Weekly Indian Economic & Commercial Report (23rd – 29th March 2020)

Source: IBEF News Letter

PM Thanks People for Expressing Gratitude Towards Those Fighting Coronavirus

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today thanked the people for expressing gratitude towards those who are at the forefront of the battle against Coronavirus. In a series of tweets, PM wrote “The country thanked each person who led the fight against the Coronavirus. Many thanks to the countrymen.”

The Prime Minister added that the event marked the beginning of the nation’s victory in a long battle against the COVID-19 menace. He urged the people to bind themselves to the principle of social distancing with the same resolve and restraint.

Cabinet approves Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved financial assistance to the Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC2.0) Scheme for development of world class infrastructure along with common facilities and amenities through Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs).  It is expected that these EMCs would aid the growth of the ESDM sector, help development of entrepreneurial ecosystem, drive innovation and catalyse the economic growth of the region by attracting investments in the sector, increasing employment opportunities and tax revenues.

The Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme would support setting up of both Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs) and Common Facility Centers (CFCs).  For the purpose of this Scheme, an Electronics Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) would set up in geographical areas of certain minimum extent, preferably contiguous, where the focus is on development of basic infrastructure, amenities and other common facilities for the ESDM units.  For Common Facility Centre (CFC), there should be a significant number of existing ESDM units located in the area and the focus is on upgrading common technical infrastructure and providing common facilities for the ESDM units in such EMCs, Industrial Areas/Parks/industrial corridors.

Financial Implications

The total outlay of the propose EMC 2.0 Scheme is Rs 3,762.25 crore (US$ 538.31 million) which includes the financial assistance of Rs 3,725 crore (US$ 532.92 million) and administrative and management expense to the tune of Rs 37.25 crore (US$ 5.33 million) over a period of eight (8) years.


The Scheme will create a robust infrastructure base for electronic industry to attract flow of investment in ESDM sector and lead to greater employment opportunities.  Following are the expected outputs/outcomes for the Scheme:

  1. Availability of ready infrastructure and Plug & Play facility for attracting investment in electronics sector:
  2. New investment in electronics sector
  3. Jobs created by the manufacturing units;
  4. Revenue in the form of taxes paid by the manufacturing units


To build and create requisite infrastructure ecosystem for electronics manufacturing; Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) notified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC) Scheme which was open for receipt of applications upto October, 2017.  A period of 5 years (i.e. up to October, 2022) is available for disbursement of funds for the approved projects.  Under EMC scheme, 20 Greenfield EMCs and 3 Common Facility Centres (CFCs) measuring an area of 3565 acres with project cost of Rs 3,898 crore (US$ 557.73 million) including Government Grant-in-aid of Rs 1,577 crore (US$ 225.64 million) have been approved in 15 states across the country.

There is a need for continuation of such scheme in modified form for further strengthening the infrastructure base for electronics industry in the country and deepening the electronics value chain.

India’s electronics production has increased from Rs 1,90,366 crore (US$ 27.24 billion) in 2014-15 to Rs 4,58,006 crore (US$ 65.53 billion) in 2018-19, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of about 25 per cent.  India’s share in global electronics manufacturing grew from 1.3 per cent (2012) to 3.0 per cent (2018).  It accounts for 2.3 per cent of India’s GDP at present.

Cabinet approves inclusion of the AYUSH Health & Wellness Centres component of Ayushman Bharat in National AYUSH Mission

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the inclusion of AYUSH Health and Wellness Centre (AYUSH HWC) component of Ayushman Bharat in National AYUSH Mission (NAM).

The proposal entails an expenditure of Rs 3,399.35 Crore (US$ 486.39 million) (Rs 2,209.58 Crore [US$ 316.15 million] as Central Share and Rs 1,189.77 crore [US$ 170.23 million] as State share) for operationalization of AYUSH HWCs within a period of five years that is from financial years 2019-20 to 2023-24.

The operationlization of AYUSH HWCs component under NAM shall have to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To establish a holistic wellness model based on AYUSH principles and practices focusing on preventive promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative healthcare by integration with the existing public health care system.
  2. To provide informed choice to the needy public by making the AYUSH services available.
  3. The AYUSH services include community awareness about lifestyle, die, Yoga, medicinal plants and provision of medicines for selected conditions as per strength of AYUSH systems.

