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Fitch: Shale Recovery to Keep Oil Prices Under Pressure in 2017
Mar 07,2017

The recovery in US drilling activity will drive up shale oil production in the second half of 2017, offsetting a portion of recent oil price gains, Fitch Ratings says. We therefore expect average oil prices for the year to be below those in January and February.

OPECs November announcement that its members would cut production by about 1.2 million barrels per day (mmbbl/d) and the commitment of non-members to curtail production by roughly 600,000bbl/d have helped support oil prices in a USD50-55 range. OPEC compliance has reportedly been strong, but it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to meaningfully reduce abnormally high inventories. The exclusion of Libya and Nigeria and a poor record of adherence by some members makes us sceptical that the arrangement will be sustainable in the longer term..

At the same time, US rig counts have nearly doubled from their lows in May 2016, which has contributed to a rebound in US crude production to over 9mmbbl/d. We expect this upswing in production to continue throughout 2017 due to the rise in rig activity, increased capex budgets, and the roughly two- to four-month lag between spudding shale wells and production.

We have updated our base-case assumptions to reflect our view of supply fundamentals and the impact of OPECs production cuts. We have also re-established a Brent-WTI spread in our base case to reflect the anticipated resurgence of US shale production, logistics costs, inventory trends, and refinery incentives.

Our 2017 base case Brent price assumption has been raised to USD52.50/bbl from USD45/bbl and we continue to assume prices of USD55/bbl in 2018, USD60/bbl in 2019 and USD65/bbl in the long term. Our 2017 WTI price assumption was raised to USD50/bbl from USD45/bbl and our assumed 2018, 2019, and long-term prices were all adjusted lower by USD2.50/bbl to reflect the re-established Brent-WTI spread. The base case does not factor in the effects of a potential US border adjustment tax.

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Water Level of 91 major Reservoirs of the Country goes down by three per cent
Mar 07,2017

The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on March 02, 2017 was 64.55 BCM, which is 41% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This percentage was at 44 for the week ending February 23, 2017. The level of March 02, 2017 was 132% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 102% of storage of average of last ten years.

The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 157.799 BCM which is about 62% of the total storage capacity of 253.388 BCM which is estimated to have been created in the country. 37 Reservoirs out of these 91 have hydropower benefit with installed capacity of more than 60 MW.

REGION WISE STORAGE STATUS:-

NORTHERN REGION

The northern region includes States of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. There are 6 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.01 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 5.18 BCM which is 29% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 31% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 36% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year and is also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

EASTERN REGION

The Eastern region includes States of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura. There are 15 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.83 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 11.93 BCM which is 63% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 46% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 48% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the corresponding period of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

WESTERN REGION

The Western region includes States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. There are 27 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 27.07 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 14.64 BCM which is 54% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 28% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 50% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the storage of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

CENTRAL REGION

The Central region includes States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. There are 12 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 42.30 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 22.64 BCM which is 54% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 38% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 37% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the storage of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

SOUTHERN REGION

The Southern region includes States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states) Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are 31 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 51.59 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 10.16 BCM which is 20% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 22% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 36% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year and is also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

States having better storage than last year for corresponding period are Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states) and Telangana. States having lesser storage than last year for corresponding period are Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.

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Export of Oilmeals Up by 18% in April 2016-February 2017
Mar 07,2017

The Solvent Extractors Association of India has compiled the export data for export of oilmeals for the month of February 2017. The export of oilmeals during February 2017 has more than doubled and reported at 263,509 tons compared to 122,527 tons in February 2016 i.e. up by 115%. The overall export of oilmeals during April 2016 to February 2017 is reported at 1,673,036 tons compared to 1,422,993 tons during the same period of last year i.e. up by 18%.

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Large imports of items like electronics run counter to Make in India
Mar 07,2017

For success of its flagship programme to boost manufacturing within the country, the governments Make in India should first target high import intensive items like electronic goods, machinery, steel and transport equipment which together add close to USD nine billion or over 27 per cent of the countrys monthly import bill, according to an ASSOCHAM analysis.

n++There are other major import items like crude oil, gold and precious stones which cannot be produced indigenously or are used for re-exports. But a growing economy like India which is witnessing a huge expansion in usage of telecom and other items using electronics , should go about in a focused manner to drastically cut imports of the items which can be substituted by domestic production and add to the countrys manufacturing strength. This is eminently doable, provided the policy initiatives are put in place and implemented with great clarity and speed both by the Centre and the states,n++ the chamber said.

The latest figures show import of close to USD four billion for electronics, .USD 2.36 billion for electrical and non-electrical machinery, USD 1.47 billion for transport equipment and about USD one billion for iron and steel.

