Friday, September 30, 2011

Proposal for placing the new Instrument adopted by ILO Domestic Workers Convention and Domestic Workers Recommendation approved

The Union Cabinet today approved the proposal for placing the new instrument adopted by International Labour Organisation (ILO) - Domestic Workers Convention (C-189) and Domestic Workers Recommendation (R-201) before the Parliament.

The International Labour Conference(ILC) of ILO at its 100th Session held in Geneva in June, 2011 adopted the Domestic Workers Convention (C-189) supplemented by the Domestic Workers Recommendation (R-201). India is one of the founder members of ILO. The Indian government delegation to ILC led by the Union Minister for Labour and Employment supported the adoption of the Domestic Workers Convention and Recommendation.


Domestic workers constitute a huge segment of the workforce especially in the developing countries. Domestic work is informal, undocumented and poorly regulated. Migrant domestic workers are worse affected. It has also been observed that domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation and trafficking.

There are about 6.4 million domestic workers in India as per available statistics. A large number of such workers come from poor and backward areas and are illiterate and unskilled.
RILA Comments on Bank of America Debit Fee Announcement
New fee is great news for more than 14,000 U.S. Banks

Arlington, VA – The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to Bank of America’s decision to impose new fees on debit card users.

“For years Bank of America and its big bank peers have been imposing hidden fees on all consumers, whether they used cash, plastic or even food stamps, said Katherine Lugar, executive vice president for public affairs. “Swipe fee reform will rein in these fees, increase transparency and allow consumers to see the costs associated with the various payment options and make decisions accordingly.”

According to data released from the Federal Reserve, Bank of America and its peers collect a profit of 1100 percent every time a debit card is swiped. These fees have exploded over the past decade and last year cost merchants nationwide nearly $20 billion. These fees result in higher costs for merchants and ultimately higher prices for consumers. However, even after reforms go into effect big banks like Bank of America will continue to collect more than 600 percent in profit on every transaction.

“Crying poverty and adding fees, all while collecting a 600 percent profit on every transaction is one heck of a public relations strategy,” said Lugar.

According to the Federal Reserve there are 14,821 banks in the United States not affected by debit swipe fee reform.

“Bank of America's new fee is great news for every other bank in America. If Bank of America wants to charge account holders to access their own money, every other bank, particularly credit unions and community banks will welcome the flood of customers in search of a new bank,” added Lugar.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and operate more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Rush-Hour Read: Should the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Be Approved?

Posted on Thursday September 29th by Daniel Lippman
What’s the right balance to strike between growing the economy and protecting the environment? That’s at the heart of a fierce debate about whether the U.S. government should approve a controversial $7 billion oil pipeline between Canada and the U.S. The State Department is holdinghearings this week in states across the Midwest to get feedback from residents who live near the proposed pipeline, which would run about 1,700 miles from Canada down to Texas.
Supporters of the plan say with the U.S. economic recovery still limping along, the project would provide much-needed jobs to Americans. Michigan GOP Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told CNBC in July that the project should be approved by the government for its economic benefits.
According to the Department of Energy, this one project will “essentially eliminate” oil imports from the Middle East. It will create more than 100,000 jobs and strengthen our relationship with a close ally and trading partner. A project like this should be a no-brainer, and there’s simply no good reason it has been stuck in the State Department’s red tape for nearly three years.
But opponents argue that building the pipeline would provide a major boost to dirty tar-sands oil from Alberta province, Canada’s “Texas”. It takes tremendous amounts of energy and water to extract that type of oil from the ground.
Over the summer, hundreds of people protesting against the pipeline were arrested in sit-ins in front of the White House. This is how environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben describedhis views on Keystone to NPR earlier this month:
“This pipeline is a bad idea. The tar sands at the far end of it are the second biggest pool of carbon on the Earth, and if we burn them, if we burn them in a big way, as NASA’s Jim Hansen said, it’s essentially game over for the climate,” he said. Hansen is a NASA climate scientist who was among the protesters arrested.
For McKibben, this really is the moment of truth, akin to what Brazil did 15 years ago, when it took serious steps to preserve the Amazon rain forest.
As the Economist magazine reported recently, environmentalists are not the only ones who are raising questions about the project. Some residents and politicians from the states where the pipeline would run are worried about the damage that could be done to their land by any potential oil spills.
“I’m not a tree-hugger,” insists Susan Luebbe, a lifelong cattle rancher, “but if I have to buddy up with tree-huggers to stop this, then so be it.”… Environmentalists dislike the project chiefly because it would increase America’s imports of oil from the tar sands of Alberta. … People like Mrs Luebbe, in contrast, are against it for fear of what an accident might do to her livelihood. If the viscous mixture of bitumen and oil in the pipeline spills on her land, she asks, “Who’s going to eat my beef? I couldn’t even sell this ranch.”
The State Department is expected to approve Keystone XL by November and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently told Bloomberg News he was “confident” the pipeline partly because “the need for energy in the U.S. is enormous, the alternatives for the U.S. are not good, on every level.”
But environmentalists, miffed with President Obama over other policy setbacks like smog rules and climate change, are still holding out hope that it will be blocked. As one expert told the New York Times:
“The whole policy debate has dramatically increased in stature from a year ago,” said Anthony Swift, a policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is against the pipeline. “People would not be protesting, let alone getting arrested, for something that is a foregone conclusion.”


Clontarf Energy Plc [AIM:CLON] - Interim Report 2011

30 September 2011

Clontarf Energy PLC

Interim Statement for the period ended 30 June 2011

Clontarf Energy successfully listed on AIM in April 2011. It was formed by a merger of Hydrocarbon Exploration an unlisted company with projects in Bolivia, Ghana and the US and Persian Gold with a project in Ghana and dormant mineral projects in Iran.

