Update on India’s States: September 28, 2016

GST Council sets a turnover threshold of $30,000 for the GST; Gujarat walks back its new quota for poor communities; first meeting of the Israel-Haryana Working Group; Maharashtra collaborates with Oracle and HP; Tamil Nadu opens the world’s largest solar power plant; Trinamool Congress strengthens its rule in West Bengal; and more.

Center–State relations

The GST Council agreed on a goods and services tax (GST) exemption threshold of $30,000 in annual turnover ($15,000 for northeastern and hill states) and dual control over assessees. The council also decided that all current cesses would be subsumed in the GST. The government is considering introducing a separate law detailing the method of compensating states for any revenue loss from the GST in order to assure states that their revenues will be protected. Source: Business Standard, Economic Times

Five cities in election-bound Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency of Varanasi, have made it to the third list of Smart Cities. Agra, Kanpur, and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, and Amritsar and Jalandhar in Punjab, are among the 27 cities that will receive $30 million for improving their infrastructure. Source: Economic Times

Andhra Pradesh government amended its electronics policy to increase the incentives offered to IT companies. Mega IT projects will receive subsidies up to 30 percent of the total investment, with an upper limit of $37.5 million, and 25 percent subsidy in power bills for five years. Source: Times of India

Cairn India received the final environmental approval to begin exploratory drilling of ten wells in Nellore district, with an investment outlay of $150 million. Source: Business Standard

Nothing critical to report this week.

Nothing critical to report this week.

The Gujarat government has rolled back the 10 percent quota for poor applicants to educational institutes and government jobs introduced in response to protests by the Patidar community. The state’s General Administration Department issued a notice directing government departments to not appoint or admit anyone under the quota. Source: Economic Times

Beginning October 1, 16 dedicated courts across Gujarat will be available for speedy trial of cases under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Atrocities Act. Source: Indian Express

The Gujarat government issued detailed guidelines for the utilization of grants by district councils, mandating that the money only be used for certain development projects, and thus removing councils’ discretionary powers to allocate funds. Source: Indian Express

Airbnb announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Gujarat. Gujarat and Airbnb will collaborate to boost tourism and create positive travel experiences for both domestic and international visitors to Gujarat. Source: Economic Times

Haryana has set up a State Project Management Unit to prepare for a full-scale roll-out of the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) for all central schemes. The PFMS will allow the center to monitor the disbursement and use of funds for centrally-funded welfare programs. Source: Business Standard

The Israel-Haryana Joint Working Group held its first session, chaired by Haryana Chief Secretary D S Dhesi and Deputy Chief of Mission Dana Kursh of the  Embassy of Israel. The two parties explored the possibilities for mutual cooperation in the areas of sewage management, security, cybersecurity, start-ups, and development of smart cities. Source: Indian Express

Karnataka’s legislature passed a resolution against releasing additional water from the Cauvery River to Tamil Nadu. The resolution comes days after the Supreme Court ordered Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water until September 27. Source: Hindu Business Line

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan began a three-day visit to the United Kingdom on September 27. Chouhan will meet with executives from Rolls Royce and Hargreaves Industrial Services. Source: Indian Express

Madhya Pradesh has set up a $15 million venture capital fund to support young entrepreneurs. Further details about the fund, announced by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during an investors’ roadshow in Hyderabad, are not yet available. Source: The Hindu

Maharashtra signed an MoU with Oracle Corp to collaborate on the state’s smart city initiative. The two parties will jointly open a Center of Excellence in Mumbai to serve as a research hub on the digital transformation of government services. Source: Economic Times

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the Hewlett Packard headquarters in San Francisco and met with CEO Meg Whitman. Fadnavis and Whitman discussed plans to collaborate to digitally transform 28,000 villages across the state. Source: Economic Times

European solar firm Lightsource Renewable Energy announced it had won a 50 megawatt (MW) solar project in Maharashtra, its first such project in India. Source: Hindu Business Line

The Rajasthan Cabinet gave in-principle approval to the ‘Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Ordinance, 2016,’ which creates heavy punishments for non-banking financial institutions that fail to repay deposits at the end of a specified term. The ordinance, which is particularly aimed at chit funds, requires presidential assent, as the subject matter falls within the Concurrent List of the Constitution. Source: The Hindu

The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission announced a revised power tariff, with an average hike of 9.6 percent in various consumer categories — the full increase sought by state discoms. Most consumer categories saw an 11 to 12 percent increase, while tariffs for use in agriculture were raised 5.5 percent. This is Rajasthan’s fifth revision since 2006. Source: Times of India

Elections for urban and rural local bodies will be held in two phases on October 17 and 19. Source: Livemint

IBM has teamed up with the Tamil Nadu government to establish a cloud-based intelligent operations command center in Chennai to help government agencies prepare for and respond to extreme weather events. Based on IBM’s cloud and analytics technologies and services, the center is designed to help mitigate the devastating negative impact of natural disasters, including annual monsoon-related flooding. Source: The Hindu

Adani Green Energy commissioned the world’s largest solar power plant, 648 MW, in Tamil Nadu. Source: Economic Times

The Tamil Nadu government will set up 100 free Wi-Fi hotpots in public spaces and schools throughout the state. The Wi-Fi zones, called Amma Wi-Fi Zone, will be provided in 50 schools and 50 public areas at a cost of $1.5 million. Source: Hindu Business Line

In a bid to curb misuse of land allotted to large industries, the state government is proposing to allot land to investors only on an as-needed basis. Although the mechanics of the plan are still unclear, it appears to arise from concerns that investors were acquiring more land than they needed in order to qualify for generous state investment incentives. Solar and other non-conventional power plants will be excluded. Source: Times of India

Nothing critical to report this week.

A delegation representing 13 Chinese companies began a two-day visit to West Bengal to explore investment opportunities. They will visit Panagarh Industrial Park and have meetings with local industrialists. The companies making up the delegation are from the mining sector and other manufacturing industries. Source: Money Control

The Trinamool Congress is now in control of all the district councils of West Bengal, having unseated the Congress leadership of the Murshidabad council through a no-confidence vote. Source: New Indian Express

State agriculture marketing minister Tapan Dasgupta has directed cold storage facilities to offload their entire stocks by November in a move to deflate prices of potatoes, onions, and other vegetables before the holiday season. Source: Economic Times


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