nomenclatures by these associations will not absolve them of the legal consequences of their anti-competitive conduct. Based on the evidence collected by the DG during investigation, the Commission concluded that KCDA has been indulging in the practice of NOC prior to the appointment of stockists by pharmaceutical companies, which has the effect of limiting and controlling of the supply of drugs in the market, in violation of the provisions of Section 3(1) read with 3(3)(b) of the Act. KCDA was thus found to have contravened the provisions of Section 3(1) read with Section 3(3)(b) of the Act.

The Commission also observed that the pharmaceutical companies, without any resistance, cooperate with such associations to implement their anti-competitive decisions, thereby becoming equally complicit in the anti-competitive effect of such practice. Instead of approaching the Commission, these pharmaceutical companies cooperate with the NOC requirement of the associations, thus becoming perpetrators of such anti-competitive practice.

The Commission has thus held the pharmaceutical company, Lupin, to be in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(1) of the Act for its anti-competitive arrangement/understanding with KCDA, which led to a refusal to supply of drugs to M/s Maruti & Co.

Further, the Commission has also found three office bearers of KCDA, namely Mr. K.E. Prakash, Mr. D.S. Guddodgi and Mr. A.K. Jeevan, responsible under Section 48 of the Act, for their active involvement in the anti-competitive practice of KCDA and also on account of the positions of responsibility held by them in KCDA during the period of contravention. Two of the officials of Lupin, namely Mr. Amit Kumar Dhiman and Mr. Nishant Ajmera, were found to be actively involved in the anti-competitive arrangement/understanding of Lupin with KCDA during the relevant period.

Accordingly, KCDA, Lupin and their office bearers/officials have been directed to cease and desist from indulging in the practice of mandating NOC prior to stockist appointment. The Commission imposed a monetary penalty of Rs. 8, 60,321/-, calculated at the rate of 10 % of the average income of KCDA, under the provisions of Section 27 of the Act. While imposing penalty on Lupin, the Commission observed that the refusal to supply by it was for a brief period, after which Lupin resumed supplies to M/s Maruti & Co. Considering this as a mitigating factor, the Commission imposed a penalty at the rate of 1% of Lupins average turnover, amounting to Rs. 72.96 crores. In addition, monetary penalties were imposed on the office bearers of KCDA and officials of Lupin at the rate of 10% and 1% of their incomes, respectively.

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Eight core infra sector output rises 5.2% in June 2016
Aug 01,2016

The Eight Core Industries comprising nearly 38% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) increased 5.2% in June 2016 over June 2015. Its cumulative growth during April to June 2016-17 was 5.4%.

Coal production (weight: 4.38%) increased by 12.0% in June 2016 over June 2015. Its cumulative index during April to June 2016-17 increased by 5.4% over corresponding period of previous year.

Crude Oil production (weight: 5.22%) decreased by 4.3% in June 2016 over June 2015. Its cumulative index during April to June 2016-17 declined 3.3% over the corresponding period of previous year.

The Natural Gas production (weight: 1.71%) fell 4.5% in June 2016 over June 2015. Its cumulative index during April to June 2016-17 declined 6.1% over the corresponding period of previous year.

Petroleum Refinery production (weight: 5.94%) increased 3.5% in June 2016 over June 2015. Its cumulative index during April to June 2016-17 moved up 7.1% over the corresponding period of previous year.

Fertilizer production (weight: 1.25%) surged 9.8% in June 2016 over June 2015. Its cumulative index during April to June 2016-17 galloped 11.0% over the corresponding period of previous year.

Steel production (weight: 6.68%) rose 2.4% in June 2016 over June 2015. Its cumulative index during April to June 2016-17 increased 3.8% over the corresponding period of previous year.

Cement production (weight: 2.41%) increased by 10.3% in June 2016 over June 2015. Its cumulative index during April to June 2016-17 increased by 5.7% over the corresponding period of previous year.

Electricity generation (weight: 10.32%) increased by 8.1% in June 2016 over June 2015. Its cumulative index during April to June 2016-17 increased by 9.0% over the corresponding period of previous year.

