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South Africa is increasingly focusing on renewable energies. By 2020, solar energy is forecast to expand to over 5.7 gigawatts.

Read more: Photovoltaics in South Africa: meteocontrol supplies monitoring system

The Government of Zambia signed agreements  for a second mandate with Scaling Solar, the World Bank Group program that is helping developing countries procure low cost, privately financed, solar power.

Read more: Zambia signs second scaling solar mandate

ISE Group, Total and SunPower have started up a 27-megawatt-peak photovoltaic power plant in Nanao on Japan's Honshu Island.

Read more: ISE Group, Total and SunPower Start Up the Nanao Solar Power Plant in Japan

ET Energy, a global leading clean energy developer and operator, announces that it has reached a new five-year partnership with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), one of the world's leading children's organizations, to provide financial support for the Barefoot Social Workers Programme from 2016 to 2021.

Read more: ET Energy Renews its Partnership with UNICEF

Larson Electronics LLC, a leading industrial lighting company, announced the release of a new solar panel kit to be added to its catalog of products.

Read more: Larson Electronics LLC Releases A New Bolt-on Solar Panel Kit

Once 80 Year Rivals, Poyant Signs partners with Beaumont Solar to meet all industry deadlines

Read more: Poyant Signs Moving Forward with Solar in 2017

Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs), and Silicon Ranch, one of the nation's largest independent solar power producers, officially dedicated a 52-Megawatt (MWAC) solar energy plant in Jeff Davis County, Georgia. 

Read more: Green Power EMC and Silicon Ranch Announce Dedication of 52MW Solar Farm

Metro companies to undertake in-house maintenance and develop local expertise

Rolling stock and signaling equipment norms standardized covering 90% of imports

Mandatory Tender Conditions to encourage  Make in India brought into immediate effect

Eligibility criteria for suppliers also to be standardized in two weeks

 

With rapid expansion of metro rail projects in the country, Ministry of Urban Development has taken several far reaching decisions to promote Make in India campaign. These include stipulating certain mandatory conditions to be incorporated in Tender Documents of metro companies for procurement of metro cars and related critical equipment and sub-systems, procurement of only Made in India signaling equipment besides standardizing technical parameters for rolling stock (metro coaches) and signaling equipment.

The new mandatory Tender Conditions and standardized norms for a wide range of equipment, approved by the Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu have been circulated to all the metro companies on Friday this week making them effective immediately.

These initiatives will incentivize  setting up manufacturing facilities in the country by increasing the volumes of procurement of rolling stock and all kinds of equipment by removing variations in the present technical norms for rolling stock and signaling equipment. This will in turn result in reduction of cost through economies of scale.

The Ministry has stipulated the following mandatory conditions to be incorporated in Tender Documents:

1.Minimum 75% of the tendered quantity of metro cars shall be manufactured indigenously with progressive indigenization of content, for which the contractor may either establish independent manufacturing facility in India or partner with Indian manufacturers, if the procurement is more than 100 cars;

2.To facilitate ease in maintenance through easy availability of spares beyond the warranty period, an identified list of critical equipment and sub-systems shall be included in the Tender Document for ensuring indigenous manufacturing of a minimum of 25% of such equipment, either by Original Equipment Manufacturers themselves by establishing a wholly owned subsidiary in India or through Indian manufacturers;

3.  Requirement of metro cars at State level shall be clubbed to enable applicability of local procurement norms; and

4.To develop in-house expertise on long term basis, metro companies with large size fleet to undertake in-house maintenance.

A total number of 1,912 metro coaches are currently operational in the country with another 1,420 under procurement. Over the next three years more than 1,600 metro cars would be required.  Each metro coach is estimated to cost about Rs.10 cr.

The Ministry has concluded the long pending standaridisation of norms for rolling stock and signaling equipment  applicable to over 90% of the present imports. Further, to promote indigenous manufacturing, the Ministry has stipulated procurement of 9 types of signaling equipment from within the country. Metro companies have also been directed to develop maximum possible local competence so that knowhow and technical support is available within the country. Indian companies have to be associated with production of a wide range of signaling and train control project equipment.

Indigenization of several metro functions has also been prescribed. These relate to communication systems, managing operational disturbances, time table preparation, fault reporting, control traction power, maintenance, infrastructure supervision, rolling stock management etc.

