India, EU working to sign labour mobility pact

The pact provides for cooperation in areas of labour market expansion, employment facilitation, orderly migration, exchange of information and cooperation in introducing best practices

In an effort to ensure orderly migration to and fro, India and European Union are working on signing a labour mobility pact, which envisages exchange of information relating diverse fields of employment, reports PTI.

The decision to go for such a pact was taken at a meeting between European Union foreign affairs minister Baroness Catherine Asthon and overseas Indian affairs minister Vayalar Ravi in New Delhi today.

Officials present at the meeting said both the sides basically discussed about signing a 'Labour Mobility Partnership Agreement (LMPA)' to facilitate "legal" and "orderly migration" of the workforce from India to European Countries and vice versa.

The LMPA provides for cooperation in areas of labour market expansion, employment facilitation, orderly migration, exchange of information and cooperation in introducing best practices.

"We discussed issues of mutual interests. The focus was mainly on migration and movement of people. The dialogue went off very well," Mr Ravi said after the meeting.

Seeking greater two-way engagement, Ms Asthon, on her part, said both the sides discussed ways and means to improve opportunities for migrant workers in India as well as Europe.

European Union is India's major partner in the area of trade and investment. Both the sides are now negotiating a free trade agreement.

Ms Asthon said the 27-nation economic bloc was interested in enhancing ties with India in new technology sector.

"We are particularly focusing on what's happening in places like Bangalore and the opportunities in new technology industry and opportunities for Indians in Europe," she said.

India has already signed LMPAs with several Gulf countries.

Officials of the ministry of overseas Indian affairs said one of the priorities of the government is to diversify the overseas destination base for Indian workers and secure labour markets for them in the emerging job opportunities across the globe.

India has signed LMPAs last year with Malaysia and Bahrain to improve recruitment, employment conditions of workers and promote legal migration.


Govt to set up panel for US investments in infrastructure

The committee, to be set up under Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, would coordinate with various ministries and prepare a roadmap before US president Barack Obama's India visit in November, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Washington

India will set up a high-level committee to identify areas for expanding economic ties with the US, from where it expects an estimated investment of $250-$300 billion in infrastructure space, reports PTI.

The committee, to be set up under Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, would coordinate with various ministries and prepare a roadmap before US president Barack Obama's India visit in November, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told PTI in an interview in Washington.

India needs $1 trillion of infrastructure investment, where there is still a gap of 25%-30% and can be filled in by the US companies, Mr Mukherjee said.

Speaking after attending a meeting of Indo-US CEOs Forum in Washington, Mr Mukherjee said the US wants India to expedite relevant legislative actions for economic reforms like opening up of insurance, other sectors.

Terming his meetings here as very successful, Mr Mukherjee said: "My bilateral discussions with secretary of state (Hillary Clinton) and the secretary of treasury (Timothy Geithner) clearly indicated that they are interested in widening and deepening the relationship between India and the US.

"On the whole I say, this was a good visit and all the meetings were successful."

"We have identified certain issues on which we should work together. And this was the recommendations made jointly by both Indian CEOs and the US counterparts-education, infrastructure, clean energy, bio tech and health," Mr Mukherjee said.

"They also suggested what are the impediments in fully exploiting the relationship between our two countries and a breakthrough of the long term ideas," he noted.

Mr Mukherjee said that after returning to India he would "set up a committee, a small group, under deputy chairman Planning Commission, who will co-ordinate with all the concerned ministries on the issues which have been identified..."

The committee would then "prepare a road map on what could be done and what are doable, so that before (the US) president's visit to India in November, both the leaders (Obama and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh) are in a position that these are the areas in which progress has been made and what further progress could be made, that could be known."

Mr Mukherjee said that Indo-US relations were "moving in the right direction" and the two countries would surely make breakthrough in major areas.

"I am quite confident that in major areas we will be able to make real breakthrough. Our relationship is expanding very fast. Despite the slowdown, I think, both way international trade is $37 billion."

Asked why India was not getting much US investment into the infrastructure sector, despite it being a focus area, Mr Mukherjee said: "We require more. It is incorrect to say that we are not getting. But we require more.

"Nearly $1 trillion is the level of investment which would be required. 25% to 30% of which ... still there is a gap. So this can be filled in by US companies, particularly in the long term infrastructure, for long term investment in road, shipping, communication, transport," he added.

Asked whether the US counterparts in his meetings sought more opening up on issues like taxation and liberalisation, he said, "Certain issues that are pending, naturally they emphasized on it. For instance the opening up of the insurance sector, 26% to 49%, where the pending legislation is there.

