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Hydro Policy Amended in Himachal Pradesh to Improve Cash Flows for Developers
Aug 12,2016

The Himachal Pradesh (HP) Governments recently announced amendment in the Hydro Power Policy 2006, will ease the procedural formalities and is likely to result in higher cash flows in the initial years for projects in the Chenab basin in the state, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). Ind-Ra expects hydro projects in the region to become more amenable to debt funding. Ind-Ra also believes that as a result of policy changes, bids for new projects in the basin will result in more competitive levelised tariffs, since the tariffs will not be front loaded.

The policy amendments have been approved by the state cabinet for hydro power plants bid out on basis of the international competitive bidding in the Chenab basin in the state of HP. The harnessed hydro power of HP represents around 8% of the countrys total hydro power. The estimated hydro power potential in HP is 27GW, with only 4GW harnessed so far. The Chenab basin has the potential of 4GW and is among the least developed river basins in the state.

As per the amended policy, the projects in the Chenab basin will now have the option to defer the sharing of 12%-15% of free power with the state to the thirteenth year from start of operations and also extend the sharing of free power over a long tenure of 18 years compared to the earlier 12 years. The quantum which is deferred will be recovered in a uniform percentage over a period of 18 years.

Earlier, a plant with generation of 100MUs annually, had to share 12MUs as free energy to the state during the first 12 years of operations, whereas now the developer has the option of deferring the sharing of free cumulative power of 144MUs (12*12MUs) over a period of 18 years after the twelfth year. Thus the effective free energy to the state from the thirteenth year will work out to 8% per annum, keeping the total quantum over the life of the project unchanged. The deferring of the free power for projects bid out in the Chenab basin is likely to result in higher availability of cash in the initial years, which will aid the debt servicing ratios for the hydro power developers and make the lenders more amenable to funding these projects.

Ind-Ra opines, that for projects which will be bid out in the future on the international competitive bidding basis, this can lead to lower initial tariffs, as the saleable energy will be higher in the initial years. Ind-Ra estimates, the levelised tariffs could be lower by 5%-10% on account of this change in policy. Generally, hydro power plant loans have a repayment period of 12 years, thus the tariffs tend to fall after the loan repayment period. With the deferring of free power to the state, the decline in the tariffs after the loan repayment period will also be lower. The earlier policy resulted in frontloading of tariffs, since the saleable power in the initial years was low on account of the free power to the state while the interest and principal repayments were high.

The lowering of procedural hurdles through the single window concept will also lead to the better harnessing of potential hydro power in the state and may result in lower lead time in setting up the project.

The Himachal Pradesh government had allocated 37 projects in the Chenab basin on an international competitive bidding basis and some projects which stand to benefit from the changes include, 120MW Miyar Hydro Electric Power, 400MW Seli Hydroelectric power plant being developed by Hindustan Power Project Private (HPPPL) and 420MW Reoli Dugli hydropower being developed by Larsen and Toubro.

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Import of Vegetable Oil Up by 5% during November 2015 to July 2016
Aug 12,2016

The Solvent Extractors Association of India has compiled the Import data of Vegetable Oils (edible & non-edible) for the month of July 2016. Import of vegetable oils during July 2016 slow down due to high stock and reported at 1,140,685 tons compared to 1,501,195 tons in July 2015, consisting of 1,118,066 tons of edible oils and 22,619 tons of non-edible oils i.e. down by 24%. The overall import of vegetable oils during first nine months of the current oil year 2015-16, November 2015 - July 2016 is reported at 10,903,728 tons compared to 10,351,016 tons i.e. up by 5%.

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Increase in Atomic Power Units in Rajasthan
Aug 12,2016

The present installed nuclear power capacity in the state of Rajasthan is 1180 MW comprising six units, Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS)1 to 6 at Rawatbhata. Of these, one unit, RAPS, Unit-1(100 MW) is presently under shutdown for techno-economic assessment and the remaining five, RAPS 2 to 6 are operating at their rated capacity.

Two units each of 700 MW capacity (RAPP 7&8 - 2X700 MW) are under construction at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan. These are expected to be completed by 2019. In addition, Government has accorded In Principle approval for setting up of 4X700 MW capacity units at Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan. Presently pre-project activities like acquisition of land, obtaining statutory clearances and site investigations have started at the site.

