Update on India’s States: December 21, 2016

The center is seeking to replace all water dispute tribunals with a single body; West Bengal strengthens the enforcement powers of industrial dispute bodies; Gujarat institutes harsher penalties on alcohol; the BJP/Shiv Sena combine does well in Maharashtra municipal polls; Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh raise employee salaries; and more.

Center-State relations

The Union Cabinet agreed to seek an amendment to the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956 that will establish a single, permanent tribunal to adjudicate all inter-state river water disputes, replacing current dispute resolution bodies. The tribunal will create temporary benches to look into disputes as necessary. Parliament will have to approve the amendment. Source: News18

The Andhra Pradesh cabinet cleared the proposal to establish Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for implementing the Smart Cities initiative in the cities of Anantapur, Eluru, Kurnool, Ongole and Srikakulam. The cabinet also resolved to set up an SPV, the ‘Guntur/Vijayawada Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited,’ for those cities. Source: The Hindu

The Asian Development Bank and the government of India signed an agreement for the construction of a new bridge across the Ganga, set to be India’s longest river bridge. The bank had approved $500 million loan for the bridge in June 2016. Source: Financial Express In Detail: Press Release

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates swept the Agricultural Produce Marketing Commission (APMC) polls, winning 14 out of 18 seats at seven wholesale markets. The AAP described the win as a verdict against demonetization, but its major political competitors had not officially contested the polls. Source: Business Standard

The Gujarat government issued ordinances banning hookah bars across state and increasing penalties for the sale and consumption of alcohol. The ordinances make operating a hookah bar a criminal offense. They also raised the maximum jail term for violation of the prohibition on alcohol to 10 years (up from 3 years) and the maximum fine to $7,400 (up from $7.40). Both ordinances must be approved by the governor before they can come into effect. Source: Indian Express, Indian Express

Cisco signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the Gujarat government, agreeing to establish an Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation hub outside Ahmedabad in cooperation with the International Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and to deliver a smart city project at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City. Source: Business Standard

Gujarat governor OP Kohli approved an ordinance regularizing nearly 75,000 residential encroachments on urban land owned by the state government under the provisions of the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act, 1976. Residents of these areas will be able to regularize their holdings on payment of a fee calculated according to the size of the plot. Source: Indian Express

Nothing critical to report this week.

Nothing critical to report this week.

The Madhya Pradesh government approved an investment of $265 million on basic infrastructure in 397 cities in the state. The funds will be utilized for improving water supply and sewage systems, developing roads, and creating open and green spaces and community centers. Source: Times of India

The ruling coalition took a clear lead in the second phase of municipal council polls in Maharashtra. Although the Nationalist Congress Party won the most seats (94), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally the Shiv Sena won a total of 114 out of 335 seats. The Congress won 66 seats. The BJP also won 5 of the 10 municipal council president seats that were up for grabs. Source: Indian Express

The state department of skill development and entrepreneurship has signed MoUs with original equipment manufacturers and automobile manufacturing companies to encourage cooperation on skill development. Companies like BOSCH, Volkswagen, Bharat Forge, and Tata Motors will help update the state’s Industrial Training Institutes to help train more highly qualified students. Source: Indian Express

Nothing critical to report this week.

New Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam announced an increase in the government cost of living allowance of 7 percent, effective July 1 this year. Increasing the allowance to 132 percent of base salary will benefit 1.8 million government employees and pensioners and will cost the state about $270 million per year. Source: NDTV

Tamil Nadu has topped the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s list of top solar producers with a capacity of 1,555.41 megawatts as of October 31, 2016. Source: Economic Times

The Telangana government introduced nine bills in the Legislative Assembly. Four of these replace current ordinances, including the ordinances creating a backward classes commission and increasing the number of districts in the state. The government also introduced the Municipal Laws Amendment Bill, which will allow the government to transfer municipal employees across the state. Source: Deccan Chronicle

The state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, approved the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission on government salaries and allowances. The raises will increase the annual bill for salaries by more than 12 percent, or $2.65 billion. Uttar Pradesh currently pays $21.5 billion in salaries and pensions to 2.7 million state residents. Source: Business Standard

The state assembly passed new amendments to existing laws on the settlement of industrial disputes, raising the penalty for failure to comply with the decisions of labor courts and industrial tribunals. The assembly also passed the West Bengal Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill and Bengal Excise (Amendment) Bill, which streamline tax collection on alcoholic beverages. Source: Business Standard, Livemint

West Bengal decided to merge 21 government departments to create 10 new ones in order to reduce costs and ensure better delivery of public services. Source: Business Standard

The state assembly passed the West Bengal School Service Commission (Amendment) Bill which removes regional restrictions on the hiring and placement of teaching staff. Source: Business Standard


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