Delayed Monsoon

wait for mansoonIt was a historic moment for India. After a gap of 30 years, India got  a stable majority  government, National Democratic Alliance (NDA)  won more than 50% of seats.  For the last three decades  we had coalition governments. Irrespective of which party had  a major stake, when it’s coalition, it’s difficult to reach agreement on major decisions, as Government is always at mercy of small coalition partners.

Now,  that its majority is with a single political party (BJP), everyone is expecting the government at center would take some bold decision. It is possible. It is important to take decision – some may be wrong, but it is always better to take some wrong decisions than non-decision at all. First 6 months were testing time – firstly because of pressure of expectations and inexperience (for more than a decade BJP was away from ruling position) and secondly because of delayed monsoon. It seems monsoon too was testing patience of the new rulers as well as all residents. Though delayed, finally monsoon has settled and it seems government too has settled down. They have reviewed the situation and it seems now things have started moving.

From the point of view of companies looking at India, either as a manufacturing base or as a potential market, there  can’t be a better time than current. Most important aspect any investor looks for, while thinking to enter a new country, is government stability. Undoubtedly, there can’t be a more stable government than current. Second important factor is leadership. Mr. Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, is known for his strong leadership and proactive approach towards development. Third aspect is  government approach towards industry and commerce. One of the reasons people have voted ruling alliance to power is because of the vision of growth and development NDA promised in their election manifesto. Now it is time that  government acts on its promises and try to fulfill them.  Everybody who knows about India is aware that it is difficult, almost impossible, to fulfill all the promises but any efforts towards even partial fulfillment will be seen as positive movements.

It seems government is moving in the right direction towards fulfillment of people’s expectations from it. Areas NDA government has promised to work on include economic revival, growth, agriculture and balanced development for all. The slogan of new government is “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas”  (“participation of all, development of all”) and the new initiative by government “my Gov’  appears to be a right step towards involvement of all in governance.  Through this portal, government is seeking advice, thoughts and ideas on various topics that concern India. At the same timethe portal is asking people to participate directly in those areas which interest them so that they could also be part of execution.

Economic situation is stable,  stock exchange index is showing steady growth,  monsoon, though delayed in many parts of the country,has crossed its average, farmers expect a good crop, government has settled down, people expectations  also have become realistic  and now it’s time for government to really act, start implementing the programs they promised during the election campaign. NDA said “Ache Din Aane Wale Hain” (“Good days are going to come”) and people expect them to come soon. Social media has started mentioning about some policy decisions, which could mean good days have started. And, there cannot be better time for investment in a country than when both Government and people are positive about its future…


CEA reduces gas-based power generation target by 46% for 2013

Source: The Hindu Business Line, May 22, 2013

Hyderabad: The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has reduced gas-based power generation target for the current year by almost 46 per cent to 43.6 trillion units, a senior official of the power body said. The official said based on the output last year and projected production of natural gas this year the target has been reduced. “Last year the target was 80.3 trillion units. We achieved 64.9 trillion units. There is a drop of 19 per cent. We have taken the gas availability into consideration and fixed target. The same will be submitted to the Planning Commission for approval,” the official told PTI. The CEA last year had said no new gas-based power plants will be set up in the country till 2015-16, as the natural gas output is expected to fall considerably.

The CEA in a letter to states had indicated that as per Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas’s reports India’s natural gas production is likely to fall by 35 per cent to 27.64 million metric standard cubic meters per day (MMSCMD) in 2012-13 and may further dip by another 12 per cent to 24.22 MMSCMD in 2013-14.Over 15,000 MW gas-based capacity is said to be stranded in the country due to non-supply of natural gas from RIL’s KG basin. The gas-based capacity, which is lying idle due to want of fuel, comprises central, state as well as private power plants. The CEA is a statutory body responsible for technical coordination and supervision of power generation programmes of India.

MoEF tightens pollution norms for infrastructure projects

Source: Business Standard, Apr 12, 2011

Mumbai: The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has tightened pollution monitoring norms for power projects with a generation capacity of 500 Mw and above, integrated steel plants with a capacity of 1 million tonnes per annum and cement plants with a capacity of 3 million tonnes per annum which have already been granted environmental clearance.

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Ministry of Environment & Forestry lifts moratorium on new projects in 8 areas

Source: Business Standard, Feb 17, 2011

Mumbai: The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF),currently under attack for being allegedly too rigid in providing clearances to projects, has lifted an earlier moratorium in this regard on eight more critically polluted areas.

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Now, plastic range from biodegradable polymer

Bavla (Ahmedabad): Greendiamz Biotech Pvt Ltd, in partnership with Limagrain-France, on Monday announced the launch of the country’s first fully-biodegradable and compostable bio-plastic material.