The new venture raised £2.7 million upon listing. While going through the listing procedure, Clontarf was successful in obtaining concessions over two onshore hydrocarbon exploration blocks in Peru.

We completed the acquisition of these licences with the official signing on Wednesday 28th September 2011 in Lima, Peru. Block 183, located in the Marañon basin, covers almost 400,000 hectares in Central Peru. We have acquired, from previous owners, 1,700 km of high quality seismic data which is being re-interpreted, as are the logs of three wells previously drilled in the 1970s. This region has a number of producing oil fields.

The second block, 188, covers almost 600,000 hectares in the Ucayali basin, an area we know well from our previous exploration venture in Peru. Block 188 is near the world-class Camisea gas and condensate field, and the Directors believe that it is prospective for both oil and gas. While awaiting final signatures we worked with local communities in each area and put together a team to prepare a rigorous environmental impact assessment.

Peru is a priority area for oil multinationals due to its attractive fiscal terms, a stable government and a relatively unexplored hydrocarbon system. We did well to be awarded these two blocks in the October 2010 Licencing Round. The Company expects to have joint venture partners working with us in exploring the blocks.

Progress is also being achieved in Ghana which is fast becoming a major oil province. Since signing an agreement with the Ghanaian National Petroleum Company (GNPC) in 2010 on the 1,532 sq km Tano 2A onshore/offshore block, the attractiveness of Ghana has increased. Clontarf holds 60% of the concession with Petrel Resources holding 30% and Ghanaian interests 10%. The giant Jubilee oil field owned by Kosmos/Tullow Oil, not far from Tano, is now producing. In recent days, Tullow Oil has announced a significant oil discovery on their Tano offshore block which is close to Tano 2A. Ongoing work by Clontarf on data relating to the Tano 2A block has identified a number of areas which need follow up.

In common with many countries Ghana requires cabinet and parliamentary approval of all concessions awarded. This process takes time but we are working our way through the system. Tano 2A is a good block with both onshore and shallow offshore possibilities. New seismic is needed to better define targets, but the ultimate test is a well or two. We are eager to begin exploration.

Our third sphere of activity is in Bolivia, a country with significant mineral and hydrocarbon potential. Clontarf inherited a company which has been active in Bolivia for over 20 years. The acquisition brought interests in two producing fields. The Monteagudo oil/gas field (30% Clontarf, 30% Repsol, 20% Petrobras, 20% Andina which is owned by the state), has been producing for 40 years and is in decline. There is a well defined deep target (4,000 metres) in the Block, in the Devonian Formations. Giant gas discoveries, of trillions of cubic feet, have been made in the Huamapampa and Santa Rosa Formations on adjacent blocks by Total, Petrobras and Repsol. Agreement has been reached and formalised with operating partner Repsol, as well as Petrobras, for both to sell their stakes, subject to normal state approvals. Operatorship will be transferred to our new partner, Latinoamericana de Energia, which will result in significantly lower operating costs and hence, profitability, fo r the Monteagudo Field. This restructuring will also facilitate early drilling of the deep gas play. Approvals by the Bolivian Government and Legislature are expected by the end of first quarter 2012.

Clontarf also holds a 10% interest in the producing El Dorado gas field near Santa Cruz in Bolivia. There is a legal dispute with our operating partner, YPFB Chaco which is 100% owned by the state. Negotiations are ongoing and, based on legal advice received, we believe that we can resolve the outstanding legal and financial issues. Clontarf, due to its 100% ownership of Bolivian company Petrolex S.A., has been involved in the El Dorado field for over a decade. Early drilling suggested a field in excess of 0.4 trillion cubic feet of gas. Plans to exploit this gas in the early 2000s were frustrated by low gas prices. Recently, the majority owner YPFB Chaco, has drilled additional wells, constructed a modern gas-processing plant and is producing 21 million cubic feet of gas and 500 barrels of condensate daily.

This is a challenging time for exploration ventures and financial markets generally. We successfully raised money and listed Clontarf Energy during a period when equity financing was difficult to obtain. Clontarf is funded for all immediate needs. I am confident that the patience of shareholders will be well rewarded. The signing of the Peruvian blocks is a significant milestone and is the first of what I hope will be a series of positive announcements.

Railway Minister Will Flag Off Country’s First Ever AC Double Decker Train From Howrah Station Tomorrow 

The Minister of Railways, Shri Dinesh Trivedi, will flag off country’s first air conditioned superfast Double Decker train at Howrah station New Complex tomorrow i.e. 1.10.2011, as a Puja gift. 12383 Up/12384 Dn. Howrah-Dhanbad Express(Double Decker) will run five days a week between Howrah and Dhanbad. This fully air-conditioned Double Decker train will have chair car coaches and will start from Dhanbad at 5.00 a.m. on every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and arrive at Howrah at 9.15 a.m. From Howrah, this train will start at 3.20 p.m. on every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and reach Dhanbad at 7.40 p.m.

This train will consist of 9 coaches including 7 air-conditioned Double Decker chair cars having 128 seats in each coach and 2 generator cars. This train will stop at Barddhaman, Durgapur, Asansol, Barakar and Kumardhubi on both ways en-route. This train will have maximum permissible speed of 110 kilometre per houir and will run via Howrah-Barddhaman chord line. Introduction of Double Decker train was announced in Railway Budget earlier. Booking for this train will start from 30.9.2011 in all Computerized Reservation Counters.

