Track major developments: Record coal output, retail trade policy and more

Track major developments: Record coal output, retail trade policy and more

The Federal highlights some of the major developments to look out for in the domestic business sector on Wednesday (March 8):

  1. Coal output crosses 100 m tonnes:

India’s coal production exclusively from captive/ commercial coal blocks has crossed 100 million tonnes (MT) for the first time, according to the latest figures (till March 2, 2023) of the Ministry of Coal. The highest-ever single-day coal production from captive/commercial coal blocks was 5.09 lakh tonnes on March 2, 2023. The coal ministry anticipates producing more than 112 million tonnes from captive/commercial coal areas in 2022–2023, a rise of about 31% from the previous year.

Even if India does not set up more thermal power plants, half of the country’s electricity generation will come from coal. According to ‘Future of Coal in India” co-authored by Rahul Tongia, Anurag Sehgal, and Puneet Kamboj, coal is entrenched in a complex ecosystem. In some states, it is amongst the largest contributors to state budgets. The Indian Railways, India’s largest civilian employer, is afloat because it overcharges coal to offset under-recovery from passengers. Coal India Limited, the public sector miner that produces 85 per cent of domestic coal, is the world’s largest coal miner. But despite enormous reserves, India imports about a quarter of its consumption.

Also read: Quitting coal: US, UK lead race; India, China face budgetary hurdles

Conversely, coal faces inevitable pressure from renewable energy, the cheapest option for new builds. Local air pollution is a national crisis, with 7 of the world’s top 10 polluted cities in India. This places further pressure on coal-based power generation. However, the authors said significant coal-based power capacity is already in place, some of which are under-utilized or stranded.

  1. National retail trade policy:

The government is trying to develop a national retail trade strategy for brick-and-mortar retail dealers to promote ease of doing business, according to Sanjiv, a Joint Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). He said the programme would also give businesses greater credit and improved infrastructure. He added that the department was developing an e-commerce policy for online retailers. Also, the agency is developing an insurance programme for all retail dealers, which would especially benefit the nation’s small traders.

Also read: Govt working to bring retail trade, e-commerce policies: Official

According to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the Indian retail trade market turnover is Rs 130 lakh crore annually with a 10 per cent growth rate yearly. Still, unfortunately, the retail trade in India has no separate ministry or policy. Therefore, the National Retail Trade Policy will boost the country’s economy, trade, and commerce. It is to be noted that about 80 per cent of retail trade is conducted by traditional retailers who are non-corporate retail, about 10 per cent by corporate retail, about 7 per cent by e-commerce and about 3 per cent by direct selling.

  1. PM Modi wants private sector to invest more:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked Indian companies to invest more in building the country’s infrastructure. This is in the backdrop of the announcement in the Union Budget of a Rs 10 lakh crore capital outlay, which is a 33 per cent increase compared with the previous year. The government has repeatedly said that the private sector should do the heavy lifting even as the investments from the sector have been average.

  1. Antibiotics, cough syrup sale booms:

The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists has said a major increase in flu cases has resulted in higher fever and respiratory infections across India, causing a surge in sales of antibiotics, cough syrups, and anti-infectives. According to the advocacy organisation, severe cough, cold, and influenza infections increased pharmaceutical sales by 20-25 per cent in February. It is monitoring the issue to ensure that inventories are adequate. The sale of fever medications such as paracetamol, Zithromax, and cough syrups has increased significantly. The steady rise in infections may not reach the levels of Covid but might lead to a significant increase in workday losses.

  1. Survey on working women:

As per the fifth Edition of #WorkingStree, an annual survey of working women across India conducted by IndiaLends, two-thirds of working women defined ‘Financial Independence’ as losing dependence on anybody for financial needs over the freedom to spend their own money. Yet, nearly 67 per cent were still dependent on male family members to make financial decisions. Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, IndiaLends’ #WorkingStree survey was conducted online in February 2023 to understand the pulse of the Indian working women vis-à-vis financial independence and career choices. It covered 10,000+ working women in the 21–65 age group residing in metros and tier 1 and 2 cities across 4439 unique pin codes of India.

Also read: Foxconn, Fame II among major developments to look out for today

The survey found that over 90 per cent of the respondents are contributing towards household expenses, with nearly 40 per cent chipping in with more than 50 per cent of their income. Nearly 70 per cent of these women earn less than Rs 5 lakh annually, while 23 per cent are in the Rs 5-10 lakh annual income bracket. Whilst an overwhelming number contributed significantly to their household expenses, nearly 67 per cent of them depended on a male family member for financial decisions, including their husband, father, or brother.

Corporate developments:

Ajanta Pharma to consider a proposal for buyback on March 10.

PVR opens 11-screen multiplex in Phoenix Marketcity, Chennai.

Wipro opens its America headquarters in East Brunswick, New Jersey.

Coffee Day: SAT grants stay on imposition of Rs 26 crore penalty by India’s Securities and Exchange Board.

Hero MotoCorp to collaborate with Zero Motorcycle for premium electric motorcycles.

Power companies: Icra revises thermal power sector outlook to ‘stable’ on solid demand, recovery of dues.

Sugar Companies: Government may permit more sugar exports.

Adani Group: Prepays Rs 7,374 crore ($ 902 million) of share-backed financing.

HAL/L&T: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) today signed contracts with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) for the procurement of 70 HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft and three cadet training ships, respectively.

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