The Ministry of AYUSH, in consultation with States/UTs, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and other line Ministries, has proposed following two models for operationalization of 12,500 AYUSH Health & Wellness Centres throughout the country:

  1. Upgradation of existing AYUSH dispensaries (approximately 10,000)
  2. Upgradation of existing Sub Health Centres (SHCs) (approx. 2,500)


  • Enhanced accessibility to achieve universal health coverage for affordable treatment.
  • Reduced burden on secondary and tertiary health care facilities
  • Reduced out of pocket expenditure due to “self-care” model.
  • Integration of AYUSH in implementation of SDG 3, as mandated by NITI Aayog
  • Validated holistic wellness model in target areas.


The National Health Policy 2017 has advocated mainstreaming the potential of AYUSH systems (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sows-rigpa and Homoeopathy) within a pluralistic system of Integrative healthcare.

The Government of India, in February 2018 has decided that 1.5 lakh health & wellness Centres would be created by transforming existing Sub health Centres and Primary health Centres to deliver Comprehensive Primary health Care.

It was further decided that Ministry of AYUSH will operationalize 10 per cent of the total sub-health Centres as Health and Wellness Centres i.e. 12,500 under Ayushman Bharat.

The vision of the proposal is to establish a holistic wellness model based on AYUSH principles and practices, to empower masses for “self care” to reduce the disease burden and out of pocket expenditure and to provide informed choice of the needy public.

Edtech platform Univariety raises US$ 1.1 million funding

Edtech platform Univariety has raised US$ 1.1 million from Info Edge. This is the second investment that Info Edge has led in this Hyderabad-based start-up within two years.

Info Edge is an online classifieds company in recruitment, matrimony, real estate and education with multiple leading sites like Naukri.com, 99acres, and Jeevansaathi.

The funds raised by Univariety will be utilised for business growth with a focus on product development, scaling up its alumni platform for schools and deeper brand building, the company said. It furthere added that the products will be unique and will provide help to the students & parents in making decisions along the career journey.

Mr Hitesh Oberoi, co-promoter, MD and CEO, Info Edge said: “India is witnessing a growing need for students to make more informed choices about their future. Univariety has succeeded in making Career Guidance mainstream in K-12 education, by partnering with hundreds of schools. The next phase of Career Guidance is about preparing students for the skills and careers of the 21st century, many of which don’t even exist today.”

The advisor to this transaction was Loestro Advisors.

IOC becomes 1st company to begin supply of BS-VI fuel across country

Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation’s biggest oil firm, has begun the supply of the world’s cleanest petrol and diesel across the country with all its 28,000 petrol pumps dispensing ultra-low sulphur fuel a good two weeks before the April 1 deadline.

According to IOC Chairman Mr Sanjiv Singh, “We have successfully rolled out the supply of BS-VI grade fuel across the country.”

“All our 28,000 petrol pumps across the country are dispensing BS-VI grade fuel for more than a week now.”

Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), are among other retailers that will switch to the cleanest fuel within this week and will be supplying BS-VI grade fuel.

The deadline for starting supply of Euro-VI emission compliant fuels has been set as 1st April 2020 by the government. With this India joins the select league of nations using petrol and diesel containing just 10 parts per million of sulphur to cut vehicular emissions that are said to be one of the reasons for the choking pollution in major cities.

“We have leapfrogged from BS-IV (equivalent to Euro-VI grade fuel) straight to BS-VI in just three years,” the IOC chairman said.

Around half of the country’s fuel market is controlled by the company. Almost all the company’s refineries began producing ultra-low sulphur BS-VI (equivalent to Euro-VI grade) petrol and diesel by the end of 2019 and then the mammoth exercise was undertaken to replace every drop of fuel in the country with the new one.

“We have achieved the switchover without a single disruption,” he said.

In 2010, Euro-III equivalent (or Bharat Stage-III) fuel with a sulphur content of 350 ppm was adopted by India whereas it took seven years to move to BS-IV that had a sulphur content of 50 ppm. Although, the shift from BS-IV to BS-VI took just three years.

“It was a conscious decision to leapfrog to BS-VI as first upgrading to BS-V and then shifting to BS-VI would have prolonged the journey to 4 to 6 years. Besides, oil refineries, as well as automobile manufacturers, would have had to make investments twice – first to producing BS-V grade fuel and engines and then BS-VI ones,” he said.

