Key developments in May 2016
Oil and Gas
- Government of India announces "Discovered Small Fields Bid Round-2016"
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), Government of India today announced the commencement of the 'Discovered Small Fields Bid Round-2016'. Discovered Small Fields are oil and gas blocks which have so far remained commercially undeveloped, but are now in focus as the central government seeks to boost domestic hydrocarbon production. This Bidding round will mark the revolution in existing policy framework since NELP regime will be replaced by Revenue Sharing Contracts and Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP). Single license for exploring all forms of hydrocarbons, graded system of royalty rates, pricing and marketing freedom for crude oil and natural gas, are some of the highlights of HELP regime. For more information visit this Link.
Ports and Shipping
- Ministry of Shipping issues directions in relation to TAM
The Ministry of Shipping has earlier amended the 2005 scheme of coastal concessions on coastal vessels and cargo/ container related charges in September 2015. The amended instructions provide that restatement of rates for coastal vessel should take into account the exchange rate fluctuation of Indian Rupee vs the US dollar, so that vessels related charges for all coastal charges should not exceed sixty percent (60%) of corresponding charges for other vessel. This was notified to Traffic Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) by a notification in October, 2015. However, the TAMP has pointed out that in restatement of Coastal rates has resulted in step increase in rates of coastal vessel /container as compared to pre-revised rates with the linking of Indian Rupee to US dollar and is materially hampering the Government's endeavour to promote coastal shipping. Therfore MoS has decided that till the time these issues are not addressed the amended instructions issued to be put in abeyance. TAMP has been directed to appropriately prescribe the coastal cargo/container related charges at all Major Port Trusts and Private Operators. For more information visit this Link.
- Government of Indian directs merging of thermal power with solar power generated by NTPC
Ministry of Power, vide its order No. 13/6/2015-OM dated 16.07.2015, has issued a direction that power from NTPC coal based power stations that complete 25 years shall be bundled with solar capacity being established by NTPC as part of Government of India's plans for enhancing renewable energy generation in the country. For more information visit this Link.
- First e-bidding process through "DEEP" Portal for short term power procurement results in substantive savings for Uttarakhand, Kerala , Bihar & Torrent Power
First e-Bidding process through recently launched DEEP (Discovery of Efficient Electricity Price) e-Bidding Portal for Short term power procurement has been concluded for the State of Uttarakhand and Kerala on 29.04.2016, for Torrent Power Ltd. on 03.05.2016 and for State of Bihar on 09.05.2016.
The Guidelines for short term procurement of power was also notified on 30.03.2016 by Ministry of Power, Government of India, making it mandatory for all the Procurer(s) to procure short term power by using this e-Bidding portal. For more information visit this Link
- Minister of Railways launches E-enabled application for proper Monitoring of all the Railway projects
The Ministry of Railways having over 600 major projects of network expansion and modernization costing around Rs 4.5 lakh crores under its wings has launched a web-enabled IT Application to monitor all pending and upcoming Railways Projects. The Project Management & Information System (PMIS) will contain all the information about the ongoing projects which will help in reducing the completion time of the project and further will help in fixing the responsibility for delay in projects on the other hand officers would be awarded for timely/early completion of projects. For more information visit this Link.
- Solar Panels Atop Roofs of Railway Platforms with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support
In order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, solar power plants are being set up on Railway/private land and on rooftop of Railway buildings with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support from Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) through developer mode, wherein Railways will sign Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the lowest bidder. The amount of savings will depend upon the determination of price of electricity through market forces. For more information visit this Link.
- Ministry of Railways enters into Joint Ventures with State Governments
In order to meet the growing demands for new projects and also to expedite ongoing projects, Ministry of Railways initiated the scheme of project development, financing and monitoring through formation of Joint Ventures/SPVs with State Governments. This, inter-alia, involves surveys, preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) and getting requisite approvals, processing for sanctioning and monitoring of identified projects including last mile connectivity, capacity enhancement and station redevelopment projects. The Ministry has proposed 13 projects in Railway Budget 2016-17 subject to requisite approvals which are proposed to be taken up on Joint Venture model. For more information visit this Link.
Roads and Highways
- CCEA approves conversion of Lucknow-Sultanpur section on NH-56 in Uttar Pradesh into four lanes
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval for development of Lucknow-Sultanpur section on National Highway-56 in Uttar Pradesh into four lanes. The project will be under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-IV and the approval is in Hybrid Annuity Mode. The estimated cost for the project is Rs.2844.72 crore including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The development of this stretch will also help in uplifting the socio-economic condition of the concerned regions of the State and would also increase employment potential for local labourers for project activities. For more information visit this Link.
- Ministry Of Road Transport & Highways Sets Up Committee To Frame Policy For Taxi Operators
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORT&H) has constituted a three member committee to prepare a policy framework for taxi and other transport operators. The committee will be headed by Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and have Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Delhi Transport Commissioner as its members. The proposed policy will address the situation that has emerged following Supreme Court's order dated 15th December 2015 and directions of EPCA dated 29th April 2016 banning diesel taxis in the NCR, and the various problems being faced by taxi operators as a result of the ban. For more information visit this Link.
- RBI rationalizes foreign investment in real estate and infrastructure sectors
With a view to rationalising foreign investment regime for Alternative Investment vehicles and to facilitating foreign investment in collective investment vehicles for real estate and infrastructure sectors, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided, in consultation with the Government of India, to allow foreign investment in the units of Investment Vehicles registered and regulated by SEBI or any other competent authority. The circular issued by RBI in this regard on 21st April 2016 can be accessed Link.
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