Big News

West Bengal withdraws from Ayushman Bharat program; Maharashtra forces transportation employees back to work after a strike; Tripura suspends mobile data services in the entire state for two days; Sikkim is first state to offer Universal Basic Income; Gujarat and Maharashtra announce plans to reserve 10 percent of jobs and seats in educational institutions; Odisha to distribute free LED bulbs to the poor; Uttar Pradesh finalizes rooftop solar/net metering policy; and more.

Center – State relations

Minister of Water Resources Nitin Gadkari signed an agreement with the chief ministers of Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan for the construction of a 486-foot high multipurpose dam on the Giri River, a tributary of the Yamuna River, at a cost of $653 million. The central government will cover 90 percent of the cost, while the rest will come from the states. Source: Economic Times In detail: Press Release

Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu has announced an increase from $14.20 to $28.40 for old age pensions, starting in January 2019. The move will benefit as many as 5.4 million pensioners. Source: India Today

The Adani Group announced it will invest $9.94 billion over the next 20 years to build solar-powered data centers parks of five gigawatts (GW) or less in Visakhapatnam. Source: Economic Times


The Bihar Renewable Energy Development Agency has issued a request for proposal for the installation of 15 megawatts (MW) of grid connected rooftop solar PV systems. Source: Mercom

New Delhi

The Delhi government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Washington University to undertake a real time source apportionment study in collaboration with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to evaluate air quality issues. Source: New Delhi Times

Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), the energy services company under the Union Ministry of Power, has announced the completion of the project to replace 50,000 conventional electricity meters with smart meters in the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area. The adoption of smart meters will lead to total annual savings of $1.77 million to NDMC. Source: The Hindu Business Line Source: Press Release


The Gujarat government announced the “Scheme for Assistance to Strengthen Specific Sectors in the Textile Value Chain.” The program will offer assistance to the entire textile value chain, offering low interest rates and power tariff subsidies, as well as support to upgrade to technologies, reduce environmental compliance costs, and establish textile parks. Source: The Hindu Business Line

Gujarat is the first state to reserve 10 percent of jobs and seats in educational institutions for economically weaker sections in the general category. Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani said the state would implement the reservation policy from January 7, 2019. Source: Indian Express


The Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission has issued an order approving the power purchase agreements for a total of 49.8 MW of paddy straw biomass-based power projects signed between the developers and the Haryana Power Purchase Center. Source: Mercom


The Karnataka government approved the much awaited $3.26 billion suburban railway corridor project, and also approved a change in alignment of Namma Metro project to provide seamless connectivity to the Kempegowda International Airport. Source: Times of India

Madhya Pradesh

Nothing critical to report this week


The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited has released pending details for the 1,400 MW solar tender it had issued last year. The tender calls to develop 1,400 MW of solar projects in 30 administrative divisions in the state. Source: Mercom In detail: Tender details

The Maharashtra government has launched an Open Educational Board for the students from Class 5 to Class 12 to benefit home schooling in the state. The Open Educational Board, or the Maharashtra Rajya Mukta Vidyalay Mandal, will serve as a platform for athletes, artists, seniors ,and any others who wish to continue their academic journey while pursuing others interests and obligations. Source: NDTV

Over 32,000 employees of Mumbai’s civic transport undertaking went on an indefinite strike over various demands, including higher salaries, prompting the state government to invoke the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act. The protest by the employees of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport coincided with the two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions to protest the government’s alleged anti-worker policies and unilateral labour reforms. Source: Live Mint

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the state will reserve 10 percent of jobs and seats in educational institutions for economically weak societal groups. A total of 68 percent of jobs and seats are already reserved for various categories of citizens in the state. Source: India Today

The Maharashtra government has borrowed $220.7 million from the World Bank to support a project which will enhance private sector participation in the agribusiness. The project is called the State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (SMART), and will cost a total of $315.3 million. Source: The Hindu Business Line


The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission has issued draft amendments to the 2017 regulations on deviation settlement mechanism for grid-connected power. The regulations aim to maintain grid discipline and grid security, and are open for comments and suggestions until January 24, 2019. Source: Mercom In detail: Draft amendments in Deviation Settlement Mechanism Regulations

