Update on India’s States: April 19, 2017

The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings will now incorporate data from 10 Indian cities; solar tariffs hit a new low in Andhra Pradesh; Maharashtra will allow conversion of industrial land to commercial and residential districts; Haryana plans unique IDs for unregistered land; Madhya Pradesh bans plastic bags to protect cows; Mamata Banerjee to visit China; and more.

Center–State relations

The World Bank has agreed to widen the scope of its ease of doing business study by collecting data from 10 Indian cities. Currently the World Bank uses business conditions in New Delhi and Mumbai to derive India’s score on the Ease of Doing Business Rankings. Source: Hindustan Times

A Ministry of Finance-appointed panel on the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act suggested that the states’ combined fiscal deficit be reduced from 2.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the current fiscal year to 1.7 percent in 2024-25, while states’ overall debt should be no larger than 20 percent of GDP by 2023. Source: Financial Express In Detail: FRBM Review Committee Report (Vol. I)

The World Bank has approved a $375 million loan to develop National Waterway 1, a water transport corridor traversing an 850-mile stretch of the Ganga river between Varanasi and Haldia. 40 percent of India’s traded goods either originate in the region or are sold there. Source: Hindu Business Line In Detail: Press Release

Goods and Services Tax Tracker: Telangana passed the model Goods and Services Tax (GST) law on April 16, the first state to do so. All 29 states must pass their own version of the law for the tax to become effective nation-wide.

Solar tariffs in India hit another new low at the auction of 250 megawatts (MW) of capacity at the Kadapa Solar Park. Solairedirect Energy India, a subsidiary of the French power giant Engie, won the auction with a bid of 4.89 cents per kilowatt hour. Previous auctions have resulted in slightly lower initial tariffs that gradually increased over the contract period, resulting in a higher overall tariff. Source: Economic Times

The Union Cabinet approved an act to establish the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy at Visakhapatnam. If passed, the act will create a new institution modelled on the Indian Institutes of Technology and a Center of Excellence in petroleum and energy studies. Source: Business Standard

The Andhra Pradesh has prepared a plan to construct 20,000 small anti-erosion dams from April 15 to July 15 to meet drinking water and irrigation needs in drought-prone areas during the summer months. The state worked with the Indian Space Research Organisation to identify the best sites for the dams. Source: Hindu Business Line

SB Energy Holdings announced the commencement of commercial operation of its 350 MW solar power plant. The plant is the first operational solar power plant delivered under the Solar Parks scheme of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. Source: Business Standard

Nothing critical to report this week.

Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party has suffered a humiliating loss in the by-election for the Rajouri Garden assembly seat, coming in a distant third after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress candidates. Source: Times of India

Delhi Metro Railways Corporation (DMRC) signed a power purchase agreement with Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited, the implementing agency for a 750 MW solar power park in Madhya Pradesh. When complete, the park will produce enough power to satisfy 90 percent of DMRC’s needs. Source: Times of India

A new report from Brookings India called the Delhi government’s household electricity subsidy among the most generous in India. About 80 percent of households qualify for the 50 percent subsidy. Source: Economic Times

Gujarat Refinery (GR) will set up four more plants to meet the Bharat Stage (BS) VI emissions standards for fuel. GR hopes to beat the April 2020 deadline for BS VI fuel by four months. Source: Economic Times

Governor O.P. Kohli assented to a bill setting maximum prison sentences of life for killing a cow and up to ten years for transporting beef. The state assembly had passed the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 2017 on March 31. Source: Hindustan Times

The Haryana plans to issue unique identification numbers to more than 4 million plots and houses in order to help regularize property rights. Landowners with no formal proof of ownership have difficulty obtaining loans or taking advantage of government services. Source: Indian Express

Cisco launched its fifth cyber range, its first in India, in Gurugram. The lab will be used to train Indian firms and government agencies on responding to cyber attacks in real-world conditions. Source: Hindu Business Line

The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has allowed an average tariff increase of .8 cents per unit, or 8 percent, across all categories of consumers. The state’s distribution utilities had sought a 25 percent tariff increase. Source: Hindu Business Line

Wipro has won a $95 million government contract to establish a ‘state information highway’ connecting the 10,000 state government offices via the Karnataka State Wide Area Network. Source: Hindu Business Line

The Karnataka cabinet approved a proposal to support the center’s regional air connectivity initiative by extending the one percent sales tax concession on aviation fuel, providing free land, security, water, and power. Karnataka will also provide 20 percent of Viability Gap Funding for routes that are not financially viable. Source: Deccan Herald

