Update on India’s States: August 17, 2016

Two new territories join UDAY; multiple states are moving to allow the lease of farming land; Gujarat’s amended Land Acquisition Act becomes law; Delhi, Haryana, and Maharashtra are drafting new taxi policies; West Bengal’s new solar policy could reduce the cost of open access; and more.

Center-State relations

Madhya Pradesh has passed, and several other states are considering, a new land leasing law that allows owners of agricultural land to lease out their land for farming. The legislation will be based on a model act drafted by Niti Aayog. The model law secures the rights of landowners while allowing tenant farmers to access government initiatives like crop insurance and credit programs. Source: Live Mint

Madhya Pradesh and the Union Territory of Puducherry both signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Power to join the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY). The total number of states and union territories that have joined UDAY is now 16. Source: The Hindu Business Line

Sri Venkateswara University signed an MoU with Sweden’s Blekinge Institute of Technology to facilitate exchange programs for students and faculty and cooperation in skill development for engineering students. Source: The Hindu

The Andhra Pradesh government has established a Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority as required under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The authority is responsible for resolving disputes relating to land acquisition, compensation, rehabilitation, and resettlement. Source: The Hindu

Solar provider First Solar has commenced commercial operations at its 80 megawatt (MW) and 50 MW projects in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, respectively. Source: Money Control

Wind turbine maker Gamesa received an order for a 40 MW project in Andhra Pradesh. Gamesa will supply 20 turbines of 2 MW each. Source: The Economic Times

Bihar will be allocated 78 percent of the output of the 1,980 MW Nabinagar thermal plant being built by the center in Aurangabad. Bihar was previously sent to receive 69 percent of the plant’s output. Source: Financial Express

Bihar’s commercial tax revenue dropped by over 35 percent, from $564 million to $365 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal year compared to the same period last year. The decline may be due to the loss of taxes on alcohol due to imposition of prohibition in the state. Source: India Today

The Delhi government issued a draft policy governing app-based taxi companies that requires such cabs use digital meters. The policy also forbids surge pricing. Source: India Today

The president approved the Gujarat Land Acquisition Bill 2016, which dilutes the stringent provisions of the central Land Acquisition Act. The bill removes the requirement that purchasers acquiring land for public use conduct a social impact assessment and obtain the consent of all land users. Source: The Hindu

Newly-appointed Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani announced the portfolios of his 24 Cabinet members. Rupani himself will serve as Minister of Industries, General Administration, Home, Science and Technology, Climate Change, Mines and Minerals and Ports, among others. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was allocated the Finance, Urban Development, Petrochemicals, Urban Housing, Roads and Buildings, and Narmada portfolios. Source: The Hindu Business Line

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar approved a new taxi licensing policy in the 13 districts of the state that fall within the National Capital Region. Both corporations and individuals can obtain taxi licenses, and individually licensed drivers can attach themselves to corporate licensees for a shift. All licensed cars must have a GPS device. Source: The Economic Times

Haryana is working with the American India Foundation Trust to introduce a new program for teaching science and mathematics in educationally backward areas of the state. The program will introduce world-standard pedagogical methods to ten model schools in the first phase. Source: Business Standard

Karnataka elementary education officials met with representatives from Khan Academy, the U.S.-based free online education platform, to discuss a formal partnership to supplement instruction in the state’s public schools. Source: The Economic Times

The Karnataka Startup Cell and IKP Knowledge Park have launched the first call for proposals under the state government’s Grand Challenges-Karnataka initiative. The initiative seeks innovation-driven solutions to problems in sectors like health care, food security, the environment and education. Winners will automatically qualify for space in state-run incubators. Source: The Hindu Business Line

Karnataka has about 500,000 more acres than usual under cultivation for tur dal and other pulses, and is expecting a bumper crop that could push down pulses prices nationally. Source: The Economic Times

Nothing critical to report this week.

State-owned Konkan Railways signed an MoU with engineering firm Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. for the construction of a new railway line between Karad, in Maharashtra’s interior, and Chiplun, a port on its western cost. The 65-mile line will cross the Sahyadri mountains. Source: The Times of India

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met with officials of the state transportation ministry to discuss the ministry’s proposed new taxi policy. The draft policy forbids surge pricing and caps the size of a licensee’s fleet at 4,000 cars. Source: Business Standard

Rajasthan signed an MoU with Dubai’s India Trade and Exhibition Centre (ITEC). ITEC will work to promote skill development, investment and tourism in Rajasthan. Source: Money Control

In a jolt to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress outperformed the BJP in recent local elections. Congress won 13 of the 24 sub-district councils, four of six district councils, and two of seven municipal bodies. Source: Tribune India

More than 50 projects announced at the 2015 Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet have passed the clearance process via single window clearance. Source: The Hindu Business Line

The second unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant will come online by the end of August. The plant’s third and fourth units will begin electricity generation by 2022. Source: Zee News

Telangana is creating 14 new districts, bringing the total to 24. The names of the new districts will be announced in October. Source: The Hindu Business Line

The cabinet approved a proposal to hike the house rent allowance by 20 percent for all government employees. The move will benefit nearly 1.5 million public sector employees and will cost the state $75 million. Source: Business Standard

The latest auction for supplying power to Uttar Pradesh received bids for 6,652 MW — 2,800 MW more than required — at a cost of 6 to 8 cents a unit. The state chose to procure a total of 3,882 MW at a final tariff of 6.2 cents a unit. Source: Business Standard

More than 1.5 million striking government employees called off a strike after two days following assurances from the state government that their demand for cashless medical treatment would be met within 15 days. Source: The Economic Times

The West Bengal government is finalizing a new solar policy to help it meet the target of generating 4,500 MW of solar power by 2022. The draft policy allows the state’s electricity regular to reduce or abolish open access charges — fees levied when an industrial consumer purchases power from a source other than the state-owned distribution companies. Current open access charges are so high as to make open access cost-prohibitive. Source: Business Standard


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