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Issue of fisheries subsidies in WTO
Aug 01,2016

India alongwith other WTO members such as South Africa and other African, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries have been seeking effective Special and Differential (S&D) treatment for developing countries and LDCs, keeping in view their developmental needs, poverty reduction, livelihood and food security concerns. India and some of the WTO member countries have earlier submitted papers before the Negotiating Group detailing the need and importance of S&D provisions particularly for the small, marginal and artisanal fisheries in the developing countries and LDCs. Capacity building assistance would be a part of the S&D provisions. Negotiations on fishery subsidies discipline, which was on hold since 2011, restarted just prior to Nairobi Ministerial Meeting held in December, 2015. Since then, members have been showing interest for recommencing negotiations on fishery subsidy discipline. In these negotiations, India and some of the WTO member countries have reiterated the need for S&D provisions, as an integral part of fishery subsidy discipline.

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Modernisation and Increasing Capacity of Major Ports a continuous process
Aug 01,2016

Modernisation and increasing the capacity of Major Ports is a continuous process. Government is regularly monitoring the Port projects to modernise/upgrade to increase capacity of the ports and also to bring them to the international standards through construction & modernisation of berths, installation of state of art equipment & mechanisation of cargo handling system at ports including the dredging projects to accommodate large vessels at major ports. With the increasing capacity of Major Ports the traffic will also gradually increase.

To enhance the port-connectivity (for both major and non-major ports) to countrys production and consumption centers, more than 80 connectivity projects have been identified under the Sagarmala Programme at an estimated infrastructure investment of more than Rs. 2 Lac Crore. This includes last mile road and rail connectivity infrastructure to the ports, freight expressways, heavy haul rail project to transport coal, new pipelines for transporting crude and petroleum products, development of prioritized inland waterways and new multi-modal logistics hubs.

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India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) at a four-month high of 51.8 in July
Aug 01,2016

The performance of Indias manufacturing economy continued to improve in July, with a stronger expansion in new business contributing to faster increases in output and buying levels. Although some firms added to their workforces, overall job creation was negligible. Meanwhile, input cost inflation softened and while output prices were raised at the quickest pace in three months, the rate of charge inflation was only slight.

Posting a four-month high of 51.8 in July (June: 51.7), the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) -indicated a further improvement in overall business conditions across the sector. The upward movement in the headline index came from stronger contributions from four of its five components, the exception being suppliers delivery times.

Supported by greater demand from both the domestic and external markets, total new business rose at the fastest pace since March. The expansion in order books was led by consumer goods producers. Growth of new export orders climbed to a six-month high, with increases seen in the consumer and capital goods categories.

Indian manufacturers stepped up production, with Julys upturn being the most pronounced since March. The overall increase in output was led by consumer goods producers, although growth was also recorded in the intermediate goods category.

July data highlighted ongoing pressure on the capacity of Indian manufacturers, as outstanding business rose for the second month in succession. Furthermore, the rate of backlog accumulation was the fastest in one-and-a-half years.

Despite this, hiring trends remained relatively muted. Only 1% of surveyed companies took on additional workers in July, while almost all the remaining respondents signalled no change in payroll numbers. Underpinned by stronger growth of new orders, businesses purchased additional inputs for use in the production process. The rate of expansion climbed to an 11-month high. Subsequently, stocks of raw materials and semi-finished goods rose.

Conversely, holdings of finished goods declined in July, but to the least extent in six months. Some respondents commented on the fulfilment of orders from stocks.

On the price front, July saw input costs rise at the slowest pace in five months. Although charge inflation accelerated, the rate of increase was only slight and remained below its long-run average. Finally, supplier performance improved for the first time since February, albeit marginally.

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Information of Weather Condition to Tourists
Aug 01,2016

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Ministry of Earth Sciences has informed that it provides weather forecast on its website for 325 cities. These cities include 106 tourist destinations across the country for which 7-day forecast is being issued twice a day. In addition, the weather forecasts to tourists, is also provided on toll free number 1800 180 1717 through Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS).

IMD has also developed a mobile App called n++Indian Weathern++ by which initially, current weather and 4-days forecast for app 300 cities is being provided.