"Similarly to have the replicable model in respect of what we have done in the mega power project to replicate it in the sectors of road and others. There is also the land acquisition act, which is pending and rehabilitation of the displaced persons, these legislations are pending. So they expect that we shall have to expedite these legislative actions," Mr Mukherjee said.

"I am happy that the way things are moving and the chief executive officers representing important corporate sector, they also expressed their happiness that they are having exchange of views with the Indian government," he added.


Power surplus: These States will be able to plug and play

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has listed eight States which will have surplus power by 2012. Out of these, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are most likely to generate significant surpluses

According to Central Electricity Authority (CEA) data, around eight States are expected to generate surplus power by the end of the XI Five Year Plan (2007-2012). However, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttarakhand are States with greater probability of benefiting from a surplus. But these states too have their own share of glitches.

A CEA report dated April 2010 ('Power Scenario at a Glance') says that Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Delhi, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram are the eight states likely to have surplus power at the end of the XI Five Year Plan. 

At the end of 2012, Delhi (peak surplus: 2,023 megawatts (MW), energy surplus:  23,344 million units (MUs); Sikkim (peak surplus: 1,214MW, energy surplus: 3,137 MUs); Uttarakhand (peak surplus: 772MW, energy surplus: 4,344 MUs) and Himachal Pradesh (peak surplus: 1,472MW, energy surplus: 4,609 MUs) are the States which will have significant surplus power.

The gains likely for these States from the sale of this surplus power are huge. Though it depends on how they sell the power to the grid, merchant power is expected to be priced at around Rs5 per unit against the production cost of Rs3 per unit. Margins can be more than 40% for short-term sale.

Himachal Pradesh expects to add around 1,782.50MW in the XI Five Year Plan. Overall, a high surplus of 91.4% or 1,472MW is expected by 2012, against the current deficit of 2.9% or 25MW. The State's current capacity is around 2,030.16MW.

This State has a high probability of becoming a power-surplus one. "Of the total 1,782MW expected capacity for HP, 1,000MW is to come from Karcham Wangtoo.  It is expected that it will be commissioned within the XI Plan and hence the State has a high probability of being a major surplus State by the end of 2012," said Somesh Kumar, associate director, Ernst and Young.

Sikkim, surprisingly, has added no capacity during the X Five Year Plan. Its current capacity is around 195.48MW (as on March 2010). During the XI Plan, it expects to add 775MW. The State is expected to have a surplus of 1,214MW against the current deficit of 1.2% or 1MW.

"Sikkim has 600MW share from the Teesta Stage III project (1,200MW) which eventually would result in surplus power. By the progress of the project it appears that Teesta would be commissioned in time, making Sikkim a surplus state," said Mr Kumar. Teesta III is under construction and is expected to be commissioned in the year 2011-12.

While the projects are likely to be commissioned on time, they may face issues with meeting the peak-hour demand. Moneylife had earlier reported on how hydropower projects like the Teesta and Karchan Wangtoo projects are unlikely to cater to peak hour demand, according to certain energy studies. (see:

Thus, not having peak surplus capacity will cut down on the high level of profits that can be made from trading, but the energy surplus would still be able for sale at a reasonable price.

 Uttarakhand expects to add total capacity of around 821.50MW by 2012. It added around 1,680MW during the X Five Year Plan. The State is expected to have a surplus of 50.4% or 772MW against the current deficit of 20% or 250MW. Uttarakhand's current installed capacity is around 2,404.99MW.

  The State is likely to emerge as a surplus power one provided the major power plants planned here come on stream on the decided deadlines.
"Uttrakhand had a major boost to its supply scenario with the commissioning of the 304MW Maner Bhali project in 2008. Another project which will be significant for the state is the 330MW Shrinagar project, being developed by GVK Industries Limited.

The plant is scheduled to be fully commissioned in March 2012 on best effort basis, but may get delayed as certain local issues are impacting its progress. If Shrinagar project is not commissioned on time, the State may not have significant surplus power," said Mr Kumar.

Delhi, which currently is facing load-shedding issues, added around 225MW during the X Plan. It is expected to add total capacity worth 6,790.5MW at the end of 2012. A surplus of 33.2% or 2,023MW against the current deficit of 5.4% or 192MW is expected to be achieved. The State's current installed capacity is around 4,114. 67MW.

However, Damodar Valley Corporation's three contributing projects Mejia II, Durgpur and Kodarma of (total capacity of around 3,000MW) are already running behind schedule. These are expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2010 or in 2011, and they will supply this power to Delhi.


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