The new standardized norms prescribe that the rolling stock and related equipment and systems shall enable Unattended Train Operations, Driverless Train Operations, Standard rail gauge of 1,435 mm, Metro cars with body width of 2.90 meters for passenger capacity of up to 45,000 Peak Hour Peak Distance capacity, body width of 3.20 meters for capacity above 45,000 PHPD, only 3 car, 6 car or 9 car rail combination, operational speed of 80 kmph, minimum 67% motorization for all rolling stock etc. Norms have also been prescribed for Acceleration Rates, Energy Consumption, Noise and Vibration levels, Collision Standards etc.

Further to these initiatives, Ministry of Urban Development will soon evolve common eligible criteria for suppliers of rolling stock and other equipment doing away with  the present variations across different  metro companies.  

Shri Rajiv Gauba, Secretary(UD) discussed with Managing Directors of metro companies on Friday the variations in the present eligibility criteria. Noting that such variations adversely impact competition, he directed that a broadly uniform criteria in respect of Net Worth, Financial and technical capacities and experience of supply of rolling stock and other equipment etc should be evolved in two weeks.

Presently, metros are operating in 7 cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Bengaluru and Chennai with a total route length of 326 kms. Metro projects with a total route length of 546 kms are under construction in 11 cities and projects with a total route length of 903 kms in 13 cities are under consideration.

 

AAR/KM

 

Read more: Make in India gets metro boost; local procurement made mandatory

Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal and H.E. Mr. Ignasius Jonan, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Republic of Indonesia met on 20th April, 2017 for the 1st ‘India Indonesia Energy Forum’, held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Energy Forum was preceded by 2nd Joint Working Group (JWG) on Oil and Gas, 4th Joint Working Group on Coal and 1st Joint Working Group on New and Renewable Energy. The reports of three Joint Working Groups were presented to two Ministers during the Energy Forum.

The 2nd JWG on Oil and Gas discussed policy framework of India and Indonesia, oil and gas infrastructure development, cooperation opportunities in capacity building and business opportunities in oil and gas sector in both countries. Representatives of major Indian companies in oil and gas sector such as ONCG Videsh Limited, Petronet LNG Limited, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) participated in the JWG. Indonesian companies such as PT Pertamina, PT Triputra, PT Nusantara Regas, Medco Energy and PT PGN were also represented.

The 4th JWG on Coal has five sessions dedicated to policy framework, coal resources development, capacity building, research and development and issues and concerns of private sector. Indian companies such as Coal India Limited, Adani Enterprises, Tata Power Company, PT Adani Global, PT Core Mineral Indonesia, PT BaramultiSuksessarana, PT Barasentosa Lestari and PT Jindal Overseas also participated in the JWG.

The 1st JWG on New and Renewable Energy was held through video-conferencing. The two sides discussed policy framework and investment opportunities in India and Indonesia. Both sides agreed to focus on Capacity building, Exchange of Scientific and Technological information and data, Transfer of Technology on Non-commercial basis in bio fuel and geothermal area, Development on Joint Research or Technical Projects on subject of Mutual interest, Encouragement and promotion of investment and Encouragement of policy Dialogue in solar park.

In his remarks, Shri Piyush Goyal appreciated the warm hospitality extended by his host and said that his interaction with Minister Ignasius Jonan was one of the most fruitful one. He said that the visit of President Joko Widodo to India in December 2016 has been instrumental in fast forwarding of Energy Forum. He said that two sides have agreed to explore cooperation in number of areas such as upgrading of refineries in Indonesia, relocation of gas-based plants from India to Indonesia, sharing of experience in use of LEDs and renewable energy in India, sharing the expertise of Indonesia in gasification of fuel oil, exploration of oil, gas and coal fields. Shri Goyal requested Minister Jonan to consider joining International Solar Alliance as Indonesia is solar-rich country. He also requested Minister Jonan to revisit changes in policy in coal sector and work visa.