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Excess Long Term Power Tie-ups to Result in Fixed Cost of INR80bn for Discoms
Aug 12,2016

The situation of surplus power will result in a fixed cost outgo of around INR80bn for state power distribution companies (discoms), on a conservative basis, in FY17, estimates India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). Ind-Ras calculation is based on the study of Central Electricity Authoritys data on supply and demand of electricity as per the Load Generation Balance report for FY17. These discoms are unlikely to schedule some of the excess power they have tied up in the past five to seven years, at a loss, thereby further weakening their financial position. Simultaneously, by taking advantage of lower prevailing spot prices, the discoms could reduce the extent of losses for not scheduling the long term tied up power.

The discoms in the western and southern regions are expected to be the worst hit, due to power purchase agreement (PPA) tie ups in excess of the power demand in the region. Ind-Ra estimates losses of around INR40bn by discoms in the western region and INR24.5bn by discoms in the southern region due to the maximum amount of long term PPA, with a provision of fixed tariff in the past. The long term commitment at a fixed costs, in the form of power purchasing agreements are preventing some discoms from procuring low cost merchant power traded on the power exchanges.

The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission recently revealed that the losses due to the surrendering of excess tied up of power for FY17 is expected at INR20.75bn. The commission has directed the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited to look at ways to reduce this fiscal burden by selling surplus power outside the state. The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission also recently ended the earlier rule of the state government that power producers must generate at 100% capacity and supply only within the state. Generators can now apply for a no objection certificate from the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission to sell their surplus power outside the state.

Many of the long term PPAs have provisioned for INR1.25 to INR1.75 fixed prices per unit of electricity compared to an all-inclusive cost of around INR2.5 per unit (based on actual power rates on power exchanges for FY16). Ind-Ra estimates that spot power tariffs on the exchanges are unlikely to increase beyond the current range of INR2.0 to INR2.5 per unit over the medium term, which is in line with the Central Electricity Authoritys projections of 1.1% energy surplus and 2.6% peak load surplus during FY17, across India. The problem of surplus capacity has been partially caused by the heavy cross subsidy charges levied on industrial consumers to subsidise agricultural and domestic consumers, thus incentivising them to set up their own captive units instead of purchasing power from the discoms and other power generators. Captive generation capacity increased to 40726MW in 2016 from 8116 MW in 1990, growing at a CAGR of 6.66% (Figure 1) compared to 6.37% CAGR in overall capacity addition during the same period. Ind-Ra believes that the increasing trend in captive capacity addition will steepen in the near future due to the implementation of the open access regime.

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Infrastructure development in the North Eastern Region
Aug 12,2016

Government is, in fact, giving special attention to infrastructure development projects, such as, road, rail, communication, and telecom network in the North Eastern Region.

A total of 197 on-going road development projects are being implemented under various programmes/schemes of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoR&TH) in the North Eastern States. The total length and the total sanctioned cost of these projects are 4320.95 kms and Rs.37691.05 crore respectively.

20 major railway projects consisting of 13 new lines, 2 gauge conversions and 5 doublings, having aggregate length of 2624 km at a cost of Rs.52030 crore have been taken up in the North Eastern Region. An expenditure of Rs.21336 crore has been incurred on these projects upto March, 2016. An outlay of Rs.5040 crore has been provided for 2016-17 for these projects and for the residual liabilities of some completed projects.

Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for North-Eastern Region at a cost of Rs.5336.18 crore is under implementation.

North Eastern Council (NEC) is implementing 715 various development projects in North Eastern States, and are underway at a total approved cost of Rs.714864.98 lakh. Ministry of Rural Development is providing assistance in respective State Governments under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) programme.

Ministry of DoNER is also providing funds for meeting gaps in infrastructure, subject to the availability of funds. An amount of Rs.4113.31 crore has been released for 608 Roads and Bridges under Non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) scheme upto 5.8.2016. Under the scheme, North East State Roads Investment Project, a total of 433.4 kms is undertaken for upgradation/ construction in the North East at a total cost of Rs.1355.83 crore. Under North East Road Sector Development Scheme (NERSDS), four inter-state neglected road projects have been taken up by Ministry of DoNER for upgradation through National Highway & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).

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HDFC FMP 371D August 2013 (1) Announces Rollover
Aug 12,2016

HDFC Mutual Fund has announced rollover of HDFC FMP 371D August 2013 (1), a plan under HDFC Fixed Maturity Plans-Series 27, a close ended income scheme.