The air-conditioned double decker coach design uses many superior technical features like aesthetically pleasing stainless steel body, high speed Eurofima design bogies with air springs for superior ride quality and many other safety related features. This coach is fitted with control discharge toilet system. The successful development of AC Double Decker train is a clear illustration of Indian Railways` capabilities in design and manufacturing.

Ninth Meeting of National Board for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NBMSME) held

The 9th Meeting of the National Board for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NBMSME) was held here today under the Chairmanship of Shri Virbhadra Singh, Minister, of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. The meeting discussed various aspects of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Sector with special focus on “National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme” (NMCP).

Shri Virbhadra Singh, in his opening remarks described several initiatives of Ministry of MSME for overall development of the sector, which include special focus on Credit facilitation, ICT tools, Skill Development and Innovation. He elaborated the progress achieved under National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (NMCP) in enhancing the efficiency and competitiveness of MSMEs to meet the challenges of globalization. He also invited comments and suggestions on further upscaling the programme.

The National Board for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises is a statutory body under the MSME Development Act, 2006 to advise the Government on all policy matters relating to the development of MSME sector with representation from MSME associations, trade unions, State Governments, Central Ministries, Financial Institutions and experts on MSME development.

Shri Amarendra Sinha, Jt. Secretary & Development Commissioner, MSME made a presentation on the progress achieved under National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme. In the subsequent discussions, members appreciated the initiatives by the Ministry towards Technology Upgradation of the MSME sector and also mentioned about the problems being faced by the Micro & Small Enterprises .

Shri Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary, MSME, in his concluding remarks, exuded optimism about the future of the sector by citing the impressive growth of the sector and its significant contribution to the national economy. He solicited proactive involvement of all stakeholders for successful implementation of various programmes by the Ministry, especially IT based initiatives such as online submission of applications under NMCP. He aslo stressed the need for enhancing competitiveness and quality of the products made by the Sector.

Dr. Manas Ranjan Bhunia, Minister for Micro, Small Scale Enterprises & Textiles, Government of West Bengal, Members of Parliament, representatives from various MSME Associations, Trade Unions, Financial Institutions, various State Governments, Academics, Ministries/Departments also participated in the meeting and made valuable contributions.

World Habitat Day-2011 to be Celebrated on 3rd October

The United Nations has designated the first Monday in October each year as the World Habitat Day. The idea is to reflect on the state of human settlements and the necessity of adequate shelter for all. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of human habitat.

For this year’s celebrations UN-HABITAT has chosen the theme “Cities and Climate Change” because climate change is fast becoming the preeminent development challenge of the 21st century. Indeed, no-one today can really foresee the predicament in which a town or city will find itself in 10, 20 or 30 years time. In this new urban era with most of humanity now living in towns and cities, one must bear in mind that the greatest impacts of disasters resulting from climate change begin and end in cities. Cities too have a great influence on climate change. This gives us a compelling set of opportunities because cities with their people, industries, seats of learning, culture and infrastructure can provide the best solutions when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving coping mechanisms and reducing vulnerability to the impacts of climate disruption.

The Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation is organizing celebrations at National Bal Bhawan, New Delhi on 3rd October, 2011 to commemorate the Day.

Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Culture Kumari Selja would deliver the World Habitat Day Address on the occasion.

Secretaries in the States / UTs dealing with Housing and Human Settlement, Mayors / Municipal Commissioners and other Dignitaries will also be present during the celebrations.

Green Economy for Sustainable Mountain Development
Book on Concept Paper for Rio+20 and Beyond 

A book on “Green Economy for Sustainable Mountain Development: A Concept Paper for Rio+20 and Beyond” examines the role of mountains in a green economy and their contribution to national, regional, and global economy and environmental protection. It was released by Smt. Jayanthai Natarajan, Minister of State for Environment and Forest, (I/C) and Mr. Vilasrao Desmukh, Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences at the celebration of India-ICIMOD Day here today. This book is the outcome of the International Conference on Green Economy and Sustainable Mountain Development Opportunities and Challenges in View of Rio+20 organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development on 5–7 September 2011, Kathmandu in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme.

It discusses emerging challenges, issues, and opportunities to promote sustainable development in the mountains. Finally, it briefly outlines relevant strategies, approaches, and options. Its purpose is to support mountain stakeholders by bringing mountain issues into the mainstream of global discussions and debate, with a view to ensuring renewed efforts and commitment by the global community at Rio+20 in 2012. This paper emphasises the changes in the conditions influencing sustainable development in mountains, which bring new challenges and opportunities and demand urgent action for the benefit not only of mountain regions but also of lowland areas. It recommendations among other things include the recognition of benefits deriving from mountains; incorporation of the value of ecosystems services in national development planning and decision making; the establishment of global, regional, national, and local mechanisms to compensate and reward mountain communities for the services they provide; the establishment of favourable conditions for improving markets for mountain ecosystem goods and services; inclusion of equity concerns in green economy in mountains; and access to resources and property rights for mountain women, indigenous communities, and marginalized groups.

Press Release on FDI Circular 2 of 2011

The consolidated FDI policy document is a single reference point for investors and regulators. The first such consolidation was released in March, 2010 after which it has been updated every six months. This‘Circular 2 of 2011’-is the fourth edition of the consolidated policy document.

2. The significant changes introduced in this edition of the Circular are:

(i) Exemption of construction-development activities in the education sector and in old-age homes, from the general conditionalities in the construction-development sector:

FDI into construction development activities in the education sector and in respect of old-age homes has been exempted from the conditionalities imposed on FDI in the construction development sector in general i.e. minimum area and built-up area requirement; minimum capitalization requirement; and lock-in period. These conditionalities perhaps posed a constraint to FDI coming into these areas since educational institutions like schools, colleges, universities etc. as well as old-age homes have their own special requirements which do not necessarily fit these conditionalities. This step should augment the educational infrastructure in the country and bring it up to global standards. Similarly, with growing urbanisation, there is an increasing demand for old-age homes to cater to the needs of senior citizens. The physical infrastructure in this area also is short of the requirements. Hence, it has also been decided to exempt old-age homes also from the general conditionalities applicable to the construction development sector.

