Update on India’s States: October 18, 2017

Himachal Pradesh elections scheduled for November (but Gujarat elections delayed); Tamil Nadu gives public employees a massive raise; Karnataka will not honor older wind power purchase agreements; the BJP racks up wins in Maharashtra local elections; and more.

Center–State relations

Beginning in the 2018-19 financial year, the central government will transfer states’ share of tax revenues once every three months rather than on the first of every month. The change is designed to give the center more flexibility in meeting its obligations, reducing the need to borrow to meet payment deadlines. Source: Hindustan Times


Andhra Pradesh is the first state in India to use blockchain technology to secure public data. The technology has been deployed in two departments and the state plans to use block-chain based security across the entire state government. Source: First Post

Visa and Andhra Pradesh are working together to create digital payment systems for government services including bus tickets and utility payments under the Vizag Digital Dhan Sankalp (VDDS) project. The partners also hope to digitize all payments to schools and small businesses, including street vendors. Source: Economic Times


The Bihar cabinet approved reservations for persons with disabilities in government jobs and public education. Source: Livemint

Nothing critical to report this week.


The Election Commission did not announce Gujarat poll dates when expected. Elections for the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly were announced November 9. The Election Commission has announced Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh election dates simultaneously almost every cycle since 1998. Source: Indian Express

Gujarat became the first state to implement the new flexible coal scheme, awarding a contract to GMR Chhattisgarh Energy to use coal allocated to Gujarat’s public utilities to supply 500  megawatts (MW) of electricity to a state distribution utility. GMR will supply electricity at 4 cents per unit. Source: Times of India

Gujarat cut the value-added tax on petrol and diesel fuel by 4 percent, to 24.96 percent. The cut will cut the price of both fuels by 4 cents a liter. Gujarat was the first state to cut taxes on fuel but was quickly followed by Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh. Source: Livemint


Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) will install LED lights to replace nearly 50,000 conventional street lights in Gurugram by January 2018. The switch is estimated to create savings of 13 million units of electricity annually. Source: Economic Times


Despite pressure from the center, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) is sticking to its earlier decision not to honor unsigned power purchase unless the producer agrees to sell power at the state’s new, lower rate. KERC passed an order on September 4 lowering the feed-in tariff for wind power at to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), down from 7 cents per kWh, the previous rate. Source: Economic Times In Detail: KERC Order


Madhya Pradesh reduced VAT on fuel, following a similar action by Gujarat. The VAT on diesel has been reduced by 5 percent and on petrol by 3 percent. Source: NDTV

Madhya Pradesh signed a document guaranteeing procurement of solar power from Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Project. If the state’s utilities fail to procure power or default on payments, the state will make good on the loss. Source: Daily Pioneer


The governing BJP scored a victory in the first-ever direct elections of village council heads. The BJP won 1,457 of the 2,974 councils for which results were announced, while the Congress Party came a distant second with 301 wins. The BJP also won all four seats available in municipal corporation by-polls. Congress did manage to keep the BJP at bay in elections for the Nanded-Waghala Municipal Corporation, winning 73 of 81 seats. Source: Times of India, Livemint, Economic Times

The Maharashtra cabinet approved a climate change adaptation policy to help the state cope with the adverse impact of changing climatic conditions. The policy, prepared by the environmental think tank TERI, suggests measures for reducing vehicle pollution in cities, providing shelter in natural disasters, and reducing demand for fresh water, among other issues. Source: Hindustan Times In Detail: Climate Change Policy

After Gujarat, Maharashtra became the second state to cut VAT on petrol and diesel, reducing the tax by 3 cents and 1 cent respectively. Source: Economic Times


The Rajasthan assembly has become the first in India to collect motions and proposals from legislators online. Speaker Kailash Meghwal inaugurated the new system by sending a call for an attention motion to the state government with a click of a mouse. Source: Money Control


The Tamil Nadu government announced 157 percent raises for nearly 1.2 million public sector employees and teachers in line with the recommendations of 7th Pay Commission. The minimum wage for public employees will increase from $94 per month to $243. The increase will cost the state $2.27 billion annually. Source: Livemint

Orange Renewable, a subsidiary of Singapore-based AT Holdings, has secured a 200  MW wind power project in Tamil Nadu following a competitive auction conducted by the Solar Energy Corporation of India. The company’s bid of 4.1 cents per unit is the lowest tariff ever discovered in India and one of the lowest in the world. Source: Energy Infra Post


The Telangana government announced two new policies dealing with the Internet of Things (IoT) and e-waste, 2 of the 10 major focus areas for last year’s IT policy. The IoT policy is designed to attract $1.5 billion worth of investments, while the e-waste policy calls for the state to identify industrial space for dismantling recycling waste. Source: Economic Times In Detail: IoT Policy, Waste Management Policy


The Uttar Pradesh cabinet approved a plan to digitize land survey maps in 70 districts of the state and make them available online. Source: Financial Express

Nothing critical to report this week.

Best of the Rest

Himachal Pradesh

The Himachal Pradesh assembly polls will be held in a single day on November 9 and the results will be declared on December 18, the Election Commission announced. Source: Economic Times

Odisha

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy will allow Odisha to develop a smaller than standard solar park with 400 MW capacity under the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects. The state government failed to identify a contiguous patch of 5,000 acres of land for developing a 1,000 MW park. Source: Business Standard

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