India predicted to significantly contribute to milk and wheat production: UN report

A UN report stated that India is set to become the largest milk producer by 2026 and it will also account for the biggest increase in wheat production.

The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026 stated that the world’s population will increase from 7.3 to 8.2 billion in the next decade with India and Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 56 % of total population growth thus driving a large share of global demand. It also forecasted that over the first quarter of the 21st century, milk production in India will be nearly tripled.

“Over the course of the outlook period alone, milk production in India will grow 49 %; in 2026, India will be the world’s largest milk producer, with an output one-third above that of the second largest producer, the European Union”, said Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its report.

Global production of wheat is projected to increase by 11 %, while the wheat area increases by only 1.8 %. The rise in wheat production will occur through higher yields, most notably in Asia and Pacific, accounting for 46 % of additional wheat production.

India (15 Mt) will contribute to the biggest increase in wheat production followed by Pakistan (6 Mt) and China (5.5 Mt). The report as quoted by ET, highlighted that global food commodity prices will remain low compared to previous peaks since demand growth in a number of emerging economies is expected to slow down and bio fuel policies have a diminishing impact on markets.

Sources: Economic Times, Hindustan Times

Image Source: Economic Times

Ram Vilas Paswan: Hefty fine if revised MRP not reprinted by September end.

Ram Vilas Paswan, the Consumer Affairs Minister has announced on Friday that a fine of Rs 1 lakh will be charged including a jail term if the manufacturers fail to reprint revised MRP by the end of September. The move has been made in the interest of the consumers.
“We have told companies to reprint revised rates on unsold goods. To make the consumers aware of the revised changes, stickers of new MRP should be pasted,” he said.
According to The Times of India, he mentioned that a committee of the consumer affairs ministry has been set up which will help in addressing the grievances of the consumer. He also said that to answer tax related queries they have increased the number of helplines from 14 to 60. Up till now, the consumer helplines have received more than 700 queries for which the ministry is seeking for expert help.
“The initial hiccups which arose due to the implementation of GST will be resolved soon. The concerned ministries especially finance and consumer affairs, are alert and a redressal mechanism is in place to resolve the concerns of consumers and traders,” Paswan assured as reported in Business Today.
Pawan warned that if the manufacturers do not comply with the rule, they will attract a penalty of Rs 25,000 for first time offence, Rs 50,000 for the second time and the fine can reach up to Rs 1 lakh along with imprisonment for one year.

African countries invite Indian inventors

In a seminar organised by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in Coimbatore, several African countries have invited Indian industrialists to invest in a number of sectors.

Representatives from countries –Mali, Seychelles, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Botswana, expressed their interest in investing in sectors like textiles, food and agro-processing, agriculture, leather and leather garments, renewable energy, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and education.

Seychelles representative has invited India to help in the promotion of tourism in their country as the country is known for tourism. High Commissioner Philippe Le Gall said. “The pillar of our economy is tourism and we see about 3lakh people visiting Seychelles every year. We want to take that up to 5lakh. We want restaurateurs to set up outlets for North Indian, South Indian, Bengali, Punjabi, Mughlai and Goan cuisines”.

Gemma Mbegabolawe, Director of Botswana Investment and Trade Centre has said that their country needs investment in tanneries, hide collection, leather product designing and manufacturing, Information and Communication Technology and cargo and logistics areas. She also mentioned that the country shares a good bond with India in the diamond sector.

Margaret Kedisi, Minister-counsellor to the Uganda high commission said “As much as 30% of our pharmaceutical import is from India. At the same time, the most preferred destination of treatment is India. So investment in pharma and healthcare industry has potential in Uganda”.

The ambassador from Mali, Niankoro Yeah Samake has said that their country is interested in textile, gold, education and hospitality management while Gemma Mbegabolawe, Botswana representative said they are interested in the development of leather product manufacturing industry as the country has more population of cattle than people.

Sources: The Hindu, TOI

Image Source: The Covai Post

Essar Steel moves High Court after RBI insolvency notice

Following the Reserve Bank of India’s decision to commenced insolvency proceedings against Essar Steel, the leading steel company has decided to move court according to a report in Hindu Business Line.

