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‘Modi government aiming to make India global hub of green hydrogen’

Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks with Mark Tucker, group chairman of HSBC Holdings, in New Delhi on Thursday, August 24, 2023. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

HERE are news related to Indian economy and business for Thursday, August 24, 2023:

Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the country’s government is aiming to make India a global hub for production, utilisation and export of green hydrogen. Speaking at the launch of HSBC India’s strategic partnerships towards enabling innovation in Green Hydrogen in New Delhi, she said the government is focused on driving green growth through a range of green reforms. The initiative, she said, will provide a roadmap towards reducing carbon intensity in the economy and enable the creation of green job opportunities. “We’re aiming to make India a global hub for production, utilisation and export of green hydrogen,” Sitharaman said, as per an HSBC release.

Traders in the Himalayan country of Nepal have resumed importing onions from India to meet the soaring domestic demand ahead of a festival season, days after the supply was halted following India’s decision to slap a 40 per cent export tax on the vegetable. Last week, India, the world’s biggest exporter of onions, imposed a 40 per cent tariff on the export of the vegetable till December 31 to restrict overseas sales. The move reportedly came amid an anticipation of a price rise ahead of the festival season when demand for most commodities goes up. The new tariff had severely affected Nepal as several traders in the landlocked nation’s largest wholesale market for agricultural products — reported a sudden scarcity of onions. Nepal imports 99 per cent of its onion requirements from its southern neighbour.

The Bombay high court has expressed displeasure over delay in the adjudication of show-cause notices issued under various Central acts, and directed India’s finance ministry to take a serious view of the matter. A division bench of Justice G S Kulkarni and Jitendra Jain in its judgment on August 22 said a robust approach should be adopted for effectively adjudicating show-cause notices. The bench was hearing a petition filed by city-based firm UPL Limited, seeking to quash a show-cause notice issued to it in October 2010 by the commissioner of the Central Excise department alleging non-payment of service tax. While quashing the notice, the bench noted that this was “another classic case of lackadaisical approach” by the commissioner of the Central Excise Department in not adjudicating a show-cause notice issued 13 years ago.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has expressed a desire to “quickly” get back on the negotiating table to discuss a potential trade agreement, Indian commerce and trade minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said in Jaipur in the north-western state of Rajasthan where the G20 trade and investment ministerial meeting was held. Last year, both regions agreed to pursue a free-trade agreement and resume the negotiations. GCC is a union of six countries in the Gulf region — Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. The council is currently India’s largest trading partner bloc. “We have large investments coming from GCC countries. We already have a FTA with UAE…The GCC countries led by Saudi Arabia have expressed the desire to quickly get back on the negotiating table to discuss potential agreements with the GCC countries,” Goyal told reporters.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) to look into allegations of illegal mining in Sahibganj district of the eastern state of Jharkhand by Pankaj Mishra, an aide of the state’s chief minister Hemant Soren, officials said Thursday. A team of CBI officials reached the district to collect documents and inspect the alleged mining sites after registering the PE on the orders of the Jharkhand High Court, they said. The high court had ordered the CBI on August 18 to register the enquiry to probe the allegations of illegal mining against Mishra, they said. It issued the orders on the petition of a local resident, Bijay Hansda, alleging that for the last two-and-a-half years, “stone mafias” are doing “illegal mining” in connivance with government officials including mining officials of his district.

India’s CBI has registered a first information report against Visa Power and its then chairman Vishambhar Saran in connection with an alleged bank fraud of Rs 1,964 crore (£188.4 million), officials said on Thursday. The action of the agency was initiated on a complaint from Punjab National Bank (PNB), one of the members of a consortium of 14 lenders which have sanctioned term loans of Rs 1,964 crore. PNB was the lead bank of the consortium and sanctioned a loan of Rs 394 crore (£37.8 million). The bank has alleged that the company and accused officials — Saran and directors Vikas Agarwal and Subrato Trivedi, both named in the FIR as accused — had approached the bank seeking loans for developing coal-based thermal power project with a generation capacity of 1,200 MW in Raigarh in the central state of Chhattisgarh, they said.

(With agencies inputs)

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