The HINDU Notes – 22nd April 2019 - VISION

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Monday, April 22, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 22nd April 2019

πŸ“° ‘No changes in citizenship Bill needed if Clause 6 implemented properly’

•The citizenship Bill does not require any changes if Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is implemented properly, says Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

•In an interview, he said the Bill will be brought after arriving at a consensus with all the stakeholders.

•Asked if the Assam government will request the Centre to make necessary changes in the existing Bill to allay apprehensions of the people here, Mr. Sonowal said that it was not needed if the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is implemented properly. Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, which was signed in 1985 after the Assam Agitation of 1979-85, envisages that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards should be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the people of Assam.

•“If Clause 6 is implemented in letter and spirit, then the indigenous people of Assam are well guarded and protected. That was the agenda ought to be taken up on priority by earlier governments,” he said.

•“Now the PM has taken up the matter with sincerity, commitment and dedication. So, I believe once it is implemented, we have nothing to worry,” he said.

πŸ“° Medicine labels in regional language

Move to curb fake, expired drugs

•In order to counter fake, sub-standard and expired drugs, the Union Health Ministry has said Hindi and regional language will be used in the tendering process.

•“Drug names and expiry date during tendering will be in Hindi/regional language too for — polio drop and Iron tablets — procured for children under the government programmes,” said a senior health official.

•The Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) recently recommended that government procurement agencies should take necessary steps in the tendering process to include the regional language, along with English, on the label of iron tablets and polio drops in government programmes.

•“An advisory may be issued by the government... Also a sub-committee may co-opt the representatives from the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry and Indian Pharmaceutical Association for further deliberations on the overall issues related to labelling requirements of drugs,’’ the DTAB recommended.

•Since last year, the government has been working on ensuring the most stringent quality control for both the products which directly affect almost all the children born in India.

•“DTAB, in a meeting held early last year, considered the proposal to amend Rule 96 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 for labelling of iron tablets and polio drops distributed to the children under government programmes with name and expiry date in Hindi also,’’ noted the minutes of the 82nd DTAB meeting.

•The Board then constituted a sub-committee under the chairmanship of Dr. R.N. Tandon, honorary secretary general, IMA, New Delhi to examine and give recommendations to streamline the labelling requirements of drugs so as to provide the requisite information to the consumer.

πŸ“° In his own cause: On complaint against CJI Ranjan Gogoi

The Chief Justice of India shows how not to deal with a sexual harassment complaint

•The manner in which the Supreme Court responded on the judicial side to allegations of sexual harassment made by a former employee against the Chief Justice of India is a textbook example of how not to deal with such a complaint. An issue that squarely fell within the domain of an internal process was taken up by a special Bench constituted by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, comprising himself, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna. On a ‘mention’ by the Solicitor-General, it was listed as ‘Re: Matter of Great Public Importance Touching upon the Independence of the Judiciary’. The decision to hold an open court hearing is questionable. A complaint of this nature requires an institutional response on the administrative side. There is an internal process to initiate an inquiry mandated by the law regarding sexual harassment at the workplace. The Supreme Court itself has an internal sub-committee under its Gender Sensitization and Sexual Harassment of Women at Supreme Court (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Guidelines, 2015. There is a separate ‘in-house procedure’ to deal with complaints against judges, under which their judicial peers, and not outsiders, will examine them. It is not known if the complaint will be probed under an internal process, but it is clear that the CJI ought not to have presided over the special Bench that took up the matter that concerned himself. The onslaught on the complainant’s credibility and the references made to her alleged criminal record when she was not a party to the proceedings are deplorable.

•Justice Gogoi was one of the four judges who spoke out against the manner in which his predecessor as CJI, Dipak Misra, managed the roster. It is ironical that as one who was aggrieved that senior-most judges were kept out of Benches handling major cases, he went on to form a Bench that included himself but not the two senior-most judges after him. Nor was there a woman judge on the Bench. CJI Gogoi’s anguish is understandable, if indeed the complaint is baseless and false, as he contended from the Bench. But then, the court’s Secretary General has sent a denial to the online news organisations that carried details of the complaint. The complainant, a former junior court assistant, had made her charge in the form of an affidavit, supported by purported evidence, and sent it to 22 judges of the court. It referred to likely witnesses to the alleged sexual harassment and victimisation. This is a serious matter that requires careful processing. It is possible even now to send the complaint to an independent committee. That is the only reasonable and fair means of establishing the innocence the CJI has asserted. Pronouncements and protestations from the Bench to a captive audience of acquiescent law officers and lawyers are not the way.

