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Development Watch – Week #2 May ’23

Development News

Solar power scheme for farmers in Maharashtra

Solar power generation will reduce the purchase cost of electricity. It will also help supply uninterrupted day-time power supply to farmers. The newly launched “Mukhya Mantri Saur Krishi Vahini Yojana” in Maharashtra will allow land to be taken on lease for 30 years for solar power generation. The state government will pay Rs. 1.25 lakh per hectare as rent for land taken on lease for this scheme. The plan is to generate 7,000 MW of electricity. For this purpose, 28,000 acres of land will be needed. The scheme will be started by December 2025. It will bring down purchase cost to Rs. 3 – 3.50 per unit from Rs. 8. The farmers will get electricity at the same rate of Rs. 1.5 per unit.

Reason behind failure of airlines in India

Indian airlines have been facing stiff competition from each other. They have ordered billions of dollars worth of planes for an emerging middle class that apparently wants to travel more. It is a difficult market due to a mix of low-cost fares, high taxes on fuel, and competition. This has worsened due to the pandemic. India may have to cope with more than 1.3 billon passengers a year in next 20 years. At present, there are fewer than 200 million now. The data has come from Sydney-based CAPA Centre for Aviation. It estimates that within 40 years, Indian aviation market will grow from the size of Las Vegas to the size of the US.

However, recently, India’s 3rd largest airline, GoAir has sought insolvency protection. Their supplier of parts had failed to supply replacement engines needed for Airbus A320 neo jets. This forced them to ground half of their fleet planes. GoAir has also borrowed heavily to pay lease rentals, airport dues and salaries during Covid, when the planes were grounded.

Indian cargo ships reach Myanmar port for the first time

The first Indian Cargo ship reached newly inaugurated Sittwe Port in Rakhine state of Myanmar. The operationalization of Sittwe port would enhance bilateral and regional trade, and contribute to the local economy of Myanmar. It will also lead to employment opportunities. The project was conceptualized to provide alternative connectivity of Mizoram with Haldia, or Kolkata, or any Indian ports through Kaladan River in Myanmar. It envisages road transport from Mizoram – Paletwa – Sittwe by Inland Water Transport (IWT).

Food Trucks, and Bus aggregator scheme of Delhi

The Delhi government would soon be rolling out a ‘Premium Bus Aggregator Scheme’ to provide an alternative transport to middle class citizens. Those with paying capacity would be able to choose public transport over their vehicles. Public feedback would be sought after the scheme is approved by the lieutenant governor of Delhi. The state government is also working on a food truck policy that will be put up for public feedback.

Stakeholders include MCD, DMRC, traffic police, and the transport department. Metro stations and parking sites have been identified as hubs for setting up food trucks. The food trucks will come and go from the site where they will be stationed. They will operate in the night hours (8pm – 2am). However, their accurate category and rules for movement within the city are yet to be identified.

Char Dham Yatras find more tourists this year

Hospitality chain Oyo Rooms said it has witnessed an increase of 206% in bookings for Char Dham Yatra in 2023, compared to 2022. Char Dham Yatra is a spiritual pilgrimage of 4 sacred shrines in the Himalayas. These include Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Oyo has announced the doubling of number of properties available for the Yatra. New properties will be distributed across key locations along Yatra route. This would make it easier for pilgrims to find comfortable and ‘affordable’ places to stay. Srinagar in Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, is the most visited location this year. Diversity in location allows Oyo to provide pilgrims with lodging facilities throughout their journey. Uttarakhand government has also reported 1.6 million registrations for this year’s pilgrimage. Presently, Oyo has 40 hotels in Rishikesh, Haridwar, Srinagar, Kedarnath, Joshimath, and Uttarkashi. This will be double to 80.

Post offices to help boost e-commerce exports

Easy documentation, increasing awareness among people, and role of post-offices would help to boost e-commerce exports. Indian e-commerce exports should see measures implemented such as raising 9-month limit on receiving payments, easier documentation, and simpler customs procedures to promote exports through e-commerce. More than 90% of Indian e-commerce exporters are MSMEs. This makes it important for any e-commerce export strategy to provide a platform to help them sell products to global markets. According to an industry report by FISME, other measures that would help the sector include:

  • lowering charges for Export Data Processing and Monitoring System (EDPMS)
  • Easier reconciliation of remittances for export receipts from abroad through reassessment of the current 25% variation between exports and payments
  • raising 9-month limit on receiving payments for exports for e-commerce.

2023 the “best time for Travel sector in India”

According to CEO, the year 2023 is the best time for travel sector in India. The travel industry will continue to grow in the next couple of decades. Several airports are being launched and airlines are increasing their fleets. EaseMyTrip also had a successful IPO, focusing more on profitability than raising funds through PE/VCs. The portal became a unicorn in 2021 and was a completely bootstrapped venture. They have maintained competitive pricing and do not charge convenience fees.

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