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  1. Prime Minister Launches Ease of Doing Business Grand Challenge (Ministry of Commerce & Industry)

The PM launched a Grand Challenge on resolving seven identified Ease of Doing Business problems by using cutting-edge technologies.

The Government of India aims to make India one of the easiest places to conduct business in the world.


The objective is to tap the potential of young Indians, startups and other private enterprises to provide solutions to complex problems using current technology.

This challenge is aimed at attracting innovation ideas on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics, Blockchain and other cutting edge technology to reform government processes.

The platform for this grand challenge will be on Start Up India portal.

Mr. Hartwig Schafer, Vice President, South Africa of the World Bank Group mentioned that it gets tougher to improve ranks as a country moves higher up in the ranking and expressed his belief that India will continue the momentum it has gained over the last four years in its efforts in improving Ease of Doing Business.

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report (DBR, 2019):

India improved its ranking from 100th position in 2017 to 77th position in 2018 (a jump of 23 positions) among 190 countries.

Also India has improved its rank by 53 positions in the last two years and 65 positions in the last four years [2014 – 2018].


World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index ranks 190 countries based on 10 parameters, including starting a business, construction permits, getting electricity, getting credit, paying taxes, trade across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

  1. President of India addresses National Assembly of Vietnam; leads delegation-level talks; says Vietnam is pivotal to India’s “Act East” policy (President’s Secretariat)

The President of India held bilateral meetings with the President of Vietnam as well as led delegation-level talks.

The two countries signed and exchanged four agreements:

  • An agreement between the Ministry of Information and Communication of Vietnam and the Ministry of Communications of India.
  • An agreement of cooperation between the Department of Foreign Affairs of Provinces, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam, and the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam.
  • An academic agreement between the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, Hanoi, and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
  • An agreement between the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The President noted that Vietnam is the first ASEAN and Southeast Asian country he is visiting in his capacity as President of India.

He mentioned Vietnam that “we have robust business, political and people-to-people bonds. We are both stakeholders in the commerce, security and stability of the Indo-Pacific Region”.

Vietnam and India share a vision for the Indo-Pacific Region, where the South China Sea is a critical component.

Further, India has consistently supported ASEAN’s unity and centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms for regional security and economic architecture – to promote peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Indian investors are keen to strengthen their presence in Vietnam:

India seeks Vietnam’s support in facilitating Indian investments in sectors like renewable energy, infrastructure, agriculture, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and oil and gas.

India also looks forward to cooperation with Vietnam in improving agricultural productivity.

Dialogue for Maritime Security:

India wants to enhance bilateral cooperation in the maritime domain – for instance, through our first Bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue to be hosted by Vietnam in early 2019.

Maritime security, piracy, and drug trafficking using the oceans are issues of common concern.

  1. Hon’ble Prime Minister to lay Foundation Stones of City Gas Distribution (CGD) Projects in 65 Geographical Areas (GAs) in 129 Districts under the 9th CGD Bidding Round. (Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas)

The Prime Minister would lay the Foundation Stones of City Gas Distribution (CGD) Projects in 65 Geographical Areas (GAs) in 129 districts under the 9th CGD Bidding Round recently awarded by PNGRB (Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board).

 This might herald the availability of convenient, environment-friendly and cheaper natural gas for nearly half of the country’s population spread across 26 States and Union Territories upto 9th round.

During the event, Hon’ble PM would also launch 10th CGD Bidding Round in 50 Gas spread over 124 districts in 14 states.

CGD Network:

  • Govt of India puts thrust to promote the usage of environment friendly clean fuel i.e. natural gas as a fuel/feedstock to move towards a gas based economy.
  • Development of CGD networks focuses to increase the availability of cleaner cooking fuel (i.e. PNG) and transportation fuel (i.e. CNG) to the citizens.
  • The expansion of CGD network will benefit the industrial and commercial units by ensuring the uninterrupted supply of natural gas.

