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Solar import duty – who benefits?

by January 16, 2018 General
India had six waste-to-energy plants, against China’s 300. Realising the energy-from-waste vision requires the govt to rethink policies, ranging from municipal reforms to power tariffs.

Order by Dir Genl of Safeguards of 70% duty on import of solar cells creating consternation in Renewable circles. 1st – itfs for 200 days. Then what? 2nd -lack of clarity on immediate vs prospective. Impact on existing bids/ shipments? 3rd – units in SEZs deemed foreign?

• Solar equipment protectionism

The jury is still out on the merits/demerits of policy focussing on the Make-in-India potential for local manufacture of solar equipment versus reducing solar tariffs through cheaper imports.

A spot of good news for the Realty sector after quite some time: Relaxation in policy now allows 100% FDI under automatic route in construction-development of townships, housing, built-up infrastructure and real estate broking services.

• Real FDI gains for realty

A stable and transparent regulatory regime under RERA may inspire foreign investors, given realty retail in India is expected to touch $1trillion by 2020.

As ET points out today ~ Waste to Energy plants are costly at Rs.16-17 crores per MW. So there is no point in sanctimonious entreaties to set up waste to energy plants unless backed by committed & compulsory power purchase agreements at a higher price.

• Wasted potential?

India had six waste-to-energy plants, against China’s 300. Realising the energy-from-waste vision requires the govt to rethink policies, ranging from municipal reforms to power tariffs.

Green Coal: With major developments & stringent regulations gathering momentum in controlling pollution from coal based power generation, d day is not far off when coal will no longer be called “polluting” or “dirty.” & not necessarily adversarial or antagonistic to Renewables.

• Cleaner coal-based generation soon Between 2012 and 2017, coal-based plants pushed up nationwide SO2 levels by 32% and PM2.5 levels by 34%. Incorporating cleaning technologies should help.

Sovereign Wealth Fund for India idea has apparently again resurrected after a hiatus of 5 yrs. Earlier, proposed out of Forex Reserves, but junked. Fresh thinking is for it to be both a Holdco for PSUs, as well as for strategic investments by Govt. But what about NIIF?

• Sovereign wealth fund for India

India doesn’t have a sovereign wealth fund, unlike Singapore, which has used it to fund iconic infra projects, promote domestic companies abroad, and increase govt revenue.

Focus on Logistics now is leading to a revival of interest in d role of Dry Ports . India has 300 such stations – referred to as Inland Container Depots (ICDs ). Commerce Min has begun a process to make them more relevant by potential changes in their mandate & governance

• Rejigging the dry ports regime

Crucial for a boost to exports since these provide services including handling, temporary storage, and customs clearance for international freight, and are connected by rail and road.

Whatfs the connection between Metro and Water? Reading feature on metros in BusStd today ~ learnt that Kochi Metro is acquiring 78 ferry boats this year to provide last-mile connectivity; and Kolkata Metro is set to build first underwater line between Howrah & Kolkata.

• Metro rides the surf

The first lot of Kochi’s ferries will be operationalised by the end of 2018, while the Rs 60-cr tunnel under river Hooghly will be operational from late 2019.

Decision by Urban Min to set up Committee to look at higher FSI for Indian cities to become vertically denser very much in order. However, this needs to be handled in tandem with simultaneously providing for more concentrated mass transportation systems. Otherwise – chaos!

• Towards greater urbanisation?

The permitted FSI in Indian cities is very low, ranging from 1-1.5. Hiking this could mean urban space can be optimised for housing. A weekly collection of the authorfs tweets.with a brief Sarthak Ray