In order to upgrade the plants, state-owned oil refineries invested about Rs 35,000 crore (US$ 5.01 billion) so that could produce ultra-low sulphur fuel. This investment is on addition of Rs 60,000 crore (US$ 8.58 billion) the company has spent on refinery upgrades in the previous switchovers.

The sulphur content of BS-VI is just 10 ppm and emission standards are as good as CNG.

Earlier, it planned to supply BS-VI fuel to Delhi and its adjoining towns by April 2019 and the rest of the country was to get the same supplies from April 2020. But oil marketing companies switched over to supply of BS-VI grade fuels in the national capital territory of Delhi on April 1, 2018.

And on April 1, 2019, the supply of BS-VI fuels was further extended to four contiguous districts of Rajasthan and eight of Uttar Pradesh in the National Capital Region (NCR) and BS-VI grade fuels were made available in seven districts of Haryana from October 1, 2019.
It is estimated that this new fuel will reduce NOx in BS-VI compliant vehicles by 25 per cent in petrol cars and by 70 per cent in diesel cars.

A fuel upgradation programme was adopted by the country in the early 1990s. Low lead gasoline (petrol) was introduced in 1994 in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. On February 1, 2000, unleaded gasoline was mandated nationwide.

Similarly, BS-2000 (Euro-I equivalent, BS-1) vehicle emission norms were introduced for new vehicles from April 2000. BS-II (Euro-II equivalent) emission norms for new cars were introduced in Delhi from 2000 and extended to the other metro cities in 2001.

There has been progressive decrease in Benzene limits from five per cent in 2000 to one per cent nationwide. Lead content in gasoline was removed in phases and only unleaded gasoline is being produced and sold from February 1, 2000.

The significance of the octane number of gasoline is to improve the performance of the engine. Loss in octane number due to phasing out of lead was made up by installing new facilities in the refinery and changes in refinery operation. RON (Research Octane Number) of gasoline for BS-2000 spec was increased to 88. This has over time been increased to 91.

Mr Singh said sulphur reduction will reduce Particulate Matter (PM) emissions even in the in-use older generation diesel vehicles.

Text of PM’s address to the nation on Vital aspects relating to the menace of COVID-19


My dear fellow citizens,

Today, once again, I am in your midst to discuss Corona Global Pandemic.

On 22nd March, we took the resolution of Janata-Curfew. As a nation, every Indian contributed with full responsibility and sensitivity to ensure its success.

Children-elders, big-small, poor-middle class- upper class, everyone came together in this hour of crisis.

Every Indian made Janata-Curfew a success.

Through one day of Janata-Curfew, India proved that at the time of crisis befalling our nation, at the time of crisis befalling humanity, how each and every Indian comes together to put forth united efforts to deal with it.

All of you deserve praise for ensuring the success of Janata-Curfew.


All of you are listening to and watching news items regarding Corona Global Pandemic situation around the world.

All of you are also witnessing how the most advanced countries of the world have been rendered absolutely helpless by this pandemic.

It is not that these countries are not putting in adequate efforts or they lack resources.

The Coronavirus is spreading at such a rapid pace that despite all the preparations and efforts, these countries are finding it hard to manage the crisis.

The analysis of happenings in all these countries since the last two months, and the opinion of experts has proved that there is only one way to effectively deal with Coronavirus – Social Distancing.

That is, maintain physical distance with others and stay within the confines of one’s home.

There is no other method or way to escape Coronavirus.

If we want to restrict spread of Coronavirus, we will have to break its chain of infection.

Some people are under the delusion that social distancing is essential only for sick people.

It is wrong to make those assumptions.

Social distancing is necessary for each citizen, for each family, and for each member of the family.

Carelessness of a few, ill-conceived notions of a few can put you, your children, your parents, your family, your friends, the entire country in grave jeopardy.

It will be impossible to estimate the price India will have to pay if this carelessness continues.


In the last two days, several parts of the country have been put under lockdown.

These efforts by State Governments should be taken with utmost sincerity.

In light of health sector experts and experiences of other countries, the nation is taking a very important decision today.

From midnight tonight onwards, the entire country, please listen carefully, the entire country shall go under complete lockdown.