πŸ“° Expropriation in the name of conservation

It is shocking that a democratic government is seeking to strengthen the colonial-era Indian Forest Act

•The Indian Forest Act, 1927 was a remarkable piece of expropriation in the name of conservation. The British government carried out one of the largest land expropriations in history, where the rights to occupy and use forests were transferred from communities with customary and historical property rights to the colonial Central government. The act offered a fig leaf that those who could establish their rights were excepted from this expropriation (of course, few could establish their rights, given that their rights were not property rights as per the British government’s conception of property). These expropriations were ameliorated in some small measure in the Forest Rights Act of 2006, but they have remained the edifice of the relationship between the government and the Adivasis. It is the forest department that Adivasis must deal with as their primary government agency. That a democratic government almost a century later seeks to expand and strengthen the tools of the Indian Forest Act is remarkable and shocking at the same time.

•The ostensible inspiration for the amendments proposed by the Central government is the same as that of the colonial regime: the protection of forests. However, the government goes a step further than the colonial government and seeks to criminalise the communities, primarily the Adivasis, who dwell in these forests. Forest rights activists have expressed concern that forests could turn into a ‘police state’. A better description would be that they would become a more draconian police state.

Proposed amendments

•According to the draft amendments, the forest department will now be able to enforce the property rights of the government to forests at the exclusion of Adivasis dwelling there, through preventive arrest provisions. Certain offences will be made non-bailable. The presumption of innocence is reversed. Alleged encroachers can be arrested without warrant. Forest officials will be given the authority to use arms against tribals for “violation of laws”.

•The draft says the ‘forest’ will not be limited to land owned by the government; it will include any flora considered forest, as a 1996 Supreme Court order had expanded the definition of forest. The Central government will be able to change the classification from ‘unprotected’ to ‘reserved’ or ‘protected’, and the erstwhile land owners will be subjected to penal provisions for customary use of their land.

•The fears of a draconian police state are not alarmist. The criminal justice system in States such as Chhattisgarh is inundated with cases against Adivasis who exercise their forest rights. Yet, the amendments proposed seek to limit the discretion of officers to withdraw any offences, ensuring a protracted legal process, with prolonged incarceration.

•It is an old adage that those who forget history are bound to repeat it. As a young editor in Germany, Karl Marx was radicalised by the use of penal provisions to prosecute people collecting firewood in the forests, an old custom. With increasing industrialisation, feudal property owners could monetise the firewood, and the customary rights of people to collect firewood was curtailed. Marx was incensed at the plight of those jailed for this infraction, which accounted for the majority of penal cases in the prosperous Rhineland.

•The Forest Rights Act, a legislation mitigating the Indian Forest Act, already weakened by poor implementation, will be further limited by excluding ‘village forests’, ironically named, from its purview. In addition, the community’s voice will also be excluded from a new category of ‘production forest’ . ‘Production forest’ may be handed over to private operators. This will corporatise forest resources. The problems with these provisions are self-evident.

•A Section 26 has been proposed, which will allow forest department officers to suspend the right to pasture or collect forest produce from the primarily Adivasi communities residing in the forest. This will take away not only the livelihood of the forest dwellers, but also strike at the very root of their deep relationship with their environment, customs and traditions. The proposed Section 22(A)(2) is another example of gross injustice. It proposes that the government can acquire any right of a person which is “inconsistent with the conservation of the proposed reserved forest”. No parameters have been given to decide what is “inconsistent”, and the decision to declare the “inconsistent” use rests with the government.

