Update on India’s States: April 12, 2017


Inter-State Council Standing Committee meets for the first time since 2005; Chandrababu Naidu is giving up multiple cabinet portfolios to take on the Happiness Department; Maharashtra can now set Uber and Ola rates, while Haryana taxes cabs at the border; Uttar Pradesh announces major loan waiver; West Bengal offers Bangladesh surplus power; Bihar cuts its maternal mortality rate by more than half; and more.

Center–State relations

With the passage of the national Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation by Parliament, the countdown begins for all 29 states to pass state GST laws by July 1. We will be tracking progress towards this goal; watch this space!

The standing committee of the Inter-State Council (ISC) met in New Delhi for the first time in 12 years (the full council has met twice during that time). Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the meeting, joined by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and state chief ministers. The standing committee will discuss issues law and order, fiscal devolution, and linking of rivers. Source: India Today

A central initiative which offers liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections at no charge to women living in poverty exceeded its target of 15 million connections for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The program’s budget for the scheme was increased from $310 million to $387 million. Source: Livemint


Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu gave up the energy, industries, commerce, and tourism portfolios and took control of the state’s newly-formed Happiness Department. His son N Lokesh will take over the IT and communications and the local governance departments. Andhra Pradesh became the second state in the country (the first was Madhya Pradesh) to form a Happiness Department. Source: Scroll.in, Livemint

Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd. announced the full commissioning of a 100 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Nimbagallu. Source: Financial Express

E-commerce firm Snapdeal announced a partnership with the University of California, Berkeley and the Andhra Pradesh government to enable digital access for artisans as part of the state’s ‘Smart Village’ project. Snapdeal will provide local weavers direct access to buyers across the country through its online market platform. Source: Economic Times

Andhra Pradesh will provide 150,000 tribal households with 5 kilogram LPG cylinders to discourage them from using firewood for cooking. Source: Indian Express


Hindustan Cleanenergy has commissioned a 10 megawatt (MW) solar plant at Shergati, Gaya, bringing the state’s total solar deployment to 100 MW. Source: Pv-Tech

The maternal mortality rate in Bihar has fallen sharply in the last four years, from 208 to 93 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Source: Times of India


The Shunglu Committee, appointed by former Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to exercise oversight of the Delhi government, issued a report criticizing instances of “gross misuse of power,” including multiple government appointments. Source: Huffington Post

Rays Experts announced that it has commissioned a 5.5 MW distributed rooftop solar plant serving the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The panels are spread across 42 different roots, with an average capacity of 131 kilowatts peak. Source: DNA India

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 10 seats, and the Congress five, in by-elections to 17 seats on 15 municipal councils. Source: Indian Express

State-owned THDC India Limited (THDCIL) commissioned a 63 MW wind power project in Dwarkaon on behalf of Suzlon Energy. Source: Daily Pioneer

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has received environmental clearance for expansion of its Dahej petrochemical facility in Gujarat at a cost of $2 billion. The Mukesh Ambani-led firm wants to alter the energy mix at its facility, which will take advantage of the increasing supply of U.S. shale gas. Source: Economic Times

The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has commissioned its first-ever wind power project, a single turbine with a 2 MW capacity, at the Rojmal wind power project in Gujarat. Source: Economic Times


Effective April 1 all taxis entering Haryana must pay a multiple-entry toll of $1.50 per day. This fee has replaced a road tax of $15 per quarter. The new tax has to be paid upon entry, leading to long lines, and many cab services are refusing to travel into Haryana from neighboring jurisdictions. Source: Hindustan Times

The state government has allocated $230,000 to set up a mobile application centerentre that will teach residents how to create mobile applications. The state plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Internet and Mobile Association of India. Source: Daily Pioneer


Nothing critical to report this week.

Nothing critical to report this week.