IMD also issues special forecasts for pilgrim/tourist destinations across the country with a focused effort for Himalayan region and Severe Weather Warnings through various schemes. Highway forecasts have also been started by IMD in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

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IMF Cuts Global Growth Forecasts on Brexit, Warns of Risks to Outlook
Aug 01,2016

The International Monetary Fund cut its forecasts for global economic growth this year and next as the unexpected U.K. vote to leave the European Union creates a wave of uncertainty amid already-fragile business and consumer confidence.

n++The Brexit vote implies a substantial increase in economic, political, and institutional uncertainty, which is projected to have negative macroeconomic consequences, especially in advanced European economies,n++ according to the IMFs World Economic Outlook.

n++Brexit has thrown a spanner in the works,n++ said Maurice Obstfeld, IMF Chief Economist and Economic Counsellor. And with the event still unfolding, the report says that it is still very difficult to quantify potential repercussions.

The economies of the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Europe will be hit the hardest by fallout from the June 23 referendum, which prompted a change of government in Britain. Global growth, already sluggish, will suffer as a result, putting the onus on policy makers to strengthen banking systems and deliver on plans to carry out much-needed structural reforms.

In particular, policymakers in the U.K. and the European Union (EU) will play a key role in tempering uncertainty that could further damage growth in Europe and elsewhere, the IMF said. It called on them to engineer a n++smooth and predictable transition to a new set of post-Brexit trading and financial relationships that as much as possible preserves gains from trade between the U.K. and the EU.n++

Global growth remains muted, blow to UK growth

The global economy is projected to expand 3.1 percent this year and 3.4 percent in 2017, according to the IMF (see table). Those forecasts represent a 0.1 percentage point reduction for both years relative to the IMFs April World Economic Outlook.

The U.K. economy will expand 1.7 percent this year, the IMF said, 0.2 percentage point less than forecast in April. Next year, the nations growth will slow to 1.3 percent, down 0.9 point from the April estimate and the biggest reduction among advanced economies. For the euro area, the Fund raised its forecast by 0.1 point this year, to 1.6 percent, and lowered it by 0.2 point in 2017, to 1.4 percent.

Had it not been for Brexit, the IMF was prepared to leave its outlook for this year broadly unchanged as better-than-expected euro area performance offset disappointing U.S. first-quarter growth. The IMF also had been prepared to raise its outlook for 2017 slightly, by 0.1 percentage point, on the back of improved performance in a few big emerging markets, in particular Brazil and Russia.

The IMF said its forecasts were contingent on the n++benignn++ assumptions that uncertainty following the U.K. referendum would gradually wane, the EU and U.K. would manage to avoid a large increase in economic barriers, and that financial market fallout would be limited.

Likelihood of negative outcomes: two scenarios

Even so, the IMF warned that n++more negative outcomes are a distinct possibility.n++ n++The real effects of Brexit will play out gradually over time, adding elements of economic and political uncertainty,n++ said Obstfeld. n++This overlay of extra uncertainty, in turn, may open the door to an amplified response of financial markets to negative shocks.n++

Because the future effects of Brexit are exceptionally uncertain, the report outlined two scenarios that would reduce world growth to less than 3 percent this year and next.

In the first, n++downsiden++ scenario, financial conditions are tighter and consumer confidence weaker than currently assumed, both in the U.K. and the rest of the world, until the first half of 2017, and a portion of U.K. financial services gradually migrates to the euro area. The result would be a further slowdown of global growth this year and next.

The second, n++severen++ scenario, envisages intensified financial stress, particularly in Europe, a sharper tightening of financial conditions and a bigger blow to confidence. Trade arrangements between the U.K. and the EU would revert to World Trade Organization norms. In this scenario, n++the global economy would experience a more significant slowdownn++ through 2017 that would be more pronounced in advanced economies.

Outlook in other advanced, emerging markets

Brexits fallout is likely to be felt in Japan, where a stronger yen will limit growth. The IMF cut its 2016 growth forecast by 0.2 percentage point, to 0.3 percent. Next year, Japans economy, the worlds third-largest, is expected to expand 0.1 percent, 0.2 percentage point more than predicted in April, due to postponement of the consumption tax increase.

In the U.S., weaker-than-expected growth in the first quarter prompted the IMF to reduce its 2016 forecast to a gain of 2.2 percent, 0.2 percentage points less than the April outlook. The IMF left its 2017 forecast for U.S. growth unchanged at 2.5 percent.