In his remarks, Mr. Jonan said that Indonesia is important destination for investing especially in energy and infrastructure sector. Minister Jonan said that a team of 19 officials from oil and gas, coal and power sectors will be visiting India to look into several issues discussed during Energy Forum such as relocation of gas-based plants, large scale use of LEDs for energy conservation, visit to sophisticated oil refineries and to Indian Institute of Mines.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia on cooperation in the field of Oil and Gas was signed on the occasion. The MOU seeks to establish a cooperative institutional framework to facilitate and to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of oil and gas sectors on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

Apart from meeting, Shri Goyal and Mr. Jonan met H.E. Mr. Budi Karya Sumadi, Minister for Transport of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Arcandra Tahar, Deputy Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia and Mr. Thomas Trikasih Lembong, Chairman of Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). Shri Goyal also interacted with investors from Indonesia and attended an event organized in his honour where he met with the Indian community.

India is third largest importer of coal from Indonesia. India’s imports of coal from Indonesia amounted to US$ 3.5 billion in 2016. Several Indian companies have invested in coal mines in Indonesia. The bilateral trade between two countries stood at US$ 15.90 billion in 2015-16 with Indonesia’s export to India amounting to US$ 13.06 billion and India’s exports to Indonesia amounting to US$ 2.84 billion. There is an agreed understanding on both sides to increase the exports from India to Indonesia to improve the trade balance.

*****

RM/VM

Read more: 1st ‘India Indonesia Energy Forum’ held in Jakarta

       I.            Vision Document, Strategy & Action Agenda beyond 12th Five Year Plan: Replacing the Five Year Plans beyond 31st March, 2017, NITI Aayog is in the process of preparing the 15-year vision document keeping in view the social goals set and/ or proposed for a period of 15 years; A 7-year strategy document spanning 2017-18 to 2023-24 to convert the longer-term vision into implementable policy and action as a part of a “National Development Agenda” is also being worked upon. The 3-year Action Agenda for 2017-18 to 2019-20, aligned to the predictability of financial resources during the 14th Finance Commission Award period, has been completed and will be submitted before the Prime Minister on April 23rd at the 3rd Governing Council Meeting

 

    II.            Reforms in Agriculture:

 

a. Model Land Leasing Law

Taking note of increasing incidents of leasing in and out of land and suboptimal use of land with lesser number of cultivators, NITI Aayog has formulated a Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016 to both recognize the rights of the tenant and safeguard interest of landowners. A dedicated cell for land reforms was also set up in NITI. Based on the model act, Madhya Pradesh has enacted separate land leasing law and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have modified their land leasing laws. Some States, including Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, are already at an advance stage of formulating legislations to enact their land leasing laws for agriculture.

b. Reforms of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act

NITI Aayog consulted with the States on 21 October 2016 on three critical reforms –

(i)                 Agricultural marketing reforms

(ii)               Felling and transit laws for tree produce grown at private land

(iii)             Agricultural land leasing

 

Subsequently, Model APMC Act version 2 prepared. States are being consulted to adopt APMC Act version 2.

c. Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index

NITI Aayog has developed the first ever ‘Agriculture Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’ to sensitise states about the need to undertake reforms in the three key areas of Agriculture Market Reforms, Land Lease Reforms and Forestry on Private Land (Felling and Transit of Trees). The index carries a score with a minimum value “0” implying no reforms and maximum value “100” implying complete reforms in the selected areas.

As per NITI Aayog’s index, Maharashtra ranks highest in implementation of various agricultural reforms. The State has implemented most of the marketing reforms and offers the best environment for undertaking agri-business among all the States and UTs.  Gujarat ranks second with a score of 71.50 out of 100, closely followed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Almost two third States have not been able to reach even the halfway mark of reforms score, in the year 2016-17. The index aims to induce a healthy competition between States and percolate best practices in implementing farmer-friendly reforms.

 

 III.            Reforming Medical Education

 

A committee chaired by Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog recommended scrapping of the Medical Council of Indi and suggested a new body for regulating medical education. The draft legislation for the proposed National Medical Commission has been submitted to the Government for further necessary action.