Mr Champat Sanghvi, Chairman of the company, told reporters here that the 5,000-tonnes-a-year facility, set up at a cost of Rs 40 crore, has been commissioned to manufacture sheets and bags as an alternative to plastic for consumer and industrial products.

“The products, branded as Truegreen, are bio-plastic, hundred per cent biodegradable and compostable, and very similar to plastic in terms of strength and usage,” he added.

Range of products

The bio-plastic range to be manufactured from Biolice, a biodegradable polymer, includes films for custom-printed carry bags, duffle bags, fast food containers, clamshells and thermoformed products, besides products for use in agriculture and horticulture, lining material for jute, canvas and paper bags and even bins, containers and plant pots.

“It does not include any petroleum product in its manufacturing cycle, making the product truly environment-friendly.” We hope to capture five per cent of the market share in the packaging sector alone,” Mr Dipack Sanghvi, Director.

Consumption boom

Mr David Pearson, Marketing Director of Limagrain Cereales, an international farmers’ co-operative of France, which is supplying the raw material, said India’s per capita annual consumption of plastics is expected to increase from the current 150 bags per head and to 200 bags by 2011 with the country slated to become the third largest consumer of plastics after the US and China.

“We are providing a product made from naturally grown raw material derived from renewable resources which complies to European norms, which means that soil bacteria will decompose 95 per cent of this material to carbon, oxygen and non-toxic bio-mass within 180 days,” he added.

Source : The Hindu Business Line.  09/06/10


State agency to implement Rs 17,000-cr Climate Change Plan

Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar: The Orissa government, which has come out with a draft Action Plan on Climate Change entailing an investment of around Rs 17,000 crore, has proposed to put in place a Climate Change Agency to ensure effective implementation of the plan.

“A Climate Change Agency is proposed to be put in place to oversee the progress and liaise with the Government of India, external funding agencies and different sectors for the smooth implementation of the State Climate Change Action Plan”, state chief minister Naveen Patnaik said after releasing the draft Action Plan on Climate Change on Saturday.

Orissa is the first state to have formulated the Climate Change Action Plan.

The draft Action Plan, which was released on the World Environment Day, is expected to be finalized by the third week of June this year.

“The Climate Change Action Plan would lead Orissa to move towards a carbon conscious and climate resilient state. It envisages an outlay of around Rs 17,000 crore in 11 key sectors over the next five years”, Patnaik stated.

“The impact of climate change could disrupt the fragile life sustaining ecological system that holds this world together. Increasing temperatures, rising sea levels and more frequent climate mediated extreme weather events could seriously threaten the state’s infrastructure, economy, health, and ecosystems. Thus, it has become imperative to take appropriate mitigative and adaptive measures”, he added.

The chief minister had constituted a high-level coordination committee headed by the chief secretary to steer the preparation of the draft Action Plan. Eleven working groups were constituted on agriculture, coastal zones and disasters, energy, fisheries and animal resources, forestry, health, industry, mining, transport, urban planning and water resources.

For agriculture, the Action Plan has suggested a climate friendly agriculture policy, capacity building to cope with climate change, people centric watershed development programmes, developing water efficient micro irrigation methods as well as improving monitoring and surveillance techniques.

Similarly for industries, the key priorities are setting medium-term emission targets for the thermal power plants, promoting the use of bulk waste material like fly ash and slag.

These also include implementing a system of compensatory water harvesting at the industrial clusters, integrating climate change concerns in policies and plans for industrial development, carrying out heat island study for Talcher and Jharsuguda area, training various stakeholders on climate change issues and carrying out energy efficiency study for iron and steel, thermal power, aluminium and cement sectors.

Source : Business Standard.  08/06/10

Pepsi India touches eco watershed, first unit to achieve positive water balance

NEW DELHI: THE Indian arm of PepsiCo has become the first of its global units to put more water back into the environment than it consumes, the company said.

The beverage giant has achieved ‘positive water balance’ by recharging 6 billion litres and using 5.17 billion litres during 2009 with a net saving of 836 million litres. PepsiCo, which has 45 beverage bottling and snacks plants in India, said the figures were verified by audit firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India.

“As the first business in our system and probably the entire beverage world to conserve and replenish more water than it consumes, PepsiCo India is a huge inspiration for all of us. I am proud of this accomplishment,” PepsiCo Chairman & CEO Indra Nooyi told ET. The India model will be replicated in PepsiCo’s other markets which face water scarcity, such as China.