In order to protect the country, and each of its citizens, from midnight tonight, a full ban is being imposed on people from stepping out of their homes.

All the States in the country, all the Union Territories, each district, each municipality, each village, each locality is being put under lockdown.

This is like a curfew only.

This will be a few levels more than Janata-Curfew, and also stricter.

This is a necessary step in the decisive fight against Corona Pandemic.

The nation will have to certainly pay an economic cost because of this lockdown.

However, to save life of each and every Indian is mine, Government of India’s, each state Governments, each local units top most priority.

Hence, It is my plea to you to continue staying wherever you are right now in the country.

Considering the circumstances at present, this lockdown will last 21 days.

The next 21 days are of critical importance for us.

As per health experts, a period of at least 21 days is extremely critical to break infection chain of Coronavirus.

If situation is not handled in these 21 days, the country and your family could go back 21 years.

If situation is not handled in these 21 days, several families will get devastated forever.

Hence, you must forget what going out means for the next 21 days.

Stay inside your home, stay inside your home, and do just one thing- stay inside your home.


This decision of a nationwide lockdown that has been taken today has drawn a ‘Lakshman Rekha’ at your doorsteps.

You must remember that a single step outside your home can bring a dangerous pandemic like Corona inside.

You must also remember that at times, a person infected with Corona may seem to be completely healthy in the beginning, since it is not evident that the person is infected.

Therefore, take necessary precautions and stay inside your homes.

By the way,

The people who are staying at home, are employing new methods over social media to disseminate information in an innovative manner.

There is one banner that I also liked, which I would like all of you to see.

Corona, i.e., Koi Road pe Na Nikle (no one should go out on the road)


Experts have even said that when Corona infects a person, it may take a few days for the symptoms to manifest.

During this time, such a person unknowingly infects others who he may come in contact with.

According to a World Health Organization’s report, a person infected with this virus can transmit this to hundreds of people within the span of 7 to 10 days.

This means, that it spreads like wildfire.

Another estimate given by the World Health Organization is very important.


It took 67 days for the count of people infected with Corona to reach the 1st one lakh all over the world.

After this, it took only 11 days for another one lakh people to get infected.

Think, it took 67 days for it to infect one lakh people at first, but only 11 days to reach a total of two lakh people.

This is even more alarming that it took only 4 days for this disease to reach three lakh people from the count of two lakh.

You can imagine how rapidly Coronavirus spreads.

Once it begins to spread, it is very difficult to contain it.


This is the reason that situation became uncontrollable when Coronavirus started spreading in countries such as China, US, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Iran.

Also remember, whether it is Italy or US, the healthcare services in these countries are considered to be among the best in the world. Despite this, these countries have not been able to contain the impact of Corona. The question at hand is, where does one see a ray of hope in this situation? What is the solution, what are the options?


The ray of hope to combat Corona comes from the experiences of those countries that have been able to contain Corona to some extent.

Citizens of these countries have not stepped out of their homes for weeks. Citizen of these countries have fully adhered to the government rules and hence, these countries now are heading towards overcoming this pandemic.

We should also accept that this is the only way before us. We must not step outside our homes. Whatever happens, we have to stay indoors. We can save ourselves from Corona only if we do not cross Lakshman Rekha of our homes. We have to stop the spread of this pandemic, and break the chain of the infection.


Currently India is at a stage where our current actions will determine how much we are able to minimize the impact of this disaster.

It’s time to consistently keep strengthening our resolve. It’s time to exercise caution at every step. You have to remember that Jaan hai toh Jahaan hai.


This is the time for patience and discipline. Until the lockdown situation remains, we must keep our resolve, we must keep our promise.

It is my plea to you, that while you are staying at home, you must think about and pray for the wellbeing of people who are fulfilling their duties, who are exposing themselves to great risk.

Think about the doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, pathologists who are working day and night in hospitals to save each and every life. Think about hospital administration staff, ambulance drivers, ward boys, sanitation workers who are working to serve others in these difficult conditions. Pray for those people who are working to sanitize your society, your locality, your streets, and public places to ensure that this virus is eradicated completely.

Think about the media persons as well who are working round the clock and risking infection while reporting from the streets and hospitals.