 

 

 IV.            Digital Payments Movement:

 

a.       An action plan on advocacy, awareness and co-ordination of handholding efforts among general public, micro enterprises and other stakeholders was prepared. Appropriate literature in print and multimedia was prepared on the subject for widespread dissemination. Presentations/ interactions were organized by NITI Aayog for training and capacity building of various Ministries/Departments of Government of India, representatives of State/UTs, Trade and Industry Bodies as well as all other stakeholders.    

b.      NITI Aayog also constituted a Committee of Chief Ministers on Digital Payments on 30th November 2016 with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, as the Convener to promote transparency, financial inclusion and a healthy financial ecosystem nationwide.  The Committee submitted its interim report to Hon’ble Prime Minister in January 2017.

c.       To incentivize the States/UTs for promotion of digital transactions, Central assistance of Rs. 50 crore would be provided to the districts for undertaking Information, Education and Communication activities to bring 5 crore Jan Dhan accounts to digital platform.

d.      Cashback and referral bonus schemes were launched by the  Prime Minister on 14.4.2017 to promote the use of digital payments through the BHIM App. 

e.       Niti Aayog also launched two incentive schemes to to promote digital payments across all sections of society - the Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana  –Over 16 lakh consumers and merchants have won Rs. 256 crore under these two schemes .

f.       Digi Dhan Melas were also held for 100 days in 100 cities, from December 25th to April 14th.  

 

    V.            Atal Innovation Mission: The Government has set up Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in NITI Aayog with a view to strengthen the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem by creating institutions and programs that spur innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general. In 2016-17, the following major schemes were rolled out:

a.       Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs): To foster creativity and scientific temper in students, AIM is helping to establish 500 ATLs in schools across India, where students can design and make small prototypes to solve challenges they see around them, using rapid prototyping technologies that have emerged in recent years.

b.      Atal Incubation Centres (AICs): AIM will provide financial support of  Rs.10 crore and capacity buidling for setting AICs across India, which will help startups expand quicker and enable innovation-entrepreneurship, in core sectors such as manufacturing, transport, energy, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, etc.

 

 VI.            Indices Measuring States’ Performance in Health, Education and Water Management: As part of the Prime Minister’s Focus on outcomes, NITI has come out with indices to measure incremental annual outcomes in critical social sectors like health, education and water with a view to nudge the states into competing with each other for better outcomes, while at the same time sharing best practices & innovations to help each other - an example of competitive and cooperative federalism..

 

VII.            Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes: Based on the recommendations of this Sub-Group, a Cabinet note was prepared by NITI Aayog which was approved by the Cabinet on 3rd August, 2016. Among several key decision, the sub-group led to the rationalization of the existing CSSs into 28 umbrella schemes.

 

 

VIII.            Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:Constituted by NITI Aayog on 9th March, 2015, the Sub-Group has submitted its report to the Hon’ble Prime Minister in October, 2015 and most of its recommendations have been accepted.

 

 IX.            Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development:Constituted on 9th March, 2015, the report of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development was presented before the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 31/12/2015. The recommendation and actionable points emerging from the Report were approved by the Hon’ble Prime Minister and are in implementation by the Ministry of Skill Development

 

    X.            Task Force on Elimination of Poverty in India:Constituted on 16th March, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, the report of the Task Force was finalized and submitted to the Prime Minister on 11th July, 2016.The report of the Task Force primarily focusses on issues of measurement of poverty and strategies to combat poverty. Regarding estimation of poverty, the report of the Task Force states that “a consensus in favour of either the Tendulkar or a higher poverty line did not emerge. Therefore, the Task Force has concluded that the matter be considered in greater depth by the country’s top experts on poverty before a final decision is made. Accordingly, it is recommended that an expert committee be set up to arrive at an informed decision on the level at which the poverty line should be set.” With respect to strategies to combat poverty, the Task Force has made recommendations on faster poverty reduction through employment intensive sustained rapid growth and effective implementation of anti-poverty programs.

 

 XI.            Task Force on Agriculture Development: The Task Force on Agricultural development was constituted on 16th March, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. The Task Force based on its works prepared an occasional paper entitled “Raising Agricultural Productivity and Making Farming Remunerative for Farmers” focusing on 5 critical areas of Indian Agriculture. These are (i) Raising Productivity, (ii) Remunerative  Prices to Farmers, (iii) Land Leasing, Land Records  & Land Titles; (iv) Second Green Revolution-Focus on Eastern States; and (v) Responding to Farmers’ Distress. After taking inputs of all the States on occasional paper and through their reports, the Task Force submitted the final report to Prime Minister on 31st May, 2016. It has suggested  important policy measures to bring in reforms in agriculture for the welfare of the farmers as well as enhancing their income.