•States with large forest tracts with big tribal populations have tried in the past to settle forest land “encroached” by the tribal people and grant them pattas. The Forest Rights Act allows tribals present at the cut-off date, and non-tribals who can show 75 years of possession, a quasi-property right, or patta, to be administered by the Tribal Affairs Ministry rather than the forest department. Activists expected that this proposed amendment would bring in legal provisions for such settlement. This so-called forest land has no trees on the ground, and has been cultivated by the tribals for a long time, but is still designated as forest. People are subjected to harassment year after year because they are treated as encroachers. The Chhattisgarh government had granted pattas to these “encroachers” to give them legal status, but recently the courts have cancelled these pattas, calling them illegal. It was expected that the proposed amendments would legalise these pattas, but the amendments proposed suggest the opposite.

Managing forests

•It is not only activists who are voicing their concerns; the Chhattisgarh government has expressed its concern at the taking away of the powers given to gram sabhas through the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.

•The amendments will also further centralise the management of forest, as the legislation takes away the State governments’ discretion to manage forests even further.

•Given the correlation between Adivasi forest areas and the ‘Red Corridor’, the law is not only undemocratic, but also has implications for internal security. Adivasis are at the front line of the battle against Maoists, and the principal victims of war-waging in their communities. This Act, in seeking to criminalise their very economic existence, will be a boon for Maoist propaganda.

•The proposed legislation seeks to turn communities into the problem. To paraphrase Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Adivasis, at the very least, need the Indian state to take its foot off their neck. In these elections, Adivasis and other communities would do well to ask those seeking their blessings their stance on the proposed amendments.

πŸ“° In a first, east Asian birds make Andaman stopover

Sighting of news species on the island chain has gone up since the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, say researchers of the ZSI

•Distinguished by the green and brown plumage on its back, the dimunitve Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo (Chalcites basalis) is a native of Australia and New Guinea.

•However, researcher G. Gokulkrishnan had an unexpected encounter with the tiny bird — roughly about 15 cm and weighing 22 g and known for its repeated, loud and piercing whistle — early on July 7, 2017 in a tsunami ravaged coastal forest in the Great Nicobar Island of the Andaman and Nicobar island chain. The sighting was the first recorded instance of the bird in India.

•Two other first time visitors were also recorded on the islands over 2017-18. The Zappey’s Flycatcher (Cyanoptila cumatilis) a song bird that breeds in China and spends the winters in the Malay peninsula, Sumatra and Java, was spotted six times in different areas of Andaman and Nicobar Islands between December 2017 and March 2017 — at least thrice in pairs.

Thai visitor

•Later that year researchers recorded the presence of the Javan Pond Heron (Ardeola speciosa), usually found in Thailand and Cambodia. Larger than Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo and Zappey’s Flycatcher, it was spotted on August 26, 2018.

•“During their migration from north to south, these birds make a stop over at the Andaman and Nicobar islands. We have been able to make these new records because of increased fieldwork and interest in avifauna,” said Dr. C. Sivaperuman, Officer-in-Charge, Andaman and Nicobar Regional Centre of the Zoological Survey of India.

•The three new records from India from the Andaman and Nicobar Island have been discussed in detail in a recent publication of journal Birding ASIA. The other contributors to the research paper are P.C. Rasmussen, Minakshi Dash and D. Sekar.

East Asian Flyway

•In the past few years a few other birds of southeast Asian origin have been recorded in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands during migration.

•Researchers are intrigued by the fact that number of new sightings has increased post the tsunami. The new records include the Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedula mugimaki), Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis), Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes) and the Chinese Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone incei).

•These birds also use Andaman and Nicobar Islands for a few week rest before they can fly along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). The EAAF extends from Arctic Russia and North America to the south Australian boundaries and includes the most of the east Asian regions including Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

•A birding publication, A Checklist of the birds of India by Praveen J, Rajah Jayapal and Aasheesh Pittie, and published by the journal Indian BIRDS in June 2016 had listed 1,263 birds. The list in the publication has since been revised with the number of birds found in the country now being pegged at 300 approximately.

•Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with just about 0.25 % the country’s landmass, is home to about 350 species of exotic birds, according to an official estimate.

πŸ“° Being fair and transparent

After these elections, the Election Commission needs to take stock of several issues, including campaign funding

•Two phases of the 2019 general election have been completed. Polling has finished in 186 out of 543 parliamentary constituencies. Polling in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, has been cancelled for corrupt practices. Five phases still remain till counting is comprehensively undertaken for all the seven phases of the election, on May 23. The reason to complete all the phases is that the result of any one phase should not influence the choices that electors may make.