Thanks to expanding demand for user industries particularly telecom, automobile, smart consumer devices, the annualized imports of electronics goods grew at a whopping 24.56 per cent in January, 2017.

n++The Make in India should focus on these select items and ensure that their manufacture in India either by the domestic investor or even foreign investor should be quite rewarding. Besides, the tax structure should be such that it should make the domestic manufacture far more competitive than importsn++, said ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat.

He said too large an import of products which can be manufactured within the country runs contrary to the basic grain of the Make In India initiative.

n++Besides, it is only through manufacturing that large scale employment can be generated. In an environment where fresh investment is hard to come in several key sectors of the economy, electronics is one area where the country does not have adequate capacity and highly import dependent. Thus, investment in the sector from both domestic and global firms should be welcomed and promoted. States like Karnataka have taken some initiative, but much more needs to be done in the sector which is generally pollution free and is required greatly,n++.

Similarly, investment can be made in transport equipment while some leeway should be provided to the steel manufacturers.

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Cabinet approves development of 50 un-served and under-served air strips
Mar 07,2017

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for revival of 50 un-served/under-served airports/airstrips of the State Governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Civil enclaves in three financial years starting from 2017-18.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs. 4500 crore. 15 airports/airstrips each would be revived during 2017-18 and 2018-19 each while 20 airports/airstrips would be revived during 2019-20.

As an outcome of the approval, small cities/towns shall be connected on commencement of operation of flights to under-served/un-served airports. It will further boost the economic development in these areas as well as surrounding areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure development.

The Revival of airstrips/airports will be demand driven, depending upon firm commitment from airline operators as well as from the State Governments for providing various concessions as Airports will be developed without insisting on financial viability.

The announcement for making adequate provisions for revival of unserved and underserved airports was made by the Finance Minister in Union Budget 2016-17.

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Cabinet approves MoU between India and Portugal on cooperation in the field of IT&E
Mar 07,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Portugal on cooperation in the field of IT&E. The MoU was signed on 06 January 2017.

The MoU will help in developing a long term and sustainable cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual interest in the areas of IT&E in line with each countrys laws and regulations.

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Cabinet approves Revised Cost Estimate-I of Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project in Uttarakhand
Mar 07,2017

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Revised Cost Estimate-I of 400 MW Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project (HEP) in Uttarakhand at an estimated completion cost of Rs.2,717.35 crore.

The project is being implemented by Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) India Limited.

In addition to additional generating capacity of 400 MW of peaking power it will regulate releases from Tehri Reservoir for irrigation and drinking water supply. The reservoir of Koteshwar HEP will also act as lower reservoir for under construction Tehri PSP (1000 MW).

Background:

The Project has already been commissioned fully in March, 2012. Only balance works are to be done which are not linked with operation of the Plant but essential for safety and completion of the project.

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Cabinet approves Indias accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention)
Mar 07,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for Indias accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) and for completion of necessary procedures for ratification, for its entry into force.

The Convention will help Indian traders to have access to fast, easy, reliable and hassle free international system for movement of goods by road or multi- modal means across the territories of other contracting parties.

By joining the convention, the need for inspection of goods at intermediate borders as well as physical escorts en route shall be obviated due to reciprocal recognition of Customs controls. Customs clearance can take place at internal Customs locations thereby avoiding clearances at Border Crossing Points and ports that may often be congested. Movement under the TIR can be allowed by checking only the seals and the external conditions of the load compartment or the container thereby reducing border delays, transport and transaction costs thereby leading to increased competitiveness and growth for the trade and transport sectors.

Compliance with the Convention shall ensure enhanced security in the supply chain as only approved transporters and vehicles are allowed to operate in terms of the Convention. As the TIR Carnet represents a guarantee for Customs duties and taxes and traffic in transit, there is no need for payment of such taxes and duties en route. The TIR carnet also serves as a Customs declaration, and hence it precludes the need to file multiple declarations satisfying national laws of the different transiting countries. The TIR Convention can be an instrument for movement of goods along the International North-South Transport (INSTC) Corridor and would be helpful in boosting trade with the Central Asian Republics and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), particularly using ports in Iran like the Chabahar port.

The proposal does not result in any direct financial implication for the Government of India as it pertains to Indias accession to an international convention.

Background:

The Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets, 1975 (TIR Convention), is an international transit system under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to facilitate the seamless movement of goods within and amongst the Parties to the Convention. At present there are 70 parties to the Convention, including the European Union.

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Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Renewable Energy between India and Portugal
Mar 07,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Renewable Energy between India and Portugal. The MoU was signed on 6th January, 2017 in New Delhi.

