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Wed, Nov

The Government of India, the Government of Jharkhand and the World Bank signed here today in New Delhi a $310 million Loan Agreement for Jharkhand Power System Improvement Project to provide reliable, quality, and affordable 24x7 electricity to the citizens of Jharkhand.

 

The Jharkhand Power System Improvement Project will help build new power transmission infrastructure, as well as put in place systems to improve the technical efficiency and commercial performance of the state power sector utilities. The Project will help bring in modern technology solutions such as automated sub-stations, and network analysis and planning tools to provide reliable power supply and enhance customer satisfaction.

 

While a significant portion of the proposed investments are aimed at improving power transmission infrastructure, the Project will also focus on developing institutional capacities of State-owned power transmission and distribution companies and improving their operational performance.

 

The Project is part of the Government of India’s Power for All program launched in 2014. The plan envisages addition of over 4.5 GW generation capacities by 2022 (including a significant share of 1.5 GW from solar energy), through a mix of Private and Public-sector investments.

 

The Agreement for the Project was signed by Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; Ms. Vandana Dadel, Secretary, Energy Department, on behalf of the Government of Jharkhand; and Mr. Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.

 

After signing the Agreement, Shri Sameer Kumar Khare ,Additional Secretary, DEA said that Jharkhand was one of the first States’ to join the Power for All plan and is making efforts to improve access to power through reforms in transmission and electricity distribution. He further said that with the demand for reliable power expected to almost double in the coming years, the Project will help meet the energy needs of the State for its economic growth.

 

 Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India said that the Government of Jharkhand is committed to providing quality power supply to its people for the State’s economic development. This Project will help the State increase supply of reliable electricity to households, industries, businesses and various other productive sectors, and contribute to poverty alleviation, and inclusive growth in Jharkhand.

 

The Government of Jharkhand has achieved significant results towards electrification. As per data from the Jharkhand Distribution Company more than 80 percent of all citizens in the State have access to electricity. However, the State will have to continue to work towards providing reliable 24x7 power for all its consumers. The Per Capita Consumption of electricity in Jharkhand at 552 kWh at the end of FY16 is roughly half of the national average. Improved availability of power in the region from plants owned by the Central Government and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) has helped the State achieve lower demand supply deficits in recent years.

 

Some of the major components of the project include construction of new substations and transmission lines, primarily at 132kV voltage level; provide support to the Jharkhand Urja Sancharan Nigam Limited (JUSNL) in setting-up systems for strengthening the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) operations including financing software solutions for improving scheduling and dispatch functions. This will help integrate renewable energy in the State grid.

 

The Project will also support smart meters, with two-way communication and backend IT infrastructure, deployed in select urban towns. These meters will not only reduce technical and commercial losses, but also improve peak load management. The meters are expected to provide consumers with better access to data which will encourage them to reduce their electricity consumption. To begin with, the Project will finance smart metering for around 350,000 consumers in the capital city of Ranchi.  

 

“Implementing such a large program and improving the financial health of the sector, requires deeper institutional development of its power transmission & distribution utilities. Hence, one of the key elements of the current project will be to support institutional strengthening of the State-owned utilities in the areas of procurement, contract implementation, financial management, and commercial operations among others,” said Mr. Amol Gupta, Energy Specialist and Ms. Kavita Saraswat, Senior Power Engineer and World Bank’s Task Team Leaders for this project.

 

The $310 Million Loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a final maturity of 25 years.

 

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DSM/RM/KA

Read more: Government of India and the World Bank sign $310...

Following is the text of the Union Environment Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan’s welcome address today, at the ministerial meet of BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) Countries, being hosted by MoEFCC in New Delhi.

“I welcome you all to 27th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change in this historic city of Delhi. The Paris Agreement is historic too, and we all know its role in uniting countries, both developed and developing, in their resolve to do their utmost in the fight against climate change.

This Agreement is particularly significant as it represents the faith that countries, especially the developing countries, have placed in the multilateral processesknowing well that their actions towards addressing climate change will have a strong developmental impact.

Although BASIC group of countries are the leading emerging economies, still they have significant percentage of the world’s poorest people. For us, enabling the growth of the poor out of poverty trap, is an important part of our response to tackling climate change and we know that the opportunities for the two efforts to complement each other are significant. To that effect, the efforts outlined in our NDCs - increasing clean energy production and access, deploying new energy efficient technologies, and adapting to low carbon-intensive lifestyles – are targeted at creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, and sustainable development for the poor.

To further these objectives, we need to ensure that the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) is prepared in accordance with the agreed principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) as enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement.