The features of the proposed rollover are as follows:

The existing maturity date: 31 August 2016

Date of rollover: 01 September 2016

Period of rollover: 365 days

Extended maturity date: 31 August 2017

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Corrective Measures to Prevent Reduction in Cotton Production
Aug 12,2016

For the cotton season 2015-16, Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) has revised the cotton production estimate at 338 lakh bales as against its earlier estimates of 352 lakh bales. The reasons for the downwards cotton production estimates are:

(i) The acreage under cotton has decreased by around 7% as against previous year due to switching over to other crops in Northern & Central Regions.

(ii) White fly attack in Northern zone and pink boll-worm attack in Gujarat region.

(iii) Delayed rains in Central & Southern region and deficit rains across all cotton growing areas.

The corrective measures taken/being taken by the Government to prevent the reduction in production of cotton are as under:

i) Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare is implementing Cotton Development Programme with a focus on cropping system approach under National Food Security Mission (NFSM) in 15 major cotton growing states viz; Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh & West Bengal since 2014-15. Under the scheme, thrust is given for transfer of latest technology to cotton growers through Front Line Demonstration (FLD) on Integrated Crop Management (ICM), Desi Cotton, Extra Long Staple Cotton, High Density Planting System. The scheme is being implemented through State Department of Agriculture (SDA), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), State Agriculture Universities (SAUs), Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) etc. Besides, States can support cotton development programme under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

ii) With a view to promote Cotton farming, during cotton season 2016-17, Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmer Welfare has fixed minimum support price for medium staple length cotton at Rs. 3860/- per quintal and for long staple at Rs. 4160/- per quintal.

iii) Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) Limited has been entrusted with procurement of cotton from farmers at Minimum Support Price (MSP) to protect the interest of farmers by giving MSP to their produce to avoid distress sale.

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Logistic Data Bank Project on Pilot Basis At JNPT
Aug 12,2016

The Commercial Operation of Logistics Data Bank (LDB) Project has been operationalized at JNPT from 1stJuly, 2016 on a pilot basis. The logistics Data Bank Service would bring efficiency in the current Logistics & Supply Chain environment through use of information technology that would be helpful for tracking and viewing the movement of containers across the port.

This LDB Project will provide visibility and transparency in EXIM containers movement and will help in reducing overall lead time of the container movement across the western corridor and lower the transaction cost incurred by the shippers and consignees as a result of predictability and optimization achieved through Logistics Data Bank (LDB) services.

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Ministry of Shipping Plans 160.64 Mega Watt Renewable Energy Projects at Major Ports by 2017
Aug 11,2016

The Ministry of Shipping is keen to promote the use of renewable sources of energy and is in the process of installing solar and wind based power systems at all the Major Ports across the country. The Ministry aims to set up 90.64 MW of Solar Energy Capacity at twelve Major Ports and 70 MW of Wind Energy Capacity at four Major Ports by 2017. These major ports have started the process of setting-up the renewable energy projects from their profit earnings. The total financial implications of the solar projects will be 407.7 crores.

The wind energy projects will be executed in three Major Ports namely Kandla, V.O. Chidambaranar Port and Kamarajar Port. The total MW capacity of the wind energy projects is estimated to be 70 MW.

A total of 6.94 MW of solar projects has already been commissioned with Vishakhapatnam Port leading the way with 6.25 MW, the other ports in which solar projects have been commissioned are Kolkata Port, New Manglore Port, V.O. Chidambaranar Port & Mumbai Port. The remaining solar power projects will be commissioned phase wise and is expected to be completed by 2017.

These projects are a part of the Green Port Initiative launched by the Ministry of Shipping. These renewable energy projects will help in the reduction of carbon emission and will lead to improvement of the environment around the ports. These projects will also help to reduce cost of power purchased by utilization of renewable energy for power generations.

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Revised CAR will be Effective from 1st September,2016
Aug 11,2016

DGCA has issued Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR), which specify the requirements of Flight Duty and Flight Time Limitation (FDTL) for cabin crew. The existing CAR has been reviewed and the revised CAR will be effective from 1st September, 2016. Revised CAR lays down the provision for extension of FDTL of cabin crew under unforeseen operational circumstances.

The security system at airports in India is also reviewed from time to time and upgraded as per requirements with involvement of all security agencies and stakeholders, depending upon threat perceptions. Some of the steps taken to strengthen security arrangements include time bound deployment of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at major airports, deployment of Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) at major airports and regular monitoring of security arrangements through inspections and dummy checks.