Chinas growth forecast for 2016 is up 0.1 percentage point, to 6.6 percent, and is unchanged for 2017 at 6.2 percent. Brexit fallout is likely to be muted for China, the worlds second-largest economy, because of its limited trade and financial links with the U.K.

n++However, should growth in the European Union be affected significantly, the adverse effect on China could be material,n++ the IMF said.

The outlook for other emerging and developing economies remains diverse and broadly unchanged relative to April. That said, gains in the emerging group are matched by losses in low-income economies. Indeed, low-income countries saw a large downward revision in 2016, in large part driven by the economic contraction in Nigeria, and also worsened outlook in South Africa, Angola, and Gabon.

Risks across the world

The IMF cited other risks to its outlook, which could be further exacerbated by Brexit. It cited n++unresolved legacy issues in the European banking system, in particular in Italian and Portuguese banks.n++

n++Protracted financial market turbulence and rising global risk aversion could have severe macroeconomic repercussions, including through the intensification of bank distress, particularly in vulnerable economies.n++

The Fund also warned that n++political divisions within advanced economies may hamper efforts to tackle long-standing structural challenges and the refugee problemn++ and that n++a shift toward protectionist policies is a distinct threat.n++

Geopolitical tensions and terrorism are also taking a heavy toll on the outlook in several economies, especially in the Middle East, with further cross border ramifications.

Policy implications: more growth and stability needed

Turning to policy implications, the IMF said a n++combination of near-term demand support and structural reforms to reinvigorate medium-term growth remain essentialn++ in advanced economies, which continue to suffer from n++significant economic slack and a weak inflation outlook.n++

The IMF urged advanced nations to avoid relying too heavily on monetary policy to spur their economies and to exploit synergies among a range of policy tools.

n++Stronger reliance on measures to support domestic demand, especially in creditor countries with policy space, would help reduce global imbalances while contributing to stronger world growth,n++ it said.

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Grid Curtailment Contagion Puts Pressure on Credit Profiles of Renewable Energy Projects
Aug 01,2016

The spread of grid curtailment is starting to threaten the credit worthiness of renewable energy projects and has the potential to impede capacity addition, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The non-availability of the grid has majorly impaired the operational strength of some wind projects, given the sizable installed capacities. The failure to address grid issues can gradually destabilise the solar projects in the ensuing years. Grid curtailment is unpredictable, thus the ill-equipped developers have been grappling to manage their finances, barring the large ones. The uncertain source supply (uncontrollable) and grid non-availability (controllable), despite its must run status, is slowly shaking the fledgling renewable energy sector.

The front runner in renewable energy Tamil nadu widely curtailed the grid availability in the last three years; the phenomenon appears to have spread to Rajasthan in FY17 and FY16. Ind-Ra believes that inadequate forecasting systems have compelled the utilities to curtail the grid. In the agencys view, due to the relative source certainty in solar projects, generation in solar is more predictable than in wind projects. Anecdotal evidence suggests that solar capacities in Tamil nadu have also encountered grid issues in FY17.

The average annual grid availability for wind assets in Tamil nadu from FY14 - FY16 stood at less than 80%, while the average annual grid availability from FY11 - FY13 was around 95%. The drastic reduction in availability from FY14 onwards didnt coincide with any major capacity addition, since total capacity of merely 604MW was added in the period FY14 to FY16 compared to the overall installed capacity of around 7600MW. Grid availability and increased wind supply in 1QFY17 has significantly improved the wind energy generation (94% increase over 1QFY16, source: Southern Region Load Despatch Centre). Providing certainty in grid availability can make Tamil nadu attractive for repowering of old wind turbines (1900 MW installed till 2003).

There is large solar capacity additions envisaged to come on track in Rajasthan in 2016; however the lack of assurance on the evacuation infrastructure and the grid availability can affect the credit profile of the upcoming projects. Forecasting and scheduling regulations have been notified, wherein the generator will be penalised in case of inaccurate forecasts. On the other hand, there is no mandate on the transmission and distribution utilities to manage the grid to ensure the must run status which is conferred on renewable energy projects is adhered to.

Ind-Ra notes that there is no provision for compensation in case a renewable energy project is unable to supply power in the event of grid curtailment. The lack of this provision, leaves the renewable energy project stranded whenever there is curtailment and they appeal to the regulators over the non-compliance of the must run status.