 

 

XII.            Transforming India Lecture Series:As the government’s premier think-tank, NITI Aayog views knowledge building & transfer as the enabler of real transformation in States. To build knowledge systems for States and the Centre, NITI Aayog launched the ‘NITI Lectures: Transforming India’ series, with full support of the Prime Minister on 26th August 2016. The lecture series is aimed at addressing the top policy making team of the Government of India, including members of the cabinet and several top layers of the bureaucracy. It aims is to bring cutting edge ideas in development policy to Indian policy makers and public, so as to promote the cause of transformation of India into a prosperous modern economy. The  Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Shri Tharman Shanmugaratnam, delivered the first lecture on the topic: India and the Global Economy. On November 16th, 2016, Bill Gates, Co-Founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, delivered the second lecture in the series under the theme: 'Technology and Transformation'.

 

                                                                                    *****

            AKT/NT

Read more: Significant Achievements of NITI Aayog over the last three years.

Metro companies to undertake in-house maintenance and develop local expertise

Rolling stock and signaling equipment norms standardized covering 90% of imports

Mandatory Tender Conditions to encourage  Make in India brought into immediate effect

Eligibility criteria for suppliers also to be standardized in two weeks

 

With rapid expansion of metro rail projects in the country, Ministry of Urban Development has taken several far reaching decisions to promote Make in India campaign. These include stipulating certain mandatory conditions to be incorporated in Tender Documents of metro companies for procurement of metro cars and related critical equipment and sub-systems, procurement of only Made in India signaling equipment besides standardizing technical parameters for rolling stock (metro coaches) and signaling equipment.

The new mandatory Tender Conditions and standardized norms for a wide range of equipment, approved by the Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu have been circulated to all the metro companies on Friday this week making them effective immediately.

These initiatives will incentivize  setting up manufacturing facilities in the country by increasing the volumes of procurement of rolling stock and all kinds of equipment by removing variations in the present technical norms for rolling stock and signaling equipment. This will in turn result in reduction of cost through economies of scale.

The Ministry has stipulated the following mandatory conditions to be incorporated in Tender Documents:

1.Minimum 75% of the tendered quantity of metro cars shall be manufactured indigenously with progressive indigenization of content, for which the contractor may either establish independent manufacturing facility in India or partner with Indian manufacturers, if the procurement is more than 100 cars;

2.To facilitate ease in maintenance through easy availability of spares beyond the warranty period, an identified list of critical equipment and sub-systems shall be included in the Tender Document for ensuring indigenous manufacturing of a minimum of 25% of such equipment, either by Original Equipment Manufacturers themselves by establishing a wholly owned subsidiary in India or through Indian manufacturers;

3.  Requirement of metro cars at State level shall be clubbed to enable applicability of local procurement norms; and

4.To develop in-house expertise on long term basis, metro companies with large size fleet to undertake in-house maintenance.

A total number of 1,912 metro coaches are currently operational in the country with another 1,420 under procurement. Over the next three years more than 1,600 metro cars would be required.  Each metro coach is estimated to cost about Rs.10 cr.

The Ministry has concluded the long pending standaridisation of norms for rolling stock and signaling equipment  applicable to over 90% of the present imports. Further, to promote indigenous manufacturing, the Ministry has stipulated procurement of 9 types of signaling equipment from within the country. Metro companies have also been directed to develop maximum possible local competence so that knowhow and technical support is available within the country. Indian companies have to be associated with production of a wide range of signaling and train control project equipment.

Indigenization of several metro functions has also been prescribed. These relate to communication systems, managing operational disturbances, time table preparation, fault reporting, control traction power, maintenance, infrastructure supervision, rolling stock management etc.

The new standardized norms prescribe that the rolling stock and related equipment and systems shall enable Unattended Train Operations, Driverless Train Operations, Standard rail gauge of 1,435 mm, Metro cars with body width of 2.90 meters for passenger capacity of up to 45,000 Peak Hour Peak Distance capacity, body width of 3.20 meters for capacity above 45,000 PHPD, only 3 car, 6 car or 9 car rail combination, operational speed of 80 kmph, minimum 67% motorization for all rolling stock etc. Norms have also been prescribed for Acceleration Rates, Energy Consumption, Noise and Vibration levels, Collision Standards etc.

Further to these initiatives, Ministry of Urban Development will soon evolve common eligible criteria for suppliers of rolling stock and other equipment doing away with  the present variations across different  metro companies.  