(ii) Inclusion of ‘apiculture’, under controlled conditions, under the agricultural activities permitted for FDI:

FDI has been allowed upto 100% under the automatic route in apiculture under controlled conditions. Apiculture is an important agro-based industry and has the potential of bringing in high economic returns with comparatively low levels of investment. Being a decentralized activity, it does not bring pressure on land and can flourish as a household activity in villages. The activity has the potential of large scale income generation with some infusion of capital and technology. This liberalization would not only provide the desired thrust to the sector but would also bring in international best practices to upgrade the product and the methods of production.

(iii) Inclusion of ‘basic and applied R&D on bio-technology pharmaceutical sciences/life sciences’, as an ‘industrial activity’, under industrial parks:

FDI, up to 100%, under the automatic route, is permitted in existing and new industrial parks. Under the existing regime, industrial parks cover specified sectors.

The coverage has been expanded to specifically include research and development in bio-technology, pharmaceutical and life sciences, given the urgent need to augment research and development infrastructure in these areas as also expand the production facilities.

(iv) Notification of the revised limit of 26% for foreign investment in Terrestrial Broadcasting/ FM radio:

The foreign investment limit for FM radio has been enhanced to 26% from the earlier 20%. This change ensures conformity of the foreign investment limit in this sector with other similar activities in the Information & Broadcasting sector.

(v) Liberalisation of conversion of imported capital goods/machinery and pre-operative/pre-incorporation expenses to equity instruments:

Conversion of imported capital goods/machinery and pre-operative/pre-incorporation expenses to equity instruments had been permitted in the last Circular on FDI policy, effective 1 April, 2011. It was stipulated that such conversions must be made within a period of 180 days of the date of shipment of capital goods/machinery or retention of advance against equity and that payments made through third parties would not be allowed. This conveyed the sense that the onus of conversion is on the investor with no allowance for the FIPB process involved. This has been clarified through the present amendment, under which the time limit for making applications for such conversions will be 180 days. Further, payments for pre-operative/incorporation expenses can now be made directly by the foreign investor to the company or through a bank account, opened by the foreign investor, as provided under the FEMA regulations.

(vi) Introduction of provisions on ‘pledging of shares’ and opening of non-interest bearing escrow accounts, subject to specified conditions:

The policy has been amended to provide for pledge of shares of an Indian company which has raised external commercial borrowings, or that of its associate resident companies for the purpose of securing the ECB raised by the borrowing company, subject to conditions. The policy also now provides for opening and maintaining AD Category – I banks without the prior approval of RBI, non-interest bearing Escrow accounts in Indian Rupees in India, on behalf of non-residents, towards payment of share purchase consideration and/or for keeping securities to facilitate FDI transactions, subject to the terms and conditions specified by RBI. This will streamline the process for bringing in FDI and provide the investors with options.

3. The sectoral section of the policy has been re-arranged, to provide for grouping of services under ‘financial services’, ‘other services’ and ‘information services’. The Circular has also been re-organised, with a view to grouping of similar subjects under common chapters. This is expected to significantly rationalise the organisation of the material in the Circular and further facilitate comprehension and readability.

Expansion of Malanjkhand Copper project Mine from 2 Mta open cast to 5 Mta underground mine

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the investment proposal of Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) for Rs 1856.36 crore to develop an underground copper ore mine of 5 million tonne per annum capacity at Malanjkhand Copper Project (MCP), Madhya Pradesh. The fund required for the project will be met by HCL and no budgetary support will be taken from Government of India.

MCP has rich extractable copper reserves of 141 million tonne, which is more than 70% of the known reserves in the country. MCP is currently mining 2 million tonnes per annum of copper ore through open cast method. The depth of open cast mines has reached 340 meters and the residual life is less than 7 years till March 2018. Below this depth the open cast mining is not financially viable as cost of ore production shall be more than underground mine. The project with an investment of 1856.36 crores seeks to develop an underground mine under the existing open cast mine. The project will be executed by Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor and is expected to take five years for completion. After completion of the project, Malanjkhand will be the biggest underground mine in the country.

Successful implementation of the project will also reduce country`s dependence on imported copper concentrate.

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011 approved

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to introduce the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill (MMDR Bill), 2011, in terms of National Mineral Policy, 2008 in Parliament and also to repeal the existing Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

The new MMDR Bill, 2011, aims to introduce better legislative environment for attracting investment and technology into the mining sector by the following:

• States may call for applications in notified areas of known mineralization for prospecting based on technical knowledge, value addition, end-use proposed ore -linkage etc. and to invite financial bid;

• States may grant of direct mining concessions through bidding based on a prospecting report and feasibility study in notified areas where data of minerals is adequate for the purpose;

• State Government may set up a minimum floor price for competitive bidding;

• Special provisions for allowing mining of small deposits in cluster, where cooperatives can apply;

• National Mining Regulatory Authority for major minerals - State Governments may set up similar Authority at State level for minor minerals;

• Imposition of a Central cess and a State cess, and setting up of Mineral Funds at National and State Level for capacity creation;

• For the purpose of sharing the benefits of mining with persons or families having occupation, usufruct or traditional rights in mining areas, and for local area infrastructure, creation an amount equal to royalty in case of mineral other than coal, and 26% of net profits, in the case of coal, has been proposed to be credited each year to district Level Mineral Foundation;

• Sustainable and scientific mining through provision for a Sustainable Development Framework;

• Consultation with local community before notifying an area for grant of concession, and for approval of Mine Closure Plans;

• Enhanced penalties for violation of provisions of the Act, including debarment of person convicted of illegal mining for future grants and termination of all mineral concessions held by such person; and

• Establishment of Special Courts at the State level for speedier disposal of the cases of illegal mining.

