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India tests green steel with hydrogen, not coking coal

India is making strides towards reducing carbon emissions in the steel-making process by exploring the use of hydrogen as an alternative to coking coal. Three pilot projects are planned, including one with 100% hydrogen-based DRI production, injecting hydrogen into an existing blast furnace, and blending hydrogen with natural gas in an existing DRI plant. The National Green Hydrogen Mission has allocated ₹455 crore to support these green steel-making initiatives. The steel industry globally is under pressure to decarbonize, as traditional blast furnaces reliant on coking coal produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide. The Indian steel industry aims to reduce its CO2 emissions intensity from 3.1 T/tcs in 2005 to 2.4 T/tcs by 2030. The government will provide funding for capital equipment for the hydrogen-based projects, but not for hydrogen production or land expenses. Funding will vary depending on the steel-making method adopted, with up to 70% of the total project cost covered for new pilot plants and up to 50% for other methods. sources

Published:
Jun 14 2024, 7 pm

India's emissions in 2023 lower due to increased RE

India has made significant strides in reducing its carbon emissions from electricity generation, emitting 1,404 million tonnes of CO2 in 2023, behind China and the US. The country's focus on solar and wind power has helped decrease its carbon emission intensity, despite a rise in electricity demand. The share of coal generation has increased, but the addition of wind and solar power has led to a slight decline in emissions intensity. India's per capita emissions from the power sector are among the lowest in the G20, with coal still dominating the electricity mix. Solar generation has seen a substantial increase, making India the third-largest solar power generator globally. However, the country still relies heavily on fossil fuels for electricity generation, with clean energy making up 22% of the mix. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 6 pm

Telangana approves ₹35,000 crore farm loan waiver scheme

The Telangana Government has unveiled a farm loan waiver scheme to assist struggling farmers, with loans up to Rs 2 lakh set to be forgiven. Families with outstanding loan amounts exceeding this limit must settle the excess to qualify for the benefit, with only one loan per family eligible for waiver. The scheme, estimated to cost between Rs 31,000-35,000 crore, will cover loans taken between December 12, 2018, and December 9, 2023. Collaboration with the National Informatics Centre and the use of PDS data will aid in beneficiary identification and fund disbursement. While the initiative aims to ease financial pressures on farmers, concerns have been raised about its inclusivity and impact on the state's finances. The government plans to complete the waiver process before August, utilizing funds from the upcoming State Budget and a dedicated corporation for timely disbursals. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 5 pm

TN startup introduces soil-less media to boost seedling growth

FARMAI India, a start-up based in Tamil Nadu, has developed a cutting-edge soil-less media to enhance crop establishment in the crucial initial 20 days, aiming to boost yields and disease resistance while reducing input costs and addressing labor shortages in agriculture. The media, sold under the "vgro" brand, facilitates the cultivation of various crops like paddy, sugarcane, vegetables, and ornamental plants. The company not only provides the media but also offers ongoing advisory services until harvest through its arm FX. By training micro-entrepreneurs in villages to handle operations, FARMAI aims to promote mechanization and improve farmers' profitability. With a focus on sustainability and efficiency, the company has successfully assisted thousands of farmers across several states, demonstrating a retention rate of 95%. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 5 pm

Rajaram Scholarship launched at DialogueNEXT conference

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) recently honored Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, a renowned wheat breeder and World Food Prize Laureate, by unveiling his bust at the DialogueNEXT conference in Mexico. This event also marked the launch of the 'Rajaram-DCM Shriram Scholarship', aimed at nurturing the next generation of agricultural scientists in line with Rajaram's legacy. The scholarship, a collaboration between CIMMYT and DCM Shriram Ltd, reflects their shared goal of enhancing wheat productivity and fostering innovation in agricultural sciences. Sanjay Chhabra, Executive Director of DCM Shriram, expressed pride in their partnership with CIMMYT and Dr. Rajaram, highlighting the impact of the Wheat Seed Development Programme in delivering superior wheat varieties to Indian farmers. Anand Shriram, Senior Vice President, emphasized the importance of the scholarship in supporting young scientists and inspiring future innovation in crop improvement. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 5 pm