In other parts of the world namely Germany and Belgium have exhibited integration of a large quantum of renewable energy. Technical and commercial challenges are emerging for the distribution utilities because of changes in the energy mix. Efforts to address these challenges are trailing behind the envisaged pace of capacity addition. The effect of forecasting and scheduling regulations notified by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission in facilitating the utilities to balance the load and demand hasnt yet show on ground improvement. All state electricity regulatory commissions are yet to notify the same, with an exception of Karnataka. Although, Ind-Ra through its interactions with issuers notes that the joint effort of large developers, industry associations, specialised institutes (National Institute of Wind Energy) and state utilities has given some respite, concerted measures are pivotal for the sustenance of the renewable energy sector.

The monopoly in distribution infrastructure and lack of technology aids - to predict the source risk, tests the endurance of renewable projects and consequently renewable energy remains hostage to state utilities. There is also a need to address the costs of integration of renewable energy in the grid in an equitable manner.

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Indian Leather Development Programme is under implementation with an approved outlay of Rs. 990.36 crore
Aug 01,2016

The Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) a central sector scheme, is under implementation with an approved outlay of Rs. 990.36 crore, during 12th Plan period with the following six sub-schemes:

1) Integrated Development of Leather Sector (IDLS) - Assistance is provided for technology up-gradation/modernization of leather units as investment grant @30% to small & micro units and @20% to other units through nationalized banks with maximum assistance of Rs.2 crore for each product line.

2) Human Resource Development (HRD) - Assistance is provided for placement linked skill development training to unemployed persons @ Rs. 15,000 per person and for skill up-gradation training to employed workers @ Rs. 5,000 per employee. For training of trainers assistance@ Rs. 2 lakh per trainer is provided. The placement of 75% of trained persons is mandatory for availing assistance related to skill development training component.

3) Mega Leather Cluster scheme - The sub-scheme aims at providing infrastructure support to the Leather Industry by establishment of Mega Leather Cluster. The minimum land area required for Mega Leather Cluster is 25 acres to be set up without tanneries and 40 acres with tanneries. Assistance upto 50% of the project cost is provided by the Government of India under the scheme, excluding cost of land and with maximum assistance limited to Rs. 125 crore.

4) Support to Artisan scheme - Assistance is provided for Support to Artisans for formation of Self-help groups (SHGs), product development, capacity building, providing centralized common facilities centers and marketing linkages.

5) Leather Technology, Innovation & Environmental Issues - Assistance is provided for up-gradation/installation of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) @ 50% of the project cost. Pilot Projects under Technology Benchmarking for leather units, organizing Environment Related Workshops and Pilot projects for Solid Waste Management are also eligible for assistance under the scheme.

6) Establishment of Institutional Facilities - Providing infrastructure by way of establishment of two new branches of Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI), with assistance of Rs. 100 crore for each branch, in the States of Punjab and Gujrat.

Leather industry and tanning activity in particular, all over the World is linked to environmental concerns. Footwear and Leather products sector has high employment potential and there is a demand for skilled and trained workforce in the footwear manufacturing, design, marketing and retails sector.

To address the human resource constraint and environmental concerns being faced by Indian Leather Industry, two sub-schemes of the Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP), namely Human Resource Development and Leather Technology, Innovation and Environmental Issues, respectively, are under implementation, during the 12th plan period, the details of which are as under:

(i) Human Resource Development (HRD) - During 12th Five Year Plan, total 3,73,916 unemployed persons have been trained and 3,00,113 trainees have been given placement in leather and footwear industry, so far. Further, under Placement Linked Skill Development Training, a target of 1,44,000 unemployed persons has been set for 2016-17. In addition 6000 workers have been provided skill up-gradation training. The total funds released under HRD sub-scheme of ILDP during 12th Five year Plan is Rs. 542.56 crore.

(ii) Leather Technology, Innovation & Environmental Issues - During 12th Five Year Plan, assistance has been provided to 2 CETP projects having Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) technology at SIDCO-II and Dindigul (Tamil Nadu) out of 6 the CETPs approved during 11th Five Year Plan. Rs. 2.27 crore and Rs. 12.53 crore have been released for these projects respectively. One Project of Solid Waste Management in Calcutta Leather Complex has been completed with GOI assistance of Rs. 95.12 lakh under ILDP.

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