In addition, anchoring the COP 24 outcomes in the vision of equity will help deliver climate justice not only to the present but also to our future generations.

The climate actions of developing countries are ambitious despite the fact our contribution to the issue of climate change is minimal. The historical responsibility lies squarely with the developed countries. Therefore, it is the developed countries who must fulfil their climate obligations expeditiously. They must take the lead in the fight against climate change by their actions as well as the provision of enhanced financial and other support to developing countries for enabling them to enhance their climate ambition.

Lack of ambition of developed countries and their unfulfilled promises should not place additional burden on developing countries to further enhance the level of ambition of their NDCs.

   We must ensure that the progress on NDCs at COP 24 does not yield an outcome that is

   Mitigation-centric but it should address all elements including mitigation, adaptation,

   finance, technology development and transfer and capacity building.

Barriers continue to impede the progress of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency deployment. We must attack these barriers. High patent cost of such technologies and non-facilitative IPR regimes are barriers that the Financial Mechanism should address. We are not asking IPR regime to be tampered or dismantled but only support for quick dissemination of technologies.

We need to explore possibilities to fund research and development of climate friendly technologies and shorten technology deployment cycle in absence of which transformative development would be delayed.

Adaptation is a pressing issue for developing countries. They are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts as is also evident from the recent natural disasters and extreme events, which have caused extensive damage to life and property. Naturally, adaptation is an integral part of most developing country NDCs. Since the developing countries have played little role in the present climate change challenge and bearing the brunt of the historic greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries, adequate support must be provided to developing countries by developed countries to help them undertake adaptation actions.

The reporting under the transparency framework should be based on the principle of differentiation, providing greater flexibility to developing countries, and should also provide relevant information on the support provided by developed countries to developing countries.

A balanced approach towards development of Modalities, Procedures and Guidelines (MPGs) for the Enhanced Transparency Framework that enhances global action and financial support will serve us well in the negotiations at Katowice. In addition, adequate support should be provided to developing countries to participate in the enhanced transparency framework under the Paris Agreement.

The developed countries seem to be shedding their responsibilities in pre-2020 period and delaying climate action, which is neither in accordance with the agreed principles of the UNFCCC, or latest scientific findings on climate change. This would not only put additional mitigation burden on developing countries in post-2020 period but will also increase the overall costs and present greater economic challenges for us to make a transition to low carbon growth pathway.

At COP 24, we must prioritize pre-2020 agenda as it would help build trust among Parties and strengthen their faith in the multilateral process.Developed countries should be encouraged to fulfil their pre-2020 commitments even in the post 2020 period and this will form a strong foundation for post 2020 action.

Finance is one of the critical enablers of climate actions in developing countries along with technology development and transfer and capacity-building support.  Any regression or slow progress on these will hamper the progress of developing countries towards achieving higher ambition in their actions. We find that there is considerable difference in what is communicated as climate finance by different countries. Public finance in the form of grants and concessional finance is required for climate actions.

Developed countries are far from realizing their climate finance commitment of mobilizing USD 100 billion per year by 2020. They should not only make urgent efforts to honour this commitment but also progressively and substantially scale up their financial support in post-2020 period. The developed countries should finalize a new collective finance goal in time for the global stocktake in 2023 which would inform Parties for future action through NDCs.

India looks forward to constructive engagement and meaningful outcomes from the Facilitative Talanoa Dialogue at COP 24 that will pave a way for a better starting point in 2020 for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”

 

***

GK

 

Read more: Address of Union Environment Minister at BASIC...

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, addressed the National Assembly of Vietnam today (November 20, 2018) in Hanoi, on the final day of his visit to Vietnam. He also held bilateral meetings with the President of Vietnam as well as led delegation-level talks. On the occasion, the two countries signed and exchanged four agreements:

  • An agreement between the Ministry of Information and Communications of Vietnam and the Ministry of Communications of India
  • An agreement of cooperation between the Department of Foreign Affairs of Provinces, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam, and the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam
  • An academic agreement between the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, Hanoi, and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • An agreement between the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Addressing members of the National Assembly this morning, President Kovind noted that Vietnam is the first ASEAN and Southeast Asian country he is visiting in his capacity as President of India. Vietnam is always on our minds, he said, and always in our hearts. It is pivotal to India’s “Act East” policy. The President emphasised that India’s association with Vietnam has many aspects. We have robust business, political and people-to-people bonds. We are both stakeholders in the commerce, security and stability of the Indo-Pacific Region.