State-run power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) began commercial operations at the second 800 MW supercritical unit at Yeramarus Thermal Power Station. Source: Money Control

Suzlon Group said it has won an order to supply 24 units of its S111 turbines for a 50.4 MW project in Karnataka. Source: India Today

The Madhya Pradesh cabinet approved a plan for the “Chief Minister’s Young Professionals for Development Programme,” which will allow young professionals under the age of 35 to join the government for two-year stints. Source: India Today

At least 81 percent of registered business establishments in Madhya Pradesh have enrolled in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. Source: Money Control

The state government decided to ban plastic bags throughout the state effective May 1 on the grounds that consumption of plastic bags results in a large number of cow deaths. Source: Economic Times

Two months after the application period began, Madhya Pradesh has not installed a single rooftop solar panel under the state’s new rooftop solar policy. The policy allows consumers to produce and sell power to discoms. Source: Times of India

BHEL said it has commissioned a total of 540 MW of capacity at its thermal power project in Nasik District. Source: Economic Times

The state’s Revenue Department announced a new policy permitting conversion of industrial-zoned land to residential and commercial zoning. The government will also permit private redevelopment or urban renewal of land held under long-term leases on the payment of one-time fee. Source: Indian Express

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon of the United Kingdom; they decided to form a joint working group to enhance business relations. Fadnavis also met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia to discuss investment opportunities in the state. Source: Money control, India Today

A state-wide exercise to find out how much land the government’s bureaus actually own has uncovered holdings worth $7.7 to $10.9 billion. The state now hopes to mortgage the land in order to raise money at lower interest rates. Source: Economic Times

Union Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal formally opened four wind power plants with a total capacity of 198 MW built by the National Aluminium Company. Built at a cost of $208 million, two of the plants are located in Rajasthan, with one each in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Source: Asian Age

Rajasthan has received approval from the Union Ministry for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to set up seven new livelihood business incubators (LBI) in the state. Each LBI will receive a grant of $150,000 to provide skill development training. Source: Times of India

Nothing critical to report this week.

The Telangana Assembly passed a bill increasing the reservation for Muslims in government jobs and public higher education from 4 percent to 12 percent and for Scheduled Tribes from 6 percent to 10 percent. The bill was passed unanimously in a special session of the Assembly, although the BJP’s five assembly members were suspended at the time. Source: Indian Express

With the concurrence of Telangana’s power distribution companies, the state Electricity Regulatory Commission decided not to raise power tariffs at all for the new financial year. Source: Hindu Business Line

ReNew Power Ventures Pvt Ltd. Commissioned Telangana’s largest solar park, with a capacity of 143 MW, in Nizamabad district. ReNew has targeted an installed capacity of 510 MW in Telangana. Source: Economic Times

Beginning in 2018, Telangana will use direct benefit transfer to give 5.5 million farmers  fertilizer subsidies. The government will deposit money directly into the bank accounts of farmers; each farmer will get about $62 an acre, completely covering the cost of fertilizer. Source: Hindu Business Line

Telangana will procure 8 million sheep for distribution to backward caste communities in the state. The state will spend $775 million on the program, with the first phase scheduled for June 2017. Source: Business Standard

Uttar Pradesh became the final state to sign on to the central government’s ‘Power for All’ scheme when Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath signed the agreement in Lucknow. Uttar Pradesh has the country’s second highest electricity deficit, with a peak demand gap of 9.8 percent. Source: Financial Express, Hindustan Times

West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress retained the Kanthi Dakshin assembly seat in Purba Medinipur district with a margin of over 42,000 votes. The BJP candidate finished second. Source: Economic Times

Construction of the country’s first underwater metro tunnel commenced on the banks of Hooghly river at Howrah. 100 feet of the 1700 foot tunnel run under the river bed. The tunnel is part of the second phase of Kolkata Metro expansion. Source: New Indian Express

The center allotted the development rights for the Deocha-Pachami coal block to West Bengal, which plans to develop the country’s largest coal mine there. Source: Economic Times

China’s ruling Communist Party has extended an invitation to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to visit Beijing. Banerjee has been invited for discussions on possible investments in sectors like food processing and manufacturing. Source: Millennium Post

Best of the Rest


The state government is considering a law to set a minimum educational level and a two-child limit for candidates in state elections. The educational requirement could be relaxed for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe candidates. Source: Economic Times


The Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) will create a Power Distribution Network for solar-powered street lighting in the Bemetara, Dantewada, and Bijapur districts. CREDA is also working on a solar power distribution network in eight villages of Bilaspur district of the State. Source: Daily Pioneer


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