The State Energy Conservation Fund will be built with contributions of at least Rs2 crore each from the various states. The Fund plans to promote and implement energy efficiency and conservation programmes
The Indian government has set up a green fund with an initial contribution of Rs2 crore to promote and implement energy efficiency and conservation programmes in the states, according to a power ministry official, reports PTI.
"It is important to work with the states in the direction of energy conservation. In order to implement energy conservation measures in a more effective way and with the involvement of different states, the State Energy Conservation Fund has been created with an initial amount of Rs2 crore," said Ajay Mathur, director of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), an arm of the power ministry.
The Fund will be built with contributions from the states that will chip in at least Rs2 crore each towards the initiative, Mr Mathur added.
Although the plan has been put to action, the Fund would be fully operational only by fiscal 2011-12, he said.
However, several states have already sent requests for grants from the Fund. "So far, we have received proposals from Kerala, Haryana, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which we are evaluating. Other states have also evinced interest in this direction," Mr Mathur said.
Further, the states have also indicated the creation of a State Defined Agency (SDF) for energy conservation on the lines of the BEE. The SDF is supposed to help Special Economic Zones and small-scale units become more energy efficient.
To meet the rising power demand, the government has targeted generating 1 lakh MW in the XII Plan Period (2012-17). The government also believes that energy conservation will be able to save about 25,000MW.
For almost three years, there has been a lot of talk on the setting up of a coal regulatory authority. So why is the government still dragging its feet?
India has the fourth-largest coal reserves in the world. It also plans huge power expansions in the coming years, which need to be fuelled by coal. However, the country still does not have a coal regulator. The Indian government has mooted the idea of setting up a coal regulator twice in previous Budgets. It was proposed for the first time in 2008, but the idea died a silent death for reasons unknown. The 2010-11 Budget also mentions the need to set up a coal regulator. Will this become a reality?
Experts believe that this time, a coal regulatory authority may become a reality with the increasing pressure from both the steel and power ministries for setting up such an entity. Both the steel and power sectors in India have been growing rapidly and huge expansions have been planned in the coming years. Coal is a vital raw material for both the steel and power sectors. Private power companies are facing domestic coal acquisition issues, and are falling back on coal imports.
“This time the Bill should be passed because it has been given a thrust by the power and steel ministries. If not now, the Bill should be passed in the winter session (of Parliament),” said Shashikant Hegde, director and chief executive officer, Economic Research India Ltd.
In his Budget speech for FY09, erstwhile finance minister P Chidambaram proposed the setting up of a coal regulator. Similarly, Pranab Mukherjee, the current finance minister, spelt out the same plan for setting up of a coal regulator in his Budget speech for FY11. “A ‘Coal Regulatory Authority’ to create a level playing field in the coal sector is proposed to be set up,” is what the current Budget says.
In August 2008, a media report stated that a Bill for setting up of a coal regulator would be presented for Cabinet approval in the winter session of Parliament. But that did not happen.
The idea of setting up the regulator resurfaced in June 2009, with the coal ministry planning to set up the authority within 100 days. "We’ve already begun the process and this will be institutionalised within the next three months," Union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal was quoted as saying in a media report. But there was no update on the proposal after that.
Just a couple of days before the Budget, Mr Jaiswal told the media, “The regulator will be in place by 15th March.” Nothing has happened so far.
A lot has been lost due to the delay in setting up of the coal regulatory authority. “The setting up of the authority two years back would have helped. The coal needs of at least half a dozen coal-based power projects could have been addressed,” said Mr Hegde.
Meanwhile, coal blocks allotted to private players dating back from 2008 still await final clearances and various other issues which have resulted in a delay of critical mining activities.
This story should surely be an eye-opener to all the HR guys who think that they know everything
A friend of mine, who is in the business of ‘collecting’ overdue personal loans, has his offices at several locations. He uses it to advantage. For instance, if a defaulter at Mumbai cannot be traced, he passes it on to his other offices, to try and see if something matches. Once, his Ahmednagar (a city near Pune) branch got a list from Mumbai about a large loan outstanding from a gentleman, whom we shall call “Gupta”. Something about the details in the file rang a bell. He knew a Gupta, who was branch manager of a private bank in Ahmednagar. After matching more details and the photograph, it was confirmed that it was indeed the same person.
A fascinating story emerged.
Gupta had submitted a fake resume about his qualifications and experience and got a job as an officer with a private bank, at Panjim, Goa. At Goa, he used his position and salary slip to considerable advantage, borrowing money from other private banks and finance companies. After a year or so, he just upped it and went to Mumbai. There he fudged his resume yet again, landed a job with a foreign bank and went through the same process. After a year, he could no longer face the heat of the overdues at Mumbai and decided to leave for greener pastures. He landed at Pune where he conned yet another private bank with his prize-winning resume. At Pune, he spent a good year, raising a lot of personal loans. Needless to mention, he enjoyed all good things in life and the liberal lenders kept his lifestyle going.
Soon, he decided to leave Pune. He now went to Ahmednagar and joined another private bank, using the same method. He was in his third month at Ahmednagar, when my friend’s network caught up with him. The remarkable thing is that he got the job at Ahmednagar, with the same bank that he quit at Panjim!
This story is interesting. Banks, in prosperous times, are short of people with experience. So much that they do not bother to verify the antecedents. And another remarkable feature was that Mr Gupta used the same name and his PAN number etc in this merry-go-round! All he did was to fabricate a new experience background each time! It was sheer chance that he got caught!
His former employers are too embarrassed to pursue him. He has no money left with him and the loans are beyond recovery. The banks have hopefully learnt a lesson. All they need is for the HR department to keep a database on employees who leave (or are sacked) and cross check. Surely, when a borrower applies, they check with some database. In fact, I always felt that every HR department should not only have this data handy, but also a name/PAN number kind of database of people who apply for jobs and are not employed.
(Gupta is a name of convenience. No offence meant to any Gupta. City names have been changed. Fact or fiction... I leave it to the reader and to the many private banks who rush in to fill vacancies).