The Following measures have been taken to improve the punctuality/on time performance:

(i) Initiatives have been taken to increase the availability of resources in terms of crew and aircraft thereby improving the on time performance. Extra efforts are made to ensure passenger connection.

(ii) To ensure better on time performance, a meeting is conducted by Air India every day wherein Heads of Verticals as well as regional Heads discuss the previous day operation and take corrective steps based on the review.

(iii) Block times of flights have been revised to factor in congestion at airports and airspace, so that en-route delays are minimized.

(iv) Regular meetings are held with other stake holders like ground handlers and airports operator to minimize delays.

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Karnataka to build 36,254 more houses for urban poor with an investment of Rs.1,468 cr
Aug 11,2016

Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation approved construction of 37,013 cr houses for urban poor in the States of Karnataka and Haryana with an investment of Rs.1,491 cr. An inter-ministerial Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee chaired by Dr. Nandita Mukherjee, Secretary(HUPA) has approved construction of 36,254 houses for Economically Weaker Sections in Karnataka with an investment of Rs.1,468 cr and 759 houses in Haryana at a cost of Rs.23 cr.

In Karnataka, 12,371 dwelling units will be constructed in 8 cities under Affordable Housing in Partnership component of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) for rehabilitation of slum dwellers. City-wise details of houses to be built are: Gadag-3,630, Bengaluru (Basavangudi)-1,699, Bidar-1,500, Mysuru-1,355, Bellary-1,188, Raichur-1,050, Vijaypura-1,028, Padmanabhanagar (Bengaluru)-895 and Bagalkot-784.

Another 23,883 houses will be built in 207 cities and towns in Karnataka for urban poor under the Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY (Urban).

Central government will provide a total assistance of Rs.558 cr for construction of these houses for urban poor in Karnataka. During the last financial year, Ministry of HUPA approved construction of 16,522 houses for urban poor in Karnataka taking the total houses approved for the benefit of urban poor so far to 53,776.

Ministry of HUPA today approved construction of 759 houses by slum dwellers in 11 slum colonies of Yamunanagar-Jagadhari under Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY(Urban) at a total cost of Rs.23 cr. Central government will provide an assistance of Rs.11 cr in this regard.

Slums to benefit from construction of these houses are in Harinagar, Lajpat Nagar, Mishra colony, Mukherjee Park, Tirath Nagar, Madhuban colony, Bhagirath colony, Jammu colony, Hamida colony and Burla colony.

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Increase in Frequency of Severe Heat Waves from 2010 to 2016
Aug 11,2016

Many areas of the country viz., north, northwest, central and northeast Peninsula have experienced 8 or more Heat Wave (HW) days on an average per season. Compared to previous four decades, there was noticeable increase in the Severe Heat Wave (SHW) days over the country during the past fifteen years. The past decade is the warmest decade for the country as well as for the globe.            

The decadal variation of the all India SHW days for the five decades during the period 1961-2010 is shown in the table below: 

DecadeAll India Severe Heat Wave days/year1961-70741971-80341981-90451991-00482001-1098

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CILs Initiative to Prevent Pilferage of Coal From Mines
Aug 11,2016

Coal India (CIL) has adopted several measures based on Information Technology to contain pilferage of coal. Steps like implementing of Global Positioning System(GPS)based vehicle tracking system on trucks carrying coal to arrest diversion of coal en route, installation of Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) at vulnerable points like entry/exit gate, weigh bridges, sidings etc. to keep a regular watch, installation of Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) tags on vehicles with readers at suitable locations and boom barriers based on RFID to identify illegal trucks carrying coal and connecting weigh bridges with Coal Net to capture and monitor weights of the coal carrying vehicles, etc help in preventing pilferage of coal from mines in the country. n++Control rooms have been established in each areas of the company in order to take prompt action whenever any alert or exception report is generated from the vehicle tracking system, the Minister added.

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Mormugao Port Registers Growth of 85.64 percent in traffic handling; Major Ports Grow at 5.28 percent
Aug 11,2016

Mormugao Port registered a stupendous growth of 85.64 percent in traffic handling during the period April to July, 2016 as compared to the corresponding period last month. The average growth of the twelve Major Ports during the period between April- July stood at 5.28 percent.

