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Save electricity using new BEE phone app

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency, which has launched a mobile application “AC Power Saver” will enable consumers to calculate energy consumption and potential savings

In order to give boost to the consumer awareness on energy efficiency, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has developed a mobile phones application "AC Power Saver" enabling consumers to calculate energy consumption and potential savings. The application will be freely available for Android, Blackberry and iPhone users.  Recently the statutory body also announced that its energy efficiency regulations for air conditioners unveiled  in January this year would help BEE to save up to Rs1,000 crore by December 2013.

The BEE in a press note said, "These tools will help consumers calculate the expected annual electricity bills and the potential savings. Users can get an idea about their savings on their electricity bills if they buy higher star rating air conditioners. For a wider reach, a dedicated web site, has been created with all necessary information including the energy calculator."

Ajay Mathur, director general, BEE, was quoted in PTI, saying, "These standards which came into practice from 1 January 2012 would save us 200 MW of additional power generation capacity or savings of about Rs1,000 crore by December 2013."

Since January 2012, BEE which is under ministry of power, had upgraded the energy efficiency standards by about 8% for star rating split air-conditioners. While star labelling program for air-conditioners, frost free refrigerators, tubular florescent lights, and distribution transformers began in May 2006 in a voluntary phase, it was mandatory by the BEE from 7 January 2010. "Energy is critical for India, and the demand for clean and efficient energy devices is growing rapidly. We are happy that our initial steps in introducing star labelling for air-conditioners has borne such good results," said Mr Mathur.

BEE has also organised a training programme for air conditioner showroom salesmen on the star labelling criterion. "BEE has already trained 1,544 salesmen in India across six cities and plans to continue with this effort. These trained salesmen help consumers make an informed choice with respect to energy efficiency while buying home air conditioners."


Bank of India cuts home loan rates

The new rates for home loan will be 10.5% for loans up to Rs30 lakh, 10.75% for over Rs30 lakh but less than Rs75 lakh and 11.25% for those above Rs75 lakh.

Mumbai: Following its larger peers, the state-run Bank of India (BoI) on Friday announced reduction in its home loan rates by up to 0.75% as well as a 0.25% drop in the base rate to 10.5%, reports PTI.

The new rates will be effective 1st May the bank said in a statement. Accordingly, the new rates will be 10.5% for loans up to Rs30 lakh, 10.75% for over Rs30 lakh but less than Rs75 lakh and 11.25% for those above Rs75 lakh.

The rates are floating ones and are linked to the bank's base rate which at present is 10.5%.

Following an unexpected 0.5% cut in the lending rates by the Reserve Bank in its annual monetary policy on 17th April, some leasing banks like SBI, ICICI Bank, and UBI among others have brought down their lending rates or base rates.


Agri workers may get foodgrains as part of MNREGA wages

According to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, the government is examining a proposal to provide foodgrains as part of wage payments to agriculture workers under

New Delhi: Amid demands for government sharing half the burden of wage payment to labourers engaged in agricultural activities on private land, the Centre on Friday said it is examining a proposal to provide foodgrains as part of wage payments to agriculture workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).

"This year there is record production of paddy in Andhra Pradesh ... We are examining whether we can provide some foodgrains instead of only rupees ... whether certain payment can be made from MNREGA to agriculture workers," Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said in Rajya Sabha.

He was replying to a short notice question by JD Seelam (Congress).

In a recent letter to Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, the Agriculture Ministry had proposed providing foodgrains to workers as part of MNREGA wages.

Agriculture labourers working on private land are receiving part of wages under MNREGA in various states.

Mr Seelam earlier said that farmers were not getting labourers for agriculture activities in Andhra Pradesh, which was facing drought, as they were engaged in MNREGA.

He sought to know whether the labourers engaged in agriculture activities in private land can be paid half of their wages under MNREGA fund to ensure their availability.

Raising the issue of severe drought in Andhra Pradesh, he accused the Centre of providing only Rs 706 crore against Rs3,006 crore sought by the state.

"When are you releasing the actual amount which is due to Andhra Pradesh government for distribution among farmers," he asked.


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