The President said that India offers a cooperation model that does not require its friends to make choices but rather expands choices and expands opportunities for all; that opens not one but many roads. India has consistently supported ASEAN’s unity and centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms for regional security and economic architecture – to promote peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific Region.

 

The President said that the ocean system is a resource for Vietnam and India and for many other countries and communities. Vietnam and India share a vision for the Indo-Pacific Region, of which the South China Sea is a critical component. We share a vision of a rules-based order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity, ensures freedom of navigation and over-flight, as well as unimpeded, lawful commerce.

 

The President said that India looks forward to enhanced bilateral cooperation in the maritime domain – for instance, through our first Bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue to be hosted by Vietnam in early 2019. Maritime security, piracy, and drug trafficking using the oceans are issues of common concern. “I am confident,” President Kovind said, “that the programme of regular and friendly visits to each other’s ports by naval and coast guard ships from our countries will upgrade cooperation.”

 

In a separate engagement this morning, the President paid his respects at the monument of National Heroes and Martyrs as well as at the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh.  Later, he visited the Presidential Palace, where he was received by President Nguyen Phu Trong and accorded a ceremonial welcome.

 

During the subsequent discussions with President Nguyen Phu Trong, the President thanked him for his gracious hospitality. The President said that he had a memorable visit to Da Nang yesterday. The Cham temples are a fascinating aspect of our shared heritage. Subsequently, the President led the Indian side in delegation-level talks. He said Indian investors are keen to strengthen their presence in Vietnam. India seeks Vietnam’s support in facilitating Indian investments in sectors like renewable energy, infrastructure, agriculture, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and oil and gas. India also looks forward to cooperation with Vietnam in improving agricultural productivity. 

 

The President issued a media statement on his visit to Vietnam (attached). 

 

Later this afternoon, the President will have a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Mr Nguyen Xuan Phuc. This will be followed soon after by a banquet hosted in honour of the President of India by the President of Vietnam, Mr Nguyen Phu Trong.  Thereafter, President Kovind will emplane for Sydney, Australia – on the final leg of his two-nation visit to Vietnam and Australia. 

 

*****

 

AKT/KP/SBP

Read more: President of India addresses National Assembly...

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, reached Hanoi today (November 19, 2018) as part of his two-nation state visit to Vietnam and Australia. Later in the afternoon, the President addressed the Vietnam-India Business Forum in the Vietnamese capital. Speaking at the Business Forum event, the President said India and Vietnam are old civilisational friends, and trade is a driving force of our contemporary partnership. In the past eight years, there has been an almost four-fold increase in bilateral trade, from US$ 3.7 billion in 2010 to US$ 12.8 billion in 2017. With both Vietnam and India on a path of high growth, this trend is expected to continue.

The President said the Vietnam-India business relationship presents prospects for engagement in financial services, IT and the digital economy, hydrocarbons, defence, renewable energy, mining, healthcare, tourism and civil aviation, among other sectors. The President said Vietnam is a very important trading partner for India within ASEAN, and India is now among the 10 largest trading partners of Vietnam. He emphasised that Vietnam-India economic relations have made significant achievements, but a lot more is waiting to happen. He invited Indian and Vietnamese businesses to partner each other for enhanced trade as well as technology and investment collaboration.

Later in the evening, the President addressed an impressive gathering of the Indian community andfriends of India in Vietnam at a reception hosted by Shri P. Harish, Ambassador of India to Vietnam.

Addressing the gathering, the President said the Buddhist Sangha is an important institution promoting friendship between India and Vietnam. He noted that Buddhist monks were as active in nurturing our relations in ancient times as they are today. The President said the Indian community in Vietnam plays a strong role in creating opportunities for the local economy and society. He appreciated the efforts of the Vietnam-India Friendship Association, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Association and the India Studies Departments of Vietnamese universities in working towards a greater understanding of India.

Yesterday afternoon (November 18, 2018), President Kovind began his state visit to Vietnam when he landed in Da Nang. Later in the evening on November 18, he met the local leadership of the Da Nang People’s Committee and attended a banquet in his honour. This morning (November 19, 2018), the President visited the Museum of Cham Sculpture, which has an impressive collection of Cham civilisation sculptures and carvings, including many inspired by Hinduism and Buddhism.

President Kovind also visited the My Son temple complex in Kwangnan province, where the oldest temples have been dated to the fourth century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the My Son temple complex is among Vietnam’s most cherished cultural treasures. The ancient temples are being restored with support from the Archaeological Survey of India, and the President was briefed on the restoration project.

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AKT/VJ/SBP

Read more: President of India in Vietnam; addresses...

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