Shri Rajiv Gauba, Secretary(UD) discussed with Managing Directors of metro companies on Friday the variations in the present eligibility criteria. Noting that such variations adversely impact competition, he directed that a broadly uniform criteria in respect of Net Worth, Financial and technical capacities and experience of supply of rolling stock and other equipment etc should be evolved in two weeks.

Presently, metros are operating in 7 cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Bengaluru and Chennai with a total route length of 326 kms. Metro projects with a total route length of 546 kms are under construction in 11 cities and projects with a total route length of 903 kms in 13 cities are under consideration.

 

AAR/KM

 

Read more: Make in India gets metro boost; local procurement made mandatory

Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal and H.E. Mr. Ignasius Jonan, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Republic of Indonesia met on 20th April, 2017 for the 1st ‘India Indonesia Energy Forum’, held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Energy Forum was preceded by 2nd Joint Working Group (JWG) on Oil and Gas, 4th Joint Working Group on Coal and 1st Joint Working Group on New and Renewable Energy. The reports of three Joint Working Groups were presented to two Ministers during the Energy Forum.

The 2nd JWG on Oil and Gas discussed policy framework of India and Indonesia, oil and gas infrastructure development, cooperation opportunities in capacity building and business opportunities in oil and gas sector in both countries. Representatives of major Indian companies in oil and gas sector such as ONCG Videsh Limited, Petronet LNG Limited, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) participated in the JWG. Indonesian companies such as PT Pertamina, PT Triputra, PT Nusantara Regas, Medco Energy and PT PGN were also represented.

The 4th JWG on Coal has five sessions dedicated to policy framework, coal resources development, capacity building, research and development and issues and concerns of private sector. Indian companies such as Coal India Limited, Adani Enterprises, Tata Power Company, PT Adani Global, PT Core Mineral Indonesia, PT BaramultiSuksessarana, PT Barasentosa Lestari and PT Jindal Overseas also participated in the JWG.

The 1st JWG on New and Renewable Energy was held through video-conferencing. The two sides discussed policy framework and investment opportunities in India and Indonesia. Both sides agreed to focus on Capacity building, Exchange of Scientific and Technological information and data, Transfer of Technology on Non-commercial basis in bio fuel and geothermal area, Development on Joint Research or Technical Projects on subject of Mutual interest, Encouragement and promotion of investment and Encouragement of policy Dialogue in solar park.

In his remarks, Shri Piyush Goyal appreciated the warm hospitality extended by his host and said that his interaction with Minister Ignasius Jonan was one of the most fruitful one. He said that the visit of President Joko Widodo to India in December 2016 has been instrumental in fast forwarding of Energy Forum. He said that two sides have agreed to explore cooperation in number of areas such as upgrading of refineries in Indonesia, relocation of gas-based plants from India to Indonesia, sharing of experience in use of LEDs and renewable energy in India, sharing the expertise of Indonesia in gasification of fuel oil, exploration of oil, gas and coal fields. Shri Goyal requested Minister Jonan to consider joining International Solar Alliance as Indonesia is solar-rich country. He also requested Minister Jonan to revisit changes in policy in coal sector and work visa.

In his remarks, Mr. Jonan said that Indonesia is important destination for investing especially in energy and infrastructure sector. Minister Jonan said that a team of 19 officials from oil and gas, coal and power sectors will be visiting India to look into several issues discussed during Energy Forum such as relocation of gas-based plants, large scale use of LEDs for energy conservation, visit to sophisticated oil refineries and to Indian Institute of Mines.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia on cooperation in the field of Oil and Gas was signed on the occasion. The MOU seeks to establish a cooperative institutional framework to facilitate and to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of oil and gas sectors on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

Apart from meeting, Shri Goyal and Mr. Jonan met H.E. Mr. Budi Karya Sumadi, Minister for Transport of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Arcandra Tahar, Deputy Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia and Mr. Thomas Trikasih Lembong, Chairman of Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). Shri Goyal also interacted with investors from Indonesia and attended an event organized in his honour where he met with the Indian community.