•Having served the Election Commission of India (EC) for five-and-a-half years during which I conducted the 2009 general election, I have an insider’s view, but of course am not privy to the inputs that the EC has and on which its decisions are made.

Dark points

•As I have argued in my recent book, Every Vote Counts, several negative features of our electoral scene have worsened. Since the Model Code of Conduct came into effect, in just the first two phases this time, money power has so reared its ugly head that seizures made of unaccounted cash, liquor, bullion and drugs amounting to ₹2,600 crore have already surpassed the entire seizures made in the nine phases of the general election in 2014. Most depressingly, this includes huge hauls of drugs, the vast majority smuggled into Gujarat. Uttar Pradesh is awash with liquor. Tamil Nadu has seen the largest seizures of illicit cash —over ₹514 crore.

•These vast sums intended to bribe or influence voters prove several things. The first is that these sums almost certainly represent only a fraction of current illegal spending, a tip of the iceberg as it were. They have been detected by the EC’s machinery acting on the basis of tip-offs, or else by the vigilance of electoral officials in the States. Unfortunately, the bulk of illegal tranches of money, liquor or freebies would have reached their destination. Second, political players have refined their methods in being many steps ahead of the EC’s observers and their vigilance teams by moving their funds to their destinations even before the elections are announced.

•Does this not make a mockery of the statutory limit of ₹70 lakh that each Lok Sabha candidate has as his poll expenditure limit?

Difficult questions

•As a country we need to ask ourselves some hard questions. When every rule in the book is being broken, when there is no transparency on how political parties collect or spend their funds, when limits of candidate spending are exceeded in every single case, then the time has come to debate whether we need to re-examine our rule book. In order to supervise the matches in play, the EC has had to deploy over 2,000 Central observers for the entire duration, drawing them out from their ministries and departments at the cost of their normal work at the Centre and in the States. Thousands of vigilance squads are set up and must act on the information they receive, which is why the current level of seizures have already made this India’s most expensive general election yet. An intelligent guess may lead us to a final tally of spending in excess of ₹50,000 crore, the bulk of which is made up of illicit funding and spending.

•It is by now clear as daylight that electoral bonds, far from enabling a legitimate and transparent means of political funding, have proved to be the reverse. The EC, in its own affidavit before the Supreme Court, has admitted as much. The Supreme Court’s order has made sure that full disclosure, albeit to the EC, has already effectively killed further funding along this route. Nothing is a better disinfectant for camouflaged funding than sunlight itself.

•With my experience this compels me to say that any serious reform with regard to funding must come from the EC itself, for it is very unlikely that any government will take an initiative in this direction. The EC must take stock after this election is over. It should convene a conference of all stakeholders, including of course all recognised political parties, both Central and State. But this should not be exclusively confined to them, for they will tend to support the status quo or they will be unable to reach consensus. The list of stakeholders must also include the best constitutional and legal minds in our country.

•In my book I have also raised the twin problem of candidates fielded with criminal antecedents. The 16th Lok Sabha that has now passed into history, saw almost 30% of its members declaring, in their compulsory self-sworn affidavits, the list of criminal cases registered against them. They are also legally obliged to declare their wealth and their educational qualifications. This is the result of two vital orders passed by the Supreme Court in 2002-2003, the result of a battle that the Association for Democratic Reforms fought tenaciously. Unfortunately, in the first phase of this election, 12% of the candidates perforce declared that they had heinous cases pending, while in the second phase the figure was 11%. It may be noted that these cases include murder, attempt to murder, dacoity, kidnapping and rape. Have we forgotten Nirbhaya and 2012 already?

Giving it teeth

•The matter of the Model Code of Conduct and its administration by the EC has been the most frequently reported single issue in this election. For those of a certain generation, the 10th Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), T.N. Seshan — he once famously declared that “he ate politicians for breakfast” — was the man who made the country sit up and take note when he decided to level the playing field as never before. There is little doubt that he reminded the EC that it had powers inherently enshrined in Article 324 of the Constitution — powers so great that there is arguably no other electoral management body with similar powers.