The new draft MMDR Act would have financial implications in the creation of an independent National Mining Tribunal and National Mining Regulatory Authority at the Central Level, and the expenditure involved in the capacity building of the Indian Bureau of Mines. The funds for this expenditure are likely to be met from levy of cess at the rate of 2.5% on the basis of Customs/Excise Duty.

The new MMDR Act would be implemented immediately after receiving Parliamentary approval and President`s assent, and a date of commencement would be notified separately.

The approval will help in developing the country`s mining sector to its full potential so as to put the nation`s mineral resources to best use for national economic growth, and ensure raw materials security in the long term national interest.


The Government constituted a High Level Committee (HLC) in 2006, which suggested for evolving a mining code adapted to the best international practices, streamlining and simplifying procedures for grant of mineral concessions to reduce delays, etc. Based on the HLC recommendations, the Government had announced National Mineral Policy (NMP) on 13.3.2008. To give effect to the policy directions in NMP, the Government has now evolved a new Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011, after several rounds of consultations with the stakeholders including State Governments, concerned Ministries and Departments of Central Government, Industry and Civil Society. The MMDR Bill, 2011 was referred to a Group of Ministers (GoM) on 14.6.2010 and which has now, after five rounds of discussion, had recommended the draft Bill to the Cabinet. The GoM in its meeting held on 7th July, 2011 has recommended the draft MMDR Bill, 2011 for introduction in Parliament.

Proposed Amendment of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund on Reform of the Executive Board approved

The Union Cabinet today gave its approval to certain amendments to the IMF`s Articles of Agreement on Reform of the Executive Board of the IMF.

The amendments are part of a package of reforms on quotas and governance in the IMF. Along with the recent quota reforms in IMF (i.e., Fourteenth General Review of Quotas), these amendments represent a major overhaul of the Fund`s quotas and governance, and help in strengthening the Fund`s legitimacy and effectiveness .

At the 24-member Executive Board of the IMF, currently the members with the five largest quotas appoint an Executive Director each, while the rest of the Executive Directors are elected. However, the proposed amendments would facilitate a move towards a more representative, all-elected Executive Board, ending the category of appointed Executive Directors.

The proposed amendments are also a part of the efforts at the IMF to reform its governance structure to give greater representation to the Emerging Market and Developing countries (EMDCs) to reflect the new global realities. To this end, there has been a consensus to reduce the number of Executive Directors representing advanced European countries by 2 in favour of EMDCs.

Proposed Amendment of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund on Reform of the Executive Board approved

The Union Cabinet today gave its approval to certain amendments to the IMF`s Articles of Agreement on Reform of the Executive Board of the IMF.

The amendments are part of a package of reforms on quotas and governance in the IMF. Along with the recent quota reforms in IMF (i.e., Fourteenth General Review of Quotas), these amendments represent a major overhaul of the Fund`s quotas and governance, and help in strengthening the Fund`s legitimacy and effectiveness .

At the 24-member Executive Board of the IMF, currently the members with the five largest quotas appoint an Executive Director each, while the rest of the Executive Directors are elected. However, the proposed amendments would facilitate a move towards a more representative, all-elected Executive Board, ending the category of appointed Executive Directors.

The proposed amendments are also a part of the efforts at the IMF to reform its governance structure to give greater representation to the Emerging Market and Developing countries (EMDCs) to reflect the new global realities. To this end, there has been a consensus to reduce the number of Executive Directors representing advanced European countries by 2 in favour of EMDCs.



Ramesh Kymal,

Chairman & Managing Director

Gamesa Wind Turbines (P) Ltd

Mr. Ramesh Kymal is the Chairman & Managing Director of Gamesa Wind Turbines (P) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the €2.7 billion Gamesa Group, Spain. Gamesa is a leading supplier of wind power technology in the world and a driving force behind the development of wind power technologies. Gamesa’s core business comprises development, manufacturing, sales and servicing of wind power systems. Gamesa has established its 31st world class manufacturing facility in Chennai, India under the leadership of Mr. Ramesh Kymal.

Mr. Kymal is a Mechanical Engineer with specialization in Operations Research, Statistical Quality Control and has pursued higher studies at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France. He has served for over 25 years in various capacities across blue chip companies in both India and Europe.       
He is actively involved in wind power associations, in pursuit of promoting the sector by encouraging business and investments opportunities. He serves as Chairman of Renewable Energy Council of CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, maintaining his larger commitment to make India a global leader in Renewable Energy by facilitating formulation of attractive policies at both state and central level and creating innovative financing mechanisms.
Mr. Kymal is passionate and committed to clean energy development. He is a firm believer that renewable energy is clean, makes economic sense while preserving the environment. With fossil fuels being exhausted at an alarming pace, he believes that renewable energy, wind power in particular, will emerge as a major source of energy to meet India’s growing energy requirements.
He is a keen learner who believes in constantly trying to improve quality and adding value to both the internal and external customers in the industry. Apart from his commitment for environment, he takes time off for various philanthropic activities through his involvement on education and uplifting of girl children.  

