Update on India’s States: February 15, 2017

Maharashtra formally reduces the scope of key labor law, exempting units with less than 50 employees; Election dates for three Legislative Councils announced; Rajasthan expands its experiment with privatized power while Madhya Pradesh breaks new tariff records with its recent solar power plant auction; Haryana produces a new incentive policy for the textile industry; Nagaland cancels the results of legislative elections; and more.

Center–State relations

Only four states and six Union Territories have notified final rules under the central Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, which became law in May 2016. Home buyers are entitled to seek relief under the act beginning May 1, and the text requires that states notify rules implementing the act by November 2016. Source: Livemint

The Election Commission announced the schedule of biennial elections to the Legislative Councils of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Bihar. The respective chief electoral officers will issue the notifications on February 13, polling will be held on March 9, and the votes will be counted on March 15. Source: The Hindu

The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly hosted a three-day National Women’s Parliament event at the state capital of Amaravati. The Dalai Lama joined state and national politicians and Parliament Speaker Shirin Chaudhury of Bangladesh to open the event. Andhra Pradesh signed a memorandum of understanding with UN Women to foster “gender-responsive governance.” Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

Andhra Pradesh’s Capital Region Development Authority will float a bond issue worth $150 million to fund development, particularly purchasing land, for the new state capital. Source: Business Standard

Tata Chemicals will invest $89 million to build two new facilities in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat to manufacture soluble dietary fibres and silica. Source: Financial Express

Nothing critical to report this week.

Tata Power Delhi Distribution signed an agreement with Switzerland-based Landis+Gyr to build the communication backbone for large-scale implementation of smart meters. Tata Power will spend around $30 million on implementation of the city’s first 200,000 smart meters and expects to start installation by December 2018. Source: Economic Times

The central Ministry of Environment has approved a plan to build an offshore data collection platform in the Gulf of Kutch, near the Gujarat coast, to conduct wind energy mapping and identify high-potential locations for future wind energy installations. Source: Livemint

Gujarat has become the first state in the country to establish a cashless payment process within the public distribution system. Those eligible to purchase subsidised food grains will now be required to produce their Aadhaar (unique ID) cards. Source: Economic Times

State-run power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) has secured orders for 3.6 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic rooftop systems from the Surat Municipal Corporation. Source: Hindu Business Line

The state government has drafted a new textile policy to encourage producers to open new units and to ensure growth of existing industry. The policy includes interest rate and capital subsidies, subsidies for employment generation, and exemption from a wide variety of taxes. Source: Business Standard In Detail: Textile Policy 2017

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar laid the foundation stones of 21 new government colleges in 13 districts of the state. Source: Times of India

Governor Vajubhai R. Vala returned the Karnataka Urban Development Authorities (Amendment) Bill, which reduces urban areas earmarked for parks and playgrounds in layouts, on the grounds that the proposed amendment is “not in the interest of society.” Source: The Hindu

The Biocon Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department to establish ‘eLAJ’ smart clinics in 15 primary healthcare centers across six districts. The clinics are equipped with a multi-parameter monitoring device which enables multiple diagnostic tests and generation of electronic medical records of patients. Source: Money control

The Madhya Pradesh government will form a joint venture company with the Ministry of Railways to expand the railway network in the state. The state government will have a 51 percent share and the Railways Ministry a 49 per cent share in the venture. Source: Hindu Business Line

Multinational mining giant Rio Tinto will transfer its ownership of the Bunder diamond mine and related assets to the state of Madhya Pradesh. The project proved commercially unviable. Source: News 18

An investment clearance committee, comprising officials from NITI Aayog and the central Ministry of Water Resources approved a $2.7 billion project to address the drinking water and irrigation requirements of the parched Bundelkhand region, which spans Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Source: Livemint

The 750MW solar auction in Madhya Pradesh closed after 33 hours of bidding, with Mahindra Renewables, Acme Solar, and Solenergi Power the winning bidders at a record low price of 4.4 cents per kilowatt hour for the first year. The tender was issued by Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMS), a joint venture between Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and the government of Madhya Pradesh. Source: PV Tech

The Maharashtra government has issued a notification amending the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970 which substantially reduces the number of establishments covered by the law. The law will now apply only to units with 50 or more employees, compared to 20 or more previously. The law mandates certain on-site amenities, such as a day care, and sets the number of yearly holidays and maximum work hours. Source: Times of India