•I learned this during my years as Election Commissioner, and these are the powers I exercised during the course of the 15th general election in 2009; I was successfully able to confront three Congress-ruled State governments and one Congress ally too. One of them even convened a special press conference to declare that his government would move the Supreme Court against the EC’s “arbitrariness”, but I personally had no doubt about its outcome. As it happened, he chose not to in the end.

•The point I seek to make, by virtue of my own experience, is that the powers of the EC are so enormous and so all-encompassing that they exceed the powers of the executive in all election-related issues during the course of the election period. Of course, these must be exercised judiciously, fairly and equitably, not least because every decision is analysed in every “adda”, every home, every street corner and every “dhaba” across the country, where the EC’s decisions must be seen to be fair and transparent. During the years precedent to becoming CEC, I was fortunate that Mr. Seshan advised me whenever I called on him. As a result I never felt any need to make reference to government or court, once the process was under way.

Words into action

•If there is anything for me to applaud thus far in this election, it is the decision made by two political parties which have selected over 33% women candidates — Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (41% for 42 Lok Sabha seats) and Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (33% for 21 Lok Sabha seats). After years of patriarchy or at best lip service, these parties have taken a vital step towards empowering women politically.

πŸ“° Warming up to the heat from the sun

Use of solar thermal is yet to catch the imagination of investors and users; the key is to incentivise industry to use this less expensive method of heating

•At the mention of ‘solar’, most of us think about arrays of blue, sun-facing panels that generate electricity. That is because ‘solar photovoltaic’, for historical reasons, grew very fast, in India and elsewhere, and became ubiquitous. But there is another ‘solar’, simpler and traditional, which is known to give a better bang for every buck invested. To wit, ‘solar thermal’.

•‘Solar PV’ works by photons in sun’s rays knocking off electrons in the semi-conducting material in the panels and channels them through a wire—the stream of electrons is electricity. Solar PV, therefore, works best where there is lot of sunlight. Solar thermal systems, in contrast, suck up sun’s heat and conduct it to where it is needed – such as for drying of spices or fish or wet paint.

Use of collectors

•Just as we call the sun-facing photovoltaic sheets ‘panels’ or ‘modules’, in solar thermal the stuff that lies open to sun are called ‘collectors’ and are measured in terms of square metres. They come in different forms, but primarily, as tubes, flat plates or reflectors that focus sunlight on to a heat-picking ‘thermic fluid’. The interesting aspect of these solar collectors is their juicy economics. Chidambaram Palaniappan, who has a PhD in solar drying and runs a solar thermal company called Sun Best, which supplies tube-based systems, provides some telling data. He says that 100 sq m of collector area can generate heat energy of 40 kW, and costs about ₹7.5 lakh.

•Comparatively, to generate 40 kW of electric energy it would cost some ₹20 lakh. Another expert, Siddharth Malik, Managing Director of Megawatt Solutions (which makes reflector-based systems,) compares solar thermal with coal and diesel.

•He says to produce a thousand units (kWhr) of electricity using diesel, it costs $100; with solar thermal you could do it in $15. One big reason for this is, in solar PV, there is some loss in conversion of light energy into electric energy, whereas in solar thermal, there is no conversion—it is just heat all through.

•Now, there is nothing esoteric about using sun’s heat for drying. Solar water heaters, for instance, have been around for long. If you go to Shirdi or Tirupathi and peep into the kitchens, you would see solar thermal used for cooking meals for thousands of pilgrims.

•Even the use of solar heat in industries is not uncommon. For instance, the cycle manufacturer, TI Cycles, has been using it for drying paint for nearly a decade. TTK Prestige put up a system (pictured here) years ago on the roof of its Salem plant that makes pressure cookers. But the adoption of solar thermal has been tepid, relative to its potential.

•Experts reason that the earlier systems were expensive and the bang they gave vis-a-vis the incumbent, fossil-fuel based systems was not that high.

•But just as it began to become cheaper, ‘solar PV’ took off in a major way, due to precipitous fall in module prices (due, in turn, to over supply from China). Users and financiers learned solar PV fast and became comfortable with it; solar thermal just fell behind, lost mindshare.