India is third largest importer of coal from Indonesia. India’s imports of coal from Indonesia amounted to US$ 3.5 billion in 2016. Several Indian companies have invested in coal mines in Indonesia. The bilateral trade between two countries stood at US$ 15.90 billion in 2015-16 with Indonesia’s export to India amounting to US$ 13.06 billion and India’s exports to Indonesia amounting to US$ 2.84 billion. There is an agreed understanding on both sides to increase the exports from India to Indonesia to improve the trade balance.

*****

RM/VM

Read more: 1st ‘India Indonesia Energy Forum’ held in Jakarta

       I.            Vision Document, Strategy & Action Agenda beyond 12th Five Year Plan: Replacing the Five Year Plans beyond 31st March, 2017, NITI Aayog is in the process of preparing the 15-year vision document keeping in view the social goals set and/ or proposed for a period of 15 years; A 7-year strategy document spanning 2017-18 to 2023-24 to convert the longer-term vision into implementable policy and action as a part of a “National Development Agenda” is also being worked upon. The 3-year Action Agenda for 2017-18 to 2019-20, aligned to the predictability of financial resources during the 14th Finance Commission Award period, has been completed and will be submitted before the Prime Minister on April 23rd at the 3rd Governing Council Meeting

 

    II.            Reforms in Agriculture:

 

a. Model Land Leasing Law

Taking note of increasing incidents of leasing in and out of land and suboptimal use of land with lesser number of cultivators, NITI Aayog has formulated a Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016 to both recognize the rights of the tenant and safeguard interest of landowners. A dedicated cell for land reforms was also set up in NITI. Based on the model act, Madhya Pradesh has enacted separate land leasing law and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have modified their land leasing laws. Some States, including Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, are already at an advance stage of formulating legislations to enact their land leasing laws for agriculture.

b. Reforms of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act

NITI Aayog consulted with the States on 21 October 2016 on three critical reforms –

(i)                 Agricultural marketing reforms

(ii)               Felling and transit laws for tree produce grown at private land

(iii)             Agricultural land leasing

 

Subsequently, Model APMC Act version 2 prepared. States are being consulted to adopt APMC Act version 2.

c. Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index

NITI Aayog has developed the first ever ‘Agriculture Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’ to sensitise states about the need to undertake reforms in the three key areas of Agriculture Market Reforms, Land Lease Reforms and Forestry on Private Land (Felling and Transit of Trees). The index carries a score with a minimum value “0” implying no reforms and maximum value “100” implying complete reforms in the selected areas.

As per NITI Aayog’s index, Maharashtra ranks highest in implementation of various agricultural reforms. The State has implemented most of the marketing reforms and offers the best environment for undertaking agri-business among all the States and UTs.  Gujarat ranks second with a score of 71.50 out of 100, closely followed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Almost two third States have not been able to reach even the halfway mark of reforms score, in the year 2016-17. The index aims to induce a healthy competition between States and percolate best practices in implementing farmer-friendly reforms.

 

 III.            Reforming Medical Education

 

A committee chaired by Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog recommended scrapping of the Medical Council of Indi and suggested a new body for regulating medical education. The draft legislation for the proposed National Medical Commission has been submitted to the Government for further necessary action.

 

 

 IV.            Digital Payments Movement:

 

a.       An action plan on advocacy, awareness and co-ordination of handholding efforts among general public, micro enterprises and other stakeholders was prepared. Appropriate literature in print and multimedia was prepared on the subject for widespread dissemination. Presentations/ interactions were organized by NITI Aayog for training and capacity building of various Ministries/Departments of Government of India, representatives of State/UTs, Trade and Industry Bodies as well as all other stakeholders.    

b.      NITI Aayog also constituted a Committee of Chief Ministers on Digital Payments on 30th November 2016 with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, as the Convener to promote transparency, financial inclusion and a healthy financial ecosystem nationwide.  The Committee submitted its interim report to Hon’ble Prime Minister in January 2017.

c.       To incentivize the States/UTs for promotion of digital transactions, Central assistance of Rs. 50 crore would be provided to the districts for undertaking Information, Education and Communication activities to bring 5 crore Jan Dhan accounts to digital platform.

d.      Cashback and referral bonus schemes were launched by the  Prime Minister on 14.4.2017 to promote the use of digital payments through the BHIM App. 

e.       Niti Aayog also launched two incentive schemes to to promote digital payments across all sections of society - the Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana  –Over 16 lakh consumers and merchants have won Rs. 256 crore under these two schemes .

f.       Digi Dhan Melas were also held for 100 days in 100 cities, from December 25th to April 14th.  