At Present:

  • Till September 2018, 96 cities/districts were covered for development of CGD networks.
  • About 46.5 lakh households and 32 lakh CNG vehicles are availing the benefit of clean fuel through existing CGD networks.
  • As per commitment made by various entities in this bidding round, around 2 crore PNG (Domestic) connections and 4600 CNG stations are expected to be installed in next 8 years across the country (This expanded the coverage of CGDs to about 50% of the population over 35% of India’s area).
  • Additionally, PNGRB has also initiated the process of 10th CGD bidding round for additional 50 new GAs covering 124 districts in 14 States to increase the coverage to nearly 53% of the country’s area covering 70% of the population.

Why Natural Gas:

  • Natural Gas is a superior fuel, environment friendly, safe and cheaper when compared to coal and other liquid fuels.
  • Natural Gas is supplied through pipelines just like water from the tap. Hence, its saves space by not using cylinders.
  • Natural Gas (as CNG) is cheaper by 60% as compared with petrol and 45% w.r.t. Diesel.
  • Natural Gas (as PNG) is cheaper by 40% as compared with market price LPG.
  • An auto-rickshaw owner can save Rs. 7000-8000 on his monthly fuel bill by conversion from petrol to CNG.

Share of Natural Gas in India’s energy basked is 6.2% as against 23.4% globally. The Gujarat state itself has 25%.

If Gujarat can achieve share of gas consumption more than global average, rest of India can also.


India has made a commitment in COP21 Paris Convention in December 2015 that by 2030; it would reduce carbon emission by 33% of 2005 levels.

Natural gas, as domestic kitchen fuel, as fuel for transport sector and fuel for industries and commercial units, will play an imperative role in reducing carbon emission.

  1. Government of India and the World Bank sign $310 million Loan Agreement for Jharkhand Power System Improvement Project to provide reliable, quality, and affordable 24×7 electricity to the citizens of Jharkhand.

The Government of India, the Government of Jharkhand and the World Bank signed a $310 million Loan Agreement for Jharkhand Power System Improvement Project to provide reliable, quality, and affordable 24×7 electricity to the citizens of Jharkhand.

The project is part of the Government of India’s Power for All program launched in 2014.

The plan envisages addition of over 4.5 GW generation capacities by 2022 (including a significant share of 1.5 GW from solar energy), through a mix of Private and Public Sector investments.

Jharkhand Power System Improvement Project:

  • It will help build new power transmission infrastructure.
  • It will deploy systems to improve the technical efficiency and commercial performance of the state power sector utilities.
  • It will help bring in modern technology solutions like automated sub-stations, and network analysis and planning tools to give reliable power supply and enhance customer satisfaction.

The proposed investments aimed at improving power transmission infrastructure, and also focus on developing institutional capacities of State-owned power transmission and distribution companies and improving their operational performance.

Major Components:

  • Construction of new substations and transmission lines mainly at 132KV voltage level.
  • Support to the Jharkhand Urja Sancharan Nigam Limited (JUSNL) in setting-up systems for strengthening the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) operations including financing software solutions for improving scheduling and dispatch functions.
  • This will integrate renewable energy in the State grid.

Smart Meters:

  • The project will support smart meters, with two-way communication and backend IT infrastructure, deployed in select urban towns.
  • These meters will not only reduce technical and commercial losses, but also improve peak load management.
  • These meters are expected to provide consumers with better access to data which will encourage them to reduce their electricity consumption.
  • The project will finance smart metering for around 350,000 consumers in the capital city of Ranchi.


The Government of Jharkhand has achieved significant results towards electrification. As per data from the Jharkhand Distribution Company more than 80 percent of all citizens in the State have access to electricity.

The State will continue to work towards providing reliable 24×7 Power for all its consumers. The Per Capita Consumption of electricity in Jharkhand at 552 kWh at the end of FY16 is nearly half of the national average.

Improved availability of power from plants owned by the Central Government and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) has helped the State achieve lower demand supply deficits in recent years.