The MoU will help in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Both sides aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity. The MoU envisages constitution of a Joint Working Group which can co-opt other members from Scientific Institutions, Research Centers, Universities, or any other entity, as and when considered essential.

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Cabinet approves Food Cash Credit to Punjab for food procurement operations - Resolution for settlement of Legacy Accounts (upto crop season 2014-15)
Mar 07,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for settlement of Legacy Food Cash Credit Accounts (upto crop season 2014-15) of Punjab Government for food procurement operations. This proposal of Department of Expenditure was approved by Prime Minister under Rule 12 of (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 on 02.01.2017.

Early settlement of legacy issues will help the banks in disbursement of food credit in the larger interest of numerous farmers of the State and uninterrupted continuity in food procurement operations to ensure food security for the nation. Settlement of outstanding Cash Credit Limits (CCL) account by availing term loan by the Punjab Government would entail savings in terms of interest payment. This will create additional resource enabling Punjab Government to undertake capital expenditure.

The Legacy Cash Credit Accounts (upto crop season 2014-15) for food procurement operations by the Punjab Government shall be settled as under:

a) The outstanding amount in Cash Credit Accounts of Government of Punjab pertaining to season upto Kharif Marketing Season 2014-15 amounting to approx. Rs. 31,000 crore shall be converted into a term loan. It will be repayable in half yearly instalments over a period of 20 years with the option for pre-payment. The terms and conditions of the loan shall be as prescribed by the RBI and the lending banks.

b) The exact amount of the loan shall be the outstanding amount as on 31.03.2015, which is not secured by stocks of food grains. The consortium of banks led by SBI has to finalise the amount in consultation with all stakeholders including Department of Food & Public Distributions, Punjab Government and RBI.

c) The 14th Finance Commission has prescribed the Fiscal Roadmap for each State for its award period 2015-20 and anchored Fiscal Deficit of all States to an annual limit of 3% of States Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). The above term loan proposed to be extended to Punjab Government in current financial year 2016-17 will not be counted in the fiscal deficit limit of Punjab Government in 2016-17.

d) After the conversion of legacy accounts in long term loan, the State Govt. of Punjab may issue bonds for the purpose of paying back the long term loan only. This will be subject to the approval of consortium of Banks and RBI. The Gol consent will be issued for swapping of loan in the same year of issue of bonds.

e) Punjab Government shall enter into a tripartite agreement with Gol and RBI irrevocably authorizing the Gol to deduct, in case Punjab Government fails to make any payment towards principal or interest of the Term Loan on due dates, such defaulted amount from the States share in central taxes and pay the same to SBI consortium.

f) This will be one-time measure to settle the outstanding amount in legacy accounts upto 2014-15. Punjab Government shall provide adequate annual budget provision to close CCL gaps on a regular basis to avoid future accumulation of CCL gaps over the years. It will also make efforts to reduce its subsidy bill to service the repayment of term loan from its own resources.

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Cabinet approves signing of the Definitive Agreement on Oil Storage and Management between ISPRL and ADNOC of UAE
Mar 07,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for signing of the Definitive Agreement on Oil Storage and Management between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (ISPRL) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) of UAE.

According to the Agreement, the ADNOC will fill up 0.81 MMT or 5,860,000 million barrels of crude oil at ISPRL storage facility at Mangalore, Karnataka.

Out of the crude stored, some part will be used for commercial purpose of ADNOC, while a major part will be purely for strategic purposes. The signing of the Agreement will augment Indias energy security.

India and UAE are strategic partners. The investment by ADNOC is a major investment from UAE under the High Level Task Force on Investment (HLTFI) and the first investment by UAE in India in the energy sector.  

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Cabinet approves Cadre Review of Central Engineering Service (Roads) Group n++ of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
Mar 07,2017

Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Cadre Review of Central Engineering Service(CES)(Roads) of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The proposal will be implemented immediately.

CES(Roads) Cadre strength will be revised as under:-

(i) Increase the number of posts of CES(Roads) at:

a. HAG level- 02

b. SAG level- 05

c. JTS level- 36

(ii) Decrease in the number of posts at the STS level - 28

(iii) Recruitment against 86 posts as Special Reserve at entry level (JTS) for Deputation purpose only outside the cadre strength in addition to the normal vacancies arise in the JTS level in the cadre

The CES(Roads) Cadre was constituted in the year 1959. The first allocation of Group A Technical post was fixed at 189 in 1976. The last Cadre review of the service was carried out in the year 1987.

