Update on India’s States: October 21, 2015

IndiaBanners_CogitAsia_states_Update

There is widespread recognition of the importance of the political-economies of Indian states. Yet there is a lack of hard, credible information on what states are doing to strengthen or weaken their own economies. The CSIS Wadhwani Chair in U.S. India Policy Studies is pleased to issue the third edition of our new “Update on India’s States” weekly newsletter.

This newsletter will cover India’s largest and/or most economically advanced states, including Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.  The newsletter will focus on concrete information: Legislation, regulations, new investments, key political changes, and other measurable actions that will help the public understand which states are leading the reform process, and which are lagging.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, click here.

Big News

The Rajasthan government has handed over the probe of a multi-million dollar mining scam to the state anti-corruption ombudsman. The state government also revoked over 600 mining leases issued during the tenure of former Principal Secretary of Mines Ashok Singhvi, who has been arrested and jailed on corruption charges. Source: The New Indian Express

The Tamil Nadu state government invoked Section 11 of the Electricity Act, which prevents sale of power outside the state, in response to statements by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that Karnataka will buy electricity from Tamil Nadu. Source: DNAIndia

Maharashtra has declared “drought-like conditions” in 14,708 of the state’s 43,000 villages, or 34 percent of the state. This is the second successive year of drought in Maharashtra. The government has announced a series of measures to aid drought-affected farmers, including the waiver of land revenue and school fees for their children and a 33 percent waiver on electricity bills for irrigation pumps. Source: The Times of India

Andhra Pradesh has introduced an e-Marketing Platform in an attempt to provide a transparent, easily-accessible, and faster marketing platform for farmers to market and sell their produce. Source: The New Indian Express

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hinted at a loophole that could allow industrialists to keep ceiling-surplus land. During an interaction with industrialists at the National Council meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), she suggested that landowners divide landholdings among several shell entities. Under the existing law, no person can own more than 24 acres. Source: The Times of India

Center-State relations

A working group of state Chief Ministers has recommended that the Center levy a tax on petrol, diesel, telecom services, and accumulated waste produced by plants generating mineral waste in order to raise resources for the effective implementation of the Clean India Initiative. Source: The New Indian Express

The Ministry of New and Renewable Resources has received state consent to build solar power plants with a capacity of 17,418 MW. As many as 20 states have pre-approved a total of 26 solar parks, the Ministry said. Source: The Hindu Business Line

High tariffs are making states averse to buying electricity from the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd. (NHPC). State electricity boards are not signing the power purchase agreements for the full life cycle of an NHPC project. Source: Livemint

The Andhra Pradesh branch of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government laying out plans for the development of Kakinada, Nellore and Tirupati as Smart Cities. Source: The Hindu Business Line

The main opposition parties put pressure on the state government to seek “special category” status for Andhra Pradesh in advance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on October 22. Source: The Economic Times

The Reserve Bank of India granted the government of Andhra Pradesh a $230 million overdraft, allowing the state to pay expenses that had been pending for a month. Source: The New Indian Express

The state government has introduced an e-Marketing Platform in an attempt to provide a transparent, easily-accessible, and faster marketing platform for farmers to market and sell their produce. Source: The New Indian Express

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu requested that the Constitution be amended to allow Telangana residents who migrate to Andhra Pradesh within three years of the division of the two states to have local resident status in their new home. Source: Business Standard

The State Cabinet announced a budget of $5.5 billion for a large-scale irrigation project at Polavaram, up from previous estimates of $2.4 billion. The decision has created controversy, with some residents of the state arguing that only the independently constituted Polavaram Project Authority has the competency to approve such a large budget increase. Source: The Hindu

The Delhi government appointed a Group of Ministers to examine how existing laws can be amended to ensure harsher punishments for those convicted of sexual abuse of women, particularly minors. Source: The Economic Times

The Delhi government is planning to introduce new legislation creating a single agency to be responsible for restoring the highly-polluted Yamuna River, which runs for 30 miles through the national capital. Source: The Economic Times

The long-running feud between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung flared up again, as Jung transferred a senior government bureaucrat to a new assignment against Kejriwal’s wishes. Source:  Hindustan Times

IndiaBanners_CogitAsia_states_Gujarat

The Gujarat High Court reprimanded the State Election Commission for postponing the local elections due to the ongoing agitation by the Patel community. Source: The Hindu

Gujarat has proposed a $2.4 billion action plan to ensure basic infrastructure in 31 cities of the state in the next five years. The state government intends to set up 19 Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs) at a total cost of $725 million, with a treatment capacity of 235 million gallons per day. Source: The Economic Times

IndiaBanners_CogitAsia_states_Karnataka

Karnataka is making major reforms to the panchayat raj (local council) system to further strengthen democratic governance at the local level. A draft bill is listed for approval during the state Cabinet meeting on October 20. Source: The New Indian Express

Industries Minister RV Deshpande, with British Deputy High Commissioner Ian Felton, released the ‘Ease of Doing Business in Karnataka’ report, prepared by the British Deputy High Commission, Bengaluru. Deshpande expressed interest in working with the UK to improve ease of doing business in Karnataka. Source: The New Indian Express