On a steady path towards long term returns
The address of Mr Arun Kumar Jagatramka, Chairman & Managing Director, on the occasion of the 24th AGM held on 30th September, 2011 at Kalamandir, Kolkata
Dear Friends,
I deem it a great honour to chair the 24th Annual General Meeting of our esteemed company. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Company and also on my personal behalf, I extend a warm welcome to all of you present here today.
Let me now, for a few minutes give you a brief on the financial performance of our Company, Gujarat NRE Coke Limited for the year ended March 31, 2011.
For the financial year ended 31st March 2011, our activities were on the right track and I am satisfied by the improvement in our performance. Gujarat NRE Coke Ltd has recorded a five fold jump in the consolidated net profit for the year ended 31st March, 2011 over the previous year. Figure wise, the consolidated net profit has increased to Rs 109.17 Crores from Rs 20.40 crores last year. This reflects the strong growth momentum in the performance of the company. We have started the financial year 2011 on a positive note and expect to further improve the same as the Indian industrial demand picks up post monsoon.
Our expansion plans in India and in Australia are on a sustained growth track. We would be introducing longwall mining at NRE No. 1 Colliery, for which the company had placed an order for $90 million for new machinery and the first batch of longwall equipment is on site and ready to go underground as per schedule. The installation of the most modern longwall systems available globally in NRE No 1 is a step in our continued effort to increase coking coal production from our mines to reach the target production of 6 million tones per annum by 2015.
Back in India, hectic activity is underway for integrating and consolidating the existing facilities. The launch pad is being prepared for meeting the growth targets and once the company receives all the approvals and clearances for the Greenfield project in Andhra Pradesh, process for which is underway and progressing, it plans to start work on a firm footing to reach 4 MTPA production target in the next 4 years.
Also, dividend for the year 2010-11 has been recommended by the Board @ 10% i.e. Re 1 per share. The same is payable subject to its approval by the members at the Annual General Meeting today and if approved, the same will be paid on or before 28th October 2011 to those shareholders holding shares on the relevant date.
The steel consumption in India has been stagnant for the greater part of the year. Domestic demand has not risen as per expectation and we are yet to see the anticipated surge in rural demand. The Indian steel industry has long been wagering high on the potential of rural steel consumption which would have been able to take the Indian steel consumption to the next level and induce the country’s steel production capacity to the next orbit. The external global economic conditions particularly the Euro zone crisis has been the real dampener, however most analysts feel that the USA would be able to get its act together.
The domestic status quo has been the prime reason for the sloth like pace of growth of Indian Steel Consumption. It has been a well known fact that the gross fixed capital formation has plummeted. The Gross Domestic Product has also been much below the target. According to CMIE data, the volume of capital locked up in stalled projects, that is projects that have been initiated but are now stagnant and thus are suffering from time and cost over-runs, is at present a staggering three times more than those in 2007. All the above reasons only point to the fact that infrastructure growth and other manufacturing expansions are not at the pace which would have augmented steel consumption. In the first five months of the year, Indian steel consumption rose by a mere 1.2%, which in real terms means 29.7 million tonnes (compared to 29.3 million tonnes in 2010). Indian steel mills are presently running at a 70-80% capacity utilisation. In face of this alarming degrowth of steel industry, comes the Karnataka mining debacle.
However, in a longer period, Indian steel production capacity is expected to reach 200 MT by 2020 as per the revised estimates of Ministry of Steel Government of India, for which the coke demand would be as high as 85 MTPA. On a conservative estimate, if India produces 150 MT of steel by 2020, it would mean that coke consumption would be over 50 MTPA, an increase in demand by over 100% in less than 10 years.
Interesting to note is that in spite of this stagnancy in steel growth, the price of coking coal and coke has been considerably high. High demand and the floods in Queensland have resulted in a peak price in coking coal. The price of coking coal has been in the range of $280 - $320 per tone as against $129 two years back and $225 last year and that of met coke has been moving around the $450 per tonne mark. This high price can only be attributed to the supply scarcity.
I can assure you at this point that we are a company focused on the long run. You all will accept the fact that long term investors have been benefited a lot by investing in Gujarat NRE. I would like to reiterate that the company’s operations are on the right track and we are progressing well as per our plan.
The economic stagnation is beyond our control and we should not spend our energy in thinking over it. However, what is in our hand is to work for the future and prepare ourselves for the demand growth which is inevitable at any time in the future. In our industry, if winter is here, spring can’t be far behind. Historically we have seen such upturns particularly every leap year for the last two decades and 2012 happens to be the next leap year.
Our Company is working on building capacity in line with the projected steel consumption growth to harvest rich benefits when the market rebounds. The company is preparing itself to reap the boom of the sunny days which can not hide long behind the twilight.
And when the steel growth rebounds, riding on a high coke price, Gujarat NRE will be ready to ride the crest of the wave. The domestic coke prices are reasonably high and when the demand increases due to the increase in steel consumption and consequently steel production, it is only anybody’s guess the high level which the coke prices may attain.
We believe in giving back to the Society, what we take from it. CSR activities to us are not an act of philanthropy but a necessity. We are continuing our partnership with the state and the central government in upgrading the ITI, Jamkhambalia to a centre of excellence, having contributed in building a High School in Jamnagar, Gujarat, organizing regular blood donation camps and plantation activities. We take special initiatives like organizing school buses and helping in literacy and education programmes in villages.
To conclude, may I once again thank each of you, our valued shareholders, for your unstinted and continued support and shall continue to look for the same in the years to come that will help us to move from strength to strength.
I, on behalf of all the employees at the Company, will look to you as always for your continued encouragement in this journey of ours.
Thank You.

