Update on India’s States: November 1, 2017

Gujarat elections announced for December 9 and 14; Punjab raises power prices, while Odisha declines to; Madhya Pradesh ranks top on an index of digital governance; Telangana gets approval to raise its debt limit; and more.

Center-State relations

The center has released $1.3 billion, or 58 percent of total tax revenue, to 27 states to compensate them for revenue lost in the first two months after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax. Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh did not receive a transfer due to technical issues filing claims. Source: Economic Times


APTransco will spend approximately $2.5 billion to improve the power supply infrastructure in the state’s capital region. The project will give priority to underground cabling. Experts from Singapore will provide technical assistance on the project. Source: The Hindu


Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced that the state will enforce laws against dowry and child marriage by firing any government employees who are accused of participating in those practices. Source: Times Now

 
Nothing critical to report this week.


The Election Commission announced the election dates for Gujarat, December 9 and 14. The first phase will include polls for 89 seats in 19 districts; the second phase will have voting for 93 seats in 14 districts. Votes will be counted December 18, the same day as in Himachal Pradesh. Source: Economic Times In Detail: Election Schedule

The state government approved Phase-II of the Ahmedabad Metro rail project. The 21.5 mile stretch will link both GIFT City and state capital Gandhinagar with Ahmedabad. Source: Indian Express


The Haryana Vidhan Sabha unanimously passed seven bills on the concluding day of its session. The bills included the Haryana Consolidation of Project Land (Special Provision) Bill 2017, which makes it easier to consolidate scattered tracts of land into a single large plot, and the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority Bill 2017, which creates an urban planning authority for Gurugram. Source: Daily Pioneer

Haryana’s state agencies will hire 15,000 apprentices by December 1 under the central National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme. Apprentices must form 10 percent of total manpower in all departments. The state has allocated $4.8 million towards the program. Source: Business Standard


The Asian Development Bank and India signed a loan agreement for $65.5 million to check coastal erosion on the western coast of Karnataka. The financing will be used to address immediate coastal protection needs and to strengthen the institutional capacity of Karnataka’s public works, ports, and inland water transport department. The loan is the second tranche of a $250 million financing facility under the Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Programme. Source: Money control In Detail: Press release

The state government and Microsoft signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop improved price forecasting models for farmers. Microsoft will use data on sowing, weather, and yield, among other factors, to predict crop prices at harvest. Source: Daily Pioneer

The Karnataka cabinet approved a policy to define and protect the rights of transgendered persons in the state. The policy will include education for civil servants working with the population as well as scholarships and health care. Source: Live Mint


Madhya Pradesh grabbed the top score, 100 points out of a possible 150, on a ranking of states according to their efforts in digital governance, with Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh a very close second and third. The score was based on policy frameworks and success in digitalization programs. Source: Maximum Governance

Madhya Pradesh has paused a plan to switch to a January-December financial year from the existing April-March cycle. The state government announced that it will make the shift once the center switches to a January-December fiscal year. Madhya Pradesh was the first state to announce that it would align the calendar and business years. Source: Hindu Business Line


The Maharashtra government has released rules for the regularization of unauthorized structures built on or before December 31, 2015. The rules allow owners of most unauthorized buildings, residential or commercial, to have the structures regularized on payment of a fee. Source: Money Control In detail: Maharashtra Town Planning (Compounded Structures) Rules, 2017

Maharashtra signed an agreement with Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) to retrofit state government buildings with more efficient lighting and cooling systems. EESL will bear the entire upfront investment of around $47 million and the state will repay the cost of the work with savings on power bills over a five-year period. Source: New 18

The Maharashtra Government has passed the upper limit on borrowing of ten percent of revenue collection due to the costs of the farmer’s loan waiver and ongoing infrastructure projects. Borrowing has already reached $63 billion in the current fiscal year. The state government had ordered departments to cease all borrowing as early as June. Source: Asian Age


The Rajasthan Assembly passed a bill to raise the reservation for from 21 percent to 26 percent, following which the legislative session ended. The assembly referred a controversial bill protecting civil servants from lawsuits to a select committee. Source: Economic Times, Live Mint In Detail: Bill Text: OBC Reservations

The Rajasthan government has handed over 43 urban primary health centers in 13 districts to private parties who will operate them in the public-private partnership mode. Source: The Hindu


A study conducted for the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation projected that the state can evacuate 500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power by 2021-22 with minimal upgrades to the grid. Source: The Hindu


The center approved Telangana’s request to increase its market borrowing limit for 2017-18. The limit has been raised from 3 percent to 3.5 percent of state domestic product, allowing the state to borrow $537 million more in the current financial year 2017-18. Telangana was able to show that it meets the criteria for such a raise as laid down by the 14th Finance Commission. Source: The Hindu

State-run power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd said it has commenced work on the $3.13 billion Yadadri supercritical thermal power project for the Telangana State Power Generation Corporation. Source: Live Mint


The Uttar Pradesh government will more than double the number of power theft detection squads in the state by this year-end. There are currently 33 squads, and 55 more are in the process of creation. The state’s Home Department will also designate a police station in every district responsible for initiating investigations of power theft. Source: Hindu Business Line

Uttar Pradesh will hold local government polls in three phases on November 22, 26, and 29, the first electoral test for the governing BJP. Source: Money Control


The Asian Development Bank and the Government of India signed an additional $300 million loan to continue to improve public service delivery in West Bengal. The second phase of the program targets reduction of unproductive expenditure and savings from efficiencies in revenue collection. Source: Financial Express In Detail: Press Release

Best of the Rest

Odisha

The Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) rejected requests by the state’s distribution companies (discoms) to raise power tariffs and kept the rate unchanged. The discoms had sought an average hike of 3 cents per unit. Source: Economic Times

Punjab

The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission raised power tariffs by an average of 9.33 percent for the current fiscal year. The tariff for domestic consumers has increased by 7 to 12 percent, industrial tariffs will rise 8.50 to 12 percent, and commercial tariffs will go up 8 to 11 percent. Source: Economic Times Tariff Orders: PSTCL, PSPCL

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