Bihar unveils an ambitious renewable power policy; Haryana builds a unified policing database; West Bengal drags its feet on the GST; Odisha finds a buyer for the Posco steel plot; and more.
The GST Council set tax rates for six controversial or high-profile types of goods, including shoes, apparel, and solar panels. Revising an earlier decision to tax solar panels at 18 percent, they will now be taxed at 5 percent. Source: Economic Times
Goods and Services Tax Tracker: Twenty-two states —Telangana, Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Goa, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Tripura, Sikkim, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, and Manipur — have passed the model version of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). All 29 states must pass their own version of the law for the tax to become effective nation-wide.
The World Bank announced a $240 million line of credit to support Andhra Pradesh’s efforts to upgrade power supply in rural areas and deploy smart grids in towns. The loan is India’s first to be co-financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which will fund 40 percent of the project. Source: Hindu Business Line In detail: Press Release
Bihar announced a new renewable power policy that aims to develop over 3,400 megawatts (MW) of non-fossil fuel-based capacity by 2022, making Bihar self-sufficient in power generation. Nearly 3,000 MW capacity would be in solar (one-third of it rooftop solar), with the rest coming from biogas and small hydropower plants. Source: Economic Times
State-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) installed its first charging stations for electric vehicles at its offices in the Delhi area. The charging points are the first in a planned regional rollout effort by NTPC. Source: Hindustan Times
Nothing critical to report.
The Haryana Cabinet approved an ordinance creating the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), which will have the power to buy and sell land within Gurugram in order to facilitate development. The GMDA will be funded through development fees and new taxes on the transfer of real estate within Gurugram. Source: Times of India
Haryana launched a new police database, the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS), that combines all the state’s existing crime and criminal-related programs and databases. In addition to the Core Application Software, which will provide daily functionality for police stations, the CCTNS includes modules for arms licensing, human resource management, inventory and procurement management, and training. Source: Daily Pioneer
Haryana will offer a reward of $776 each to the first 100 rice-growing villages that pass a resolution not to allow any burning of crop residues. The Haryana State Pollution Control Board will use satellite data to verify compliance. Burning of crop waste in Haryana and other states bordering Delhi is a major cause of the capital’s deadly pollution. Source: Economic Times
Samsung India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Karnataka’s Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises setting up two new Samsung Technical Schools in Bengaluru and Jamshedpur as well as the MSME-Samsung Technical School Scholarship program. Samsung will grant 1,000 scholarships worth up to $310 to girls and to differently-abled students of all genders. Source: Hindu Business Line
Nothing critical to report this week.
Maharashtra unveiled its new energy conservation policy, which promises to save $932 million and 1,000 MW of electricity over five years. The state will spend $1.25 million to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances. The state also mandated that all new buildings in the state be designed for only LED bulbs. Maharashtra will amend the Development Control Rules of municipal corporations and other civic bodies to ensure compliance. Source: Indian Express, Daily News Analysis
Nothing critical to report.
India and Russia concluded a deal for construction of the last two units of the Kundankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin of Russia finalized the General Framework Agreement and Credit Protocol for Units 5 and 6 of the plant during a bilateral summit. Source: Huffington Post
The Telangana government has launched a digital payment app, T-Wallet, which charges no transaction fees and allows the government to make direct deposits. The government is planning to use the app to send wages to participants in rural employment programs and to remit scholarships. Source: Hindu Business Line
Telangana’s IT and ITeS (Information Technology enabled Services) exports grew by 13.85 percent during2016-17, approximately 4 percent higher than the national average. The sector also added 24,506 new employees, bringing the total to 431,891. Source: Economic Times
Uttar Pradesh has cancelled power purchase agreements (PPAs) with seven power projects, only one of which had started operation, with a cumulative capacity of 7,040 MW. The PPAs, signed in 2010, were cancelled because the plants were not able to sign fuel supply agreements within a reasonable time. Source: Financial Express
The new state government has decided to enlarge a call center for public feedback on state services built by the previous government. All of the state’s 80 government departments will now be required to participate. The 300-seat call center, which opened in 2016, has so far allowed the state to contact nearly 17 million people for feedback on 20 government schemes. Source: Economic Times
State Finance Minister Amit Mitra said West Bengal’s legislature would not be able to vote on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by July 1 — the national roll-out date for the new tax regime. Under the constitutional amendment creating the GST, all states are forbidden from levying taxes on goods and services beginning September 15. Ironically, West Bengal has achieved the highest preparedness for the GST of any state, with 91 percent of targeted tax payers preparing for the new regime. Source: Business Standard, Economic Times
Best of the Rest
Odisha has approved a plan by JSW Steel to set up an 11-million ton per year steel plant on 4,500 acres of land once allotted to South Korea’s Posco. Posco pulled out of its plans to build a steel plant after 12 years of public protests and difficulty sourcing materials. Source: Reuters
Assam’s Numaligarh biofuel refinery, the first of its kind in India, will soon produce biofuel from bamboo imported from Arunachal Pradesh. The refinery signed an MoU with the Arunachal Pradesh government to refine 330,000 tons of bamboo per year. Source: Economic Times