NTPC has commissioned Unit-1 of the 660-MW Solapur Super Thermal Power Project. Source: Hindu Business Line

The Maharashtra government has made it mandatory for all state government contracts worth more than $776,000 to contain an arbitration clause. Source: Indian Express

The Maharashtra assembly passed a vehicle-safety bill that gives the state government power to regulate app-based taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber, including setting the tariff. The bill also provides legal protection for good samaritans who try to help road accident victims; sets a computerized test for drivers seeking learner’s permit; and makes an eyesight certificate mandatory for drivers above 50. Source: Hindustan Times

Maharashtra controls 87 public sector undertakings (PSUs), 22 of which are not operational, with a total investment of $27 billion. Nearly half of operational PSUs do not turn a profit, with a cumulative loss of more than $1.5 billion per year. Source: Hindustan Times, Indian Express

Maharashtra approved a joint venture with Thrust Aircraft Private Limited to build India’s first indigenously manufactured aircraft. The government will provide 157 acres of land in Palghar in exchange for a stake in the firm. Source: Hindustan Times

The Maharashtra government signed an MoU with Tata Trusts to support efforts at eliminating malnutrition in Palghar and other districts of the state. Tata Trusts will work on child growth monitoring, digitizing local health worker data, and integrating efforts of agencies working in these areas. Source: India Today


India will build a new 9 million metric ton refinery in Rajasthan as part of a joint venture by Hindustan Petroleum Corp. and the Rajasthan state government. The financial viability assessment of the project has been completed. Source: Livemint

Finland-based Fortum has commissioned a 70 MW solar plant at the Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan, its third and largest solar energy project. Fortum has a 25-year fixed tariff power purchase agreement with the NTPC. Source: Business Standard

Rajasthan registered the highest growth in direct tax collection of any state in financial year 2016-17 with an increase of 53 percent. The average increase for India as a whole was 11.8 percent. Source: Times of India

The Election Commission cancelled the April 12 by-election for the R K Nagar Assembly constituency, saying the electoral process has been corrupted through spending by the contesting parties. Source: Times of India

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide a loan of $202 million for the second phase of the Tamil Nadu investment promotion program. The program aims to improve the investment climate by strengthening the policy framework and facilitating the construction of industry-related infrastructure. JICA previously provided a loan of $121 million in phase one of the program. Source: The Hindu

Sembcorp won a bid for a new 250 MW wind power project in Tamil Nadu following the country’s first national wind power tender, conducted by the Solar Energy Corp. of India. The project’s entire output will be sold to the Power Trading Corporation under a 25-year power purchase agreement. Source: Hindu Business Line

Huawei India announced a partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India to bring government schools in Telangana online. Huawei and CAF signed an MOU promising to equip select government schools with computers and internet facilities along with the necessary learning materials. Source: News 18

Telangana will start receiving a small amount of power from Chhattisgarh within the week via the 765 kilovolt Wardha-Dichpally double circuit transmission line. Chhattisgarh promised to sell Telangana 1,000 MW of power in 2014. Source: Daily Pioneer

Telangana will offer financial assistance of $186 to poor women who deliver children in state-run hospitals. Source: One India

The new BJP government in Uttar Pradesh fulfilled a key poll promise, writing off crop loans of up to $1,552 for about 21.5 million small and marginal farmers. The total waiver will cost the state $5.65 billion. Source: Business Standard

State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd has commissioned a new 500 MW unit at NTPC’s Feroze Gandhi Unchahar Thermal power plant. Source: Economic Times


West Bengal created two new districts, bringing the total up to 23. The new districts were created by breaking up the existing West Midnapore and Bardhaman districts. Source: Indian Express, India Today

The West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) will install solar water heater systems in dozens of government buildings across the state. Source: Millennium Post

Although she forestalled any agreement on the Teesta River water-sharing issue, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee offered Bangladesh up to 1,000 MW of electricity during her meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh currently buys 500 MW of electricity from West Bengal and 100 MW from Tripura. Source: Energy Bangla

Best of the Rest

Assam

The state government released a draft population control policy which suggests barring people with more than two children from government jobs and making education up to university level free for all girls in the state. Source: Indian Express

Jharkhand

According to the National Family Health Survey, nine out of every 10 children aged 6-23 in Jharkhand and Bihar do not have an adequate diet. The nutrition and health status of children in these two states has been found to be “critically low” in comparison to the national standard. Only 7.2 percent of children in Jharkhand eat an adequate diet. Source: The Hindu

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