Borouge investing in a high-quality pipe extrusion line from KraussMaffei Berstorff

Munich, September 30, 2011 – Borouge, a leading provider of innovative value creating plastics solutions, has ordered a complete polyolefins (PO) pipe extrusion line from KraussMaffei Berstorff for its new Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi.
The order package comprises the KME 60-36 B/R single-screw extruder in the successful 36D Series, the KM-RKW 32 and KM-RKW 33 pipe heads, and corresponding downstream components for the diameter range from 12 to
63 mm. The system will be used in the development laboratory in Abu Dhabi for different tests and development projects.

Multifunctional use and high line speeds
We chose KraussMaffei Berstorff because we are impressed with the outstanding quality of the machines, their extreme efficiency and high flexibility in the use of different materials", emphasized Petri Lehmus, Innovation Centre Manager from Borouge. "In our laboratory the system will test development stages of various PO materials such as HD-PE, LD-PE, PP-HM or PP-R and also produce pipes in the diameter range of 12 to 63 mm at line speeds of between 2.8 and 100 m/min“, added Lehmus. The line is equipped with two pipe heads in order to ensure a quick and flexible product change.

Proven 36D series for new developments
"We are very proud that our successful concept of the 36D long processing unit, which has enjoyed the highest possible recognition in the market for many years, is also being used for new developments, tests and customer demonstrations at one of the most renowned material manufacturers", enthused Andreas Kessler, General Sales Manager for Extrusion Technology at KraussMaffei Berstorff.
"Thanks to the sophisticated - in process engineering terms - barrier screw concept, we are convinced that this series will satisfy the demands in the processing of new materials to the highest possible extent. We are also expecting an increase in the number of orders for polyolefins processing", added Kessler.

Borouge’s Innovation Centre will work together with the European innovation  centres of Borealis as well as with local and international educational institutions such as the Petroleum Institute of Abu Dhabi, to further develop the competence of polymer science in the United Arab Emirates. 

More than 50 international researchers and engineers will focus on innovations for compounding as well as innovative plastics solutions for the infrastructure, automotive and advanced packaging industries in close cooperation and partnership with Borouge’s customers throughout the value chain, ensuring that specific customer requirements are met. 

The pipe extrusion line will be delivered at the end of 2011 and will be started up at the laboratory the following year. 

Supply constraint: India Inc has no option but to import coal

Indonesian government has circulated a draft decree among coal producers suggesting a ban of exports of coal below calorific value of 5100 kcal/kg, starting from 2014. This could cut thermal coal exports by 120-130 million tonnes. One of the biggest hits will be India which prefers Indonesian coal for its low sulphur content and competitive price. Indian companies have a strong appetite for low calorific value coal from Indonesia. The calorific content that India imports is below 5,000 kcal/kg and can be as low as 3,500 kcal/kg.
Indonesia is getting weary about allowing very heavy exports for valid reasons. Indonesian coal exports grew to 270 million tones in 2010, but their own domestic power producers’ demand for coal will keep growing. So now Indonesia will set aside 82 million tonne or one fourth of 2012 production for domestic players. And it will tighten its grip on coal exports.
What this means for India is more tightening on coal supply for a country that already has ambitious targets for power capacity addition but no coal. India wants to add 14 GW of power capacity in 2011-12. In 2010-11 the state target was 13 GW while 9 GW was added. Even to add 9 GW next year, we need 40 mt of additional import. The next 5 year plan proposes to add 100 GW in the next 5 year plan which is not achievable going by the logistical issues the country faces.
Firstpost caught up with James O’ Connell, managing editor, and Michael Cooper, associate Editor, International Coal Report, Platts, to get perspectives on Indian coal situation and what could be the way forward.
Q. What according to you is the biggest challenge for India in improving its coal supply?
A. The biggest problem with India is obviously the mismatch between demand and supply of coal. We think India still underestimates its problems. The biggest hindrance in improving coal supply is infrastructure. And we are not talking only about the railways. If you look at new power plants, they are all closer to the coasts because of lack of railways. But the big issue is also the ports. India spent only 6.5 percent of its GDP on infrastructure in 2009 while a country like China spent 11 percent. Indian ports cannot take capsize vessels which carry more cargo (can get only panamax freight: which are smaller and expensive) and reduce the cost. Moreover the average time taken by ships to load/unload at India ports is almost 96 hours, 10 times longer than in Hong Kong.
Q. Even if we import high quality coal from abroad, are Indian players ready to use it?
A. Yes. Private players like Adani or GVK or Lanco have good technology and they are showing the way. The most important way forward for India would be to get ready for more imports. The Adani group is investing $1.2 billion in the Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone over next five years. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics’ forecast (Abare) says India imported 60 mt for 2010. They estimate this number will be 77 mt in 2011 and 92 mt in 2012. India might even beat China in imports in next 2-3 years. India should better get prepared for it if they have to meet the power production targets.
Q. Is getting coal from abroad the only way forward? I ask this because Indonesia has imposed export duty. Now they are talking of partial ban of exports. Tomorrow other countries can do that too. So is getting mines abroad less to do with pricing power and more to do with supply?
A. You know, it is a bit of both, but yes, more to do with supply. Integration of raw material is what all private players are looking at. And if the company can secure coal, washing capacity for coal, vessels for freight and power plant, of course cost of production will improve. One can save $60-80 per tonne only by controlling the vessels.
But I guess you are right. It is more to do with securing supply. If Coal India cannot supply adequate coal, the private companies can at least sell the coal from their mine abroad. That acts as a shield against their exposure to spot pricing in India, this is known as hedging. In fact, this exposure to volatility of spot pricing is the biggest problem for Indian power producers. Getting mines abroad is the only option in that case.
But they must look at countries other than Indonesia, like South Africa, Columbia, Mozambique. Diversifying the choice always helps. South Africa also has problems like railways is not developed enough. But private players can come together to play better role. Like Adani and GVK’s through the Hancock deal has come together in Galilee Basin in Australia. So they can come together to improve the infrastructure there for common use.
Q. Finally, how do you assess the role of Coal India and government in ensuring better supply of coal in India. After all, Coal India is almost a monopoly of coal in India. How can they share the responsibility to secure more coal?
A. Coal India needs to improve everywhere: both in terms of production and administration. They need better technology to improve production. It produced 389 mt in financial year 2011 while it had produced 395 mt in 2010. It is starting to miss production targets. It had registrations for 721 mt of coal for year ending March 2012, far more than what it can produce. It needs to wash more coal as on an average washing coal would add about 500 kcal/kg. So this is the technology part.
On administrative part, things need to move much faster. India needs more coordination between different departments of government. For example, the shipping and coal ministry can come together to improve ports. That coordination is lacking. Even policy decisions have to be faster which includes environmental clearances, land etc.
Decision making has to be much faster. Coal India had floated tenders for 10 year off-take tender. It attracted 27 offers from 15 countries. But look at it practically. Coal India wants a discount over market prices which no one is ready to give. It has been sitting on so much cash for so long. If they cannot get coal supply immediately, it will be really bad news for Indian domestic power players.
-Umesh Shanmugam 