PepsiCo India chairman and CEO Sanjeev Chadha said India is a water-distressed market but the solution to water replenishment is “basic and simple.” “If corporates get together and step up efforts like direct seeding, it would lead to very positive results.”

But environment activists are not entirely pleased with PepsiCo’s efforts. Sunita Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment said she would like to see companies achieve positive water balance, but this must happen within their factory compounds. “It would be ideal if PepsiCo was replenishing all the water it consumes in areas where its plants are located. The scarcity and problem lies in those areas,” she said.

PepsiCo said it has achieved water balance through conservation in agriculture to substitute transplanting of paddy with direct seeding technology, community programmes like construction of check-dams and recharge ponds, and rain or roof-water harvesting.

Recharge ponds have helped it save 133 million litres of water. The World Bank has warned that growing shortage of water in large countries such as India and China will hamper their growth. It estimates that India’s fresh-water supplies could be exhausted by 2050 at the current rate of consumption. In March this year, a Kerala Assembly panel asked PepsiCo to cut water usage by 60% at its bottling plant in Puducheri in Palakkad district.

A company spokesman said its Palakkad facility is a “model plant and one of the most water-efficient units in the PepsiCo system. The plant has been able to save about 200 million litres of water in the last four years and has also brought down the water usage by 60%.” Rival Coca-Cola is facing a more serious situation in the state. It has been asked by a government panel to pay Rs 216 crore as compensation for polluting and depleting groundwater.

Source : Business Standard.  27/05/10


A green hue to MNC supply chains

New Delhi: As sustainability and good environmental practices become the cornerstone of doing business in the developed world, the message from big-ticket retailers like Wal-Mart, Tesco, and IT majors like IBM to their army of suppliers of anything from apparel to computer hardware in India is becoming clear— let’s together shape up or else.

For example, IBM, which had a revenue of Rs 12,000 crore from its India office in 2008-2009, is clear that it would stop sourcing from the country “if it comes to that (supply chains don’t fulfill sustainability requirements)”, says Wayne Balta, vice-president, Environmental Programs and Product Safety, IBM. But, he adds, the objective is to help suppliers succeed.

Suppliers, on their part, are taking cognizance of the emerging ‘green order’. Rahul Kulkarni of Mumbai-based Alliance Foods, an exclusive supplier for a frozen food category to Wal-Mart, says: “There would be a rethink from the perspective of capex/opex allocation to the introduction of newer technologies and management practices that need to be built in order to achieve a desirable environment-friendly standard.” He is just one of the 1,700-odd suppliers in India from whom Wal-Mart sources goods ranging from textiles to apparel, leather accessories, fine jewelry and houseware. Their number is likely to grow as the retailer pursues its aim to source goods worth $1 billion in a couple of years from the country.

“Achieving these expectations is not like simply turning on a switch. It may take a little time. Our objective is to help our suppliers build their own capacity to succeed with these responsibilities and to accept corresponding accountability,” adds IBM’s Balta.

Appreciating the concerns of suppliers, Wal-Mart is focusing on educating them on the benefits of sustainability, communicating that greening the supply chain is not only good for the environment but also makes sound economic sense. Says Raj Jain, president, Wal-Mart India and MD & CEO, Bharti Wal-Mart: “Efficiencies in transportation, energy consumption and storage will reduce costs for wholesalers and retailers, who in turn, can reduce prices for consumers, thereby saving them money.”

While Wal-Mart is planning to cut emission of 20 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) of its 100,000-plus global suppliers by 2015, IBM requires its 28,000 first-tier suppliers spread over 90 countries to follow a management system by 2011 to record how they are discharging their environmental responsibilities.

been watching sustainability practices of its suppliers for quite some time now. In addition to other environmental initiatives, the retailer is already working on developing a sustainable products index, which will be built on a survey of its one lakh suppliers worldwide, focusing on energy & climate, material efficiency, natural resources, and people & community. Stating that the survey responses will be accepted in good faith, the company’s policy on sustainability supplier assessment points out: “Violation of that good faith will be considered very serious by Wal-Mart.”

Similarly, IBM requires all of its global suppliers to define and deploy a formal management system for corporate responsibility and the environment that fits their business operations, to set voluntary goals for improvement and to measure corresponding performance, and to publicly disclose results, says Balta. The first-tier suppliers are, in turn, expected to pass on the practices to their suppliers. Some have already started acting on those lines. Ranjini Poddar, president, Artech Information Systems, a first-tier IBM supplier, which operates out of America/India is planning to comply with the requirements: “Now, we’re planning to do the same thing with our suppliers.”

