ISA plans to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025

ISA plans to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025: Upendra Tripathy

Image result for upendra tripathyInternational Solar Alliance (ISA) is aiming to become self sustainable soon. Launched in 2015 on the sidelines of COP21, the alliance is implementing demand aggregation model to make large scale solar projects economically viable. Upendra Tripathy, Director General, ISA in an exclusive interaction with Ankush Kumar (ET Energy World) talks about the group’s key initiatives and long term plans. Edited excerpts.. 

Could you give us a break-up of the funds that you have raised so far? 
We have got a working budget of up to $4.5 million to be utilized until December this year. This money has come from the interest of the donations made by our partners. The government of India has given around $16 million to ISA which has been deposited in State Bank of India (SBI) and is giving around 7 per cent interest. Chinese solar company CLP has given us $1 million. SoftBank has given us $2 million. Indian PSUs and government organisations like SECIIREDA, NTPC, REC, PGCIL, CIL, PFC, ITPO have given us $1 million each. All of this works out to around $11 million. Therefore, with contribution from India which is 16 million and this $11 million we have a total of around $27 million. On all these donations we are getting an interest of around 7 per cent.

What is the future outlook on funding arrangements? 
The Government of India gave us $16 million in 2016 and it is giving $2.5 million every year for five years. The government has been giving us money for the past three years and that will stop after two years. As a host country, the government of India had initially promised up to Rs 400 crore. There are other global institutions we are able to attract investment from. The World Bank has given us $0.5 million and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is planning to give us $2 million. The European Union has given $300,000 to build Infopedia. It is an information platform which will have three parts. First, it will have 1,000 solar videos, then there will be a country counter where each country will showcase what best it has to offer for the industry. The third aspect is a communication platform where ministers, scientists, experts from 121 member countries can interact.

How much corpus do you think will be sufficient for ISA to become financially stable? What is the return on investment for the companies who donates to ISA? Do they have decision-making power too? 
Our long-term plan is to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025 with contributions which will give us an interest of up to $40million. So, once we have a corpus like this we will not need a membership fee. Once an organisation donates the money they can not take part in any decision on how ISA is utilizing it. As far as benefits to the companies for donating to ISA are concerned, we are open to provide the platform for engagements with our member countries which can be beneficial to them in many ways. Recently, the minister of Cuba wanted to meet all our corporate partners and we have facilitated that. Suppose the corporate partners have any issue with any country we can directly communicate to the minister in a particular country. We have a dedicated desk for the corporate partners. If they have any legal issues in any part of the world, we forward it to our national focal contact in that country.

You had earlier talked about an aggregation model for pitching large scale projects in other nations. How does this model work and what could be the core benefits? 
Beginning next month, we are going to organise a meeting of our partners. The idea is to actively engage and promote the ISA agenda which talks about pitching for large scale projects like home lighting systems and solar cookers by using the demand aggregation model. Through this, we aim to bring the cost of a home lighting system close to what a family pays for kerosene oil. Otherwise they will not buy. Through this aggregation model of demand, risk and capital, we can achieve universal energy access. We also need to establish institutions like a world solar bank which can be dedicated to providing financial assistance for solar projects.

Solid waste management is a critical area for sustainability. Do you think ISA, being a large and global organisation, can help in building a universal procedure for waste management?
We are trying to recommend to every member country that for every solar unit they generate, they should levy 0.001 per cent of that cost as cess and this should be accumulated as a solar fund. This fund should be used to treat solar waste as it gets generated. In 25 years, all these solar panels will be waste. So, the best thing is to prepare it for now. We will recommend to all these solar countries to create a solar waste fund and levy a sub-charge on solar electricity. We believe that the present generation, which is using solar energy, should make the future generations ready for this solar revolution.

Courtesy – ETEnergyWorld |By-Ankush Kumar | New Delhi | April 19, 2019

Ayushman Bharat for a new India -2022, announced

Ayushman Bharat for a new India -2022, announced 
Two major initiatives in health sector announced
Rs. 1200 Crore allocated for 1.5 Lakh health and wellness Centres
National health protection Scheme to provide Hospitalisation cover to over 10 Crore poor and vulnerable families 

The Government today announced two major initiatives in health sector , as part of Ayushman Bharat programme. The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitely while presenting the General Budget 2018-19 in Parliament here today said that this was aimed at making path breaking interventions to address health holistically, in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems, covering both prevention and health promotion.

Image result for Ayushman Bharat for a new India -2022, announced
Ayushman Bharat for a new India -2022

The initiatives are as follows:-

(i) Health and Wellness Centre:-

The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system. Under this 1.5 lakh centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people. These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.  These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services. The Budget has allocated Rs.1200 crore for this flagship programme. Contribution of private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.

