IFC to invest $10 million in Azure Power for solar projects

World Bank's arm International Finance Corp will invest $10 million in renewable power company Azure Power to help implement new megawatt scale grid-connected solar plants across India

In the first-ever investment of its kind by World Bank's arm International Finance Corp (IFC), the agency will invest $10 million (around Rs46 crore) in renewable power company Azure Power to help set up solar plants to generate electricity for Indian villages, reports PTI.

"IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide a $10-million equity investment to an independent solar power company, Azure Power Pvt Ltd, to help implement new megawatt scale grid-connected solar plants to bolster clean energy output," IFC said in a release.

IFC further said that it is the first solar project under the lending agency's new clean technology investment programme.

"Once fully operational, the project will expand capacity to produce over 20,000 megawatt hours of clean energy annually to reach hundred villages in several Indian states, and more than 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided annually," it added.

Helion Venture Partners and Foundation Capital, leading venture capital investors in clean technology companies, also funded Azure's solar power initiative in September 2008.

"The support from IFC, Helion, and Foundation Capital is recognition of the potential of megawatt scale solar power generation in India," Azure Power's chief executive officer Inderpreet S Wadhwa said.

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More expats returning to India to earn a living, say experts

The appointment of expats in the automobile space has increased nearly three-fold. In technology centres of banking and financial services companies, hiring has increased by five to six times

There has been an upsurge in hiring of non-resident Indians and expats by companies in the country in the past two years, thanks to improved infrastructure and competitive compensation levels, experts say.

"In last two years, most of the companies are hiring non-resident Indians (NRIs) and expats because there is an increase in demand for such skilled professionals," executive search firm GlobalHunt India director Sunil Goel told PTI.

Echoing a similar opinion, executive search firm EMA Partners International's managing partner for India K Sudarshan said, "Over the last few years, expats are more than happy to come to India largely because of the fact that Indian companies are globalising, people now want to be part of the India growth story and the compensation level is very competitive."

Elaborating on the reason behind the surge, Mr Goel said, "Of late, infrastructure in India has improved a lot. Compensation levels have become competitive as per the cost of living; good availability of healthcare and education services are attracting most NRIs to look back at opportunities in their own country."

Besides, the slow recovery of Western markets has forced a large pool of NRIs and expats to look for opportunities outside and here India tops the list. Any positive movement towards global recovery will give a boost to a company's operating earnings from India, Mr Goel added.

According to GlobalHunt India, those segments which registered the maximum number of expats hiring include banking and financial services, automobile, infrastructure, pharma and retail.

The appointment of expats in the automobile space has increased nearly three-fold, while, in technology centres of banking and financial services companies, hiring has increased by five to six times.

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SC stays mining activities of Reddy brothers in AP

The SC has stayed all further mining activities by the Obulapuram Mining Corp owned by the Karnataka ministers-cum-mining magnates—the Reddy brothers, in Andhra Pradesh

In a setback to the Reddy brothers, the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday stayed all further mining activities by the Obulapuram Mining Corporation (OMC) owned by the Karnataka ministers-cum-mining magnates in Andhra Pradesh, reports PTI.

A bench of Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice Deepak Verma appointed an expert committee headed by the Survey of India to review the mining areas and ascertain allegations of large-scale encroachment of reserve forest areas by the powerful mining lobby.

The apex court granted two weeks to the committee to file its report and said no further mining activities would be permitted at the site until further orders.

The SC also issued notices to the Reddy brothers, including G Janardhan Reddy and his brother Karunakara Reddy, on the special leave petition (SLP) filed by the Andhra Pradesh government challenging the 26th February state High Court order quashing the cancellation orders passed by the state.

Attorney General GE Vahanvati submitted that the High Court ignored the findings of the apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) and the high-level inquiry committee of the state government.

Both the Committees, after conducting independent inquiries, had arrived at concurrent conclusions that the Reddy brothers have encroached into vast areas of reserve forest land in the state.

The apex court said that the committee headed by the Survey of India would also include members drawn from the state department of forests, mines and revenue.

The High Court had decided the matter as the case was sent back to it by the apex court on 14th January with a direction to decide on it within a month after both OMC and the Andhra Pradesh government consented to it.

The apex court was of the view that the High Court, which had earlier given a conditional order for carrying on mining by OMC, would be in the best position to decide the vexed issues of boundary dispute involved in the matter and allowed all parties to make their case before the High Court.

The CEC had criticised Janardhana Reddy and his brothers for "illegal" mining by them in the Bellary reserve forest.

The Andhra Pradesh government had alleged that the OMC extended the area of mining by removing the pillars which formed the boundary of the area for which the lease was granted. The state government had issued an order prohibiting mining after CEC had recommended stoppage of mining by the company in the area.

The CEC was constituted by the SC to inquire into the matter based on a writ petition filed by Tapal Ganesh of Bellary against OMC over alleged illegal mining in violation of the Forest Conservation Act.
 

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