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INDIA

Fossil fuel usage set to drop for 1st time

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NEW DELHI: India’s thirst for fossil fuels will outpace China’s by a big margin, even though globally, consumption will shrink for the first time in modern history through 2050 as climate initiatives propel renewable energy while the coronavirus pandemic leaves a lasting scar on demand, the benchmark BP Energy Outlook 2020 said on Monday.

The outlook saw India’s primary energy consumption growing by 2.5% between 2018 and 2050 against 0.1% in China and 0.3% globally. It sees India’s oil consumption more than doubling to 10 million barrels by 2050 under the ‘business-as-usual’ scenario. But gas demand is seen jumping from 58 bcm (billion cubic meters) to 357 bcm under the ‘rapid’ scenario. “India’s combined oil and gas imports more than double by 2050, driven in part by increased coal-to-gas switching which leads to a marked deepening in India’s dependence on imported LNG,” the outlook said.

Globally, fossil fuel demand may not rise to pre-Covid levels

Though the report sees growth in China’s energy demand slowing sharply relative to past trends — peaking in the early 2030s — it will still remain the largest market for energy in all scenarios, including ‘net zero’, to account for over 20% of the world’s energy demand in 2050. This will be almost twice that of India.

But globally, fossil fuel demand may never recover to pre-coronavirus levels as the pandemic hastens “fundamental restructuring” of the energy business. The share of fossil fuels is set to decline from 85% of total primary energy demand in 2018 to between 20% and 65% by 2050 in the three scenarios, it said.

India’s fuel sales more than halved in April as the countrywide lockdown confined people to their homes and shut almost all economic activities. Demand shot up to nearly 80% of the pre-lockdown level after the government began lifting curbs in June but faltered in August, down 15.6% from the year-ago period. “Demand for oil falls over the next 30 years. The scale and pace of this decline is driven by the increasing efficiency and electrification of road transportation,” the report said, adding the outlook for natural gas was more resilient than for oil, underpinned by its role in supporting fast-growing developing economies as they de-carbonised and reduced their reliance on coal.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

India, China agree to stop sending more troops to frontlines in bid to defuse LAC tensions

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NEW DELHI: India and China took initial steps on Monday with the first decision to stop sending more troops to the frontlines in eastern Ladakh. This is intended to ensure a halt to the relentless build-up on the LAC, as a precursor to further steps in the disengagement exercise. That, according to sources familiar with developments, was the limited achievement of the meeting.

Halting the build-up is the first step towards disengagement, without prejudice to current positions held by both sides.

Given the trust deficit between the two sides and the fact that this was the first commanders’ meeting after almost two months, the aim of the two sides, according to high level sources, was to reopen communications and stop sending troops.

In the past few weeks, the ground situation too has changed in a way that is less disadvantageous to the Indian side. Therefore, the Indian side too is unwilling to give up its new positions. That particular discussion will only happen down the line, not immediately.

However, sources from the meeting said the discussions were reasonably positive. “The understanding is to keep the situation stable until agreement on disengagement is reached for which further rounds of talks have been proposed.”

This was not a meeting that would have achieved full agreement on disengagement. That was not the intention, according to sources. In the future rounds of talks, both sides will get an opportunity to both test their intentions and ability to follow through on their decisions, they said.

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INDIA

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul return from abroad after her medical check-up

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NEW DELHI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi returned from abroad early Tuesday, sources said.

Gandhi, 73, had gone to the United States for her routine medical check up on September 12, two days ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament. Rahul Gandhi had accompanied her during the visit.

Sources had said her medical check-up was overdue and was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gandhi had cleared the Congress’ organisational restructuring before leaving for the US

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INDIA

Maratha quota: Post SC stay, Maharashtra announces sops for community

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MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday took several measures to give relief to the agitating Marathas, including giving community members benefits meant for EWS, in the light of the Supreme Court staying the implementation of quota in jobs and education for the community.

According to an official statement, the Maharashtra Cabinet also decided to offer jobs in Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation to heirs of those who lost lives during the Maratha quota protests.

It said action will be taken on proposals in this regard within a month of their submission.

The government’s decisions came after the Supreme Court earlier this month stayed the implementation of the 2018 Maharashtra law granting reservation to Marathas in education and jobs.

This was followed by community members staging protests on the issue in several parts of the state.

The Maratha community members will get the benefits announced by the government on Tuesday till the Supreme Court vacates the stay on quota, the statement said.

The Maharashtra government on Monday filed an application before the larger bench of Supreme Court, seeking to vacate the apex court’s stay on implementing the quota, the statement said.

“The benefits meant for economically weaker section (EWS) will be given to those from socially and economically backward category (SEBC),” the statement said.

The government said the Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Shulkh Shishyavrutti Yojana, a scholarship scheme earlier meant for SEBC students, will now be made applicable to EWS students too.

“The state government has approved Rs 600 crore fund for the current fiscal. Provision will be made if there is a need for additional funds,” the statement said.

Similarly, the Panjabrao Deshmukh Hostel Maintenance Allowance Scheme meant for SEBC students will be applicable to the EWS students, the statement said.

“Rs 80 crore fund has been approved for the same. More funds will be made available if need be,” it added.

The government said substantial funds and manpower will be made available to the SARTHI institute.

The Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI) is a non-profit government company for research, policy advocacy, training etc. for socio-economic and education development of Maratha, Kunbi communities and families dependent of agriculture.

“SARTHI has demanded Rs 130 crore fund for the current financial year. Provision will be made if more funds are required,” the statement said.

The statement said financial assistance is being provided to unemployed youth through the Annasaheb Patil Financially Backward Development Corporation, and the capital for its has been increased by Rs 400 crore.

Speaking on the process of withdrawing cases against Maratha quota protesters, the state government said only 26 were pending and action on them will be taken in a month.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, PWD Minister Ashok Chavan said the government moved the vacation application before the Supreme Court’s larger bench after holding discussions with ministers, opposition leaders, representatives of Maratha outfits and legal experts.

Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde, who accompanied Chavan during the press conference, said, “The chief minister and the cabinet has taken a decision that there will be no shortage of funds. These decisions will give relief to the community.”

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