Picking up only now

•Good news is that it is picking up now. The not-so-good news is that it is still not growing as fast as it could. Jaideep Malaviya, an expert with solar market research and communications agency called Solrico, has estimated that India’s solar thermal industry grew 18 per cent in 2018, slower than in 2017, when it jumped 26%; Siddharth Malik feels that the “absolute minimum” growth ought to be 100%.

The question therefore is, how to ginger up things?

•A good first step would be to get the government to also pay solar thermal as much attention as solar PV. Well, there is a 30% subsidy for solar thermal equipment, but ironically, as every expert that The Hindu has spoken to says it only hinders rather than help.

•Customers see the subsidy on paper and want to avail themselves of it, while the administration of the subsidy is so complex that it tires them out. The industry would rather not have it at all. “Subsidy is killing, it causes a lot of heartburn,” says Dr. Palaniappan.

•Mr. Malaviya suggests that the subsidy scheme be retooled so that it is given to Indian manufacturers, in order to encourage local production rather than in China.

Key user missing

•The meat lies in getting the highest potential user — the industry — to adopt solar thermal. Industry’s role is so well recognised that it has given birth to an acronym ‘SHIP’, which stands for ‘solar heating for industrial processes’.

•But solar thermal is space-consuming and in a given space, industries tend to use it for the old-familiar, the PV. A move to convince the industry to give solar thermal a shot has emerged in the form of a ‘solar payback project’, funded by the German ‘International Climate Initiative’.

•The project aims to promote SHIP in India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil, and the report on where India should first focus is due soon. Mr. Malaviya, who’s involved with the project, says the report has identified three areas — dairy, food processing and pharmaceuticals, and auto components, for early adoption of solar heating.

•The dairy sector has tee’d off — biggies such as Hatsun Agro and Amul have begun using steam produced with sun’s heat in their processes. (Hatsun fancifully calls its product ‘solar ice-cream’.) There are 1,200-odd milk processors; they need most of their energy in the form of heat.

•So the ball is rolling, but it needs a good kick towards the goal post. The trick lies in getting the industry deliver the kick. Experts believe that in due course the example set by the early adopters will get more following.

•Technology is mature enough on the collectors side, though, according to Mr. Malaviya, in concentrated solar thermal, it could do with some improvements in the trackers, devices that keep the dishes facing the sun. Today’s solar thermal plants are capable of producing heat of even around 250 degrees celsius. Once the comfort level goes up, financiers would grow more confident and will chip in, because the returns are decent — upwards of 22%, according to Mr. Malik.

Opex model coming up

•As funds flood in, companies like Sun Best and Megawatt Solutions can do the ‘opex model’, where they own the equipment and the user industry pays only for the heat delivered. Common in solar PV, the ‘opex model’ is beginning to happen in thermal, but it needs financial fuel for growth. Solar thermal is a fledgling industry, of limitless potential. In the industry there is a resounding call for the government to be the springboard.

•Dr. Palaniappan remembers an idea that used to be floating in the bureaucracy many years ago, for setting up a ‘Centre for Solar Drying’. Bring it back, he says. Using the sun for heating is as old as civilisation — solar thermal is, therefore, just going back to basics.

πŸ“° 205 rail projects report cost overrun of Rs. 2.21 lakh crore

Ministry releases report for Dec. 2018

•Indian Railways accounts for nearly three-fifths of 344 Central sector projects that are facing huge cost overruns due to delay in implementation for various reasons.

•The total cost overrun of 205 delayed railway projects is a whopping Rs. 2.21 lakh crore, the latest flash report of the Statistics and Programme Implementation Ministry (MOSPI) for December 2018 showed.

•The MOSPI monitors Central sector projects involving an expenditure of Rs. 150 crore and above.

•According to the report, the total original cost of these 205 projects was Rs. 1,68,116.34 crore up to December 2018. The total anticipated cost of these projects is estimated at Rs. 3,89,745.97 crore, which indicates overall cost escalation by 131.83%.

Power sector

•After the Railways, the power sector reported the second highest incidence of overall cost overrun.

•Of the 95 projects monitored by the Ministry in the power sector, 40 reported cost overruns of Rs. 63,334.88 crore.