 

    V.            Atal Innovation Mission: The Government has set up Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in NITI Aayog with a view to strengthen the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem by creating institutions and programs that spur innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general. In 2016-17, the following major schemes were rolled out:

a.       Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs): To foster creativity and scientific temper in students, AIM is helping to establish 500 ATLs in schools across India, where students can design and make small prototypes to solve challenges they see around them, using rapid prototyping technologies that have emerged in recent years.

b.      Atal Incubation Centres (AICs): AIM will provide financial support of  Rs.10 crore and capacity buidling for setting AICs across India, which will help startups expand quicker and enable innovation-entrepreneurship, in core sectors such as manufacturing, transport, energy, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, etc.

 

 VI.            Indices Measuring States’ Performance in Health, Education and Water Management: As part of the Prime Minister’s Focus on outcomes, NITI has come out with indices to measure incremental annual outcomes in critical social sectors like health, education and water with a view to nudge the states into competing with each other for better outcomes, while at the same time sharing best practices & innovations to help each other - an example of competitive and cooperative federalism..

 

VII.            Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes: Based on the recommendations of this Sub-Group, a Cabinet note was prepared by NITI Aayog which was approved by the Cabinet on 3rd August, 2016. Among several key decision, the sub-group led to the rationalization of the existing CSSs into 28 umbrella schemes.

 

 

VIII.            Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:Constituted by NITI Aayog on 9th March, 2015, the Sub-Group has submitted its report to the Hon’ble Prime Minister in October, 2015 and most of its recommendations have been accepted.

 

 IX.            Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development:Constituted on 9th March, 2015, the report of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development was presented before the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 31/12/2015. The recommendation and actionable points emerging from the Report were approved by the Hon’ble Prime Minister and are in implementation by the Ministry of Skill Development

 

    X.            Task Force on Elimination of Poverty in India:Constituted on 16th March, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, the report of the Task Force was finalized and submitted to the Prime Minister on 11th July, 2016.The report of the Task Force primarily focusses on issues of measurement of poverty and strategies to combat poverty. Regarding estimation of poverty, the report of the Task Force states that “a consensus in favour of either the Tendulkar or a higher poverty line did not emerge. Therefore, the Task Force has concluded that the matter be considered in greater depth by the country’s top experts on poverty before a final decision is made. Accordingly, it is recommended that an expert committee be set up to arrive at an informed decision on the level at which the poverty line should be set.” With respect to strategies to combat poverty, the Task Force has made recommendations on faster poverty reduction through employment intensive sustained rapid growth and effective implementation of anti-poverty programs.

 

 XI.            Task Force on Agriculture Development: The Task Force on Agricultural development was constituted on 16th March, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. The Task Force based on its works prepared an occasional paper entitled “Raising Agricultural Productivity and Making Farming Remunerative for Farmers” focusing on 5 critical areas of Indian Agriculture. These are (i) Raising Productivity, (ii) Remunerative  Prices to Farmers, (iii) Land Leasing, Land Records  & Land Titles; (iv) Second Green Revolution-Focus on Eastern States; and (v) Responding to Farmers’ Distress. After taking inputs of all the States on occasional paper and through their reports, the Task Force submitted the final report to Prime Minister on 31st May, 2016. It has suggested  important policy measures to bring in reforms in agriculture for the welfare of the farmers as well as enhancing their income.

 

 

XII.            Transforming India Lecture Series:As the government’s premier think-tank, NITI Aayog views knowledge building & transfer as the enabler of real transformation in States. To build knowledge systems for States and the Centre, NITI Aayog launched the ‘NITI Lectures: Transforming India’ series, with full support of the Prime Minister on 26th August 2016. The lecture series is aimed at addressing the top policy making team of the Government of India, including members of the cabinet and several top layers of the bureaucracy. It aims is to bring cutting edge ideas in development policy to Indian policy makers and public, so as to promote the cause of transformation of India into a prosperous modern economy. The  Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Shri Tharman Shanmugaratnam, delivered the first lecture on the topic: India and the Global Economy. On November 16th, 2016, Bill Gates, Co-Founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, delivered the second lecture in the series under the theme: 'Technology and Transformation'.

 

                                                                                    *****

            AKT/NT

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