Tea stocks rise due to higher prices, lower production

Tea manufacturing companies in India are experiencing a surge in stock prices due to rising brew prices nationwide, with shares of major South India-based companies like Harrisons Malayalam and Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation on the rise. The market is responding to expectations of strong performance from tea producers amidst crop shortages in both North and South India. Akshay Agarwal of Acumen Capital Services highlights the impact of erratic rainfall in North India on tea production, leading to price hikes. While the current high tea prices are beneficial for companies like Harrisons Malayalam and United Nilgiri, Agarwal warns that this trend may be temporary and could reverse once production normalizes. The increase in stock prices is not limited to tea companies, as the P/E ratio of quality stocks has also surged, driven by retail investors, operators, and institutions. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 4 pm

Deloitte India seeks 2-year extension on tax for manufacturers

In a bid to boost foreign direct investment (FDI) in India, the Centre is urged to extend the concessional corporate tax rate of 15 per cent for new manufacturing companies by two years in the upcoming Budget. Introduced in 2019 for newly-established domestic manufacturing companies, this tax benefit has been instrumental in attracting investments, leading to a significant increase in FDI in the Indian manufacturing sector. Rohinton Sidhwa, Partner at Deloitte India, emphasized the positive impact of this measure, noting a 76 per cent jump in FDI from ₹89,766 crore in FY 2020-21 to ₹1,58,332 crore in FY 2021-22. Sidhwa suggested that extending the sunset clause of this regime for an additional two years from April 1, 2024, will further enhance India's economic growth and attractiveness to investors. Additionally, he recommended the Budget to introduce comprehensive guidelines for corporate restructuring to streamline administrative processes and minimize litigation for companies facing challenges during restructuring. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 4 pm

Exporters urge Centre to lift Kerala palm oil import ban

The Kerala Exporters Forum (KEF) has called for the removal of the ban on palm oil imports through Kerala ports, urging the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to establish a timeline for lifting the trade restrictions. The ban, imposed in 2007 to protect coconut farmers, has been extended for 17 years, with KEF arguing that this protection is now hindering the sector's competitiveness in the international market. A study by KEF found no evidence linking palm oil imports to the drop in coconut prices, attributing market fluctuations to global factors. The ban has also impacted Cochin Port's business, increased logistics costs, and affected consumer interests. KEF has recommended the formation of an expert committee to assess the revenue loss from the trade ban, highlighting that Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have not imposed similar restrictions despite higher coconut production. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 4 pm

Heat waves boost gas power plants to 5-year capacity peak

Gas-based power plants in India achieved a record plant load factor (PLF) of 28.7 per cent in May 2024, the highest in the last five years, driven by soaring demand for cooling during intense heat waves. Gas-based power generation surged by 83 per cent year-on-year to 2.8 billion units, contributing significantly to the overall power generation increase of 15 per cent. The country's peak power demand hit a record 250 GW in May, surpassing the government's projection of 235 GW. The International Energy Agency forecasts a 7 per cent year-on-year growth in India's gas demand for 2024, with gas consumption for power generation playing a key role. Additionally, gas trading on exchanges saw a substantial rise, with Indian Gas Exchange witnessing a 99 per cent month-on-month increase in trade volumes, driven by heightened demand from gas-based power plants and industrial sectors. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 3 pm

EPFO and NPS subscriptions double in 6 years

Formal employment in India has seen a significant increase, with data from the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and National Pension System (NPS) showing a rise in new subscribers. Despite a drop in Fiscal Year 2023-24 compared to the previous year, the number of new EPFO subscribers doubled, reaching over 1.31 crore. Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted record employment generation in the past few years, with approximately 8 crore jobs created. The EPFO also recorded its highest-ever monthly increase in April this year, with a significant portion of new entrants into the organized workforce being youths. Additionally, the NPS saw a 30% increase in new subscribers during the 2023-24 period, indicating a rise in formal job creation and government efforts to enhance employment opportunities. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 11 am

WPI increases to 3.4% in June

Producers' inflation, based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), has surged to 3.4% in June from 2.6% in May, aligning with the rise in retail inflation, which reached 5.08% in June compared to 4.7% in May. The increase in food prices has been a significant factor in driving up inflation, according to the Commerce and Industry Ministry. Economists predict a potential decrease in the policy interest rate timeline due to the inflationary pressures. Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist at ICRA, anticipates a dip in WPI inflation to 2% in July, attributing it to a favorable base and cooling global commodity prices. Sujan Hajra, Chief Economist at Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers, highlights the impact of rising food and manufacturing prices on corporate margins, but remains optimistic about lower inflation numbers in the future with improved rainfall and sowing levels. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 2 pm

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