Since mining and environmental degradation can now be monitored 24×7 via satellite, clearances should now be faster

The government’s decision to set up a task-force headed by the Cabinet Secretary to see how import-substitution can be increased has, not surprisingly, been criticised by former NITI Aayog deputy chairman Arvind Panagariya. Since a liberal trade regime results in cheaper imports and more competitive exports, he argues, any move that seeks to make imports costlier—as an import-substitution regime usually does—should be avoided. Indeed, as he points out, India’s import-substitution phase after Independence resulted in high import tariffs which, in turn, led to Indian industry becoming high-cost and uncompetitive. In such a situation, unlike in the case of other countries, India could never look at exports as a viable growth strategy. Panagariya argues that, instead of looking at an import-substitution strategy, India would do better to have a viable export-led strategy, and concentrate on removing whatever bottlenecks there are—labour laws, high-cost infrastructure, etc—to ensure this happens. Read more

Courtesy: Financial Express

MLAs want mining operations resumed

Porvorim: Members of the state assembly were unanimous that mining operations had to resume at the earliest but differed on an appropriate solution the state government could adopt to restart iron ore mining.

MLAs across party lines pointed out that illegal mining activity and the closure of mining operations had affected the state’s environment and economy respectively.

While legislators said the closure of mining activity had put mining-dependant families under financial stress, they also said any attempt to restart mining operations which is beyond the purview of the Supreme Court’s judgment could have legal ramifications.

“Start mining but start mining within the parameters of law. Don’t throw the Supreme Court report into the dust,” former chief minister and Congress MLA Luizinho Faleiro said. Read more

Courtesy: The Times of India

Goa mining: State got 1,487 cr through e-auctioning, royalty

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today told the state Legislative Assembly that the government had recovered Rs 1,487.91 crore from mine owners in the form of e-auctioning of ore and royalty payments on them.

He was replying on cut motions moved by the opposition on the demand for grants of the Mining department.

“The total loss estimated by the Public Accounts Committee due to illegal mining is Rs 4,000 crore. A panel of chartered accountants has put this figure at Rs 1,508.59 crore. The CAG has pegged it at Rs 1,922 crore,” Parrikar told the House. Read more

Courtesy: Money control

Sourced from the jungles of Bastar, mahua to go mainstream under govt scheme

To popularise authentic tribal products across the country and increase its market share, the Tribal Affairs Ministry now plans to bottle mahua, the traditional tribal drink, and sell it in the open market across the country.

Pravir Krishna, Managing Director, Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), said it will be sold as a mildly-alcoholic drink. “We plan to add various flavours to mahua such as ginger, pomegranate and ajwain (carom seeds), and sell it in the market like a mildly-alcoholic beverage, on the lines of the (Bacardi) Breezer.” Read more

Courtesy: The Indian Express

How Southeast Asian Countries Could Drive the Future of Coal Technology

Poised to drive the future of coal power, many Southeast Asian countries are considering new coal plants with high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) technologies, a new report suggests.

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) December-released World Energy Outlook 2017, Southeast Asia, along with India and other developing economies in Asia, will drive global coal demand. The region’s coal consumption is expected to grow two-and-a-half times to 385 million tonnes of coal equivalent (Mtce) in 2040, even as demand remains sluggish in the rest of the world compared to other fuels. Demand growth will clearly be driven by power plants, which are expected to account for nearly 75% of additional coal use in the coming 25 years, the agency noted.

“Electricity demand grows by 3.7% per year over the period and the region’s power system planners need to mobilise all sources of power generation to keep pace. Coal is a fuel of choice not only because it is markedly cheaper than natural gas in the long term but also because coal projects are in many cases easier to pursue as they do not require capital-intensive fuel delivery infrastructure (unlike gas),” it said. Read more

Courtesy: Power

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