(ii) National Health Protection Scheme:- The second flagship programme under Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme, which will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.  This will be the world’s largest government funded health care programme. Adequate funds will be provided for smooth implementation of this programme.

The Finance Minister further said, that these two health sector initiatives under Ayushman Bharat Programme will build a New India 2022 and ensure enhanced productivity, well being and avert wage loss and impoverishment. These Schemes will also generate lakhs of jobs, particularly for women.

The Finance Minister said, that in order to further enhance accessibility of quality medical education and health care, 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals will be set up, by up-grading existing district hospitals in the country. This would ensure that there is at least 1 Medical College for every 3 Parliamentary Constituencies and at least 1 Government Medical College in each State of the country.

Government of India Ministry of Finance (Press Information Bureau), 01 February, 2018, New Delhi  

Najeeb Jung resigns as Lieutenant Governor of Delhi

Najeeb Jung resigns as Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, says returning to first love ‘academics’

Najeeb Jung resigns as Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, says returning to first love 'academics'

In a surprise move, Najeeb Jung has resigned from the post of Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

Najeeb Jung says that he would be returning to his first love i.e. academics, according to Lt. Governor’s office.

Jung has submitted his resignation to the Government of India.

Noteworthy, Jung had still 1.5 years left in his tenure as L-G of Delhi. He assumed the post in July 2013.

Reportedly, Jung has paid thanks to PM Narendra Modi and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in his letter.

Reacting to Jung’s resignation, BJP spokesperson RP Singh said,”Najeeb Jung was doing a good job, his resignation has come as a surprise to us.”

-December 22, 2016, New Delhi


Revision of e-tourist Visa fees from November 03, 2015

Revision of e-tourist Visa fees from November 03, 2015

Government of India has decided to revise the e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) fee in four slabs of 0, US $25, US $ 48, and US $60 from November 3, 2015. Presently e-TV application fee is US $ 60 and bank charge is US $ 2 which is uniform for all the countries. The revision of Visa fee has been done on the principle of reciprocity. Bank charges have also been reduced from US $ 2 to 2.5 % of the e-TV fee. There is no bank charge for zero visa fees.

Government had launched e-Tourist Visa scheme on November 27, 2014. The scheme has been extended to 113 Countries/Territories. Sixteen Indian airports have been designated for providing e-Tourist visa service till now. The scheme has been implemented in completely online mode with provision of pre-authorization of visa in the form of ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation). The visa service under the scheme is being rendered in time-bound manner and decision is communicated to applicant via e-mail within 72 hours of making online application.

Out of 113 Countries/Territories included in e-Tourist Visa scheme US $ 60 has been fixed for 5 Countries/Territories (Mozambique, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and USA).

US $ 48 has been fixed for 86 Countries/Territories (Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Island, Chile, China, China- SAR Hong kong, China- SAR Macau, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turks & Caicos Island, UAE, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela and Vietnam.)

US $ 25 has been fixed for 3 Countries/Territories (Japan, Singapore and Sri Lanka)

Zero Visa fees has been decided for 19 Countries/Territories (Argentina, Cook Islands, Fiji, Jamaica, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue Island, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay, and Vanuatu).

e-Tourist Visa holders can enter India through any of the 16 designated Indian Airports (Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi).

Besides reciprocating the gestures of other countries it is expected that this revision of fee will also help in boosting tourism in the country. Since the launch of the scheme on November 27, 2014 more than 3,40,000 (Three lakhs forty thousand) e-TVs have been issued till now.

Further details in this regard may be checked on the e-Tourist Visa website:

-Ministry of Home Affairs, 30-October, 2015

Government of India makes changes in indirect tax rates, effective from 19th October

Government of India makes changes in indirect tax rates, effective from 19th October 

Government has made the following changes in indirect tax rates, effective from today, that is 19th October, 2015:

1) In view of the continued fall in international prices of wheat and the anticipated adverse impact of increased imports during the first half of this financial year, basic customs duty on wheat has been increased from 10% to 25% for a period upto 31.03.2016. Notification No.51/2015-Customs, dated 19.10.2015 may be referred to in this regard.

2) Specified biodiesel is exempt from central excise duty. However, its inputs namely, RBD Palm Stearin, Methanol and Sodium Methoxide are chargeable to central excise duty leading to CENVAT credit accumulation. Central excise duty has been exempted on RBD Palm Stearin, Methanol and Sodium Methoxide used in the manufacture of such biodiesel subject to actual user condition for a period upto 31.03.2016. Notification No.42/2015-Central Excise, dated 19.10.2015 may be referred to in this regard.

Ministry of Finance (19th October, 2015)