For the purpose, ministry asks MoEFCC to expedite environment clearances for pending mining leases in four states

Gjarat govt has assured Centre that these areas have compiled with environmental guidelines

The ministry of chemicals and fertilisers had proposed to set up a national chemical centre to formulate environment and human-friendly policies and contain risks posed by chemicals.

This is aimed at streamlining legislation governing the industry and making entities concerned responsible for their acts. The industry, at present, is governed by multiple legislations under several ministries — the Environment Protection Act, 1986; Factories Act, 1948; Motor Vehicles Act, 1988; Explosives Act, 1884; Disaster Management Act, 2005; CWC Act, 2000 and Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Officials said the aim was to ensure availability of farm produce across the country at affordable prices

The Union ministry of agriculture has planned to ask for a Rs 5,000-crore budget during the 12th five-year Plan (2012-17) for a scheme to allow private companies to collaborate with farmers to produce, harvest, process, transport and market various agro products. Officials said the aim was to ensure availability of farm produce across the country at affordable prices.

The Union ministry of food has recommended continuing the subsidy for edible oil distribution, given the rising trend in prices and anticipated shortfall in final production in the kharif season.

The subsidy scheme under the public distribution system involves distributing edible oil at Rs 15 per kg to individual states. The scheme is to end in September.

The government last week allowed private companies to import urea for preparation of complex fertilisers used in agriculture. Till now, such companies could only import urea for industrial use, in preparation of chemicals.

For agricultural purposes, private companies used to source urea from imports made by government canalising agents, such as Indian Potash Ltd and state trading houses MMTC and STC. Two Indian companies, Coromondal International and Zuari Industries, are allowed to import urea for agricultural purposes. Now, these companies can directly import without involving canalising agents, official sources said.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) will soon come out with detailed guidelines to develop an ancillary market for power trading.

Official sources say such a market is a development over the existing market design in the power trading market. The ancillary power market, an alternative to the existing unscheduled interchange (UI) mechanism of power supply, is designed to handle real time active power supply demand imbalances of the users, according to officials.

The Planning Commission has proposed a slew of changes in the prevalent duty structure for the petrochemical industry for the new Plan period (2012-17).

To begin with, it has urged the central government to establish single national level value-added tax (VAT)/ goods and services tax (GST) on plastic and articles of states at a uniform four per cent. This could include prime petrochemical feedstock, naphtha and natural gas.

To get outlay of Rs 20,000-25,000 cr proposal for subisdised loans, too

The government has decided on a comprehensive push for mechanisation of agriculture, by setting up machinery hiring centres in every village in the 12th Plan period. These machinery is to be leased for harvest with support from states and the Centre (in either a 10:90 or 20:80 proportion). The entire mission is expected to get an outlay of Rs 20,000-25,000 crore, sources said.

Says it would prefer basing its estimate on crop cutting method and not bale press method proposed by textiles ministry

The Union ministry of agriculture has rejected the draft Cotton Trade (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2012, proposed by the textile ministry for streamlining output estimates for the industry. The agri ministry says it would prefer to continue basing its estimate on what is termed the crop cutting method and not the bale press method as proposed by the textile ministry in its Bill.