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India economy & business news in brief for March 27: India’s Himachal inks MoU with HLC Green Energy on green hydrogen

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu speaks in the state assembly in Shimla. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Here are news in brief related to Indian economy and business for Monday, March 27, 2023:

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and HLC Green Energy LLC in state capital Shimla on Monday for collaboration on green hydrogen, ANI reported. Himachal chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said he aims to make the state the ‘First Green State’ by 2025 and a leading green hydrogen-based economy, and this MoU was a step towards it. The MoU was signed in the presence of state industries minister Harshwardhan Chauhan; director, industries, Rakesh Kumar Prajapati and managing director of M/s HLC Green Energy LLC, Sanjay Sharma. The CM while expressing happiness over the signing of MoU, said that Green hydrogen has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly, potential of reducing fertilizer prices and contribute to the nation’s economy through import substitution.

The Lok Sabha or the lower chamber of the Indian parliament on Monday approved the Finance Bill 2023 which had an amendment from the bill approved by the House last week. The bill with an amendment moved by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman was passed earlier in the day by Rajya Sabha or the upper chamber. The bill was passed amid ruckus in the two Houses over opposition demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on the Adani Group fiasco. The Lok Sabha had passed the Finance Bill 2023 with 64 amendments on Friday (24) amid din created by sloganeering by the Opposition parliamentarians who continued with their demand of a JPC probe into the Adani-Hindenburg issue. Sitharaman tabled the Finance Bill after presenting the federal budget 2023-24 on February 1. (ANI)

The Indian government has received about 54 foreign direct investment proposals from China since last year and they are pending for approval, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said, according to a Reuters report. “54 FDI proposals received during the past year and current year with investor/ beneficial owner from China/Hong Kong are pending for decision with government as on March 21, 2023,” the minister told lawmakers on Monday. She also added that the Indian government is not considering easing restrictions put in place a few years ago on foreign investments from countries with which India shares a land border.

Jio has announced a new home broadband “Back-up Plan”, which will enable uninterrupted streaming, and importantly the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League starting on Friday (31) and other live sports, ANI reported. Users will get a choice to upgrade the speed (from 10-30 /100 Mbps) as and when they need it, with one, two, and seven-day options. The plan is expected to help homes with an unreliable broadband connection, by providing a round-the-corner reliable, always-on backup connectivity, besides acting as a catalyst for the unconnected homes. “As India’s largest home broadband service provider, we at Jio understand the customer’s need to remain connected round the clock with dependable broadband connectivity at home. With JioFiber Backup, we want to offer alternate reliable broadband connectivity for homes,” a Jio spokesperson said.

The government of the western state of Gujarat has paid Rs 16,900 crore (£1.67 billion) to Adani Power and Tata Power for purchasing electricity during the last two years, the state assembly was informed on Monday, PTI reported. As per the data tabled by state energy minister Kanubhai Desai during Question Hour, the state government paid Rs 8,160 crore (£807.9 million) to Adani Power Mundra Ltd while Rs 8,784 crore (£870 million) was paid to Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power, in 2021 and 2022. While responding to a set of questions raised by Congress lawmakers about the purchase of electricity from these private players, Desai said the state government paid Rs 2,760 crore (£273.2 million) to Adani Power in 2021 to buy 5,589 million units while Rs 5,400 crore (£534.6 million) was paid to the firm in 2022 for nearly 6,000 million units.

German luxury automaker BMW plans to introduce 19 car models, including electric vehicles, in India this year as it looks to sustain double-digit sales growth in the country, a top company official said on Monday, PTI reported. The car maker, which expects 2023 to be the best for it in terms of sales in the country so far, also aims for electric vehicles to account for about 15 per cent of its overall sales this year. The group also plans to introduce three bike models under the BMW Motorrad business in India this year.

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