Vacant posts of Mechanical Cadre will be utilized for filling up the same by Civil Engineers thereby merging the Mechanical Cadre with the Civil Cadre in a phased manner so that this shall not have any adverse impact on the present incumbents.

There is an additional expenditure of Rs. 1.8 crores per annum approximately involved in the above Cadre Review proposal. As regards the special reserve for deputation, there will be no financial liability.

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Cabinet approves MoU between India and the United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-Women)
Mar 07,2017

Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).

The proposal seeks to provide technical support to the Ministry of Panchayati Raj in strengthening capacities of governance institutions including Panchayati Raj Institutions(PRIs) to better leverage opportunities created for gender equality through legislation, policies and programmes.

Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) and UN-Women have worked in collaboration with each other to promote participation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), to focus on building capacities of Elected Women Representatives to empower them and enhance their effectiveness. Given the past gains, the two parties will now work together towards participatory design of governance processes and effective implementation of laws, policies and programmes to promote gender responsive governance. The parties agree that engendering the initiatives of MoPR, including capacity development efforts, will be of mutual benefit, and will further their shared mission of good governance, gender equality and womens empowerment. In the long run, it will enable an improvement in the status of rural women in India, as well as contribute to meeting Indias commitment to the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The proposed MoU will facilitate the achievement of time-bound results in the implementation of specific activities identified jointly by MoPR and UN Women within the broader framework for cooperation under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework ((UNDAF). This MoU would thus facilitate operationalizing this important partnership.

Activities under this MoU will be implemented at the district and sub-district level in six States i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Odisha, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

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Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates in the field of providing Energy Efficiency Services
Mar 07,2017

Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Productivity Council, an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and Al Etihad Energy Services UAE, to provide various services in the field of energy management and conservation.

Under the MoU, the NPC will provide the following services:

1. Energy Assessment Services

2. Training & Certification of Energy Auditors

3. Demand Side Management.

Meanwhile, Al Etihad ES will provide the following services to all the relevant projects on a case by case basis:

i) Customer Support with UAE Government and Private owned organizations in the United Arab Emirates

ii) All local support for Field Auditing Professionals in the UAE

iii) All local support for Training & Certification of Energy Auditors in UAE

iv) All support related to Demand Side Management of industries based in UAE

The MoU will enable NPC avail high value opportunities such as energy building and develop institutional mechanism in area of energy efficiency in Dubai and other Gulf Cooperation Council, (GCC) member countries. It will provide recognition and exposure to further build NPCs capacities and competencies in rapidly changing international business scenario. MoU will be a precedent for engagements with other International collaboration partners and will enhance NPCs visibility in arena. The MoU will help promote NPC in GCC member countries and will generate business for NPC in the area of energy.

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The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) recognises two Insolvency Professional Entities (IPEs) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2
Mar 06,2017

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has recently recognised two Insolvency Professional Entities (IPEs) as under: S. NoName of IPEConstitutionAddress

1

IRR Insolvency Professionals Private Limited

Limited Company

D-55, Defence Colony, New Delhi - 110024

2

AAA Insolvency Professionals LLP

Limited Liability Partnership

E-10A, Lower Ground Floor, Kailash Colony, New Delhi -110048

A limited liability partnership, a registered partnership firm or a company may be recognised by the IBBI as an IPE if (a) a majority of the partners of the limited liability partnership or registered partnership firm are registered as insolvency professionals (IPs); or (b) a majority of the whole-time directors of the company are registered as insolvency professionals, as the case may be. An IPE is jointly and severally liable for all acts or omissions of its partners or directors as IPs committed during such partnership or directorship.

The Insolvency Professionals (IPs) are registered and regulated by the IBBI. They have a critical role in transactions under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code). The Code and regulations made there under provide for strengthening their capacity on a continuous basis. For example, the Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPAs) are obliged to promote continuous professional development of professional members enrolled with them. Similarly, the IPs have been enabled to engage other professionals as may be necessary and to use organisational resources of an IPE of which he is a partner or whole time director, as the case may be, for servicing the transactions.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 is considered as the biggest economic reform next only to GST. It offers a market determined, time bound mechanism for orderly resolution of insolvency, wherever possible, and orderly exit, wherever required. The Code envisages an ecosystem comprising National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT), Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Board), Information Utilities (IUs), Insolvency Professionals (IPs), Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPAs) and Insolvency Professional Entities (IPEs) for implementation of the Code. With concerted efforts of all concerned, there has been considerable progress in terms of putting in place some of the key elements of the ecosystem and also operationalisation of provisions relating to corporate insolvency resolution and liquidation. The debtors and creditors alike have commenced transactions under the Code.

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