Think about the Police force around you, who are working relentlessly without worrying about the welfare of their family. They are working day and night to save you and, on several occasions, also bearing the wrath of the public.


In the conditions that the Corona global pandemic has created, the Central and State Governments countrywide are working swiftly. We are constantly striving to ensure that citizen do not face much inconvenience in their daily life. We have made provisions to ensure that supplies of all essential items continue smoothly.

This crisis has certainly brought on a very difficult time for the poor.

Along with the Central and State Governments, individuals from civil societies and institutions are constantly striving to reduce the problems of the poor. Several people are collaborating their efforts to help the poor


In addition to the basic necessities, lifesaving necessities have to be given top most priority

In order to tackle this novel pandemic, the Central Government is constantly working towards better equipping the healthcare facilities of the country

The Government has been taking decisions on the advice of the World Health Organization, country’s top medical and research organizations and top health experts.

The Central Government has put in place a provision of 15 thousand crores for treating the Coronavirus patients and strengthening the medical infrastructure of the country.

This will allow for quickly boosting the number of Corona testing facilities, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Isolation Beds, ICU beds, ventilators and other essential equipment. Simultaneously, training of medical and paramedical manpower will also be undertaken.

I have requested the State Governments to ensure that healthcare is the topmost priority at the moment

I am pleased that the private sector is standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens in full capacity during this crucial time

Private labs and hospitals are eagerly coming forward to work with the Government during these challenging times

But, friends, be careful that during such times, knowingly or unknowingly, several rumors are circulated. I appeal to you to beware of any kind of rumors or superstitions

It is extremely important for you to abide by the instructions and advice given by the Central and State Governments and the medical fraternity.

I request you not to take any medication without consulting doctors if you are showing any symptoms of this infection. Any sort of medical experiment can put your life to great risk.

Friends, I am confident that every Indian will abide by the instructions of the Government and local authorities during this crucial hour.

21 days of lockdown is a long time, but it is equally essential for your safety and that of your family.

I am confident that every Indian will not only successfully fight this difficult situation but also emerge victorious.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Jai Hind!

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan conducts video conference with CMDs of PSUs of Steel and Petroleum companies; Reviews essential supplies and precautionary measures

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel, Mr Dharmendra Pradhan today conducted a video conference with CMDs of all PSUs of Ministries of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel. He reviewed the status of supplies of petroleum products in the country, operations of refineries, terminals and steel plants and also reviewed the safety measures being taken for the employees and their families.

In a statement, Shri Pradhan later said, “We are working to ensure that supplies of essential products to the people are not disrupted. At the same time, we are ensuring safety of our team members.”

“Our team members who are putting service over self and ensuring that essential supplies are not hit, deserve applause. I have instructed CMDs to take all necessary steps to ensure safety and well-being of our employees and their family members,” he further added.

“These are challenging times. We must endure, we must prevail. Our team is fully geared up to meet the challenges. Together, we shall overcome.” the Minister said.

ABT launches Vitamin C-rich immunity booster drink Mirakle

ABT introduced Mirakle, a drink infused with 1,000 mg of Vitamin C, in the market. The drink is a preventive supplement to enhance one’s immunity and is available in mango flavour. It comes in a carton and is available for Rs 30 (US$ 0.42) in retail stores all over Tamil Nadu and on Amazon.in. The plans of distribution it across the country are yet in pipeline.

Mr Pollachi Manickam Mahalingam, Chairman, ABT Ltd said that given the viral infections that are being discovered every day, coupled with the current lifestyle, there is a serious need to stress on building and improving one’s immunity.

This drink includes liposomes, which are four times more effective than an average IV drip, and in addition, are 20 times more effective than oral delivery Vitamin-C methods, he added.

“The product is now available with sugar and we expect to launch a sugar-free version as well, in the next two weeks. We hope to ramp up production depending on the market demand and then introduce few other variations to boost immunity and health,” Mr Mahalingam said.

IndiGrid completes acquisition of ENICL from Sterlite Power

Private equity firm KKR-backed India Grid Trust (IndiGrid) acquired a transmission asset, East North Interconnection Company Limited (ENICL), from Sterlite Power at a value of US$ 134 million.

IndiGrid’s AUM will grow by 10 per cent to US$ 1.6 billion with this acquisition where it’s asset portfolio will grow to nine power transmission projects, with a total network of 20 power transmission lines spanning across more than 5,800 circuit kilometres across 13 Indian states.