In the future, Stainless Global will be called Inoxum

Corporate and organizational conditions for independent entity created by September 30

On May 13, 2011 ThyssenKrupp AG decided on an integrated strategic development program to move the Group forward competitively and sustainably. The program encompasses portfolio optimization, change management, and performance enhancement. The goals are to reduce debt, enable growth, increase income, and create value.

In connection with the portfolio optimization, the Group will be divesting businesses for which there are stronger alternative strategic options. The Executive Board's decision to separate the activities of the Stainless Global business area is a key element in this. Key conditions have now been created for Stainless Global to become a separate entity: Through various corporate, organizational and contractual actions within the Group, an independent transaction object has been established today which will be separated from ThyssenKrupp AG in the next step. The way in which the separation will take place - through an IPO, spin-off or sale to a best owner - is still being examined. All options are still open.

The name and logo for the new Stainless Global have also been developed. Stainless Global will become an independent entity under the name Inoxum. The new logo reflects the stainless steel producer's commitment to excellence and its position as an innovation leader.

Essential decisions on the structure of the new entity were made last month: The new company is organized as a holding company with a functional management board performing strategic tasks and managing the operating business units. The board comprises Clemens Iller (Chairman), Dr. Ulrich Albrecht-Früh (Operations), Frank Brüggestrat (Human Resources), Reinhard Florey (Finance) and Karsten Lork (Sales).

Inoxum will bring together the worldwide production, processing and distribution of stainless steel flat products as well as the production and distribution of high-performance materials such as nickel alloys, titanium and zirconium. Companies with plants in Germany, Italy, Mexico, China and the USA employing roughly 11,300 people are organized in the Inoxum group. Sales in the fiscal year 2009/10 were around 5.9 billion euros.
These materials are not an offer of securities for sale in the United States. Any securities referred to herein have not been and will not be registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the Securities Act), and may not be offered or sold in the United States or to, or for the account or benefit of U.S. persons (as such term is defined in the Securities Act) absent registration or pursuant to an available exemption from registration under the Securities Act. There will be no offer of securities in the United States. Neither Stainless Global nor any entity of Stainless Global nor ThyssenKrupp AG intend to register any securities referred to herein in the United States.

Apache to Develop Balnaves Oil Field Offshore Western Australia
Projected peak production of 30,000 barrels/day; first oil through fpso due in 2014

HOUSTON, Sept. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) said today that its subsidiary Apache Julimar Pty Ltd will proceed with development of the Balnaves oil field in Production License WA-49-L offshore Western Australia.

The field was discovered by Apache in 2009 during exploration and appraisal drilling in the Julimar-Brunello complex. Balnaves is a light, sweet oil accumulation in a separate reservoir in the Triassic Mungaroo formation, located adjacent to the large gas reservoirs of the Brunello gas field.

First production from the $438-million development is scheduled in 2014, with gross peak production of approximately 30,000 barrels of oil per day and estimated gross recoverable resource of 17 million barrels of oil and 30 billion cubic feet of gas. Two horizontal production wells will be connected to a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel via subsea tiebacks. One water injection well will be used to maintain reservoir pressure. Gas will be reinjected into another reservoir for later production as part of the Wheatstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) Project.

Apache has agreed to lease the Armada Claire, an FPSO owned by Bumi Armada with production capability of 80,000 barrels of oil and 50 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and storage capacity for 750,000 barrels.
"We are pleased to sanction our third operated oil development in Australia since 2007," said Thomas M. Maher, Apache's region vice president and managing director in Australia. "With the Van Gogh field on production and first output from Coniston expected in 2013, Balnaves will add to our position as one of Australia's leading oil producers."

The Julimar and Brunello fields are large gas discoveries that will be developed to provide gas for the Wheatstone LNG Project, operated by Chevron Australia Pty Ltd. Apache Julimar Pty Ltd is operator of the Julimar Development Project, the WA-49-L upstream component of the Wheatstone Project.

Apache Julimar Pty Ltd has a 65-percent interest in offshore license WA-49-L and a 13-percent equity interest in the Wheatstone project. KUFPEC Australia (Julimar) Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co. k.s.c., owns the remaining interest in the offshore license and a 7-percent interest in the Wheatstone project.

Apache Corporation is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom North Sea, Australia and Argentina.