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won by a landslide in the closely-watched election to the Maharashtra Legislative Council for theAmravati division. Ranjeet Patil, Minister of State for Home in the Devendra Fadnavis government, defeated Sanjay Khodke of the Congress by more than 40,000 votes. Source: The Hindu

Since February 1, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) has disconnected power supply to a total of 5,525 consumers in both Jalna and Aurangabad districts while managing to recover $350,000 in unpaid bills from 52,582 defaulters. Source: Economic Times

In a bid to increase voter turnout, the state government announced a polling day holiday for government employees in the jurisdiction of the 10 civic bodies, 25 district councils and 283 block councils going to polls. The government has also directed private establishments, including malls, hotels, and IT firms, to either announce a holiday on polling day or grant a window of two hours for employees to vote. Source: Hindustan Times

Mahindra & Mahindra will invest $224 million to retool its Nasik and Igatpuri plants to manufacture a new product code named U321. The Nashik plant will manufacture vehicles, while the Igatpuri plant will manufacture engines. Source: Hindu Business Line

Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Limited has been appointed as a power distribution franchisee to supply electricity to Bikaner in Rajasthan. This is the group’s third distribution operation in Rajasthan after Kota and Bharatpur. The agreement has a 20-year tenure. Source: The Hindu

The Supreme Court convicted V.K. Sasikala, a former confidante of recently deceased Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in a long-pending disproportionate assets case, barring her from contesting office for ten years. The decision throws Tamil Nadu politics further into turmoil, as Sasikala appeared to have nearly consolidated her position as Jayalalithaa’s successor. Source: BBC

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the central government has allocated funds to open a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Telangana. The state government is considering at least four locations outside Hyderabad. Source: The Hindu

Telangana hosted biotech trade conference BioAsia 2017, which featured 1,200 trade meetings between various organizations and witnessed investment pledges of around $507.8 million. Technology start-up incubator T-Hub and leading pharma firm Novartis Healthcare Pvt Ltd signed an MOU to create and execute joint programs for health tech start-ups. The two parties will develop plans and programmes that will help health tech, healthcare and pharmaceutical start-ups to scale and grow. Source: The Hindu, The Hindu

Telangana has teamed up with private equity firm Cerestra Advisors to create a life sciences infrastructure fund in India with capital of $150 million. Source: Economic Times

The BJP received a boost in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, winning legislative council elections in three of five constituencies that went to the polls. All three were Graduate Constituencies, meaning that voters must have a degree from a recognized Indian university or an equivalent qualification. Source: Hindustan Times

Uttar Pradesh saw an estimated voter turnout of 64 percent in 73 Assembly constituencies in the first of seven polling phases. Chief Electoral Officer T Venkatesh said there were scattered reports of instances of violence accompanying the polls. Source: Economic Times

West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra presented a budget with no new revenue sources despite the fact that the redemption of market loans is set to peak at the beginning of the next financial year, further threatening the state’s weak finances. The state’s plan outlay will increase by around 12 percent, to $9.67 billion. Repayment obligations on account of institutional loans, including market loans, for West Bengal in 2017-18 will be $2 billion, against $626 million in 2016-17 (revised). The state’s outstanding debt in the next fiscal is set to touch $54.6 billion. Source: Business Standard

West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra made small businesses with annual revenues of up to $30,000 exempt from value-added tax in the coming fiscal year. The previous threshold for exemption was $15,000. The new exemption threshold is the same as that in the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Source: Livemint

The West Bengal Universities and Colleges (Administration and Regulation) Bill, 2017 was passed in the state assembly during an unrelated walkout by opposition Congress and Left Front members. The bill aims to reduce political interference in the state’s higher education system. Source: Daily News & Analysis

British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith met with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss cooperation between Great Britain and India. Asquith said that Britain is eager to invest in a range of sectors including education and research. Source: Indian Express

Best of the Rest


Bahrain has offered to set up a special investment fund to accelerate infrastructure development in Kerala. Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa told Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that Bahrain will open a special center in Kochi to oversee the country’s financial deals with Kerala. Vijayan is on a three-day visit to Bahrain. Source: Financial Express


Nagaland governor P.B. Acharya declared the entire process of elections to Urban Local Bodies null and void, in line with a February 2 decision by the state cabinet. The move follows state-wide protests over the newly imposed requirement that women make up one third of members of local bodies. Source: Indian Express


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