The total traffic handled at Major Ports during April to July, 2016 was 212.78 MT against 202.11 MT handled during the corresponding period of previous year. Six ports namely Paradip, Visakhapatnam, V.O. Chidambaranar, Cochin, Mormugao and Kandla registered positive growth.

Mormugao Port registered growth of 85.64, Paradip stood second with growth of 17.75 percent, the third spot was taken by Vishakhapatnam at 13.75 percent, Kandla Port registered growth of 8.12 percent followed by Cochin and V.O. Chidambaranar at 5.42 and 0.02 percent repectively. The astounding growth rate of Murmagao Port was due to increase in Iron Ore (1462.69%) and Thermal & Steam Coal (167.16%) traffic.

Six ports registered negative growth namely Kamarakar Port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Kolkata Port (Kolkata Dock System (KDS) + Haldia Dock Complex (HDC), Mumbai Port Trust, Chennai Port and New Manglore Port Trust. Decline in Kamrajar Port growth was due to reduction in Thermal & Steam Coal Traffic by 8.96 percent followed by other Miscellaneous Cargo by 3.04 per cent.

During the period between April to July, 2016 Kandla Port handled the highest volume of traffic i.e. 35.85 MTs, followed by Paradip with 28.65 MTs, JNPT with 20.93 MTS and Vishakhapatnam at 20.90 MTs. Mumbai Port came a close 5th with 20.11 MTs, followed by Chennai Port (17.41 MTs), V.O. Chidambaranar (13.06 MTs), New Manglore Port Trust (11.58 MTs), Kamarajar Port (10.12 MTs), Mormugao Port (99.54 MTs), Cochin Port (78.24 MTs) and Kolkata Port (KDS (5386)+HDS (10,966)- 16,352 MTs).

Among the commodities, POL (Petroleum, Oil & Lubricants) percent share was maximum with 31.98 percent, followed by container (19.5 percent), Thermal & Steam Coal (16.87 percent), Other Miscellaneous Cargo (11.52 percent), Coking & Other Coal (8.18 percent), Iron Ore & Pellets (5.55 percent), Other Liquids (4.09 percent), Finished Fertilizers (1.26 percent) & FRM (1.05 Percent).

Apart from Fertilizer (-11.36 percent) and FRM (-9.49 percent) all other commodities registered positive growth. Iron ore traffic registered the highest growth of 124.85 percent, while Coking & other Coal traffic registered the least growth of 0.57 percent. ...

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Central Railside Warehouse Company plans to set up ten warehouses
Aug 11,2016

The Central Railside Warehouse Company (CRWC), a subsidiary of Central Warehousing Corporation has planned 10 new warehouses with temperature controlled system at rail heads to facilitate handling and storage bagged commodities. The company has also undertaken up gradation of its existing 19 Railside Warehousing complexes across the country with the cost of Rs.200 crore. Briefing about the activities and plans of the Corporation to the members of Parliamentary Consultative Committee here today, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & public Distribution said that working of the corporation is being diversified to make its operations more competitive.

He said that as part of its diversification initiatives, CRWC has entered into a Joint Venture agreement with IFFCO Kisan SEZ (IKSEX), Indian Potash Limited for development of integrated Railside warehouse Complex and Freight terminal at Nellore. It has proposed to set up silos for storage of foodgrains for FCI at Jalalabad and New Jalpaiguri with the Railways. He informed that CRWC is also planning a foray into road transportation and has been awarded a contract for transportation of Manganese Ore for Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. The corporation is in discussions with NTPC for exploring avenues for bulk transportation of Fly Ash through specialized rakes.

Briefing about performance of Consumer Helpline being run by Department of Consumer Affairs, Shri Paswan informed to the members that capacity of the call center is being increased to 49 desks from existing 14 and it will be further expanded to 60. Six zonal Helpline centers will also be set up at Ahmedabad, Banalore, Guwahati, Kolkata, Patna and Jaipur. A cloud based new Customer relations Software has been developed to integrate the entire consumer grievance handling activities at helpline centers. Web chat and Mobile App will be developed in near future for handling consumer complaints.

Participating discussions, Members of Parliament suggested a publicity campaign to create awareness about consumer redressal system including the Consumer Helpline. They were of the view that disposal of cases at consumer forums should be expedited by strengthening infrastructure. The meeting was attend by S/Shri Balabhadra Majhi, K Ashok Kumar, Ram Prasad Sarmah and Ramesh Chander Kaushik.

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