ENICL is a part of the Inter State Transmission System network developed by Sterlite Power that includes two 400 KV transmission lines with a total of 900 circuit kilometers across Assam, Bihar and West Bengal. The acquisition has been funded by internal accruals, proceeds from the preference issue done in May 2019 and new debt. For the purpose of refinancing the existing debt in ENICL, IndiGrid has availed funding of Rs 900 crore (US$ 128.77 million) from Axis Bank.

“This acquisition is in line with our strategy to acquire accretive assets with long term certainty of cash flows. Our focus is to not only ensure stable distribution to unit holders by owning assets with long term contracts but also grow it with accretive acquisitions. IndiGrid has another US$ 855 million (approx Rs 6,500 crore) pipeline of transmission projects under the framework agreement with Sterlite Power providing visibility of US$ 2.4 billion (Rs 18,000 crore) of AUM over next two years,” said Mr Harsh Shah, Chief Executive Officer of IndiGrid.

Bigbasket acquires Bengaluru-based milk delivery app

Bigbasket, an online grocery delivery start-up, acquired 100 per cent stake in Bengaluru-based milk delivery app DailyNinja.

Around US$ 15-20 million has been paid for the acquisition by the online grocery platform, a person aware of the deal said, requesting anonymity.

Bigbasket will be able to hold its leadership position with the help of this deal, especially in the subscription delivery space in Bengaluru.

BB Daily, which is company’s milk delivery service, will expand its daily business by 150 per cent-200 per cent over the next 12 months. Currently, DailyNinja has around 110,000 customers transacting daily which will now help BB Daily strengthen its user base.

BB Daily makes about 160,000 deliveries per day including a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, dairy & eggs and a vast collection of daily essentials like breakfast cereals, tender coconut, personal care and baby care products etc.

The company will also gain access to DailyNinja’s network of 2000 milkman partners spread across India. DailyNinja will be able to double its business within a month by utilising BB’s supply chain capabilities through the acquisition. DailyNinja’s customers will be able to access BB Daily’s extensive non-milk range.

Mr Hari Menon, Co-Founder, and CEO, Bigbasket, said that business with small traders are a key and growing part of Bigbasket’s strategy.

“DailyNinja currently has a large network of milkman partners which will enable us to expand our offerings under BB Daily. Our relationship with the key national brands as well as the supply chain built over the years will help us deliver strong value proposition to them. We also aim to improve delivery productivity and achieve break-even much sooner than planned,” Mr Menon said.

“We are pleased to be a part of Bigbasket, this is a great outcome for all of our team members, shareholders and us founders. When we started DailyNinja 5 years ago, Bigbasket was the company we were hoping to emulate, and we are excited to be part of the BB Family now,” added Mr Sagar Yarnalkar, co-founder, DailyNinja.

Since the launch of BB Daily in December 2018, Bigbasket has been focusing on increasing its subscription business to serve the recurring consumption needs of its customers at low delivery costs. Presently, Bigbasket users pay Rs 40 (US$ 0.57) and above for delivery charges, which is forgone when a user opts for a subscription package.

ARCI develop technology to improve fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines

International Advanced Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST), has developed ultrafast laser surface texturing technology, which can improve the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines.

Laser surface micro-texturing, which offers precise control of the size, shape and density of micro-surface texture features has gained momentum as a way to control friction and wear. In this technology, a pulsating laser beam creates micro-dimples or grooves on the surface of materials in a very controlled manner. Such textures can trap wear debris when operating under dry sliding conditions and sometimes provide effects like enhancing oil supply (lubricant reservoir) which can lower friction coefficients and may enable reduced wear rate.

The texture surfaces were created on automotive internal combustion engine components, piston rings and cylinder liners using 100 fs pulse duration laser. The micro dimples of 10-20 μm diameter and about 5-10 μm deep which have been created with laser beams had a regular pattern.  The created textures were tested in an engine test rig under different speeds and temperatures of coolant and lubrication oil, and it was observed that there was a 16 per cent reduction in the lube oil consumption with the use of texture on the piston rings. The 10-hour lube oil consumption test shows that the blowby substantially reduced with textured rings.

