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December 18, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm



The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects a global decline in coal demand by 2.3% by 2026, despite a record production in the current year. The report emphasizes a shift towards renewable energy and anticipates India to be a significant driver of coal demand until 2026. Notably, the IEA’s findings highlight regional variations, with declining demand in the European Union and the United States, while India and China witness an increase in demand due to electricity needs.

Key Points:

Global Coal Demand Trends:

  • Despite reaching a record production this year, global coal demand is expected to decrease by 2.3% by 2026.
  • The decline is attributed to a global transition towards renewable energy sources, coupled with plateauing demand in China.

Regional Disparities:

  • Regional variations are evident, with a 20% drop in demand expected in the European Union and the United States.
  • Conversely, India anticipates an 8% rise, and China projects a 5% increase in coal demand in 2023 due to electricity requirements and reduced hydroelectric power generation.

Climate and Hydroelectric Power Impact:

  • The IEA’s forecast considers the shift in global climate conditions from El Nino to La Nina between 2024 and 2026, potentially leading to increased hydroelectric power output.
  • Low-cost solar photovoltaic deployment and moderate increases in nuclear generation, especially in China, India, and the European Union, contribute to the decline in coal-fired generation.

China’s Role:

  • China, currently responsible for over half of the world’s coal demand, is expected to witness a decline in demand in 2024 and stabilization by 2026.
  • The decline in China’s coal demand is attributed to the expansion of renewable energy sources.

Coal’s Environmental Impact:

  • Coal remains a significant energy source for electricity generation, steel-making, and cement production but is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) from human activities.
  • Global coal consumption is projected to remain above 8 billion tonnes through 2026, contributing to carbon emissions.


The IEA’s report signals a structural decline in global coal demand, influenced by the sustained expansion of clean energy technologies. This shift underscores the importance of renewable energy in meeting international climate targets. A turning point for coal is evident, emphasizing the need for increased efforts to reduce unabated coal use to address climate change challenges and adhere to climate policy agreements. The report highlights the role of key coal-producing nations, including China, India, and Indonesia, in shaping global coal production trends.



Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the deep-rooted emotional and creative bond between Kashi and Tamil Nadu during the second edition of the Kashi Tamil Sangamam in Varanasi. Emphasizing the unique connection, he stated that the event strengthens the concept of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ – One India, Supreme India.


Key Points:

Historical Bond:

  • Kashi and Tamil Nadu share a profound emotional and creative bond since ancient times.
  • The Kashi Tamil Sangamam celebrates and reaffirms the longstanding cultural ties between the two regions.

Cultural Confluence:

  • The Sangamam serves as a unique platform for dialogue, uniting people from the northern and southern parts of India.
  • Collaboration between Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and IIT Madras enhances the success of the cultural confluence.

Unity in Diversity:

  • PM Modi underlined the unity of India, exemplified by the installation of Sengol in the new Parliament building.
  • The feeling of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ is evident, showcasing India’s diversity rooted in its collective consciousness.


The Kashi Tamil Sangamam emerges as a powerful expression of India’s cultural unity, fostering mutual understanding and dialogue between the people of Kashi and Tamil Nadu. Prime Minister Modi’s address underscores the timeless connection, aligning with the vision of ‘One India, Supreme India,’ as reflected in the installation of Sengol in the new Parliament building. The event stands as a testament to India’s rich cultural heritage and the enduring spirit of unity in diversity.



The Red Sea, a vital global maritime route, has become a focal point of geopolitical complexities, with recent events adding layers of tension. The involvement of the Yemen-based Houthi militia, aligned with Iran, and its aggressive actions in the Red Sea have sparked concerns globally, impacting key trade routes and strategic interests.

Challenges in the Red Sea:

Houthi Aggression:

  • Houthi militia, following a terror attack by Hamas, announced its entry into the conflict, affecting the crucial waterways of the Red Sea.
  • The Red Sea connects to the Suez Canal, handling nearly 15% of global trade between the East and West.

Increasing Incidents:

  • In November, the Houthis targeted a cargo vessel with alleged Israeli links, intensifying concerns about the security of maritime traffic.
  • Commercial vessels face rising incidents of Houthi aggression, posing risks to global trade.

U.S. Response:

  • The United States has deployed military capabilities to counter Houthi threats, including drones, missiles, and direct operations.
  • A call for a multinational task force around the Bab al-Mandab Strait emphasizes the gravity of the situation.

Geopolitical Complexities:

Saudi-Iran Dynamics:

  • Despite tensions and the ongoing conflict in Yemen, Saudi Arabia urges restraint from the U.S. in directly confronting the Houthis.
  • Talks between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi leadership indicate a nuanced geopolitical landscape.

China’s Mediation:

  • China’s role in brokering Saudi-Iran détente influences regional dynamics, with Beijing maintaining a balanced stance in the Gaza crisis.
  • Arab responses to China’s position suggest shifting geopolitical alignments.

Global Impact on Asian Economies:

Security Depletion Concerns:

  • The instability in the Red Sea raises global concerns, particularly for Asian economies heavily reliant on secure maritime routes.
  • India, Japan, South Korea, and China face implications, given their interests in the Persian Gulf and surrounding regions.

Historical Precedent:

  • The U.S. call for partners to mobilize echoes past instances, such as the coordinated response to piracy off the coast of Somalia.
  • India, Japan, and South Korea, as net importers of oil and gas, share common security concerns, necessitating a collaborative approach.

Rising Non-State Actors:

Changing Geopolitical Order:

  • Non-state militant actors are gaining prominence politically and militarily, often aligned with state interests.
  • This trend introduces complexities that demand a progressive and practical approach to address evolving security challenges.

