Industry to maintain double digit growth, says Montek

Attributing the double digit industrial growth rate to stimulus packages, the Planning Commission on Friday said that the growth momentum would be maintained in the coming months, reports PTI. 

"To get a growth rate well above 10% is not just a base effect. There is an element growth that is taking place, which I hope will be sustained," Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters.
 
According to data released earlier in the day, industrial production grew by a robust 10.3% in October against a paltry 0.1% in the same month a year ago, powered by manufacturing, particularly consumer durables.
 
Pointing out that the government’s efforts were yielding results, Mr Ahluwalia said, "We have been saying consistently that the stimulus is taking effect and the recovery process is therefore gaining ground. Our forecast about improvement in economic growth is accurate and we would be able to maintain this momentum in coming months."
 
The Planning Commission has projected a growth rate of 6.5% for the current financial year. The Commission, however, may revise its growth projections in view of the high growth rate of 7.9% recorded during the second quarter of 2009-10.
 
The strong industrial production data came days after a better-than-expected economic growth of 7.9% in the second quarter of this fiscal, reflecting that the economy would sustain the recovery provided that agriculture does not slip too much.
 
For the first seven months of this fiscal, industry expanded by 7.1% against 4.3% a year ago.
 
Manufacturing, which has almost 80% weight in the Index of Industrial Production, grew by 11.1% against (-)0.6% a year ago, when the industry faced the full impact of the global financial crisis after the collapse of US financial services icon Lehman Brothers.
 
Within manufacturing, consumer durables production expanded by 21% in October against (-)1.6% a year ago. Mining production grew by 8.2% in the month against 3.2% and electricity generation expanded by 4.7% compared to 4.4%.
 
Industrial growth for September was revised to 9.6% from the provisional estimate of 9.1%.
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Organised retail to touch $13 billion by 2010

The retail sector is growing at 5.5% not only in metros but even in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, according to an ASSOCHAM report.

The Indian retail sector is expected to grow at a rate of 5.5% to $410 billion (around Rs19,03,844 crore) by 2010 from about $300 billion at present, industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) said on Monday.

The chamber said that organised retail, which at present accounts for nearly 5% of the overall retail market, is likely to touch $13 billion (around Rs60,375 crore) by 2010 from $9.23 billion (around Rs42,000 crore) currently.

"The size of Indian retail sector is estimated to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 5.5%, to become a $410-billion market by 2010," it said.
India has one of the highest numbers of retail outlets in the world. The sector is witnessing exponential growth not only in major cities but even in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, ASSOCHAM president Swati Piramal said.

Over 100 malls of over 30 million square feet are projected to open in India by end-2010, according to the report. DLF has declared its intentions to build around 500 luxury lifestyle stores across India within five years, while the Tata group is expanding its retail business with 100 new Croma stores within three years.

The report also said that revenues from the retail sector may grow by 22.7% and 30.25% in the third and fourth quarter, respectively, of the current fiscal
(2009-10).
— Yogesh Sapkale
 

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Smart grids may make power sector financially viable

Smart grids, which increase the connectivity, automation and coordination between electricity suppliers, consumers and networks, will make the sector more financially viable, says an expert

Globally, smart grids are becoming more popular. Power distribution in India has also not been left untouched by this revolution in the grid system. If smart grids were to be the next big step for power distribution in India, it will make the sector financially more viable and control power theft, says an expert.

“Smart grids will make the sector more financially viable. This will help you get that much more money into the system. So with smart grids, power utilities will suffer lesser financial losses,” said Banmali Agrawala, executive director for strategy and business development, Tata Power Co Ltd.

A smart grid delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to control appliances at consumer homes to save energy, reduce cost, increase reliability and improve transparency. It includes all kinds of information technology—such as sensors, digital meters and a communications network.
 Among other things, a smart grid would be capable of avoiding outages, will save energy and help other green undertakings such as electric cars by encouraging use of renewable sources of energy.

With smart grids there is no need to send people to rectify things physically, in case of a power failure. A few commands from a computer at the control centre may help fix the problem or the equipment may even fix itself. Sensors on transmission lines and smart meters at customers' premises would locate the fault and smart switches then would be able to route power supply through other resources.

One of the important fundamentals in smart grids is ‘time of the day’ metering or time of usage, which involves dividing the time into different tariff slots where there would be higher rates for peak hours and lower rates for off-peak periods. With ‘time of the day’ metering, real time monitoring of the consumer’s actual consumption is possible. Mr Agrawala explains how consumption is already being monitored in some places in India. “In Delhi, we are already using it (monitoring actual power consumption) with New Delhi Power Ltd (NDPL); in Mumbai, we are using it in some areas and would like to increase it in other areas as well,” he said.

With ‘time of the day’ metering, problems like power theft could be easily tackled by both the consumer as well as the power supplier. ”Suppose if I see a family’s consumption going up all of a sudden, I should be able to call the consumer and enquire why the consumption has shot up suddenly. One can actually monitor consumption in a far more robust manner. With smart grids, you can have a far closer link with your consumer,” said Mr Agrawala.

A power import-export relation can also be established with the consumer through smart grids. Many electricity customers are installing their own electricity-generating equipment for reasons like economy, redundancy or environmental concerns. When a customer is generating more electricity than required for his own use, the surplus may be exported back to the power grid. This could prove helpful to distributors in meeting demand during peak hours.

In the exercise of distributing power, smart grids could make the system more efficient. “You can monitor the health of all the equipment that you have without actually having any people in place to keep a check,” Mr Agrawala added.
He also lists out other possible uses of the smart grid system. “We can look at the possibility of using the grid for other forms of communication,” said Mr Agrawala.
However, he points out what would be crucial in getting such a system in place, is ‘time of the day’ metering and lowering of current subsidies on energy.

“Without ‘time of the day’ metering, smart grids as a concept will not work. Secondly, the lower the subsidies on energy, the more effective will be these smart grids. The whole idea is that we want people to experience and experience the actual price of energy, before choosing a smart grid. The subsidy element has to go down,” added Mr Agrawala.

Smart grids—in the initial stages—would have a higher potential in urban areas, for power utilities. “To start with, the advantages in urban areas would be more because the potential in the urban areas to save is high and the subsidies in these areas are lesser. So if there is no subsidy, this concept of smart grids works well,” points out Mr Agrawala.
-Amritha Pillay [email protected]
 

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COMMENTS

Udit Chaudhuri

9 years ago

Nothing new in the concept or statement of need for a smart combination of local grids, distributed generation and inter-grid links, with facilities for trading, etc. Some of this was proposed in the Vickers report to our government during the First 5-year Plan. Unfortunately the Government decided to go whole-hog for only large centralised plants and dams. Micro-hydel generation from canals fed by large dams continue to get lip-service.

Even when Panchayats are empowered to facilitate local power plants, Government regulatory hurdles abound. A power line cannot even gross a road without permission from the district administration or municipal corporation concerned.

Clearing administrative hurdles and ridding the system of inter-departmental jealousies is imperative for any reform process. Otherwise we will miss yet another bus in power sector development and that will hurt the economy severely.

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