Fabrication of a pattern of micro dimples or grooves on the surface of materials results in a change in surface topography which generates additional hydrodynamic pressure, thereby increasing the load-carrying capacity of the surfaces. Hence these become useful for trapping wear debris when operating under dry sliding conditions and sometimes provide effects like enhancing oil supply (lubricant reservoir) which can lower friction coefficients and may enable reduced wear rate.

In order to control the friction, it is important to understand the mechanisms which occur during the conformal or non-conformal contact in dry and lubricated conditions. Ultrafast lasers create micro or nano features without vacuum conditions.  These features are smaller than the diffraction-limited laser focal spot diameter – a unique property of ultrashort duration laser-matter interaction. The process is a thermal, and pulse durations are orders of magnitude smaller than thermal diffusion times.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Germany in Railway sector

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi was apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Ministry of Railways, Government of India with DB Engineering & Consulting GMBH of Germany for technological cooperation in Railway Sector. The MoU was signed in February, 2020.


This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for technological cooperation in Railway Sector will enable cooperation in the following areas:

  1. Freight operations (including cross-border transport, automotive transport and logistics,)
  2. Passenger operations (including high-speed and cross-border traffic),
  3. Infrastructure building and management (including dedicated freight corridors and development of passenger stations),
  4. Development of a modern, competitive railway organization (including the improvement of organizational structures and railway reformation),
  5. IT   solutions   for   railway operations, marketing   and   sales   as   well   as administrative purposes,
  6. Predictive Maintenance,
  7.  Private train operations, and
  8. Any other area which may be mutually agreed in writing between the two parties.


Ministry of Railways have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs)/ Memorandums of Cooperation (MoCs)/ Administrative Arrangements (AAs)/ Joint Declarations of Intent (JDIs) for technical cooperation in the rail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways in respect of identified areas of cooperation, which include high speed rail, speed raising of existing routes, development of world class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure etc.

National Book Trust of MHRD Launches #StayHomeIndiaWithBooks initiative; 100+ books can be downloaded from NBT’s website in PDF format.

n the wake of Preventive Measures of the Government of India to contain the spread of Covid-19, and to encourage people to #StayIn and #StayHome, the National Book Trust of HRD Ministry, in its efforts to encourage people to read books while at home, is providing its select and best-selling titles for FREE Download as part of its initiative of #StayHomeIndiaWithBooks!

The 100+ books, in PDF format, can be downloaded from the NBT’s website https://nbtindia.gov.in. Available in Hindi, English, Asamiya, Bangla, Guajarati, Malayalam, Odia, Marathi, Kokborok, Mizo, Bodo, Nepali, Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, Kannada, Urdu and Sanskrit, the books cover all genres of fiction, biography, popular science, teacher’s handbook, and majorly books for children and young adults. In addition, there are books by Tagore, by Premchand, and books on Mahatma Gandhi — all in all there are books for everyone in the family to read and enjoy. More titles will be added to the list.

Some select titles include, Holidays Have Come, Animals You can’t Forget, Nine Little Birds, The Puzzle, Gandhi Tatva Satkam, Women Scientists in India, Activity-Based Learning Science, A Touch of Glass, Gandhi: Warrior of Non-Violence, and many more.

The PDFs are for reading only, and any unauthorized or commercial use is not allowed.

NTPC’s installed capacity touches 58,816 MW

NTPC Ltd has increased its total installed capacity to 58,816 MW with the commissioning of second unit of 660 MW at Khargone Super Thermal Power Project in Madhya Pradesh.

With this, the total installed capacity of Khargone Super Thermal Power Project, NTPC and NTPC group has become 1,320 MW, 50,355 MW and 58,816 MW, respectively.

Presently, NTPC has 55 power generation stations consisting of 24 coal-based, 7 combined cycle gas/liquid fuel, 2 hydro, 1 wind, 11 solar PV projects and 10 joint venture stations.


Best Regards,
Manoranjan Sahu
Attache ( Economic & Commerce)
Embassy of India, Bangkok
46 Prasarnmitr, Sukhumvit Soi 23
Klongtoey, Wattana, Bangkok – 10110 (Thailand)
T: +66 2 2580029 (Direct), +66 2 2580300-06 (Extn. 162)
F: +66 2 2584627 Email: com.bangkok@mea.gov.in