Wal-Mart and IBM are not alone. Companies like HP, Dell and Tesco are also pursuing the same path and engaging their suppliers on sustainability. HP has introduced a global goal to reduce GHGs to 20% below 2005 levels by 2013. Saying that they would achieve this goal by working within their own business and others, Neelam Dhawan, managing director, HP India, adds: “We have not only requested our first-tier suppliers representing more than 80% of our total product manufacturing spend to report company GHG emissions, but also started work with them to approach their suppliers in a similar way.” It’s important for HP because its aggregated supply chain GHG emissions are more than twice its own emissions from operations.

Dell too is helping its suppliers reduce their emissions. Saying that Dell requires its primary suppliers to disclose emissions data and set improvement targets, Mahesh Bhalla, executive director and general manager, Consumer Division, Dell India, adds: “A supplier’s volume of Dell business can be affected by the scores earned on these reviews.”

Similarly, Tesco, which is UK ’s biggest retailer, aims to become a zero-carbon business by 2050. Saying that they want to cut their own carbon footprint and help suppliers and customers do the same, a Tesco spokesperson says: “We’re working with the Consumer Goods Forum (a global network for shoppers) to reduce the carbon impact of consumer behaviour all the way through our supply chain by 30% by 2020 (to begin with).” Tesco sources goods, mostly apparel and grocery, worth more than $300 million annually, from India .

And the trend seems unstoppable. Saying that Wal-Mart may be the most conspicuous among the big-box retailers that have been rattling their supply chains with tightening specifications in areas like the environment, John Elkington, founder of SustainAbility, a consultancy, which has worked with Wal-Mart, adds that many others are cranking up in this area and the trend would spread.

Looking into the future, Elkington, who has given the concept of triple bottomline of people, planet and profit, says: “Over time, it will be easier (for MNCs) to cascade tough requirements through supply chains to remote geographies than to incur the social and political repercussions closer to home. And market gatekeepers like supermarkets and other retailers – alongside mainstream manufacturers—will bring more pressure (on supply chains) to bear over time, not less.”

Source : Live Mint. 21/05/10

Thermax inks waste-to-energy deal with Lambion

Pune: Thermax Ltd has signed a technology transfer licence agreement with Lambion Energy Solutions, a German engineering company with expertise in converting waste to energy.

The agreement was signed by Mr Hemant Mohgaonkar, Executive Vice-President, Thermax, and Mr Axel Lambion, Managing Director, Lambionis. It is valid for five years.

The technology transfer will provide Thermax with high efficiency combustion systems for using biomass that is high in moisture content for energy generation. These will be integrated in boilers and heaters with heat output ranging from 4 MW to 30 MW.

Thermax will have an exclusive licence to market heating systems, equipped with the new technology in India and SAARC countries, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Though Thermax has been offering its clients biomass-based equipment for energy generation for three decades. The technology upgrade will equip it with advanced systems to provide industry eco-friendly ways of extracting energy from waste.

Mr M.S. Unnikrishnan, Managing Director and CEO, Thermax, said, “The new technology infusion will reinforce our product offerings in the area of green energy.”

For Lambion the partnership offers an opportunity to promote its expertise in new markets.

 Source: The Hindu Business Line, May 18, 2010


Indian carbon credits to triple by 2012

Mumbai: The number of carbon credits issued for emission reduction projects in India is set to triple over the next three years to 246 million by December 2012 from 72 million in November 2009, according to a CRISIL Research study.

This will cement India’s second position in the global carbon credits market (technically called Certified Emission Reduction units or CERs). The growth in CER issuance will be driven by capacity additions in the renewable energy sector and by the eligibility of more renewable energy projects to issue CERs. Consequently, the share of renewable energy projects in Indian CERs will increase to 31 per cent.

CRISIL Research expects India’s renewable energy capacity to increase to 20,000 MW by December 2012, from the current 15,542 MW.

According to Mr. Nagarajan Narasimhan, Director, CRISIL Research, “We expect the government’s focus on renewable energy power projects to drive this growth. Distribution utilities already have to meet 5% of their power requirements from renewable sources, and this proportion will increase to 15% by 2020, leading to a growth in installed capacity. As more of these projects register with UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), CER issuance volumes will increase.”

The current share of renewable energy projects in CERs is just 19 per cent; only 284 of the 1846 renewable power projects in India are registered with UNFCCC.

CRISIL Research believes that CER issuance, purely from registration of existing and new renewable energy projects,will increase to 76 million by December 2012, from 14 million in November 2009. Assuming a price of Euro 10 for one CER, additional issuances of CERs from renewable energy projects will be worth about Rs 40 billion by December 2012.

 Source: The Economic Times, May 13, 2010