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India to see $500 billion investment in renewables by 2030: IEEFA report

(Asian News Hub) – India is set to see investments to the tune of around $500 billion in the renewables sector if the country has to achieve the target of 450 gigawatts (GW) of capacity by 2030, said a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

The report highlighted that a huge global capital pool is mobilising to invest in renewable energy and grid projects in India, with pull factors including solar power tariffs hitting record lows, plunging solar module costs, record low-interest rates, and the security of government-backed, 25-year power purchase agreements (PPAs).

The renewable energy sector in India has received more than $42 billion in investment since 2014.

“We estimate that striving for 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 would require deploying $500 billion of investment over the coming decade – $300 billion for wind and solar infrastructure, $50 billion on grid firming investments such as gas-peakers, hydro and batteries, and $150 billion on expanding and modernising transmission and distribution,” said Tim Buckley, Director Energy Finance Studies, South Asia, at the IEEFA.

The country’s untapped renewable potential at 900 gigawatt (GW) is the most in the world. It is estimated that India’s peak power demand will rise to 295GW by 2021-22 and 690GW by 2035.

“Domestic and global institutions across the financial, corporate, energy, utility and government sectors are primed to deploy a wall of capital that India needs to fund its ambitious renewable energy targets,” he added.

Reuters

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95% tourists cancelled bookings for summer season amid 2nd wave of COVID-19

(Asian News Hub) – Following the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in India, tourism bookings in the valley have plummeted, with around 95 percent of tourists cancelling their trips.

Officials in the tourism department estimate that the number of tourists has considerably gone down with only 32,594 tourists visiting the valley in the month of April.

According to the official figures the first 15 days of April has recorded around 25,956 tourists in the valley, while as in the last 15 days of the month the numbers dipped to around 6,638.

​Manzoor Pakthoon dealing with the tourism trade told KNO that they had full bookings and were sold out till May end, but the recent spike has come like a shocker for them.

“After the promotional program in different parts of the country, the first twenty days after it’s opening Tulip Garden, witnessed a record footfall of around two lakh visitors, but spurt in Covid-19 positive cases in different parts of the country lead to the mass cancellations, and we don’t know how to react to this situation,” he said.

A Prominent hotelier of the valley and chairman Hoteliers Association Mushtaq Chahya told KNO that the situation across the country is not good, as the Covid cases are coming in lakhs.

“Right now priority should be to save life. Economy can get a hit, but can be worked on, if people live,” Chahya said.

In April a high level delegation of top officials from the Ministry of Tourism, which also included the delegates from Kenya, Vietnam and Georgia, visited the valley under the theme of “TAPPING THE POTENTIAL OF KASHMIR, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE”.

However, in a recent order, the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha ordered the closure of all paid parks.

“Due to the prevailing COVID situation in J&K, State Executive Committee, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it under section 24 of Disaster Management Act, 2005, hereby orders that all paid public parks in the UT of J&K shall remain closed for visitors till further orders”.

KNO

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WhatsApp May 15 Deadline for Accepting New Privacy Policy Terms Scrapped

(Asian News Hub) – WhatsApp spokesperson said that no accounts will be deleted on May 15 for not accepting the policy update.

WhatsApp has scrapped its May 15 deadline for users to accept its controversial privacy policy update and said not accepting the terms will not lead to deletion of accounts. WhatsApp had faced severe backlash over user concerns that data was being shared with parent company Facebook.

A WhatsApp spokesperson told PTI that no accounts will be deleted on May 15 for not accepting the policy update.

“No accounts will be deleted on May 15 because of this update and no one in India will lose functionality of WhatsApp either. We will follow up with reminders to people over the next several weeks,” the spokesperson said in an emailed response to a query.

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Parliament approves bill to increase FDI in insurance sector to 74%

(Asian News Hub) – A bill to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in the insurance sector from 49 per cent to 74 per cent was approved by Parliament with the Lok Sabha giving green signal to the legislation by a voice vote on Monday.

Piloting the Bill, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that hiking the FDI limit in the insurance sector will help insurers to raise additional funds and tide over financial problems.

The Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was earlier passed by the Rajya Sabha last week.

The minister said that the government will provide funds to the public sector insurance companies but the private players will have to raise capital on their own.

Observing that insurance companies are facing solvency related issues, she said, “if growth capital is hard to come by, there will be a stress situation. In order that the stress situation is not left unattended, we need to raise the FDI limit.”

The Covid-19 pandemic, Sitharaman said, has further added to the woes of the insurance companies.

The minister further said that the FDI limit was being raised on the recommendations of the regulator IRDAI which had extensive consultations with stakeholders.

The FDI inflow in the insurance sector, the minister said, had increased significantly after the government decided to raise the cap from 26 per cent to 49 per cent in 2015.

As much as Rs 26,000 crore has come as FDI in the insurance sector since 2015, she said, adding the asset under management (AUM) in this sector has grown by 76 per cent during the last five years.

PTI

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