Livemint spoke to a company representative who said that the matter is set to be heard at the Gujarat High Court under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code on July 7.
Lenders of the steel corporation had earlier complied to RBI directions and initiated insolvency proceedings against it at the National Company Law Tribunal earlier in June. This is in line with the RBI’s intent to stamp out bad loans
Debts worth Rs 37,284 crore were part of 12 non-performing accounts were singled out by the RBI for bankruptcy. The company claims it has cleared Rs 3,467 crores in 2016-17, and has accused the country’s central bank of making ‘arbitrary’ distinctions between these 12 companies and others under scrutiny.
Essar Steel is a public company which is part of the Essar Group. It is headquartered in Mumbai and has subsidiaries across the world.

SEBI: Government to decide on 25% holdings of PSUs

The government needs to take a stand on the fate of public sector companies be from the 25% minimum public shareholding rule, market regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchanges Board of India) chairman Ajay Tyagi said.

Also, stricter norms for credit rating agencies will be considered, mainly because in the past they have failed to take timely action in the case of stressed companies, and that the National Stock Exchange (NSE) should ideally file revised offer documents for its initial public officer.
“Department of investment and public asset management, under the finance ministry, has represented to us on 25% minimum shareholding, but the government has to decide on this,” Tyagi said on Monday on the sidelines of an event organised by Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), an organisation representing central public sector companies. DIPAM oversees stake sale of state-run companies.
Governance Issues 
  • 20% of cos still do not have a woman director
  • Scope for improvement in the functioning and appointment of independent directors and audit panels
  • Role of nominee directors needs to be looked into
All listed PSUs must ensure that their public holding is minimum 25% by August 21, 2017. But a number of such firms are not likely to be able to meet the deadline.

The government is now contemplating extending the deadline to allow time to these PSUs, some officials said. The proposal to bring listed PSUs on par with private sector entities was announced in 2014. The final government decision will have implications on its divestment plan.

Tyagi made these remarks at a recent session with CEOs and senior executives of PSUs organised by SCOPE (Standing Conference of Public Enterprises). SCOPE is an apex professional organisation representing central government public enterprises.

Sources: Economic Times, The Hindu Business Line

GST rolled-out in J&K, state finance minister addresses State Assembly

The Goods and Service Tax (GST) founds its way into the state of Jammu and Kashmir as the resolution was passed in the J&K Assembly on Wednesday evening. Despite strong criticism from the opposition parties such as Congress and Jammu and Kasmir National Conference, J&K finance minister Haseeb Drabu came out strong and assured that GST will end the hike on daily essentials but will not pose a threat to the ambit of Article 370 which ensures special powers for the state and the government.
Drabu also added that under no circumstances the State Government will amend the Section 5 of the J&K Constitution that ensures special taxation power, but the growing concern about declining trade in the state due to the non-implementation GST had affected livelihood.
While the country experienced the biggest Tax reform since independence, J&K propelled towards uncertainty and financial exasperation. Producing facts to the decline in trade, Drabu also said that state revenue dropped from Rs 82 crores on July 4 last year to Rs 40 crores yesterday. This was an indication of low trade in the state, thus, it was a necessity to bring GST to the people.
Assuring the extent of Article 370 and Section-5, Drabu stated: “if the GST overwrites Article 370 (of the Indian constitution) or section 5 (of the J-K constitution) I will not come back to this House”.
Sources: Livemint and Business line

CCI halts probe against top cellular companies until July 28

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has decided to stop pursuing the allegations of cartelisation brought in Reliance Jio against other major players like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular till July 28, reported Economic Times.

“Counsel for respondent Nos.1 (CCI) and 2 (DG CCI) makes a statement that respondent Nos 1 and 2 shall not proceed with the investigation as has been ordered by the Competition Commission of India up to next date of hearing,” said Justices Shantanu S Kemkar and MS Sonak in an order issued on Friday.

According to Business Fortnight, Idea Cellular filed a petition on June 22, seeking a stay on the probes conducted by CCI as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) along with a separate tribunal, has long been investigating the charges brought upon by Jio.

In May, the CCI found enough prima facie evidence of Airtel, Idea and Vodafone forming an unholy nexus to deny new entrant Jio adequate points of interconnection (POI). This led to an abysmal failure of calling connectivity, much to the irk of its customers.

Sources: Business Fortnight, Economic Times