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami launched a new program to distribute four-week-old roosters, hens, and cages to 77,000 rural women in the state to promote backyard poultry farming. Source: Times of India 

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced the creation of a new district, named Kallakurichi, carving it out of Villupuram, the state’s largest district. Source: Times of India

The closure of three thermal units in Tiruvallur district owned by a joint venture between Tangdeco and the National Thermal Power Corporation will cause shortage of 1,000MW of power for the state distribution company. Source: Times of India


The Indian state of Telangana has launched a blockchain pilot program in collaboration with U.K.-based Cognito Technologies to offer credit ratings to the local unbanked population. The Telangana government will work with Cognito Technologies to establish a credit scoring system for an economically weaker section of the state’s population using blockchain technology. Source: Bitsonline

Uttar Pradesh

In a major boost to the farm sector, the Uttar Pradesh government announced it has cut urea prices in the state by more than 10 percent. The state’s urea prices were higher compared to other states, as it levied an additional Value Added Tax on natural gas. Source: Business Standard 

The Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission has finalized the proposed regulations related to net-metering provisions for rooftop solar projects in the state. The commission had proposed the draft Rooftop Solar Photovolatic (RSPV) Regulations 2019 in November 2018.

Source: Mercom In detail: RSPV regulations 2019

West Bengal

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the state has pulled out of the center’s Ayushman Bharat program, accusing the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government of making “tall claims” under the health coverage program. Source: Business Standard

In an attempt to revive the state’s jute industry, the West Bengal government’s food and supplies department has decided to buy 70 million jute fiber bags from jute farmers. Source: Economic Times

Best of the Rest


Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd has issued a Request for Proposal for the development of 70 MW of grid-connected solar photovoltaic projects in Amguri Solar Park in the state. The last date for the submission of bids is February 6, 2019. Source: Mercom In detail: Request for proposal

Jammu and Kashmir

The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to establish three new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences - two in Jammu and Kashmir and one in Gujarat - under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana scheme at a total cost of $665.4 million. Source: Business Today In detail: Press Release


The Odisha government launched a program to distribute free LED bulbs among the poor in order to reduce household expenditure on electricity. The program will provide the 9.5 million beneficiaries enrolled in either the National Food Security Act or the State Food Security program with four LED bulbs per family. Source: Indian Express

In a meeting with 15th Finance Commission Chairman NK Singh and members of the commission, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik presented a slew of demands, including an increase in tax devolution from 42 percent to 50 percent, extension of GST compensation for another 10 years, and utilization of the Clean Energy Cess in coal mining areas. Source: Odisha TV In detail: Press Release

After announcing cash assistance for farmers, the Odisha government will extend annual financial assistance of $285 each for students belonging to the underprivileged section of society. Source: The Hindu


The Punjab government will implement an online building plan approval system in all municipal bodies in the state from January 15. Source: The Tribune

The Punjab government has decided to provide a subsidy of $34,095 through the Punjab Energy Development Agency to at least 200 farmers to support the installation of biogas plants in rural areas of the district. Source: The Tribune

To encourage farmers towards mechanized paddy transplantation, the Punjab government released a comprehensive plan to provide paddy transplanters with 40-50 percent subsidy. Source: Daily Pioneer In detail: Press Release


Sikkim is set to become the first state in India to roll out Universal Basic Income (UBI) for all residing in the state without any conditions. Sikkim’s ruling party, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), has decided to include UBI in its manifesto ahead of the Assembly elections later this year and aims to implement the scheme by 2022. Source: Indian Express


The Tripura government suspended mobile Internet and SMS services in the entire state for two days in the apprehension of law and order problem following a clash in West Tripura district. Source: News 18


The Uttarakhand cabinet announced that children residing in the state-owned orphanages in Uttarakhand will get five percent reservation in government jobs in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state. As many as 1,000 children will benefit from this decision, according to Uttarakhand government spokesman Madan Kaushik. Source: Business Standard