Oil & Gas

Gas Price Policy: Despite pressure from the Supreme Court of India seeking clarification on the Gas  Pricing Policy, the NDA government has postponed announcement of the same to 15 November, 2014. The government had appointed a Panel of four secretaries to give a report on the Gas Price Policy suggested by the  Rangarajan Committee. The Panel submitted its report on 17 September, 2014. The panel’s report has  been kept under the wraps, some sources have revealed that the price suggest by the panel is lower  than the price suggested by the Rangarajan committee.

GAIL India clarifies on buying LNG import carriers: GAIL has signed two long terms Free on Board  (FOB) contracts to source 5.8 MTPA of LNG from USA, which require GAIL to arrange LNG ships for transportation of  such LNG from 2017 onwards for a period of 20 years. In order to transport 5.8 MTPA, GAIL would require about 09 LNG ships and on August 01, 2014, GAIL floated a tender for  charter hiring of new built LNG ships on International Competitive Bidding basis. The due date for  bid submission is October 30, 2014. As GAIL is also exploring the possibility of swapping as well  as marketing part of the LNG in international markets exact number of ships would be decided at the  time of award.

Restructuring Railways Board: A committee under Bibek Debroy, economist and professor, Centre for  Policy Research has been set up to give its recommendations on restructuring the Railways Board. Further,  the committee will suggest steps to mobilise resources for major  projects and help set up a Rail  Tariff Authority. Other members of the panel include former Cabinet Secretary K. M. Chandrasekhar; Gurcharan Das former Chairman and Managing Director of Procter & Gamble;  Partha Mukopadhyay, senior fellow, Centre for Policy Research; Ravi Narain, former Managing  Director of the National Stock Exchange; and a nominee from the Department of Economic Affairs,  finance ministry.

Global oil prices dip to the lowest in current year: The global crude oil prices dip below USD 90 a  barrel, reaching USD 88.18 a barrel. In India the fuel is selling at Rs. 2 higher than the global  market price. Therefore, the state firms are requesting a delay in the price cut so that they can  make up for their previous losses. The shift in crude oil prices has increased the prospects of  meeting this year’s fiscal deficit target of 4.1% of GDP.

Coal

Supreme Court’s verdict on coal allocation: The Supreme Court bench constituting Former Chief  Justice of India R.M. Lodha, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph gave their decision on the coal block  allotment writ petition. The Supreme Court cancelled all coal block allotments except the four  allotments made to National Thermal Power Corporation, Sasan Power Ltd. and Steel Authority of  India Ltd. The decision includes a ‘breathing’ period to the companies’ extracting coal from 40 blocks  operational at present and 6 blocks which will start producing in 2014-15. The cancellation of  allocation of the respective 46 blocks will come into effect from 31 March, 2015.

Infrastructure

Madhya Pradesh to invest 3000 Crores to develop 27 industrial parks: The Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj  Singh Chouhan has announced that investments over the period of five year will be made to develop  industrial parks for sectors such as textiles, infotech, tourism, and food processing among others.  Among other initiatives to be offered, policies for single window clearances may be introduced.

Defence

Central Govt. clears 33 pending defence projects: The Government on 7 October, 2014 cleared 19  applications for defence production from major companies including Reliance Aerospace Technologies,  Bharat Forge, Mahindra Telephonic Integrated Systems, Punj Lloyd Industries Limited, Mahindra Aero  Structure and Tata Advanced Materials among others. Further, with regard to another 14 defence  applications, the companies have been informed that the defence items will be delicensed. Press Note on delicensing is expected to be released by Department of Industrial  Policy & Promotion.

India and USA defence deal: India and the US entered into a renewal of its defence deal for another  10 years. India and USA signed a deal for co-development and co-production of products ranging from  Javelin anti-tank guided missiles to unmanned aerial vehicles. India is keen on ensuring that US sticks to its promise to provide “ground-breaking technology”.

Avro-replacement programme of Indian Air Force back on the runway: Under the Avro-replacement  programme, the private sector is allowed to participate in the aircraft manufacturing sector. The date for submission of tender had to be extended to October 2014 as it  attracted no bids. The Indian companies started having doubts about the sustainability of the proposal and the decision to keep the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) out of the race.