Interconnected World Realities:

  • In an interconnected world, traditional notions of security must adapt to navigate challenges transcending self-defined areas of interest.
  • Recognizing the role of non-state actors becomes crucial in shaping responsive geopolitical strategies.


The stormy developments in the Red Sea highlight the intricate interplay of geopolitical forces, impacting global trade and regional stability. As non-state actors gain prominence, the need for adaptive and collaborative security approaches becomes imperative. The complexities of the Red Sea situation underscore the interconnectedness of geopolitical realities, urging nations to adopt nuanced strategies in addressing evolving challenges beyond conventional security paradigms.



Recent trade data highlights fluctuations in India’s goods exports and imports, raising concerns about competitiveness. While October witnessed a temporary surge, November saw a contraction, emphasizing the challenges in maintaining trade momentum. Analyzing the intricacies of these fluctuations is crucial for understanding India’s trade dynamics.

Concerns in Goods Trade:

Export Contraction:

  • November recorded a 2.8% contraction in goods exports, marking the weakest values in a year.
  • Statistical anomalies, including a YoY uptick but a sequential decline, add complexity to the assessment.

Import Dynamics:

  • Imports dropped by 4.33% in November, influenced by factors like reduced demand for high-value goods and global price declines.
  • The merchandise trade deficit narrowed to $20.6 billion, a notable decrease from October’s peak.

Challenges and Divergences:

Monthly Volatility:

  • Monthly trade data exhibits a yo-yo effect, making consistent analysis challenging.
  • Divergences in trade values are exacerbated by significant data corrections and revisions.

Data Reliability Concerns:

  • Data corrections have been substantial, with August’s goods trade deficit seeing a moderation of nearly $3 billion.
  • The government faces calls to enhance the reliability of the data informing economic decisions.

Competitiveness and Future Outlook:

Competitive Landscape:

  • To compete effectively, India must address challenges in logistics costs, as indicated by a government-commissioned study.
  • Ongoing infrastructure investments may contribute, but a more significant impact can be achieved by aligning petroleum prices with global trends.

Global Context:

  • Amid global economic forecasts of strengthened trade flows in 2024, India anticipates an uptick in exports.
  • Addressing competitiveness gaps is essential to capitalize on potential global demand, requiring strategic measures.


India’s trade scenario reflects a mix of challenges, including volatility, data reliability concerns, and the imperative to enhance competitiveness. Navigating these complexities demands a comprehensive approach, from addressing logistical issues to aligning with global economic trends. As India aims for an export uptick in the coming months, strategic interventions will play a pivotal role in ensuring sustained trade growth.



Northern Chennai grapples with environmental negligence as an oil spill, exacerbated by Cyclone Michaung, raises concerns about ecological repercussions. The incident highlights systemic lapses in environmental governance, adversely impacting the region’s fragile wetlands.

Environmental Disaster Unfolds:

Cyclone-Induced Oil Spill:

  • Cyclone Michaung triggers heavy rainfall, leading to an oil spill from the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) refinery in Ennore-Manali.
  • Oil infiltrates residential areas, the Buckingham Canal, and the Kosasthalaiyar river, posing a severe ecological threat.

Delayed Response and Underplayed Risks:

  • Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board downplays the spill’s magnitude.
  • Government intervention, prompted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), occurs eight days post-spillage, reflecting a lack of proactive crisis management.

Inadequate Remediation Efforts:

Uncoordinated Cleanup Initiatives:

  • Initial response lacks a standardized operating procedure, hindering effective crisis management.
  • Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority and district authorities take a passive role, impeding swift action.

Remediation Challenges:

  • Delayed deployment of resources and unclear coordination impact the efficiency of oil removal efforts.
  • Department of Environment, Climate Change and Forests collaborates with CPCL, deploying workers and machinery for cleanup.

Long-standing Environmental Neglect:

Pervasive Pollution Concerns:

  • The Ennore-Manali region houses 17 polluting industries, with recurring pollution concerns raised by residents.
  • Previous incidents, like the 2017 oil spill, underscore a pattern of neglect in enforcing environmental safeguards.

Ignored Wetland and Unmet NGT Directives:

  • Ennore backwaters suffer from pollution, including fly ash contamination and hot water discharge from thermal power plants.
  • Despite NGT directives since 2017, TANGEDCO fails to address fly ash issues, indicating persistent negligence.


The oil spill in Ennore-Manali reveals a larger pattern of environmental disregard in northern Chennai, marked by delayed responses, uncoordinated remediation, and a history of unaddressed pollution concerns. Urgent reforms are imperative to enforce regulatory measures, safeguard fragile ecosystems, and rectify systemic shortcomings to prevent future ecological disasters.



The government has announced Series III of the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme (SGBs) for the fiscal year 2023-24. Introduced in 2015, the scheme aims to curb the demand for physical gold.

  • SGBs are government securities issued under the Government Securities Act, 2006, and are managed by the RBI on behalf of the Government of India.
  • These bonds are available for sale to resident individuals, HUFs, trusts, universities, and charitable institutions.
  • With a tenor of eight years and premature redemption allowed after the 5th year, the minimum investment is one gram, while the maximum limits are 4 Kg for individuals, 4 Kg for HUFs, and 20 Kg for trusts per fiscal year.



Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) has initiated a program in Saint Lucia, with India selected as the Partner Administration.

  • Under this program, India will contribute tax experts.
  • TIWB, a collaboration between the OECD and the UNDP, aims to transfer tax audit knowledge and skills to tax administrations in developing countries through a practical “learning by doing” approach.
  • This joint initiative facilitates capacity building in tax administrations, promoting effective tax audit practices and administration in developing nations.


December 18, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
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