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah warned tax officials of stringent action if they are found to be lax in meeting the state’s tax collection targets. Siddaramaiah, who reviewed the mid-term collection of the Commercial Taxes, Excise, Stamps and Registrations, and Motor Vehicles Tax, instructed the officials of these departments to try not only to meet the target, but to exceed it. Source: The New Indian Express

IndiaBanners_CogitAsia_states_Maharastra

Maharashtra has declared “drought-like conditions” in 14,708 of the state’s 43,000 villages, or 34% of the state. The government has announced a series of measures to aid drought-affected farmers, including the waiver of land revenue and school fees for their children and a 33 percent waiver on electricity bills for irrigation pumps. Source: The Times of India

The Maharashtra government may appeal a Supreme Court ruling striking down its ban on dance performances in bars. The state assembly unanimously approved the ban in 2005. Source: The Economic Times

Shiv Sena ministers met with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, a sign that a truce has been struck after Shiv Sena announced it would remain part of the Fadnavis government. All ten Shiv Sena ministers met with Fadnavis after the Cabinet meeting and informed him that Shiv Sena legislators felt the government was ignoring their recommendations. Source: The New Indian Express

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he plans to expand his cabinet after the close of the Bihar polls, a move meant to signal that there was “no threat” to his year-old government despite bickering with ally Shiv Sena. Source: The Economic Times

Shiv Sena has decided to contest the forthcoming Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation election alone rather than with the BJP, with which it shares power in the state. Source: The Economic Times

Maharashtra approved an expenditure of $2.1 billion over five years for building and repairing roads. Source: The New Indian Express

The Maharashtra branch of the Congress Party has threatened to hold a state-wide protest if the government does not reverse its plans to provide psychological counselling to farmers after a rash of farmer suicides. Source: The New Indian Express

IndiaBanners_CogitAsia_states_Rajasthan

The Rajasthan government has handed over the probe of a multi-million dollar mining scam to the state anti-corruption ombudsman. The state government also revoked over 600 mining leases issued during the tenure of former Principal Secretary of Mines Ashok Singhvi, who has been arrested and jailed on corruption charges. Source: The New Indian Express

The Rajasthan government has formally announced a 5% quota in public higher education and government jobs for Gujjars and other Special Backward Classes (SBC). The reservation came into effect October 16. Source: The Economic Times

The head of the Rajasthan Anti-Corruption Bureau responded to opposition charges that a recent probe into alleged irregularities in a land deal was politically motivated, saying that the agency was not under pressure from any quarter and is an independent body. Source: The Economic Times

The Vedanta group signed an early agreement to invest around $1.3 billion to expand and develop its mineral and mining base in Rajasthan. Vedanta plans to invest more than $3.1 billion over three to five years to expand its mining and oil business in Rajasthan. Source: The Economic Times

IndiaBanners_CogitAsia_states_TamilNadu

The Tamil Nadu state government invoked Section 11 of the Electricity Act, which prevents sale of power outside the state, in response to statements by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that Karnataka will buy electricity from Tamil Nadu. Source: DNAIndia

IndiaBanners_CogitAsia_states_Telangana

The State Government has signed two MoUs with select Chinese businesses to build a Dry Port and a prefab concrete manufacturing factory in Telangana. Source: The Hindu Business Line

The National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd will invest over $770 million on expansion of the Simhadri Super Thermal Power Station near Parawada and is working on identifying an appropriate plot of land. Source: The Hindu

The Government of Telangana signed an MoU with the Hague Security Delta, a Dutch initiative that brings businesses, governments, and knowledge institutions to work together in the area of cyber security. Source: The Hindu

IndiaBanners_CogitAsia_states_UttarPradesh

Work commenced on the Navyug housing and commercial project in Allahabad, billed as Uttar Pradesh’s first ‘Smart City.’ The $92 million project, situated on the Allahabad-Kanpur highway, will be developed by the private sector, with REPL acting as a consultant. Source: The Economic Times

The Allahabad High Court fixed October 28 as the next hearing date on a petition seeking President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh. The petitioners claim that the state government failed to carry out its constitutional duty when it postponed gram panchayat elections. Source: The Hindu

IndiaBanners_CogitAsia_states_WestBengal

West Bengal Minister of Finance, IT, Commerce and Industry Amit Mitra visited Bengaluru to sell investors on the state’s six new townships. The townships are designed to provide affordable housing and economic opportunity. Source: The Economic Times

Despite its defeat in the recent civic polls in West Bengal, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is optimistic that it will improve its position in next year’s Assembly elections. Source: The Economic Times

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hinted at a loophole that could allow industrialists to keep ceiling-surplus land. During an interaction with industrialists at the National Council meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), she suggested that landowners divide landholdings among several shell entities. Under the existing law, no person can own more than 24 acres. Source: The Times of India

Major auto manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra announced a proposed investment of $23 to $30 million in West Bengal the day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee pitched the state as a major investment hub at the CII National Council meeting. Mahindra raised the issue of land acquisition at the event. Source: Indian Express

 

TwitterFacebookGoogle+Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *