The first phase of Posco’s $12-billion Orissa project — India’s single-largest foreign direct investment — could start churning out steel by 2018, three persons with direct knowledge of the develop

Agra: The government on Monday said it will review South Korean steel firm Posco's R 52,000-crore project, which has been stuck for long over land acquisition and other regulatory issues.

The assurance was given by commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma to a visiting South Korean delegation at the ongoing partnership summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry. "We are committed to the smooth offtake of the Posco project and will look into the recent developments to expedite the project in consultation with the state agencies. The first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Investment is day after tomorrow (January 30)," Sharma added.

With more than half of all children in standard five at least three grade levels behind where they should be, the standards of learning continue to deteriorate in the country, thanks to the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system, mass recruitment of teachers and the high-level curriculum in the early stages of school education.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2012) by NGO Pratham shows that the number of class five students who could not read a class two level text or solve a simple arithmetic problem has increased. In 2010, this number stood at 46.3%, 51.8% in 2011 and 53.2% in 2012.

In a move that could speed up the ambitious direct cash transfer programme, rural development minister Jaiarm Ramesh has suggested other entities such as state governments and banks should be roped in to enroll residents in the Aadhaar system.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ramesh said the direct benefits transfers (DBT) scheme would be successful if multiple registrars are allowed to enroll beneficiaries in the Aadhaar system.

In a first of its kind of initiative, leading corporate entities have come together and aggregated their demand for green energy. A consortium comprising nine companies across sectors like information technology (IT), manufacturing and retail, among others, have joined hands for group buying of renewable energy like that from wind, solar and biomass.

The first meeting of this newly formed association and its various partners including banks is scheduled for Wednesday when the modalities of the tender and terms of contract would be discussed after deciding the total energy requirement of the consortium. Rohan Parikh, head of green initiatives at Infosys, which is a key partner of the consortium, pegs the requirement to be around 500-600 million units.

Govt keen on ensuring fuel security doesn’t come in way of growth revival plans

Concerned that fuel scarcity could hamper plans to revive economic growth, the government is planning to further relax green clearance norms for mining projects. Coal mining operations, which are stuck due to delays in forest clearance, may now get approvals on fast-track basis from the environment ministry even if less than 50% of the population of affected villages give their nod for the project.

New Delhi Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan’s claim of awarding clearances to projects which will double coal production in the country may not hold true completely as many projects are awaiting environment and forest clearances from her ministry.

Natajaran’s recent letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing the setting up of a National Investment Board said that environmental clearances had been granted to 181 coal mines with a total capacity of 83 million tonnes per annum during the 11th Plan period up to August 2011 — doubling India’s current capacity. In addition, 113 coal mines had been granted permission to divert 26,000 hectares of forest land for industrial use.

New Delhi In a move that might speed up environmental clearances for mining firms, the Centre may ask the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) to independently verify compliance of norms suggested by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) for all mining projects.

This is being done to ensure constant monitoring of projects during the execution and completion stages. The MoEF has already proposed the need for evolving an independent monitoring system to get a fair assessment of the project and also reduce chances of conflict between the ministry and project proponents.

New Delhi At a time when power projects are facing problems of fuel linkage, financing and CAG scrutiny, Reliance Power, the flagship company of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, is planning to incr

New Delhi In an attempt to increase monitoring of mining projects and make miners accountable for mining activities, the environment ministry has agreed to the mines ministry’s proposal of a Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) which will comprise guidelines for reporting initiatives and restoration conditions for mining. The SDF needs to be submitted to regulators at the time of seeking clearance or renewal or extension.

However, the ministry has stated that the framework is only a tool for leaseholders to comply with disclosure mechanisms and not a substitute for environment clearance.