Nirmala Sitharaman Is India’s First Woman Full-Time Defense Minister

On September 3, Nirmala Sitharaman, who served as Minister for Commerce and Industry, was chosen for the biggest promotion in Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s cabinet reshuffle on the weekend, and was given independent charge of the Defense Ministry. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the first woman to hold this portfolio, though as an additional charge.

Minister for Defense, Nirmala Sitharaman, after taking charge in New Delhi on September 07, 2017

Minister for Defense, Nirmala Sitharaman, after taking charge in New Delhi on September 07, 2017

“It will be a priority for me to ensure the smooth and speedy implementation of defense deals and projects,” Sitharaman told reporters, adding that her other priority was armed forces families and their welfare.

Sitharaman’s team consists of Dr. Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, Minister of State for Defense, Dr. Sanjay Kumar Pandey, personal secretary,  and Sanjay Mitra defense secretary among many others.

Sitharaman now joins the five-member Cabinet Committee on Security which includes Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Bhaskar Kanungo, deputy director, Strategic Trade at industry body FICCI, expects Sitharaman’s appointment to give foreign defense equipment manufacturers “new assurance and confidence, leading to much-needed time-bound reforms that are essential for bringing FDI in defense and aerospace.” He added, “Her vision on ‘Make in India’ will help to bridge the gap between foreign original equipment manufacturers and the Indian defense and aerospace industry,” reports Bloomberg.

The biggest challenge for the new minister will be to take decisions that will pave the way for the private sector to access India’s defense industry along with the preferred state-owned undertakings.

Twitterati welcomed the NDA government’s move to appoint Sitharaman as the defense minister.

— GhoseSpot (@SandipGhose) September 3, 2017

September 9, 2017   No Comments

Washington State University Helps Advance India’s Power Grid

Washington State University will lead a nationwide consortium of U.S. universities and industry partners in a five-year, $30 million joint research project with India to advance the development of the power grid in both countries.

The US. Department of Energy  announced a $7.5 million grant to the U.S. team, which will be supplemented by $7.5 million from consortium members. The Indian Ministry of Science and Technology and industry partners will match the $15 million, bringing the total to $30 million.

The U.S.-India collAborative for smart diStribution System wIth STorage (UI-ASSIST) was selected as the new consortia for Smart Grid and Energy Storage under the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC).

Led by Washington State University, UI-ASSIST’s American team is comprised of MIT, Texas A&M University, University of Hawaii, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Snohomish County (WA) Public Utility District, Avista, Burns and McDonnell, ETAP Operation Technology, ALSTOM Grid/GE Grid Solutions, Clean Energy Storage, ABB, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

The India team is led by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur and includes the partners IIIT Delhi, IIT Madras, IIT Roorkee, IIT Bhubaneshwar, and The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, reports T&D World.

Through JCERDC, U.S world-class installations and national laboratories will contribute their expertise and capabilities as India expands energy access to its remote areas, improves its grid reliability and resilience, and strengthens its energy security. In turn, U.S. participants will gain insight from India’s grid modernization efforts – a potential export market for U.S. equipment worth billions of dollars – as well as promote researcher access to India’s grid operational experience.

US and India Flags

June 30, 2017   No Comments

India Aspires to Sell Only Electric Cars by 2030

A Government of India-led initiative – the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan – targets annual sales of 6-7 million EV/Hybrid vehicles by 2020. The government hopes that by 2030, all vehicles sold in India will be electric-powered says a blog post from India Energy.

Speaking on “Changing Energy Economics and India” at New Delhi, India’s minister for energy, Piyush Goyal, said that the country will help facilitate the electric car effort by offering subsidies for a couple of years. “After that,” he said, “the cost of electric vehicles will start paying for themselves,” reports CNN.

Elon Musk tweeted: India commits to sell only electric cars by 2030. It is already the largest market for solar power. https://t.co/EGBNTPzmE5 — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017

India’s government is pushing to expand its solar energy capacity.

Modi tweeted: Paris Agreement reflects our duty towards protecting the Earth and our natural resources. For us, this is an article of faith: PM pic.twitter.com/8cnSqClBPf — PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 3, 2017

India Energy Logo

June 12, 2017   No Comments

Dabur Launches Jaquline USA’s Beauty Products in India

New Delhi-based Dabur launched make-up and beauty brand Jaquline USA‘s products through its beauty retail venture NewU. Dabur acquired this brand from Fem USA in 2008.

The first collection will include a range of nail care and styling products, and later the range will expand to beauty and make-up categories, says BusinessLine.

Jacquline USA's Nail Nutrition

 

NewU marketing head Vinni Pannu said: “NewU is the first Indian company to enter the nail care and styling market with products that have been created with technical know-how and formulations sourced from a number of countries”

June 11, 2017   No Comments

Airbus Sets Up Asia’s First Greenfield Training Center in Delhi

Toulouse, France-based Airbus is setting up the Airbus India Training Center, a greenfield training facility at Aerocity, New Delhi, to support India’s growing need for Airbus pilots and maintenance engineers. The 75,347 square foot facility will be built in modules to become operational by the end of 2018 with two A320 full flight simulators, increasing to four and potentially to six simulators at the right time.

India is the fastest growing domestic aviation market in the world and is expected to grow at an annualized 9.3 percent over the next 20 years, outpacing the world average of 4.6 percent. The number of trips per capita in India is expected to increase four times by 2035. Airbus forecasts a requirement for at least 1,600 new passenger and freight aircraft by this period, requiring over 24,000 new pilots and maintenance engineers, reports the Media India Group.

Airbus Training Center in India pictograph

Tom Enders, CEO, Airbus said, “We have only scratched the surface when it comes to the growth of civil aviation in India. This training center will be the first such facility fully owned by us in Asia. It is a symbol of our enduring partnership with this country.”

June 8, 2017   No Comments